The MTA is responding after reports of a leaky ceiling at a Midtown train station. But this problem isn't just because of Tuesday's rain and the leak may be more than just water. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
On the platform at the Seventh Avenue and 53rd Street stop, a small puddle, embedded inside a floor tile, captures the reflection of the E train heading downtown.
Riders try to avoid it. But it's not what's on the ground that they're concerned about. It's what's on the ceiling.
"What is being dripped on me?" said one. "What kind of filth? Asbestos, rat droppings, God knows what."
It's a problem in many stations, especially the older ones: water dripping through cracks in the ceiling. But the Transport Workers Union told NY1 that water has been around.
"The liquid works itself down from the street, down into the subway system," said Tony Utano, the vice president of TWU Maintenance of Way. "When it rains and we have floods and stuff like that, it finds itself into the subway system."
But if you spend much time underground, you know it's not just when it rains. And it may not just be rain water.
"If there was a sewer burst in the street, it certainly could work itself into the subway system and it has in the past," Utano said.
The MTA acknowledges there are leaks but said you have to remember where the subway is.
"Much of the system is situated at or below the city's water table and even on a day with no rain, hundreds of pumps are working around the clock to remove more than 13 million gallons of water from the underground portions of the subway," Charles Seaton of MTA Media Relations said in a statement.
The TWU said it hopes to work with the MTA to plug the cracks. In the meantime, they say riders should use their best judgment.
"I wouldn’t stand under the water just to get dripped on," Utano said. "Again, we don’t know what’s in the water."
The MTA spokesman said he'll request inspectors take a look.