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Eliot Shulman - December, 1968

with Steven Scofield, Richard Spivack, Lawrence Danziger and Ray Marzoll

The following is a account provided by Eliot Shulman on January 2, 2007

I looked up whatever information I still had on the subway trip, where we stopped at every stop in the subway system (over 400). Apparently, we did it in December of 1968, since the article in the Glen Oaks News is dated January 2, 1969 and I know we did it at Christmas. At that time the records were kept by MIT (the university) and I know that one of us, I believe Larry Danziger, submitted all of the information to both the NYC Transit Authority, for verification, and then to MIT.  I'm not sure the Guinness Book of World Records was around then. If it was I donít think we ever notified them since it wasnít a big deal at the time. We always went to the first car on the train, so we could record the car number for verification purposes.

An interesting fact is that, shortly after we broke the record, several stations were closed forever. Since then, some lines have gone out of existence (the Jerome Avenue elevated line being one of them), at least one or two new lines have opened (Archer Avenue in Queens, 63rd Street Tunnel between Manhattan and Queens) so by definition our record probably was never broken, since the system is no longer the same.

I scanned the article from the Glen Oaks News, as well as the schedule we followed for our trip. This is the copy of the schedule I carried with me. I did not record the car numbers on it, as you can see, and I know we actually made earlier trains on several occasions, so we ended up beating our tentative time by about an hour or so. The schedule was put together by Larry Danziger in cooperation with the NYC Transit Authority, who were more than happy to cooperate with us and give us details about train schedules. Remember, this was before computers, cell phones, PDAs, etc.

from the January 2, 1969 issue of the Glen Rose - Bellerose - Floral Park News

 

By the way, I know we beat the existing record at that time by over an hour and a half, because the previous record holder called Larry, after reading about it in the paper (the Long Island Press, now defunct, ran an article about us on the front page, I believe). He was quite upset that we beat him!

Some things I remember at the time:

  • We encountered quite a few friendly drunks on the train, who were more than willing to share their booze with us

  • The Myrtle Avenue line still used wooden trains at the time, which dated from the 30ís, I believe

  • We spent about a half hour sitting at an elevated station at the end of a line in Brooklyn somewhere, with the doors on both sides of the train wide open, the temperature in the teens and wind whistling through the train car. I thought we were going to freeze to death.

  • By the end of the trip I could care less if we beat the record or not. I just wanted some regular food and a warm bed.

Scans and content from courtesy of Eliot Shulman