Everybody is Out, Playing


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November 27, 2008
By Posted in Union Square Subway Station | 1 Comment »

As I got to the Music Under New York busking spot at Union Square there was a guy sleeping on the right hand side bench. He had a guitar lying next to him. On the left bench there was a lady with very swollen legs, also sleeping.

At 12:15 the Chinese erhu player started playing on the platform below and he was really loud. He forced me to turn up my volume in order to be heard above his sound.

Arnold, the messenger came to say ‘hi’. He was afraid he’ll catch a cold because he is in and out of the subway – it’s hot in the subway and cold outside.

Saw Lady at 14th street
Photographer: Jenni Gehlbach

I noticed many people passing by me were holding Mickey Mouse shaped balloons in red, pink, yellow and blue colors. There must be some kind of a promotion going on outside.

I asked the sanitation lady if she has to work tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day). She said she does. I told her I will be playing in the subway tomorrow, too.

Heth, the guitar player, went by. He was supposed to play on 8th Avenue but there is construction going on there. He went to all the different busking spots, hoping to find an alternate spot, but they were all taken! Everybody is out, playing!

Saw Lady at 14th street
Photographer: © Shawn Grimes

At 1:58 the Chinese erhu player left. I felt such a relief and happiness. I was glad I survived his setting up on me and that I didn’t give up.

A guy shook my hand and said: “Oh, now I got the power!”

A lady named Debbie told me she used to play clarinet and now she plays harmonica. She wants to learn to play the musical saw. She said she can’t sight read but she has a good ear. She wanted to know what brand of saw to get.

Shogu, the guitar player from Japan, went by and Lester, the harmonica player, also went by. A girl from Yeshiva University told me that she just interviewed Moses, the other musical saw player, at Grand Central Station, Geo Suquillo, the electric guitar player from Ecuador, at Times Square and Yily Nelson, Spanish guitarist from the Dominican Republic, at 34th street – for a student paper. Everybody is out, playing!

Yily Nelson

The sanitation lady came over especially to tell me that she just heard that there is a bomb threat in the subway for between Thanksgiving and Christmas. “So, stay out of the subway during this time if you can” she said. We both knew that that ain’t gonna happen – both she and I will be in the subway almost daily for the next month.

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One Response to Everybody is Out, Playing

  1. Shawn Grimes on November 27, 2008 at 4:00 am

    I hope that you have a very successful thanksgiving busking. I am thankful for all the street performers that I met this past year, especially you!

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