“A” Train Dancers Bust a Move on the NYC Subway

by Matt Forcey

The unexpected and spontaneous can often be a lot more fun than planned and calculated.  This is one of the reasons I love street art.  A chance encounter with a captivating image can be an enthralling experience.  Not limited to spray paint on concrete, street artists and performers share their talents in unexpected venues, as do these dancers on a New York City subway car.

As long as there have been streets, there have been street performers.  On the avenues of New York City they have become an intrinsic part of the city’s flavor.  Made popular at the turn of the 20th century by immigrant German marching bands and Italian organ grinders, street performers have had a contentious history with local government authorities who have never known exactly what to make of the activity.  In the 1930’s, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia declared the act illegal, considering it panhandling.  Although street performers are once again “legal” (with the proper permits), strut’n your stuff under the streets, on a subway car, is still a no-no. 

The threat of municipal fines didn’t stop these A train artistes from doing their thing, much to the amusement of myself and fellow commuters.  They even did their best to assure us of their honorable and rhythmical intentions, necessary in the “if you see something, say something” times in which we live.  “Don’t be scared” they said. “You can trust us.  We’re from the Bronx.” 

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