Largest Gypsy Gathering in the World
As I was setting my busking gear up at the Music Under New York spot at the Union Square subway station, Jinn, the lady who busks around the world singing and playing a keyboard hooked up to a laptop computer, was looking for a spot to busk. She asked me for recommendations of good busking spots and also of a cheep place to stay in town temporarily. She is staying in NJ now and it’s too far away. She settled on trying to play at the ‘L’ train platform today. She plays six hours a day, but in two hour intervals – to preserve her voice.
Albert, the messenger, came by – he got a temp job messengering something to Brooklyn. He said that he’ll come back this way in thirty minutes. “You owe me two songs” he said.
Another messenger guy told me that he has to make a delivery to Staten Island and then he can go home.
A guy from Italy told me that he plays saxophone on the Brooklyn Bridge, under the arc. “Good acoustics” he said. In three days he is going to New Orleans.
It’s nice how people with headphones take them out of their ears when they pass by me.
A group of little kids all wearing blue shirts walked by with their teacher. A little girl with a black pony-tail said to me: “I saw you before”.
Saw Lady: “And now we’re seeing each other again!”
The little girl came over to me and gave me a big hug.
© Peter Wang
At 2pm Jinn came up from the ‘L’ train platform- a cop told her to move. She needed to take a break anyway, she said, and she’s going to go eat.
A gentleman from Egypt and a lady from Poland stopped to inquire about the musical saw. The gentleman plays guitar and keyboards and he is visually impaired. He gave me a brand new pen, still in cellophane wrapping, of his business of vision aids in Yonkers.
Jack, a traveling accordion and guitar player, told me that his cousin in Arizona plays the musical saw. They used to busk together in CA. Jack wanted to attend the largest gypsy gathering in the world – that was last May in Southern France. He flew to London, planning to continue to France from there. The British wouldn’t let him in, saying that they don’t want traveling musicians in the country. They demanded proof of employment, a bank statement and an address of where he will be staying. They ended up sending him back to the USA. He is from LA, but they shipped him to NYC. So, now he’s here for the first time in his life.
Photographer: © Aaron Porter
A lady told me that she got a musical saw for a present, but it’s too stiff for her to play.
Leon, the gentleman from the former Yugoslavia whom I used to see often at the Times Square subway station when he was on his way to school, came to tell me that he graduated from college and has a job interview in NJ on Wednesday. “NJ is far, but what can you do”, he said.
Theo Eastwind, the singer/song-writer, walked by. He is busking in the mornings now – 8 to 11am. The rest of the day he works in real-estate.