Roosevelt Island Hall of Fame Member Returns to the Keyboard

Good News: Roosevelt Island's Legendary Roy Eaton, This Week in Bryant Park

Updated 3 weeks ago David Stone
Roy Eaton at Piano in Bryant Park in 2016
Roy Eaton at Piano in Bryant Park in 2016
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

When Roosevelt Island's legendary pianist Roy Eaton suffered a stroke earlier this year, fears were that his playing days were over. Not so, Eaton told me. He takes his annual turn this week in Bryant Park, tickling the ivories from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. for Piano in Park, every day until Friday, the 22nd.

Roy Eaton Plays On

When illness forced the cancellation of Eaton's I Remember Mama concert, dedicated to his mother and his wife, on May 13th, friends and fans worried that he would no longer be able to perform at concert levels, if able to work a keyboard at all. 

Known as the Jackie Robinson of Advertising after breaking through the color line in that field and eventually landing in the Advertising Hall of Fame, Eaton went on to perform concerts at Lincoln Center and elsewhere and to record several bestselling albums.

Recent summers, Eaton has taken control of the keyboard for a week each season for Piano in Bryant Park, a series that treats visitors to noontime free concerts in the heart of midtown.

When I talked with him in June, he was outdoors, strolling Main Street with the aid of a walker. As optimistic and full of warm confidence as ever, he was just beginning his return to the piano. So, when I ran into him in July, I checked in on his progress.

Much to my surprise, Eaton told me that, not only has he returned to his beloved music, but he will again take his annual Bryant Park gig on September 18th, occupying the seat from 12:30 until 2:30 p.m., for one week until the 22nd.

See the full schedule here.

About the only thing better than having Roy Eaton's smile radiate over you is hearing that we will soon get to hear him play live in concert again.

Here are Eaton's best known albums: