They saw homeless people, a preacher giving a lively sermon, an accordion player, a violinist, a man playing a comb wrapped in wax paper and lots of rats and mice.
But Charlie Redell and Roy Fox witnessed no muggings or drug deals during a three-day expedition through the entire subway system--which they say proves the subway is not the terror-a-moment adventure that some people expect.
Redell, 17, and Fox, 51, a family friend, set out Thursday morning to ride every inch of subway track--722 miles worth.
They finished late Saturday, about six hours ahead of schedule, still riding on the tokens they had put in the turnstiles Thursday.
Redell undertook the venture as a project for his humanities class at Townsend Harris High School.
“Many of my classmates live in Queens and have overprotective parents and they never ride the subway,” he said. “My main goal with the project is to show that everything isn’t as horrible as people say. Roy and I were never bothered once. I never saw a knife and I never saw a gun.”
Fox said he “wanted to see just how far a $1.15 token could go. Seven hundred and twenty-two miles, that’s not a bad deal.”
Fox says others have ridden every route in the subway system on one continuous trip, but as far as he knows, no one has ridden every inch of track. To do this, he and Redell went through many stations more than once, but on different tracks--uptown, downtown, local and express.
The Transit Authority had provided them with a list of working bathrooms, scheduled track work and station concession stands.
In addition to the homeless people, musicians and vermin, their journey included two delays caused by a track fire and a power failure, and a freezing ride in the middle of the night on an elevated section of track.