Famed Manhattan 'big' piano is back where it was first made - Lower Merion

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Published: Saturday, November 14, 2015

By Richard Ilgenfritz

There is a Big Piano in a workshop in Ardmore but it’s not just any big piano, its one that an estimated 10 million people have stepped across while it sat for 30 years inside the F.A.O. Schwartz flagship store in New York City.

Earlier this year, the F.A.O. Schwartz store in New York was closed by its parent company Toys R Us. As a result the piano that had been on loan to the store was returned to the man who designed it and its owner, Lower Merion resident Remo Saraceni.

Currently the famous floor piano is sitting in the back workspace of Fast Signs on Greenfield Avenue in Ardmore.

FastSigns owner Lou Silverblank is allowing Saraceni and his collaborator, Ben Medaugh, to use a portion of his shop to make new smaller versions of the classic piano.

Saraceni designed the original walking piano in 1982 that has been in the F.A.O. Schwartz store for the past three decades. The presumption by many people has been that the piano used in the Tom Hanks 1988 movie "Big" is the same one that was in the F.A.O. Schwartz store. It’s not.

“This is the one that took all the abuse, the movie one didn’t take the abuse,” Medaugh said as he and Saraceni showed his original piano.

The F.A.O. Schwartz piano that is now in Ardmore is a little worn but only because of the estimated number of people who jumped across its keyboard in an attempt to recreate the Tom Hanks scene.

“Ten million people went on it and it still works,” Saraceni said as he showed off his classic creation.

Saraceni said he first designed the piano while he lived on Hampstead Circle in Wynnewood.

The FastSigns store that is temporarily on Greenfield will be moving back to its former site on Montgomery Avenue in Penn Valley. When they move they will be taking one of Saraceni’s newer, smaller walking pianos with them.

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