The MTA Figured Out How to Make New York's Subways Even More Horrifying

The photographer Victor Llorente went to Union Square's "Haunted Subway" and captured the terror of an already terrifying mode of transportation.

by Alex Norcia; photos by Victor Llorente
Oct 22 2018, 5:11pm

The very idea of the New York City Police Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority teaming up to produce a "Haunted Subway" seems so terribly on the nose that it may have actually worked: At Manhattan's Union Square stop for two days last week, on Thursday, October 19, and Friday, October 20, subway riders and some of their incredibly scared children were so distracted by a man dressed as the clown from IT and a zombie cop with half a face that they may well have momentarily forgotten the sorry state of their city's crumbling infrastructure. According to Gothamist, special activity officers conceived the initial premise (for kids, and definitely not as a distraction from reality), and with money from sponsors, 30 or so actors dressed up like monsters or maniacs with chainsaws and frightened everyone who decided to take a minute-long stroll through a tunnel near the 15th Street entrance. For back-to-back nights, from 4 PM to 7 PM, gone were the Hare Krishnas and the suited men shouting to "hold the door," and were replaced with a werewolf chained to a barricade and an undercover-looking cop wearing a bloody Dexter-esque plastic apron.

It was all reminiscent of a Guillermo del Toro set, though if the MTA really wanted to be clever here (have any of the employees read Freud's theory on the "uncanny"?), they might have squandered a real opportunity. Imagine, for a moment, the ghost of the lone IT guy capable of rebooting the card vending system. Or the new MTA president, a hapless detective incapable of abating the horrors of the past. Or a rat king stealing passengers' pizza.

Still, despite any creative lapses, on Friday evening photographer Victor Llorente went to see everything for himself. Below are some of the images he shot.


See more of Victor Llorente's photos here. Follow his instagram here.

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