Some pro tips for tourists visiting New York for the first time: Taxis light up when they're available, you'll want to avoid putting your feet up on subway seats, and if you're stuck in traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel, it's best not to jump out and run toward Manhattan on foot. And that goes double when you're wearing combat fatigues. This was the life-lesson learned Wednesday night by a teenage step dance troupe from Jacksonville, Florida, whose desperate dash shut down the tunnel for over 45 minutes during rush hour.
The "Men & Ladies of Envy" (Facebook) had traveled all the way up to NYC to participate in the live on-air talent show "106 & Park" on BET. But after 15 hours on the road, with fame and glory just within reach, they hit traffic around 5:30 at the tunnel's entrance. So the plucky troupers—already costumed for their big break in army camouflage—decided to run through the tunnel on foot, hoping to make it to BET's studio 57th Street studios in time. Leaving two of the most irresponsible adults ever behind in the vehicles, they set off toward their big break. Of course, the police were not informed about their all-important BET appearance, and complications arose.
By the time Port Authority police caught up with Eternity Odom, 16, she could see the lights of Manhattan. But when cops forced her to her knees and drew guns on the five dancers, she says, "I knew we were in trouble." Eternity tells NJ.com, "I was boo-hoo crying." She says she "studied 9/11 in school" and, in retrospect, gets why running through the tunnel in camouflage might be seen as a security threat. "I am from Florida. We don't have tunnels," says another student. "Apparently we couldn't do that." Well, if Eternity got a B in 9/11, her classmate probably scored a D in geography, because that is not true. (To be fair, she's from the tunnel-deprived part of Florida.)
And if you think this story is the stupidest, just wait for it... After confirming that the teens were not terrorists, merely fame-hungry rubes, the cops OFFERED THEM A POLICE ESCORT TO THE STUDIO. So they could make their TV appearance. But when they got there, they were too late. Fox 5 reports, "The hard-headed producers of the live talent show told them not to bother, sending them in a trail of tears back down the New Jersey Turnpike." If Taiwan's NMA doesn't do a CGI segment on this within the next 24 hours, we're going to have to do it ourselves.