Buskers are Protesting Crackdown from NYPD on 2nd Avenue Subway


OK give up. What are BUSKERS? According to the WIKI: “Street performance or busking is the act of performing in public places for gratuities. In many countries the rewards are generally in the form of money but other gratuities such as food, drink or gifts may be given.”

We all know who the NYPD is: Largest and most heavily-armed police force in the “free World”. Larger than armies of most countries.

So what is the big hassle between NYPD and the Buskers?

Less than three weeks have passed since the Second Avenue Subway line made its long-awaited debut, yet conflict is already brewing between the station’s buskers and the NYPD. On Thursday afternoon, around a dozen subway performers gathered in the mezzanine of the 72nd Street station to protest what they view as illegal harassment by police seeking to keep the newly opened stations busker-free.

While the MTA’s rules of conduct explicitly allow for artistic performances within stations, many officers and station managers seem to remain ignorant of the three-decade-old rule.

buskersprotest

Busk NY posted a video showing two police officers asking violinist Matthew Christian to leave the 86th Street station last weekend.

“You cannot play music here. Sir, I’m asking you to leave. If you don’t want to leave, we can place you in handcuffs and you can leave then,” one of the officers said, adding ” it’s unlawful to play music on the platform.”

It is not illegal to perform on the platform, nor is it against the MTA (New York City Metropolitan Transortation Authority) rules, unless it’s getting in the way of foot traffic.

“Whenever there’s public scrutiny at stations the police step up enforcement of what they perceive to be minor violations”.

The MTA said any musician is welcome to perform in the subway as long as they follow the rules of conduct.

A band of city buskers sang a sad song Thursday, claiming overzealous cops are unfairly harassing them on the Second Ave. subway line.

The musicians and artists said they were forced to speak out after enduring a rash of recent police confrontations inside the gleaming new stations on the Upper East Side.

“This is particularly ironic given that the MTA has highlighted the stations for promoting public art,” grumbled Matthew Christian, co-founder of Busk NY, a group representing subway performers.

A band of city buskers sang a sad song Thursday, claiming overzealous cops are unfairly harassing them on the Second Ave. subway line.

The musicians and artists said they were forced to speak out after enduring a rash of recent police confrontations inside the gleaming new stations on the Upper East Side.

“This is particularly ironic given that the MTA has highlighted the stations for promoting public art,” grumbled Matthew Christian, co-founder of Busk NY, a group representing subway performers.

Musicians are allowed to perform underground as long as they follow certain rules such as avoiding busy areas and not using amplifiers.
But mandolin player Marc Orleans said he was doing none of those things Wednesday when a cop ordered him to leave a subway platform at the 72nd Ave. station and move to the mezzanine level.

“I told him I’d do it this time but I’m within my rights,” said Orleans, 49. “This happens all the time, where the police just seem like they’re not adequately trained.”

Artist David Everitt-Carlson whipped out a summons he received last weekend for setting up an art exhibit tucked behind a station elevator.
“This was surprising to me,” said Carlson, 60, of the East Village. “We’ve been on the Highline for four years and have never had issues.”

Busted subway busker reveals why he refused“The MTA is proud to support and promote the arts and musical performances,” said spokesman Kevin Ortiz. “Any musician is welcome to perform in the New York City subway system as long as they follow the Transit Rules of Conduct.”

NYPD Transit Chief Joseph Fox said officers monitoring subway stations are forced to perform a delicate balancing act.

“Our officers work to protect the rights of everyone who lawfully uses the transit system — artistic performers and commuters alike,” Fox said. “This often means a balance between protecting the uniquely New York experience performers provide, while at the same time ensuring safe passage for subway riders.”

New York’s New Second Avenue Subway Has Already Become A Culture Destination!

“There are several contenders for coolest neighborhood in New York, but the Upper East Side is usually not one of them.”

Musicians can also perform even if they are not part of the MTA’s Music Under New York program.

But the group Busk NY says police harrassment has become common at the new stations.

The MTA issued a statement saying it is proud to support arts and musical performances.

It goes on to say, “Any musician is welcome to perform in the New York City subway system as long as they follow the Transit Rules of Conduct.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s