Take what little money you have, and give some away

4 Aug

I’m not one to part with my money out of guilt , so I don’t. (Back to that in a sec.) I’m not talking about the men who stand at a subway escalator and shake a cup. But I like giving money to subway performers (even if they’re not sanctioned by the city) who make the steamy, sticky platform a little cooler:

• Waiting for the L train, I saw a juggler/optical illusionist. Dude folded a dollar bill and balanced it on his forehead, which I thought was incredible — until he put another one of top of that one to make a T shape and did it again. $1 for you, sir. You’re a gentleman and a scholar.

• On the uptown 6 platform last week, a man singing Spanish songs on the guitar had the most beautiful voice. $1 for him! I always appreciate the musician buskers*.

• I also have a soft spot for the improv comics on the Shuttle (S), even though it’s driven by the captive-audience tactic. But they always make everyone laugh, even the suits. Last night a guy said, “Go ‘head and smile — it won’t mess up your hair!”

Returning to the guilt thing, here’s a story of when I got it wrong: In 2004, before I lived here, a man approached me outside the Times Square McDonald’s. “I’m really, really, really hungry” were his words; I’ll never forget them. I should have bought him a hamburger; instead, I got nervous and walked away. I can’t say for sure I did the wrong thing, but I sure feel like I did.

*Unless it’s so loud I can’t think or hear an announcement over the speaker. Who am I kidding? Those crap speakers are inaudible anyway.

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3 Responses to “Take what little money you have, and give some away”

  1. Robin 08/04 at 11:43 am #

    That “really, really hungry” line got me too. So hungry he was about to pass out, he claimed. So I gave him $2. Felt I had to.

    About 30 mins later, I took the same subway line back uptown. Sure enough, there he was begging, using the same line, after switching too and still not passed out.

  2. Qi 08/04 at 11:31 pm #

    You are a very generous and giving person Sarah. I solute you 😉 I haven’t seen any of those performers you mentioned. Though I’ve seen scores of others. You are right to give to them, they worked for it after all 🙂

    There is a problem with being giving though, there are too many con artists. I say buy them a burger or give them some food that you already have (single serving – wrapped), an Apple is always nice (we are in the Big Apple). If they refuse, they are not really hungry.

  3. nowooski 08/05 at 12:39 am #

    I gave a busker on the V train a few bucks today. Any music to combat the screeching of the train is good by me.

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