Donald Trump Says He Used to Be a New York City Subway Surfer

The president claims he used to ride between subway cars as a youth.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
People photo

He may be better known for riding around on Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but before he was a real estate and branding tycoon, Donald Trump used to ride the subway, same as millions of other New York City residents. And according to the president, he even used to ride between the cars of the train. 

"I know the subway system very well. I used to take it to Kew-Forest School, in Forest Hills, when I lived in Queens. And I’d take the subway to school," Trump said during an interview with The New York Times, a partial transcript of which was published on Wednesday. "I used to ride between the cars."

"[My parents] weren’t thrilled when they heard that," Trump said. "No, they were not happy. I used to love to do that. Those were the old days."

"Subway surfing," as the practice of riding outside a subway car is colloquially known, is illegal in New York City; moving between cars was, however, only made illegal in 2005. Nevertheless, city residents still frequently do so—especially young people, who have begun posting their exploits on social media

It wasn't the only time the New York City subway came up during the lengthy conversation between the Times reporters, Trump, and a pack of the president's advisors. During a discussion of infrastructure spending in which he described plans to invest a trillion dollars on infrastructure. 

"Like the Second Avenue subway, the tunnel to nowhere. Which, after spending 12 trillion, $12 billion, they realize it now," he said. "But you know when they built the Second Avenue subway, you know they never knew where it was going. Did you know this?" (The actual cost of the subway, which opened at the end of 2016, is estimated closer to $4.5 billion.)

The president also touched on other transportation topics—often in a meandering way—during the wide-ranging interview. The president touched on the country's airports, long a sore point for Trump:

"I think the airports are a horror show. I’ve traveled the world, I know the world," he said. "And our airports, by the way, which are Third World airports. You look at these airports. They’re horrible. I mean, you go to Kennedy. You go to L.A.X. These airports are horrible. I’m a person that, before I was doing this, I was in Qatar and I was all over the world and I was in different places in China, and you see airports, it’s like we’re—we are Third World."

And, in an odd segue, Trump even talked about highway medians. 

"You look at the infrastructure of New York, you look at Van Wyck Expressway, you look at the medians, which, I would, you know, I’ve already got an order out — the aluminum medians—you’ve heard me talk about it," he said. "That is the worst garbage. I think it bends by the heat, because not that many cars could possibly hit it. It’s the worst garbage. And I also think it’s dangerous because it’s a spear. And if you hit those things, they come flying apart."