Grand Piano Mystery Solved: Biscayne Bay Confession

In pursuit of higher education, a piano is sacrificed.

January 25, 2011, 12:03 PM

Jan. 27, 2011— -- Over the past couple of days a baby grand piano, parked on a sliver of a sandbar in Miami's Biscayne Bay, launched a thousand ships (ok, little pleasure boats), twitter accounts and countless rumors.

Was it the work of a master artist like Cristo (who once covered the islands in red cloth)?

The magic of David Copperfield or a relic of a botched hip hop music video shoot?

Perhaps it was the work of a clever fellow at the New World Symphony conservatory, trying to promote Tuesday night's opening of a $170 million Frank Gehry-designed campus?

Nope. This little installation of junk art, as it's known, was the brainchild of a 16-year-old.

Nicholas Harrington is a junior at Mast Academy in Key Biscayne.

His accomplices were his brother Andrew and neighbor Julian Roots, both 18. They claim that since the piano has become famous, they will motor back out to the sandbar and remove it.

They'd hatched the scheme before Christmas.

Harrington's grandparents had a grand piano in their garage. They wanted to get rid of it.

Harrington pondered. Perhaps hang it on a tree? Set it on fire?

Finally the "Piano bar" idea came to him.

So on New Year's Eve the family threw a bash.

They burned the family Christmas tree and then partially set fire to the piano.

The next morning, on New Year's day, in broad daylight, they hoisted the baby grand onto Harrington's father's boat, and motored out to the sandbar, unloaded the 650 pound piano - and waited.

Two weeks later, a National Geographic photographer snapped an iconic shot of pelicans perched on it. But few people noticed it until residents alerted authorities and the Miami Herald.

When ABC News hired a boat and voyaged out to the sandbar, just 200 yards from shore, the piano had lost its bench and was trashed.

But the burning question on the minds of bloggers, Miamian and humorists, is why?

Reason Behind the Piano Bar

"We did it for the great photo shoot we had," Harrington told ABC News. "I wanted to do something really special, part art, and part" college application. His dream is to get to the New York City art school Cooper Union.

But when nobody noticed, "I kind of forgot about it," he said.

For 26 days, they kept it a secret but suddenly on Tuesday it took off.

Newspapers splashed the first grainy pictures of it, as if it were the Loch Ness monster.

Local news channels sprayed shots of it from helicopters and carried the news live on their bulletins. They sent teams of reporters by boat, to the hallowed sandbar.

A twitter account was set up in its honor.

It was even usurped by an independent filmmaker named Billy Yeager claiming he and his wife hauled it there while shooting a film, "Jesus of Malibu."

Now authorities including the Commission for Florida Fish and Wildlife, say they haven't decided what do with the "installation" now that Harrington has come forward.