Strangers on a Shuttle

There are some people who frequent the subway shuttle between Grand Central and Time Square in New York City and I see them on my way home from work almost every day. Most of them are on the first or last car, as the shuttle only has two destinations, people tend to go to the one on the farthest end to make the dash to catch the next connection that much quicker.

Here are a few that I see the most…

The Veteran

Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, my name is Razel…

I hope I got his name right. This is a man who claims to be a Vietnam veteran helping the homeless. Razel adds that he was in the same situation not too long ago and intends to give back to the community.

Razel who is 6′-6’2″, black, slim and sports a goatee, carries sandwiches, soap and toothpaste for the homeless and requests donations to keep the supply for them.

As a parting note, he routinely adds “a smile won’t cost anything”, probably referring to the frumpy look from most people since this is New York after all.

Carleen Williams

I’ve seen her a lot of days recently after, perhaps, a brief hiatus lasting a month or so. Or it may be that she was on a different car or may have been taking a break at the time.

I don’t remember exactly when I first saw her, but it may have been at least as far back as last Spring. She claims to be a widow raising two children and in desperate need of financial assistance. The introduction is virtually identical every time I’ve seen her and it consists of her name and dilemma.

Carleen (or is it spelled Karleen?) is around 5′-5’2″, white, medium build and rather neatly dressed. She also used offer her resume to anyone as well, although nowadays she seems to have stopped this altogether.

She says “God bless you” a rather lot and I don’t believe the fervor for the divine was this intense when I first saw her. “Please have a heart” is another common exclamation and I recall one day a man wryly replying “sorry, I lost mine on 9/11” although I don’t believe she heard this.

This post isn’t by any means an attempt to put a negative light on someone who may legitimately need assistance, and I don’t know if she’s really in dire straights or just a creative hustler. But considering there may be children involved I’m curious if anyone knows Carleen and what exactly happened to her family.

The Jesus singer

There’s another man aboard the shuttle I see often, a busker, who plays one string on a six string guitar (rather poorly at that) and whose repertoire consists of “Jesus is blessing me right now…”.

He’s around 5’10”, -5’11”, black, medium build and rather soft-spoken. The man has no elaborate story and often wears a baseball cap in which he also collects money.

He seems to be genuinely aware that his performance isn’t spectacular and the song may be more for self-comfort than anything. Unlike the others, he doesn’t give a name and has no introduction; he just starts playing as the shuttle starts moving.

Although it seems I’ve learned to almost completely tune out these people into the background noise, I think there are times where I’m sufficiently distracted from my own life to just be fascinated enough to absorb the soliloquies once again.

38 thoughts on “Strangers on a Shuttle

  1. Pingback: Quitting coffee cold turkey = abject failure | This page intentionally left ugly

  2. I first encountered Carleen Williams in the fall of 2003 when on the shuttle train her story, of losing her job and having two small children to raise forced her to ask for money on the subway to get by, moved me to give her money. Over the years, I’ve seen her MANY times, yesterday as a matter of fact. Same story. Same plea. It has now almost been 10 years and she still has no job and two small children to raise.
    Creative Hustler.

    • Came across this website after doing a search. Carlene Williams was on the downtown E train this morning. I remember seeing her back in 2000. She certainly has been around.

      I think she’s a hustler. I remember also once seeing her run around South Ferry telling anyone who would listen that her wallet was stolen and she needed money to get home.

    • I have bank statements to prove it. The man she is talking about is my brother and he is a kind and gentle soul who has never hit a woman in his life. My story is attached.

  3. That woman, Carlene Williams is a major lier. Her husband never hit her and she falsly put him in jail after she kidnapped her daughters from their father and ran off with a female truck driver from Texas. She is a lesbian. She also cleaned out her ex-husband’s account and stole a total of $5 million and sold all of his assets and kept that money that she shares with her girlfriend. Her ex-husband has been wrongfully convicted and is serving 50 years for a crime he never commtted. He was the head of surgery at UCLA, till this woman destroyed his life. She got herself pregnant to trap him into marriage in 1997 and was convicted in 2001. Her daughters live near Altantic City with Carlene’s mother, who is raising them. Carlene and her wife of are currently living in Battery Park City, in a 2 bedroom deplex condo. She also owns a beach house on the Jersey Shore and several cars. Furthermore, her older daughter is going to Harvard this fall. She baught all of this with the money she stole from her ex-husband. I know this because I am the wife of his brother.

