Streams

It's (Not) Showtime: Why There's a Crackdown on Subway Performers

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rayquan Perez is a subway performer who usually dances on the 4 and 2 lines. (Rayquan Perez)

Arrests of performers on the subway have more than quadrupled this year, according to The New York Times. Transit reporter Matt Flegenheimer and crime reporter J. David Goodman explain how the arrests of dancers is in keeping with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton's "Broken Windows" vision of policing, and take your calls on whether you think the performers should stay or go. Plus, Rayquan Perez, who dances with the group 2Live on the 4 and 2 lines, talks about what it's like to perform on the train. 

Highlight: Rayquan Perez Describes Subway Dancing

Guests:

Matt Flegenheimer, J. David Goodman and Rayquan Perez

Comments [90]

sam from portland maine

Why do they get called acrobats? Two theories. 1) He's a cop...they can't speak plain English, and 2) Dance is first amendment protected expression, acrobatics is more of a sport

Aug. 04 2014 05:19 PM
JOSEPH P. WALL from Pelham Bay, Bronx

Reguarding these so called "subway dancers": What these "subway dancers" do not realize(or for that matter want to realize) is that on every subway train reguardless of how old or young it is is that each subway train has what is called an emergency break system. I would love to see what would happen if a subway train traveling upwards of over 40 m.p.h and the emergency breaks are activated and these silly fools are doing their dancing act.Their bodies would become flying missiles and sometimes, the train crew would have nothing to do with the emergency break system being activated. It might be some kind of junk left on the tracks that activates the emergency break system.

Aug. 01 2014 11:23 AM
Lee Gelber from Astoria

Shortly after listening to the Brian Lehrer show today I had to go to an appointment in Manhattan. At Lexington Avenue one of these dance/acrobat crews boarded the N train in the car where I was sitting and reading a book.
The volume of the boom box this crew was using was deafening and the swinging on the poles had me concerned that I could be kicked in the head.
These noisy performances don't belong on a crowded subway car.
A caller during the segment used the analogy that these "performances" were akin to graffiti being elevated to art. Having lived through the height of the graffiti epidemic I still consider it vandalism, not art

Jul. 31 2014 09:55 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from NYC

Hi, Most subway athletes are annoying, but I understand there need to make a little bit of money. They are not criminals, just poor.

Jul. 31 2014 03:56 PM
Allison

You know, I think the dancers should just use common sense. If it's too crowded, then they shouldn't be on the trains. And really, if they could just turn down the music! It's SO loud. Otherwise, it seems like they wouldn't be quite so annoying.

Jul. 31 2014 02:03 PM

[[We've removed a few comments for violating the WNYC posting policy. Please keep your comments civil.

-BL Moderator-]]

Jul. 31 2014 01:22 PM
Sersabio from Bronx, NY

Wow, the amount of comments here referring to the performers/dancers as "simians", "criminals" or members of "gangs" is telling...
I definitely think there is a safety issue here as far as a passenger being kicked or injured, especially if the train stops are starts suddenly. I have seen (involuntarily) many many of these acts and never noticed a passenger being threatened to move, but I can imagine it happening. The performers are not a monolith and I'm sure some are a lot less kind and courteous than others.
However I do not think arresting these dancers and putting them in the system is the way to handle it. If money is the motivation, use tickets/fines. And like others have said, there are other performances spaces provided by the MTA, or above ground. They should be directed to use those if possible as an alternative.

Jul. 31 2014 01:10 PM
Mark

I saw them on the PATH train not too long ago. The PATH system used to be free of most of the stuff that made the NYC subway crappy but now all that seems to be getting pushed over here. So annoying. Doing a little flip while holding on to the straps is something out of elementary school playground time. This is not some great cultural performance. Give me a break.

Jul. 31 2014 01:06 PM
Teo from Brooklyn

NYPD are cracking down for good reason!!! The dancers been very aggressive!! One day I been yelled at because I was in there way. I had my baby stroller and two shopping bags. They told me to move at out the way! I was already hugging the door. They said move or else!!!

