NEW YORK (PIX11) — A Manhattan teenager was the latest to be killed while subway surfing in New York City, a dangerous trend that authorities are seeking to end.
“The subway system is not a playground,” NYPD Chief of Transit Michael Kemper said at the MTA’s Committee meetings Tuesday following the death of a 15-year-old boy who was riding on top of a subway train on the Williamsburg Bridge.
“Subway surfing is not only illegal; it is super reckless, extremely dangerous and people die doing so. We will continue with our outreach and enforcement in relation to unsafe riding and subway surfing, and our hope is to avoid future tragedies from occurring,” Kemper said.
Police identified the teen who died as Zackery Nazario, who lived in the East Village.
The trend of subway surfing spiked in 2022 but is still popular on social media sites like TikTok.
PIX11 News requested data from the MTA on the number of subway surfing incidents over the last few years. An MTA spokesperson said they don’t keep track of how many people ride on top of cars as opposed to between cars or on the back of trains. The MTA did provide statistics for the total number of people caught outside train cars. It was 928 in 2022, as compared to 206 in 2021.
Andrew Albert, an MTA board member on the transit committee, said he’s pushing for an easier way for passengers to say something when they see subway surfers.
“There should be a button you can push to alert the train crew, alert police officers at the next station, alert some part of the MTA that this is happening and you better slow down or stop the train and make sure this person is off the roof,” Albert said.
If you are caught subway surfing, you can be charged with reckless endangerment, according to police.
Editor’s note: Police initially identified the teen as Zachery Nazaro, but the teen’s mom said his name was Zackery Nazario.