Last Chance for Year End Donations

There are a few hours left to contribute to your favorite organizations, cause or program. With online donations making it even quicker and easier to do so, I urge you to take a moment to contribute.

NYCSubwayGirl donates a portion of performance contributions to organizations who help to make this world a better place.  I call them The Champions I Support.  

Supporting with a gift of any amount goes a long way.

I hope you join me.

Nelson and Hayden wild mustangs meet

I'm honored that a my song Easy Come Easy Go was featured in a lovely clip created by Karen Wagner of Equine Advocates in Chatham, NY. Nelson a rescued wild mustang has been living at the sanctuary for some time now and Hayden another resuced mustang arrived late last year. This clip shows their second encounter.  it's a wonderful example of animal kindness.

A song for rescued Mustangs

If you follow my blogs you know I love Equine Advocates a sanctuary in Chatham, NY. I have performed at many of their events.  This fall I filmed on location at the sanctuary for a special message about Wild Horses.  EA recently adopted a mustang names Hayden.  His story is remarkable.

Here's my clip and if you are so inclined won't you join me in supporting Equine Advocates.

Singing Holiday song to rescued Equines

This is a clip of me singing a holiday song at an amazing equine sanctuary. The back story: On a recent December Sunday I visited Equine Advocates Sanctuary in Chatham, NY. I have visited the sanctuary multiple times since first hearing about the rescue of a NYC Carriage horse named Bobby. For me, any time a carriage horse is off the streets is a happy ending. To learn Bobby was initially headed for slaughter then saved to live his life out in a sanctuary, I was curious to see for myself his new home. Since then I have happily performed for various events benefiting Equine Advocates.  

Susan Wagner the President and executive director and her sister Karen invited me to return to walk through pastures singing a holiday song Susan adapted for a virtual Holiday Greeting card.  Always one for a good time, I grabbed my guitar and with friend and EA board member Elizabeth Hess, we met Susan and Karen to film the song set to the music of Winter Wonderland. We had a blast wandering around each paddock inviting the equines to join in.  I learned that equines have a good sense of humor and fortunately for me they weren't spooked and neither was I.

I hope you enjoy this fun little holiday greeting as much as I did.

Here are some past clips I made of my visits to the Sancturary:

Bobby Rescued Carriage Horse

In my first visit to EA Bobby a NYC carriage horse had arrived after being rescued from slaughter. 

Speaking with Susan Wagner I asked her my favorite question "What's Your Inspiration?" Her inspiration for starting Equine Advocates was a rescue horse named Gandolf, but her inspiration in life is fear of doing something everyday that she can't stand, so she did something that she liked to do-rescue equines.

Return vist for Bobby's 1st year "Re-Birthday" at Equine Advocates

June 25, 2010  Cathy and Ron Wong are Bobby's sponsor.  You too can sponsorone of the many equines at the sanctuary

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Equine Advocates 2012 Sponsorship Drive

I have been invited to perform once again at the annual Equine Advocates Horse Sponsorship Drive this Saturday April 21st. 4-7pm at TK Home in Hudson, NY. I hope you'll join me and learn more about this important and wonderful organization. Joining me in the festivities will be Joe Condon veteran Radio & Talk show host WOR in Albany.

Tessy Keller and Jay Neuschatzat owners of TK Home and Garden 441 Warren Street, Hudson, will open their store and lovely gallery space for the event.

Equine Advocates Mission statement:

To rescue, protect and prevent the abuse of equines through education, investigation, rescue operations and the dissemination of information to the public. 

I have experienced the tireless work of Susan and Karen Wagner of Equine Advocates in Chatham, NY

who have dedicated their lives to rescue equines. I first visited the Sanctuary in 2010, when a NYC Carriage Horse named Bobby was brought to the refuge to live out his life in freedom. The 140 acre Sanctuary, is currently home to 80 equines plus 2 pygmy goats and an alpaca.

