Someone Fell Down a Manhole Today and a Look at Some Other New York Urban Legends That Have Really Happened


Todd Maisel c/o

What’s your worst, borderline irrational New York City-based fear? Is it that you will encounter an alligator in the sewer? You won’t! Well, not unless you go down into the sewers, which, why would you do that? Is it that rats will band together like the rodent version of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and take over the subway tunnels? Never going to happen. Rats are smart, yes, but not socially motivated enough to work together. Is it that you will just be walking down the street, minding your own business, and suddenly fall down a manhole? Well, guess what? That’s not so irrational after all. Shit. Does that mean there are really alligators in the sewers too?

Earlier today, a 10-year-old boy in Borough Park plummeted 20-feet down into a sewer after a manhole cover shattered (they can do that?) with its pieces, as the Daily News puts it, falling “into the watery pit below.” Luckily for little Moshe Altmin, two men jumped in after him, rescuing him from the sewer and probably alligator civilization therein. The News reports that it’s unclear how the manhole cover shattered, it could have been the result of a passing car or it could have been from the pressure of Moshe Altmin walking on top of it. That’s right, fellow paranoid New Yorkers! The weight of a 10-year-old boy might just be enough to shatter a manhole cover! I will never walk on a manhole cover again.

But what other urban legends are actually based in fact? Scary, scary facts? Let’s take a look.

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