One of the few fun things to come out of the subway last winter was that viral video in which a little girl inspired a dance-off at the Bedford Avenue stop. On a recent afternoon in Washington Square Park, we followed the sounds of a sandpaper-meets-velvet voice and “old time rock ‘n soul” until we happened upon the band behind the video, Coyote & Crow.
“One day we were playing a really sad song, and when I finished a girl came over and hugged me,” says Jordi Nus as he adjusts his violin. His cheeks turn a deeper shade of pink and he grins. It’s Thursday morning and Nus, a violinist, is performing in the Delancey Street Station with his friend, Pedro Curvello, a singer and guitar player.
While the two guys in their mid-20s look like your standard buskers as they stand in front of their amplifier and open guitar case, they’re actually graduate students in NYU’s film scoring program. They started busking a month ago to complement their composition work and have a set of 15 songs that they play – a mix of “gypsy jazz,” folk and alternative music.
Weird things happen when you go above 14th Street. We did just that as we followed last night’s protests and, near Times Square, encountered Tom Sierra and his four pet rats, Freddy, Gizmo, George and Gilbert. The Bronx resident told us he’s been entertaining/terrifying tourists with them for over a decade. “I make a living,” he said. And not a bad one, it would seem: last year the Brooklyn-born former computer technician told the West Side Spirit that he made up to $400 a night. We asked “Rat” about the most extreme reaction he’s gotten.