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Music Under New York. Please let us know what you think of this guide! You can reach us at: As long as there have been streets, there have been street performers. In ancient Egypt and Greece, people entertained and passed the hat for donations. During the Middle Ages in Europe, troubadours were the personal street performers of the aristocrats, while minstrels and jongleurs brought joy to the general public. In colonial America, twelve-year-old Benjamin Franklin sang on the streets of Philadelphia!

At the turn of the century, immigrants helped to make street performing popular in New York. During the Great Depression, banjo players set up on subway and elevated platforms. Government authorities never knew exactly what to make of street performing. They seemed to think its spontaneity was a threat to law and order. Although street performing was allowed once again after , subway performances were illegal until the s. And yet the elevated and underground subway platforms were not quiet.

Artists still expressed themselves and attracted an audience underground. In the s, for example, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and others involved in the growing Urban Folk Revival Movement pulled out guitars while waiting for their trains.

Not only did they reclaim public space, they believed that songs could change social conditions. In the early s, young African American and Italian American men sang doo-wop inside subway cars and received donations from appreciative riders. Whether you were raised in New York City or in a country with its own street performing tradition, you are helping to carry on a respected urban tradition.

The NYCT authorizes these types of free expression in subway stations:. The statement we just quoted comes from Section As a consequence of the regulations, these activities are also protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution [see the end of this guide for the full text of the regulations]. Government in this case, the NYCT can only regulate the time, place, or manner in which the activities are presented, and only if restricting them advances a substantial government interest.

This translates into the following restrictions on performances:. Other performers are independent, and in this guide we refer to them as freelancers. MUNY schedules performances on designated mezzanines in the subway system and commuter railroad terminals. You have to pass an audition to become a member of MUNY. You do not have to be a MUNY member to perform in the subway system! Also, MUNY has nothing to do with subway platforms. But the NYCT prohibits the use of amplification devices on platforms, including battery-operated Mouse amps and microphones.

Freelancers, just like MUNY members, may use amplification when they perform on subway mezzanines. Many of them do anyway, and they risk getting ticketed by the Transit Police or having their property confiscated. For more information, go to: By the s, street performers in many U. Here are some highlights:. At some remarkable public hearings, musicians, subway riders, politicians, and civil liberties attorneys spoke, sang, and juggled in opposition to the ban.

The Transit Authority listened, but it banned amplification devices on platforms instead. But it is important to note that subway performances are an authorized activity to this day! Many officers are friendly to subway performers, and some really appreciate the way a performance can brighten up the subway environment. At the same time, the police are allowed to use their discretion in implementing the NYCT regulations. So, if a performer is not playing by one of the rules, officers can decide whether to let it go, issue a warning or a ticket, eject the performer from the station, or even put the performer under arrest.

If you have a confrontation with the police—if they tell you to change the way you are performing, move you, or tell you to leave—you still have options. You may want to assert your rights by raising objections with the officers. Their District Command should have a decibel meter.

If you feel that the police are treating you unfairly or using excess force, take down their badge numbers. Also, ask riders standing nearby if they are willing to be your witnesses, and if they are, take down their names and phone numbers. Use one of the Confrontation Sheets on this web site to collect all of the information.

Then you can call one of the attorneys listed on this web site for further advice. If you get a ticket, make sure you show up in court or respond by mail before the court date.

It is difficult to challenge a ticket if it charges you with violating one of the NYCT rules, but check the ticket for errors. You can also contact one of the attorneys on this web site for advice. During our research, we learned from many of you that some Transit Police officers get the rules wrong. You need a MUNY permit to perform in the subways. Everyone has a right to perform in the subways, subject only to time-place-manner regulations.

You can perform, but not for donations. You are authorized to perform and accept donations. No music is allowed on subway platforms. Acoustic music is allowed on platforms. Acoustic or amplified music is allowed on mezzanines. Subway music is banned at certain stations.

Transit Police officers have the discretion to decide whether or not to enforce regulations. They may also tell musicians to lower their volume or to stop performing for a while, for instance, during rush hours. But they can not keep musicians out of a station permanently. If you feel that some officers are misenforcing the rules, show them a printout of this guide, or let us know! They do this by overseeing any necessary repairs or renovations and by providing customer service to subway riders.

Some performers have reported at least as many confrontations with Station Managers as with the Transit Police. Station Managers do not have the authority to give you tickets, but they have the same discretion as police officers to tell you to lower your volume, or to stop performing at times when an area of the station is very crowded. You always have the option of raising objections. Just realize that this may lead to an escalation of the conflict.

Instead of objecting, you can comply with the orders, and use the Confrontation Sheets on this web site to write down everything that happened.

Then you can contact one of the attorneys on this web site for advice on how to proceed. Show the Station Managers a copy of this guide, and specifically Section Or contact us at City Lore, at or steve citylore. Designated MUNY subway spots are often located in station mezzanine areas. The auditions are held once a year. For additional information and an audition application form, visit the MTA web site at www.

How it works MUNY members request spots twice a month. Membership advantages Priority in popular spots: There are designated MUNY performance locations.

