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A journalist who has been unemployed for a year, Steve McGookin, is taking to playing music in the New York subways. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds. As a journalist, he’s approaching this as a project to write and blog about, a curiosity to fulfill. Once a journalist….

I’m planning to play on the platform for a while to get a sense of what the city’s buskers face every day and be able to tell their stories a little better. Then, for the price of a Metrocard, I’ll go wherever the music leads me; I’ll talk to the musicians it leads me to and I’ll introduce them to you.

I’ll do the same thing at a different station around the MTA map, at different times of the day, for forty-eight days. . . .

But playing at the stations is just a starting point; I’m doing this, first and foremost, to be doing something creative and be telling stories again, but also to spread the word about some of the remarkable musicians who – in most cases – make riders’ days a little brighter.

Just like newspapers these days, he’ll be passing the hat. Paid content and micropayments are in.

Seriously, I wish him luck and will be reading the blog with interest.

  • Thanks Jeff!
    Rest assured, anyone who’s heard me play will tell you it could quite easily be as bad as it sounds…
    Have a good weekend.

  • Jeff,
    Steve found a very creative way of blending two talents … or passions. Kudos.

  • Jeff,

    Steve’s endeavor reminds me of an amazing documentary and music project that was done recently called Playing for Change. If you, Steve or anyone else out there don’t know of it you can find it at
    PS Thanks for writing your google book. Loved it.

  • Heh. When I taught journalism in Boston, I’d assign students to research busking ordinances and interview subway musicians. If they didn’t find one to talk to, I’d tell them to research banjo-playing, then interview me about my (and an NPR newsman’s) career alternatives.

  • This is a truly wonderful idea, and I’ve already added the blog to my Google Reader. I’m always curious about the buskers I’ve seen and this will give me a voyeuristic thrill and insight into that world.