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Old May 16th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #81
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Musicians audition for coveted busking spots in New York subway stations
15 May 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - If Fred Gillen Jr. has his way the sound of a washboard will soon be heard against the din of trains rolling in and out of stations, service announcements over the speakers, and the rushing footsteps of commuters.

Gillen and his friend Matt Turk were among dozens of musicians and performers who made their way to Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall on Tuesday to audition for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Music Under New York program.

While plenty of people toot horns or sing their way through the system, there are only about 100 or so acts that are officially recognized by the MTA, getting prime performing spaces in some of the busiest stations. Every year, about 20 spaces open up on the roster, so auditions are held to fill them.

Tuesday's auditions, with about 70 performers taken from 200 submissions, covered a musical range, from folk rock to electric violin.

Gillen used a brush and a marker to play his washboard as Turk strummed the guitar. The friends, both music professionals, looked to the subway to provide a new experience.

"You get an opportunity to be spontaneous and catch people who are not looking for you but yet all of a sudden are right there in front of you," Turk said.

Sixteen-year-old Banks Harris, of Brooklyn, skipped school along with companion Kane Dulaney Balser, also 16, for the chance to audition in front of more than two dozen judges, impressing many with her deep, powerful singing voice.

The two were looking for the official sanction for subway playing.

"We've done it before, but we'd feel better if we had a permit," Balser said, adding that otherwise there was more of a chance they could be rousted or asked to stop by police or, even annoyed subway riders.

While they have made some money doing it, Harris said the main draw was the chance to perform.

"It's the greatest audience," she said.

The program, which started as a pilot in 1985, is part of the MTA's Arts for Transit, which also places visual art in the subway system. Music Under New York organizes more than 150 performances a week at 25 locations, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station and the subway stations at Times Square and Union Square. The roster includes everything from a barbershop vocal quartet to a mime.

"In many ways it really is a gift to the city and to other New Yorkers," said Sandra Bloodworth, director of Arts for Transit.

The artists on the roster are given the chance every two weeks to call in and make requests for time slots. Every performer is given a banner from the MTA to signal participation in the program. The artists, as street performers, are allowed to take whatever money they are given from passers-by.

Participating in the program has been a boon for some, Bloodworth said, because of the exposure it provides. She pointed to the example of Susan Cagle, the singer-songwriter who signed a record contract and has appeared on Oprah Winfrey's television talk show.

"There's a specialness to it," Bloodworth said. "It has been for many years quite an honor to be part of the program."

Not everyone can do it, though. Artists have to have more than just talent, they have to have a performance that can translate in the crowded, noisy subway system.

The artists who do make it add a certain something to the experience of subway travel, even if their audience only hears them for a fleeting moment, said Jenneth Webster, producer of Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival and an audition judge.

"My feeling," she said, "is that the perception of art even for the moment should change your life."
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Old May 19th, 2007, 06:05 AM   #82
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NYC subway adds safety measures after 2 track worker deaths
17 May 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - The agency that runs the city's subway system has put in place new track safety measures following the deaths of two workers.

New York City Transit on Thursday sharpened its focus on safety after the workers were hit and killed by trains inside tunnels in separate incidents late last month. In both cases, investigators suspect the workers didn't hear approaching trains until it was too late.

Supervisors have been given radios to improve communication with train controllers, and maintenance workers have been retrained on track safety. Using loud diesel generators at work sites is discouraged, and non-emergency work has been banned in areas where emergency telephones and alarm boxes aren't working, transit officials said.

In addition, transit officials are testing devices that would sound alarms when trains approach crews working on the tracks.

The measures will be in place until reports are completed by an inquiry board and a newly formed track safety task force.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 10:45 PM   #83
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/ny...l?ref=nyregion
Looking at the Subway From Every Angle

By ANTHONY RAMIREZ
Published: May 20, 2007


Stephen Chernin for The New York Times

An axle assembly sat on rails near people on a tour of the M.T.A. maintenance facility in Corona, Queens.


There was a time — before the automobile, the airplane and the rocket — when the transcontinental train was rich with romance, a miracle emerging from tons of steam and steel.

When the train turned electric, moved underground and became the subway, there were those who remained enraptured.

These days, a few hew to the old ways. One of their Valhallas is in Queens at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Corona maintenance facility, where a sign reads “Home of the 7 Train.”

Yesterday, 40 railroad buffs — adults, families, toddlers, hand-holding couples, but mostly men — paid $25 each ($20 for members of the New York Transit Museum) for a three-hour tour of the facility, next door to Shea Stadium.

