Music Under New York


25 Musical Acts Win Spots to Play Underground

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Latin-ska-reggae fusion band, a female mariachi group and a wind quintet were among the 25 new musical acts selected to be part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Music Under New York program.

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Would-Be Subway Musicians Audition for the Right to be Legit

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Each act had five minutes to convince the judges it merited the right to legitimately perform in the subway system under an MTA-approved banner. Help us discover the city's best underground music by snapping a shot or sending us a video clip of your favorite subway performance.


Transportation Nation

Would-Be Subway Musicians Vie For Right To Be Legit

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Belle Tones, following their audition for the Music Under New York program (photo by Kate Hinds)

Seventy musicians lined up in Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday to audition for the New York MTA's "Music Under New York" (MUNY) program. Each act had five minutes to sell themselves to the judges. (According to MTA rules, performers are welcomed on subway platforms, but must audition in order to be under the literal banner of the MUNY program.)

(Listen to WNYC's All Things Considered this evening for an audio tour of the auditions. And to contribute photos of your own favorite subway musicians, visit WNYC's culture page.)

Steel drum player Caesar Passée (photo by Kate Hinds)

While many talked about how important it is to bring music to the masses, 14-year old Queens resident (and classical pianist) Jason Cordero was more pragmatic when asked why he wants to play Mozart on a subway platform. "I practice at home. When I practice in the subway, I ... get donations."

Shae Fiol, a musician with the all-female group Mariachi Flor de Toloache, said MUNY is "a great program." Plus, she said, since they're already playing in the subway, they might as well make it official. "We want to have our own banner that says our name on it and be able to call up and schedule a location and a time and be legit."

Members of the Mariachi Flor de Toloache, prior to performing (photo by Kate Hinds)

Musicians in the MUNY program don't get paid, but they are allowed to solicit donations from their underground audience.

Joe D's Glamma Twins (photo by Kate Hinds)

One of the judges is David Spelman. His day job is as the director of the New York Guitar Festival. But as a judge, he’s listening with the perspective of a subway commuter – not a music professional. "This may not be what I want to hear at 7:30 in the morning," he says of one steel drummer performer, "but I could definitely handle this after work."

Fourteen year old pianist Jason Cordero talking with Bob Holman, the audition's MC (photo by Kate Hinds)

The MTA holds auditions for the MUNY program annually. There are currently about 350 individual performers and groups taking part; Wednesday's auditions were expected to add another 20 names to the pool.The MTA said it will announce the names of the new musicians who have been accepted into the program after Memorial Day.

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Discovering the City’s Best Undergound Music

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Wednesday, musicians will play their best songs in front of a panel of judges in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall in the hopes of being selected to be part of the MTA's Music Under New York program. Help us discover the city's best underground music by snapping a shot or sending us a video clip of your favorite subway performance.



MTA Announces Next Class of Subway Buskers

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Coming soon to a subway station near you: a Japanese mandolin player playing Italian classics, Baroque harp music, and a full blown Afro-jazz group. They're just some of the 19 individuals and groups chosen by the MTA's Music Under New York program to join the roster of musicians officially sanctioned to perform underground. Here's a list of the winners.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Montreal Bike Share In Debt; Amtrak to Senate: Gateway Tunnel "Critical" for Region

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Senate Democrats want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the oil industry is fixing gas prices. (Marketplace). Meanwhile, their proposal to strip oil companies of tax breaks failed in the Senate yesterday (New York Times).

Politico writes: "Republicans have a messaging problem on gas prices. More Americans actually believe in UFOs and ghosts than blame President Barack Obama for causing their pain at the pump."

Montreal's Bixi bike share program, losing money and in debt, needs financial backing from the city. (The Globe and Mail)

Auditions for NYC's "Music Under New York" program were held yesterday; WNYC stopped by to take pictures -- and audio -- of the would-be subway performers. Take a listen!

CNN Money profiles the president of Alta Bike Share, the company behind the bike share programs in Boston and DC.

Workers move closer to their jobs, take transit, buy less, as a result of gas prices:  (New York Times)

Loudoun County officials are exploring what would happen if they withdrew funding for the Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport. (Washington Post)

The Congressional Budget Office floated a mileage tax at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on “Financing 21st Century Infrastructure.” (The Hill)

Meanwhile, at the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing for the Federal Railroad Administration's budget request, Amtrak president Joseph Boardman said the Gateway Tunnel is "critical" to high-speed rail service. He added:  "I think we're out of capacity in the Northeast Corridor...we have no place to put the New Jersey Transit trains that come into Penn Station." (Video below via Senator Lautenberg, YouTube)

The Freedom Rides turn 50 this year, and two original freedom riders talk will about that activism on today's Brian Lehrer Show. (WNYC)

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

-- high fuel prices squeeze Montana agencies (link)

-- DC wants to impose fees on intercity bus industry (link)

-- DC's mayor will announce new DDOT head today (link)

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