New York City vs. San Francisco Round 8: Subway musicians

December 28, 2008 at 9:33 am (music, new york city, san francisco)

I’ve heard the worst subway musicians in NYC.  There’s one guy that seems to always be playing violin in the Union Square station.  He’s usually playing something Vivaldi-esque with a recorded accompaniment.  He can’t keep up with the accompaniment and as you might imagine, it’s not a good outcome.  But I admire his persistance and I expect that his frequent “practicing” will lead to great improvements.

But I’ve also heard the best subway musicians in NYC.  Many of them are pretty amazing, actually.  Last night I heard a flautist playing beautiful baroque music.  I gave her an extra big donation because the music was so lovely.  I was sad when the subway arrived and I had to go, but I was pleased to see that there were some drummers on the car.   They were quite amazing and they had much of the subway car dancing.  Last night was an exceptionally good night for subway music, but it’s often really good.  And I love that people play such funky interesting instruments that I’ve never seen before.

If it weren’t for the Union Square guy, I would have thought that they hold auditions for musicians to play in the subways here!

Maybe if my cousins get good enough at Rock Band, we can try out!

img_3581NYC: 3
SF: 5



  1. gtra1n said,

    I’ve lived both places, and found the caliber of SF subway musicians wanting. I particularly remember a guy playing the alto sax in the Embarcadero Station. Actually, he was really practicing, his chops were just at the elementary level and he had no business playing in public.

    NYC has a program where musicians audition for the MTA and officially play in the subways. Lots of good stuff – there’s a strong funk band that plays in the Broadway-Nassau station. Last night I saw something particularly special too, not just in terms of the music but the, ah, dress:

  2. DC vs. NYC Round 1: Street/Subway musicians « Babbling Blueberry said,

    […] SF vs. NYC, Subway musicians […]

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