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MTA, NYC high school students raise subway surfing danger awareness | #schoolsaftey


Kids don’t let kids surf the subway — that’s the message from the MTA and Mayor Adams’ office in a new campaign designed by students at Manhattan’s High School of Art and Design.

The public service campaign, with the motto “Subway surfing kills — ride inside, stay alive,” was rolled out Tuesday, with audio announcements, on-train ads, videos and animation.

“You can’t fix the problem by being an outsider,” Mayor Adams said at a press conference under the No. 7 train in Sunnyside, Queens. “You must go to those who understand their peers.”

Schools Chancellor David Banks applauded the students who put together the campaign, and lauded them for saving lives.

“I remember as a kid watching people ride the backs of buses,” he said “Remember that? People would run and jump on the back. You don’t see that as much because we made adjustments, we made changes.”

Adams — who later told reporters he’d ridden the rear bumpers of the Q5 bus in his youth — said it was important the message come from fellow students.

“There’s one thing I learned when I was young — If my parents said ‘no,’ I did ‘yes,’” he said.

Milana Blokhina, a graduating senior at the High School of Art and Design who is one of 10 city public school students who put together the campaign, agreed.

“Even if we save one life, we make a difference,” she said.

Five New Yorkers have been killed subway surfing this year, all of them teenagers.

Eighty-eight people have been arrested so far this year for riding or attempting to ride outside subway trains, NYPD’s transit chief Michael Kemper said Thursday. That’s up from 30 during the same period last year.

While Tuesday’s public service campaign will be system wide, MTA officials said they were making sure to target the elevated No. 7, J, M and Z lines, which have become hotbeds of subway surfing.

Front page of the New York Daily News for Feb. 22, 2023: When cop "held my hand, I already knew," devastated mom tells News. Incidents soar 400%, says MTA. Zackery Nazario, 15, was killed while subway surfing on the Williamsburg Bridge as his girlfriend watched in horror.

The videos will also be posted across various social media channels, which city and MTA officials have long criticized for hosting content that they say glorifies subway surfing.

“Listen up — this is not Coney Island. This is the subway,” 17-year-old Jessenya Liverman says in one announcement recorded for the campaign. “There should be no surfing or riding outside of trains under any circumstances — social media is not worth your life.”

MTA chairman Janno Lieber said Tuesday that the major social media platforms had committed to taking down subway surfing content.

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“After a little bit of encouragement, shall we say, we are working with the tech companies — Google, Meta Snapchat, TikTok and others — not only to get videos and photos of the reckless and risky behavior off of social media, but also to share content that affirmatively discourages this kind of behavior.”

Lieber, who has been among the officials calling for months for social media platforms to take action, declined say what encouragement spurred the tech giants into action, but credited Adams with the win.

“The mayor spoke up in no uncertain terms,” Lieber said. “The mayor spoke out about how wrong it was.”

“The companies have each built algorithms to identify and remove content that shows people riding outside of subway trains,” Lieber said. “We’ve already seen them take down 2,600 videos and photos. That’s amazing work.”

“Let’s not kid ourselves, these guys are masters,” Adams said. “They know how to use algorithms to attract you to different things.”

“There’s a reason, when you cough you start getting cough syrup ads,” the Mayor continued. “There’s a reason when you yell at your spouse you start getting divorce lawyers popping up on your phone.

“These guys know what they’re doing, and if we can use social media to help we cannot continue to allow it to harm.”



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