Jul. 31 2014 12:22 PM
Brian from Brooklyn

The recent focus on subway dancers/acrobats is not helpful in anyway at improving the quality of riding the subway. It is true that they can be a nuisance to people riding the subway, but I would say this nuisance is low on the priority list and there are other major problems that should be addressed first. How about the homeless sleeping on the subway cars or the people with obvious mental disabilities harassing riders. These encounters are much more intimidating and unpredictable than a group of kids dancing on the subway. But instead the focus is shifted to these kids because they are an easy target and it is easier to arrest them than enact any type of meaningful reform targeted at the growing number of homeless and the shameful state of mental healthcare in the city.

Jul. 31 2014 12:01 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Also, is the "aggression" the acro-dancing itself? Or do they threaten to beat you up if you don't donate? I've never felt or witnessed it...This is telling.

Jul. 31 2014 11:26 AM
hilts

@Leah from NYC

"The subway is a means of getting people to and from their destination"

Leah, you nailed it with this line. Whether or not passengers feel threatened is totally irrelevant.

No one should have the right to transform a means of transportation into a performance space.

Jul. 31 2014 11:25 AM
Roy from Queens

Arresting the subway dancers only makes things worse for them who have no employment opportunities. Just ticket them, if they injure a person. If anyone sees them dancing in the subway, just move out of the way to avoid confrontation. Problem solved. I hate it when selfish, insensitive fools try to make a mountain out of an ant hill.

Jul. 31 2014 11:18 AM
fuva from harlemworld

mgduke: NY was a "pleasant, safe, easy to live in place...in the 1940s and 1950s" for whom? And this isn't the only nonsense you spew. You clueless people are pathetic. Look beyond your nose...

But, yes, these acro-dancers pose a risk that should not be imposed on others.

Jul. 31 2014 11:16 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I think it's just obvious that there is a big difference between passive, non confrontational micro biz on the subway cars and dangerous and these dangerous and aggressive "performances". God knows I've bought my share of batteries and candy from kids on the subway, it's just the urban equivalent of a lemonade stand and it puts nobody at risk. There is a difference. It's not a racial issue. End of story.

Jul. 31 2014 11:14 AM

As someone who has been riding the subways since WWII, I miss the politeness and civility, the respect for other people’s privacy and tranquility, that used to be the New York City norm on the subways.

These gangs of young performers--with their selfish sense of entitlement, acting as if they have the right to intrude into everyone else’s peaceful thoughts, to force us to listen to their painfully loud and primitive music, to be menaced by their grotesque daredevil jumping and swinging around, to be made to feel we had better give them some money to stop them from becoming even more menacing--are an example of how NYC is no longer the pleasant, safe, easy to live in place that it was in the 1940s and 1950s.

I am encouraged that the NYPD is cracking down on these aggressive people, but, given what your caller-performer said, the arrests and punishments being meted out are not yet adequate to stop them from going right back to their unlawful behavior. Since it’s clearly all about the money for them, with the evocations of “art” nothing more than a shoddy figleaf, shouldn’t the courts start to require them to pay increasingly significant monetary fines and do relevant community service?

The argument that subway performing is the only way for such young people to make money is not just false but demeaning. There are, as just one example, endless well-paying, lifelong career jobs starting with programming, for which the fast, acrobatic minds of young people like these are eminently suitable. Do you really think you are doing anybody a favor by encouraging people to perform on subways rather than to become programmers, etc?

Jul. 31 2014 11:06 AM
mark from philly

Great segment. It's a seemingly straightforward subject, but the discussion regarding perceived/actual risk and gradual redefinition of broken windows theory is really interesting.

Jul. 31 2014 10:52 AM
Conrad from Brooklyn, New York.

I was in a train when some of these people wanted me to move, and I did not. They then seemed as if they were going to beat me up. Most of them were probably between 12 and 16 years of age, but 1 of them could have been 18 years of age. The oldest looking one did not perform, if I'm recalling correctly, but I felt intimidated, and pressed a button to speak with a conductor, which caused a delay in service. This was possibly a year and a half ago.