Here's a clip I made from my visit to the Sanctuary:

Summer Is On

The past month has been pretty fun and interesting for NYCSubwayGirl

I met and jammed with musicians from Amsterdam in the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and of course got a wonderful What's Your Inspiration? clip from them.  In halting English including no accent Billy responded "this might sound cheesy, but love." I met amazing Sustainability champion Roberto A. Sanchez who gave me such a succinct definition of Sustainability.

I had the chance to sing at a few weddings so far, one of them was for my cousin Michael who not only had the honor of marrying the wonderful Alex, but as Stage Manager of the hit Broadway Show Book Of Mormon, also became part of a Tony award winning team.  All in the same weekend.  How's that for a high time in your life!  Congratulations Michael and Alex.  They made a youtube clip of my singing La Vie En Rose for the first dance

It was rainy last weekend both for my Garden Party gig to benefit Spencertown Academy Arts Center and my visit to Bobby The Carriage horse, living happily at Equine Advocates Sanctuary in Chatham, NY. Here's a clip I made of Bobby's re-Birthday celebration. Bobby was rescued on June 25, 2010 by Equine Advocates and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.  He was then shipped to Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY where he has been retired.

Of course the big news occurred Friday evening June 24th when the NY State Senate passed the Marriage Equality Bill 33-29 and then signed by Governor Cuomo. Congratulations to everyone on what I believe is the right side of history. To the others I say, in time like so many of our Country's 200+ years of history has shown, that we evolve.

On June 18th I performed at the 2nd annual Hudson Pride. Here's my blog about the day in Hudson, and some clips from my weekend.

My performance clip at Club Helsinki, and I am especially proud of a clip I made of Matthew Hamilton whose "I might be straight, but I'm not narrow" t-shirt prompted a fun exchange.  

Here's Matthew's "make it happen" clip

and event organizer Trixie Starr's What's Your Inspiration Clip.

Summer reading is also something I look forward to as I spend less time performing and more time being inspired by others and the countryside around me. I've already begun with these two:

Fellow Music Under New York performers, Heth and Jed Weinstein's book  Buskers: The On-The-Streets, In-the-trains, Off -the-Grid Memoir of two New York City Street Musicians (now that's 36 characters shy of a full tweet).

Margaret Roach "And I Will Find Some Peace In There." 

Why do these books resonate with me? With Heth and Jed's book, it's their life of discovering an underworld of possibility by performing in public spaces of NYC, something I know about intimately. And in Margaret's book, it's about following a passion begun by a single act of purchasing a weekend home, and then leaving a corporate job for the unknown adventure of living there full time surrounded by nature. My partner Michele and I bought and built on a piece of land in 2002, and this past month she left her corporate job of 14 years for the unknown.  Stay tuned.

Happy 4th of July weekend.  

Bobby and Me Summer in the country

As the summer intensifies so does the subway and I find myself staying longer in my country get away up in Columbia County....

It was rainy last weekend when I went to visit Bobby 11 Freedom, the rescued NYC Carriage horse, now living at Equine Advocates Sanctuary in Chatham, NY. It's one year since Bobby was rescued from slaughter. Equine Advocates President & Founder, Susan Wagner and the rest of us were caught in a sudden rainstorm, but it didn't dampen the high spirits. 

Bobby was rescued on June 25, 2010 by Equine Advocates and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.  He was then shipped to Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY where he has been retired. Bobby is sponsored by Cathy and Ron Wong. You can sponsor one of the many equines rescued and living at the sanctuary. contact Equine Advocates Sanctuary

Here's a clip I made of his re-Birthday celebration:

Elizabeth Hess an Equine Advocates board member, avid animal rights activist and author (Nim Chimpsky), brought me along to the party.  We took my two poodles Etta and Lily who loved the attention.

I'll be heading back to the subway after a summer break excited to know Bobby is retired from the city grind living happily at Equine Advocates.  

The birthday celebration was written about in an article about Bobby by Karrie Allen of The Chatham Courier

Here's a previous clip I made from my intial visit to the sanctuary when Bobby first arrived.

Carriage Horses need a better life

When I perform in the underground under some pretty grueling weather, I say, "if the carriage horses aren’t working either should NYCSubwayGirl" (there are temperature limits imposed, which many drivers ignore). Most people like to think of riding in a NYC horse-drawn carriage through Central Park as a quaint and jolly trip back in time. But thanks to the heartfelt rescue story of Bobby the Carriage horse, I now believe using carriage horses under any condition in NYC is cruel and inhumane.

