Eating Food on the Subway

People show up on the subway munching all sorts of stuff. And they leave lots of it behind. And that says a New York Senator, is what brings on the rats. If you Feed 'Em ... you will Breed 'Em ...according to those working to ban food on New York subways. This isn't the first time some New Yorkers are getting all crummy about the consumption of food in public. Is this a bit of class warfare on wheels?

Part Two of The Current

Eating Food on the Subway - NY State Senator

We started this segment with a lively exchange that broke out on the New York Subway. One passenger enjoyed some spaghetti and meatballs, but a fellow passenger didn't enjoy it at all.

The whole exchange was captured on video and it went viral when the complainer ended up with a face full of tomato sauce. The Big Apple's subway system has bigger problems than passengers throwing down over pasta. A rat infestation has one state senator proposing a total ban on food on the trains.

Now, cracking open a can of sardines or digging into chicken alfredo is a sure-fire way to become a pariah on the train. But Senator Bill Perkins may have lost a few friends himself by challenging the right to eat on public transport. Bill Perkins is a New York State Senator and he was in Albany, New York.

Eating Food on the Subway - Food Author

The debate over banning food on the tube isn't unique to New York City. Subway commuters in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Hong Kong are required to go hungry.

Years ago, the Toronto Transit Commission flirted with the idea of banning food on its subway cars before deciding it would be too difficult to enforce, and problematic for people who need to eat for medical reasons. We heard from TTC's Chief Operating Officer, Andy Byford with his food philosophy.

While the Toronto Transit Commission isn't considering a food ban, it is struggling with the garbage the 1.6 million riders leave behind every day. Last week, the TTC kicked-off a plan to clean-up subway cars during regular service hours.

The Current's Shannon Higgins caught up with some of the TTC's regular cleaners at Kennedy Station to find out what a ban on food would mean to them.

Whether it be spaghetti-o's or Oreos, our next guest says we should celebrate food and stop making people feel ashamed for eating on the go. She argues the public shame that comes with chowing down in public has less to do with mess and more to do with old class hang-ups.

Annia Ciezadlo is a journalist and author of Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War. She was in New York City.

Eating Food on the Subway - Streeters

So, should you fast when you're fast -- or feed when you speed? The Current's Alisha Parchment rode the subway to find out what's eating Toronto TTC riders.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins.

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