New York City’s Homeless 311

Homeless on NY Subway

This homeless man was enjoying the climate controlled environment of the train out to JFK Airport on Friday. Just above his seat was a sign asking people to call 311 to get help for people like him.

Just to the right of this photo sat a pilot who rode the train as far as the transfer to LaGuardia. Next to the pilot sat to elderly tourists (Norwegian, I think) with large plastic roller suitcases. The tourists seemed a bit nervous on the train. I have a feeling the husband suggested they take the train since it costs $14 vs $50 to get to JFK from Manhatten.

As a security measure, they positioned the woman’s Louis Vuitton purse between them on the bench with their suitcases standing upright on the floor between them.

Then the train started filling up and all of the seats were taken by the time a woman with a stroller stepped onto the train. She stood right in front of the elderly Norwegians and held onto a center pole while holding her child’s stroller with her other hand.

That’s when the pilot flipped. He started telling New York style at the elderly couple. Berating them for taking up three seats while a woman with child stood on the subway. The tourists smiled at the screaming pilot as they failed to understand what he was talking about. They likely presumed it had nothing to do with them since they had been sitting next to him for 5 minutes without incident.

With a vein about to pop in his forehead, the pilot demonstrated how he straddles his bag between his legs rather than setting it to the side in order to save space. Money quote from the pilot: “You need to think about what kind of a world you want to live in! Do you really want to live in a world where we make mothers stand on the train while we take up a seat with luggage?!?!!?”

At this point, the woman calmly explained to her husband what she thought the pilot was talking about. They then readjusted their luggage to allow the mother with stroller to take a seat.

Frankly, I don’t think the mother had a problem standing. However, I think she felt obligated to take the seat the pilot had fought to valiantly with the tourists to secure for her.

The tourists were surprisingly unphased by being screamed at by the pilot. I suppose they had been in New York for at least a week at that point so they may had simply built up a tolerance for that sort of behavior.

The homeless guy? He slept through the incident. Later, he scratched an itch on his stomach before readjusting his plastic bag pillow. The pilot did nothing to help the homeless man’s situation which may say something about the type of world he’d like to live in.

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