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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Jazzman, 34th Street

Organ player, NYC
Photo by myself underground, at the 34th Street subway station.

I've seen this fellow a couple times but never stopped to take a photograph until Wednesday.

This elderly gentleman sits hunched over an electronic keyboard. A couple mechanical dolls are duct taped in front of him. On the ground nearby, another mechanical doll dances the hula.


Yes, we have a lot of kooky people here. I can't explain why.

Perhaps the kooks are drawn to larger cities, which are more diverse and usually tolerant of difference.

In cities too, you can be 'with' people without really interacting with them. Therefore you can function as a kook in your own world without becoming lonely. The running joke is that all New Yorkers have altars decorated with human heads in their apartments.

A small crowd of curious onlookers gathered around the fellow above. He was definitely 'a character'.

Related posts: On Music and Elephants, Underground, Pulling Strings on the Subway Platform and Halloween Musicians and the NYC Marathon.


SP said...

I think he may be my new favourite person... Love it!

Olivier said...

j'aime bien l'expression du pianiste

Anonymous said...

Lovely photo.

and yes I think you are right re the fact that it is easier to be a bit quirky in a big city. Small town mentality excludes and marginalises such people or tries to look after them which is not always what they want.

I always feel happiest in big cities and I am a little bit crazy!!!

B SQUARED said...

Was he playing for money or just playing?

Kitty said...

ha, SP. He'll be happy to have a new fan.

Thanks Olivier.
I don't think his expression changed at all over many minutes.

Thanks RB!
ha. I love both big and small cities. The big ones you can definitely be whatever you want. There can be a hint of loneliness though.

Hi B Squared
As all street musicians here, he was playing for money.

You'll be pleased to know that big bunch of young women scampered up to take photos of him and dropped money in his bag.

dianasfaria.com said...

I must be a little kooky too, because he seems normal to me.
Great capture Kitty.

Tiago said...

Maybe he is just a poor old man who needs the money to live...

Laurent said...

Good shot and I might say a little sad for me, maybe because we don't hear the music.

Kitty said...

Thanks Lily!

Yes, he probably is. I feel badly for being so judgemental compared to you and everyone else. He is probably a sweet old gentleman trying to get by.

Thanks Laurent
Next time, I will have to film a movie with sound!

Buenos Aires Photoblog said...

OMG, he is sooo adorable...

anna said...

Hey I saw this man too!! I visited NYC for the first time in january this year, but not for the last time (first save some money since i have to fly all the way from Holland..)

Ken Burns said...

Great photograph, it really does tell a story!