Spontaneous is a Journey

If you have been following my social media posts, you know I am currently on a road trip (I call the Wander Tour) around the USA. I left NY on September 23rd (my grandmother's birthday and the first day of Autumn). I headed west from Old Chatham, NY to Erie, Pa. and then onward stopping in Detroit, Grosse Pointe where I had the pleasure of performing with my partner in the 80's Lenore Troia.  We hadn't performed together for over 2O years and it was a wonderful reunion. I traveled north in MI to Torch Lake, where I connected with long time musical friend from the days that I lived in Key West, Fl, Leanna Collins.  Leanna is an amazing musician and songwriter, happily still performing. she and her husband have a wonderful cafe, performance space.  

Then I traveled onward to Holland, MI,where a new friend provided the poodles and me with a comfortable home, fresh bread, met a loving neighbor, and a fun visit to a Mom in independent living. Thankful for laundry, we headed off to Sioux Falls, SD, where I found new friends of the the owners of a restaurant Parker's Bistro, who then invited me to perform the next night, which I happily stayed around to do.  I found myself after my performance joining in on a hysterical Karaoke trip with new friends with poodles joining along.. 

karaoke with new friends and poodles in Sioux Falls, SD

karaoke with new friends and poodles in Sioux Falls, SD

me and Leanna Collins at Torch Lake Cafe, MI

Stand With Me + my Pups

A follow-up to the massive march on Sunday where 400,000 were counted not including at least 2 poodles (and the countless other canines that were there):

The impactful 350.org has created a petition to ask world leaders to stand with us in finding a common goal in carbon reduction to stave off negative Climate Change:

I stand with the People's Climate March because I am ready for action, not words. I will take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet – now. In short, I demand a world safe from destructive fossil fuels, and the ravages of climate change.

here's the link, please consider signing

Their amazing campaign to support the People's Climate March was very succinct.

"In order to change everything, we need everyone."

and a People's Climate wrap-up clip they created from the worldwide event

if you've been following my posts you know how much I care about the future of this planet. I even have a sustainability category here on this site where I post important information.

Stand with me. Think about your daily efforts to reduce waste and energy consumption. and if you don't have at least one thing you do to help, it's time to start.

and speaking of the canines in the march, I received this wonderful image of my pups by canine photographer Alice Su

400,000 in the streets of NYC

the march was quite an experience. I am still exhilarated by the showing of awareness to get in the street and be counted. The amount of young people there was amazing. It means a lot to see youth concerned about their future. I had a chance to be interviewed for an article in The Epoch Times. So many slogans caught my eye, my favorite being "Change the System Not The Climate."

I went with my poodles and was joined by friend photographer Nousha Salimi (you see many of her shots of me throughout my site).  And here's one she took of me and The Epoch Times journalist Shannon Liao as she was interviewing me.

#poodlesnyc and me @Gothamist

I walk my poodles around my neighborhood every day.  The comments I receive are lovely and people want to talk, and pet and smile. I've gotten so used to people taking pictures, I finally created a hashtag #poodlesnyc so I can find the images people take. But in the image below is one case where I didn't see the photographer and was surprised to find the image pop up on the Gothamist blog thanks to a friend seeing it on a Facebook post.  The title of the blog post is hysterical "Extra, Extra: NYC Seeing Influx Of White People." photo by bytegirl/Flicker

It made my day.  And I've just spent the past few hours taking off the poodle hair for their summer cut. I like them best with the hair longer, but it's really hot walking around in 90 degrees with a fur coat.

photo by byte girl/Flickr

photo by byte girl/Flickr

After their summer haircut, we returned to the spot where the above image was taken.  Here they are.  

and PS don't joke with me and say that I should go into the poodle grooming biz…. I do it because I love them. and I'm not really very good at it as you can see by the uneven hair.  I call it a Mommy cut.


Tracy's New York Life features NYCSubwayGirl

Tracy Kaler has a blog called Tracy's New York Life, she found my site and contacted me for an interview.  I am pleased to see what she had to share about me.  Here it is, feel free to share and spread the love around.  It's always fun to see something positive come out of what I do.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

NYC Subway Girl Cathy Grier Talks Busking, Poodles, and Her Love for the City

A chat with a fascinating New Yorker
by Tracy Kaler

photo by Nousha Salimi

photo by Nousha Salimi

 "All my life, NYC has had a lot of special meaning for me. My parents were born and raised in the Bronx, and many generations of my family have lived in the NY environs. I first gigged here in the early '80s in Greenwich Village." --Cathy Grier

If you frequent the New York subway, you've probably listened  to the music of Cathy Grier, also known to many as "NYC Subway Girl." You'll find the artist jamming in underground hubs such as Grand Central Station, South Ferry Whitehall, Columbus Circle and the LIRR (Long Island Railroad) at Penn Station, but her experience reaches far beyond the island of Manhattan. Grier played around the world in destinations like Paris, Morocco, Australia, and Germany before moving back to her NYC roots in 1996. 

