A man and a woman, both believed to be homeless, were killed on the subway tracks Friday morning, officials said.
The couple was found just before 11 a.m. near the 145th Street One-train subway stop in Hamilton Heights, NYPD officials said. The woman’s body was found inside the subway tunnel, while the man appeared to have been dragged by the train into the nearby stop.
Police said the victims didn’t have identification with them and weren’t able to be identified right away. Officials said they thought the couple was homeless and potentially seeking shelter inside the subway system.
“It’s lunacy that people are voluntarily intruding on subway tracks, requiring transit workers to risk their own safety looking for encampments day in, day out,” said MTA chief safety and security officer Pat Warren, in response to Friday’s deaths. He cited the MTA’s January survey that found 350 people were living in 29 encampments inside subway tunnels and 89 inside subway stations. The survey also found cases of people entering the tracks had increased 20 percent since 2019, NY1 reported.
“We shouldn’t have to keep saying it: tracks are dangerous and walking on them is illegal, obviously life-threatening, and can impact thousands of other riders,” Warren said.
In his first four months in office, Mayor Eric Adams pushed city agencies to clear homeless people out of the subways and out of encampments. Advocates for the homeless argue those sweeps have further marginalized the most vulnerable New Yorkers, pushing them into even less safe situations, like underground subway tunnels.
“People have found themselves chased from the subways, from the sidewalks, and from the parks, further to the margins and further from support,” said Helen Strom, with the Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center, in a statement. “Instead we urge the City to immediately offer homeless people the thousands of vacant supportive and HPD apartments that are available and stop the closures of hundreds of single rooms in multiple hotels in Manhattan and Queens that have housed hundreds of homeless people safely during the pandemic.”