Just inches above his head, the No. 5 train rolled over him before the train finally screeched to a halt.
The driver had seen Crismon on the tracks as the train reached the station Wednesday morning but couldn't stop in time, police said. Ten minutes later, rescuers removed the 34-year-old Internet brokerage employee, who was cut, bruised and had a broken leg.
"He had a second to think somehow how to get out of the way," said his wife, Gina Soileau. "The last thing he saw were the wheels coming at his head. He's extraordinarily lucky."
Crismon remained hospitalized Thursday morning in serious but stable condition. He told police he had been standing on the Union Square station platform during the morning rush when he was pushed.
Some witnesses told police Crismon had argued with another person before the fall, while others said he did nothing and was pushed.
Police, who were looking for a man in his 30s in connection with the fall, said that in either case, Crismon was standing close enough to the edge that it wouldn't have taken a violent push to knock him onto the rails.
Between the rails, the distance between the bottom of the train and the subway floor is just two feet, according to New York City Transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges.