A beloved busker who has filled Washington Square Park with music for nearly two decades is now homeless — and playing just to survive.
Colin Huggins, who has been known to bring listeners to tears with his classical music, has been living on the streets for a year due to soaring rents.
“I can only hold myself up for so long,” Huggins, 45, told The Post recently.
On another sour note, his 1959 Steinway baby grand has been vandalized multiple times in recent months.
Park miscreants splattered his keys with paint, broke his piano bench, and flipped the instrument’s lid for no reason.
The philosophical piano man believes the pandemic “completely altered people’s sense of empathy, sense of moral compass.”
Huggins has no place to store his 900-pound moneymaker.
In the past, he found temporary shelter for it in a church, a neighborhood performance space, or a vegan restaurant on St. Marks Place.
Huggins called recent three days of torrential rain, “f–king miserable” for both him and the piano, which is “out of tune.”
Huggins can’t understand why anyone would want to vandalize his piano or a local landlord would not offer him an affordable space considering the “joy” he has brought to the city over the years.
“I go back and forth [between] here and my parents’ place in Virginia,” Huggins explained, noting most nights he sleeps on his piano at Washington Square East and Washington Place, using paper towels as his pillow. “I try my best to contribute and build some kind of sense of community and togetherness. But there get to be these points where I’m just exhausted.”
Huggins, who grew up in Decatur, Ga., is self-taught and has been playing since his teens.
He moved to Gotham in 2003. After an early stint as an accompanist for the Joffrey Ballet, he switched to full-time busking about 16 years ago.
Since 2018, it’s been the East Village denizen’s sole source of income, bringing in thousands of dollars as he performed all day Saturday and Sunday.
Now, he said he’s lucky if he makes $100 a day.
“It’s definitely more rewarding,” he said back in 2018 his career compared with the ballet era. “And I make enough to pay my rent and have a modest living.”
But that stopped post-pandemic when his St. Marks Place landlord jacked up the rent from $2,500 to $4,000 per month.
The classical musician is hoping to get Bach into business.
“I don’t want to be this homeless guy forever. I’m pretty sick of it already. I can’t understand why our community can let this happen to someone who’s been so caring towards so many people,” he lamented, noting he has thousands of notes — some posted to Instagram — from people who have thanked him for his music and kindness.
Despite his current plight, Huggins said he’s not changing his tune when it comes to the Big Apple. “I’m never going to give up on this place.”