A little Martin in the subways

There was a short stint in 2009 where I spent no less than 4 hours round trip commuting to and from work in a day. This included boarding 3 trains and a ferry as well as a healthy little walk to my pristine waterfront office. To get the most out of my transit time, I would pack my guitar and play it on the ferry. Since the train/ferry schedule was a bit off from my work schedule, I would sit  outside of the office and play guitar in the morning sunlight until it was time to to be at work.The security guard would pull me aside every few days and hand off a few of the poems he was preparing for publishing, because I seemed like the type of person who would appreciate it.

I met a lot of people because of my guitar, I didn’t even need to be playing it. While traveling on the subways, a lot of curious folk would ask if I was playing a gig later. Inevitably, I’d shake my head and then they would tell me a story about visiting the factory where my guitar was made, or how I could get a job in a foreign country teaching music, or ya know  whatever they wanted to talk about…it was always interesting (and I’m still in touch with some of the folks I met). Also, remarkable was the fact that so many people would assume I had a modicum of talent just because I was carrying a guitar.

I suppose in NYC, there is SO much talent, that you can’t afford to assume that strangers have none or aren’t going anywhere with what they do have. Perhaps, when you see a traveling musician or artist, it’s best to assume that they are the next big thing or are at the very least worth talking to. Why not grab that chance to say that yes, you really did know and support them before they were famous…


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