In light of the recent murder of a Queens man who was pushed onto the subway tracks in Times Square by a homeless thug, and subsequently crushed by an oncoming Q train, I have a little advice for people that use the NYC subway system.
See story of Times Square murder here.
No, unlike the MTA, I’m not going to tell you to stay away from the edge of the platform, which just about anyone with a molecule of common sense can figure out for themselves. Instead, I’m going to give you some advice on how to survive falling onto the tracks as a train is approaching.
For the life of me I don’t understand why the info that I’m about to give isn’t put forth by the MTA and by our Nanny State city government. Their reasons are probably just as dumb as everything else they do.
The man killed in the recent incident by the vicious animal that pushed him onto the Times Square subway tracks is not to blame for his own death – that animal is – but panic is what ultimately prevented him from surviving.
The edges of subway platforms in the NYC transit are not perpendicular to the track floor. There’s about two feet of space under the edge of the platform where most people can lay down and be out of the way of an oncoming train. Only the most obese people would not be able to stay in that space and avoid being swiped by the passing train.
On the open stations where the opposite side of the station is visible, as in Times Square and all elevated subway Els, there is often a walkway between the two or more tracks that is used by track workers. This narrow catwalk is located just a step over the dreaded third rail. Once on the catwalk a person can easily stand, or even lay down, until the train passes. Track workers always use these catwalks when trains are passing by. As you can see from the NY Post photo linked above, there is also protective space in between the steel columns between the tracks.
Of course, which temporary safe haven you choose, underneath the platform, the catwalk, or between the cloumns, depends on what option is quicker for you to reach.
If you are pushed, or fall, in front of an oncoming train that’s 10 to 20 feet away, you have literally no chance of avoiding the train and surviving. But if you fall onto the tracks when the train is still a decent distance away, as was the case in this recent death, you do have time to either hide under the platform or to scurry to the catwalk. The victim in the recent Times Square death saw the train coming and attempted to pull himself back up to the platform, which is very difficult for most people to do – he panicked.
Again, I don’t know why this information is not put forth by the MTA, but if you are a NYC subway rider and you look up for a moment from your iPods and smart phones, God forbid, you can easily see exactly what I’m talking about. It’s simply a matter of taking responsibility for your own safety and being aware of your environment and of your options for escape.