This is New York


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March 2, 2010
By Posted in St. George Ferry Terminal | 1 Comment »

A man sitting on the stairs leading to the subway station was smoking a cigarette. He offered to help me bring my busking gear up the stairs “as long as it’s not a baby”, he said. At the top of the first flight of stairs he fell to the floor. He immediately got up.
“Are you OK?”, I asked.
“Yes. I have a bad hip”, he said.
“Maybe you shouldn’t help me”, I said.
The man insisted on helping me up the next flight of stairs.

subway stairs

Three MTA construction guys got off the train. “How’s it going?” they said to me.
Saw Lady: “Are you working at this station today?”
Construction men: “All over – we work a bit here, a bit there – everywhere”.
Saw Lady: “Keeps things from getting boring”.
They agreed.

MTA workers

As I got on the escalator leading out of the Whitehall subway station, a gentleman got on behind me.
Gentleman: “They are opening the library”.
Saw Lady: “Huh?”
Gentleman: “They are re-opening the library on Broadway”.
I didn’t understand why he was telling me this, but wanting to be polite I said: “that’s nice”.
Gentleman: “The library on Broadway and Steinway street. I saw you performing there a couple of times”.
Now I got it… He was right, I did perform there many years ago. Wow, this guy has a good memory!

escalator at Whitehall subway station

The guard with the bomb sniffing dog greeted me at the entrance to the Whitehall Ferry Terminal: “Are you on this side today?” he asked.
I got to the gate just as it opened to let the ferry passengers through. I boarded the J.F. Kennedy ferry boat. It was a beautiful old one, with wood seats and “life preserves” under each seat (the words “life preserves” are printed on the panels under the seats). Except for the seat I sat on. The sign said it had the “fire hose” under it.
The boat went particularly close to the statue of Liberty today.

Ferry boat

At the St. George Ferry Terminal the guard greeted me. His dog, named ‘Chief’, shook hand with me.

A guy named Rafael told me that he used to be an opera singer in the Israel National Opera for ten years. He then moved to New York and worked at the Cardoso Library for sixteen years. Now he works at a cemetery on Staten Island. “The moment I started working at the cemetery it tripled my salary”, he said.
Saw Lady: “At least it’s quiet at your job”.
Guy: “Oh, no, the dead are quiet, but the families…”

At 4pm it was very quiet, so I went to have a hug with Chief, the guard dog. He is 8 and 1/2 years old and is getting ready to retired. Chief will stay with his policeman, who will also get a puppy and continue working. Chief gets trained to sniff for gun-powder through toy reward. Some dogs work with food reward, but Chief is a kid at heart – he loves to play and chase a ball.

guards with dogs

While talking with Chief’s cop, a tall guy asked me if I remember him. Turns out he does Frankenstein at the Central Park Halloween event, while I do the Singing Saw Playing Witch every year. He told me that he naturally walks like Frankenstein – it’s not an act with him. His legs are damaged. He lives in a 145 year old apartment that used to house Vaudeville and Burlesque folks. “I hope I get some ghosts”, he said. I would, too, if I lived at such a place.
Besides being Frankenstein on Halloween, the rest of the year he works as a ‘Tyler’ for the Free Masons. This means he opens and closes meetings for them. He gets $700 a month for it.

Three people stood around me to listen: a lady from Brazil, a lady from Puerto Rico and a guy from Zimbabwe. This is New York.

On the way home I boarded the ‘Spirit of America’ ferry boat.

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One Response to This is New York

  1. Kev Brown on March 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I do enjoy your day to day busking accounts!

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