All are strong improvisers — you have to be when your stage is a narrow, moving, crowded metal box, likely to jolt at any moment and packed with obstacles like poles, strollers and passengers disinclined to cede their ground. Mistakes regularly morph into new moves. ”All we need is three feet of space,” the men announce before each show. They aren’t lying.
Backed by a boombox, they maintain a commentary, flirting (“Ladies, if your man can’t do that, leave him. Leave him now!”), cracking wise (“Ladies, you can smile; it won’t mess up your hair”) and egging one another on during solos — anything to keep the energy up. They winningly encourage contributions. (“The best nation is donation. The best city is generosity.”) It isn’t a hard sell; riders, initially jaded or wary of being within striking distance, grow wide eyed with delight. Pocket change, 5’s, 10’s and even 20’s fly into the performers’ baseball caps and duffel bags. “Christmastime is the paid-est time ever,” Mr. Steele said. Tourists give generously; a Japanese man once handed Dante Steele a $100 bill.
The entire piece, which is accompanied by a slide show, is well worth checking out.