Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Singing Dragon - 42nd St. Times Square

My uncle and I had our final dinner of my trip at the Cafe Noir restaurant down the street from his job. On the subway ride back to his house, he got off a stop ahead of me at 34th street to catch the Long Island Expressway train home. I continued on to 42nd St Port Authority headed for Time Square to get some night shots for my portfolio. As I got off the train and headed up the stairs towards ground I was trying to figure out if I should go right/left to my destination. As I reached the top of the stairs I heard what sounded like a concert coming down in the subway that I didn't hear when I got of at my stop. The sound halted me in my tracks as I debated going back down in the tunnel to see what was really going on. As I walked down the stairs, there was a crowd of people applauding someone but I was earnestly looking for the band and the "who". Well the E train was pulling seconds later and some of the crowd jumped on the train but a few faithful souls like myself stayed for more; but who the heck was singing??? 

As I looked around, I saw this older African American man, probably in his 60s, holding what appeared to be a Walkman CD player (his band) seated next to a cart with speakers that amplified his accompanying music. Well I wasn't 100% sure that is was him because there was no microphone and he was just kinda sitting there looking happy and content.

Then what happened next blew me away as he hit the play button on the CD player and started crooning the crowd. This man had a POWERFUL voice which needed no microphone as he lit up the subway tunnels. His only competition which wasn't ever a fair fight was the train as it swept to a stop on either wide of him during his redemptions of songs sung my famous artist if his time.

As must have states there listening to him for 15-20 minutes as he sung and spoke of his music, famous people he sung with in front of his well earned bag of money from the crowd from donations and CD sales. I gave my donation to the cause as I listening, smiled and took pictures of this subway wonder. Now I wasn't going to leave this story by just referring to him as a "subway" wonder as it wouldn't have done his life or musical works justice. Right before I took off for Time Square, I complimented him again on his music and asked for his name. He told me that he is known as the "Singing Dragon". Well the "Singing Dragon" at age 69 had some footwork to go along with that voice. I figured this was my chance to get away or else I would have been there all night seduced by a "Dragon" as so many of us were that evening; a nice treat to end my last full day in Manhattan.

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