At a bachelor party a few weeks ago, traveling around the city, my friends and I discussed in detail various survival strategies should someone fall onto the subway tracks. We all agreed that trying to climb back up onto the platform was the most dangerous move. You want to go into that middle area so trains are rushing past you on either side. Or you want to book it down the track, because just inside the tunnel there are stairs for workers.
Of course, in the heat of the moment, if I actually were pushed in front of an oncoming train, I’d probably turn and yell at it and be very surprised when it didn’t stop to listen to what I had to say.
It’s really not an uncommon conversation for New Yorkers, because falling onto the tracks is kind of a persistent nightmare in this city. Much more real than getting hit by a falling air conditioner or being hit by a taxi cab. The reason why jumping back up onto the platform is a bad idea is because the track is much deeper than it appears, so you can’t standing-jump that. And so then you’re in a situation where you need to do a half-pull up and… not everybody can do that.
It’s hard to pull yourself back up without help. And in NYC, you can’t count on help. Which of course brings us to Tuesday’s tragedy on the tracks….