05/15/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Seeking Sound Underground: Curtis Jordan Plays for Smiles (VIDEO)

Produced by HuffPost's Local Citizen Reporting Team

Where Curtis Jordan grew up, the sound of steel drums is more than familiar.

"There's so many millions of drums in Trinidad that if you turn left, you see a drum," Jordan said. "If you turn right, you see a drum."

But in the New York City subway system, where Jordan has played the drums for the past 13 years, they aren't quite as common.

Jordan, who lives in Brooklyn and plays with steel orchestra bands there and throughout the city, said his performance space of choice is the 6-train platform at 14th Street Union Square. Over the years, he has come to know the area as his "office."

Like many buskers playing music in the subway -- especially something as conspicuous as the drums -- Jordan has had his share of run-ins with the police. But in general, he said, "most of the cops are very cool."

"You get one or two who is kind of picky, or having a bad day," he said after playing his rendition Jailhouse Rock. "But it's all right; I'm accustomed to that."

Jordan has been self-employed since the first day he played underground, and sees his audience as the boss. He tries to play songs he thinks will "impress the people" and doesn't worry too much about the money.

"If it's five cents, if it's a penny -- whatever it is, I'm thankful for it," he said.
"I try to play for everybody that's smiling. The ones that smile make me go home feeling great."