Busking in the city since 1999, she was happily accepted into the MTA's Music Under New York, a program that schedules performances for its members in high traffic stations. But beyond entertaining New Yorkers on the move, Grier's talent has captivated audiences in high-profile locales. The troubadour has played in impressive spots like Joe's Pub, 54 Below, BAM, Avery Fisher Hall, and on CNN, The Today Show, and CBS Sunday Morning.  

photo by Russ Weatherford

photo by Russ Weatherford

Grier, who professes to busk for the love of music and not money, earns an average of $70 per 3-hour shift, including tips and CD sales. The idea of NYC Subway Girl occurred to her after waking up one cold winter morning in February 2009 only to discover that she had made the cover of amNewYork, the widely read daily newspaper.

 TK: What do you like most about living in New York City?

CG: That you can see and hear just about anything. That we all figure our own ways to get along and live in such a chaotic place. It's a thriving city on multiple levels. You don't need a car, and trains can take you anywhere. Even my dogs take Metro-North. 

The art and music you find is amazing, including the architecture. And of course, due to the high cost of living and continued influx of residents, other boroughs are being discovered for their own special charm.

  {photo by Amal Chen}

  {photo by Amal Chen}

TK: Why did you move back to NYC?

CG: In 1996, I was working as a lyricist adapting two French/Spanish albums for an artist named Nilda Fernandez.  He wanted to record the project in New York, so I came to scope out studios. I had just ended a relationship and thought maybe it was time to move back to the US. NYC seemed like the most logical place. I realized that I missed my family who lived nearby, and the NYC energy and music scene. 

 TK: What's your favorite spot in the city?

CG: Since I have two dogs, I would say the parks. Madison Square Park and Bryant Park aren't far from home, and in Central Park, you can take dogs off leash before 9 a.m. every day. Grand Central Terminal for the people and architecture. 

TK: If I caught you playing, what are some of the songs I might hear?

CG: Many of my own originals. I am happy to say people enjoy and compare me to many artists that I respect, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Carole King, for example. My style is what one Time Out reviewer coined me as "Folked-Up Blues." But I also love to interpret popular songs, and some that get the most responses are: "The House Of The Rising Sun" (Traditional), "La Vie En Rose," "Like A Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan, "Piece Of My Heart" by Janis Joplin, and "Valerie" by Amy Winehouse, to name a few.  People like what they know.

video by Michael Zaleski

TK: When you’re not performing, where can we find you?

CG: Walking my dogs –– two standard poodles. I cut their hair myself and the most popular question is,  "What are they?" The three of us make a formidable sight to see (we all have the same color hair). People constantly stop to talk and want to take pictures.  I finally created a hashtag because I wanted to see the pictures people were taking which you can find at #poodlesnyc.


5 poodles tulips.jpg

TK: What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? 

CG: That I have continued to perform since 1978 in many places throughout the world and that I have performed in the NYC stations and public spaces providing live music since 1999. To be able to see a steady stream of people smiling, because what I do makes that kind of an effect on them is quite humbling. Art and music are being stripped away, out of our schools. Even in our culture, the high cost of tickets to attend makes it unobtainable for many. To keep music alive is very important to me.

  {photo by Nousha Salimi}

  {photo by Nousha Salimi}

"While my songs are sometimes political, sometimes analytical, they are always infused with love, optimism and hope."-- Cathy Grier

Follow Cathy Grier on Facebook or Twitter, and read about her Inspiration Project where  she interviews people and asks the simple, yet complex question "What Inspires You?"  

You can subscribe to all blog posts from Tracy's New York Life!

NYC E-Waste events


UPDATE Lower East Side Ecology Center now accepting drop off e-waste Tues-Sat in one location

In many of my previous blogs I write about the Lower East Side Ecology Center and their amazing E-waste events in NYC. This January celebrates their 9th year of "After The Holidays" E-waste events. My favorite is being held Saturday January 21st in front of Tekserve, the 1st Apple store-support center in NYC (before there even was such a thing as an Apple store,) @ 24th st bet 6th and 7th avenues. Follow links for other events near you.  

Check out the list of what you can bring, I went to one with a full box and even brought my pups along for the trip (why not, it was a teachable moment). If you're in a car, it's simple, because they block a section of the street for cars to pull up-you don't even have to get out of your car or taxi. Some even come on a bike.

It would be great to get your neighbors and your Apartment Building or Small Business involved.

All collected electronics will be recycled by WeRecycle!, an environmentally and socially responsible local recycler. The Electronic Waste Recycling Program is made possible by Tekserve, Con Edison and The New York Community Trust.  

here's a clip I made of from my September recycling e-waste trip:

On September I7, 2011 I walked to an LES Ecology Center e-waste event in front of Tekserve. With my pups in tow, we brought a box of old cell phones, cameras, a fax machine, transformers and cables to be properly disposed of. It was a true NY moment. When we arrived I met Development Director, Caroline Kruse who shared with me just how easy it is to recycle electronic waste.
It might take a little of your time, but recycling e-waste is so important. It feels good to know there's something you can do to reduce the massive amount of toxic waste we produce and discard without much thought. The Lower East Side Ecology Center leads the way.