81° Good Morning
81° Good Morning

NYC's most terrifying urban nightmares

New York City is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. But it also can be terrifying, especially when you consider all the dangers lurking around every corner (and the subway).

We've rounded up some of the most terrifying incidents that haunt New Yorkers.

Falling onto the subway tracks

The subway sure sounds great in theory: Public,
Photo Credit: Flickr / jennie-o

The subway sure sounds great in theory: Public, affordable (ish) transportation for all! It's more than most cities have. But when you think about it, being trapped on an underground network of trains is the stuff of nightmares. Especially when you realize how easy it is to fall onto the tracks. For example, on July 17, 2015, a 27-year-old man apparently fainted onto the tracks at the Times Square-42nd St. station. An oncoming N train ran over the man, but he miraculously survived and was soon rescued by FDNY and NYPD personnel.

Just think about being in those subway tracks with the dirt and the garbage and the rats ... Oh god. Panic attack. Who thought of this system of transportation?!

Crane accidents

Crane construction is one of the most terrifying
Photo Credit: Karina Cuevas

Crane construction is one of the most terrifying parts of being a New Yorker. A brief history of terrifying crane incidents: In 2007, a crane snapped and fell seven stories, injuring one. In March 2008, seven people died when a crane crashed into neighboring buildings, wiping out a townhouse. Just two months later, in May 2008, a crane dropped 20 stories on the Upper East Side.

In April 2015, one person died when a crane malfunctioned on East 44th St. and Second Ave. Just one month later, seven people were injured on Madison Ave. between 38th and 39th Streets when an air-conditioning unit being lifted on a crane fell seven stories.

Ceilings collapsing

Four construction workers were injured on April
Photo Credit: Stephanie Grella

Four construction workers were injured on April 7 when they fell while removing a heavy chandelier at 331 Madison Ave. But that's not all: After they fell about 15 feet, the chandelier fell on top of them. All four were taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment, the FDNY said. The city Department of Buildings issued a stop order, but not soon enough to wipe the terrifying image from all our minds.

Hammer attacks

This one is truly terrifying. A man (later

This one is truly terrifying. A man (later identified as David Baril) attacked at least four people by walking up to them and hitting them with a hammer.

Less than 48 hours after the attack, Baril was shot by police, after attempting to strike a female officer with a hammer on a busy midtown street.

Manhole explosions

There is no feeling quite like when you
Photo Credit: Caroline Linton

There is no feeling quite like when you hear a giant "boom!" and wonder if it's thunder. Shortly afterward, you realize that there was a manhole explosion on your corner. The poor people on the street are looking around, dazed. The real New York state of mind.

And it only gets worse when you get to your office and realize not only is the nearest Starbucks blocked off, but cable and Internet have gone out in your building. Time to call it a day, people.

Freak elevator accidents

As residents of a city with skyscrapers, we
Photo Credit: Google

As residents of a city with skyscrapers, we all depend on elevators, which makes deadly elevators so horrifying. In 2011, Suzanne Hart, an advertising executive at Young & Rubicam, stepped into the elevator at 285 Madison Ave. But the elevator started to ascend with the doors still open -- and Hart still only halfway in the elevator. Hart was pinned between floors as the elevator took off, killing her.

"Presents" left behind in melted snow

When the mountains of snow in NYC melt,
Photo Credit: Twitter / Dan Rivoli

When the mountains of snow in NYC melt, it's like Christmas morning... if Christmas in your family was filled with dirty, horrifying surprises. Normally it's dog poop or soda bottles or just usual NYC disgusting-ness.

But never forget: In New York City, the sky is the limit. So should anyone be surprised by this one? A python was discovered on an Upper West Side sidewalk as the snow melted, according to DNA Info. Because that's not creepy or anything.

Getting trapped in the subway

Let's be real: Living in an outerborough, no
Photo Credit: Twitter / MatthewKnell

Let's be real: Living in an outerborough, no matter how much of an edge it gives you, can be rough sometimes... especially when you remember that you have to rider under a river to get to NYC from Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Staten Island has no subway passage, but that is its own challenge.

2015 has been rough for Queens residents. March had a number of N/Q issues that caused rush hour delays. But the 7 train trumped it all in April: More than 500 passengers were trapped underneath the East River for nearly two hours.

Creeps snapping an "upskirt" photo

Women riding the subway have many challenges they
Photo Credit: Flickr / tabor-roeder

Women riding the subway have many challenges they have to overcome, including men taking "upskirt" photos on the stairs and escalators (if you don't know what upskirt is, it's exactly what it looks like. Keep your soul in tact by not googling).

