In what may be a new low for unsanitary conditions on New York City subways, a dead shark was found on the N train Wednesday. But after much speculation, the mystery behind the shark has finally been solved.
Gothamist reports that the subway shark first appeared in the wee Wednesday morning hours on a Queens-bound N train. The shark apparently made it all the way from southern Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens, before it was removed by an MTA official, but it lived on in the Internet’s collective memory long after being tossed into the trash. Photos of the shark went viral, parody twitter accounts sprouted up and a Taiwanese television studio even immortalized the subway shark in a CGI “news” piece. Until Thursday, however, no one knew how the shark appeared on the Subway in the first place.
Given that the Discovery Channel is in the midst of Shark Week, its annual celebration of the aquatic killers, many initially speculated that the subway shark was a plant designed to drum up publicity. Discovery Channel, however, denied all responsibility for the subway shark.
“Shark Week is all about conservation, so it deeply saddens us that someone would think that this was funny or in any way connected to our celebration of sharks,” network representatives told Buzzfeed in an email.
Instead, the story behind the shark was much less complicated. Apparently, a group of beachgoers found the dead shark on Coney Island and placed it on the subway for laughs. Gothamist tipster Domenick says that his neighbor found the shark on the beach and took some photos before another group made off with it.
“While [my neighbor and her family] were at Coney Island the little shark washes up right by where they were,” Domenick wrote. “Our neighbor and my kids took some pictures with it and then a guy took the shark with him.”
"I don't know what the hell they were gonna do with it, but I guess they took it on the train! It's got to be the same shark. It looks the same. And it was on the N train, which goes to Coney Island. We were cracking up when we saw it on the news. We said, 'That's our shark!'"
So there you have it. The subway shark wasn’t viral marketing, just the result of some beachgoers who got tired of lugging around a dead shark.