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Heidi Kole
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May 26 2010

Why I love the souls of the underground. Kindred spirits.

Me to Pearl  the  Mime on FB –  “It  made my day to run into you yesterday underground in Times  Square 🙂

Pearl The Mime: …it made mine. I was thinking all last night…just how I could tell the world that you gave the best hug ever…it was with the innocence and fullness…truth of a child.

One of my fondest underground friends, Pearl (aka Margo Carr)

May 24 2010

Life & the least expected…

Today’s  comment/dialogue from Youtube’s  Stop Stoppin The Music –

Hellrazor202 – That’s my dad

Thesubwaydiaries– Your dad? Which one is your  dad?

Hellrazor202 – The  first one that shows up

Thesubwaydiaries – Wow. Well, you can  thank him for not givin’ me a ticket or throwin’ me in jail – much appreciated! : )


May 17 2010

Quote of the week ~

“So, what are ya’ collecting money for?”

~Four teenage girls, dressed to the nines – last Sunday as they stared, blankly into my guitar case at Herald Square while I sang~

May 09 2010

Quote of the week ~

“Hey we have the same birthday! Happy Birthday Heidi!”

David Gergen’s –  Editor-at-large for US New and World Report and the Senior Political Analyst for CNN as well as former presidential advisor  for a whole lotta Presidents : )

May 07 2010

Nooks & Crannies

So, today I bought three t-shirts, a tank top,  a new bag to replace my rapidly dissolving one that I’ve been dragging around town, and a  a new dish drainer for the sink – all for $10.

Where you say? Well,  34th Street in NYC, NY of course. 34th Street where people come in by throngs to snatch up tasty bargains on one of the most popular shopping strips on the East Coast. You can tell you’re getting close to 34 St when you’re walking that neighborhood when you see person after person with that tell tale bright pink, Conway shopping bag. It’s unmistakable and is a backbone of the 34th Street experience.

Conway’s not fancy. They don’t have a dressing room, or a mirror, so it’s definitely a ‘commando’ shopping experience. But they have almost  everything, it  seems, a human  being could ever want; from clothes to housewares,  from bath products to shoes, from comforters  to the odd piece of furniture. It takes a certain amount of patience to wiggle through the isles not bigger than a bus isle, and wade through mountains of clothes piled high one on top of the other to find your perfect colour and of course, your size, which sometimes it seems they never have.You feel that way ’till you get brave and reach  your hand way into the base of the pile, pulling out a wad of clothing and plopping it on the top of the ‘display’ and voila! undoubtedly, if you really search with gumption, it’s there – your size, your colour, your everything and you feel so victorious.

Today I was victorious and feeling quite happy about that  fact.  As I walked out of Conway I happened to notice a huge sign displayed over the top of the store front (which by the way has never had doors. Winter and summer alike it’s like an open air market of goodies, but with a roof). The sign read; PRIME RETAIL SPACE AVAILABLE.

Conway? Conway’s going to? I was shocked and saddened.

I try, a I walk through the streets of Manhattan these days, to ignore the fact that so many streets now look exactly the same; same chain stores, same chain restaurants, same chain drug stores. I do my best to observe closely and see what’s really left of Manhattan.

Today, seeing that Conway’s life is now also coming to and end saddened me to no end. It saddened me not only because Conway is my ‘go to’ store when I need … you know, stuff when stuff wears out, but it pained me once again, for what it’s demise and so many staples of this city, represents.

I’m not sure those who run this city really get that people don’t come to Manhattan to go to The Gap, or Old Navy or visit Starbucks or grab a hot dog at a 7-11. In fact, people visit this marvelous messy, creative, bustling city for it’s uniqueness. But the very sad thing is the ‘same old same old’ is exactly what people are getting and are going to get from here on out. People will travel from Pittsburg to Peoria, from Dallas to Delaware and all across the globe and what they will find here is exactly what they have at home, in America at least – one big strip mall. Don’t get me wrong, Old Navy et al are superb for what they are, it’s just that there is no way a few minds can be everything. And  I don’t know about you, but every time I purchase  something ‘cool’ from  one of  the  chain stores I walk out knowing that at some  point I’ll see someone wearing exactly the same thing. That’s just creepy.

I’m pained to see my city dissolve so fast into an island of harmoniousness, a city of lemmings. It’s like one big Ground Hog Day here in Manhattan. It’s sad to see neighborhoods that were once bustling with small, independent shop owners, creating their little piece of the island now bulldozed into street after street of corporate chain stores. These people came here,  putting their unique stamp on the city with their family owned restauranta, shoe repair shoppes, pharmacies, ethnic grocery stores, and now, practically overnight their creations have been changed into block after block of ‘sameness’. In any neighborhood now in Manhattan, you can find your familiar CVS, your predictable Linens & Things, your friendly, all organic Chipolte Grill, your always dependable Gap, Old Navy, Sephora and of course Starbucks.

But do you really travel to experience ‘predictable’? Do you explore a place like Manhattan so you can feel safe in the knowing that you’ll  be able to familiarly navigate a Crate & Barrel just in a different local?

