Back in NYC


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Today was my first time playing in the subway after a whole month. I was on tour overseas, Israel to be precise, where I had TV, radio and stage gigs. I also organized the first ever gathering of saw players in Israel. That was a hoot, but I’ll blog about that some other time.

Israeli TV chanel 2
Israeli TV, chanel 2

Israeli TV chanel 10
Israeli TV, chanel 10

When I got to my spot at Times Square Faustino’s group (they play Andean music) was finishing up. Gabriel, who usually plays guitar, was playing a drum set today! We talked as they were striking down and I was setting up. Gabriel is from Bolivia. He told me he hadn’t been back home to see his family in 5 years! He hopes to go next year.

Times Square subway station

My spring allergies kicked in a few days ago, but playing always makes any cold like symptoms I may have disappear. (They return as soon as I’m done playing, though…).

I haven’t played in 2 weeks and I felt rusty. The saw felt stiff in my hands. Being back in the subway, with people stopping by to listen and to chat felt like I was receiving a collective hug from the city. And then my friends showed up –

The 3 brothers who sing – actually only 2 of them are blood brothers, and they were my original friends. Their 3rd partner has only been with them for a few months but I told him he is one of the family now, and they all agreed. We are all one family of subway entertainers.

Frankie the guitar player/singer/whistler stoped to chat. He used to play with Tito Puente when he was young.

Frank

The ‘Wizard’ guy was excited about his favorite rock group from Finland who was visiting NYC. I actually saw them win the Eurovision Song Contest last year.

wizard

Friends continued to stop by to say ‘hi’ – Bill, who hired me to play the National Anthem at a baseball convention, my cousin Dovik, tap dancers Avi and Ofer, the nice guy who always is in a hurry but never fails to say ‘hi’ to me both at Times Square and at Union Square, and the strange guy who always asks a lot of questions and Ming Jun the cello player who sold me his amp.

Ming Jun

Delta Blues (his name is actually Floyd) showed up for his permitted time slot. He was with a nice lady (his wife?). It was 2:55 and I wanted to give the spot over to him, but I had a crowd of people wanting to hear me play. Delta very kindly told me I should play one more song. I wanted to hand over the spot to him after that but he told me to play another song and yet another song, because of the people. While waiting he was trying to find a horse to bet on in the news paper.

Delta Blues

I missed New York City. The tour was fun, radio & TV is always fun, but I missed playing in the subway. It’s good to be home.

Times Square subway

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