Sad, but true – the daily commute on the subway can be quiet, entertaining or horrifying. You never know quite what to expect.
Subways used to host entertainers. My two favorites were a magician complete with bunny and two doves that used to fly around the car; and a man dressed up like a martian playing the “Outer Limits” theme song on a saxophone. He was looking for donations to repair his spaceship. He promised for a small donation he would bring your enemies back with him to Mars. I miss them. They would make the riders smile.
Riders (or straphangers as we used to be called) are used to seeing just about everything and every kind of human being imaginable; but even for the most jaded New Yorker, the incident involving the “cricket woman” on a rush hour D train set a new high (or low).
Late last month a woman got on a packed D train and started ranting and raving, trying to sell crickets and worms to passengers. Some people headed for the next car, but it was too late to get off the train.
When she was pushed by a teenager, the box went airborne, releasing the bugs into the crowd. The passengers were disgusted and scared with hundreds of bugs and worms on them and crawling all over. When several passengers tried to restrain her, and she really went crazy. Someone had pulled the emergency brake when they were crossing Manhattan Bridge, which meant everyone was stuck with this screaming nut and her critters for the better part of a half hour before the transit police arrived.
As it turned out, she was not the homeless woman she pretended to be.
“It was a prank. I’m an actress. That was me,” a woman named Zaida Pugh told news media. “I did this to show how people react to situations with homeless people and people with mental health,” Pugh explained. “How they’re more likely to pull out their phone than help.”