musings of a subway performer and lifelong troubadour

Buskers wrongful arrest settle with NYC

Added on by Cathy Grier.

I am never happy writing about abuses I have seen or heard about authorities wanting to harass or worse, incarcerate artists for performing in the subway. The right to legally be able to perform in public spaces was won 30 years ago. I was part of the wonderful BuskNY celebration of that case last summer. You can read more about it and the law in a previous blog: Busking Legal Right Since 1985
 

There was a case last year that broke my heart, but also showed the strength of human spirit. Andrew Kalleen was performing his acoustic guitar on a Brooklyn platform when he was wrongfully arrested. The video capturing the arrest and entire experience has been seen over 1.5 million times on youtube. I blogged about it at the time Busking Is Not A Crime

Thanks to the exhausting work of Andrew to break through the system and with the support of other artists also wrongfully arrested a case was created and recently settled with the city this past April. You can read more in an article in Gothamist.

I applaud the advocacy group BuskNY which works tirelessly to bring attention, education and support to artists wrongfully arrested or harassed. Here is an excerpt from the Gothamist:
'BuskNY, an advocacy group for underground buskers, announced that the city has strummed up over $100,000 in settlements for the wrongful arrests of performers.
Musicians and activists gathered in the Union Ave. station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Saturday to celebrate the milestone.
Guitarist James Gallagher, 44, and his rapper partner James Woodard, 25, won a recent suit against the city for $54,500.
“You’re not going to become a millionaire down here,” Gallagher said. “But if you want to practice your art and pay your bills, I recommend it.”
Since 1985, music and art performances have been legal in the New York subway system — with no permits needed."
Congratulations to Jadon, James, and Andrew for their hard work getting this news out there.