Music Under NY auditions

it's that time of year again to audition for the Music Under New York Program. Applications must be in by March 24th.  This is a once a year event.

MTA Music Under New York
Auditions Application

Download the Call for Performers Application and submission guidelines.

Submissions must be completed by midnight on Friday, March 24, 2017.

NOTE: you do not have to be in this program to legally busk in NYC. You need to be informed of the simple to follow rules of condct. Please check out my page Busker Info In NYC to get useful information on busking in NYC.

R train returns to Whitehall Station

Today the R train returns to service at Whitehall St aka South Ferry after being flooded by Hurricane Sandy almost 2 years ago.  If you are heading to and from Brooklyn you will be very happy to have a much shorter commute after 14 months out of service. I have a fondness for the station because it was one of the last new stations to open with a fantastic art installation from Doug and Mike Starn for Arts For Transit which commissions mosaic and station art installations throughout the city. I was the Music Under New York artist who performed for the opening of the installation. It was also at a time where I was only beginning to think of recording in video some of my underground experiences. I made a short clip.  Here it is and some images from that special day.  I like to think from that day was born my Inspiration Project

past blogs about the station:

After Hurricane Sandy flooded the station: South Ferry Art Underwater

The opening day of the installation: South Ferry Installation, by Mike and Doug Starn

MTA Culture Connections back online

After almost 3 weeks of service interruptions, closings and commuter disruptions, most of the transit systems are open and functioning.  MTA transit information

The MTA website had been used exclusively for up to the minute reports and information.  I am happy to share that the main website is now back online, meaning links to the cultural side have returned.  If you haven't ever visited these sections I encourage you to take a look, there is so much art throughout the city in public spaces.

Arts For Transit  mosaics, sculpture, and more, here's a wonderful clip about the Arts For Transit program aired on PBS

Poetry In Motion  found in subway cars and stations, poetry to read, recite and inspire.

and of course important to my world: 

Music Under New York is the program created to showcase music in the transit stations.

Post Sandy information about the flooded South Ferry station is that it continues to be closed.  Artists Doug and Mike Starn created the Arts For Transit installation.  I had a wonderful email exchange with Mike regarding the condition of the flooded station after the storm, he wrote, "the map piece we did is all about the changing island- the same island drawn in 1640 and we over laid with the contemporary map--- climate change will also have its affect on the island, and we think seeing some of that evidence would be a good thing."


South Ferry subway art under water

Concerned about the fate of the Arts For Transit installation in South Ferry by artists Mike and Doug Starn, I emailed them about their South Ferry Artwork now underwater. I had the pleasure of performing in the station the day the artwork installation was unveiled in 2010. Mike replied. Take special note of Mike's comment about the changing island:

We are in Rome now and have not seen the devastation in lower Manhattan in person, but we think that there will not be any permanent damage. the glass is solid 1.5" thick and the stainless steel fence will be fine. The only thing that could remain as evidence is the possibility of  a stain on the marble mosaics.

the map piece we did is all about the changing island- the same island drawn in 1640 and we over laid with the contemporary map--- climate change will also have its affect on the island, and we think seeing some of that evidence would be a good thing. you can see the water height in this picture.


on a brighter note, we liked the Colbert Report moments….

Hurricane Sandy devastates 60 million Americans and seven subway tunnels, which means it could be weeks before they're able to restore the scent of urine down there. (04:51)

and the next day with Vince and Shamwow


South Ferry Memories

I travel to South Ferry regularly as I perform in the Station and in the nearby Staten Island Ferry terminals.  It is so sad to realize this newly designed station only open for 2 years, is now under water.  I had the wonderful opportunity to be invited to perform in the station as part of the opening celebration on March 8, 2010, showcasing the gorgeous art of the Doug and Mike Starn designed for the MTA's Arts For Transit program.  I know it will be back soon, and appreciate the amazing work of all those helping us to recover after the storm.

Here's a funky clip of me on the opening day.  


And a clip of the submerged station from the MTA youtube channel. Very chilling to see.




Poetry In Motion returns

For many years I loved reading poetry installed in many of the subway cars, not only did the words of famous and obscure poets inspire my ride. I found the presence of their words posted in a subway car to allow the sometimes cramped cars and offensive chatter to transport me.

I was surprised to see it disappear and now am excited and cheer it's return.

Poetry In Motion is part of the Arts For Transit program.  Music Under New York is also under the same arm. I am proud to be a part of presenting rich and diverse artistic expression to commuters and travelers of the NY subway system.

