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‘Cloverfield’ Reality Check: New York Subway Edition

The beginning of the long journey in Cloverfield.Courtesy of Paramount

We’ve seen Cloverfield! And we can attest that it is indeed a very fun, fast-paced ride in which any number of New York institutions get blown up, leveled, or devoured by a big lumbering monster. A good portion of the movie, though, takes place underground, as the movie’s core group of characters make their way up the pitch-black 6 train tracks from Spring and Lafayette to 59th and Lex. Since the movie clocks in at 1:24 and the action takes place essentially in real time, their trip begs the question: How long would such a perilous journey actually take?

A little Internet research suggests the total distance would be about 3 miles, and that a “brisk” walking speed for our group would be about 3.5 miles per hour. So in a best-case scenario we’d arrive at our destination in about 51 minutes. Not bad! But commuting in New York never goes as well as you hope, and we can't imagine that the presence of scary-ass monsters would improve this situation one bit. We should assume that we'd lose some time owing to…

Frantic discussion over which part of the track is actually the lethal third rail and whether it could possibly still be live: +10 minutes (possibly longer if all the members of our group were English majors)

Carefully skirting Mole People encampment: +15 minutes

Thwarting potential attack from scary monster: +3 minutes (must think quickly or we’re dead, thus rendering the experiment moot)

Making our way past 6 train still stuck in the tunnel with conductor announcing, "We are being held due to trains ahead of us … we expect to be moving shortly": +16 minutes

Pointless Rudy vs. Hillary argument spurred by innocent comment that "the subway tunnels are a lot cleaner than I thought they'd be": +10 minutes

Confusion and delay due to general pants-shitting terror: +15 minutes

Pauses to catch breath due to “brisk” walking pace: +30 minutes (Vulture doesn’t work out)

…which brings our total up to a whopping 2 hours, 30 minutes. At that rate, by the time we got to 59th Street, New York would be toast, and it would be time to brave the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. —Sara Cardace