He Needed It More

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At the subway station MTA personnel were working on the station, clearing the walls and hanging up new subway maps. They recognized me as I passed by. “Hey, it’s ‘Saw Lady'”, one of them said. They told me that they will be at the Times Square subway station on Wednesday and asked me if they’ll see me there. I explained that I will be at the St. George ferry terminal that day and they were surprised that I play all the way down on Staten Island.

MTA worker

At the 59th street & Lexington Avenue subway station there were two MTA employees guarding an open man-hole in the middle of the platform. They had it closed up before I was done setting up my busking gear.

A guy with pink hair, wearing Trips clothes, told me that he gave all his money to a tenor singer on the train. “Looked like he needed it more”, he said.

A guy with a tattoo on his neck told me that he is a construction safety inspector. He used to do iron work, got hurt, and went into the safety business. His daughter lives in Massachusetts. She used to do jewelry design but got tired of being at the bottom rung of a company so now she is starting to be a teacher.

‘Saw Lady’ at 59th street
Photographer: Adam

Frankie, the guitar player/singer/whistler, showed me a license card he got in 1956 to play in the subway. Way before Music Under New York was established. He said that he got it “downtown”. He was away recently – went to Puerto Rico for his sister’s funeral. His first sister died of Alzheimer’s last March at age 82. Now his second sister died of the same thing, age 80. Frankie is 70 years old.


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One Response to He Needed It More

  1. Robin from Israel on February 28, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Thank you for doing what you do. Buskers add so much to the heart and soul of any city.

    Have you ever heard Colum Sands’ Buskers? The line “and if you stop to listen, he’s playing for you and I, and his music sings along the strings between the earth and the sky” just says it all.

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