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An unappetizing ploy used by the desperate to retrieve subway tokens that had already been inserted into the turn stile token slot. Practitioners jammed the inside of several coin slots with gum beforehand, and then waited for riders to insert tokens which--now jammed -- failed to grant them passage.. Customers would sometimes put in several tokens before giving up. Once alone, the token sucker put her mouth over the slot and sucked the coin(s) out. The tokens were then used to ride the subway or, more often, sold at cost to strangers or fencers for slightly less than their value. The practice, which drew attention (and disgust) in the New York City subway, ended with the discontinuation of tokens in 2003.
Wilkins had the most lucrative day of token-sucking in the history of 42nd street; over ten hours, using 40 strips of well-chewed gum, he sucked out more than 100 tokens, enough to get everyone living under the bridge high for the whole weekend.
by Tye23 June 11, 2018
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