“Who cares about the facts, as long as I report it first” & Thursday’s Subway Fatality

There is this sentiment in the news today, with the internet and all “competing” with the “real” news. That sentiment is “who cares about the facts, as long as I report it first”. And this sentiment sickens me. Seriously.

I have been having issues with my laptop charger, so I haven’t been on my computer quite as much this week. So I totally missed the other day’s story about the person getting killed by the 6 train at 77th Street. Maybe it was good I missed it. Maybe because the story was complete and utter bullshit. Check out the story on The New York Times‘ website, and read the comments. You will see something drastically different than what the story reports. Why? Because the story was changed as the “real” information came in.

Apparently the original story reported that a young girl was struck by the train. Not only that, witnesses report that the girl was possibly pushed off the platform, as students were horsing around. That is pretty fucked up. A person getting pushed? That is murder on the subway! But hey, guess what, that story was completely false. It is now reported that the person that was struck was not a child, but a forty-eight-year-old woman named Rose M. Mankos. And not only was she NOT pushed, the story now reports that she dropped her bag on the tracks, and JUMPED DOWN TO RETRIEVE IT. That on the other hand is NOT murder. That is complete and utter stupidity. I am so sorry, but that woman got what she deserved. You may call me heartless, but if you jump down on the tracks, you are an idiot.

People, never, never, NEVER go down on those damn tracks. Just don’t do it. Losing something on the tracks does happen. New York City Transit estimates that it happens perhaps twelve to fifteen times per day. If you do lose an item, you need to report it to a police officer or employee. There is an Emergency Response and Track Lubrication Division, and they respond to these events. Once the call is made, a track specialist responds and will retrieve the item. It may not happen instantaneously, and you may have to return later to pick up the item, but at least you will be safe. Life is worth more than whatever stupid possessions you may have dropped. You can buy a new iPod. But your poor family members (whom I am truly sorry for… having to identify that mangled mess of your daughter / sister in the morgue) can’t buy another you.

Note: This post has been edited, because I am a moron and wrote that this happened Friday, when in reality it occurred on Thursday. Talk about criticizing the “media,” hah! It has also been updated to reflect the response I got from NYCTSubwayScoop on Twitter regarding the procedure for retrieving a lost item.

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Friday’s From the Historical Archive: John M. Wisker

Last week I posted about the Park Avenue Tunnel Wreck in 1902. The engineer of the train involved in that wreck was named John M. Wisker.

I was curious to know the fate of this man after the events of the wreck. He was put on trial for manslaughter for the deaths in the wreck, but was ultimately acquitted. I can only imagine the emotional toll this all took on him. From the start of the whole ordeal, he was blamed for the wreck. Newspapers questioned his experience as an engineer. He was even held in jail for a short time.

This was a gruesome crash. Newspapers described some victims as boiling to death from the steam of the engine. Telescoping is a term that you don’t ever want to hear in a sentence alongside anything having to do with rails. Imagine a collapsible telescope, and how the tubes slide into one another to become smaller. Now imagine the same thing in a rail collision: the force causes the cars to collapse into one another, one car sliding inside the others, resulting in heavy casualties.

In 1903 Wisker’s trial began, and later on that week he himself testified about the unsafe conditions of his locomotive. On April 25th, Wisker was acquitted. The emotional toll on the man was clearly evident as the jury read the verdict. He was described as “on the verge of nervous collapse” and “he trembled so violently that he had to be helped to his feet by [his lawyer]”. “He is but a shadow of the big sturdy fellow who was arrested the day of the fatal collision in the Park avenue tunnel.”

It would be nice to know that this man lived a long and productive life after this ordeal. However, in 1909, a work-related accident claimed John M. Wisker’s life. He was age 40. At least he lived long enough to see the beginnings of electric service, and the start of construction on the new Grand Central, both results of the crash in 1902.

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Last Night’s Hudson Line Delays & Pointless MTA Alerts

Whenever there are delays, MTA never really says all that much. Trains last night were delayed on the Hudson Line, due to “police activity” near Peekskill. Apparently the “police activity” was due to a man getting hit and killed by a passing Penn Station-bound Amtrak train at around 5:56 PM. The man was identified as 71-year-old Steven Paige.

Peekskill Fire Chief John Pappas, apparently a very astute man, had this to say:
“You get hit by a train, it’s never good.”
Somehow I think we were all aware of that.

Pappas goes on to say that they were not aware whether the man was a commuter, but he was not wearing a suit or tie. He was clearly not a Metro North rider, as we all know suits and ties are required for all commuters that ride the train.

You can find more information about that incident here and here.

I’m not subscribed to MTA Alerts for the Hudson Line, but anyone who is, was an alert sent out about this last night? Because this is what I imagine the alerts were made for… reporting delays in service that might be… well, important to commuters. Instead all I find that I am getting are “alerts” informing me that I can take the train to see the Yankees game. I just looked at my old text messages, of the 8 I still have in my inbox, 7 of them were related to taking the train to the game. No offense MTA, but I’d like to know about train delays… and taking trains to the game? I get bombarded with signs for it every day at the train station. I’m well aware of it… and I’m sure all of your other regular commuters, the ones that are probably signed up for these alerts, probably are as well.

A possible alternate service for commuters, Rail Bandit actually announced yesterday that they have added Metro North to their list of Rail lines. Rail Bandit has real-time service and delay alerts, in addition to schedules, all on your cell phone. I’ve not used it, but Rail Bandit looks like it could be quite useful for people in the New York area, as there are also live updates for the Long Island Rail Road, PATH, New Jersey Transit, and other railroads across the country.

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