My cousin celebrated his 25th birthday in New York City last night. (He lives on Long Island so the excitement surrounding the event wasn’t derived from the location.) As you can imagine it was a late night and he ended up riding the subway to a friend’s home in Queens. When I spoke to him earlier today he was desperately trying to find his iPod. From what he can remember, it was still in his jacket pocket when he boarded the subway last night. But, this morning it was gone. Losing your iPod on a New York City subway… please! I suggested he use his birthday money to buy a new one because if he lost it on the “A” Eighth Avenue Express it was as good as gone.
After listening to my less than sympathetic response to his dilemma he headed over to the New York City Transit’s lost property unit (located in the mezzanine of the 34th Street and Eighth Avenue subway station) and filled out a “lost item” form. (He is obviously less jaded than his dear cousin.) So now he plays the waiting game (and if pigs fly and he does get his iPod back I owe him a public apology and a new pair of sunglasses).
Personally, I think the odds are stacked against him, but I did some research and found that stranger things do happen in the bowels of the city. According to NYC Transit workers, countless forgotten items from subways and buses are brought in to their offices on a weekly basis. The most common items include backpacks, books, gloves, wallets, keys, glasses, umbrellas, canes, cell phones, and a growing number of electronic devices. (Could there be hope?)
In addition, to the aforementioned items, Transit workers say they have also recovered a large number of not-so-conventional articles, including dentures, Bibles, bowling balls, an amplifier, a computer monitor, bicycles, luggage, musical instruments — and a prosthetic leg. (How do you “forget” a large computer monitor… or your leg?)
Last year the Transit’s lost-and-found center took in more than 11,000 items. And, yes, some commuters were actually reunited with their personal belongings. Transit workers say it helps if the items contain a name or number. In those cases, transit employees will contact the item’s owner and he or she has six months to claim the lost article. Unclaimed items are either auctioned off or (in the case of the Bibles) given to charity.
Have you ever lost an item on the subway?