Does Vomit Count as a HAZMAT?

I had a hell of a morning. I left the house at 8:30 leaving myself plenty of time to get to Midtown and take a Post picture. I got on the L Train almost immediately. I was in the second to the last car.

About five feet out of the Graham Avenue stop station, someone vomited all over the middle of the car. The New York thing to do in that situation was to move away from said person as quickly as possible, which everyone did. I was reading Bastard out of Carolina when the smell hit me and if the odor hadn’t been so unbelievably disgusting, I probably wouldn’t have noticed since that book is so devastating on its own.

People moved cars at Lorimer. Some moved in-between cars, others moved when we hit the station. And still others, like me, decided to stick our faces deep into the crack of our newspapers and books. Since there was so much smelly vomit, the train car I was in was almost empty; something that one rarely sees on the morning L Train.

At Lorimer, the vomiting person got off the train and a person getting on then stepped in it. And I gagged.

We pulled out of the station. About halfway between Lorimer and Bedford, our train came to screeching stop. We stayed there for a while. Our conductor kept saying, “We’re stopped here due to a police investigation at Lorimer”. Considering Lorimer was behind us at the time, I was confused, but whatever.

We sat there for a long while and then eventually the train lunged forward. Our conductor told us we’d stay at Bedford Avenue until further notice.

And yours truly forgot her cell phone today. I had one quarter. I tried calling Tobyjoe from the platform. Rang forever. No answer. Trying to get the most out of my quarter, I hung up before his voicemail picked up. I called back. At this point a line was forming behind me. Everyone needed to use the phone. The Bedford stop now had two trains parked within its station. The conductor kept repeating the same message, “Police Investigation. Blah Blah.” I couldn’t get Tobyjoe on the phone and in the end I lost the quarter. I didn’t even get to leave a message.

People were milling about all over Bedford Avenue. I heard one woman call into a potential employer about being late for an interview. She had a portfolio with her. Another woman waited with her daughter, trying to hail a cab or a car service, neither was anywhere to be found.

I figured the G Train would be running. I could take it into Long Island City and then hit the 7 Train. But someone told me that the entire Lorimer Street station was shut down, HAZMAT trucks and fire trucks were there, so were the police. “It was a mess,” he had said.

I don’t know what’s going on. But if anyone is going to know the story as it unfolds, it’s going to be Gothamist who is currently reporting that things are now up and running while NY1 is saying it’s still down after they found a suspicious package. Apparently service has been restored entirely. Either way, I’ll bet you a hundred bucks we’re never given a full explanation.

Me? I eventually got on the B61 and hit the 7 Train. I got to work before 10 but the entire ordeal took 1.5 hours.

I have often joked about the ways in which I might finally meet my demise. Cancer? A falling air conditioner? But I’m really starting to believe the L Train will eventually claim me. I need to break up with the L Train.

Edited to add: In the end, the word is someone sprayed a Brooklyn bound train with pepper spray. (Probably kids.) The reason everyone freaked out was because people kept getting off the train, therefore folks thought it was a widespread sort of event. So, the guy on my train, the one who puked, was just some sick guy. The other people? They were hit with pepper spray. That’s what they’re saying at least.


  1. I love how three different news outlets have three different stories about what happened. Doesn’t do much to make you feel confident and safe about riding, does it?

    Glad you’re okay. My commute (G to E/V) was slow and crowded, but I feel lucky I was just late to work and didn’t have to deal with noxious odors.


  2. I know, right? That’s why I’m hitting the Gothamist writers/commenters up. Since we actually use the system, somtimes it’s the best way to get the facts.

    The G ran, then? Did you have trouble at Lorimer? Isn’t it odd that they stopped the L but not the G?


  3. I’m getting a little nervous now. A reader on Gothamist asked a fireman at 1st ave if there was a fire and the fireman asked him if he had seen any sick people. I definitely saw a sick person, a really sick person.

    What is going on?


  4. The conductor of the train I was on did make an announcement that the L wasn’t running from Broadway Junction to 8th Ave., but he didn’t say why, and we did stop at Metropolitan/Lorimer to let passengers on and off… it seemed like a lot more people than usual got on, but other than that, nothing seemed abnormal. I don’t recall smelling anything, didn’t really notice anything weird. It is odd, though, that they would stop the L and not the G if there was a problem.

    A coworker told me when I got to the office that he had seen people being taken up from the 1st Ave. L station on stretchers, and that there were emergency vehicles at 3rd Ave. as well.


  5. See, that’s very troubling information. Very.


  6. wow … i wonder if you were witness to a terrorist attack?


  7. From 7Online:

    “The question is, what posed this problem? Was it pepper spray, or some type of cleaning spray. Officials say they may never know.”


  8. Dude, figure it out. If people at numerous different stations got sick, figure that shit out. Period.

    What the hell?


  9. Seriously! That just screams lazy and irresponsible.


  10. I was just thinking yesterday about how I’ve never seen anyone vomit on the subway and how my time is probably coming.

    I’m sorry that happened to you.


  11. up until today, I hadn’t ever seen it in action. I’ve seen piles of vomit and have moved cars because of rotting homeless people, but never once have I seen someone actually vomit.

    Today is a first for me.

    Now to find all the baby pigeons.


  12. Seriously. Where the babies at?


  13. Yeesh, you know, how difficult would it have been for someone with credibility and authority (from the MTA, NYFD, NYPD, whatever) to just come out and say, tell the media outlets, that some idiot sprayed pepper spray? The media could have reported that earlier in the day, eliminated the confusion and probably saved us all a little stress today.


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