8:45 pm Jul. 20, 2012
The police officer didn’t bother using the gate or swiping his subway card.
He jumped the turnstile at the uptown 1 platform at 59th Street, swinging his left leg over first, while two other cops reached into their back pockets and pulled out MetroCards. The first officer ran to the edge of the platform yelling, “Everybody out! Everybody out!”
Obediently the Friday-afternoon riders turned and, like water pulling back from the beach and into the ocean, drained out the exits.
An older woman gathered two little girls around her, shielding them with her umbrella, and hurried up the stairs onto the street overlooked by the steel globe on Broadway and into the rain, pausing only long enough to tell me she didn't know what had happened.
Another fire truck joined the fleet of emergency vehicles already parked on the street, then another, then a police car, then an ambulance. With the station mostly emptied, firefighters descended the subway stairs in the median strip, the little island between the pretzel stand on the uptown side of Broadway and the Time Warner building on the downtown side.
A few minutes passed before they reappeared carrying a stretcher with an African-American man on it. His face was obstructed, and he was missing at least one shoe. The bottom of his foot was bloody. His clothes were covered in grime, and one of his arms was upright with the hand clenched in a claw. He didn’t move.
Officers surrounded the stretcher and hoisted it into a Lenox Hill Hospital ambulance. Once the man was in, the empty stretcher came flying out the back of the ambulance and landed on the rain-soaked street, where it lay as emergency workers prepared the car to leave.
The doors closed and the vehicle took off down West 60th Street as a group of children dashed across the street, a minute too late to have seen what happened.
Under the awning for Jazz at Lincoln Center, commuters and well-dressed business people wearing clear plastic ponchos milled around and watched the subway entrance.
Officer Harrison stood with them, holding a roll of white police tape.
“There was a man who jumped on the track," she said, and then muttered to herself, "Where's Rosario?"
A New York Post photographer wearing an Arcteryx jacket, his shoulders slung with cameras, showed up after the ambulance had already gone.
"They left with the body," Harrison told him.
I asked whether the man had died.
She didn't answer and instead picked up her phone and asked the person on the other end where Rosario was.
A horse-drawn carriage trotted by. Back down in the subway, the platform for the uptown 1 train filled with commuters. Across the tracks, the 1 train on the downtown track that apparently hit the man was stopped part-way into the station, and the platform was populated by white-shirted officers, patrolmen and detectives in orange vests.
According to the NYPD press office, the victim was a 42-year-old man who jumped in front of the southbound 1 train at 2:57 p.m. and was dead on arrival. They said they could not release any further information about his identity, and they do not suspect connection to criminal activity.