This morning when I was rushing to CCNY for a morning World Humanities class, I saw police stringing yellow tape across the top of the stairs leading down to the 4 5 6 platform at Union Square. I stopped for a moment and glanced down and all I could say was “shit”, and then I kept moving. There was blood all over the platform, the area was packed with cops, and I thought I saw what looked like a few … pieces.
It was interesting, but something about the situation didn’t make me want to stop and take a picture. Maybe it had something to do with the janitor at the top of the stairs, his bucket of water and reddish looking mop sitting next to him. It just seemed so… surreal all of a sudden. We all go through these train stations every day, ride the trains every day, and in a moment of carelessness, we can wind up as a stain on the floor getting mopped up by a underpaid janitor using a dirty mop.
Life is brief enough as it is, and I feel bad for the person who got hit by the train, which I later found out was an 18 year old teen on his way to school. He’s laid up in a hospital now, in critical condition. The area the accident took place is right at the mouth of the tunnel and the trains enter the stations moving pretty quickly, so realistically, the kid will be lucky if he only suffers brain damage. His whole life is shot, probably because he stuck his head out to check and see if the train was coming. Those stations are noisy and there are lots of trains passing through, so he couldn’t have known one was coming up the tunnel right when he poked his head out. It’s still a case of bad judgment though. A very unfortunate case.
On my way home, I walked past the same staircase, so I went down to look around. As I did, a train pulled into the station, and the conductor leaned out and was looking at the floor, where in the image above you can see all the blood. I wonder if he was the rear conductor on the train that struck the kid this morning?
The lesson I’m taking from this is that the train will come, whether or not we stick our heads out over the tracks to look for it. I’ll keep doing what I normally do: stand in the center of the platform and read while waiting on the train.