New York

A New York City Gem: David Ippolito, The Guitar Man from Central Park

There are plenty of things to do in New York City on a warm summer Saturday, but if you haven’t spent an afternoon with David Ippolito, The Guitar Man from Central Park, you’re missing out. Whether alone or with the family, he’s a big dose of feel good and who can’t use more of that today?

David Ippolito sings and plays guitar in Central Park - The Insatiable Traveler

You’ll find him in the park by The Lake on the northwest side, near the path that leads to the Hern’s Head, a large rock formation that’s a favorite among travelers and kids who love to climb. (See map below.)

He’ll be singing in front of 50, 60, 70 or more. They’ll be spread out on the lawn, filling park benches, shoes off with big grins, singing and swaying to the music.

David Ippolito plays his guitar and sings in Central Park - The Insatiable Traveler

If you’re thinking David’s just another talented busker singing for his supper, God knows the city if filled with them, he’s not. David is an institution. He’s played in the same spot every Saturday for the last 25 years (weather permitting), and he’s still going strong. Visitors love him and there are locals who’ve long since made David’s concerts a mainstay of their summer Saturdays.

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I first came upon David Ippolito in 2014.

I was walking in the park, took a left when I normally turn right, and there he was. He was performing in front of an audience other street musicians would kill for. Standing behind a tall mic, he played his guitar as if he were on a concert stage.

He wore tattered jeans ripped at the knees and a baggy blue tank top that hung passed his hips. On his chest, a peace sign peeked out from behind his guitar—a signature ensemble. I plopped myself down on the edge of the sidewalk (there was nowhere else to sit) and watched his bare feet tap to the beat as he sang.

Boaters on the lake in Central Park stop to listen to David Ippolito - The Insatiable Traveler

Boaters on the lake in Central Park stop to listen to David “Guitar Man”

He was the consummate performer. Upbeat. Cheery. Inclusive. He sang with an joy that belied the countless times he’s sung his roster of original songs and covers over the years.

There was James Taylor, the Beatles, and Simon & Garfunkel, and other songs I recognized but had no idea who made them famous. He joked, told stories, talked to passersby, and invited the audience to join him in a song or five. Which they did.

I was on his Facebook page recently (see above). He’d posted a video from a recent Saturday. A fan had captured on of his performances that morphed into a Central Park dance party (which I’m ALL about, by the way). In his caption he called it a “NYC moment”, and I’d have to agree.  They’ll remember that afternoon with a grin and a chuckle for years to come.

On that first day, I’d planned to stay a few minutes. I had things to do, places to be. I had no time for a sing along. Yet two hours later I found myself still rocking to the beat.

Don’t you just love when that happens?


David Ippolito usually gets to the park around 1pm and will sing 4-5 hours. In case of inclement weather, check out David’s Facebook page for any last-minute announcements.


 

Map of where David Ippolito, The Guitar Man from Central Park, performs.- The Insatiable Traveler

 


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If you're in Central Park on a summer Saturday, do yourself a favor and check this guy out. You might find yourself spending the afternoon. (1)


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15 replies »

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  2. WONDERFUL post, Susan — thanks to you (and Mr. Ippolito) I’ve just gone down the most delightful rabbit-hole of positivity and music. I hope your post will drive a few NYC visitors his way; he deserves the recognition and support.

  3. Thank you for this post. I love to learn about people and things like this. We have not taken a whole family trip into NYC for a while (a quick search of my own blog tells me it was two years ago!!!!) so we definitely need to take a trip soon. Central Park is a favourite of my kids and they have not explored its entire area yet so maybe next time, if we happen to be there on a Saturday, we will need to seek out David and his open air concerts.

Would love to hear from you!