    • Gloria, I believe you and I know this woman. I am her aunt and I could tell you everything about this woman. Her mother left home at 14 and goes around saying that my father-in-law beat her up and he never hit her. He raised her like his daughter. My in-laws supported her mother till Carlene married her ex and her brother went into the Marines. Her mother pushed Carlene to get pregnant and trap him into marriage in order to get a dowry out of him, which is typical in his culture. He was Egyptian. I felt really bad for this man because Carlene and her mother screwed him. They stole all of his money and assets. Now Carlene is living with her wife, Sarah in Battery Park City, while Carlene’s ended up raising Melanie and Christine. I especially feel bad for them. They were alienated from their own father and poisoned by their mother, uncle, and grandmother with lies against him making him look bad. They were also poison with lies making the rest of the family look bad. Sarah and Carlene have been together for 16 years and got married in 2013, when gay marriages became legal.

  4. Oh I forgot to add that Carlene’s mother was on welfare and used to prostitute herself to support her children from 2 different men and she does not know who is Carlene’s father or her Brother’s is. She went to NYU and got pregnant to trap her husband into marriage.

  5. Just wanted to say I’ve seen Carlene Williams on the E train for about 3 years now. When I first saw her her story was only that she lost her job and was raising 2 daughters. Her story got progressively more dramatic, with an abusive husband who beat her, etc. She now carries a sign with a URL to her gofundme page, along with a photo of her allegedly beaten and bruised in the ICU. No way to tell if the photo is her. Could be just a stock image from google. She’s upped her game by first coming onto the train and uttering some nonsense, appearing slightly “off,” and then goes into her script.
    An earlier poster remembers seeing her do this in 200?? That’s 16 years of hustling. There are real victims of domestic violence. She’s a con.

  6. Just wanted to say I’ve seen Carlene Williams on the E train for about 3 years now. When I first saw her her story was only that she lost her job and was raising 2 daughters. Her story got progressively more dramatic, with an abusive husband who beat her, etc. She now carries a sign with a URL to her gofundme page, along with a photo of her allegedly beaten and bruised in the ICU. No way to tell if the photo is her. Could be just a stock image from google. She’s upped her game by first coming onto the train and uttering some nonsense, appearing slightly “off,” and then goes into her script.
    An earlier poster remembers seeing her do this in 2000?? That’s 16 years of hustling. There are real victims of domestic violence. She’s a con.

    • She also conned my brother and put him in jail for 50 years for a crime he never committed. I am her former sister in law. She got herself pregnant to trap him into marriage and had 2 children with him. Then she cleaned him out and moved to a condominium in NYC, with her 18 year old boy toy. Her daughters don’t ever live with her. They live with her mother in a trailer in Atlantic City. Her mother, is 500lbs and sits in front of the TV all day. She never bathes and sits in her own urine and feces. Furthermore, Carlene is defrauding the government. She is on SSI, claiming that she needs a new liver and kidney because my brother beat and tortured her. Her brother in an NYC police officer and is under investigation for police brutality. He helped Carlene put my brother in jail. My brother went from being a very successful doctor to a convicted felon, who was cleaned out and lost all his money because of this lying slut. He is an innocent man sitting in jail because of this slut. She stole all his money and kidnapped the children. She lied and paid people to lie for her, so that my brother can go to jail. Now she is suing him for 15 million dollars. He is innocent. My brother is the most gentlest man anyone can know. Carlene totally destroyed my brother’s life. My husband and I are trying to get custody of the girls and trying to get him a new trial to prove his innocence. We are up to our knees in debt because of this woman. My husband and I work very long hours and took out a second mortgage to help my brother get out of this, while this woman is driving in a very expensive car and living a very expensive lifestyle at my brother’s expense and the expense of others. She deserves an oscar because she is good at playing the victim as she and her family destroys lives.

      • I am confused. She has a wife or police boyfriend now? Her mother is in Atlantic City or Florida? Daughters’ names are different too from your first comment. I’m sure Carlene is a scam but ur story is also off?

  7. Good morning Fellow Human Beings- is her greeting

    She is incredible odd, or maybe just pretending… Either way, I would like to believe her story, but I just don’t… Does’nt she collect disability, welfare, and other public assistance? I beleive that if she was really unable to work, because of her disability, than it would not be so easy to panhandle on the train…… Even if she had a cashier job?