Here's my poem for the day:


Someone has to start, someone has to road test

Someone has to taste, someone has to listen


Nothing comes without

1st inspiration, 1st act, 1st ripple, 1st crack, 1st challenge that might go astray

1st step up to make a wave

1st flutter to take flight

1st starlight to make night


read Clyde Haberman's City Room article about Poetry in Motion in the NY times 

South Ferry Installation by Doug and Mike Starn

I had the pleasure of performing for a tour of this amazing installation during Arts Week while the artists discussed their work.  I love it when music and art are present in the subway.  And the South Ferry Starn's installation is one of my favorites.

South Ferry pic Starns Sandra and Amy 0 00 15-14.jpg
South Ferry pic Starns Sandra and Amy 0 00 17-06.jpg

Doug and Mike Starn with Arts For Transit director Sandra Bloodwurth and assistant director Amy Haussmann 

link to Arts For Tranist page about this installation


Arts For Transit and Music Under New York

Arts For Transit commissions the rich and beautiful mosaics including other art installations found throughout the city. Kudos to Sandra Bloodworth director Arts For Transit and assistant director Amy Haussmann and Lydia Bradshaw Manager, MTA Arts for Transit and Music Under New York.

Follow images of the amazing collection on the Arts For Transit tumblr page

check out the new mobil app use it to locate the amazing and sometimes overlooked gorgeous artwork installed throughout the city's subway system.  Ever want to know who created the mosaic artwork you pass by? You can always check out each work and artist on the Arts For Transit website.

The MTA also presents the wonderful program Poetry In Motion On hiatus since 2008, has thankfully returned.

Music Under New York is a program within Arts For Transit. For more information about the program check out this link. Tim Higginbotham of MUNY has been a tireless organizer and passionate street musician supporter. He and Scott's amazing work keeps this program alive, exciting and thriving.   If you have ever been touched by this program leave a comment below, or consider writing a letter to the MTA expressing your support as a commuter for this essential program.  As a recent commuter said while passing me "live music for the price of a swipe!"

I joined the roster after auditioning for the program in May of 1999.  Every two weeks I select from various locations where I would like to perform. 

music under ny.jpg

photo montage by Geraldine Petrovic

I have many favorite spots and you might find me at Grand Central Station Shuttle, Times Square, Union Square, Astor Place, LIRR and 34th street.  

I participate in “Music Under New York", because the connection is a very different experience than performing on a stage.  Not to mention that it's a deconstructed approach to the music industry. Underground, commuters and I are collaborators in a musical, rhythmic, spontaneous soundtrack.  To many people, a street performer is a struggling artist, for me it's a moment without struggle. I bask in the void of promoters rules, of complicated and heavy equipment, of the music industrys opinion, and a singer songwriter's freedom to do what I love to do.  I applaud the MTA's support of this program.

I always post my subway performances on my gig page- Gigs link at the top of this page.

For images of other artists click here

For videos of other artists click here

MTA Arts For Transit has a 

facebook fanpage

and visit the

Arts For Transit tumblr page

South Ferry new station opening

Monday, March 16, 2009 at 8:29am

I'm off to South Ferry today, it's a new station with amazing art installations from brothers Doug and Mike Starn who were commissioned by the MTA and Arts for Transit. I had a chance to perform for the private artist viewing of the spot-it was great. Today is the public opening, so it will be fun to just perform for people trying to get from one place to another, and possibly others coming our of curiosity. When was the last time a new station opened? There have been delays and complaints, but what I can see so far is that it's accessible-elevators and escalators (most stations have none or are difficult to find, disgustingly gross, or out of service). Here's a chance to give people beautiful art to look at (and fun music too).


The picture is from the opening party I performed at March 3rd by photographer Rob Wilson and sent to me from MUNY as a reminder of where to set up today (not against the elevator bank!). Funny

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 7:49am

the station opened without any ceremony, although I sat on a train held up because of a water main problem. I didn't realize until I got to the station that the main break affected the 1 line and so no one was using the new station-it was crazy. I set up where another performer Sean (a great cellist) was playing, and it worked out fine. By 4pm the station opened and so I moved. It was beautiful being inside by the art, but no one was walking by really, so that part was frustrating. It was great overhearing comments from people walking by "gorgeous", "beautiful", "wow". There were workmen there happy to see the station finally open.

Will be happy to go back.....