I've never had two consecutive instances of "Hey you're an artist?" in the subway in one weekend ever. Usually people are quiet about it, but never fail to steal a glance or stare at what you may be currently scribbling.
1) The guy with the shiny gold tooth (this is probably what he *did not* look like as this is from memory):
I had my sketchbook on my lap as the car became suddenly too crowded to even attempt to draw. A young guy with a gold tooth standing in front of me noticed the sketchbook and asked if it was mine. "Are you an artist? Can I see your book?" I showed him but explained that I felt these weren't my best sketches. He went on to say, "Not your best? Are you kidding me? These are really good! You definitely got it. You just have to let go all fear and inhibition and do what's in your heart. That's when the real art happens. Anyone can draw people in the subway. But you shouldn't worry- you definitely have it- I can see it here." He went on to tell me that he was a painter and his brother was "Jesus Saves." He said if I hadn't seen it before, his brother's tag was all over the city. He then told me about his current painting which was of something of this sort: the Queen of Hearts breaking up with the King of Diamonds and passing her number to the Jack of Spades. . .or something like that. My stop came. . .I thanked him for the advice and then got off.
2) The next day, I was riding a fairly empty car and started to sketch. A Spanish speaking family (mother, father, and young daughter) were sitting next to me. The father had noticed me drawing- surely enough, I noticed him getting his wife's attention and pointing to me. He then tapped me on the shoulder, and not speaking any English, pointed to my pen and then to his daughter. I thought he was saying that his daughter liked to draw too. . .but evidently, this is not what he was intending on communicating. He then *grabbed* my book and pen out of my hand, pointed to me, then scribbled on the page, and then pointed at his daughter. He handed the book back and gestured to start. I only had a few stops and was worried I was going to miss my stop. So while keeping my eye on what was going, I tried to sketch his daughter (whose name is Betzy). . .I have never ever had that happen before. I didn't want to do a bad drawing of her, but I'm afraid that's exactly what I did ;p Anyway. . .interesting experiences on the NYC Subway.