10 Favorite NYPD Quotes on Busking

Heidi Kole posted this brilliant list today at the Subway Diaries. BuskNY has tacked on a couple at the bottom — anyone care to add further?
1. “Oh those rules, yeah I know all about those rules, we don’t care about the rules.”
2. “What rules?”
3. “Heidi, I thought we had an agreement? You wouldn’t sing & I wouldn’t bother you?”
4. “Oh that that First Amendment thing again, we’ve heard of that, it doesn’t matter, you’re still getting a ticket.”

5. (Lean in & Whispered) “This platform is actually a terrorist target”

6. “Technically you’re not doing anything illegal, but you still can’t do it.”
7. “I’m gonna give you a ticket ’cause my supervisor wants to see I’m doing something useful, but once I”m gone you can start singing again.”

8. “Have you ever thought of conforming?”
9. “Don’t start getting rulezy with me.”
10. “I AM THE LAW!” (For proper pronunciation, lean on that first ‘a’ for a bit).



*Case Dismissed*

Last week I went in to court to finally face off with officer Liu for my puppet show arrest under time square in April:

the video of which was put to delightful narration in a recent interview:

” This is a very emotional biographical film with several key plot points, along with several key emotional performances:  The Promulgation of Rights,The Gentle Handcuffing, The Procession up the Escalator, The Stripping of the Mask, The responsibilty-beleagured role of the Officer in Charge illustrating social rank and functional power as well as governed empathy.  (It’s not the last time this will happen, but I’m thinking of the agonizingly detailed death-march of Jesus described by The Stations of the Cross, also called Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows) The police swoop in to reclaim that Priority to the space which Kalan had once claimed as a meer denizen.”

So after staying up all night frantically searching for the receipt they had given me for the time my body spent in their cage (which it turns out you don’t really need at all) and not finding it, I donned my swank brown seventies three-piece and headed into the city amidst swaths of birdsong. In the line at midtown community court for half an hour I played Woodie Guthrie’s All You Fascists Bound To Lose on my mini-speaker, and at long last past the threshold of the halls of justice, only to be told by the clerk at the desk that my case had been dismissed, and “I should get something in the mail.” My heart sank. My temples pounded. My blood curled. Even when they lose, they win, gobbling up another day of my life in bureaucratic feinting. I never got anything in the mail. I probably never will. But now, onwards and upwards, towards the consideration of civil matters. Enough is Enough.

Advice from Court

Matthew asked for a bit of ‘advice’ for any buskers facing a hearing for either a wrongful ticket or arrest while Busking the NYC Subways.

My advice in a nutshell to any buskers facing a cop in court for wrongful ticket or arrest is be prepared ….I might even go so far as to say, even if for your own sanity, be overly prepared.

  • Know your facts as to exactly what happened; dates, times what exactly you were doing, when & where.
  • Study & know the MTA Rules & Regulations or have a copy with you as those are your rights in that pamphlet.
  • Be prepared to depose the Officer who issued either the ticket or ordered the arrest. Write and rehearse your deposition & if you need it,  get help from someone who has been through this for busking or anything for that matter. Do whatever it takes, but be prepared (as intimidating as this part may seem to read & digest,  trust me, the process will empower you).
  • Dress professionally – especially if you’re being wrongly accused of panhandling as that effort alone not only shows respect for the court, but already visually tosses the charge out the window if you look 100% put together & professional. One other thing dressing professionally accomplishes in my opinion is it allows you, the accused busker to more cleanly represent yourself as you look & hence feel like a ‘different person’ thus putting distance between you, the busker & you representing the busker. Trust me, it makes it a lot easier.
  •  And be respectful of the system even though we all know it’s rigged. The thing is the cops only know one thing ….being a cop. They are, on average not intellectuals. In the system underground their tools are tickets, guns & cuffs. In the courtroom they are without any of these tools. And unless they hire a lawyer to represent them, if you know your stuff and I mean really know your stuff the court can only respect you for that and it makes their job and by association your life a whole lot easier.

Heidi Kole