Broken Trains, Rider Fights, and Mayhem: This Week's Best Tweets at the Subway

The current Subway platform norm. Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway platform in April 2018.
The current Subway platform norm. Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway platform in April 2018.
Image: Drew Angerer/Getty

The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s subway system is in a desperate shape and its riders are very, very vocal about just how terrible it can be.

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This has not been a simple week for the New York City subway system. There have been delays stacked on delays, someone was reportedly pushed onto the tracks and then rescued by good samaritans, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo decided it was finally time to give the L Train’s reconstruction project—the project that will probably ruin commutes for around 275,000 riders—another look, and, well, everything in all the tweets seen in this post.

Here’s a look at the best and worst (mostly the worst) things New York City subway riders have, for whatever reason, felt the need to share or complain about on Twitter this week.

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Oh, and while we’re here, don’t forget to thank the people behind the NYCTSubway Twitter account. I don’t know how they do it—I could barely manage to sift through a week of their tormenting tweet mentions.

Is that... blood?

If you don’t say anything, they might not see you.

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Please, just don’t smoke on the train.

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Yeah, that platform’s crowded enough.

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Two trains on the same track in one station? Why not!

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ENTER THE THUNDERDOME

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And the police are where?

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Well, it works. Kind of.

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Fighting and being racist on the subway will land you with felony assault charges.

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The platform edge isn’t the only thing that needs fixing.

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Hail Satan

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After relying on the subway daily, you can handle anything.

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Hey! It’s not all bad.

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Different Subway But While We’re Here

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Eugh gross

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At some point, you just get used to the madness.

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Okay honestly this is something we’ve personally witnessed before

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Yeah...that shouldn’t be there.

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You know, in case you forgot.

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Bonus: Who needs movers?

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Have any good Subway tweets or public transit tips? Send them to me on Twitter at @aaronmaxb or shoot me an email.

ex Jalopnik car boy, former social media editor.

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DISCUSSION

I’m kind of skeptical that subway service has deteriorated as dramatically as people claim, especially when you factor in how much ridership has grown. What is definitely true is that everyone today has a cell phone with a camera and social media accounts.

Here are some things that I experienced on the subway in the pre-smartphone era:

  • No A/C. And I don’t mean that sometimes you’d get on “the hot car” during rush hour. I mean: No. Damned. A. C. Period. Taking the 6 train in the summer of 1999 (before business casual mercifully swept through Manhattan offices) was like doing bikram yoga in a suit, only your torso had to be in physical contact with four other torsos the whole time.
  • Multi-day snow outages. In 2003 I lived in Brooklyn on the F train. We had a blizzard that February, on President’s Day weekend. It was a big blizzard, to be sure. So it was not at all surprising that subway and bus service was suspended (at least in my neighborhood) for the duration of the storm. It was also not totally surprising that service wasn’t restored on Tuesday. I mean - day after a big storm, and my leg of the subway was out beyone a brief above-ground segment of track. What was surprising was that there was still no service on Wednesday. Or Thursday. The subway was just off for 3 damn weekdays in my neighborhood. My boss thought I was making it up.
  • Rain outages. Okay, maybe you give blizzards a pass. How about the day in 2000 when I walked 40 blocks in a downpour to get to work because the subway just stopped running due to rain. And I don’t mean superstorm Sandy type rain - this was not a “stay inside and buckle down tomorrow” kind of storm, just a “it rained a bit heavier than anticipated” deal, the kind where people have their umbrellas when they go outside but then end up standing under an awning waiting for the worst of it to pass. Well waiting someplace relatively dry wasn’t an option when I had to get to work, so I just trudged it. I believe the 6 train wasn’t running again until a few hours after the rain stopped.
  • Fights. Oh man, have I seen fights. My personal favorite was when a 60-ish guy in a sports coat abruptly wheeled around and slapped a young dude behind him right across the face, said something, and then turned right around and kept going. The slappee somehow worked his way past the slapper (without striking him or escalating the situation) and was waiting for him at the top of the stairs on the sidewalk, where he proceeded to grab onto one or both handrails and dropkick the slapper back into the crowd of commuters behind him, and then run off. The slapper (whose fall was broken by the sheer mass of humanity attempting to escape to the surface) just stood up, brushed off his lapels and carried on his merry way with a casual saunter that still floors me to this day.
  • Stalls. Don’t get me started about being stuck between stations with no announcements other than 40 minutes of “we’re being held momentarily - we should be moving shortly”. Let’s just say this is not a new phenomenon.
  • Crazy construction reroutes. My brief period in Brooklyn is when I got a car, because while in theory Manhattan was just a short-ish subway ride away on the weekends, in practice (due to the inherent never-ending nature of maintaining such a heavily utilized 24-hour subway system in-place with minimal work-week disruptions) for much of my time out there it meant getting rerouted to the G-line. I don’t care where you live or where you’re going, if your train has been rerouted to the G-line in Brooklyn, you aren’t getting to your destination in less than 90 minutes. The G-line exists in a reality distortion field where otherwise non-sensical statements like “get off at Hoyt-Schermerhorn and change to the same train going in the opposite direction across the platform” are actual and correct instructions you will receive from the MTA in order to continue moving through Brooklyn on the way to Manhattan.

I realize these are anecdotes, not actual data. But it’s enough to demonstrate that anecdotes about bad service today are also not actual data, and probably just a demonstration of availability bias because e.g. Twitter did not exist for any of the above incidents.

And that is all I have to say about that.