New York City Arrests Subway Dancers

A particularly unique subway dancer.  Image Credit:  Kyle Taylor.

A particularly unique subway dancer. Image Credit: Kyle Taylor.

New York City police have begun cracking down on subway dancers under the justification of “quality of life violations.” This is part of a general quality of life campaign conducted by Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.

Subway dancers typically perform within closed subway cars, during the interim between the train leaving one stop and reaching another.

This short documentary by Scott Carthy explores the cultural phenomenon of subway dancing and its newly-threatened status. The intro cards to the film claim that NYC places subway performers in the category of “panhandlers,” making them an easy target for arrest under NYC laws.

As Business Insider reports:

Forty-six subway dancers have been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment since January, an NYPD spokesman said in April. Another 50 dancers with less flashy tricks (essentially those who keep their feet on the ground), have been charged with the lesser count of disorderly conduct.

In total, subway panhandling and peddling arrests are up 271% year over year with 371 arrests in 2014, compared to 100 by this period in 2013, according to NBC.

Meanwhile, just weeks ago NYPD Transit officers arrested a man with an illegal firearm on Metro premises. This was posted on NYPD’s twitter feed:

Given that there is real, violent crime for transit officers to be concerned with, one is left wondering whether cracking down on dancing is the best use of limited NYPD resources. quotes Bratton as saying “”Is it a significant crime? Certainly not,” but, he continued “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?”

Word’s out on whether New Yorkers themselves consider their subway dancers to create “a level of fear.”