A policeman was slashed across his face in some subway station

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What a gorgeous day we had in NYC today – 69 degrees in mid March! There was spring energy in the air and there seemed to be more people in the subway then usual.

When I got to the spot a little bit before noon there were two guys playing Andean music there plus another guy selling their CDs. This duo consists of my friend from Woodside who plays Andean flutes. While they were packing up and I was setting up we talked about how the world would be a nicer place if there were no borders (leading to wars between countries) and how in the beginning the world was all one mass of land, one continent.
We talked about the building boom in our neighborhoods and he told me his parents, who are retired now, are thinking of tearing up their house and building an appartement building in its stead (for income).
I told him about a gig I was offered, which I can’t do, and I asked him if he wants it. He wasn’t interested as it pays too little.

The singing man who walks with a walking cane was standing by talking vigorously with another guy who had his back to me. The guy with the cane didn’t say ‘hi’ to me, which was very strange, because he always stops to say ‘hi’. He parted ways with his conversation companion and walked away.

A young policeman asked me for my permit, and all was well.
There were so many policemen in the subway today. Every 15 minutes some policemen walked by. Very unusual. At one point there were 15 policemen standing right in front of me. Every now and then one of them would leave. At the end the remaining policemen split into 2 groups and went their way. I asked how come there was so much police in the subway today and I was told it’s because of some incident that happened yesterday – a policeman got shot and another one was slashed across his face in some subway station.

Two old ladies stood to listen to three songs.

A group of hip hop dancers lurked by, then left.

A guy and a girl were handing out yellow flyers, but luckily they didn’t stand too close to me.

Frank, the guy who has been playing guitar, singing and whistling on subway platforms for more than 17 years came to say ‘hi’. I told him if he wants to audition for Music Under NY to get permits to play in the subway he should call them now – the dead line for applications is this week. We then talked about the police in the subway and the hard time they sometimes give us. As we were talking a policeman walked behind Frank and I was trying to motion to Frank that there was a policeman behind him, but he didn’t get it… then a large group of policemen came by. Frank bid his goodbye and left. The police left shortly after.

New slang: usually people walk by and say “that’s cool”, “that’s hot”, “that’s bad” – well today a guy who is with a hip hop group came by to tell me that “that’s commercial”!

A crazy guy wearing a long leather coat stood by me for a long time. I was impressed by how deeply he listened to the music (he really liked the Bach ‘Agnus Dei’). He moved to the music and every now and then burst out with a speech telling people ‘this is music to your soul’.

GrayWolf’s Dad came to say ‘hi’, pushing his cart with his keyboard in it. He told me he went to the hospital for his neck pain – it got really bad. He liked the doctor – a blond lady. She wanted to give him pills but he refused. He wanted liquid only. She asked him what kind of liquid and he told her ‘morphene’. She gave him two perscriptions and he was supposed to get them from the pharmacy. He was embarassed to discover he had lost the perscriptions. He is notorious for losing things, he said, and now he is ashamed to go back to the doctor and tell her that he lost the perscriptions, especially that all he had to do was walk two blocks from the hospital to get them. He is such a sweet old man – I told him I am sure the doctor is not going to be mad at him. He said he is actually feeling better today. It’s when the weather is cold that the pain gets real bad. He said if it gets bad again he knows he has to return to the doctor.

A strange guy talked to me as if he was continuing a conversation we were having before…he wanted to know what type of saw it is I’m playing.

At 2pm the singer with the cane walked by and this time he stopped to say ‘hi’, as he usually does. He told me he had argued with his partner, so now he is singing solo. He had been singing in the subway since 9AM. We discussed the pluses and minuses of working solo.

The crazy guy with the long hair and beard who plays on the N/R/W platform walked by pushing his cart. For many years he has been playing what sounds like the same chords on his guitar, over and over, while standing barefoot on a newspaper. He has shoes – he takes them off for his act, even in freezing degrees. I think he is trying to express his anger about the article in the newspaper (he stomps on it to show his disdane for it). He doesn’t have a donnations box, and it’s not clear what he is muttering as he plays.

