Wild party breaks out on NYC subway as security improvements move at snail’s pace 

Screenshots from video below

Update: Footage from a “flash twerk party”  on a New York City subway has surfaced and no security attempted to stop them.

The video of the party shows people drinking alcohol, women twerking in bikinis, and even a slip and slide.

The video, shared by @_MikeFromQueens, has fetched over 235,000 Twitter views.

Clayton Guse, New York Daily News

July 24 – A rise in safety concerns over the last year have prompted MTA officials to beef up security technology in the subway, including plans to expand security cameras and install technology that sends alerts when trespassers are on the tracks.

Transit officials have tried and failed to make similar security upgrades since the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks — and they’ve been delayed by a lawsuit over a botched contract, costing New Yorkers taxpayer dollars and, in some cases, loss of life.

In 2005, the MTA inked a $212 million contract with military defense contractor Lockheed Martin to beef up security technology in the subway. The deal came months after a terrorist bomb attack on London’s transit system killed 56 people and injured hundreds more.

More than 16 years later, the Lockheed contract has produced few results — and sent the Metropolitan Transportation Authority back to the drawing board.

Lockheed Martin was supposed to bring more security cameras to stations on the subway and commuter railroads, as well as technology that sends alerts when unauthorized people enter the tunnels. The work was scheduled to be wrapped up in 2008 — but it never reached the finish line.

“We were focused on the most vulnerable parts of the system, like the East River subway tunnels,” said Lou Anemone, the former MTA security chief who helped build the framework for the security upgrades. He was fired in 2003 after he made public allegations of corruption at the agency.

“You could walk through the tubes from Times Square to Brooklyn or Queens, and people were living in them,” said Anemone. “An explosion in those tunnels, with small headways between trains, would have the probability of killing or trapping thousands.”

The MTA canceled the Lockheed Martin deal in 2009, prompting a lawsuit that claimed the agency’s move was illegal, and that the company was not given all the access to transit infrastructure they were guaranteed through the contract in order to install the equipment.

The suit went to trial in 2014, but still remains stuck in litigation. The money the MTA paid for the failed contract remains in limbo. Both sides argue they should be paid financial damages — and the MTA has paid for outside attorneys to negotiate the case for 13 years.

A spokesman for the Southern District of New York courthouse confirmed the case was still pending. The complex bench trial involved numerous witnesses, claims, counterclaims, expert testimony and more than 10,000 exhibits.

MTA officials declined to comment on the lawsuit or describe the state of security systems in the East River tunnels that Anemone said were especially vulnerable.

This year, the agency formed a similar plan to tackle the very security concerns that Anemone identified and the Lockheed Martin deal was supposed to address.

Subway safety became a chief priority for MTA leaders this year. Flaws in the agency’s security systems have been top of mind for many riders, like when the surveillance cameras were down at a series of Brooklyn subway stations where alleged mass shooter Frank James lit up a subway car on the N line in April.

Transit officials last month also highlighted the growing problem of unauthorized people accessing the tracks, including dozens of homeless encampments found deep in the tunnels over the winter. The MTA plans to install technology, including ones that use laser sensors, that detect people entering the tunnels or tracks.

The MTA has reported that 37 people were killed by subway trains during the first four months of the year, and said the new technology could help reduce those deaths. But those upgrades are years away from being realized.

Noah McClain, chief technical officer at Emerald Studies who published an essay last year on the failed Lockheed Martin contract, said the security deal failed because officials were too focused on cameras and sensors while ignoring more pressing concerns, like the fact the MTA still lacks technology to identify the precise location of trains on about half of the city’s subway lines.

McClain also pointed out the contract didn’t address ventilation in the subways, or imagine faster ways to evacuate passengers during an attack.

“There was a skipping over of some very obvious fundamental fixes in favor of something that looked shiny,” said McClain. “The contract could have examined the problems of safety and security in New York in a much more precise way. It could have considered what other elements of the system could be the difference between a minor casualty event and a major casualty event.”

With Rocco Parascandola

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