Bobby now lives in Chatham, NY at Equine Advocates a sanctuary, where he will live out his life away from the punishing life on NYC’s streets and pending slaughter.  It made me so happy that a dream home is not only possible for Bobby, but exists at Equine Advocates. Seeing other rescued horses, ponies and donkeys and hearing their stories showed me the importance of Equine Advocates and the amazing level of love and care they receive.

I'll be performing to benefit Equine Advocates April 2nd in Hudson, NY

I think the PETA awareness campaign seen on many NYC streets, to be right on!


read my blog about Bobby written by Elizabeth Hess

Fall Colors up-state of bliss

I am writing from upstate NY where I've been all week.  The fall colors are amazing now finally transitioning from sharp fluorescent to muted golds and reds. I visited Equine Advocates a horse sanctuary as a guest of author and animal rights angel, Elizabeth Hess. And then on to Spruce Ridge Farm an Alpaca farm, to film clips for my Art For Animals benefit concert November 19th in Hudson, NY (I'm sharing the stage with Laurie Anderson, Joy Askew and Ruth Reichl will be curating food for the cocktail party beforehand). I plan on performing to a clip I'm creating featuring people and the animals that Inspire them, much like the clip I made for my Joe's Pub gig to share why I perform in the subway.

Equine Advocates is in Chatham, NY where I had an amazing tour from none other than director and visionary Susan Wagner and her sister Karen.  I met Bobby the rescued New York City carriage horse, (read my blog about Bobby) now living in horse heaven, he looks fantastic and happy.  On November 6th, Equine Advocates is having an amazing benefit and dance performance with horses, if you're in the area should not be missed.  Actress Joan Allen is hosting, follow this link to learn more.

Later in the week on another gorgeous Fall day, (so beautiful in fact that I had a hard time imagining I would be back performing in Grand Central next Tuesday) I visited Spruce Ridge Farm owned and operated by Jeff Lick and Steve McCarthy. Watching the strangely other worldly looking Alpacas frolicing in the pastures was breathtaking. And talking with the guys about their inspiration for changing their lives dramatically to live and work on a farm, inspirational.

Filming and talking with Susan and her staff at Equine Advocates and Jeff and Steve with their Alpacas, gave me a deep sense of their shared commitment and love for animals. 

If you find yourself in Columbia County NY, I encourage you to call and visit these amazing farms.

Stay tuned for my latest clips of Inspirations from my visits!

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Susan Wagner, Equine Advocates

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Jeff Lick and Steve McCarthy, Spruce Ridge Farm

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Bobby, NYC carriage horse rescued and relocated

July 2010: If you don't know, I have a section on this site for guest bloggers.  This week I am featuring an amazing and moving story by Elizabeth Hess about the rescue of Bobby a NYC Carriage Horse, now happily roaming around a grassy pasture in upstate NY instead of being someones dinner.  No kidding.....

When people ask if I'm playing in the subway I say.  "if it's too hot for the carriage horses to work, NYC Subway Girl listens."  So I love to be able to share this story about the fate of one lucky horse.  

Thanks to Elizabeth Hess for her tireless work in saving animals and writing so eloquently about them.  And to Rural Intelligence who first printed the story.

