Public transportation, specifically, New York City public transportation is not for the weak. The train cars are often packed, often smelly and often occupied by fascinating people who you hope you don't lock eyes with. The largest rapid transit system in the world, serving all four boroughs of the city, with 472 stations in operation, is bound to have some horror stories along the way.
Every once in a while, however, New York City will surprise you. Case and point: a recent viral video showing a train car full with people, having a full-out singalong, inexplicably, to the 1999 hit "I Want It That Way," by the incomparable Backstreet Boys.
Joel Wertheimer, a civil rights attorney and former Obama associate staff secretary, captured the moment and shared it on Twitter.
"Had a really tough week and tonight I was the subway and some guy walks between train cars, shirtless, bumping a speaker. I wasn't in the mood for Showtime particularly," Wertheimer wrote. "But sometimes people and life surprise you and a little magic happens."
Had a really tough week and tonight I was the subway and some guy walks between train cars, shirtless, bumping a speaker. I wasn't in the mood for Showtime particularly. But sometimes people and life surprise you and a little magic happens. pic.twitter.com/S7o4282SOS— Joel Wertheimer (@Wertwhile) June 17, 2019
While the singers are not entirely in tune, they certainly remembered the lyrics 20 years after the song was released.
"Everybody was mumbling the words at first and then it just sort of crescendoed," Wertheimer told TIME. "Joyful is the best word I have for it."
When asked why he cut the classic song short, as the video ends before the song does, Wertheimer responded, he "had to turn it off and enjoy the moment."
So far, the video, shared on Sunday, has racked up nearly two million views. It has even inspired people to look at public music in a different light.
I used to feel public music was really intrusive. A friend told me they loved it, "it's like I'm in a movie and this is the soundtrack." That shift changed it for me. Even if I'm in a lousy mood, happy music has a certain irony.— LisaK 1190 (@LisaK1190) June 17, 2019
Others felt that it perfectly embodied the essence of New York City itself.
Perfect. Everybody from different places and we all get along. That’s how we New Yorkers do. ❤️— Maria Hinojosa (@Maria_Hinojosa) June 17, 2019
Part of what makes NYC special. Easy to hate it but also easy to love it!— Maibs (@MaibsNYC) June 17, 2019
Even the Backstreet Boys seemed to approve.
We live for moments like this 🙌🖤 https://t.co/30ghKwteA5— Backstreet Boys (@backstreetboys) June 18, 2019
Wertheimer is hopeful that his now viral tweet will inspire anyone who enjoyed his video to donate to the Coalition for the Homeless.
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