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The NYC subway may not always come on time — but it sure can deliver life-changing surprises.
Web designer Peter Mercurio recently published a children’s book about the story of his husband’s miraculous discovery 20 years ago: a sweatshirt-wrapped newborn, left for dead by the subway stairs.
This week, the story of “Our Subway Baby” went viral around the globe, as the couple behind the stunning discovery reflects back on the two decades since they became instant dads.
“I used to be someone who, if I made plans and they didn’t go how I wanted them to go, it felt like a setback,” Mercurio, 52, told The Post on Monday, thinking back to the day he and his partner decided to raise that child as their son. “But now I’m open to the surprises the universe presents.”
Flashback to August 2000: While en route to dinner with his then-boyfriend, social worker Danny Stewart made a shocking discovery that would forever change the course of his life — an infant, wrapped in a sweatshirt, nestled into a corner of the 14th Street A/C/E subway station exit.
“I didn’t think it was real and was watching it . . . and then it moved a leg,” Stewart, then 34, told The Post at the time. “I ran down the stairs and made sure it was breathing and then called 911. It was unreal to find an abandoned baby.”
“We didn’t have any money, we lived in a really small space with a roommate. We would never have become parents.”
Peter Mercurio, on suddenly having the chance to be a dad to his surprise son Kevin
Stewart provided the police with a statement and the newborn — its umbilical cord still partially intact — was taken to St. Vincent’s hospital in stable condition. “You know, you’re going to be connected to that baby in some way for the rest of your life,” Mercurio remembered saying to Stewart as the cop car drove away, he told the BBC. “[Eventually,] this child is going to learn of the night he was found and he may want to find the person who discovered him. Maybe there’s a way that we can find out where he ends up and send a birthday gift every year on this date.”
Little did either know in the moment how much of an understatement that would end up being.
A media blitz followed, but despite the attention, Stewart was unable to find the baby on a visit to check in on him at St. Vincent’s. The couple, who met through a local softball league, resumed their regular lives — until an invitation arrived to a family court hearing.
After hearing Stewart’s testimony about how he’d found the baby, the judge asked point-blank if he wanted to adopt the child, and offered to expedite the often grueling, six to nine-monthlong process.
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