Yellow Tulip Hanging on the Hook

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When the train doors opened at the 59th street subway station I saw Frank playing guitar/singing/whistling on the platform.

Frank singing/whistling and playing guitar at 59th street

Two members of Faustino’s Group (Andean music) were at the Music Under New York spot at Union Square – one guy was playing the pan flute, the other was selling CDs.
I sat down on the bench to wait for them to be done. A sanitation man came to empty the garbage can. He had a key to open the lock on the can. “Why do you lock the garbage?” I asked him. “Because people go inside the garbage looking for stuff to eat” he said.

As Faustino’s musicians were packing up and I was setting up to play I noticed a yellow tulip hanging on the hook on the wall. (the hooks on the wall are for hanging the Music Under New York permit banner). I pointed it out to Faustino’s musicians but they said they didn’t put it there – it was there when they got here this morning.
The Faustino musicians went to Times Square to hopefully continue playing there. They told me they will return at 3pm.

Flute player from Faustino's group

The fire department seemed to be having a drill on the N/R uptown platform. Action attired firemen with oxygen balloons and axes were being instructed by an officer wearing a blue uniform with a walkie-talkie and a big flash light.

Fire drill

Joe, the homeless man with a metal arm, showed up. He nodded ‘hello’ and sat on the bench. He fell asleep for a while. When he woke up he went downstairs and told me he will be back in a minute, which he was. I don’t know where he goes when he goes downstairs, but he does that every day, just for a minute. Joe sat back on the bench, then when I wasn’t looking, he left.

A lady who seemed a bit off sat on the floor by me. She asked me questions about the musical saw, like – did I invent it, am I singing – the usual questions everybody asks me. About ten minutes later two guys and a girl showed up, tapped the lady on her shoulder and said to her “lets go”. Reluctantly she got up and went with them.

Arnold, the messenger guy, told me that a couple of days ago he was on the 6th train and when the doors opened at 59th street he heard my sound. Unfortunately he didn’t get the job he was trying to get :(

Isaac Paris, an accordion player from Alaska, was on his way to playing at Washington Square Park for the first time. He told me that he plays a 26″ rusty saw for fun.

Silk came to say ‘hi’. He has been performing in the subway for at least 20 years. He used to sing on the platforms, but now he plays buckets. He told me that after our last conversation, when I told him about the violent hip-hop dancers at 34th street who draw knives on buskers and destroy their equipment, Silk went and talked with them about not doing that anymore.
A blind man stopped by us as we were talking and asked Silk where the way out of the station is. Silk said “I’ll take you there” and he did.

bucket drumming

A gentleman told me that he works at the Times Square subway station and that the guys working there miss me. “When are you going to play by us again?” he asked.

At 3pm Faustino’s Group showed up, but without Martin, the guy who was here this morning. Jorje, who plays pan flutes, said “Martin is late, as usual”.


The elevator to the uptown platform wasn’t working, so I had to take the stairs. I could hear Ilie Radu’s accordion from afar.

On the train two Nortenos wearing black hats were playing accordion and guitar.
When the train doors opened at the Times Square station I saw that the new newspaper stand on the platform opened. This means that musicians would no longer be able to set up there to play :(

where we used to busk until the newspaper stand opened


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by Scott R Munson