David Ippolito is an American singer/songwriter who lives in New York City. Although he has self released seven albums, he is best known for his summer performances in Central Park, which are attended by anywhere from 100-500 people each week. He sometimes styles himself "the most famous person in New York that nobody knows" and is perhaps best known as "That Guitar Man from Central Park."
In June 1992, while recovering from a battle with alcoholism and drug abuse, Ippolito performed an impromptu concert on a hill in Central Park
in front of a few people who gathered. Among those present was Jack Rosenthal
from the New York Times
, who the next day published a report on the performance . The next week, Ippolito performed again, and began to gather a following. He has since performed almost every summer weekend to large crowds of passers-by and regulars, including visitors from around the world, and has become a New York icon.
He is known for having conversations with his regular listeners during his show. He is also known for creating satirical songs about celebrities such as "Tom Cruise Scares Me" and "Free Paris (Hilton)". He does not read music, playing everything by ear.
Ippolito also performs at venues throughout New York City, including an annual December performance at Merkin Concert Hall, and a monthly performance at The Red Lion on Bleecker Street.
Ippolito's performances have been covered by the New York Times on several occasions, the New York Post
, The Daily News
, Parade Magazine
, CBS-TV, ABC-TV, and WB-11 news, and his song "City Song" was used to close NBC
's television coverage of the 2001 New York City Marathon
. He has also appeared on ABC
's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire
", winning $64,000.
Due to the number of people passing through the area where he plays every weekend, Ippolito has become well-known throughout New York as a fixture of Central Park. However, in 2000, the Parks Department
ordered him (and all other musicians in the park) to unplug his small speaker, which led to a degree of public outcry and several letters to the New York Times by angry listeners. The current arrangement is that he has to select far ahead of time which days he wants to play, each one costs him $100, rain or shine.
I Love the Company
In 2006 Ippolito began a daily podcast called "I Love the Company
," which is broadcast globally through the "That Guitar Man" website, and which has gained listeners all around the world due in part to the high volume of tourist traffic at Ippolito's weekly Central Park performances. The podcast features new works by Ippolito as well as music by singers and songwriters around the world.
The "I Love the Company" podcast has recently been joined by an "I Love the Video" videocast.
- The People on the Hill (1997)
- That Guitar Man from Central Park...In Person (1998)
- Just a Thought for Christmas (1999)
- It's Just Us (2000)
- Crazy on the Same Day (2002)
- Talk Louder (the Cell Phone Song) (2003)
- Common Ground (2004)
- I Love the Company (2007)