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Safe & Sorry in Herald Square

Elevator in Herald Square Station

Herald Square Subway Elevator

Waiting on the platform for an M train at the 34th Street—Herald Square Subway station on Wednesday, I noticed a suspicious-looking black bag on the tile floor near the elevator. There was moisture leaking from it, which was not a total surprise since that was the day of a heavy snowstorm and everything was pretty watery. It was around 6:15, the rush hour, and many people in the crowded station stopped in front of the bag and hurried on.

I told a sanitation worker about the suspicious bag and walked back to edge of the platform. My gut told me that whatever was in there was harmless, but I was glad I had stepped up and taken a necessary precaution.

“Report suspicious packages. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?” I said to a young man standing nearby. He had observed the bag, too.

“Yes,” he answered.”When I saw it, I went upstairs to tell a cop, but I couldn’t find one.”

We watched the sanitation worker, who studied the bag and the liquid surrounding it. He untied the drawstring carefully and looked inside. Our eyes met as he walked over to a large garbage can, holding the smaller sack, at a distance, in his hand.

“Ice,” he said.

“Everything happens at this station,” said the man next to me. “This is nothing. I was standing on this platform last month when a woman threw herself on the tracks.”

“Did anyone get her out before a train came,” I asked, thinking about the rescue stories I’d watched on the news.

“No. The B train hit her,” he said, matter-of-factly. “A suicide. It took a long time for the police to come. We were all just standing there.”

“Maybe it was the Holidays,” I answered, hoping I didn’t sound glib. The thought of such a desperate act left me feeling sad and pensive.

“That’s exactly what one of the cops said,” he replied.

The M train pulled into the station and we rode together in silence until it reached my stop.

“Take care,” I said.

“Travel safe,” he answered.

One Comment

  1. barryblogs wrote:

    Hello. I enjoyed this description of your subway encounter. Would that every rider took their civic responsibilities so seriously. I’m glad you were rewarded with a friendly exchange. Good looking out.

    Monday, January 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

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