How many performers have you seen in New York City’s subway stations? During peak hours, it seems like there’s at least one in every major station: dancers, instrumentalists, singers, and more, entertaining passersby and, if they’re lucky, attracting a crowd. New York’s subway performers are a city hallmark, as much a part of the subway commute as the mosaic tile stations signs and the off-key dings that the turnstiles make when activated.
Bens Hilaire, one of the founders of subwaytalents.org, is interested in preserving that tradition. Their new website, which launched earlier this summer, allows performers to connect with each other, communicate with clients looking to book them, and retain an audience by updating their most-visited stations.
Differing from other sites supporting subway performers like Music Under New York, which provides permits to performers who have auditioned with the MTA and have set schedules for when they are cleared to perform, or Busk NY, which serves primarily to help performers know their legal rights and increase broad awareness of the issue, Subway Talents seeks to provide performers with a place to grow an audience and gain more exposure.
“Our site helps both subway performers and the audience engage,” Hilaire told Untapped, “We are a database people can use to search for subway performers online. By visiting our site people all over the world can learn more information about subway performers, view what specific subway stations they perform the most, keep up with their careers outside the subway. People will be able to book and donate to subway performers directly online. Each subway performers have their own profile on the site.”
Additionally, the website records free content of performances and manages free promotion for each performer that is registered with the site. It also hosts concerts and other events for performers.
The project was launched as a platform strictly for New York’s subway performers, but Hilaire noted that they have been receiving contacts from Paris and London. Given the amount of street performers that have also asked to join the site in addition to subway performers, Hilaire states that “slowly but surely we’re molding into a website for both.”
Next, read about 10 Original Subway Tiles and Signs in the NYC Subway System. Get in touch with the author @jinwoochong.