Known to insiders as “the barn,” the Corona operation is where subway cars are serviced. Lined up end to end, like so many silver loaves of bread, their wheels are repaired, their parts maintained and their grungy carcasses sprayed down in the giant “car wash” in a nearby building.

Most visitors yesterday were entranced by close-up looks at undercarriages, wrenches the length of a man’s leg and opportunities to sit in the worn red seat of a subway cab, the part of the car where the motorman leans out the window.

Some visitors even took photographs of a pile of metal shavings, for no particular reason other than that they were transportation authority metal shavings.

Greg Orlando, 50, who grew to love the subways as a child in Howard Beach, Queens, is now a firefighter in Staten Island. He took the tour with six friends, who are members of The New Jersey HiRailers in Paterson, N.J. They are building a miniature reproduction of the subway, complete with a Times Square station and a Washington Heights repair yard at 207th street. Each of their cars is the length of a lunch pail.

Mr. Orlando and his friends love being close to the trains.

“The only way you’re going to know,” about the trains, Mr. Orlando said, “is if you come on this tour or if you’re under the wheels about to die, and you don’t want to be the latter.”

James Weider, 17, a senior at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, chose the subway as a senior research topic. He said New Yorkers took for granted the subway’s speed, convenience and beauty.

“I wanted to give the system the respect it deserves,” he said.

In the Corona barn, the visitors got an earful of subway arcana. Parmanand Beharry, superintendent of the car equipment division, led the tour. He explained that the facility runs 24 hours a day, employs 162 workers and services 409 subway cars, nearly all of them No. 7 trains.

Each car is checked every 70 days or 11,000 miles, whichever comes first, Mr. Beharry said.

On a catwalk, the visitors gasped at their first panoramic view of “the shop floor,” where 45 cars sat on tracks.

The visitors walked into a trench, so the bottom of a subway car’s door, at foot level in a station, was about a foot or so above their heads. Every so often, Eric Koon, 4 ˝, would say in a loud Who-ville voice, “What’s that?” And his father, Craig Koon, 42, would whisper in his ear and explain.

The Corona facility, about 11 months old, has the look and feel of a clean room where computers are assembled, except for the undercarriages of the cars, which are coated with soot, and, up close, have the whiff of stables.

On one track was a set of clean subway wheels, 34 inches in diameter and lacking a car above them. They looked like barbells that a giant wrestler had just set down.

“This is S1, our primary track,” Raymond DelValle Jr., deputy superintendent of the division, told the visitors. “We cut our own wheels here.”

A wheel, he explained, can develop flat spots, and the barn’s special “truing” machine can restore the wheel to working order.

A big plastic tub with piles of metal shavings carries the sign “Wheel Truing Machine Chips Only.” The chips look like cheese shavings, though cheese shavings with the density of bullets.

A woman exclaimed, “I love that word ‘truing.’ ” Two men photographed the chips.

One woman on the tour confessed to being a “closet geek.” “Being interested in trains seems to be like a supergeeky kind of thing, and kind of a boy’s thing,” said Hadassah Max, 30, laughing. “But I’m just obsessed.”
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Old May 21st, 2007, 06:35 PM   #84
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NY subway station upgrades may be 'gold-plated'-MTA

NEW YORK, May 18 (Reuters) - New York's mass transit agency said on Friday it was probing whether revamping subway stations and other upgrades will cost $500 million to $2 billion more than planned, though this work does not even include its mega-projects, such as the new Second Avenue subway.

"Maybe some of this stuff has been a little gold-plated," Elliot Sander, executive director, of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said at an Assembly hearing.

Adding he will not have a hard estimate of the extra expenses until the transit arm of the busiest U.S. bus, subway, commuter, bridge and tunnel agency finishes its review, he said: "I think the probability is that it will be several hundred million (dollars)."

In addition to upgrading subway stations, the huge extra sum might be needed to modernize repair shops and rail yards, and update signals and communication systems, he said.

Pressed by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who led the oversight hearing, to say whether subway fares and bridge tolls will go up in 2008, Sander said this was premature.

But he also told the Westchester Democratic Assemblyman that it would be "very hard" to avoid such increases in 2008 unless the current real estate boom continues.

The MTA, which has a long history of cost overruns, gets a share of city and state real estate-based taxes, and soaring apartment and commercial prices have pumped up its revenues.

The various MTA agencies, which also run its commuter rail lines, city buses, and East River bridges and tunnels, all have been asked to determine how they could prune spending by 2 percent and by 4 percent, Sander said.