Access to commuter railroad terminals: However, you can freelance in other parts of Grand Central Terminal see Section 3 above. CD sales in commuter railroad terminals: MUNY serves as a referral source for performers. Corporations and individuals call the program to find out how to contact and hire MUNY members. The MTA website, www. MUNY performers should not display conflicting visual signage such as photos of themselves.

No CD sales on mezzanines: Freelancers and MUNY performers who sell CDs are at risk of receiving a summons from the police and having having their recordings confiscated. MUNY members must sign a contract to be a part of the program. Performers assume all risks and responsibility. Performers give up certain rights in case of accidents. MUNY members may perform as freelancers, too. The following attorneys and organizations are willing to be contacted if you have confrontations with the police or experience other problems during your public space performances.

Please call, email, or write to them for advice:. For legal advice on matters other than performing in the subways and on the streets, you can contact one of these Legal Services offices by visiting www. You know, are these positions surprising? You know, anybody who challenges these people, anybody who challenges their power, is a threat to them. John Bolton, as U. Everybody who goes against them is against, you know, the state. Private Manning is a traitor and should not have been turned into a martyr, as Senator Cotton said.

What was your response to Pence saying you endangered people, you know, presumably referring to the redacting of names in the documents that came out in WikiLeaks? So, these are just talking points. I wanted to read from BuzzFeed. But a secret, page report, prepared by a Department of Defense task force and newly obtained by BuzzFeed News, tells a starkly different story: It says the disclosures were largely insignificant and did not cause any real harm to US interests.

You know, they agreed with us. You know, what crime is it where you could have? You know, if I threw this rock, I could have broken a window. Anything can be construed as being national security. Interests is whatever they want.

So, in a sense, everyone who goes against them is a threat to national security. Your advice to other people who are in network securities in other parts of the world in terms of potentially being whistleblowers, and the importance of being a whistleblower—. What would be your advice to potential whistleblowers? The Insider Threat Program, whenever you—whenever you raise a concern, you are automatically listed under the Insider Threat Program as a potential threat, and placed under surveillance, under electronic surveillance or surveillance by your supervisors.

That said, there are no safe channels. You have to make a decision as to what to do. I was crying through that. He went through each of the releases that he took responsibility for, that you mentioned on the air, and he told us why he did it. That was the late Michael Ratner, one of the founding attorneys of the Center for Constitutional Rights, in , coming from your trial and coming on Democracy Now!

Your thoughts on what Michael said? And would you do this again, if you had the chance? Should I have stayed in college? It happened because of who I am and the values that I have and the time that I had and the means, the technology, that was available.

You know, I tried to—I tried to reach out through conventional journalists, if you will. Well, wait for one second. When you were in Iraq, you got a hold of these documents.

And, I mean, like I ran out of time. I had about 12 days, and three of those days were taken out by a snowstorm. Before you were going back to Iraq. So you turned to The New York Times. You tried to reach out to them. Well, I reached out to The Washington Post first. Technology is the problem. You know, SecureDrop is something that came out of all of this.

Why Washington Post , did you go to? Well, that was my reference, was a movie. Talk about what happened, how they treated you and the whole issue of healthcare for trans prisoners around the country. So, systems, like prison and the military and police, treat trans people—I mean, governments do this as a whole. They treat us as an administrative problem, to be solved somehow. So, the problem is, is that these are systemic problems.

And one of the more deeper systemic problems is the fact that trans people are disproportionately imprisoned. And we need to stop—like that needs to be more of a focus, is: Why do we have so many trans people in our prison system? Why do we have so many people who are trans in jail? Can you explain your own experience, what you were fighting for? You were held in an all-male prison. And most trans people are held in one of—that differs from their true gender.

You were fighting for hormone therapy. Talk about that battle and ultimately winning it. I mean, well, I barely won it. You know, I got access to hormones. But, I mean, it was arbitrary. It was based on some signature, you know, and only after a major lawsuit.

I had to fight tooth and nail for it. And so many people still have to fight to get just basic access, basic access to healthcare, especially in prison. What about the clothes you were forced to wear in prison, and also the length of your hair, and why this mattered so much to you? Like I value who I am, and I value my identity, and as all of us should. And we should be able to defend ourselves and fight back. And that was what drove me, day to day, while I was in these circumstances, and, you know, the clothing and whatever.

But yeah, like, you know, and a lot of this is stuff in the past for me. Well, certainly, that would be something that trans prisoners are faced with and that you—. So, we should be releasing trans prisoners. Not reform, dismantling the criminal—we need to restructure and dismantle the criminal justice system. Dismantling the criminal justice system and ending the military involvements around the world, and also immigration.

We need to have basic access to healthcare for everyone. So, we need to remove—we need to provide healthcare for everybody. It should be free. It should be accessible.

It should be—and there should be a doctor-patient relationship that is unaffected by—you know, the state should not be intervening into the—you know, into who you are and why. You know, you should just be getting access. Healthcare for all, but unconditionally. The primary is coming up soon. What are you going to do to run throughout Maryland to get your name out there and your positions out there, throughout the state?


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