Only in New York: 1 Train Edition

February 2nd, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

I was riding the No. 1 train this evening with my friend and colleague Patrick. On the bulkhead across from us hung one of the MTA’s safety campaign posters. It shows a young man hanging on the outside of one of the doors of a train, with an enormous headline: “This could be the last ride of his life.”

Patrick turned to me and asked, “Do you think that really happens?”

Some time ago, I had read this article in the Village Voice, in which Peter Duffy tracks down real-life subway surfers as sources. So, apparently, as recently as 2000, this really did happen. I told Patrick that it had, though to my knowledge the preferred method of extra-car subway travel was on top of the train, not wedged against the outside of the door like a gecko. It probably wouldn’t be too hard, I thought, to climb onto a subway car from the door that leads between the carriages.

A man leaning against the door across from us apparently overheard our conversation and told us, “Back in high school,  we used to open up these doors [between the cars], take of the chain between the cars, and just hang outside in the breeze. Sometimes we’d go over the bridge to Brooklyn and we’d just be, like, hanging out on the bridge, you know?”

As if we needed further corroboration, the guy proceeded to open the door between the cars while the train was still hurtling down the tunnel between 50th and 59th Streets, step outside, remove the chain, and hang out on the plate between the cars while waving the chain at us through the doors.

“See?”, he said, stepping back in. “Easy.”