Not just anyone is allowed to perform among the commuters, tourists, and rats in the busy subway stations of New York City.
TONIGHT: They're a staple of daily life in NYC, but subway musicians go through competitive auditions to land a spot pic.twitter.com/Oe4i5u2Lpg
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) May 19, 2015
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority runs the Music Under New York program, and on Tuesday, a panel inside Grand Central Terminal listened to 70 musicians from around the world as they sang and played a variety of instruments. Months ago, 300 people applied just for the chance to be heard, and out of these final 70, about two dozen will be selected to play in subway stations across the city. It is illegal for people without a permit from the MTA to perform in the subway system, and those who get the opportunity can make several hundred dollars a day in tips.
One hopeful, Oliver Dagum, was born in the Philippines, and stationed in New Jersey while in the U.S. Air Force. He left the military last week, and auditioned by singing Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning." "I always dreamed of arriving in New York City," he told The Associated Press. "I always believed that there's something between me and the city. It's amazing. It's grandiose. I feel uplifted." He added that if he could get a busy commuter or two to stop to listen to him sing, "that's the biggest acknowledgement." Catherine Garcia