Some stories can only happen in New York.
At 10:39 Tuesday morning, a Metro-North Hudson Line train left the Bronx for Manhattan when Joseph Delia, the engineer, saw a dog running alongside the track.
A small, frisky, brown-and-black dog, "just running like she didn't have a care in the world," Mr. Delia said.
When the train stopped at a signal, the little dog leapt in front of it then began to race ahead of the commuter train. The dog stumbled a couple of times over ties in the track, but Joseph Delia hit his brakes.
"Oh, my God, I was going real slow," he told The New York Post. He didn't want to run over the dog with his 400-ton train and worried that she might put a paw on the electrified third rail. "I was worried," he said, "that she wouldn't make it and get electrocuted."
Some people might suppose that a train full of loud-talking, bagel-gobbling, high-stress New Yorkers might start swearing — well, like New Yorkers — at the little dog for making them late for big meetings, hard bargaining, court depositions and power lunches.
But when a conductor announced they were slowing down because a dog was running in front of the train, passengers began to throng in the front car to cheer.
And when the train pulled into the 125th St. Station in Harlem-Manhattan at last, two transit police officers ran onto the tracks to try to snag the dog.
She ran into their arms.
The passengers "were hooting and hollering," Joseph Delia said. "They were all cheering."
The little dog has been nicknamed "Tie" by railroad cops — for all the ones she leapt over — and is being cared for by the Animal Care & Control Department. Tie looks like a collie and shepherd mix. She has a limp, but seems conspicuously spirited and friendly and can speak, sit and shake her paw on command. There have already been offers to adopt her if no one steps forward to identify her as their dog.
Animal behavior experts no doubt have their own doggie explanations of why canines enjoy a good chase, but I like to think that Tie just trotted in the footsteps of other famous New York characters. Some people just have to leave Yonkers, Boise, Steubenville or Hoboken because they long for the bright lights that shine like nowhere else.