Asked if this would mean service cuts, he replied: "We have not taken ... that off the table, but the clear intent of this exercise is to avoid that."

GREASE THOSE SCISSORS

Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to charge rush hour Manhattan drivers $8 to encourage them to use mass transit. Sander said the MTA has enough buses and trains to take on the extra 85,000 people expected to quit driving.

But Bloomberg has not proposed giving the MTA more operating aid to cope with the additional 1 million residents anticipated to move to New York by 2030.

The MTA's five-year $21 billion capital plan, now in its third year, faces even more risks.

The Federal Transit Administration, guarding against the ballooning expenses racked up by Boston's Big Dig tunnel project, told the MTA to boost its cost contingencies for the Second Avenue subway to 15 percent from 12 percent, Sander said.

Phase One of Manhattan's first new subway line in decades is still $800 million short, and the federal agency also sees the work taking six months longer than planned, he added.

Various commissions are studying how the MTA can curb costs, by hiring more small contractors, for example, as well as how it can cope with rising prices for steel, and the higher wages construction workers now earn, thanks to the real estate boom, Sander said.

The MTA is scrounging for cash, partly because it must close $4.1 billion of budget gaps by 2010.

Though next year's shortfall is the smallest -- just under $800 million -- the deficits in the next two years rise so sharply that Sander likened them to a "ski jump."

And he made it clear he was conducting an extensive analysis of MTA's operations, including, for example, getting its police officers out of their patrol cars and onto commuter rail cars -- where only six or seven previously were assigned.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 02:39 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aloy concept View Post
Its magic the NYC subway, its great!!!...
haha not when a bum urinates in the corner of the car your in or when you fall asleep or pass out after a party and your wallet is gone.(luckily I had only 5 dollars and a metro card in it)
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Old May 24th, 2007, 03:01 AM   #86
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I visited NYC for the first time this past December. The city and the subway were incredible. I had one observation. I found myself moving between Grand Central and Penn Station a number of times. But the connection between these two terminals is pretty inconvenient, particularly if you're carrying luggage.

The perfect solution would be for all Metro North trains to run through Grand Central and terminate at Penn. (NJT could do the reverse, potentially.) A connection like this would be so obscenely expensive, difficult, and operationally complicated that it will never happen.

I had another idea, though; could the S train somehow be extended to Penn Station? This map shows that there are unused 5th tracks between Times Square and Penn Station down both Seventh AND Eighth Avenue. Could the 'S' trains somehow be connected to either (or both) of these tracks, and continue to Penn? This would mean some pretty significant reconstruction at Times Square but maybe it would be worth it.

Anyway. Just a thought. Do a lot of people usually need to travel between Grand Central and Penn? If it's a common trip then this might be worthwhile, but if my case was unusual then just forget I mentioned it.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 03:16 AM   #87
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Some problems the MTA needs to do is get rid of the Homeless people who are inside the subways and to tell people to wait there turn to go into the train and let the people out first same goes for the Buses they need to use the back door to exist and the front door to enter.....
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Old May 24th, 2007, 08:47 AM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 360KidNYC View Post
Some problems the MTA needs to do is get rid of the Homeless people who are inside the subways and to tell people to wait there turn to go into the train and let the people out first same goes for the Buses they need to use the back door to exist and the front door to enter.....
Unfortunately, public transportation is for EVERYONE who can pay, even homeless people.

The rush and crush of people getting in and out should not be so surprising in a city like New York.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 03:23 AM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
I visited NYC for the first time this past December. The city and the subway were incredible. I had one observation. I found myself moving between Grand Central and Penn Station a number of times. But the connection between these two terminals is pretty inconvenient, particularly if you're carrying luggage.

The perfect solution would be for all Metro North trains to run through Grand Central and terminate at Penn. (NJT could do the reverse, potentially.) A connection like this would be so obscenely expensive, difficult, and operationally complicated that it will never happen.

I had another idea, though; could the S train somehow be extended to Penn Station? This map shows that there are unused 5th tracks between Times Square and Penn Station down both Seventh AND Eighth Avenue. Could the 'S' trains somehow be connected to either (or both) of these tracks, and continue to Penn? This would mean some pretty significant reconstruction at Times Square but maybe it would be worth it.

