Cops Photographing Buskers
I held the elevator doors at the Times Square subway station for a slow walking oriental gentleman. He said to me: “you play the musical saw”.
Saw Lady: “You’ve seen me?”
Gentleman: “Yes. I play violin”.
The elevator doors opened and we said our goodbyes.
I sat up at the Music Under New York busking spot by the mosaics.
A homeless guy pushing a shopping cart in a tilted way (because it was missing a wheel) waved hello to me.
There was a yellow barrier by the elevator, indicating that the elevator wasn’t working. An MTA employee came, pushed through the yellow barrier, and took the elevator down…
A guy said to me: “This is crazy – this metro card is a week long one, good till Saturday. I’m going out of town. Do you want it?”
I didn’t think it was crazy… I thought it was great!
A cop asked me for my permit. He didn’t know that this was a permitted busking spot… “I always see musicians on the mezzanine” he said. I explained about how the record store on the mezzanine is blasting its music, which caused MUNY to open another busking spot at this remote end of the subway station. A 2nd cop nodded his head in agreement to how loud the music the store plays is. “It’s nice and quiet here”, I said. “Enjoy” the cop said, and handed me back my permit.
A guy asked me to watch over his cart. He went away. 20 minutes later he returned with a young guy. They took the elevator down.
At 2:20 Delta Dave, the blues guitar/harmonica player & singer, was on his way to the mezzanine. He doesn’t like that spot but today he has a guitar player playing with him, so he is just going to have fun. We both agreed that that spot is only good for bands now – not for soloists.
Juan Castillo, the mandolin player, went by with his busking gear and asked “how is everything?”
The Hypnotic Brass Band was looking for a spot. They told me the police shut them down once because they were in the spot of a permitted musician (and refused to vacate it). I don’t understand why they don’t ask for permits – they are members of MUNY and eligible for permits.
At 3:45 Sean McCaul, the vibraphone player, came for his permitted busking spot. He said things have been rough at Union Square – the cops were on musician’s cases. The cops told him that they were taking photos of buskers in order to crack down on them.
Also, he said that there are a lot of buskers at Union Square now – three to a platform, and the buskers are not courteous there – they crank up their amps and they set up on other buskers. The busking scene there is not worth the hassle, Sean said.
I asked Sean if he knows Frank Picarazzi – the other vibes player in the subway. He said they used to play together sometime. Even though they play the same instrument, they have very different styles.
Frank has a baby now, so his wife suggested that he get a stable job… He works at ASCAP now and doesn’t busk so much.
I asked Sean if he knows the lady who used to wheel a marimba to the Shuttle. He said she is doing really well writing percussion parts. She wrote the percussion part for the ‘Lion King’ Broadway show, for example.