On Tuesday, friends, classmates, and family members of Zackery Nazario gathered to pay their respects and remember him. The 15-year-old died recently while subway surfing on the Williamsburg Bridge.
Around two dozen people attended the vigil held at Union Square Park. During the gathering, friends of the deceased recalled advising him to be cautious while attempting dangerous stunts.
“At least if you’re going to do it, be careful,” said Renzo Pereyra, a classmate of Zackery’s. “Zack always told me what he would do. And I would always tell him, you know, you got to be careful.”
On February 20, while crossing the East River on the Williamsburg Bridge on a Brooklyn-bound J train, Zackery Nazario and his 17-year-old girlfriend were walking between cars when he climbed onto the roof of the train.
While Zackery Nazario was subway surfing on a Brooklyn-bound J train with his girlfriend on Feb. 20, he climbed onto the train’s roof as it was crossing the Williamsburg Bridge. His girlfriend remained behind and saw him hit a low beam as he turned to look at her.
She watched in horror as he fell between cars and was run over by the train, resulting in his death on the tracks. Following the tragic incident, Zackery’s mother asked his girlfriend to take her to the bridge and show her where her son had died.
“I wanted her to show me exactly how it went,” Norma Nazario said Tuesday. “She told him, no — he still went up. She said the beam hit him so hard that she heard it.”
Zackery Nazario was a ninth-grader at the Clinton School, a public high school located close to Union Square Park.
“Zack was such a unique kid, he was so himself all the time,” said Renzo, a junior. “He was never afraid to show you who he was. He was always true to himself.”
According to another friend, Zackery frequently engaged in urban exploration, also known as urbexing, and enjoyed riding subways and exploring tunnels.
“He knew what he was doing, at all times,” said 16-year-old Derek, a fellow urbexer. “He knew that the consequences was going to happen.”
Zackery introduced his friends to the urbexing community, which scared some of them.
“You keep doing it and something’s going to happen later,” Derek said. “I just wish it wasn’t him.”
Zackery’s mother wishes that the tragedy of her son’s passing would inspire the MTA to put in place measures to protect young individuals who engage in subway surfing.
“How many more kids are going to die?” Nazario asked.
According to MTA statistics, there has been a significant increase in the number of people riding on top of trains, between cars, or other areas outside of them.
The incidents have surged over fourfold from 206 in 2021 to 928 in the following year, based on MTA data.