Visions of brazen and unprovoked attacks on subway riders have circulated on social media, making many commuters afraid of using the New York subway. People were already nervous of taking public transportation during the Pandemic but the recent caught on camera incidence of a woman being thrown on the tracks seconds before an incoming train is the stuff of horror films and only adds to the apprehension of those that use the subway and increases the amount of people who wish to avoid it.
The Brooklyn woman, Liliana Sagbaicela, 40, who was shoved in front of an incoming train at 8.30 a.m. on Thursday says she doesn’t remember the incident.. ‘I didn’t know what happened. When I was in the hospital, I wake up, I opened my eyes and said, ‘What happened?’ ‘I think I was dreaming, because I didn’t have an idea,’ she said. ‘Later they cut my clothes, Later I say…. ‘What happened’ …”You had an accident.” Sagbaicela fortuitously landed right in the roadbed between the rails and was able to avoid serious injury from the two train cars that passed over her a split second later. ‘I saw in the video, the man —- oh my God, I can’t believe it’ Sagbaicela said. ‘Is this happening? Now I understand why everybody and the police say to me, ‘You are alive for the miracles. You are a miracle.’
On Sunday a 29 year old straphanger was pushed by a stranger onto the tracks after he and his girlfriend got off at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center stop, luckily he was able to get back on the platform and was not seriously injured, police said. Alex Weisman, a stage and television actor endured a violent, baseless attack on Tuesday when he was punched twice in the face by a man who then ran off. Mr Weisman’s skull was injured in two places and one of his retinas was torn. ‘There was nothing else I could have done to protect myself.’ Mr. Weisman said on Friday. ‘I am shaken by this.’
The police have reported that arrests in both the shoving incidents have been made and that both suspects appeared to be mentally ill and homeless. ‘This city has a mental health crisis right now.’ said Sarah Feinberg, New York City Transit’s interim President declared at a news conference on Thursday. ‘We have got folks in this city who desperately need mental health care. I’m desperate for this mayor or the next mayor to take it on because we’ve got a long way to go.’
Although it could be concluded that the coronavirus pandemic has increased the amount of vulnerable people that have taken refuge in the subway, this is refuted by Steven Banks, the city’s social services commissioner. ‘So far, nearly 600 people who were effectively living on the subway have been provided with shelter.’ he said.
Transit officials and police say that compared to the 1970’s and 80’s where unbridled violence was commonplace, the subway remains overwhelmingly safe. However Senator Johnson is not taking any chances and his opinion will definitely not inspire faith in the safety of subway commuting. ‘I think at this time it’s bad to be standing over there.’ he said. nodding toward the platform’s edge at an L line stop in Brooklyn on Friday, “because a lot of people are getting pushed.”