As I took the subway train this morning, heading to my permitted spot at Times Square, a gentleman sitting across from me recognized me and moved to sit next to me. He told me he had seen me play in the subway many times at Times Square and he was excited to know that I reside in the same neighborhood as he does
He told me he is 75 years old. He is from the Philippines, but has been in the States for 22 years, and his 5 children and 10 grandchildren are all American. He was on his way to the Mount Sinai Hospital as he is involved with the construction going on there.
Amazing how much one can learn about a total stranger in just a short subway ride!
As I approached the Music Under New York spot at Times Square I saw the Ebony Hillbillies leaving. This duo and I had 2 “upstairs” gigs together this past year – one at the posh Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the other at a Brooklyn Vaudeville show.
It was 92 degrees. That’s upstairs. Down in the subway it probably gets hotter.
The stage director of the opera Confess/Confuse raised his hat to me as he walked past, saying: “See you soon!”. What he was referring to was the fact that I play the musical saw in this opera and the production is going on tour in September, starting with our 3rd performance at the Cornelia Street Caffe in the Village.
As I was playing I noticed a photographer taking lots of pictures. He seemed to be photographing the walls and pathways of the subway station… Naturally I remembered the police ban on photography in the subway following the arrest of two terrorists who photographed a subway station in preparation for a possible attack. This photographer was not like a typical tourist – he stayed for a long time, all the while snapping his camera. Without stopping to play, I followed him with my eyes, trying to determine if he was a terrorist… He took photos of the same area from different angles…
By the time Tim, the head of Music Under New York came by to ask me if I needed water, I decided the photographer was probably not a terrorist, since there was another guy with him, who seemed to pose for some of the shots… Still, it was unusual so I kept watching them from the corner of my eye.
The photographer and his companion approached my spot.
When they took a picture of me with the companion posing next to me I was certain they were not terrorists
It turns out the companion has written a book about Grand Central Station and they are taking pictures for the book…!
A gentleman and his daughter hung by me for a while. They told me they were friends of the 70 year old lady who plays the musical saw at the market in San Francisco, while a mechanical wooden dancing cat puppet dances at her side. I told them this lady actually e-mailed me a while back!
The gentleman photographed me in order to show the photos to the lady upon their return to CA. Right now they were on their way to the museum.
Alex, the little Michael Jackson dancer, waved ‘hello’ as he was on his way to a spot, lugging his performance gear with him.
Unusual note left in my donations bucket:
“Invitation to visit my start-up company: Would you like to advertise for us @ 10% commission?”
I was sad when this day came to a close because I am saying ‘goodbye’ to Times Square, the NYC subway and New York City for a while. I’m going to Israel for 2 & 1/2 weeks. It will be nice to be there, but I will miss my home town, for sure, and the subway in particular.
As I was packing up my gear ‘Dagmar2‘ (Meghan Mcgeary, the singer who wears wings and a WWI replica pilot’s hat with a blond wig attached to it, and her guitar player Jim Bauer) where setting up for their very first ever MUNY permitted spot in the subway. They passed the MUNY audition this year and had their “starter MUNY banner” with them (when one is first accepted into MUNY one gets a very small banner representing one’s permit. As one becomes established in the program one gets a permanent, large banner which states the performers name and contact info).
I told ‘Dagmar2‘ to watch over the NYC subway while I am away 😉