Drawing Portraits on the Train


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August 28, 2010
By Posted in Whitehall Ferry Terminal | No Comments »

While busking at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan, a guy who works on the ferry-boat asked me if I’ve lost “one of those” – he said as he pointed at my musical saw. He said that he found a musical saw on the ferry boat, together with a bow in a brown case. He said that he turned it in to the ‘Lost & Found’.
A musical saw must be a rarity for people to forget on the ferry…

Saw Lady at Whitehall
Photographer: Jose Polanco

when I was done busking I took the subway train back home. I set next to Orin – the guy who draws portraits of people on the train. He tells people that they can give him whatever they want for their portrait. He has a pad of white paper and a black marker. He did two portraits in the time I sat next to him.
He is originally from Jamaica but he has been in New York for 35 years. He never knows where the people he draws might get off the train. Sometimes he starts the day drawing 20 portraits of people who leave the train before he finishes their portrait. He does about four hours a day in the trains – that’s about 50 drawings on average.
He said that he has seen me play at the Union Square subway station and that next time he sees me playing he’ll do a drawing of me.

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