Home Asides The plight of the subway musicians

The plight of the subway musicians

by Benjamin Kabak

The impact of the bad economy, it seems, isn’t limited to those desk jockeys watching out for their 9-5 jobs. The subway street musicians are suffering too. In a front-page feature last week in amNew York, Katie Molinaro talked to a few subway buskers who note that their takings are down nearly 50 percent. It’s not at all surprising really that folks who rely on the gratuities of others for their livings are suffering, and I can’t imagine the situation will improve if the MTA has to raise fares. I wonder if the downturn will result in more musicians playing for longer hours or fewer musicians hunting for money as many turn to a more steady source of income to ride out the economic tide.

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1 comment

Adrian February 10, 2009 - 9:29 pm

As if this wasn’t enough, the Transit Police have been (illegally) cracking down on us. After nearly a year of playing in the Union Square and Times Square BMT stations, I was approached (and kicked out) two separate times by the men in blue. The NYPD issued a bulletin banning all musicians (excluding those in Music Under New York) in any portion of MTA stations, regardless of the fact that the playing of music is both legal and encouraged by the MTA. I encourage people to look into this; it seems like a thinly-veiled plan to increase revenues on the part of a mayoral administration looking to increase revenue in the face of a Wall Street collapse.

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