For 25 years, Robert Burck has strummed a guitar in his underwear for tips in New York City’s Times Square. On Tuesday he brought the act to Tampa.
Better known as the Naked Cowboy, Burck, 52, was spotted at Lykes Gaslight Square Park in downtown singing and chatting with passersby.
With appearances on MTV, late-night talk shows and car commercials, Burck is possibly the world’s most famous street busker. He graced the cover of “New York” magazine in 2020, standing in a deserted intersection as an image of the city’s pandemic resilience.
Reached by phone at 866-99-NAKED, Burck said he was just passing through Tampa while visiting some friends in Bradenton Beach before heading to Bike Week in Daytona next week. He said he’s also been hanging out at Siesta Key.
After receiving a warm response from locals, Burck said he plans to return to the same spot in downtown Tampa at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Burck performs unclothed in Times Square nearly every day of the year, even in the snow, but said he takes a brief “Spring Break tour” annually, hitting Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Bike Week in Florida before returning north.
Burck hit a snag in Mobile, Alabama, earlier this month when a police officer was seen on video telling him to put on some pants or face going to jail. He chose to leave.
In 2022, Burck agreed to settle a lawsuit against the city of Daytona for $90,000, claiming his first amendment rights were violated when officers there arrested him for panhandling in 2021.