Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz
Times Square, Herald Square, and Union Square
Natalia, master of the musical saw, used to sell souvenirs at a Broadway theater, which left a lot of free time at her disposal. She brought her musical saw to work one day, and was sitting outside the theater in an adjacent parking lot when a guy and his son stopped by and gave her a $5 bill. When she asked what it was for, he told her it was because they enjoyed her playing.
“I thought that was wild, so I told this to my co-workers,” she says. “They said that I must play in front of the theater during intermission, because that is when buskers come to play for the audience who go outside to smoke.” At first she was apprehensive, but her friends wouldn’t take no for an answer. By the end of the 10-minute intermission she’d made as much money as she’d make at work that day. That was only the beginning. Natalia now busks Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Her hours are usually noon-3pm at Herald Square and 3-6pm at Times Square and Union Square.
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Meagan Drillinger is a contributing writer for Thrillist and now knows the best way to circle Manhattan without ever seeing daylight. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at @drillinjourneys.