The Story Behind the Naked Cowboy, as Told by His Father

The Naked Cowboy is one of New York City's most recognizable people. Performing in Times Square in rain, snow or sunshine, Robert Burck has created an entertainment empire by playing guitar in his underwear.

In this video from The New Yorker, learn more about the origins of the Times Square busker directly from his father.

The Naked Cowboy has become such a fixture of Times Square that he seems to exist out of time, as though he might have arrived from some cheesy alternate dimension complete with his patriotically-painted tighty whities and his perennially toned and tanned abs. But, in 2009, the writer Ian Frazier wrote a Talk of the Town piece about the Naked Cowboy’s actual origins, as told by his father, a loquacious genealogy enthusiast named Kenny R. Burck.

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Editor in Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's food scene with his Wife and the outdoors with their dog. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time eating, running, and working on cool stuff.

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