Just after midnight this morning riders on a Queens-bound N train in New York City — who are fairly used to seeing bizarre things on the subway — were greeted by the ripe, fishy smell of a dead shark. To be clear, there was an actual shark lying on the floor under the subway car's seat. A tipster emailed Gothamist the following account:
I think I stood there for a good minute just staring, thinking 'Is this for real?! Oh come ON, NYC!' One of my fellow passengers remarked 'I've been riding the subway for 15 years, and this is the weirdest thing I've seen. And I've seen EVERYTHING.' The train filled as we made our way to Astoria, every new passenger was getting excited about it. Once we got to Queensboro Plaza, an MTA employee made all of us move to another car.
Discovery Channel put to rest rumors that this is all just a horribly misguided Shark Week marketing ploy. As of now, no one knows how the shark got there, though last year a man tried to sell a small, probably also dead, dogfish shark on the J train. As sad as this is (it's weird and bizarre, but also kind of sad!), at least the MTA is maintaining a sense of humor about the whole thing. Gothamist reached out to the MTA on their shark disposal methods and got the following response:
Live sharks are wrangled by Shark Maintainer IIs, who have passed the qualification test and have minimum three years in the Shark Maintainer I title. Dead ones are handled by Shark Maintainer Is, or if none are available on that shift, then by Aquatic Mammal Handler IIs.
Meanwhile, people on the train seemed to take the whole thing pretty lightly, probably while wondering which Instagram filter would best highlight the dead sea predator. (Update: Actually, subway riders were debating which props were okay to add to a photo of a dead shark. Apparently cigarettes, red bull cans and metro cards are in good taste. "I do think it's disrespectful to do certain things to dead shark corpses," said Juan D. Cano, another Gothamist tipster. "But adding a MetroCard under its fin is not disrespectful." Right.) And it's probably still not as shocking as the woman who gave birth in the D.C. subway last week. Personally, we'd like to go back to the days when the only odd things on the subway are the people, like this dancing speedo man:
Shark photo by Brandon Sanchez via Instagram