Subway Surfing

Do you guys pay attention to the MTA advisory ads? Here’s a new one that I really don’t get:

Subway surfing? Really? I’ve heard of all sorts of dangerous teen fads – vodka eyeballing, robotripping, butt chugging… Planking – but I’ve never even once heard of subway surfing. How would that work? Is this something they do in one of the boroughs I’ve never been to? Queens?

After two years of living in the city, I’m beginning to doubt the MTA safety advisory board. It’s not that I think the subways aren’t safe. I’m pretty sure they injure significantly less people than the T in Boston (just google MBTA accidents and look at how many of the results are MBTA accident attorneys) AND you are less at risk of getting stabbed during your daily commute than you are on MARTA, Atlanta’s adorably terrifying attempt at public transport.

I take issue with these advisory signs, other than the one that’s like, “Hey you, drunk person, don’t check to see if the train is coming.”

Now THIS is an effective sign

I feel as though they haven’t correctly identified the key sources of danger to most subway riders. Let’s use this subway surfing campaign as an example. I can’t even imagine how this is physically possible or why anyone would attempt to do this. I’m guessing that there was some freak accident that happened once in 1996 and the MTA board promised to create yearly anti-surfing campaigns in order to not get monumentally sued by someone. Kinda like a cup of coffee that says “Drink at your own risk” on it. No shit, McDonalds.

Why else would there be what I’m guessing is at least 500 (I really have no idea but 500 seems impressive, yet reasonable) MTA posters dedicated to the mythical act of subway surfing and yet there are absolutely no posters that say “Hey, dumbass, don’t stick your fucking extremities in the train doors while they’re closing; we would prefer not to drag you across the platform and then slam you into a wall accidentally,” posters? Ok, I looked it up, there are a few about holding the doors and that making people late using the picture below. I prefer my proposed copy on the ad:

I think this would be effective.

You never hear conductors be like, “Hey, guys, you really have got to quit grabbing onto the completely ungrabbable metal surfaces of the train doors and taking a joyride down the platform. Someone might get hurt one day,” but they are like, every second of every day, yelling over the speakers, “LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENTER THE TRAIN WHEN THE DOORS ARE CLOSING,” because everyone does it all the time… Except for me because the one time I did do it my coffee flew everywhere and spilled on this girl and she looked at me with totally justifiable hate and was like, “Really?”

Ok, onto another example. This one is a bit more of a stretch, but hear me out. You know how I feel about the If You See Something, Say Something campaigns… The MTA is soooooo worried about bag bombs even though the likelihood of that is pretty small, and yet they never mention anything about seeing something and saying something if you happen across a mole person. I’m still compiling all of my conspiracy theory evidence in order to write a well-researched post about the mole people (I promise you, it is coming), but I have definitely seen where I think they are living and it’s at the end of the platform of my subway stop and because of where I get on at the station downtown I have to exit really close to what I’m certain is their lair and I would REALLY LIKE TO SAY SOMETHING.

SO YEAH. I’m doubting the MTA safety people and if I don’t see some mole people advisories real soon I may have to stop taking the subway entirely. Which is difficult considering the fact that I don’t have money for cabs and that I regularly get hit by things on my bike.

One last thing… I really love that the person in charge of Spanish translation of this ad clearly did not value the whole surfing/wiped out metaphor enough to attempt to recreate it in the translation, and instead stuck with a very straightforward, “If you ride on the outside parts of the train, you are at risk of having a fatal accident.”

Get there alive NYC,


PS – For all my research (see: googling ‘train surfing subway’ right before completing this post), I’ve only found two instances of subway surfing in New York. One is not at all as depicted by these posters but instead someone riding on top of the train and the other is this douchebag. Keep on surfin’, bro… You’re headed straight for the Darwin Awards.

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