Coronavirus News: Central Park musician offers hope, encouragement amid pandemic

CENTRAL PARK, New York City (WABC) -- If you've ever walked Central Park you've probably seen him. It's even more likely you've heard him. The long, smooth sounds of his saxophone offer a soundtrack of sorts to the iconic New York City park.

His music has been a constant in the park during the pandemic, even as so much else has changed, offering a sense of peace and pleasure to many a New Yorker passing by.

We saw them on park benches bobbing their heads to the beat. Others passed by and waved. Some knew Ralph Williams by name.

For many people, his tunes offer something to look forward to during walks in the park.

"It means the world to me," Williams said. "I was a drummer, but when I was in college I had the feeling I wanted to play the sax. So I started my first year of college. We won't talk about when that was."

Williams said the sax keeps him in shape, keeps him busy.
"I'm not just playing," he said. "I'm not just performing. I am scratching my soul, so to speak."

The musician said he's seen a lot watching Central Park's crowds ebb and flow amid the pandemic, and he's noticed the strain the virus has put on people.

It's partly why he keeps playing.

"Everything is harder now," he said. "We are dealing with it. Everything is harder now. Hopefully we will get back to some kind of normalcy. You've just do what you do. You've got to keep playing. You've got to stay in shape. You've got to do what you love doing."


COVID-19 Help, Information and Resources

New York state
New Jersey
Long Island
Grieving the lost: Tri-State residents who have died

Share your coronavirus story with Eyewitness News
Stimulus check scams and other coronavirus hoaxes
Coronavirus prevention: how clean are your hands?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus
Total count of NYC COVID-19 cases based on patient address

Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.