Our unexcellent subway adventure

photo from James

James and I had an adventure yesterday in the subway - he has a more detailed write-up plus more photos. Around 5:30 our F train stopped between Broadway/Lafayette and West Fourth because of a homeless man throwing debris onto the tracks. Around 6:20 it moved briefly, then there was arcing and noise from the 3rd rail visible from our car's windows, along with some smoke in our car. People were pretty calm, and they told us to go to the front of the train. We then spent an hour standing around near the front of the train, until they told us to go to the rear of the train to exit via an emegency exit to the street. During that hour, they kept telling us that the police and fire departments were "on their way." Let me repeat that: they were "on their way" for an HOUR.

From the stories I've seen online we had it pretty easy, as we didn't have much smoke at all. I think it was much worse in some places.

New York Times
New York Post

Even though what we personally went through wasn't that bad, I was pretty shaken up once I thought about it later. Why did it take two hours to get us 15 feet to the emergency exit? Is the MTA, and its coordination with city emergency services, really that bad? We couldn't see significant smoke out the windows and we had the car windows open for the last 30-45 minutes. Is the city really that incapable of dealing with something bad happening in the subway?

This is the kind of thing that makes me question living in NYC. I'm not sure the people in charge are really capable of preparing this city for possible calamities. A single homeless man throwing some garbage can cause people to be trapped for hours in the subway?

I'm also disturbed that the "we're not prepared" angle seems lost to the media. Newsday put the article on page 17, under an article about Joan Rivers and the Oscars. The NY Times story, which didn't make the print run, is just ridiculous. They can't even calculate time properly. The last time I checked, 6:20-9 is not two hours, and in any case our train first stopped at 5:30.

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Gothamist was wondering if anyone was trapped on a subway during the scary subway explosion and stoppage on Sunday evening for many trains running through the West Village. And it turns out that two people blogged it. bloggy calls it an "unexcellent ad... Read More

http://bloggy.com/mt/archives/003966.html... Read More

Ray Sanchez has a column in today's Newsday on our little subway adventure. If you run out and buy the... Read More

Glad it was nothing serious! I never used to think about my safety on the subway until I got stuck in one for an hour a few years ago. Gah.

who's the cute girl leaning on the pole???

Yeah... did you get her phone #?

Obviously it's not heading im my direction. Jamaica, Queens! Now know offically as a Tipping Point for culture memes and ortological explosions in music and the arts. Move to Jamaica. Eat well. Live long.

wow. that sucks. I too live in NYC and I wonder about our preparedness. It seems odd that it took that long to put all the pieces together and then "rescue" the people.

But I think that's part what the problem was in this case. They didn't think that the people were in jeopardy INSIDE the train, they would have been in great danger walking on the tracks. I'm also sure part of the problem would have been getting electricity to the tracks again since they had to be turned off from the debris hitting the third rail.

Stuck on the mtrain in brooklyn during the black-out, things were cool at first, people sharing library books, passing photos around
(emrg. lights worked!) Conductor was smart enough to tell everybody on train it wasn't terrorists- after 45 mins it was NOT cool, some dude noticed the emrg. exit was right outside our train and broke the fence between the cars and made his way to saftey(?). Conductor returned to our car and everybody started freaking out. Some big goomba was yelling at conductor, conductor lost his cool and for some reason blurted out that he made 80k a year. What a fool, place went beserk. I
took advantage of the mayhem to sneak out the back door and stumble over to the exit- I felt like r2d2 and c3po running(?) to the mellinium falcon as obi-wan got cut in half.
Climbed up a ladder and lifted a hatch and was standing on 4th ave. a mere 15 blocks from my house. What a trip. It was like Logans Run or something- climb out of a fucked up train and into the sunshine just in time for Brooklyn to become a bourrough wide block party. It rocked! We should have a black out every year.

The Nets in Brooklyn? A footbal stadium on the Westside, compliments of the Donald? And even better - hosting the Olympics in 2012? Why, this City cannot even handle the needs of 8 million people (e.g. New Yorkers) on a daily basis! How do they expect athletes to make it to their events?

I think it IS laughable that it takes one person (in this case, one homeless man) to trap subway commuters for hours on end. And Bloomie thinks this city is prepared? Prepared for what? This act should be considered terrorism. I think the Feds should step in and Homeland Security start managing the MTA.

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Published on March 1, 2004 12:28 PM.

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