Yesterday, I posted about the dearth of street theater at Astor Place. Last night, I stood happily corrected.
Crossing the glassy blue glow of the Chase bank, I heard the sound of a trumpet blasting, bleating, echoing like it was banging around inside a tin can. I didn't see any trumpeter until I looked into the darkened windows of the city bus parked in the shadows of the old Cooper Union building.
Between his shifts, the lone bus driver in silhouette paced up and down the aisle, trumpet in hand, brass catching streetlight.
No passengers troubled him in the empty bus.
No traffic shoved him.
No stop lights stopped him.
Whether he was practicing or just blowing off steam, I don't know. I don't know his name or anything more about him. He played only for himself. But his playing attracted a group of passersby who stopped to listen, and snap his picture, too--also pleasantly surprised, I assumed, to find New York suddenly New York again.
We felt--I felt--strangely redeemed.
And when the time came for his shift to begin, the driver turned on the engine and the lights, then took one last stroll--down and back once more, transforming a city bus into his own Carnegie Hall, blasting John Williams' theme from Superman.
On the advertisement beneath him, the headline read, "You never know who's going to save your life."