Caught a fun bit of subway theater on the 6 train yesterday. A family of olive-skinned tourists–parents, two teen sons and a teen girl–were sitting at the end of the car when a pair of street singers busted in.
Two older black guys sang a very impassioned version of “Mary Don’t You Weep,” with a completely different tempo than Springsteen’s version on the Seeger Sessions album.
The teen boys, based on their clothing, seemed to be fans of black American culture.
As the singers finished, they bantered with fellow passengers, who seemed to find them more entertaining than annoying, and passed along a few coins.
Then they approached the tourists. The father looked wary, as fathers often do. The singers let go some rapid-fire street talk, which the tourists clearly did not understand. Nonetheless, the teen boys smiled. The singers asked where they were from. “Italy,” came back the answer.
The train pulled into Times Square and the father stood up. (One wondered if the plan was to get out at 42nd, or if he was assessing the situation and calling an audible).
The singers shook hands with the teen boys, who smiled broadly and laughed as they stepped off the train. It seemed like it would be the highlight of their trip, better than the Empire State Building and Madam Tussaud’s.
[CORRECTION: It was the N train, not the 6. So…Zen on the N?]