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NYC Subway Performer Arrests Increase as Officials Crack Down

By    |   Thursday, 03 July 2014 07:07 AM

The NYC Police Department is cracking down on subway performers who flip, tumble, and dance to win tips from commuters.

More than 240 performers have been arrested in 2014 compared to just 40 at this time last year. Performing on the subway cars has been illegal for years, but police say they are enforcing regulations more and more.

"Is it a significant crime? Certainly not," Police Commissioner William Bratton told USA Today. "Does it have the potential both for creating a level of fear as well as a level of risk that you want to deal with?"

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Many citizens and tourists say the performers are part of what makes New York unique, and actively support train performers with their hard-earned cash.

"It's such a part of New York culture," rider Joli Tribuzio, an actress, told The Associated Press.

The performers themselves say that beyond being a means of income, they view their work as a kind of public service that helps stir up interaction among riders who are increasingly quiet, self-isolating, and engrossed by their smartphones.

"We all, as New Yorkers, get these force fields around us," said one performer named Besnkheru. "We just try to go inside the train and change the vibe."

Other commuters say that street performances are fine and well, however on the train the audience is captive one, and not always willing. On a packed subway car, being forced to take the risk of getting accidentally kicked or hit by the performers is not always fun.

"I don't like all that action right in front of my face," said commuter Kesia Hudson.

"If the dancers make a mistake, someone could get hurt. The dancers themselves could get hurt," said Chief Joseph Fox, head of the NYPD's Transit Bureau. He said that police have been enforcing the prohibition against the performances based on complaint patterns among the ridership.

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The NYC Police Department is cracking down on subway performers who flip, tumble, and dance to win tips from commuters.
nyc, subway, performers, officials
Thursday, 03 July 2014 07:07 AM
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