MANHATTAN — A 45-year-old subway surfer was killed after falling from the top of a 6 train as it pulled into an Upper East Side station Wednesday, police said.
The man, who police and a friend said was homeless, smacked his head on a steel beam in the 96th Street stop then tumbled between two southbound subway cars just after noon, authorities said.
The victim went by the nickname "Grump," said Pablo Reyes, a friend who lived in the same homeless shelter who was with him during the incident.
Reyes said "Grump" was riding between cars as the train pulled into the station and climbed up on the subway as the train slowed down.
"He climbed it and stuck his head out," Reyes said.
When he got to the top of the car, Grump spread his arms, but then tried to climb back down when he saw the steel beam approaching, Reyes said.
"He hit it with his head," Reyes said.
Reyes said he tried to pull Grump up from between the cars.
"He was trying to talk, mumbling, 'Help, help, help me'" in a barely audible voice, he said.
"I'm in shock. I've never seen anything like that," he said. "There was too much blood."
It was not known if he was run over by the train, police said.
Reyes said that Grump had been homeless for about a year, but they had only met about two months ago at a 125th Street shelter.
Service on the southbound 5 and 6 trains was briefly disrupted, but returned to normal about two hours after the accident.
The MTA warned straphangers against riding on top of subway cars, which is often called subway surfing but is properly referred to as "skylarking."
"Subway surfing is simply one of the dumbest things you can do," Transit spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.