Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Secret Stash

Earlier today, I took the subway from downtown Manhattan to 34th Street to connect with the LIRR and make my way home.  The 8th Avenue side is currently a dungeon, as they’re doing a lot of construction for the build out of the new Moynihan Station at the former Farley Post Office site.  The new Moynihan Station will likely be the most beautiful train station that I’ll never use.  It has a majestic staircase on 8th Avenue that will cause endless inconvenience and frustration for travelers with bags, but I’m deviating from topic.

The Farley Post Office, One Day To Be Amtrak's Moynihan Station
Due to the construction, Penn Station's 8th Avenue concourse is filled with floor-to-ceiling wooden boards blocking walkways and staircases, and there are many low false ceilings.  These boards and false ceilings are in place to protect the public from injury (read: satisfy insurance requirements).

As I walked from the subway to Penn through the construction labyrinth, a man who appeared homeless walked in my direction.  He stopped about 30 feet in front of me, and looked up at the ceiling.  In that spot, the false ceiling was pretty low, about 7-8 feet.  He pushed up on the false ceiling, moving a large square-shaped wood section.  The faux ceiling aside, he reached in with both hands, and pulled out a milk crate of his things.  He put the milk crate down, put the ceiling tile back in place, picked up his crate, and was on his way.

Whoa.  I have questions.

Why was he so confident that his stuff wouldn’t be disturbed?  There's a lot of construction going on.  Maybe his stuff wasn't there very long.

For how long did he scout out that spot?  Maybe he hung out in Penn Station and watched the space.  If no one was doing any work, maybe he figured it was a safe spot.

Did the construction workers know that stuff was there?  My money's on no.

If the construction workers knew the stuff was there, but didn’t know whose it was, did they alert authorities?  If the construction workers knew about the crate but not its owner, didn't they have an obligation  to report it?  If you see something, you’re supposed to say something.  That's the MTA safety motto.

The last thing I have to say on this topic is that I’m awfully glad that crate contained a man’s (hopefully) mundane possessions and not something more sinister.  Sad to say, we’re all one lunatic away from a drastic, ugly, life altering experience.

Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.

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