Skip to content
NYC Subway Entertainment

NYC Subway Entertainment: Only In New York!

The Children of The Candy Corn

The subway plays a major part as to why I'm in love with New York. I don't think any other transportation system is as entertaining as New York City subway. No matter where you go within the city you are almost guaranteed to run into some form of entertainment on the subway car you're on. Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, East New York, doesn't matter.

Here's how it typically happens. You're on the subway car minding your business, reading a paper back, listening to music or catching some shut-eye, whatever. You look around the train just to notice others looking around the train. That's because New Yorkers are nosy, or they've seen a lot of s**t happened on the train and know to be aware of their surroundings. After all the popular MTA saying is "IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING".

You'll hear the sliding doors in between cars open and a small high school age African American child or young adult walks through with a box of candy. The candies are assorted from Kit Kat bars, Hershey bars, Snickers & Skittles. They'll stand at one end of the train strategically and make the announcement in a professional wrestler-announcer like voice "Excuse Me Ladies & Gentleman! They call me the Candy Man. I'm not robbing, I'm not stealing, I'm just candy dealing. I have all sorts of candy available for you today including..." (the candies I've just mentioned above) "...would anyone like to buy some candy today? They are $1 each".

You may hear alternative announcements from different kids but they are all selling candy and the vast majority are African Americans. It does make me a little sad that some of the candy sellers feel the need to mention that they are not in the street committing crimes, but I guess the media has done a great job of promoting that image. You'll likely see them during the warmer months, not so much during the winter. Me calling them "Children of The Candy Corn" is in no way meant to be offensive. I think all kids are bad and they just happen to be selling candy, so i thought it was a slightly humorous and clever nickname.

The Inspired Musician

If you haven't run into the Children of The Candy Corn, then you will likely come in contact with the inspired musicians. This group of people I love the most because, in my opinion,  it represents the many souls of New York City that are chasing a dream. To get on the train and possibly get sneered at or see people roll their eyes or completely ignore your craft takes courage and guts. I admire them so much. Honestly one of my favorite aspects of New York City.

Recognizing The Difference Between The Real & The Fake

Do not be fooled by the fake or imposter inspired singer or songstress that sings on the subway. There are men and women who have no interest in becoming a musician that will sing on the train just in order to get money from the strap hangers on the train. These imposters are not at all in it for the love of singing but for the money and it actually shows in their vocals. The real inspired musicians not always but commonly arrive well prepared and equipped with a musical instrument of some sort, a drum, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, keyboard, a  bucket flipped upside down etc.

The real inspired musicians sing and/or play their musical instruments from the pits of their stomach. They are happy if you support them with money, but they really just hope you enjoy their music. I've seen them all from beat boxers, clarinet players, guitarists, electric guitarists, rappers, singers, poets and even Opera singers all on the trains of New York City! As I've stated before I love this group of people because they remind me of why I & many others moved to New York in the first chase a dream. I try to support them as much as possible by words of encouragement and a few dollars.

Celebrity Musicians

The musicians that perform on the subway cars or on the platform of the subway stations are not all amateurs looking to make it. I recall there was this famous violinist that was simply playing a tune on the platform in Manhattan. Some people recognized her and others didn't but she was ousted as a famous musician a few of New York newspapers. Then there was Jimmy Fallon in disguise with Maroon 5 Busks and Lindsey Stirling playing Hallelujah with her violin on 14th street Manhattan.



One of my second favorite groups on NYC subways are the Hip Hop dancers. They pull off some of the craziest dance moves and attempted on the train and it just warms my heart and make me smile. They climb the chrome poles of the subway cars upside down, then do a cartwheel followed by a backflip and land on by doing the splits. All of this swinging on the poles and tricks are done near a straphangers. Some of the older middle age riders (and some young too) are not into it that much. I guess to them it creates chaos in what would normally be a quiet and boring, yet smooth ride to their destination. I always enjoy it though but I do understand their position. Many occasions I watch the dancers thinking to myself "don't kick the stranger in the head with that spin!" So far it hasn't happened yet. One of the most popular Hip Hop dancers you'll find on the train go by the name of "Kid The Wiz". So popular he's verified on Instagram and is followed by celebrities like Rihanna. One of the happiest guys I've ever seen. Hip Hop dancers bring so much positive energy.

This, That and The Other

So although you'll see the above on the subway trains more often than not, there are unique instances that have happened on NYC Subway. Not all of the listed instances below are entertainment, but some are more common than you may think.

Fights & Harassment

Fighting is certainly not entertainment but this one situation was interesting. Maybe because there are too many people in New York and too many different personalities New Yorkers have to deal with but every time you turn around someone is assaulting or harassing another straphanger (not a proud moment for New York). This is quite common in New York. One of the incidents included two people arguing over God only knows what. There was a third person standing nearby holding a container of bugs for some reason (research maybe?). One of the guys slapped the container of bugs out of the straphangers hand onto the person he was arguing with. However, it was not only him that was affected. Bugs landed on passengers everywhere causing a minor freakout. I recalled another incident where this disoriented passenger started doing jumping jacks saying the "N" word over and over, repeatedly before he was tossed out of the train by a group of New Yorkers all of different ethnicity.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Yes, you've read that correctly. This was one of the more fun and funny things that happened on a Brooklyn subway car. A group of individuals decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner, yes, a Thanksgiving dinner on a moving L train. There was a table in the middle of the train with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni and cheese, cranberry and the whole nine yards. Plates were being passed out to strangers and passengers were grubbing. It was too comical, you just can't make this stuff up. Truly a "Only In New York" moment.

No Pants Subway Day

New York celebrates the "wear-no-pants-just-your-underwear-on-the-subway" day every year. Thousands of unfortunate passengers have to deal with seeing butts & crotches in their face as they sit down on a crowded train full of passengers wearing no pants.  It's not as bad as it sound however. I think it's actually pretty cool. new York City has plenty of beautiful women and as  guy...well, my eyes are certainly scanning. Personally I would definitely be the person standing rather than sitting on this day.

Couples Having Sex

As I stated before nothing is off limits to the subway in New York. I don't mean in some secluded place at a station where the couples are hidden from onlookers I mean on the subway car with other passengers that were occasionally watching. There are actually videos on the internet of a couple getting oral a few feet away from other passengers. I believe its more for a prank-style "look how wild I am" act than just doing it because they wanted to. Nevertheless it is quite wild and there have been numerous occasions of it reported by New Yorkers. There are videos floating around however, I won't be sharing the link here.

The Other

You'll also see other disturbing & comical, heart warming things on a subway car. I've seen a young man on the A train give a homeless person brand new (name brand) shoes. This young guy purchased several new shoes and the homeless man was on the train asking for money with no shoes on. It makes me think there is hope for humanity after all.  Finally there's the shocking video of a guy snatching a sleeping woman off the train and onto the platform bench. It was said that this man was attacked  and later arrested. He later made a statement that he was trying to rescue her.

If you live in New York City, what are some strange things you've seen occurred on NYC Subway car or platform? We may include your story in this article.

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields