Where: Uptown and Queens-bound platform on the 6th Ave. line at Herald Square
When: Sunday, February 20, 2010 at 5:38 p.m.
On Sunday afternoon, I found myself waiting for a train at Herald Square and happened to glance into the tracks. What I saw there was worse than any live animal scampering around while scrounging up some food. Rather, the tracks will filled with trash strewn everywhere and water, backed up because of papers blocking the drain, coating the garbage. At one of the system’s most trafficked stations, it was a reminder of the state of cleanliness in the system.
Now, I don’t know how this garbage got to the tracks. Maybe someone threw it there in a fit of rage; maybe a bag broke on the platform; maybe the station hadn’t seen a garbage train in a while and the overstuffed trash cans couldn’t handle one more copy of amNew York. It doesn’t really matter though because it was there and it was a mess.
Over the years, I’ve often returned to the theme of cleanliness underground. New Yorkers treat the subway system with little respect. People chuck stuff into tracks with garbage cans right behind them. They drop food onto the floor of stations or train cars and walk away. It’s tough to keep a system looking even half-decent when the riders are the ones contributing so actively to the mess, and until personal responsibility rises to the forefront, the subway system will just always look this dirty.