Matthew Christian


New York City lives by public transit and for thirty years its underground commutes have been illuminated with spontaneous, round-the-clock, freelance artistic performance. That public right to perform, granted by a forward-looking court decision in 1985, has thrilled New Yorkers and defined the subway for visitors. Despite this, the legal status of performance has remained unclear to many city residents, engendering official harassment of many performers. Sadly the astounding success of New York City's tolerant performance regulations has garnered little concern or attention among transit authorities and urban planners to date.

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A Articles/Books/Reports

Campbell, Patricia J, Passing the Hat: Street performers in America (Delacorte Press, 1st ed, 1981)

Frith, Simon, ‘Live Music Matters’ (2007) 1(1) Scottish Music Review, 2

Kole, Heidi, The Subway Diaries (Bohemiantherapy Publishing, 1st ed, 2009)

Lake, James Graham, ‘Demsatz Underground: Busking Regulation and the Formation of Property Rights’ (2012) 87(4) New York University Law Review 1121

Tanenbaum, Susie J, Underground Harmonies (Cornell University Press, 1st ed, 1995)

B Cases

Carew-Reid v Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 903 F 2d 914 (2nd Cir, 1990)

People v Manning (NY Ct Crim App, No 5NO38025V, 1985)

People v St Clair, 56 Misc 2d 326 (NY Misc, 1968)

C Legislation

Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York, Admin Code NY 1050.6(c) (1989)

D Other

Brooke, James, ‘Subway Musician Challenges the Law’, The New York Times (online), 13 July 1986

Bucktin, Christopher, ‘U2's Latest Gig: Bono and the Boys Disguise Themselves to Go Busking on the New York Subway’, The Mirror (online) 6 May 2015

BuskNY, 7/27/13 Wrongful Arrest for Violin Playing, Full Footage (25 July 2013) BuskNY

Christian, Matthew, ‘1985-1995: Forgotten History of Activism’ on Matthew Christian, BuskNY (31 March 2015)

Coyote and Crow at Bedford Ave (4 December 2014) Jukin Media Verified

Craig, Anne, ‘Subway Idol Arrested’ on The Eastwind Online, NYC Fox 5

Different Drummer (Directed by Spike Lee, Baker Street Advertising, 1991)

Drell, Cady, ‘Why Was This Subway Musician Arrested For Playing Guitar?’, Rolling Stone (online) 20 November 2014

Email from Natalia Paruz to Matthew Christian, 9 February 9, 2012

Email from Stephen Witt to Matthew Christian, 14 March 2015

Evans, Lauren, ‘Man Arrested for Playing Violin in Subway Station’ on Gothamist (27 July 2013)

Facts About the Program Metropolitan Transit Authority

Hinds, Kate, ‘Would-Be Subway Musicians Vie for Right to Be Legit’, WNYC (online) 16 May 2012

Louie: Subway/Pamela (Directed by Louis C.K, 3 Arts Entertainment, 2011)

MTA, 2013 Ridership Reaches 65-Year High (24 March 2014) Metropolitan Transit Authority

Simon & Garfunkel, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M (Columbia Records, Tom Wilson 1964)

Steve Witt, ‘MUNY Audition and Informational Protest’ on Kings County Politics (19 May 19, 2015)

The New York Times ‘On Subway Performers, The Straphangers Have Spoken’, The New York Times (New York) 10 February 2012

The Visitor (Directed by Thomas McCarthy, Participant Media, 2007)