Jailed songbird back 'home,' along with prison-themed CD

Anthony Riley was elated yesterday to be back at where he calls home: Suburban Station at 16th Street and JFK Boulevard.

"I'm safe here," he said. "I'm safe not only with the people here, but also with the police. They're the best here, the transit police. They treat us well; they know we're not hurting anybody."

Commuters, shop workers and transit cops alike were also seemed happy to see him back and singing with friend and guitarist Robby Torres for the first time since Riley was jailed Tuesday for singing in Rittenhouse Square.

According to a city ordinance, musical performances may not take place between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Riley said he was arrested shortly after 9 p.m.

It was the first time a police officer had arrested or even attempted to arrest him for singing, said Riley. And he said he wasn't panhandling. He and Torres said they were just "jamming" with fellow Stone Soup bandmate Drew Gillis.

"This is for the bail money," said a man who just gotten off an R1 train as he slipped a $20 bill into their half-full punch bowl, nestled atop a milk crate and surrounded by copies of their recorded music.

By 10 a.m., a few hours into their workday, the duo said they had made at least $200.

"It's probably because people were outraged about what happened" to Riley, said Torres about the increase of support. "I'm proud of Anthony more than anyone else in my life."

This sentiment rang true among the droves of daily Suburban Station commuters committed to watching the men play for the past seven months.

The men even recorded a "limited edition" three-track CD with a jailhouse theme. One song is their version of "Jailhouse Rock" in which they altered the lyrics to fit Tuesday's incident.

Toward the afternoon, supplies of that version were dwindling.

"I really want to make this known," said Riley. "I want to do this for other street performers."

Every few minutes, people who had read about the arrest in yesterday's Daily News stopped to share their disgust with Riley and Torres.

Attorney Evan S. Shingles is showing how appalled he is by defending Riley, who is being charged with disorderly conduct, for free.

"I am concerned about the conduct of the police," he said. "When we're wasting our time and resources with [arresting street performers], it's a travesty." *