Survivor of NYC subway surfing issues dire warning: 'Don't do it'

Even 10 years later, Brooklynite Isa Islam bears the scars of his decision to subway surf back in 2013. They're all scars, like the ones on his head, and others like the walking stick he now uses having lost his vision.

Isa was just 12 days shy of his 18th birthday in 2013 when he decided to subway surf, along with two of his cousins. 

They were on an F train and climbed up around the Smith Street station. He turned suddenly, only to see a beam coming straight at his forehead.

Isa Islam was just 12 days shy of his 18th birthday when he decided to subway surf in 2013. Ten years later, he now bears the scars of his decision. 

According to MTA data, the number of people riding outside trains, from subway surfing to riding in-between subway cars, has exploded. In 2019, there were 490 cases. By last year, it had nearly doubled to 928 cases.

The explosion corresponds with social media trends last year where people were filming themselves engaged in dangerous acts and posting those videos to social media platforms. 

New York City Transit President Ricard Davey said his agency has asked social media platforms to take those videos down, and is pleading with subway riders to know that people surfing on top of subway cars are all too often killed.

As for Isa Islam, he has a simple message to riders, which is the same message he would send to himself 10 years ago: "Don't do it."

Just last month, a 15-year-old boy was killed while subway surfing on the Lower East Side, the NYPD said.

According to police, the teen was standing on top of a northbound J train when he struck his head on a structure on the Williamsburg Bridge and fell below the train.