John Kessel, Musician
Do you like playing in Union Square?
Well, we got a huge fine! I noticed lots of musicians here, but I guess there’s a prohibition on amplified music. We set up right in front of the cops. It was kind of stupid.
Jamal Butler, Musician
Ben Sadock, Musician
Te’DeVan, Healer and rapping Jew
Yep. I can feel where there are blockages in people’s fields and I let them channel through me. People who feel better donate, and that’s how I live.
Why Union Square?
It’s the place where the most barriers break down. I’m able to use my status to introduce people. People start dating, become roommates. Union Square is the epicenter of New York. It’s like Times Square for the real New Yorkers.
Wendell Earl Headley III, Sermonizer
Elder Joey Dutson and Elder Danny Radford, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints missionaries
Are people receptive in Union Square?
Dutson: We’ve found that the African-Americans are very open and accepting and willing to listen to the message. It takes time, because we go back and forth with writing. As deaf people, we communicate like that.
What do you tell people?
Dutson: We’re trying to create a bond and then lead them to the church family. We ask where they’re from, do they have any idea what’s going to happen to them after they die.
Radford: People think we worship a guy called Joseph Smith, but we worship God. But really, in New York, everyone just thinks we’re polygamists. That HBO show doesn’t help.
Dharam Khalsa, Skater
What’s the skating scene like here?
It’s really mellow. There are little-kid skaters that hang out, there are grown-up-men skaters. But people are probably more competitive about looking cool than landing tricks.
James McGuinness, Skater
From left, Stephan Marquez, Michael Koenig, Davi Costa Soares, and Rafael Fazzini, Skaters
Keha McIlwaine, Pickle girl
Do you meet a lot of people selling pickles?
I get to see little pieces of the world go by. I always see this fellow with long black braids who looks like he came down from the Peruvian mountains. Every once in a while he’ll bust out in a Speedo and nothing else. But he doesn’t ever stop. Maybe he doesn’t like pickles.
Colin Mackenzie Smith, Farmer
Vivian Ohtake Urizar, Farmer
Dewayne Newcomb, Honey farmer
That’s a good name for a beekeeper.
Do you get stung much?
I do, but it’s a good thing! It cures arthritis.
How does Union Square compare to the other Greenmarkets?
Well, there’s never a dull day. They’re a pretty good bunch here, we get along. I’m the mechanic of the group. Anybody has a car problem, they call on me.
Do the different worlds collide?
I sell beeswax to the artists, and I check out the skateboarders.
Patricia Walker, Artist
Do you always sell your work in Union Square?
Well, I work as a clerk for the Corrections Department. But today I said, you know what? It’s a nice day, and I don’t feel too tired, and I’ve been making these candy doll-heads for four years now—and so far today I’ve made $80. So that’s not too bad.
Sharmeen Azmudeh, Artist
Zane Fix, Artist
Who’s in charge of the park?
We maintain our own little hierarchy here. We keep it cool. And everything is done as diplomatically as possible. Some people call me the king.
As in, the King of Union Square?
Well, I’ve got the rock-and-roll swagger. No one else has got that. But people have different jobs. Some are the diplomats, some are the strong arms.
Which are you?
I’m kind of like the strong-armed diplomat. Not the king, but more of a duke.
Jiri Makovec, Photographer
Why not West Broadway, or Prince Street?
It’s more alive here, more diverse. You can see the city all together in Union Square. It’s nice to just sit and look at the motion.