Organic Playing

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December 21, 2008
By Posted in Whitehall Ferry Terminal | No Comments »

As I got to the Whitehall ferry terminal a guard with a black dog asked if he can check my busking cart. “This is the 1st time I’m asked to have my stuff checked in NYC” I told him. I handed him my back-pack and he said “just put it on the floor”. Turns out, it’s the dog who’s doing the checking! I didn’t have to open my bags – the dog just sniffed everything. I asked if it was allowed to pat the dog and it was, so I did.

Whitehall ferry terminal

I got up the escalators and another guard with a dog approached me. “Do you want to check my bag?” I asked.
Guard: “Were you already checked?”
Saw Lady: “yes, but that’s OK”
Guard: “One checking is enough”.
I found the column with the Music Under New York hooks on it and set-up next to it.
Unlike in the subway stations it’s quiet in the terminal – kind of feels like an airport. I arrived 1/2 an hour early but since they are very strict about the music at the terminal (because it’s a new program) – I waited for my permitted time. I watched the Statue of Liberty to while away the time and chatted with one of the guards.

View from ferry terminal

Two separate guys asked me if I don’t play in the subway any more. I explained that I do – I’m just playing at this spot once a month. It’s a try out for having musicians at this location, so right now each musician is only aloud to be here once a month.


A guy said to me: “This is organic playing”.
A woman told me her pastor’s wife used to play the musical saw.
A few people held their cell phones to me to let their friend on the other end of the line hear my playing.
I noticed ‘Staten Islanders’ are very polite and patient people, waiting quietly for the ferry.


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by Scott R Munson