Subway Performer Takes on Homelessness in NYC in Unique Way

William Boyajian is not your average subway busker.

The "Hopeful Cases" founder works professionally as an actor and musician and in his spare time, he plays music in subway stations to help those in need.

“The idea of this project was to change the way we think about giving in a city that can be isolating and hard at times,” Boyajian said.

Boyajian plays in the subway with a sign in front of his open guitar case that reads, “if you’re homeless or need help take as much as you need from the case.”

Any extra money not taken from the case after Boyajian finishes performing is used to purchase single-ride MetroCards, which he then hands out to those in need. Once, he used the extra cash to purchase someone a harmonica.

Hopeful Cases averages about $100 in donations per hour.

While there is a possibility that those who take from the cases may use the money for nonessential items, Boyajian says he would rather assume the best of those who benefit from his playing.

“That homeless or struggling person who we assume will ‘just spend it on drugs or booze' is somebody's brother, sister, mother, daughter,” Boyajian said.

You can find Boyajian singing country, bluegrass, rockabilly and even his own songs in the Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station.

If you want to get involved, or if you’re a musician who wants to play with Hopeful Cases, you can contact Hopeful Cases at

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