A friend of mine from MySpace walked by carrying a computer. It was nice to meet a MySpace friend face to face. Really nice guy who is a huge supporter of subway music.

The deaf-mute young lady I usually see at Union Square walked by and motioned ‘hi’. Unlike all sorts of impostors who work the trains, she is really deaf-mute.

An interesting looking kid wearing a gray top hat told me he just got a ticket of $75 for riding between the trains. He then put on huge black sunglasses and walked away talking on his cell phone.

The twins came to see at what time I’ll be done. I told them about the gig I can’t do, but they said it was too little money for them, too, to want to do it. They went to look for a different spot to play at. They are amazing flamenco guitar players – their act is one of the best in the subway.

Ginagua Twins

At about 3pm a nice lady brought a folding stool, set it by the pole opposit me and sat there to listen to me play.

A lady told me she was at the brooklyn gig for kids I played at last Saturday.
A guy and a girl told me they saw me on TV in Israel last month. They couldn’t believe they were seeing me. They are visiting NY for two weeks. I invited them to my concert in Tel-Aviv next month.

A guy sat on the floor in the middle of the mezanine to listen to me. The lady sitting on the stool was still there, too.

Edwardo, the nice old gentleman who plays keyboard with mechanical dancing dolls around him walked by and waved. I was surprised neither his wife, daughter nor son were with him. They usually help him bring his equipment to the subway and set-up. It must be difficult for him to do that on his own.

At 3:50 the singer with the cane walked by to say goodbye – he was done for the day.

Another lady told me she saw me at the Brooklyn gig last Saturday.

My friend from MySpace walked by again, this time in the opposite direction and without the computer he was carrying before.

Wayne and his dancers came to say ‘hi’. I told him I’ll be done in half an hour if he wants the spot. He said he is still waiting for all his people to show up, so no rush.

The two old ladies walked by in the opposite direction and marveled that I was still there. They came to ask me if I at least took a break. I told them that no – I played non-stop. I don’t like taking breaks when I play – taking breaks bores me…

At 5pm I was done – 5 hours of non-stop playing – and Wayne’s group of hip hop dancers took over. While I was packing up and they were changing into their dance outfits and warming up we talked about the great energy in the subway today due to the spring weather.

hip hop dancers at Times Square

The lady sitting on the stool was still there! I crossed the mezanine over to her and thanked her for listening to me for so long. She said her name was Kelly and that she would like to come hear me again. I told her where I would be playing this week but she has to work (she answers phones at a restaurent). But next week she has some free time, so she promised to come. What a nice lady! I felt as if she was a guardian angel watching over me – she was there for more than 2 hours!

It was a glorious day, one of those days that make me thing how much I love NY:)


4 Responses to A policeman was slashed across his face in some subway station

  1. Howlin' Hobbit on March 16, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I’m amazed that you still have break dancers in NY. That fad passed a long time ago here in the NW.


  2. Dustmans Custard on March 18, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Hello,Saw Lady!!…hope you are well? Buskin on the New York subway eh?!…Nice one!, we bin thinkin about doin the same thing on the London underground ,sounds like it could be a laugh?!..,incidently if you ever decide to visit our fair city, then be sure to look us up…we could make you an honory Custardy Dustman!!…keep smilin mate, the world is a better place with people like you in it!!

  3. Sawdust Bear on March 18, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Your blog was such a joy to read. Good luck with the busking and keep on telling wonderful stories!

    Long Beach, CALIFORNIA

  4. Emily Alp on March 22, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Dearest Saw Lady,

    Thank you for posting to my blog. I LOVE yours. I really appreciate what you do for us in the subway — you help us to remember life instead of feeling drowned out in machines and work. You are a beautiful force in this world.

    Most Respectfully,

    Emily, Brooklyn

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