Into the Night: Traveling the Dark Hours with Downtown Transit Cops

Police Officers William O'Driscoll and Jarrett Aiken set out for the night from the Transit District 2 Canal Street station at West Broadway and Beach Street and to the Franklin Street subway station where they will begin their patrol. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib 

Jul. 27, 2017

During the wee hours of the night, a sleepy quiet descends over the city’s transit system, with its scattering of riders and eerily empty platforms. Just the kind of place where, for many, the presence of a cop can bring a needed dose of comfort.

“We want the public to see us,” says Transit Police Officer Jarrett Aiken.

Aiken, 23, and William (Billy) O’Driscoll, 41, are among some 18 transit officers who work the midnight to 8 a.m. tour out of Transit District 2, headquartered in the Canal Street station at West Broadway and Lispenard Street. District 2 covers the subway lines through Lower Manhattan and up to 34th Street.

The Trib accompanied the officers on a patrol that began on a recent hot and muggy Friday night. Following is a night-in-the-life look at their job and the subterranean Manhattan that they experience, into the dawn.

Photos and Text by CARL GLASSMAN