Jul. 31 2014 10:50 AM
Pamela from Queens

What annoys me most about these dancing groups (and no, by the way, they are not "acrobats," although their moves are acrobatic) is that travelers are obliged to remain still while the groups perform. The burden is on the commuters not to move so to avoid being hit. I shouldn't have to remain stock-still while a performer performs. They may claim to have control, but if the train were to make a sudden stop or lurch unexpectedly, then what? While I would stop short of criminalizing their activity, it is still a nuisance and risky to travelers. They should not be performing in a moving vehicle such as a train where it is not always certain what moves it might make in the course of the journey.

Jul. 31 2014 10:47 AM
JH from NYC

I totally agree with commenter KC from NYC. I used to enjoy these dancers until recently when they kicked the lid of my baseball cap which at the time I was wearing when sitting down on the subway. What do we have to do is wait for someone to get kicked in the head before we eliminate this behavior? Let them perform in the plazas like Union Square Park. The subway is for transit, not for performing. Some of the people who called in are commenting about the lack of employment opportunities, this activity is not the answer.

Jul. 31 2014 10:46 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Victoria from Manhattan

You/re exactly the sort of person I'm talking about, please go back to wherever you're from because you're ruining the city.

Jul. 31 2014 10:46 AM
BJK from Jamaica

This discussion is ridiculous. Anyone who has experienced one of these 'shows' knows the routine: passengers are forced to move out of the way, stop what they are doing (like reading), back up in their seats, to avoid getting kicked in the face by the 'performers' somersaulting down what little room there is in the center of the car at running speed.
And the claim that these people are just looking for an outlet for some 'artistic expression'? Here are some more 'performers':
http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20130524/long-island-city/subway-dancers-beat-man-on-queens-f-train-cops-say

Jul. 31 2014 10:46 AM
Leah from NYC

I think the point is completely missed. The subway is a means of getting people to and from their destination in an orderly and safe manner. It is not a performance venue, a platform for religious proselytizing, or haven for anybody infringing on ANY customer's right to safe passage. When these things occur within a subway car, it is the RIDERS whose rights are denied when they are held hostage in an enclosed space. I'm all for supporting young performers and buskers in open areas where those who wish not to participate can have the option to move on. It is about respect and consideration for others as much as conforming to the rules that let society function.

Jul. 31 2014 10:44 AM
Dan parietti from Washington Heights, Manhattan

Personally, I do not like this happening on the subway trains because of the risk to the riding public. I have not read all the 52 previous comments regarding this issue (so forgive me if my idea has all ready been offered), but to follow-up on Gloria Mclean's point: why not have the MTA set aside a performance space in the system (away from the train environment) for these dancers to perform? If I remember correctly, the MTA does it for preforming musicians. AS dancers/artists, should they not receive the same right/recognition?

Jul. 31 2014 10:44 AM
fuva from harlemworld

It's a very interesting acrobat/dance hybrid.

Jul. 31 2014 10:40 AM
Ben from Manhattan

The risk is not perceived, but actual, at least to anyone in the vast majority of standing space in the subway car that the "dancers" - there may be craft there, but little art - take up. Try entering or remaining in that space when dancers take over the car and you will get warned by one of them that you will be hit - i.e. they threaten anyone who doesn't get out of the way with physical injury. That is violent, quasi-fascist behavior, at least mildly coercive in the same way as (and moreso than) anyone who takes advantage of a captive audience in the public space of a subway car, in particular subway "performers" of all stripes (who are almost always terrible - they not only tailor their gimmicky acts barely hold the short attention span of a brief ride, and they apparently can't get gigs out in the real world, even with the MTA's arts for transit program, which features some excellent musical performers like the Ebony Hillbillies and Salieu Suso - don't get me started on the absolutely terrible drummers who are only barely acquainted with a clave; the more polyrhythmic drummers you occasionally find on a platform are far better) who typically end their act by clapping for themselves and begin and end with empty apologies for what they know they're going to do - disturb passengers - among other lies (to themselves). Are we supposed to excuse people who assault others if they insincerely apologize before and after, something the dancers don't dare?

