Street survey: Best subway stories (slide show)

We hit Union Square to ask travelers about their weirdest, funniest and most frightening subway experiences.

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  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “Doors open and then the conductor says, ‘This is X station,’ right? On the L yesterday, the train stopped and the doors opened and the conductor said, ‘This is Bedford Avenue.’ I guess he must have been leaning on the button because then he goes, just under his breath but loud enough, ‘Little fuckers.’”—Caffery Garff; Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “So when I moved to New York four or five years ago, I didn’t know that there’s an unspoken rule on the subway: When all of the cars are full except one, you never go in that one empty car. But I didn’t know and so I went in [on the 6 train]. There were flies buzzing all around. Then I inhaled and looked around. Someone had thrown poo all around the car. It was everywhere. And it was just me and one other person in the car, and the other person had just clearly given up on life.”—Tyrus Emory, Chelsea

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “I know what crack smells like now because a guy was smoking crack in front of me. On the [N train]. In the corner. But it was crack.”—Keith Kingbay; Astoria, Queens

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “It’s dusty! And warm! And dirty! There’s water on the tracks! And rubbish! We saw a bird down there. It was alive!”—MacKenna Duncan, right; Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “We were going from Washington Heights to the Upper West Side [on the 1 train], a long ride. And this poor kid, truly 13 years old, was approached by a group of kids and he pulled out a steak knife and ran away. It was awful.”—Amy Walsh, right, East Village

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “On the A train, a lot of times street performers do their show. Once, a dinner-theater group set up down there with dinner tables and food and did a sort of mini opera.”—Jon Cronin; Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “One time on the Q, a guy started yelling at us all for being terrible people. He said—and this is a direct quote—we were ‘scum of the earth!’ Really harsh! I’m a city host and I happened to be [showing around] a group of first-time [New York visitors].”—Maddy Dube; Flatbush, Brooklyn

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “Some guy was riding in between doors—you know, in between cars—which is dangerous when you’re going all the way between 96th and 241st Streets on the 2 line. It’s a long way. He must have been on dust.”—Thalia Gonzalez, Bronx

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “This man had a stroke on my [6] train and fell on top of me. I pulled the emergency cord and people were pissed at me for making the train stop! Even the conductor yelled at me for pulling the cord. He said I could have just run and gotten him.”—John Sweiss, East Village

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    “Some guy [on the Q] threw trash on the ground [in the subway] and another guy—who was both much smaller and braver than I— yelled at the litterer.”—Andy Rocco; Astoria, Queens

Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

“Doors open and then the conductor says, ‘This is X station,’ right? On the L yesterday, the train stopped and the doors opened and the conductor said, ‘This is Bedford Avenue.’ I guess he must have been leaning on the button because then he goes, just under his breath but loud enough, ‘Little fuckers.’”—Caffery Garff; Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn

During our search for the worst subway line in NYC, we decided to ask locals (on a busy Tuesday morning) about their weirdest train moments. Some are sweet. Some are gross. Some are crazy. All of them are, then, very New York.


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