A Dog With a Health Care Plan

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June 14, 2009
By Posted in St. George Ferry Terminal | 1 Comment »

As I was climbing up the stairs at the subway station, an MTA construction worker was climbing down, carrying a ladder. “You still play?” he asked me. It always warms my heart when people recognize me.

MTA worker

As the train passed the 59th street subway station I could see Frankie playing his guitar on the platform.
At 14th street, where I changed trains, there was a quartet of bass, drums, accordion and singing guitar player playing on the opposite platform.


The ferry to Staten Island was late because there was dense fog. The boat I boarded is called ‘Senator John J. Marchi’. During the ride I could see nothing but fog. At one point the top of a passing boat emerged slightly out of the fog. the Manhattan skyline was invisible. As we got further from Manhattan the fog eased up a bit and seagulls were flying along side the boat.
The torch of the Statue of Liberty was lit, even though it was daytime.

Statue of Liberty

A guy told me he just saw me on TV 15 minutes ago.

A terminal worker told me that it is unusual that it is more foggy in Manhattan than on Staten Island.

A guard named Davy, with his 2 year old guard dog McKenny came to say ‘hi’. The dog really liked me and laid down beside me, leaning on my leg. I felt honored. This gave me a chance to chat with the guard.
McKenny the dog was born in a program called ‘Puppies Behind Bars’. His parents were at a prison, where they were used as therapy for inmates.
Davy told me he lived in Florida for 14 years and moved to New York half a year ago in order to start the job with the dog (there ae no jobs with bomb sniffing dogs in Florida, he said). The dog goes home with him at the end of the day and spends 24/7 with him. When the dog retires Davy will keep him. The dog even has a health care plan!
Davy and McKenny the dog work 12 hour shifts, usually at night, which is why he has never seen me before.

guards with dogs

A guard asked me for my permit. “You’re good to go 2 to 6” he said. “You can stay till 7 if you want – we’re not going to kick you out”.

Davy and McKenny the dog left on the 5:10 ferry. Another guard with his dog Bailie came to say ‘hi’ to me. Bailie is very woolly and friendly. I enjoy hugging the guard dogs.

Guard dogs

By 6pm I had the beginning of a blister on my left pinkie (from playing the musical saw), which meant it was time to call it a day. I boarded the ferry named ‘Spirit of America’ and sat down next to an old violinist named Stanley, who was on his way to a rehearsal with the Mannes Community Orchestra. We had such a nice conversation that time flew by really fast. All of a sudden a guard came to ask us to leave the boat – we were so deep in conversation that we didn’t notice the ferry has arrived and docked in Manhattan and the passengers all got off already!


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One Response to A Dog With a Health Care Plan

  1. Sham Elias on June 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Natalia,
    I’ve got a new blog up. I have just added your link on to my blog.
    I visit your blog often and really like the things you are sharing with us.
    Here in Malaysia, we do have buskers but not as many as in NY, I guess.
    Come over to my country, MALAYSIA and check out the scene.

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