The MTA Has a ‘Jewish’ Lost and Found Section


mta-subwayBy S. Butnick

Fast Company posted a delightful infographic from Subway Maven that depicts the contents of the MTA’s Lost and Found-a veritable what’s what of New York City’s subway riders’ possessions. With everything from suits (62) to cell phones (28,482), plus record players (26!), Walkmen (71!), and television sets (6?), the subway system’s repository is truly an ethnographer’s dream.

“Only in New York would there be a designated ‘Jewish’ category for lost and found items,” the infographic states matter-of-factly. What’s inside, you ask? For one thing, 10 sets of tefillin, presumably left behind by frenzied riders exiting trains during rush hour.

It’s a bit odd that the section is labeled ‘Jewish’ and not simply ‘religious,’ since I’d wager that a fair amount of prayer books of all stripes get misplaced each day, given how many teeny tiny siddurim et al I see on the Manhattan-bound B train each morning. And while there’s probably a few wayward yarmulkes in there too, there must be other types of religious garb forgotten during the daily commute.


{ Newscenter}


  1. With a small bit of detective work and an elementary Hebrew knowledge, some of those Tefillin could be reunited with their original owners.

  2. interesting. many years ago someone I know found a fishing rod on the subway. he was told that if no one claimed it, the rod would be his. some time later he went to pick it up in the lost and found office and he ended up coming home with the rod and a sefer torah! he never did find out who ‘lost’ it