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From the Bronx to South Ferry, boy, 5, rides No. 1 train alone - and survives


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Samuel Sosa learned firsthand Monday that the Bronx is up and the Battery's down. Way, way down.


The precocious 5-year-old boy wandered off from his mom in the morning and hopped on a southbound No. (1) train, riding it from the Bronx all the way to the end of the line in lower Manhattan.


Sammy, as he is known to his family, was on the train for a remarkable 34 stops until alert conductors noticed him still sitting in his seat after the train went out of service at South Ferry.


Although he gave his mother the scare of her life, the boy was unfazed by his underground adventure.


"I feel fine," he said after he was reunited with his relieved mom, Griselda.


The amazing, hour-long train trek began at 7:40 a.m. when Sammy quietly walked away from his mother and boarded the downtown-bound train at the 225th/Marble Hill station.


Samuel, who had the day off from school, was being taken to a baby-sitter on W. 171st St. and wanted to take the bus, but his mother insisted that they board the subway, she said.


"He was mad [because] he wanted to take the bus," Griselda Sosa said. "I said, 'No, we'll take the train.'"


Her son apparently resigned himself to that decision, because he turned around and headed for the station - even though his mother was first making a quick stop at a bodega.


"When I open the door, I don't see him," she said.


Fearing that her boy may have stubbornly boarded the bus, Sosa ran to the nearby stop but didn't see the boy. She then dashed up the stairs to the elevated train station, but her son was nowhere to be seen.


Investigators believe Samuel had already slipped underneath the turnstile in the station and boarded the 1 train heading downtown.


The station agent at the Marble Hill station was distraught that she didn't notice the boy get on the train.


"I didn't see him, I wouldn't have let him go," said the agent. "My heart was beating [and] I was terrified. I was afraid something might have happened."


Panicking, Samuel's mother called police, who organized a search of the buses and bus shelters in the area and launched a helicopter which thundered overhead hoping to spot the wayward child.


The NYPD also notified the MTA to monitor the subway system and at 8:40, two conductors working a platform detail at South Ferry noticed that one small straphanger remained on the train while all the other passengers exited.


"He seemed very relaxed, joyful, like he was having a good time," said conductor Luis Cabarrouy, 49.


His fellow conductor, Benjamin Franco, said Sammy had an inquisitive look and appeared to wonder why the train wasn't moving on to the next station, unaware he was at the southern terminal.


"He looked like he was having a good time, not a care in the world, like it was just another ride for him," said Franco, 51. "He wasn't nervous or jittery, just a happy-go-lucky kid on the train."


The conductors said Sammy only got a little upset when he couldn't answer them when they asked where his mother was.


They then walked him to the dispatcher's office, and the police were summoned. Sammy was reunited with his mom a short time later.


"I was sad before but became very happy," said Griselda Sosa. "[They] did good work. Good and fast."


Sammy's trip evoked memories of little Christian Marquez's voyage on the No. (7) train in February. The 3-year-old got away from his mom in a Flushing McDonald's and then rode the train for seven stops before he was spotted by a good Samaritan.


BY Joe Kemp, Pete Donohue and Jonathan Lemire


April 14th 2009



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