Musicians are invited to add a little melody to the sharps and flats of city life.
First-time players are also encouraged to play.
"This is the first time I've ever touched a piano," said Lynette Morris, a 52-year-old hospital maintenance worker from the Bronx.
She had just sat down at one of the instruments in the East Village, situated at the top of subway stairs.
"I can't play but I'm going to try," Morris said.
Moments later, as construction trucks beeped and traffic roared by, a more experienced player got his chance on the bench.
New Yorkers, who don't stop for much, halted in their tracks to listen as he ran through classics like Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" and Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy," otherwise known as the "Peanuts" theme.
During his final number, "Let It Be" by the Beatles, a guy manning a nearby coffee cart stuck his head out and belted out part of the chorus.
"It's amazing how a piano, in the middle of total urban chaos, will make everyone stop to hear the notes," said Dana Mozie, who was visiting from Washington.
Other cities on the touring exhibit include London, Sydney and Sao Paulo.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.