The NYPD is on a mission to put the kibosh on the zany acrobats who flip, somersault, break dance and pole dance on the New York City Subway, reports the Associated Press. According to NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, this relatively new policy is intended to both thwart “low-level lawlessness” before it progresses into even worse activity and also give Subway riders more peace of mind:
“Is it a significant crime? Certainly not. Does it have the potential both for creating a level of fear as well as a level of risk that you want to deal with?”
A whopping 240 subway pole dancers have already been arrested this year by the NYPD. This sits in stark contrast to the measly 40 or so who were arrested last year. This spike in arrests has some subway performers crying foul. Take for instance a gentleman named Besnkheru. During an interview with the AP, he argued that his goal is simply to “change the vibe,” lighten things up and maybe, just maybe earn some tips.
Subway dancer Andrew ‘Goofy’ Saunders shared a similar sentiment when he spoke with CNN earlier this year. He also pointed out that these performances help individuals like him earn a living and stay out of trouble:
“Everyone has an opinion. But this is how we make a living, so we don’t have to ask our parents for money or have a boring job. We’re just trying to do something positive.”
The question remains – do subway riders appreciate these performances? It depends on who you speak with. One rider, actress Jili Tribuzio, told the AP that it’s all “part of New York culture.” However, another rider, Kesia Hudson, complained about all “all that action right in front of” her face. It just so happens that the NYPD fervently believes that most riders agree with the latter rider. Plus, the NYPD alleges that these performances present a safety hazard, as Chief Joseph Fox explained to the AP:
“If the dancers make a mistake, someone could get hurt. The dancers themselves could get hurt.”
Mind you, zero injuries have been reported thus far to the NYPD.
The one piece of good news is that at least ‘Goofy’ doesn’t have to rely on pole dancing on the subway to make a living anymore. Nor does he have to worry about being arrested by the NYPD. Why? His 12-member dance group W.A.F.F.L.E. now has a show-brand sponsor and gets booked for professionals gigs like weddings, parties and even music videos!
Anyway. To learn more about the art of ‘subway ballet,’ check the New York Times video below:
Image via [Google Images]