Jul. 31 2014 10:40 AM
Joan from Washington heights

Brian's interview with the dancer Rayquin was one of the best interviews I have heard. The dancer clearly makes the case that dancing is not a crime. Reminds me of colonial Mass where puritans declared dancing as a crime. Police commissioner is going backward. Maybe we should put him in the stockade

Jul. 31 2014 10:38 AM
Herb

ticket them, yes; arrest them, no -- or at least not the first time. but please, defenders of the dancers, use some common sense: it is inherently dangerous to have people jumping, twisting, swinging and, otherwise, hanging from poles in moving subway cars, sometimes inches from the faces, limbs and valuable property of others. time place and manner!

Jul. 31 2014 10:37 AM
Victoria from Manhattan

This wouldn't be a big issue if the "acrobats" were young white men

Jul. 31 2014 10:36 AM
Peter

Come on! This has nothing to do with criminalizing dancing, teen opportunity, keeping kids out of trouble, art, free expression, broken windows, or any of the other topics discussed. The simple fact is that a hundred pound kid flying through the air in a confined space is dangerous, possibly life-threatening, especially to a fragile old person or person with a heart condition or other not easily perceived ailment. Just because there's 'no evidence' that anyone has been injured, or even because no one has been injured 'yet', it doesn't follow that it's not going to happen. People have a right to ride the subway without being entertained in. By all means let the kids do their acrobatics in a safe space within the system, with the same permits that other subway performers are required to have. But please! Keep them off the trains.

Jul. 31 2014 10:35 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Again, be very careful about ascribing crime to these kids with no evidence. And many, many people enjoy their performances, at $40-50/hour...Still, seems reasonable to to think they pose a risk to passengers on a moving train.

Jul. 31 2014 10:35 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Subway "acrobats" - I use the term loosely as most of them are less talented than I was as a child on backyard equipment - are no more than a nuisance; however, it is very possible for them to injure passengers or themselves, which would result in a large financial loss for the MTA, even in just defending itself against possible lawsuits, so it would be a good idea for MTA personnel/police to escort them - GENTLY - out of the trains and onto the street. As for us passengers, the best way for us to discourage them is not to give them money. I never do.

Jul. 31 2014 10:34 AM
Tom

sure, these kids are an inconvenience, but so are the pile of tourists that force me to walk out in the street, and so are the people glued to their smart phones and not watching where they are walking, and so are the delivery guys pushing down the street with a dangerous handtruck stacked with boxes. Should we arrest all these people, or do we prefer to arrest the dancers because they are black and male?

Jul. 31 2014 10:34 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

I give up. This city is doomed... ITT "Progressive" apologists conflating racially charged policing like "stop and frisk" and "broken windows" with a clearly dangerous public nuisance perpetrated by unrepentant habitual criminals. Somebody please blow up Park Slope so we can start over.

Jul. 31 2014 10:32 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Subway "acrobats" - I use the term loosely as most of them are less talented than I was as a child on backyard equipment - are no more than a nuisance; however, it is very possible for them to injure passengers or themselves, which would result in a large financial loss for the MTA, even in just defending itself against possible lawsuits, so it would be a good idea for MTA personnel/police to escort them - GENTLY - out of the trains and onto the street. As for us passengers, the best way for us to discourage them is not to give them money. I never do.

Jul. 31 2014 10:31 AM
L from manhattan

subway dancers a quality of life issue? i beg to differ!

BLARING CAR STEREOS at 4:30 a.m. is a real and serious quality of life issue in my area (wash hts / inwood).

i and my neighbors call the police regularly when cars double park on the street and blare the car stereo and groups of 5-10 gather to publicly drink, scream, yell, urinate, litter, and basically cause a major disturbance of the peace.

maybe the police can come and help, but usually they cannot. and we are stuck with the most egregious quality of life issue that has been a continual problem for a decade -- window shaking noise from car stereos and groups of people at ungodly hours of the night and early morning.

now, after continual 311 calls ALL SUMMER, 2014, i have noticed that the "Response Details" are being inaccurately reported.

i have literally watched as the police shut down 2 double parked vehicles blaring car stereos which was later reported as, " . . . . observed no evidence of the violation at that time."

going after subway dancers and graffiti artists as 'quality of life' issues is weak and meaningless, a showtime stunt in itself aimed at tourists who might feel uncomfortable with the dancer's presence.

i'll take a dance troupe in the subway over sleepless nights and obscene, illegal, noise disturbance any day.

in my opinion, bratton is woefully out of touch with the real needs, concerns, and quality of life issues of this city.

this "quality of life" campaign is a joke.

