Musical Discoveries in NYC’s Parks and Subways

Upon moving to NYC, I managed to land myself a fabulous floor through one bedroom flat, in a little row house on West 4th Street, originally owned by one of the founding mothers of the historic preservation movement in Greenwich Village, previously occupied solely by photographers (including the legendary Paul Strand), just one block from Washington Square Park. I could not have found myself in a more perfect location – at the epicenter of the most radically artistic, musical, literary, political community – steeped in history and more vibrant than ever! Majorly good juju for a newbie in town. Oh, how blessed I am.

So, one of my favorite things to do after working on the computer all day, was to take a cup of tea into the park in the afternoon and listen to MUSIC. I could always count on someone to be playing some sort of instrument at one corner of the park. ALWAYS. And I can whole-heartedly say, some of the best musicians playing out there today, hands down, are playing in New York City’s parks and underground subway tunnels. Busking and crowd pleasing, on their own schedules and terms (when the NYPD isn’t harrassing them, that is), raking in a guitar case full of bills, on the regular. Some really epic talent! Maybe they’re waiting to be discovered, or for that big break that will propel them into major stardom, but honestly I think not. They do it because they love it, because the people love it, because it’s an instrumental part of what Washington Square, Tompkins Square, and Union Square Park are about at their very core. Stumbling upon these performances in the city automatically injects a jolt of fun into my day and is such a gift to the general public. These musicians represent some of the most stellar creativity NYC has to offer. Nothing beats an afternoon in the park, by the fountain, under the Arch, listening to jazz, and people-watching. I love New York City!

So here is my short list of “The Best Musical Acts of NYC’s Parks & Subways 2009”:

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Baby Soda Jazz Band

Stumblebum Brass Band


Brothers Moving

Jason Stuart, upright bassist extraordinaire

Collin Huggins, The Crazy Piano Guy

To view more of my music photography, please visit


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Filed under Art, Culture, Dreams, Music, New York City

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