There are a lot of people in New York City who want your money.
Some people get your money in perfectly acceptable ways, like selling a product and getting you to buy it.
Other people get your money in absolutely absurd ways, like charging a surcharge on an ATM and then forcing you to pay them to get your own money. Yeah, I know, ridiculous.
And then there are people who stand on the side of the street and beg for your money, which isn't really fun for anyone. So here they are: 10 types of solicitors you'll most definitely encounter in NYC.
1. Guy writing poems in the subway station
What a lovely addition to all subway stations everywhere. I’m all about celebrating literature and art.
What better way than paying a guy to write a poem about a subject of your choosing right in front of you?
In literature we’re always talking about the unique, intense connection between reader and writer. That connection is even further amplified here by the fact that this guy writes a poem in front of you.
I’ve never given these guys my money nor asked for a poem, but next time I see one, I just might. I bet it’ll be lovely.
I always get excited when "Showtime!" comes to my subway car. Why wouldn’t I?
The music is bumping, on-beat, and always puts me in a better mood. I couldn’t ask for a better midday or evening jam sesh, especially when I’m exhausted and on my way home.
I’m flabbergasted when people get upset about these performers. I know what it’s like to be exhausted and pissed off by terrible musicians, or people who suck in general, but if I’m tired these guys energize me, and if I’m in a bad mood they cheer me up. So what's the problem again?
3. Guys selling candy on the subway
My boss saw one of these guys in Central Park wearing Gucci, just rockin' it.
I’m all about these guys. I’ve been super starving before, and had one of the fruit snacks guys morph out of thin air and offer me a bag of fruit snacks for a dollar. Which is a pretty chill price, certainly less than I’d spend at Rite-Aid or Duane Read.
What’s more, these guys don’t make you feel guilty or feel like an a**hole for not buying their candy. Rock on, candy-selling guys.
4. Really great performers
These people just make everyone’s day better by playing really amazing music, the kind that makes your soul reach for more, that transcends past the body into the realm of the heart.
I obviously love really great performers. Once, at 96th Street, I fell in love with a girl who was singing a cover of “Creep” by Radiohead. Yes, I know, that’s a weird song-- but the way she was hitting those high notes, letting them linger in the air, that was so gorgeous.
Her voice swirled about the subway station and into the atmosphere. I’m very depressed I haven't seen her again, but she definitely got some of my money... and heart.
5. Mediocre performers
Eh. I usually just keep my headphones in when I encounter a mediocre performer. And I don’t stop walking.
The music in my headphones is always very excellent, and basically sounds like the musical act is right in front of me, so I don’t need to stop and listen.
These people don’t annoy me though. I appreciate their effort, and I look forward to the day when they’re good enough to warrant my stopping and pausing the music in my headphones.