Jul. 31 2014 10:31 AM
Alan from Rockaway

Nothing but haters! Since when did NYC become so prude. I love these kids and they are the only good thing about riding on the A train. I guess Banksy was right, NYC lost its nerve.

Jul. 31 2014 10:30 AM
KC from NYC

It's not about criminalizing dancing; it's about finding an appropriate and safe place in which to do it. It is not safe and it really disrupts train travel to have people playing loud music and jumping around the cars. I have seen people hit or almost get hit. Also not all the dancers are "artists" who are respectful of passengers who need to get by or do not want someone flipping in their face. Some of the dancers have also been verbally aggressive when passengers do not want them in their face and seem like no more than thugs who happen to be dancing on the subway. I can support the dancing if it can stay on the platform and be safe. If there is no plan handling on the subway, there should be no dancing on it either.

Jul. 31 2014 10:30 AM
Janet from Brooklyn

Let the kids dance, let the mariachis sing and throw the book at the screaming Bible thumpers!

Jul. 31 2014 10:28 AM
becky from nyc

Another reason to bike ride the city!
Hardly ever train it but when i did encounter a dance group i wanted to donate soapy washclothes or babywipes or just hold my nose while they preformed a 1/2 inch away from me.
Teenagers sweat pretty profusely when they work out. Remember the smell factor guys, besides steering clear of the police & stepping on toes or hurling into faces.

Jul. 31 2014 10:28 AM
east village from east village

So, I find it curious that the quality of life centers on young men of color.
I don't see any police cracking down on the white young people in the East Village openly drinking on the streets, openly smoking pot, yelling late at night..not that they should be, but the imbalance is very obvious.

Jul. 31 2014 10:27 AM
GLoria McLean from NYC

The punishment does NOT fit the crime. Why not offer these dancers scholarships at real dance schools, or with studios in their communities where they can expend their energy and begin to reap the benefits of Dance in a larger context of Art and Discipline and Study and mentorship and how it can help them in their lives. Instead these arrests will criminalize their energy and efforts and make it all worse. Is this even related to the same mentality that shunned Howard Dean's spontaneous expression of joy a bunch of years ago in the political world - like: it's not okay to have spontaneous expressions of energy in this culture that prefers to make it safe for hidden, white collar crime and political control of the population.

Jul. 31 2014 10:27 AM
DMV from formerly Brooklyn

This is a sad development. If someone has gotten hit or threatened by someone, that is serious, but doesn't get fixed by the arrest of every kid trying to entertain for dollars. Let homeless people sing, dancers dance, and share the goddamn city. Even though 7 am is always too early for mariachi, I would never assert my need for quiet over their need for earning a living.

If you outlaw dance, only outlaws will dance.

Jul. 31 2014 10:26 AM
bob from Brooklyn

LET THEM DANCE! It's NEW YORK!

They're hustling for a living!

It's annoying from a commuter's perspective, but boo hoo.

Jul. 31 2014 10:26 AM
Joe Pearce from Brooklyn

I can't believe some of the stuff I'm hearing from callers. It doesn't make a damn bit of difference if the subway dancers are dangerous to riders or not (although there is no way that they cannot be). The problem is that they disturb untold numbers of riders all day long. When I pay my $2.50 for a ride, I have some reasonable expectation that the ride will be as comfortable and safe as conditions allow for, that I will be able to read a book or newspaper, think my own thoughts, be protected from unnecessary noise and activity, etc., etc. These subway performers, but especially the dancers and acrobats (you can hardly call what they do dancing, but acrobatics would cover it), are extremely disturbing to the people in the cars, and often request people to move about the car in order to give them room to perform. A week ago, I was standing in a car, holding onto a pole, when 3 kids got on and, after a stop or two, started to look very disgruntled. I then found out from one of them that I was impeding their performance because I was holding onto the pole that they needed. I moved over and stood against one of the doors (something the MTA is always advising against), and then they performed. During that time, no one in that car (I would estimate 50 to 60 people) could do anything except react to the ever-present activity and noise of the 'dancers'. Doesn't a subway rider have the right to at least a semblance of peace and comfort while paying for his ride, or are we past that kind of official consideration?

