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Outcry From Subway Performers After Spike In Arrests

Subway performers protest outside City Hall after spike in arrests. (Credit: WCBS 880/Marla Diamond)

Subway performers protest outside City Hall after spike in arrests. (Credit: WCBS 880/Marla Diamond)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The spike in arrests of subway dancers has performers fighting back, speaking on the steps of City Hall Tuesday.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said subway dancers are dangerous, but others say they aren’t hurting anyone.

Outcry From Subway Performers After Spike In Arrests

subwaydancer Outcry From Subway Performers After Spike In Arrests
Marla Diamond reports

“This is New York City culture. It shouldn’t be pushed away, it should be embraced,” Andrew Saunders said, who danced in cars until his arrest last year.

Advocates of subway performers point to the MTA Rules of Conduct that does allow artistic performance.

“That means that anyone who plays the violin, anyone who sings, anyone who reads poetry, anyone who plays with puppets on the subway platform or on the subway mezzanine level is allowed to do that,” Matthew Christian, of BuskNY, said.

According to BuskNY.com, the organization conducts “grassroots organizing of subway performers, with a particular focus on encouraging lawsuits for wrongful ticketing and arrest.”

The organization has helped more than a dozen performers sue the NYPD, Diamond reported.

Christian said performers are often arrested by officers unaware of the rules.

“Very often, these performers face ejection, ticketing or arrest,” Christian said.

“I don’t even perform on the train anymore because I don’t want to be arrested and locked up for like a year,” Saunders said.

It is illegal to dance on the train, but the number of dancers keeps growing, Diamond reported.

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