My cousin Allegra emailed me this link recently. The news has certainly hit the blogosphere - check out Melodee's post here, stop by Anyssa's blog for her thoughts, and read Jeremy Denk for a good laugh. For a response to the situation from a subway busker, go read Saw Lady's perspective.
It is really astonishing to me that someone as renowned as Joshua Bell could go almost entirely unnoticed in this situation. JB is a person who has made himself known not only on the concert stage but also through involvement in film (he recorded the soundtrack for The Red Violin) and cross-over from the classical realm into fiddling with Edgar Meyer - and he was even chosen in 2000 as one of People Magazine's 'Most Beautiful People.' So while it's certainly culturally alarming that he wasn't recognized for his outstanding playing, it's also surprising he wasn't at least noticed for that lovely, symmetrical face that has so often moved in circles outside of the classical world.
I agree with Saw Lady's post; as a former busker myself (for four or five years I played regularly at crowded street fairs in my home town during tourist events) I can tell you that unless you're about five years old and super-cute, it's eye contact and other audience connection that will bring in the bucks. I generally earned more revenue than Josh Bell did according to the article... too bad I can't play as well as he can.