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Lifestyle & Human Interest

People on Subway Car Spontaneously Start Singing Together During Commute

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There is just something about a crowd of strangers bursting out into a famous ’90s song that brings people closer together.

Where you’re going and where you’ve been mean nothing for one perfect moment as everyone comes together in musical commonality.

Passengers on a New York City subway shared a brief moment of happy unity when they started singing a Backstreet Boys tune during an evening ride.

Joel Wertheimer, a civil rights attorney and passenger, said he was riding the subway on June 16 when a shirtless man walked into the train car, carrying a speaker.

“Had a really tough week and tonight I was on the subway and some guy walks between train cars, shirtless, bumping a speaker,” Wertheimer wrote on Twitter.

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“I wasn’t in the mood for Showtime particularly. But sometimes people and life surprise you and a little magic happens.”

Wertheimer posted a video of what happened on the subway that night — a crowd of strangers simultaneously bursting into song, belting out the familiar chorus to Backstreet Boys’ famed 1999 song, “I Want It That Way.”

The impromptu subway choir was a bit quiet at first, Wertheimer recalled, and then grew with intensity as the chorus drew near.

“Everybody was mumbling the words at first and then it just sort of crescendoed,” Wertheimer told TIME.

“Joyful is the best word I have for it.”

The video has been viewed more than 2.5 million times, and even caught the eyes of the Backstreet Boys, who were thrilled that their song brought strangers together.

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“We live for moments like this,” the band wrote on Twitter, reposting the video clip.

In the aftermath of the viral video, Wertheimer seized the opportunity to invite people to donate to the Coalition For The Homeless, writing, “Not everybody on the train in New York is so lucky.”

Given the monotonous and sometimes dangerous underground commute, the Backstreet Boys and a herd of strangers managed to bring joy and nostalgia into an unlikely space, making a memorable moment for everyone involved.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
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Lifestyle & Human Interest