  8. continued…

    it’s gotta be easier, than walking up and down the stairs and on the subway all day long…

  9. Hey I have pictures of my pathetic ex-sister in law, Carlene Williams, kissing her young lover, or maybe I should say her new young husband, in Las Vegas kissing after coming out of a wedding chapel, while my nieces are the hospital for not being fed and beaten by that slut’s fat gorilla mother, who is 600lbs. She is now living with her new little husband in their Battery Park City condo, which she bought with the 5 million and everything she stole from my brother, while he sits in jail for a crime he never committed. She also filed a lawsuit against my brother for 20 million dollars. She also sued her relatives as well. She is also putting that young boy through college. She is a very greedy money hungry slut, who likes little boys. She even slept with her daughter’s boyfriend. Her new husband was dating her daughter. I have proof about her.

  10. No one should ever believe my ex sister in law, she hates responsibility. She married my brother for his money then robbed him, after she lied to the police and falsely put him in jail. She is collecting SSI, and is not even disabled. She does not even care about her daughters. She dumped them on her mother’s lap and took off the Las Vagas to marry her 21 year old boyfriend, while her daughter was in the hospital. She started sleeping with him, when he was, get this, 14 and she was still married to my brother. My brother is in jail for 50 years and is totally innocent. She cleaned him out, put him in jail and then sued him. Did you know she sued her relatives as well. I know this slut well.

  11. Also, I forgot to add that my brother, whom Carlene falsely put in jail for 50 years, is the most gentlest man in the world. He is a perfect gentleman and was very generous to his wife, Carlene. He loves and misses his daughters, whom he has not seen in years, because his slut denied him that right. He neglects and abuses her daughters while she parties with her young husband. He was wrongfully convicted because he could not afford a lawyer, after she cleaned him out and left him broke. He also lost his job and license to practice medicine because of this woman. She begs for money and makes $1,000 a day. She uses the money to buy clothes, she owns 2 expensive cars, a condo in Battery park city, she eats at very expensive restaurants and parties with her young husband. Meanwhile, her daughters are living with her mother in a small town in southern NJ and she does not care about them at all. They are starving and neglected. If you want to know more, please email at I have plenty to tell about this woman.

  12. That woman, Carlene Williams, was married to my brother. She deliberately got herself pregnant with my nieces to trap him into marriage. She then lied to the police and later the courts to falsely put my brother in jail. Than she stole all of his money and sold off his property and ran off with another man, who happens to be a cop. They are living together in a condominium in Battery Park City. She does not care about my nieces and they are living with Carlene’s 500 pound mother, who stays home to eat all day and never takes a bath. My daughters are out prostituting themselves to feed that fat pig’s food addiction. Meanwhile, my brother is languishing in jail for a crime he never committed.

    • Sounds like a hustler to me. I believe Gloria Yapp is not real. She first said Carlene left for a woman and now a boy toy. Story changed from her daughter going to Harvard to now Yale.
      And go fund me page does not explain why she has been asking for money on subway for many years

      • One more thing… even children’s names changed from Melanie and Christine to Soraya and Sophia. Gloria sounds like a made up character… and 50 years jail sentence… I would like to read about the case to confirm that whole story is real. I have seen her on yellow trains (N/R/W) for a few years as well

  13. I was also curious about Carlene Williams’ story and found this site on a search. I have seen Carlene Williams on the subway for many years and have listened to her story and observed her behavior enough to conclude that she is a hustler but probably has some mental issues as well. She often boards the B or D train at Columbus Circle and I have seen her on the uptown E, F and R trains too during the evening rush hour. She always looks neat, has a knapsack and as mentioned earlier, now carries a picture of her as a beaten domestic violence victim and info about her gofundme page. Her story about her husband beating her has been consistent, along with her having to support her daughters. In earlier years, she talked about needing money for her masters degree/education, then she stopped talking about that. Another variation I heard about 3 years ago was that her ex? husband was hiring a lawyer and taking her children out of the country. One time when she was telling this particular story, she didn’t walk through the train car but actually sat down and continued to rant and curse about her ex. There was a young boy sitting about 2 seats away from her and his father was getting upset at her swearing. This was probably the most erratic behavior I witnessed from her. One of the last times I saw her, she entered the train car from another car and didn’t say anything but walked and sat down in a seat about 10 feet away from me. The car was not crowded and there were many empty seats. She proceeded to take out a wad of bills from her fanny pack to consolidate with the wad of money inside her knapsack. I saw the expression of the woman sitting nearby on the other side of her and like me, looked quite surprised. I mean, it was a stack of folded bills about 3 inches thick. Maybe she figured that no one would notice or recognize her or she just didn’t care. For her, it seemed to be all in a day’s work.

