iPhone user provides proof of NYC urban legend

New York Times
Trymaine Lee and Anahad O’Connor write that a perennial urban legend about the New York City sewers has been (sort of) proven, thanks to a passerby with a smart phone.

After taking a wrong turn in Queens, Joyce Hackett noticed a crowd of people looking at a car parked on the street. Under the car was a small alligator:

” ‘It was about two feet long,’ Ms. Hackett, a novelist, said. ‘It was like the urban legend washes up from the sewer and says, “What the heck am I doing here?” and hides under a Datsun.’

“Ms. Hackett quickly, carefully, slung her iPhone to ground level and snapped a shot, she said. A police officer on the scene warned her that maybe she should not do that.

“But angling for a better shot, she stuck her phone down a bit further.

” ‘Be careful!’ the officer said, with a bit more urgency.

Then the officer snuck a peek at the pictures on Ms. Hackett’s iPhone and asked her to e-mail them to her.”

This is not a textbook case of citizen journalism, as the story in the TImes was written by two staff writers. But this is a story that is made by the photo, and I doubt that it would’ve percolated up to the Times if she hadn’t used her camera phone to capture the image in the first place.

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