Lost Child on the Train


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When I got to the Music Under New York busking spot at the Union Square subway station, Juan Castillo was playing pan-flute there. He told me that he had only been playing for two hours, since he had a hard time getting up this morning. He has been working around the clock for two days now, and it’s taking its toll on him.

A messenger guy told me that he is running late.
Mike Alaska, the drummer, was on his way upstairs with his busking gear.

Mike Alaska

A guy told me that he did work with a carpenter who told him that he once saw a guy play music with a saw. As he was cutting a piece of wood, the guy talking to me was trying to imagine how making music with a saw is done. Now that he saw me – he understands.

Gabriel, a sax player, told me that he and a drummer were playing on the ‘L’ train platform. Just now the police stopped them. The cops didn’t give them a ticket but they checked their I.Ds. Gabriel was fine, but the drummer didn’t have an I.D. on him, so the cops took him into the police station. Gabriel was waiting to see what happens with his friend. The drummer, an older gentleman, has a plaque from the City of New York thanking and commending him for his work as a musician and teacher. Now he is taken by the police.
At 1:10 the drummer was released and everything was fine, but it shook us all. It took time until he was released because the police checked out his name and he has a common name.

Police station at 14th street subway

A guitar player with an amputated leg, sitting in a wheelchair, asked me what time I’ll be done playing.

At 3pm the Tin Pan band showed up for their permitted time slot. Their trumpet player told me that they mostly play outside in parks and do about 200 gigs a year.

Tin Pan

Albert, the messenger, helped me bring my busking gear down to the platform. On the way he stopped to say ‘hi’ to a guy that looked vaguely familiar to me. I asked Albert about the guy. “He’s an undercover cop”, Albert said. “He once stopped me when I used an expired pass to get into the subway. That was in my foolish days”, he said.

The train home was held up for a while. The conductor made an announcement: “If there is any police officer on the train, please come to the conductor’s area”. It turned out there was a lost child on the train.

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One Response to Lost Child on the Train

  1. mike alaska on February 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    My name is mike alaska. I am the subway drummer in this story… please see mikealaska.com

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