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Harlem Man Makes His Living Blowing Bubbles

By Janet Upadhye | October 28, 2013 9:19am
The Bubble Man
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DNAinfo/Janet Upadhye

HARLEM — Steven Duncan was 6 when he first fell in love with bubbles.

Now — at age 29 — the Harlem-born man earns more than $50 a day blowing massive bubbles in parks throughout New York City.

"I've had the idea since I was a little kid," he said. "I said to myself, 'This is it. I found my niche. This is what I'm going to do.'"

Duncan, with the help of "legitimate experts in the field," concocted the perfect solution in 2008 to make the longest-lasting soap bubble possible. He tied strings from the head of a mop to two large bamboo sticks and created what he calls "the perfect apparatus" to blow bubbles.

His first gig was in Madison Square Garden. He set up buckets full of solution and with his large net began to blow bubbles.

"I would take it to parks and public squares and entertain anyone who would watch", he said. "I really got a kick out of entertaining people, especially kids. Sometimes the people were so appreciative, they would give me money. That's when the light bulb went off."

Duncan made $18 on the first day. To Duncan — then a college student at Brooklyn College — that was a lot of money.

Duncan later came up with a business name — Bubbles Unlimited — and started to book gigs at children's birthday parties to supplement his income. He also created an online store on Etsy where he sells "homemade bubble wands" for $10.

Now the young entrepreneur spends his nights making bubble solutions and his days delighting kids in Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park, Central Park and more parks throughout New York City.

"When a kid looks at a bubble they are looking at something that amazes them," he said. "And that is something that stays with them for the rest of their lives, I believe."