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Internet-Inspired NYC Subway Stuntmen Draw Ire Of Politicians, Straphangers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- You've seen it in person and now it's a big hit on the Internet – young people pulling off dangerous subway stunts and putting innocent riders at risk.

They are thrill seekers risking it all, jumping on New York City subway tracks … or over them, and then posting the stunts online.

"I think it's stupid," one straphanger told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez on Thursday night..

"Nothing impresses me about that," another added.

"The more dangerous it is the more hits they get. The more they're revered," parent Ann Marie Ambrosino said.

It's a growing trend that has many concerned, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who is demanding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority take preventative action.

"This game should be an embarrassment to New Yorkers. I don't think we should let it go. I think we should prosecute people who do this because they are putting other people in harm's way," Stringer told CBS 2's Sanchez.

There were 55 subway-related deaths last year and more than a dozen so far in 2013, including 18-year-old Liam Armstrong, who was struck by a train while trying to run across the tracks at the 79th Street Station.

The MTA called the stunts "exceedingly stupid" and "extremely dangerous" and said in part "we have just three short words: 'Don't do it.'"

"No kid understands the repercussions of what they do," Ambrosino said.

Obviously these types of life-threatening stunts are nothing new, but experts say the inception of social media and YouTube has pushed people to take bigger risks.

"There's a bit of one-upmanship now. Oh you jumped on the subway? Let me try to do it again with a train coming," Dr. Jodi Gold said. "I think this culture of celebrity and your ability to put yourself out on social media just increases the stakes in all of this."

"You know, they're risking their life. To do what? To take a picture and put it on Instagram? Come on. Life's too short for that," Harlem resident Rich Williams added.

And could be cut even shorter, if they take a risk like this.

Stringer said he asked the MTA to consider installing platform edge doors and track intrusion detectors, CBS 2's Sanchez reported.

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