NEW YORK — The hopes and dreams of a young Metropolitan Opera stagehand vanished in an instant under the No. 1 train.
The family of Joseph Ancona was dragged to his death after attempting to board a subway car in uptown Manhattan after his shift on Monday.
“He was the luckiest man ever,” his uncle Dan Cori told the Daily News on Wednesday. “They called him ‘Smile’ because he was always smiling and always laughing…he was just a sweet kid.
Ancona, 20, grew up in the suburb of Westwood in northern Jersey. There, the sports-loving man (15m 6cm thin) was an avid golfer and also enjoyed baseball and basketball. The son of a union electrician, he followed his father into the business and eventually landed a job in Manhattan.
“We’re just sad,” his aunt Maria Ancona told The News from her home in Brooklyn. I still can’t believe this happened.Beyond consideration.”
At 4:56 pm on Monday, the doors of the last carriage of train 1 closed and Joseph Ancona was arrested. He died after falling over the railroad tracks at Columbus Circle. Ancona was running toward an Uptown train that was run over as it exited the station, but police sources say it remains unclear exactly how the accident occurred.
Sources said investigators were trying to determine if his rucksack was stuck in the door or if his leg was somehow stuck in a departing train.
“Everybody wants to blame someone because it makes them feel better,” Cori said. It seems that.”
Witnesses contacted by family members via Twitter suggested that the subway doors were quickly closed and passengers were able to get off, but some were unable to board.
The victim worked in an electrical work shop for the crew of the Metropolitan Opera. A spokesperson for the Met recalled that he had been “respected and well-liked” since joining the staff only seven months ago.
“I’m still in shock,” his upset grandmother said Wednesday.
Ancona, who left a twin sister, Gianna, commuted from the county of Bergen to the city every morning by bus and train. Westwood Police delivered the devastating news to her family’s home about two hours after her death.
“He wanted a house,” said Cori, Ancona’s mother’s brother. “He’s had a girlfriend for a long time. A really sweet girl. She’s going to Penn State. Her parents had to go out there and take her home and tell her.”
The GoFundMe statement added, “Thank you for your prayers and condolences and…for thinking of us during this difficult time.”
NYC Transit president Richard Davey described the death as a “horrible accident” and promised an investigation to “determine the cause” of what happened. I said yes.
“Life is unfortunately full of heartache,” Cori said. “And you have to take all the good and positive things in life because it’s so fast.