Was There a Musical Saw Player in the Subway in 1905?

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As I entered the subway station a gentleman said ‘hi’ to me and mimed as if he was playing the musical saw, to indicate that he knows who I am.
While I was setting up my busking gear two guys sitting on the bench came to ask me what musical instrument I play.
A young man asked me if the 6 train will take him to Hunter College; and a guy I remember seeing before showed me a pack of JVC CDRs he just bought. He goes all the way to Brooklyn to get them from a distributor because he believes they are the best quality. “Are you coming or going?” he asked me.
“I’m setting up to play”, I answered.

Overhead announcement: “Because of an investigation at 14th street, 4 and 5 uptown trains are running on the local track”.
This meant more noise for me to have to deal with – the overhead announcement kept being repeatedly played loudly from the speaker, which happens to be directly above the Music Under New York busking spot at this station.

A guy told me that he saw a musical saw player in PA near Strenton a long time ago. Another, older guy, told me it has been years since he has seen a musical saw player – it was at a county fair.

I love old New York – I wish I could time-travel 100 years back to see the places I frequent today back then. I often imagine what it might have been like for buskers in the NYC subway back then. This video enables a bit of time-travelling – this is what a trip from 14th Street to 42nd Street on a NYC subway train looked like in 1905 (if you get tired of the train ride, fast forward to 5:08 to see the people at the train station – I wish people dressed like them today…). The subway station at the end is the “S” Shuttle station underneath Times Square… It used to be the original 1/2/3 trains’ stop: (please turn off the player on the right hand column before playing this video)


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by Scott R Munson