Musical Saw in the New York City Subway System



Musical Saw in the New York City Subway System

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 4/23/2006 - ]

Saw Lady in Times Square Subway Station.

>>  Hearing the beautiful music made by the Saw Lady took me by surprise!

On March 5, I rode a shuttle from New York's Grand Central Station to Times Square to connect with an uptown train, and as usual, I braced myself when got off. My next train's platform was only a quarter block away, but the route to get there through Time Square Station's main concourse is often impeded by swirling crowds.

Times Square Station is huge, with several sections and levels, and numerous connections to subway lines. During rush hours, it is perilously crowded and ear-splittingly noisy. Contributing to the sounds are performers near the escalators leading to street level, where everything mixes and reverberates.

Saw Lady in Times Square Subway Station.

Times Square's main concourse provides several makeshift stages for street musicians (buskers) who may or may not be sanctioned by the Music Under New York series sponsored by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). During rush hourse, the crowds of commuters and musicians interacting in this area can produce a real tumult.

Saw Lady in Times Square Subway Station.

Until that day, I preferred to be entertained elsewhere . . .

OK, I admit it. I'm tired of some of the acts I see every day, month after month. Among the regulars is an elderly man who plays a small organ to accompany several mechanical dancing dolls; a break-dancing troupe; and a guy who dances salsa with a life-size, female rag doll. None of these acts can be considered musical in nature, although music is played, which may be at the heart of my irritation. Tourists, of course, love these performers because the sight of them is unique.

No sooner did I have such thoughts than . . .

Commuter traffic on this particular mid-afternoon was light, so I slowed down for a look around instead of rushing towards my connection. Near the escalators was a casually dressed young woman who was about to play the instrument that Marlene Dietrich played (while wearing a beaded evening gown) when she entertained soldiers during World War II on her USO tours: a musical saw. Then I heard the saw's sound. It was heavenly. The musical saw's vibrations lifted the atmosphere of Times Square Station to an ethereal plane.

The Saw Lady's name is Natalia Paruz. She is famous for playing a variety of folk instruments, including bells of all types, glass harp, toy piano, and theremin (an electronic vibratory contraption). Check her website at to learn more about her TV and radio appearances, as well as her albums and other fascinating information.

Saw Lady in Times Square Subway Station.

To hear this music for yourself, connect to

The busker's life is unscheduled, but the Saw Lady is usually at Times Square near the shuttle to Grand Central every Monday from noon to 3 or 4 PM; Union Square subway station (14th Street, on the mezzanine by the N/R/W trains) on Wednesdays; and Lexington Avenue at 59th Street (uptown No. 6 train platform) on Fridays, noon to 3 or 4 PM.

The Saw Lady is a serious musician, and as you can see from these photos, appears to be a nice person, too. Please take take time to listen to her music. If you enjoy it, tip! It will be money well spent.

Diane Ezer

Article and photos by Diane Ezer. First published on 4/23/2006.