Sanitation Personnel Changes

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December 23, 2007
By Posted in Union Square Subway Station | 1 Comment »

On the train on my way to playing the musical saw in the NYC subway there was a lady collecting donations to feed the homeless. She gave a sandwich and an apple to a homeless guy who was sitting not far from me.

Homeless on train

When I got to the 14th street subway station there was a Chinese guy playing a string Chinese instrument (a sitar?) on the platform.

Chinese musician

At the Music Under New York spot on the mezzanine the Haitian singer who plays two different kinds of guitar (acoustic and electric) and sings in French was performing. He was wearing a gorgeous green tails coat and a ruffled black shirt. He told me he had been playing for two hours today. He usually plays at the Astor Place subway station, but he lives really close to the Union Square station.

A couple of Chinese ladies dressed in festive, traditional Chinese dress walked by. They are advertising the Chinese Holiday Show.

Chinese lady advertising the Chinese Holiday Show

The singer who usually wears an ‘I Heart Jesus’ ball-cap and who sings with 5 different acappella groups on the trains asked me how he should go about auditioning for a MUNY permit to perform in the subway. I asked him why after so many years of singing as a freelancer in the subway he wants to audition for the permit. He said when he sings with the groups he has to sing the songs they want to sing. He wants to sing other songs, and so he is buying minus-one tapes for back-up and he wants to get a microphone set-up and go solo.
I took this opportunity to find out what his name is…after so many years of seeing him every day it’s about time I know his name. It’s Romero. He was wearing a nice green shirt that matched his green shoes. He said he didn’t plan it to happen – it just did.

The sanitation guy whom I used to see at the 59th street subway station but I haven’t seen him in a long time walked by. It turned out the MTA rotated all the sanitation people and now there is a new form of conduct for the sanitation personnel in the subway – instead of being assigned to one station they have to change stations every 6 months.
I asked him about Jefferson, the nice, tall sanitation guy who used to work at the 59th street subway station. It turns out Jefferson is very ill. He has diabetes and he messed up his foot and lost his eye-sight because of high sugar in his blood. He has been staying home, taking pills, for many months now. That is so sad. He has two kids, a boy and a girl. Now that he can’t work, I wonder how his family will get on.

Arnold, the messenger guy, walked by and asked me if the black sweater he gave me the other day fit. I told him I hope he wouldn’t be mad but I gave the sweater to a homeless guy. He wasn’t mad.

Albert, the other messenger guy, said he has been seeing me in the subway for three years now.

The Gimagua twins, Guillermo & Gabriel, who play guitars were looking for a spot.


Gillen & Turk, a folk singer-songwriters duo who play many instruments, showed up with a permit for the spot at 3pm.

Gillen & Turk

On the way home I saw Cesar playing his keyboard on the platform.



One Response to Sanitation Personnel Changes

  1. Sera on December 23, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    I have been working right next to a Chinese lady in elaborate costume for a few days now, and she is probably putting me to shame.

    Not only is her costume gorgeous, but she’s very very tall. Tall enough to make me feel silly on the three foot stand because I’m not that noticeably much bigger than a woman in flats. I checked to see if she was wearing stilts and she’s not.

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