Bob Marley. Michael Jackson. Jason Mraz. We heard it all this weekend during our search for the most fun, funky and soulful New York City subway performers. Below are the stories and images of our featured underground artists.
“I’m poverty stricken. I perform in subways because it allows me to make money while spending time with my incredible kids,” says Traxler, seen below with his children
Stylez Enuff Dance Crew
“It’s more challenging to be a subway performer. For larger venues, people buy tickets, so there is an expectation that they will stay and watch the whole performance. Underground, you have to listen to people’s energy and improvise in order to hold their attention,” says D’amini, seen below (in gray and black) with his Stylez Enuff partner Jerry (green and red) at the Delancey/Essex subway station.
“I started performing original guitar music down here about three years ago, after my industry (advertising) switched to computer ads. I hit a crossroad and decided to pursue my art through music. It has been the best decision of my life,” said Roberson, seen below at the 14th St/Union Square subway station.
“I perform in the subway in order to promote my teaching business. I teach guitar to Spanish kids and adults,” said Manuelson, an immigrant from El Salvador seen here playing Incan Pan Pipes at the Delancey/Essex subway station.
Yi Zhuo Yu
Yi Zhuo Yu, a member of the Street Musical Club, is seen performing below at the Grand Street subway station.Yu plays the er-hu, a two-stringed Chinese instrument commonly known in the west as the “Chinese Violin.”
Mystic One and Prince Usula
“I know when the trains are coming and going. I can feel it. That is how I control the energy of the people around me. This power of my mind is where my name, Mystic One, comes from,” said Mystic One, pictured on the left below alongside Prince Usula as the duo performs Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” at the West 4th Street subway station.