Anyway. Just a thought. Do a lot of people usually need to travel between Grand Central and Penn? If it's a common trip then this might be worthwhile, but if my case was unusual then just forget I mentioned it.
I've wondered about the same thing, as well I'm an out-of-towner who often makes the transfer between Grand Central and Penn stations. With the 7 westward extension in limbo could they rework the plan to run the line south to Penn instead?
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Old May 26th, 2007, 11:39 PM   #90
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http://mta.info/mta/news/releases/?en=070522
Massive Tunnel Boring Machine Arrives

$10 Million, 200 Ton Equipment Will Dig Tunnel to Provide LIRR Access to Grand Central





The MTA's East Side Access project - which brings Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal - reached another milestone on Saturday when a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) completed its journey from Italy and arrived on U.S. shores. East Side Access is a $6.3 billion project that will provide access to Grand Central Terminal for Long Island Rail Road commuters. When complete in 2013, East Side Access will serve approximately 160,000 customers a day.

The 200 ton TBM was tested outside of Rome, Italy last month and then disassembled. The cutter head and largest components were shipped by boat in pieces. Its trailing gear and the smaller components that make up the rest of the machine will arrive separately later this month. The largest components arrived at Red Hook, N.Y., Saturday. Once the shipment has cleared customs, the pieces will be taken by truckload to Long Island City, Queens, where they will be lowered into the 63rd Street tunnel via a massive excavation. The pieces will then be transported through the tunnel, under the East River, to a "launch box" under 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue. The TBM will be assembled in the launch box and will begin digging its way toward Grand Central later this summer. A second TBM will arrive later this year to dig a second tube for the project.

The bi-level 63rd Street tunnel was constructed starting in 1969, designed to carry both subway and commuter rail trains. Due to budget shortfalls, the tunnel remained unused until 1989, when F train service was routed through the tunnel's upper level to 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. The lower level currently terminates at 63rd Street and 2nd Avenue, where the TBM will pick up shortly to begin boring toward Grand Central. Connecting tunnels will be completed in Queens to link the tunnel to the LIRR's Main Line and Port Washington branch tracks.

The project will have a number of significant regional transportation benefits, including:

Reducing Penn Station train arrivals while increasing LIRR Manhattan arrivals by 41 percent
Reducing pedestrian crowding in Penn Station
Eliminating standees on the LIRR between Jamaica and Penn Station
Improving the reliability of train service
Reducing crowding on the subway lines that use Penn Station and the No. 7 line
Reducing daily vehicle miles of travel in the region and improving air quality
Allowing for Metro-North Railroad service to Penn Station, thereby providing for a more balanced transportation system
Providing convenient access between the east side of Manhattan and JFK International Airport (via the AirTrain at Jamaica)
Supporting local and regional land use and economic development patterns.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 12:33 AM   #91
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good pictures there guys, thanks.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 04:33 AM   #92
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A straight connection between Penn and Grand Central would be fantastic. If the shuttle could curve at Times and continue on to Penn, everything would be better. Perhaps one day that will be the case. right now the plan is to have some LIRR go to GCT. that helps a bit. Perhaps having Metro North switch onto the Amtrak Line at New Rochelle, you could have metro north at penn. I see no way of connecting NJ transit to GCT though.

My ideal transit add ons would be curve the shuttle down to Penn so that it would serve the three biggest transit terminals (4 if you count Times sq sub, and Port Authority Seperate.) Continue the 7 south past 34 to 23rd and stop at the chelsea piers area. continue under west street stopping every 10-15 blocks and end at the World Trade Center Hub but still give Battery Park City its own stop. And take the L continue past 8th curve north. all the way up, under west end ave, take some pressure of the 1,2,3 lines and the c,b. And end it at around 125 st. Oh and my old favorite that seemingly gets no love, the outer borough loop. A line that starts at jamaica center and sort of connects the ends of all the subway lines and gives coverage to large swaths of Queens that get no service then cross into the brinx and connects those lines before terminating in Inwood. The key factor for that is the ability to choose from many subway lines to get into the city. Now if A subway line needs to be shut down for repairs, people have an option. Also If you connect to Fordham station in the Bronx, its a much more direct route to Kennedy Airport for all metro north users. again, a dream of mine.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:45 PM   #93
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wow great pics how were you able to get them?
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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #94
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deleate I see they were taken by photgrapher fro a news paper...
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Old June 1st, 2007, 07:21 AM   #95
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Great photos. About the bumbs, well some bum lady the other day begged me to give her some money. After saying no, she told me to go **** myself. Ah, I love NY...
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Old June 3rd, 2007, 11:44 PM   #96
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Just recently I went to the NY Transit Museum in Brooklyn and found how the different subway division came.

IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit): The original lines of the subway came from here. Many of them were numbered as they are today. Also, they tend to serve Manhattan for the most part, though did extend to the other boroughs as time went by. Before 1940, these lines were actually privately owned before they turnned over to the mayor, who was Fierollo LaGuardia, but it got too expensive and the state later on had the MTA.

BMT (Brooklyn Metro Transit): Believe it or not, this division actually predates the subway. It was originally known as the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) and ran idenpendent until it was declared bankrupt in 1918. Since then, it was absorbed into the subway system. Many of the lines were also pre-existing rail lines that ran through Brooklyn. Its tunnels are more wider than those of the IRT as well as its tracks.

IND (Indepent Lines): This was the only division to always be owned by the city from the start until the state took over the control of the MTA and the subway system. The IND is the most youngest of the divisions in that it didn't come around until the 1930's. Mostly it just extended to places in the outer boroughs that the others in the past didn't go to. There were plans to create and extend existing IND lines in the 1970's and 1980's, but those plans got shelved due to cost.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #97
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Hi there. I am new in this NYC forum, and would like to ask something. I read that there is no direct connection between Staten Island and the rest of NYC, only by the ferry. Are there any plans to build some bridge or underground line to connect it with the rest of the city? Thank you very much.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 10:33 PM   #98
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no concrete plans. but it will need to be done some day when all the other boroughs are overly built up and staten island is the last frontier
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Old June 19th, 2007, 05:44 AM   #99
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NYC subway sounds: Audition instruments include guitar, washboard
16 June 2007

NEW YORK (AP) - Ahh, the sounds of the subway. Trains rolling in and out of stations, service announcements over the speakers, the rushing footsteps of commuters.

And now, a washboard? Yup, if Fred Gillen Jr. has his way.

Gillen and his friend Matt Turk were among dozens of musicians and performers who made their way to Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall to audition for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Music Under New York program.

While plenty of people toot horns or sing their way through the system, only about 100 or so acts are officially recognized by the MTA, getting prime performing spaces in some of the busiest stations. Every year, about 20 spaces open up on the roster, so auditions are held to fill them.

Recent auditions, with about 70 performers taken from 200 submissions, covered a musical range, from folk rock to electric violin.

Gillen used a brush and a marker to play his washboard as Turk strummed the guitar. The friends, both music professionals, looked to the subway to provide a new experience.

"You get an opportunity to be spontaneous and catch people who are not looking for you but yet all of a sudden are right there in front of you," Turk said.

Sixteen-year-old Banks Harris, of Brooklyn, skipped school along with companion Kane Dulaney Balser, also 16, for the chance to audition in front of more than two dozen judges, impressing many with her deep, powerful singing voice.

The two were looking for the official sanction for subway playing.

"We've done it before, but we'd feel better if we had a permit," Balser said, adding that otherwise there was more of a chance they could be rousted or asked to stop by police or, hey, annoyed subway riders.

While they've made some money doing it, Harris said the main draw was the chance to perform.

"It's the greatest audience," she said.

The program, which started as a pilot in 1985, is part of the MTA's Arts for Transit, which also places visual art in the subway system. Music Under New York organizes more than 150 performances a week at 25 locations, including Grand Central Terminal, Pennsylvania Station and the subway stations at Times Square and Union Square. The roster includes everything from a barbershop quartet to a mime.

"In many ways it really is a gift to the city and to other New Yorkers," said Sandra Bloodworth, director of Arts for Transit.

The artists on the roster are given the chance every two weeks to call in and make requests for time slots. Every performer is given a banner from the MTA to signal participation in the program. The artists, as street performers, are allowed to take whatever money they're given from passers-by.

Participating in the program has been a boon for some, Bloodworth said, because of the exposure it provides. She pointed to the example of Susan Cagle, the singer-songwriter who signed a record contract and has appeared on the "Oprah" television show.

"There's a specialness to it," Bloodworth said. "It has been for many years quite an honor to be part of the program."

Not everyone can do it, though. Artists have to have more than just talent, they must have a performance that can translate in the crowded, noisy subway system.

The artists who do make it add a certain something to the experience of subway travel, even if their audience hears them only for a passing moment, said Jenneth Webster, producer of Lincoln Center's Out of Doors Festival and an audition judge.

"My feeling," she said, "is that the perception of art even for the moment should change your life."
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Old June 25th, 2007, 05:59 AM   #100
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Location: Pleasantville, NY
Posts: 7,536
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Some other subway entrances I have just noticed.

168th St-Washington Hts, Manhattan (A, C, 1)


163rd St-Amsterdam Ave, Manhattan (C)
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