Busking New York City – May 16, 2019
I had the craziest experience with busker JasminFire, who was playing in the Herald Square (34th Street) subway station, which is a reliable standby for busker performances. When I arrived at the station I could hear some suspicious sounds, so I knew something was going on. I checked all the usual busker hot spots, but no dice. Wherever I was in the station, I was hearing sounds that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, they seemed so evanescent, not sticking around long enough for me to get a fix and home in. I must have spent at least ten minutes trying to track down the sounds, and I couldn’t even identify the instrument that was producing them. Somehow the routine task of finding a performing musician had become mystifyingly difficult. Eventually I came upon violinist JasminFire and her ample chops on the BMT platform, and chalked the experience up to just randomness. Later in the day I shared this experience with my son Jacob, who told me that there was a “sound installation” artwork at that station! (https://www.janneysound.com/project/reach-new-york/). And it’s been there since 1995! So that explains that. Witkowsi’s performance in Bryant Park was part of a regular program of piano music there; assuming the pianists are getting paid by the program, this is perhaps technically not busking, but what the hey!