Jul. 31 2014 10:25 AM
Eric

I used to feel bad for disliking these kids but I dont anymore. The volume of the music and the request for people to move are such violations of personal space and disrespectful to passengers.

Arrests? No. Just stopped from doing it on the subway. License them to perform in the stations. Keep the volume low.

I'm as liberal as they come but don't tell me it's this or a life of crime. Please.

Jul. 31 2014 10:24 AM
The Truth from Becky

I don't want this happening to me on the train however it should be a ticketed offense.

GUYS: Stay in school get your education!

Knowledge is power and Power is Control!

Jul. 31 2014 10:23 AM
William from Manhattan

I cannot understand why this is even a debate. This has nothing to do with policing dancing and everything to do with preventing a public nuisance. Anyone is free to dance his or her heart out in almost any public space. But flying around a crowded careening subway car is blatantly dangerous. Just ask the lady near me a month ago who was drenched in another rider's coffee when he dodged out of the way of one of these scofflaw acrobats.

Jul. 31 2014 10:23 AM
Marco from Manhattan

they should designate specific cars for performers so people that doesn't want to deal with them could just avoid those cars?

Jul. 31 2014 10:23 AM
John from office

RAYQUAN ??? Is that name in the bible?

Jul. 31 2014 10:23 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Brian: have you hurt anyone yet [from dancing]?
Kid/performer: naw. naw. NOT YET! (chuckling)

Jul. 31 2014 10:22 AM
Onyx from Jersey City

I think it's disingenuous to have this discussion without discussing the demographics of the dancers, and why everyone feels put out or threatened. It's the elephant in the room. C'mon, let's hear how these are mostly black men, and how everyone feels they "might get hurt."

It's laughable that in a city with so much going on, that we continue to insist on sterilizing it - and pretending that suddenly, everyone is forced to take out their earbuds or look up from Candycrush. It's who just rushed the subway car...shudder.

Jul. 31 2014 10:22 AM
fuva from harlemworld

'Stealing from' and 'throwing' kids? C'mon, Brian, don't pile on...These kids are obviously inventive and talented. They have developed acrobatic talents with no access to uneven bars. I get emailed fan videos of them from Japan, Australia...Nevertheless, I can see the risk here.

Jul. 31 2014 10:21 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

It's nice to see this "2Live" crew honest about the fact they are repeat offenders with no respect for their fellow passengers or the law and have admitted injuring others during their performance... throw the book at them.

Jul. 31 2014 10:21 AM
Seth

we have no one to blame but ourselves. we take such great care of toddlers, but once a kid is a teen, we've given them nothing to do with themselves. be happy these kids aren't breaking into your home or committing bigger crimes. we have abandoned teens today and now they come back to bite us.

Jul. 31 2014 10:20 AM
Betty from Manhattan

It doesn't matter if the pole/subway performers actually hurt me, they scare me.! Give them a place to dance not in a subway car. I pay my fare and I want a subway car where I don't have to worry about being injured. Subways are for transport. Why does someone have to be kicked in the face, a shin isn't a good enough reason.?

Jul. 31 2014 10:19 AM
Judith from park slope

Hey! I tweeted a video last night of a pole that had been pulled off the roof of the train and was wobbling after dancers "used" it...http://instagram.com/p/lirRYGGjGL/
I don't know if this link will work...
I think these boys are worth helping...by giving them other places to dance...but damaging the subway cars and costing all of us money is not good!

Jul. 31 2014 10:18 AM
susan from Manhattan

oh no, it's not racist.
if a foot flies at your face or you get kicked in the head, it doesn't matter what color the foot is...

Jul. 31 2014 10:18 AM

Their music is loud & annoying. Many are trying to read books, newspapers, or just trying to think. While 2 are dancing one of the group is collecting money from the riders, it's quite intimidating.

Jul. 31 2014 10:17 AM
Amelia from Soho

How about the fact that subways dancers are just ANNOYING? I'm just trying to get to an from work; the last thing I want on my ride is someone yelling in my face then asking me for money.