I think not. But the sad thing is that those who visit Manhattan from here on out will know no other Manhattan. They will only know it  from here on out as a strip mall, and in time a completely sanitized strip mall.

America is known for creativity and innovation. I’d like here to argue that sensitization and homogenises does not breed innovation. It does not breed creativity or it’s expression, and it certainly does  not breed freedom. In  fact I’d like to argue that the ‘cleaning up’ of our cities and neighborhoods is leading to the suppression of creativity and individuality. It’s leading to a few people with a lot of  power telling us what we can eat, how we can dress and how we are to behave. That concept alone scares the crap out of me.

I live in a neighborhood called “Hells Kitchen” – which is somewhat of a joke or perhaps just an irony,  at this point in history since on one corner of our block there’s a Citibank, the other a  Chase Bank and the other is now home to a Starbucks. The one free corner is my building. Across the street is another 62 story double high rise going up  where a small independent theater used to stand. This double high rise is the third erected in 6 months and the non chain shops that try to make it in these neighborhoods with such inflated rents, open and close faster than you can learn their names.

This week has been an anomaly in what I’ve experienced, and perhaps it’s driven home once again, why I love the underground so very much. Normally I can sing the trains daily to ground myself and remind myself that life and humanity is inherently creative, inherently expressive and inherently messy. That’s how I remind myself of the true nature of humanity and I love it that way. I love when random people pass, wearing whatever they feel speaks to their heart the very best, dancing if they’re moved to dance, singing if they’re moved to sing and clapping if they’re moved to clap. I love the randomness,  spontaneity, unpredictability and the messiness of it all. Daily that creative chaos means more and more to me as Bloomberg, the huge developers and moneid corporations above ground continue with their mission to ‘clean up New York’.  Daily I cling to the bits of artistic  ‘chaos’ that still exist in New York. The bits of true humanity, the part (our creativity) that set us apart from the other animals on the planet or the dog in a Pavlovian experiment. Soon I fear, we will all be part of one large Pavlovian experiment. If we’re not already.

I think the clerk at Conway said it best when she, as she put my ‘loot’ in a bright pink bag; “I know, pretty soon there wont’ be anymore nooks and crannies to this city”

I already miss the ‘nooks and crannies’ that used to populate and make up the heartbeat of Manhattan, and it pains me to no end when the bits that are left are bulldozed to death in one day my money and power and some image of perfection.

If you, yourself have a ‘nook’ or a ‘cranny’ in your neighborhood,  no matter where you live; visit it, patronize it frequently and get to know it’s owner. You never know if one day you’ll wake up and in it’s stead will be a glistening 7-11.

My thought of the week – given that I’ve been not able to sing and have instead been silently meaning above ground versus nestled comfortably in my underground cocoon is; “Please, powers that be, please stop taking the New York out of New York. Please, before it’s too late”


PS remember your new password unless I or you has already changed it is 1bc1234 : )

May 04 2010

Been silently meandering the city…finding mischief, of course : )

Naked Cowboy, Times Square, NYC, NY

May 03 2010

Update ~

Hi you guys,

Bit of an update here.  First some nitty gritty – Jason of JHeeMedia  neglected  to  inform me  that all your passwords needed to be changed.  I’m so sorry for  yet, more confusion. The whole process if  now much easier for new  registers, but you poor souls have been  caught in the middle of a ‘password nightmare’ – so sorry.

I’ve  gone through every one of your accts and changed your password to  a temporary one which is abc1234. If you  want your own personal  password,  go here and request a new password and then once you log in, go and change to a new password:

– or just email me @ info@thesubwaydiaries.com with  your preferred password and I’ll do it for you. (7 characters long)

(This general password applies to all except Sarah, Judy, Evie, Minor and Dee – you guys should have your own passwords set already.)

Again, I do apologize for the continuing confusion.

On the subject of music/my passion/my heartbeat – I’ve gotten some pretty crappy news today from  the ENT and that is due to a  bug I’ve been battling for a while now  – it’s now affected my vocal  chords & I have to stop  singing for a while in the hopes all  heals.

That means, of  course, no underground adventures ’till I”m all better again – very sad 🙁

I  will, however try to take  photos when I can & post if  the gallery gets up &  running so  you can  keep the journey going.

Peace ~

May 02 2010

Today Underground…

Ok – so 2day underground, met a 9yr old protege (piano) playing the trains, my mic went out (grrr…), ran into & seriously avoided “Officer Halitosis” in Times Square, Pearl the mime (a la South St Seaport  auditions) stopped by to chat before she went to work, and I met a guy (‘Normal Bob Smith’) who makes ‘Dressup Jesus’ magnets : ) Darn I love that world

PS –  you can even play Jesus Dress Up online when you’re away from  your refrigerator…it’s  so wrong it’s funny 🙂


May 02 2010

Quote of the week ~

After a car bomb  failed to fully detonate while I was in Times Square last night,  this week’s  ‘quote  of the week’ is more like  ‘thought of the week’ …

Find  your passion, devote your life to it  and don’t hold  back, ever…

What’s your  passion? I’d really like to hear…