But it's always possible for things to get worse. One woman started a website, Helpless in Fulton, detailing how the NYPD transit police did not listen to her complaint when a man lifted up her skirt to take an upskirt photo. "The officers did not seem to take this incident with any remote seriousness," the woman writes. "They told us that NYC was full of weirdos and creeps and that what 'sucked' was that if they caught the guy, he would get locked up for a night and released the next day."

Catching the plague from infested rats

The New York City subways are what make
Photo Credit: Flickr/ Kai Schreiber

The New York City subways are what make us tough, right? Things got pretty scary when NYC's first (and only) Ebola patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, admitted he had ridden the subway after returning from Guinea and being diagnosed, but let's be real: The threat of transmitting Ebola on the subway is very, very, very slim.

It turns out there was a far scarier enemy on the subway all along: The rats on the subway have traces of the plague, according to a research paper by Cornell and Columbia.

That makes that used condom on the F train seem less terrifying, right? Actually, no, it doesn't.

Politicians on the train

Look, everyone knows you don't make eye contact
Photo Credit: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office

Look, everyone knows you don't make eye contact with strangers on the subway. This isn't the 1980s, we're not worried about our safety: We don't want to talk to strangers.

Which is why it's particularly horrifying when Sen. Chuck Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to ride the subway and do that: Talk to strangers. The pair took the subway on April 9 to push for more transportation funding, and they handed out leaflets, posed for photos and chatted up straphangers. First they asked "can you help us out on this?" but then things got strange. When a woman wouldn't look up from her newspaper, they began talking in a Boston accent, saying "wicked fah" and "Green Monstah," according to The New York Times.

Oh and Schumer committed another major subway faux pas: He fell over when the train came to an abrupt stop. Hey, at least he wasn't manspreading. But still, is it too much to ask for a quiet subway ride to read your copy of amNewYork?

Coyotes roaming the streets

Rats not enough for you, NYC? Well now
Photo Credit: iStock

Rats not enough for you, NYC? Well now we've got coyotes. In 2015 alone, there have been eight coyote sightings in the five boroughs. And the whole "wile" stereotype is apparently based on reality: At least two have evaded capture. So don't pet any dogs you see at night, unless you check first that they aren't coyotes.

Robert Durst owning your building

The Durst family is one of the most
Photo Credit: Getty Images / James Nielsen

The Durst family is one of the most important families in NYC real estate. The Durst Organization has a joint ownership of One World Trade Center and owns the Bank of America Tower, 4 Times Square, West 57 (currently under construction) and a number of other famous NYC skyscrapers. The organization is helmed by Douglas Durst, whose brother Robert was expelled from the family company in the mid-1990s.

But as anyone who watched the HBO documentary "The Jinx" knows, Robert Durst does not disappear easily. In 2013, DNA Info reported that Durst was building his own independent empire, with buildings in several trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Durst was acquitted in 2003 in the murder of his Texas neighbor, Morris Black, who he admitted he dismembered. Durst is currently facing murder charges in Los Angeles in the death of his friend, Susan Berman. He has also long been suspected in the mysterious 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst. So having him as a landlord must be, um, interesting?

Your neighborhood dive starts serving quinoa

Just to get this out of the way:
Photo Credit: FLICKR / Bitch Cakes

Just to get this out of the way: Yes, quinoa is delicious and good for you. We know.

But at Mars Bar?! The legendary dive at 21 East 1st St. closed in 2011, for what the Village Voice reported was a report from the Department of Health citing: "850 fruit flies in various areas of the restaurant and in a bottle of alcohol. Additionally, there were conditions conducive to a pest infestation including standing water on a floor near an ice machine, water-logged wooden flooring and bottles in a box with fluid in them. The bar did not have a food protection certificate holder present, had a cracked and chipped wall, unsecured gas cylinders and did not have proper test kits for chemical sanitizing of dishware."

Now there will be a juice bar, a lounge and a restaurant, all at the bottom floor of a 12-story luxury apartment building in its place, according to DNA Info. Horrific.

Accidentally emailing a New York Times reporter

We all know New Yorkers are career-oriented, and
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

We all know New Yorkers are career-oriented, and email mishaps haunt most of our dreams. Now there are run-of-the-mill email mishaps, and then there is accidentally emailing a New York Times reporter about a subway delay, Mayor Bill de Blasio style. Shudder.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos