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9 Types Of NYC Subway Musicians

The underground music scene (literally).

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1. Doo-Wop Guys

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Some say doo-wop music was invented in the stairwells of Brooklyn subway entrances because of their acoustics. Whether or not that's true, it's always nice to hear that shooby doo ya da da da da da da wop lives on today.

2. Breakdance Crew

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Not technically musicians, unless you consider playing Afrika Bambaataa on a boombox to be musicianship. Nevertheless, these guys' dance routine never gets old and their acrobatic performances always make commuters wonder, "How long until someone gets really really injured?"


4. Can Drummers

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The first guy who came up with can drumming must be pissed now that there's hundreds of imitators. It's always a treat to hear for 28 seconds as you run past to make your connection.

5. Peruvian Flute Guys

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You used to see these ancient Incan apparitions more often. They always had CD's for sale and their music was mystical and ancient and sometimes really familiar. That's because they were taking "El Cóndor Pasa" back from Simon & Garfunkel.

6. Folkies

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O Subway, Where Art Thou? Nothing mocks your being stuck in a subterranean hell-maze like the sound of banjo. Close your eyes and pretend you're in a rocking-chair on the porch of a cabin in the Ozarks... or just turn up the volume on your headphones.

7. This Guy

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I see this guy every so often. He's dressed like a post-apocalyptic survivor and plays classic rock standards with super-fuzzed-out distortion and a headset mic like he's performing with choreography at the VMA's. Maybe I just imagined him.


Since we're on the subject: Whether or not their particular music is your cup of tea, New Yorkers love having musicians perform in our subways. It's part of what makes New York so vibrant.

In the wake of the recent NYPD arrest of a platform busker going viral, there is a new outcry in the music community in support of their legal right to perform. If you support their cause visit

Because a NYC without subway music just wouldn't be NYC.