This morning I was on the Manhattan-bound J train when a very strong odor engulfed our car as the train entered the Essex/Delancey St. station around 9:40 am/est. It was a very pungent chemical smell similar to that of nail polish remover and varnish.
I knew it came in through the AC vents because everyone in the car smelled it almost simultaneously and reacted. I was exposed to it for about five minutes. Fortunately, I had my nose and mouth covered with a small towel I keep in my bag.
When I got to my office I called MTA at 718-243-4377 (I spoke with a Kenneth H.) to report it and he said the NYFD was investigating. I asked him to get back to me so I know if I needed to get checked out at the hospital. To my surprise I did get a call back (kudos to MTA for follow up). He said that the fire department checked everything out, but could not identify the smell or where it might have come from.
It's a little disturbing because you never know what kind of nut jobs are lurking about in the city, which makes all NYC commuters like myself vulnerable. I just wanted to report it to the proper officials and post it here so there's a public account of this incident; and so fellow commuters know to report any suspicious incidents like this one no matter how inconsequential they think it may be.