Friday, March 9, 2007

MTA NYC Lost and Found (212-712-4500 or 4501)

I had the misfortune to have lost something on the train this week. It was a set of x-rays - of great value to me but totally useless to anyone else. It was in the process of trying to recover these films that I ran into the MTA chasm they call the Lost and Found. I write this to warn others what to expect if they should have to run that ghastly gauntlet.

The system works like this: Any items that are found on the transit system (both bus and subway) are picked up in a sweep and taken to the central lost and found office where they are logged into a computer database. Because of the sheer size of the system, this process takes up to one week. This means you have to wait seven days before you can make an inquiry about your lost item assuming, of course, that you can get through on the constantly busy telephone. The hours of inquiry are limited: 8 AM to 12 noon on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11 AM to 6:30 PM on Thursday. The ever-so-helpful person who answers the phone gives out only as much information as you ask for and not a smidgeon more. No information will be volunteered. When I dared to ask for this individual's name, the chilly reply was, "Clerk #4". That was as friendly as the conversation got.

IF you are fortunate enough that 1) your item was found and returned to an MTA employee, 2) wasn't lost in the system sweep, 3) survived the one week ordeal before arriving at the central location, 4) was logged into the database, and 5) you actually get through on the telephone, you can claim and retrieve your item. At that time you will be given the location of the central office. In theory, at least, that is what should happen. I'll just wait and see how it pans out for me but I don't hold out too much hope.

For those of you who may have need of it, here is the telephone number: 212-712-4500 or -4501. Hours of inquiry are listed in the second paragraph above. If you find yourself in the same gloomy predicament as myself, may you have better luck that I. I am a lady-in-waiting... waiting to inquire about my x-rays. Wish me luck.

- Gitana


  1. i came across this page when i was google-ing for the address of the lost and found office. i know this post is a year old, but how did it go?

  2. I'm afraid it didn't go well at all. The lost and found office is a no-man's-land where I got little in the way of real help. I hope your experience is better than mine was. Good luck.

    - Gitana, the Creative Diva

  3. I just happened on your blog and called one of the numbers you gave for the MTA Lost and Found. It answered right away and I spoke with a very polite man named Anthony who took all of the information as to which train I might have lost my gloves on. He also took their complete description and told me that if they are found and handed in, it would take a week to get them into the system. He also gave me a claim number and said that a friend could claim them for me since I am leaving to go back to California in four days. It was a thoroughly pleasant experience. Whether or not I see my gloves again remains to be seen, "Dear St. Anthony..."

  4. Let's just hope that when things are found by others they are returned. I know I recently lost my phone and the new person REFUSED to give it back!

    I'd like a job in the Lost & Found room. Doesn't seem like they take the job serious. Just pile up the items and never look for that claim #.
    correy's travel network

  5. Well this problem as been bugging me as well. I lost my wallet in the MTA received my claim number but i can never seem to get through that busy phone.