Jul. 31 2014 10:17 AM
ml from inwood

I do feel that it's unsafe when the performers are too close to me. However, most of these kids are good! Take them out of the subway and pay for their gymnastic lessons. Don't punish them for trying to make a few dollars entertaining the masses.

Jul. 31 2014 10:17 AM
James from Brooklyn

To: David from NYC

You are incorrect. Bicycles get pulled over and ticketed all the time (as they should if they are not following the rules of the road.) My building super just got ticketed by the NYPD for not stopping at a red light on his bicycle. In fact, many in the bicycle community think that the NYPD unfairly cracks down on bicyclists while motor vehicles pose a much greater risk.

How about sticking to the topic - should these "Showtime" performers be allowed to tell me to move out of my seat, blast loud music and then flip around and nearly kick me in the face while I am trying to just go to work? My answer in no.

Jul. 31 2014 10:16 AM
Brian from Brooklyn

Here’s the question: why should any person be involuntarily placed in the middle of a performance that they might reasonably consider puts them at risk? One could argue that they’re not as at risk as they perceive, but don’t individual subway riders have the right to make that decision themselves? Isn’t the burden properly placed on the guy leaping, kicking, swinging, not the person trying just to ride the subway?

Jul. 31 2014 10:16 AM
Emily from Brooklyn

As opposed to experiencing other forms of "subway begging," I'm usually happy to have a little entertainment and would prefer to give money to kids who are creative in trying to make a buck. Furthermore, in my experience, subway dancers have respectfully asked other riders to clear the way.

Jul. 31 2014 10:16 AM
john from office

[...]We should allow these dancers because we always need 50 year olds who are still dancing and wearing their hip hop outfits, like the aging Guardian Angels with their pot bellies and balding head, to remind us of our own greatness.

Its Show Time!

Jul. 31 2014 10:14 AM
RST from Brooklyn

This seems particularly racist. It seems that arrests of performing artists who most likely haven't done anything wrong is not a productive solution to youth and minority unemployment in the city. There are plenty of musicians and singers that are much more obtrusive and much less entertaining than dancing kids. And to the question of being hurt or kicked--I have my feet stepped on, am shoved, and other minor assaults and discomforts by my fellow subway and bus riders on a regular basis and am not entertained at all.

Jul. 31 2014 10:14 AM
susan from manhattan

totally dangerous.
their moves are great, so creative...so i hate to say it, but they shouldn't be flailing around on the subway. i always wonder when someone will be kicked in the head.

let's outlaw spitting while we're at it. so gross, tired of having guys spitting all over the place everywhere i go.

Jul. 31 2014 10:14 AM
Brad from bklyn

The greatest risk of injury is to the PERFORMERS. And this is another good argument for getting these folks off the train for good. They are risking lifelong injuries to themselves and the passengers. How many break dancers from the '80s are going around now with permanent neck, back, and limb injuries from dancing on cardboard.

Jul. 31 2014 10:14 AM
Janine from Manhattan

Arrest them! And the ones who do it at Union Square Station. It's a fire hazard there for sure. You can't pass by. Who wants to listen to that crap music either! Give me a violin or even a pipe. Drums and loud music is not for those of us who just need to the subway to get frome one place to another in peace. The streets are loud enough. Hearing this in an enclosed space is awful.

Jul. 31 2014 10:14 AM
Ben

"It entertains the tourist?" How many tourist on are the M train from Manhattan to Brooklyn at 6pm on a Wednesday?

Jul. 31 2014 10:14 AM
The Truth from Becky

Finally. Stop this foolishness on the train and go to a proper audition for Cirque Du Soleil.

Jul. 31 2014 10:13 AM

Urban planners have studied the affect of perceived safety on actual safety/crime statistics for decades. Not only do non criminals feel safer when things are cleaner, better lit, more transparent, less chaotic, etc. but also the actual criminals are less likely to commit crimes. Apparently, the criminals feel the possibility of committing a crime and getting away with it is less likely when things are less chaotic...

Jul. 31 2014 10:12 AM
EOOGML

Just spent a full day walking all around Manhattan, Soho, LES, Greenwich village.

These characters must be banished.

And NYC should be renamed organic overpriced gross muffin land.

