Kendall Loh/ Assistant Photo Editor

Amid the chaos of State Street each weekend, students can look for semi-professional magician and Binghamton University student Daniel Garf, who can often be found Downtown with his deck of cards and a trick up his sleeve.

Garf performs close-up magic for his peers, a longtime hobby that has also landed him paid gigs at parties. His tricks have elicited some enthusiastic responses from the sea of students that fill State Street on Friday and Saturday nights.

“I’ve had people jump up and down and scream, ‘Are you an alien?’” Garf said. “This kid once was so drunk, he got on his knees and started praying.”

From the time he learned his first magic trick at age 5 to his engineering studies at BU, Garf has always asked, “How?”

“At a young age, whether it was the remote or a magic trick, I always needed to know what made it work,” said Garf, a 21-year-old junior majoring in industrial systems engineering. “That made me really intrigued with magic.”

His repertoire includes card tricks, acts involving money and even the occasional mind reading. One of his most popular tricks requires a certain degree of trust from the participant.

Garf will request a bill of any size from his audience, sometimes receiving $20 from especially trusting individuals. After signing the bill to prove its authenticity from start to finish, Garf will nonchalantly fold and rip the bill into tiny pieces.

“At this point, they’re pretty angered that they’re not going to be able to get any more drinks Downtown with that last $20 bill,” Garf said.

To the student’s relief, Garf completes his trick with a snap of his fingers; the once-shredded bill will briefly burst into flames before appearing whole again.

“It has gotten me quite a few drinks,” said Garf, who has won over some of Binghamton’s bartenders and bar owners with his acts of magic.

Downtown magic began for Garf the first night he went out as a freshman, and has since become a constant source of entertainment for his friends.

Avneet Singh, a friend of Garf’s and a junior majoring in industrial and systems engineering, described Garf as “magical,” regardless of the venue.

“He’s even made TA’s ignore the fact that he’s not doing his work by flooring them with magic in class,” Singh said.

Garf’s passion for magic will always be a part of him, figuratively and literally, as shown by the elaborate magic-themed tattoo on his upper-left arm.

Drawn up by Garf himself, the tattoo is made up of several parts, each of which has its own special meaning. The design, rabbit ears emerging from a hat, is in memory of his father, who inspired and encouraged Garf at a young age.

While Garf admits that magic does involve deception, he is not out to spitefully fool his State Street spectators.

“My main goal is to entertain. By no means do I ever overlook that,” Garf said. “The BU students here really value that and appreciate that … that’s the main reason why I enjoy doing it Downtown so much.”

Garf’s performances continue even after State Street has cleared. From Manhattan to Las Vegas, Garf has performed magic in all sorts of settings.

“My friend and I went on a family trip, and he took his hat off and we were collecting money in the streets,” Garf said.

Garf hopes to continue doing magic long after he graduates.

“It’s something I will do for free,” Garf said. “It’s habitual, just a part of me.”