Monday afternoon I wandered down to Union Square and stumbled on a fabulous¬† busker , Morgan Okane, playing his banjo¬† by the fountain. Not one song in the Park¬† Police approached the musician and told him he had to leave. First it was because he was amplified then when they saw he was not they said he had to go anyway – “Because there were more than 20 people listening” the two¬† cops explained.
Seriously NYC? Seriously, this is what is important to you?
The fact that a guy w/ a banjo was making¬† more than 20 people happy at a time seems hardly a reason for law enforcement to¬† step up & do something.
Then this on the news…
An acoustically brilliant area near Strawberry¬† Fields, where classical musicians have played unamplified for years in Central Park, has now been deemed a “Quiet Zone” by the city of New¬† York.
A “Quiet Zone” banning classical¬† street musicians entertaining your tourists for free???? Are you kidding me Mayor Bloomberg?
PS – Wasn’t Strawberry Fields named after those guys, those¬† guys who were named after some bug or somethin’? They got really famous for just sitting there in silence hour after hour, day after day….
And finally … I found out that my friend and fellow¬† busker/Steel¬† Drummer Caesar Passee, was arrested Friday for playing his Steel Drums in public. He¬† “got¬† a police escort¬† in midday traffic with sirens and¬† all”¬† – Yeah,¬† this is a fabulous use of NYC’s dwindling budget.¬† Good idea Bloomberg¬† – cut thousands of school teachers & close¬† firehouses & spend the little money we have on¬† arresting¬† musicians¬† who are merely exercising their First Amendment. Yeah, this is a great plan…
I’m saddened by the Mayor and the city’s choice to¬† spend so much time, money and manpower shutting¬† down¬† such a¬† harmless, and honestly, life affirming activity as music. I¬† realize¬† you’re¬† fiscally hurting¬† NYC but my God, pick on something useful – music is something that actually¬† makes people happy, not sad, and to trying to¬† ‘clean up the city’ or pull in some¬† cash by arresting musicians is insane.
By the way New York City, I’d venture to say that both the sanitizing of art¬† out of NYC and harassment to enforce that ‘sanitization’¬† does not make¬† your city more¬† appealing to those visiting…but less.
The bright light in this story is¬† that¬† the musicians are not¬† going anywhere despite the “Quiet¬† Zone” demarcation – I’m proud of my fellow buskers.
Keep the music going…