Jul. 31 2014 10:11 AM
Zita from Manhattan

A turnstile jumper or beggar doesn't enter my personal space, but " it's showtime" performers do when I have to make way for them. I pay a price for my personal space, why should anyone tolerate it? There would be more of an audience out on the streets for this sort of stuff.

Jul. 31 2014 10:11 AM
Mangus from Manhattan

I got stepped on several times and they are too loud and obtrusive!

Jul. 31 2014 10:10 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Yeah, sorry, these guys are a menace. I don't care if they do it on the sidewalk or even in the station (not at rush hour) but in the train, no, no way. And yes they should be arrested and locked up because it's a serious public disturbance not just "an annoyance". Also, lock up the mariachi's and the Bible Thumpers. Zero tolerance for these people in the train cars.

Jul. 31 2014 10:10 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

The only people who enjoy subway dancers are subway dancers. They infringe on commuters' rights to a safe ride and need to go.

Jul. 31 2014 10:10 AM
Ramon from Bronx

haters gonna hate. Sad the people who call in their with their lilly whitewashed lives. The race of the callers is pretty easy to distinguish.I like and want more art and perfromance in the subway. Loud? How about the screeching wheels.

Jul. 31 2014 10:09 AM
Jouce from NYC

Let's make this simple. I do not want to be subject to this. Period. If we are going to have it, have it in designated cars.

I feel no need for proof that there are injuries. I do not want to be on such a subway car. Is that getting through? I guess not.

If I cannot escape it, fine, I will not take the subway.

Jul. 31 2014 10:09 AM
David from nyc

This is a issue ??
Really, meanwhile bikes fly the wrong way ,don't stop at lights,ride on the sidewalks...yet a never see a bike pulled over.

Again NYPD the easy fruit on the tree

Jul. 31 2014 10:07 AM
Jake from Windsor Terrace

What about enforcing speeding and other traffic laws? That seems to be more important that some kids on a train.

Jul. 31 2014 10:06 AM

I wish you wouldn't dismiss these arrests as "broken windows" policing. Having been trapped in a subway car with these reckless "performers," I'm thrilled to hear that they're getting arrested more frequently.

Jul. 31 2014 10:06 AM

Brian if turnstile jumpers should get arrested because they may be on their way to a more serious crimes, they should arrest a whole buncha people getting off on Wall St.

Jul. 31 2014 10:05 AM
Paul from Brooklyn, NY

These guys are annoying, but arrest them? Why is this not a ticketed offense? Give them a summons and it will eventually stop.

Jul. 31 2014 10:05 AM
david from Brooklyn

If it is a misdemeanor, why are they being "arrested" and not just being issued a ticket/summons?

Jul. 31 2014 10:05 AM
James from Brooklyn

I am SOOOOOO GLAD that the NYPD is cracking down on these jerks. I am sick of their shoes brushing past my face and their loud music and their confrontational attitudes. No, Iowa tourist, it's NOT cute and fun...

Jul. 31 2014 10:05 AM
David! from Manhattan

Of all the nuisances that we tolerate in NYC, few are as irritating as the intrusively loud performers on subways. Not only do they intrude in terms of volume--who can hear anything except the yelling and background "music" being played, but they also intrude on personal space. It's one thing to be jammed up beside someone on a crowded train. I believe we all understand that. But to have to sit or step back to avoid being hit by flying legs and the occasional literally flying shoe is too much! If they choose to perform and show their impressive gymnastic feats, the platform is the location--not the trains.

Jul. 31 2014 10:04 AM
mr nyc

One time these subway dancers asked me to move out of the way so that they could dance and, when I wouldn't move, one of the guys threatened to kill me. It was very scary.

Jul. 31 2014 10:03 AM

Dancing on the subway may be annoying but its not a crime. More police looking for reason to "police"...

Jul. 31 2014 10:03 AM
hilts

This crackdown on subway dancers is a step in the right direction. A confined space like a subway car is not an appropriate venue for this type of performance.

The next thing the NYPD needs to do is ban people dressed as Spiderman, Batman, and other fictional characters from panhandling in Times Square under the guise of posing for photos with naive tourists.

Jul. 31 2014 10:00 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.