2005_04_sleepingsubway.jpgThe Daily News isn't just the rival to the NY Post or the paper behind fouled up Scratch'N'Win promotions: It's become the leader using subway riders' cameraphone pictures to catch sleeping subway clerks. Today's bust involves a photograph of a very slumped-over C train clerk at the 163rd Street station. According to the photographer, who took the picture at 2AM, the clerk was sleeping for at least 20 minutes, even with loud construction work going on in the station. Earlier this year, the Daily News published a photograph of a sleeping Brooklyn subway clerk on the cover - and that clerk was suspended without pay for five days. The Daily News sent a reporter to talk to the 163rd Street station clerk and ask him whether or not he was sleeping:

"I wasn't sleeping," said the man, who appeared to be in his 40s and declined to give his name. "I was probably just reading a paper or praying."

The man was slumped forward as he held a burgundy pocket "Holy Bible" and appeared to be reading it closely as a reporter approached during his overnight shift on Saturday.

"I pray. I am a Christian," he said.

We wonder if the clerk will use the "I was praying for the pope" excuse. Admittedly, it's been a while since Gothamist has seen the inside of a church, but these pictures look more like sleeping than praying. Gothamist doesn't want to criticize the clerks any more than we have to, because they do get some crap treatment from riders; we're actually concerned about how much oxygen they are getting. Maybe the MTA needs to give clerks some exercises to do, like the exercises recommended to do on planes to avoid deep vein thrombosis, in order to keep their senses alert.

Some ideas on how to stay awake from the Mayo Clinic. And this should go for subway riders too - there's nothing more annoying than sleeping through your stop.

Photo by subway rider from the Daily News