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 New York Performance/Bushing Laws?
Author: remy 
Date:   03-26-02 00:48

Hey--
anybody out there know what the laws are concerning busking/street performance in New York City?
Any response would be much appreciated :)
rem
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 Re:
Author: ian pugh 
Date:   03-26-02 02:12

its illegal. everywhere. unless you get a festival permit. you must apply for the permit well in advance, and have it with you when you would like to perform. the permit always arrives two weeks after the date you plan to perform on.

on the plus side, there are several places you can work safely where the cops will leave you alone unless you are obstructing traffic, making way too much noise, or they just decide they dont like you.

washington square park is the first place. lots of competition to work the fountain, but there are plenty of other places to work, i was always fond of working near the bust of garibaldi. this is the safest bet, but can be a tough crowd.

central park is a bit harder, but if you are nice and dont cause trouble (block traffic and make a lot of noise) the cops will usually turn a blind eye. i liked to work an area near the band shell, but have heard working the zoo entrance can be good, too. oh, and the entrance to the metropolitan museum of art, not many people perform there, i never tried it, but it is where michael moschen does his bit of street performing in the in motion video, i believe.

the subways are good for cold weather, the hard part is finding a spot that isnt already being used by someone. midtown areas work best as they have lots of traffic due to all the connections. great money can be made during the rush hour times in the right place.

i found with my small quiet act, i was able to work a place where no other street performers could work...in soho. they cops always smiled at me, and watched my shows, but i know this was unusual. after i started working a particular corner on a regular basis, this violinist, who saw me there a week before, tried to claim my spot. the police threw him out, i took over and they didnt say a word (make friend with the cops if at all possible, they usually have regular beats they walk)...thing is with narrow sidewalks, blocking pedestrian traffic is a big concern, so you have to pick yer streets right if your going onto an actual street. something like west broadway that has extra wide sidewalks.

if a cop hassles you at all, agree with them completely and quickly pack up, smile, appologize, say you didnt realize. they can confiscate your materials and give you a big ticket, but i've only every seen them do that to someone being mouthy.

battery park is good, but when i lived there it was run by a bunch of thugs. they broke a guys leg i knew from washington square because he was performing in there space (dont mind that he'd been working that spot for 10 years before they arrived on the scene). the only way to make real money there is to be able to work the lines for the ferry to see the statue of liberty, and thats where the thugs work, i hear they're still working there. they have a tumbling act, so look out for them.

there are some other places that i had heard about, but i never worked them, so i dont remember them right now...

eyun
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 Re:
Author: Daniel Kerr 
Date:   03-26-02 02:24


Ouch! Key West sounds like a fairytale land compared to New York.

Daniel
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 Re:
Author: David Kaplan 
Date:   03-26-02 03:24

When are you going to be in NY? Lets get together. I would love to learn some new stuff.
-David Kaplan
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 Re:
Author: mdamelio 
Date:   03-26-02 03:32

I think we should from here on out refer to Ian as cj encyclopedia, I as of yet have not seen a question that he didn't know the answer to, or at least something about it. It seems he has been all over the place. Ian would you mind sharing some stories, maybe an essay or something regarding some particularly fun times, some bad times, money to be had, great places, etc.... If this is something no one else is interested in maybe you could just email me cause I love to hear about that stuff my email is milkyD402@yahoo.com and MilkyD402 is also my AIM screen name. Take it easy. Oh as a side note I've read bits of that book Passing The Hat, it's pretty good, the author basically interviews buskers all over America finding out their stories and experiences, but anyway they said that New York is a particularly rough spot for busking. An example being the legs broke thing.

~Mickey
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 Re:
Author: ian pugh 
Date:   03-26-02 07:31

a great book, i recommend it to anyone looking for street performing advice. the time it was written makes it a bit dated, but the information it contains is timeless.

im not so much an encyclopedia, i, just as ferret, have been around the block for over a decade at this. there are many people who are far more superior in contact juggling than myself (chico, daniel, lance, etc). the new blood that comes in here with so much innvovation overwhelms me at times. im still kinking away at ferrets new machine move, i think i've got it figured out....now just needs some smoothing.

let us know more specifically what you want to know, as im sure between the handfull of us here who have made a living off this craft, there are many stories, and a good question helps get us old timers memories working. *g*

and just as a side note, 'steve the jump guy', homeless most his life, had only one of his leg broken. he disappeared 4 months later never to be seen again. he was a great performer and i was honored to share space with him in washington square park.

en
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 Re:
Author: Daniel Kerr 
Date:   03-26-02 20:48


That's really distressing to hear about. Homeless, with only a street show to support himself, and then having this deprived from him after being left with a broken leg.

Life can be cruel, I hope he's okay.

Daniel Kerr
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 I'm not gonna be there...
Author: remy 
Date:   03-26-02 23:22

okay, sorry if I misinformed you...I won't actually be in new york anytime soon. this is for a friend who plans to be there for the festival. I guarantee you'll meet more contact jugglers there, though, and learn plenty.

best of luck
rem
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 Re: I'm not gonna be there...
Author: David Kaplan 
Date:   03-27-02 04:35

You mean the festival I just posted?
-David Kaplan
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 Re: I'm not gonna be there...
Author: remy 
Date:   03-27-02 07:35

yep--april 6th--new york city. He'll be there :)
rem
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