Like Magic

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September 9, 2008
By Posted in Union Square Subway Station | 1 Comment »

Like many New Yorkers, I know the exact spot on the subway platform to wait for the train, so that when I get to my destination station I will exit the train exactly where the elevator/stairs out are. I usually wait at that spot, but today was so hot that I decided to wait at the end of the shaded area on the platform of the elevated train instead.
When the train arrived, I and other passengers quickly walked to the spot where we all wanted to get on the train from. The train didn’t stop… it just whisked by, leaving us all dismayed on the platform.
A girl in a blue hat asked me if this happens often.
Saw Lady: “I’m too lazy to go back to the shade”.
Girl: “It’s so hot, though”.
Saw Lady: “You know the moment we get to the shade the train will arrive and we’ll have to walk right back”.
Girl: “I’m gonna give it a try, to see if it makes the train come sooner”.
As soon as she reached the shadow – the train arrived. The girl walked back.
Saw Lady: “it worked!”
Girl: “Like magic” :)

train going through the station

When I arrived at the Music Under New York spot at Union Square, Geo was playing his guitar at the spot. He told me that when he got to the spot this morning, he played two songs and a string broke off on his guitar. I told him I once broke a saw playing at 53rd street.


A woman with very long hair told me she doesn’t have much $ but she makes sandwiches and walks around the city giving sadwitches to homeless people. She asked me if I’m hungry. I told her that I just had breakfast. “I hope you are blessed today” the woman said to me.

Guy: “Last time I saw you it was my stuffed animal’s birthday, remember?” I did remember (how could I forget such a thing?!).
Guy: “Today is my birthday”.
Saw Lady: “Every time you see me it’s somebody’s birthday.”

Delfin Tardio, the singer/guitar player, was looking for a spot. “Why are there so many police around you?” he asked.
Saw Lady: “I guess I look suspicious :)”
Delfin: “Maybe they are guarding you. Do you feel safe? :)”

Delfin Tardio

“The Fellows”, Bo, Chill and a new singing partner – John, were making their rounds singing on the trains. Romero is no longer with them, they said.
Saw Lady: “Romero branched out”
John, the new guy: “and I branched in”.
Chill: “We gave Romero (or, ‘Romeo’, as Chill calls him) the pink-slip because he didn’t show up twice. We can’t work like that.”
Then they all burst into the song “Pretty Little Girl” in my honor, as they so often do when they see me.

The Fellows

A guy named Rafael told me the tip handle of the musical saw looks like a fish.
Three policemen escorted a guy with his hands handcuffed behind his back.

Joe, the homeless man with a hook arm, told me he was in a shelter in Queens. He got a fireman’s shirt and looked very nice. He was on his way to Washington Square. I played ‘Over the Rainbow’ for Joe, as I know it is his favorite song.

A guy told me his mother used to play the musical saw 30 years ago in Harlem. She also played the harp, but just for friends – not professionally. She used to play “Over the Rainbow”, too, he said.

Joe told me that he got banned for life from the Virgin Record store upstairs, because he was caught on camera drinking. He liked to go into that store to listen to Johnny Cash. He then had to do 18 hours of community service. He was also caught once smoking in the subway, but the cop only told him not to do it anymore.
Today he found a 1/2 pack of cigarettes. He said it must have belonged to somebody who wanted to quit smoking and threw it away with disgust.
Joe is 52 years old. He doesn’t do drugs. He drinks. He said he remembers that he owes me $3. He is a good guy.

On the train home two Nortenos in black hats were playing guitar and acordion.



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One Response to Like Magic

  1. Shawn Grimes on September 10, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    I can’t believe that you broke a saw one time! Wow!

    You meet so many interesting people, but I guess that’s New York for you.

    I remember seeing Joe while I was there photographing you and I considered myself very fortunate because I remembered you mentioning him in previous posts. He’s kind of like a reoccurring character in your stories.

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