In 2003, MetroCards replaced tokens, and while we may look back fondly upon those little coins now, according to a farewell post in the NY Times "few people will notice" their absence, and "fewer will care." Except, that is, for the token suckers.

The criminal carefully jams the token slot with a matchbook or a gum wrapper and waits for a would-be rider to plunk a token down. The token plunker bangs against the locked turnstile and walks away in frustration. Then from the shadows, the token sucker appears like a vampire, quickly sealing his lips over the token slot, inhaling powerfully and producing his prize: a $1.50 token, hard earned and obviously badly needed." Even among officers who had seen it all, it was widely considered the most disgusting nonviolent crime ever to visit the subway. ''These guys had a lot of various diseases,'' he said. ''You name it, they had it. You don't last too long in that line of work.''

Some inhalers were even sucking up $50 worth of tokens a day. In 1983, the Transit Authority's Hugh Dunne told the Times, ''I may hear one or two calls about it a day on the police radio. But it is not one of our great revenue problems. A far bigger problem is people walking through the slam gates.'' He also warned, 'It is unhealthy. I frankly couldn't think of anything more downright unhealthy."

Some subway station clerks even sprinkled chili powder into the token slots to stop the act... but "the kids came back with buckets of water, threw the water on the turnstiles and then threw the rest at the token clerk."

And then there were the trolls...

During a typical summer week, repair crews were sent on 1,779 calls to fix turnstiles in a system that had 2,897 turnstiles in all. More than 60 percent of the calls involved paper stuffed into the token slots. (A related subway crime involved people who disabled the turnstiles and charged riders cut-rate fees to enter through the gates, to which they had stolen keys. These criminals, somewhat higher on the social ladder than token suckers, were known affectionately as trolls.)

When the MetroCard is retired in 2022, it won't depart with anything close to such a disgusting story. [h/t Reddit]