March 7, 2012

My video of Super Mario Bros. (the theme song) on the subway ride home reached 200,000 views in about a month. The musicians, Gypsy Joe Trane and his bassist Glue, said it was the most views they’ve ever gotten…(I think they deserve way more).

But my favorite part of the YouTube reception is the number of commenters complaining about how jaded New Yorkers are:

It’s like they’re all dead inside. It’s kind of creepy. - fluffystuff66

Just about nobody acknowledged them. What assholes.- pokemonmental

Why does nobody on the train give a shit?! That was awesome! -ZombieJesus413
@fluffystuff66 i know right!!!!no claps,no reaction??????i blame prescription drugs!everyones a freakin zombie nowadays.i saw a old man with a walker getting shoved to the ground by a crazy guy,and he broke his walker falling on it from the shove.and everyone looked at me like i was crazy for gettin in the guys face,and for helping the old guy?????CREEPY - topgunn916
all the main cities have cold tubes/subways. london is even worse. - maxgunn555
@KifIsARealBoy Showing a little bit of appreciation for high performance level, wouldn’t hurt anybody, right ? I wouldn’t mind claping for them if I was on the train. - softshred
lol NYC Subway riders. We show our appreciation to subway performers by staying silent! ONLY NEW YORKERS UNDERSTAND… - esconyfinest
and on that day…no one gave a single fuck….which is sad. - MrUBtrollin2
To everyone whining about no applause, that’s how the subway works here. Considering the amount of insane bullshit people see on there, cool stuff like this doesn’t turn heads. - forestwanderer

(there were a number of users who noticed that the man in the foreground is Steve Jobs reincarnate, and that he also needs new shoes)
I don’t know if it’s the case that NY’ers are so dead to the world that they can’t applaud in public. I think it’s just a mix of the instinct to not draw attention to oneself and herd mentality... no one sober wants to be the first one to clap. 
As gaming blog Kotaku (which made the video popular) says:
The subway riders might not look all that appreciative, but you have to remember that in New York, scowls mean “thank you.”
However, according to one user, Gypsy Joe Trane repeated the performance and got some applause:
I saw them on the R train today! Thank you for posting this. And for the record, there was applause this time :)
And at least we aren’t as bad as Washington D.C., where virtuoso Joshua Bell earned $32.17 in 43 minutes…Not a bad haul, except that he reportedly is worth as much as $1,000 a minute. His violin reportedly cost $1.5 million.
If you have time this morning, check out the WaPo’s Gene Weingarten’s story of Bell in the subway (it won a Pulitzer).

10:00am  |   URL:
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February 1, 2012

Musicians Gypsy Joe Trane (@gypsyjoetrane) playing the theme to Super Mario Brothers while traveling uptown on the R. I can’t believe that no one else was as amused as I was.

This was one of the most entertaining rides I’ve had on the R. I like subway performers and these guys had the best approach I’ve seen: just stand and jam for many stops. I don’t know if they made more or less money than those who do a quick set before hopping into another car, but I gave them a few bucks for the great accompaniment. 

Thanks to Kotaku for reblogging this and giving these musicians some well-deserved (virtual) applause.


2:30pm  |   URL:
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