Passages: Horse Heaven, Escaping the Plate
Last week, the staff at Equine Advocates, a manicured, 140 acre horse sanctuary, gathered at the main barn to welcome a new arrival. “Getting this horse is a real coup,” Susan Wagner, president of Equine Advocates, told me as we waited in the hot sun for the horse. “48 hours later and he would have been chopped meat.”
Americans don’t eat horses. However, we send them to slaughter and export the results for consumption without moral hesitation. Advocates like Wagner publicize this miserable reality for horses and save as many of them as possible. Most of the 80 residents at her sanctuary, once slaughter bound, detoured to safety. This week, a group of rescuers worked together to buy one particular horse from what Wagner calls “a kill pen” at the New Holland Sales Stable, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. New Holland is synonymous with slaughter. Bobby (AKA Billy # 2783) is an 18 year old, lame, worm-ridden, New York City carriage horse with bad teeth and a nasal drip. “Wait until you see him,” Wagner says. “He’s adorable.”
Wagner loves all horses, but carriage horses, from her perspective, are working class heroes. For years, she has supported legislation to ban New York’s controversial carriage trade, where a few hundred horses pound the pavement, pull heavy loads, and are monitored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It’s not only the traffic accidents,” explains Wagner. “It’s the horrible conditions in the stables and the physical wear and tear on the horses. They never get to run, walk on grass, or socialize with other horses.” But getting custody of a carriage horse, even an unwanted one, is virtually impossible. According to Elizabeth Forel, the founder and president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, New York City drivers sell off about 70 horses each year, one third of the stock. “But it’s difficult to learn where they go,” explains Forel. Their owners are not about to give their horses to the enemy—those who would like to shut the industry down.

When the van pulls into Equine Advocates, the staff breaks into applause. Minutes later, Wagner leads a bay gelding down a ramp, and he walks gingerly into the warm light of a spectacular Columbia County morning. Bobby moves slowly, doing what he is told, which is probably what he’s been doing for most of his life. As soon as he stops for the crowd to approach, Bobby lifts his crusty nostrils into the air to catch the wafting scent of hay, grass, other horses. Paradise.
I walk up and give him a pat on his wide neck, which is covered with nicks, maybe bites or scrapes from his experience in the pen at New Holland. The skin on his nose is scarred, bald from years of wearing heavy equipment.  “I can’t wait to get the halter off him,” Wagner tells me as she leads him to a nearby paddock where she will set him free.
How did Wagner get Bobby? Every carriage horse gets a 4-digit number, issued by the Department of Health, etched into his or her left front hoof. Ironically, Bobby’s number, 2873, saved his life. According to Wagner, these numbers are usually sanded off prior to sale, erasing the horse’s identity as a NYC carriage horse.  “The industry doesn’t want the public to know that these horses are worn out and subsequently sold off to buyers for slaughter,” she explains. “It just might take the romance out of a midnight trot around Central Park.”

Rescuing Bobby required team work. The first rescuer, a woman at New Holland, spotted his hoof number, took a photo, and put out an Internet alert. Luckily, the alert reached Elizabeth Forel, a tireless adversary against the carriage trade, who has been getting FOIA records from the DOH on carriage horses for years. She looked up the horse’s number, identified him as a resident of West Side Livery Stable, where the carriage horses live, and took it upon herself to rescue him from death. Forel raised the funds to purchase Bobby (from Friends of Animals) and asked Equine Advocates to offer him life-time sanctuary. Within 24 hours, a check for $800 bought Bobby’s freedom and Wagner sent a hauler to bring him home.  

Wagner walks Bobby over to a small catch area where he has room to run, a covered shed filled with soft bedding and fresh water. Then she removes his halter and gives him a pat on the nose. For a minute, the naked horse doesn’t move. A sleek, black thoroughbred named Clive, rescued from inside a defunct motel near Albany, runs over to check out the new guy. The horses can’t touch each other; they are about 30 feet apart. Clive is eager for access to the new horse, but Bobby shows restraint, patience. Hard work and no play seem to have turned him into a sweet, bomb-proof fellow.
After a few minutes,  Bobby lowers his large head and grabs a mouthful of grass, flicks his tail back and forth, and chews. Only one mouthful before he gingerly falls to his knees, rolls onto his back, and rocks back and forth, scratching his hide and kicking his legs in the air with palpable horse-joy. He eventually gets up and walks over to his trough for a long, cool drink of water. “I can’t wait to groom him,” Wagner says. “He’s going to love that.” —Elizabeth Hess

Elizabeth Hess, the author of “Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would be Human” lives in Spencertown, NY and is a founder/director of Art For Animals "transforming creativity into compassion for animals."  She writes here about Equine Advocates, an animal rescue facility in Chatham, NY.

reprinted from Rural Intelligence