The ear enjoyed the sounds coming forth from a jazz trumpeter who was making a living with his art. At the same time, the eye followed closely a rat feasting on a thrown-away sandwich. So it happened at a New York subway station in the early 1990's. Today, the musicians have the undivided attention of passengers, since the conservative mayor Guiliani primped up the city during the past seven years. The economy has been booming, and people feel safe riding the subway. What are subway musicians saying, who are populating the stations in hundreds? Is the economic boom helping them, or do they suffer in a sterile atmosphere? What is life underground like, anyway - are the musicians "have-beens," or "up-and-coming stars" ? Georg Hirsch descended into the New York subway system and kept his ears wide open.
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