  14. I am Carlene Williams’ ex’s sister. She lied to put my brother in jail. He never abused, he was a very good husband and father to those girls, that she tried to abort. I started a Facebook group to expose that slut. My brother is serving 50 years for a crime he never commited. Btw, she is not as poor as she looks. She stole 5 million dollars from my brother. She also sold his property and ran off with another man, while my brother was under arrest. Because of her, he couldn’t even afford a lawyer to defend himself. Her brother and boyfriend are NYC cops. The 3 of them conspired to put my brother in jail, after this woman cleaned him out.

    • You should see where this bitch and her new husband live. She owns a condominium in Battery Park City. She owns 2 Mercedes Benz, and has over 5 million dollars in her account, which she stole from my brother. She totally cleaned out his bank account and sold all of his property while he was in custody. She, along with her brother and new husband, the man she cheated on my brother with along with their friends conspired to put my brother in prison for a crime he did not commit. I don’t think it is right that she is making so much money on the trains while my brother is sitting in jail for a crime he did not commit and she is demonizing him. She is also getting SSI, food stamps and Medicaid. She told them that she is disabled cause my brother damaged her liver and kidney and broke her bones. By the way, he never hit her. He’s a very kind and gentle man. He has cancer and a broken heart because this bitch kept my nieces, who are his daughters from him. However, she is very healthy and fail to tell SSI that she has at least 5 million dollars in the bank and about all her assets. She is also scamming the government. She also owns a house in Florida, where her mother and 2 daughters live. Her mother is illegally in this country. Her and her brother are anchor babies. They are bastard children from 2 different men and the mother doesn’t even know who their fathers are. Her mother is 500 lbs and sit in front of her flat screen tv all day in her own urine and feces, stuffing her face with food. She never bathes either and has major body oder. Meanwhile, she forces my nieces to prostitute themselves to feed her food addiction. The reason why Carlene never gets arrested is because her brother and new husband are cops. They beat and tortured my brother while in custody.

      If you want more information, please click the web address below. I started a group to expose this bitch for what she and her family did to my brother. I want the world to know what a piece of shit she is and what she did to my brother.

  15. Please when you see that lying slut Carlene, tell everyone that she has 5 million in the bank and about her condo in Battery Park City and her 2 cars, and her Yacht in NJ. That my brother is innocent and never abused her. I am a nurse and have seen women that have really been abused and some have died because their abusers got out of jail. Meanwhile, my brother treat this whore like a princess and gave her everything. She pay him back by cheating and taking his money and selling his assets and keeping my nieces away from him. The jails are so with innocent men like my brother and many abusers walk scot free. This filthy bitch is living like a queen off my brother’s money, SSI, Food Stamps, and what she makes on the subway. She is also getting free healthcare, while there are people that can’t afford health care. This is not right. Plus I had to sell my home and go into a hotel with my husband and child to try to get my brother freed and get him the money he needs to be safe. His life is constantly being threatened by the other inmates in jail. My brother in innocent and is the most gentle man anyone can know. This slut is a very evil woman.

  16. I first started seeing Carlene Williams on the subway back in 2000. She would beg for money and claimed she lost her job and was raising 2 young daughters. 18 years later…..she’s still out there giving the same story! Raising the same 2 young daughters, only now she added domestic violence to her claims. She’s a scam artist and should be stopped.

    • You are right. She destroyed my brother’s life by falsely putting him in jail. She stole everything from him. My brother was a very successful doctor till this whore came along and ruined his life. My brother is serving 50 years and is penniless because of this bitch. BTW, she is not poor. She has a condo in Battery Park City, 2 Mercedes Benz, and over 5 million dollars in the bank account. Her mother is illegal in this country and she abused her daughters. I have bank statements and can prove everything. I have reported her to ACS and her mother is an illegal. This woman was a prostite before she met my brother.

  17. Gloria – is Carlene really twins with Tara Stok, who set up her GoFundMe? I can’t find any evidence that Carlene exists/is her sister, and think Carlene may just be a persona of Tara’s.

  18. I was the one who ran Carlene’s because I am looking for evidence against her for my brother’s case. I am trying to get him out of jail because he is totally innocent and was a victim of this slut. I am trying to protect my nieces from her. They are not in college. They are out prostituting themselves to support and feed her mother, who is a fat pig and illlegally in the US.

  19. This woman, Carlene Williams was married to my brother and destroyed his life. He never abused and is innocent. Please add me on Facebook and I will tell you the whole story. My Facebook page is
    I can’t talk much here because of a court order she has against me and my husband.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s