You have a right to perform in the subways, on the sidewalks and in the parks of New York City. The purpose of this guide, written by Susie Tanenbaum and the Street Performers’ Advocacy Project, is to clarify your rights and responsibilities as public space performers, especially when you are setting up underground.
“New York City is a festival,” exclaimed one visitor to the city. Indeed, every year there are upwards of 70 official festivals throughout New York City’s five boroughs not to mention the hundreds of block parties, park gatherings, and club parties New Yorkers host and attend.
City Lore’s staff and network of associates includes an array of writers and scholars who think and write about urban folklore and urban culture in an ongoing effort to understand our cosmopolitan (and provincial) New York City experience. Many of the essays we include were published in the City Lore Magazine published between 1988 and 2001, and in the NewYork Folklore Society Newsletter and Voices magazine.
Theo Eastwind, a member of the MTA’s Music Under New York (MUNY) program as well as a freelance performer, has written these guidelines to share with his fellow street and subway performers. At the Street Performers Advocacy Project, we recognize that there are different points of view among performers about the best ways to negotiate subway and other public urban spaces.