The vague explanation of “only in New York!” works in plenty of daily scenarios this city sees but not in response to a dead shark on the subway. That’s freakish, even by New York standards. Still, there it was, hanging out, dead, on the floor of a Queens-bound N train early this morning. Viral images ensued, of course: Here’s a good one from Instagram user @bsanchz, captioned with “Gotta love NYC…casual dead shark on the subway…#NYC.” That must’ve been shot before the shark was adorned with party animal (heh) props—namely, a can of Red Bull, a Metrocard and a cigarette—as pointed out by Gothamist.
According to another tipster with a firsthand account, an MTA employee made passengers switch cars at Queensboro Plaza, and the shark then became a lonely shark. Poor Sam. Let’s call him Sam the Shark.
In a statement to Gothamist about discarding its body, a spokesperson cracked: “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.” (Actually, an MTA supervisor placed it in a bag and disposed of it in the trash once the train arrived at the end of its line.)
How exactly Sam got on the subway remains a mystery, though a statement from the Discovery Channel rules out the possibility of it being tied to a viral campaign of its “celebration of sharks.” It’s Shark Week, in case you forgot, now in more ways than one.