Halloween at Times Square

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November 1, 2008
By Posted in Times Square Subway Station | 1 Comment »

Juan Castillo was playing the mandolin at the Music Under New York busking spot at the Times Square subway station. He had a friend with him, helping him to sell CDs.
In the store window some movie was playing on the big screen right by our spot. Juan was watching the movie while playing. It looked as if he was creating the soundtrack to the movie. He told me that he happened to watch this movie a couple of days ago and that it was a good movie. Juan asked me to watch over his busking gear while he went on errands.

Juan Castillo

Lisa from Canada who started learning to play the musical saw a month ago came to see me. She was inspired to learn to play by a musical saw player she saw in France. She doesn’t know his name, just like I don’t know the name of the musical saw player who inspired me to learn to play the saw in Austria.

Eight policemen of the counter terrorism unit planted themselves around the area where I was playing. They had big machine guns and big black dogs who kept barking. Some weird looking large equipment was being transferred through the mezzanine at the same time, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the police presence.


Dwain and friend from the hip-hop dance group stopped to say ‘hi’ on their way to doing their B-boy act. They commented on my costume and I said: “Today I can be a witch officially :)

A guy with no teeth said to me: “I love that you traded the broom for a saw!”

Halloween at Times Square

A guy with white long hair videotaped me while a young guy with a large film camera filmed him filming me. It turned out they are from Norway, filming a documentary about the white haired guy, who seemed like somewhat of a Borat.

Norwegian guy

He showed me a bottle of a Norwegian red drink with a beautiful label which says ‘Aass JuleBrus’ on it and a picture of Santa Claus. He asked me if I want to have a taste. The ingredients on the label were in Norwegian… and the whole thing was a bit weird so I declined. He then conferenced in Norwegian with his crew and they decided to give me the bottle. It turned out that it was a strawberry flavored soda – very sweet with a delicious smell. I think this drink translated to English is called the Christmas Soda.


Luke Rayan, the guitar playing singer/songwriter, was on his way back from playing at the LIRR station. He told me he has trick-or-treating duties this evening with his grandson.

Frankie just finished playing guitar and singing on the 1/2/3 platform. He told me that his car got stolen in uptown Manhattan a couple of weeks ago. He was lamenting that inside the car he had the subway musicians’ booklet that was printed about 10 years ago. He uses this booklet to show the busker’s rights to the police when they try to give him a hard time. Frankie’s son suggested to him that the ‘Saw Lady’ would probably know how to get a hold of a copy of this booklet… which I did.

The guy with no hands was standing by the stairs with a huge sign hanging on his neck begging for donations. On the upper mezzanine the Scientologists set up their “stress test” tables.


At 3pm Gimagua, the flamenco playing twins Guillermo and Gabriel Ariza, showed up with their permit for the spot. Gabriel thought of dressing up a Zorro with a sword, but he didn’t… He asked me if I know the phone number of the police precinct, in case of trouble. More and more people were showing up wearing Halloween costumes. It was a fun day.

Day before Halloween
This photo was taken the day before Halloween at the 14th street subway station and e-mailed to me by Ralph. So many people took my picture, but Ralph is the only one who bothered to send me a copy. Thank you Ralph – you made my day!


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One Response to Halloween at Times Square

  1. Shawn Grimes on November 3, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I love the costume! I bet the subways on Halloween get very interesting :)

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