No Gallstones

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At 11:40am there was a Chinese lady on the subway platform at Union Square, beating on her two-toned drum.
Upstairs at the Music Under New York spot there was a freelancer, a young guy with glasses, playing acoustic guitar and singing the blues.
Both benches were empty and remained empty for the 20 minutes I set there waiting for the freelancer to be done. That is unusual, but I guess one can attribute it to the nice weather NYC is having today – people must be enjoying the outdoors.

Empty bench

The freelancer is Carry, originally from San Francisco. He arrived in NYC four weeks ago and until he finds a day job he is busking in the subway. He has a nice, loud voice and he doesn’t use amplification, so I was surprised that he was performing on the mezzanine. I thought he would do much better on the platform. Indeed it turned out that Carry doesn’t like this spot and he only comes here when he can’t find a spot on the ‘L’ or N/R/W/Q trains platform.
Carry told me that he knows a guy who plays the musical saw at blues festivals. He said there is a blues festival in San Francisco in some valley. At night one can hear the sound of the musical saw all over the 12 acres of the festival!

Frank, the guitar player/singer/whistler stopped to chat. I haven’t seen him in a long time. Turned out he was ill for a whole month – there was something wrong with his knee. I also noticed that he lost some of his front teeth. He is back playing in the subway now and he showed me his fingers – because he hasn’t been playing for a long time he now has guitar string marks on his fingers.


A homeless guy who is always dressed in black, whom I used to see often when I played at the Times Square subway station, came to say ‘hi’. He isn’t doing so well, he said – he was told he needed an operation to remove gallstones. He had the operation and then they told him that there were no gallstones to be removed… He asked that I pray for him.

people entering the subway

Romero, the singer who sings on the trains with three different acapella groups, came to say ‘hi’. Before I even had a chance to finish my question to him he already knew what I was about to ask him: did he submit his application to the Music Under New York audition yet. He did.
Romero asked me how come I don’t play at the Times Square subway station any more. He said there are a lot of people there who miss me. He told me that Bow & Chill, the two singing brothers, have been asking about me, wondering how come they don’t see me any more. This makes me want to risk going to the Times Square station again and try to battle the loud, annoying sounds coming from the store they now have there right next to the Music Under New York spot.

Don Witter, the jazz guitar player, had a permit to the spot after me. He still plays at the Times Square subway station even though he hates having to compete with the noise from the store. Man, I miss Times Square.

Don Witter


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One Response to No Gallstones

  1. Dee on March 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Cool. I had a friend in college who played the saw.
    Cool site.

    Thanks for visiting mine.


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