DISASTER: Death Rides the Long Island

On Thanksgiving Eve, at the hour when all of New York seems to pour out of office buildings at once, and the gloomy and echoing caverns of Pennsylvania Station fill with people, two Long Island commuter trains gulped up their nightly rations of humanity. Their doors clanged shut. The Hempstead-bound 6:09 rattled out into the East River tunnel with 1,000 men and women jammed in the seats and aisles of its twelve cars. The Babylon-bound 6:13 pulled out behind it with 1,200 rush-hour passengers.

The passengers were part of a scarred, frustrated and endlessly complaining tribe —the 300,000 New York...

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