Ode to New York: Francisco’s Reflection on Subway Music

Text: Francisco Collazo

[Julie’s note: Francisco has always loved subway music. Fair enough: here’s his reflection from today’s subway concert.]

It’s a cold Saturday afternoon in New York.

The news– television, radio, and print– is depressing: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the economy, the interest rate, the housing market.

I am heading to the city with all this on my mind.

Train service is changed due to maintenance; the #7 isn’t going to Manhattan. Instead, take the Q or the N to Lexington Ave., switch to the 4, 5, or 6 if you want to go to the East Side; do other changes and maneuvers if you want to go to the West Side.

Ah, well… this is New York City, and it’s a weekend, I tell myself. I am used to this, like millions of New Yorkers.

I get to the Union Square stop. The music is loud, pleasing, refreshing, and moving. People are dancing in the station.

An Oriental man with a Caucasian woman, a Black woman who is visiting New York with another woman.

People are clapping, photographing, and having fun. The spirit is high, the problems of every day forgotten, at least for a moment. It all seems suspended by the melodies and the lively steps of the dancers, the cameras’ flashes, the coming and going of the pedestrians thru the subway tunnels.

It is very therapeutic and refreshing at the same time.

I want to dance, sing, be one among the many.

The music is the best Americana; you can’t get better than that in the New York City subway on a cold day.

We are all here, Puerto Ricans, Chinese, Russians, Bangladeshis.

This is who we are and I wish you were here with us. We are receiving the unplanned and unexpected gift of music and joy.

This is New York City at its best.

Let’s dance!