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Viral Video Gets MTA Response in a New York Minute

In response to widespread attention from one short video, MTA repair crews rushed to repair a faulty step at a subway station staircase in "perhaps the fastest response to a customer complaint in agency history," Matt Flegenheimer reports.
July 3, 2012, 11am PDT | Ryan Lue
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New York-based artist Dean Peterson didn't set out to change things. He just wanted to document something peculiar about 36th Street station: the stairway leading up to street level has one step that's just a smidgen taller than the rest, causing most commuters to stumble rather ungracefully on their way out.

But the video, which has been watched over 1.5 million times since it was posted last Wednesday, caught the attention of officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Mere hours after it went up, a repair crew was on the scene.

"I think everybody is sort of shocked," Peterson remarked. "I almost wish I made a video about something bigger."

Notes Flegenheimer: "Abel Chino, 42, who sells ice cream and tamales from a pushcart at the top of the stairs, said in Spanish that 'almost 70 to 80 percent' of travelers had starred in some version of the typical routine: a stumble;a brief scan of the area, perhaps, to ensure that no one saw; and then asprightly finish, once balance was restored, to make up for lost time."

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Published on Thursday, June 28, 2012 in The New York Times City Room Blog
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