If you rode the subway on October 24, 2013, you were part of a record-breaking day in MTA history. 5,938,726 subway rides were taken on that date, which roughly translates to 2,883,564 queasy stomaches; 6,435,775 instances of incidental, discomforting eye contact; 2,722,146 botched MetroCard swipes; 3,021,032 waves of shame because Jesus I just pulled out my phone and stared at it nothing has changed why am I doing this again?; and 5,938,726 jaws clenched at the sight of another GrubHub ad.

The Times' story attempts to explain the phenomenon of millions of people in a city of 8 million using the nation's largest public transit system. Why was this Thursday in October so…magical?

“October is a month where you have school in session for a majority of the days,” said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the [MTA], adding that Columbus Day was the only major holiday. “It’s also a month when a vast majority of the working public is at work.”

October: The Monthiest of Months. The 31-Step Foxtrot. The Columbus Day Drip. Wowee.

Thursdays, meanwhile, combine the high peak-period ridership of a midweek morning with an after-work slate of happy hours and late nights out, Mr. Ortiz said.

Ridership on Thursdays in 2012 was 2.4 percent higher than the average weekday figure, the authority said. Wednesday was second busiest, Tuesday was third, and Friday — when high late-night numbers are often offset by sleepier rush hours — outpaced only Monday, the typical coda to a long weekend.

Thursday: Like the uncle who'll ride that stand-up roller coaster a kid died on a few years ago with you but has to make it back home before midnight.