It was my birthday and a new friend had asked to do all the planning for my birthday party. The New Yorker, who had grown up in New York, spent several years in Korea, and who crossed my path via work related connections, really wanted to take me out. And I was happy to have someone who knew the city plan that for me. I had no idea what we were going to do exactly, but I always like an adventure. I was instructed to take the train and meet on the west side around 14th street, and so the evening would begin. I worked from home that day, which was lovely, and then got dressed to hit the town. Being me of course I had the following conversation.
Me: Tonight, I need to get dressed.
New Yorker: Uh-huh.
Me: Slutty or Classy?
New Yorker: Classy.
I hit the train, now that I feel really quite comfortable with the train system this doesn’t take a much time as you would think. The 3 train can be a really unusual place sometimes, but this was where I ended up. My normal train is the 6, but I don’t mind the other trains in the city after a while it becomes fairly easy to do, though there are times where I still would rather just jump in a cab when it seems reasonable.
The train on this particular night was not to crowded and I was able to get a seat fairly easily on a Friday night, which was lovely. I sat down and wondered about my upcoming birthday, curious to know what would happen, how it would happen and why it would happen. While I thought about my birthday fun, the train stopped and a gentleman got on and sat down in front of the door he had just entered.
It’s not uncommon to see the odd busker on the train, though technically it is illegal to do so. Interestingly, unlike Chicago, buskers in NYC don’t need to have a license so I am a little picky about who I give my money to when it comes to busking here. I generally look for talent.
The man who got on the train sat down and started to play his drum. At first it was just drumming, but as he drummed he also began a very talented, and beautifully composed story of the history of the drum he was playing: the djembe, and African drum. He talked about how the drums communicated stories, the history of the construction and all why skillfully playing and building towards a wonderful crescendo that lasted only 30 seconds before he moved with his hat out, collecting donations just before the train hit the next stop.
This was a performance that was so talented and so timed that I couldn’t help but to want to contribute to the continuation of his art, and I put in five dollars to contribute to his continued traveling educational road show. And I was not the only one who paid, several passengers placed money in his hat, which he quickly thanked us for before stepping off the train, to catch another train, and provide another performance.
It was a lovely magical beginning to an evening.