NYC Subway Performances Believe You Have To Stay Vigilant Against Mentally Unstable Individuals As Crime Rises, Says ‘We’re Targets All The Time’

Subway musicians express concerns about their safety. Musicians, competing for performance spots at MTA auditions, revealed their fear of violent crime in the underground.
Jon Skinner/Unsplash

Subway musicians express concerns about their safety. Musicians, competing for performance spots at MTA auditions, revealed their fear of violent crime in the underground. They constantly feel like targets and must be vigilant, per the New York Post. 26-year-old Joshua Oxyer said,

“If you’re doing anything like this, you have to look over your shoulder all the time.” 

He added,

“We’re targets all the time.”

A New Orleans-inspired dance band New Thousand drummer, Alan Zavodsky, revealed that sometimes he is forced to avoid unpredictable people.  

“There are so many things happening from certain people who aren’t mentally well who are interacting with us… We’ve had situations where somebody was really drunk or aggressive and started knocking over our stuff, and he got dealt with.”

Many musicians, with various musical styles, participated in auditions for the MTA’s Under New York music program. Around 25 artists are chosen to perform at popular subway stations, but concerns about subway attacks have intensified due to recent violent incidents. Crime in the subway, especially felony assaults, has increased significantly since the pandemic, according to NYPD statistics.

The number of train attacks causing injuries to passengers increased by 53%, from 373 assaults in 2019 to 570 in 2023. Despite the risks, musicians find playing music in the subway worthwhile for the financial benefits and exposure it offers. 

MTA’s Music Under New York program brings music to the transit system, entertaining commuters and providing a platform for musicians. The 25 selected artists can schedule performances at busy transit spots and are recognized as special MTA performers with designated banners.

#Clique, what are your thoughts? 

Our biggest stories, straight to your box.

Sign up now to get our essential daily briefs on politics' Environment, Royals and more.

By signing up you agree to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy & Cookies Statement

Related

Editors Picks