Subway surfing is when somebody rides on the top or side of a moving train. Although the risky activity is illegal, New York City still sees several daredevils try their luck at it. Over the weekend, one man became an example of why subway surfing is something to avoid altogether.
New York City Subway Surfer Dies
On Sunday, the New York City police department reported a man passed away after attempting to subway surf near the Williamsburg Bridge. According to police reports, the 32-year-old man successfully jumped on the top of the J-train sometime early Saturday morning. However, the unidentified male lost his footing shortly after and fell onto the northbound tracks. After falling onto the tracks, he was hit by an oncoming train, police said. When police arrived at the scene, they found the subway surfer “unconscious and unresponsive” around 4:30 in the morning, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The incident affected train service in other parts of New York the same morning, as the J-train runs between Manhattan and Queens. While the scene underwent investigation, the J-train was subsequently shut down, according to the MTA. The Williamsburg Bridge, where the subway surfer died, connects Manhattan and Brooklyn and is one of the busiest locations in the city, according to the New York City Department of Transportation. After the incident, MTA spokesperson Tim Minton said to CNN, “Riding on top of trains is not smart.”
Subway Surfing In New York City
Subway surfing has been a significant issue in New York since the activity gained popularity in 2019. Although the MTA says subway surfing is “illegal and extremely dangerous,” that hasn’t prevented some from trying to ride on moving trains. “Each year, we see teens killed engaging in so-called subway surfing,” the MTA stated. “This is the primary reason we enforce rules prohibiting moving between the train cars,” a department spokesperson added.
In 2019, there were 461 reported incidents of subway surfers in New York City, a 15% increase from the previous year. Officials believe part of the reason this dangerous activity has gained so much attention is a 23-year-old Brooklyn man who was charged with pulling an emergency brake on a No. 2 train. Apparently, the man is suspected of riding outside trains on numerous occasions, causing several delays.
Sally Librera, the head of subways for New York City Transit, said subway surfing is “something that we want to eliminate completely.” In a statement to The City, Librera warned others thinking of subway surfing, attesting the “behavior is reckless and incredibly dangerous and it needs to stop.”