Hillary Clinton rides the subway, New Yorkers unfazed

(CNN)Hillary Clinton was on the subway. And New Yorkers were totally unfazed.

Clinton, arguably the most famous woman in the United States, boarded the 4 train going uptown on Thursday morning, nearly at the peak of rush-hour traffic. Followed by over a dozen reporters and cameras, Clinton tried to make a chaotic situation seem normal.
She last took the subway a year and a half or two years ago, she said. But the sight of the former secretary of state riding the rails looked out of place for the candidate more used to riding in a Secret Service protected van and private jet.
    And like most New Yorkers, it took Clinton multiple swipes at the turnstile of her MetroCard to grant her access to the campaign photo op.
    "Hi there," Clinton exclaimed as she got on the train to the bewilderment of commuting New Yorkers.
    Some asked for a picture, others snapped photos on their own, but a number of commuters didn't budge at the sight of the 2016 presidential candidate.
    Clinton, however, encouraged her entourage -- which included the press -- to make room for commuting New Yorkers.
    "Scoot in," she told the press at one point, when new passengers tried to board the crowded train.
    One woman, standing behind Clinton and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., for most of the ride didn't even remove her over-the-ear headphones until Clinton directly questioned her about her commute.
    Clinton rode two stops uptown. At the second, one woman, surrounded by media and nervous Secret Service agents, proclaimed that she needed to get off the train. There was no budging, though, and the woman missed her stop.
    Clinton is campaigning hard in New York, the state that first vaulted her into elected office in 2000 and the place she calls home. Clinton aides see the state's primary as a perfect chance for Clinton to put rival Bernie Sanders away, with a win making it near impossible for the Vermont senator to secure the nomination.
    So Clinton is campaigning differently than she did in other states: More hand-to-hand campaigning.
    Clinton's subway ride comes a day after the tone of the Democratic race ratcheted up. On Wednesday, Sanders told an audience in Philadelphia that he believes Clinton is not "qualified" to be president.
    The comment rankled Clinton's aides, with many arguing it shows Sanders' campaign growing desperate in the face of growing odds. Clinton's aides were outraged late on Wednesday night, when they gathered for a conference call about the change in tone.
    Clinton didn't take the bait on Thursday when reporters asked about the comment.
    "It's kind of a silly thing to say," said the former New York senator. "But I'm going to trust the voters of New York who know me and have voted for me three times, twice for senate and once in the presidential primary."
    She added: "I don't know why he's saying that but I will take Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump or Ted Cruz anytime so let's keep our eye on what's really at stake in this election. We have Republican's whose values are so antithetical to what's right for New York or what's right for America and I'm just going to keep doing with I'm doing with my friends like the borough president and others for all these years to really make a difference in people's lives."
    Clinton was asked again on the subway whether she welcomes the change in tone in the Democratic race. She pivoted from the question, saying that she was just "happy" to be back in New York.
    After riding the subway, Clinton stepped off the train and made her way up 170th Street in Bronx. As she walked, a chorus of cheers and boos could be heard on the street. While many of Clinton's supporters -- one with a bullhorn -- chanted her slogan, "I'm with her," there were more than a few "Bernie Sanders, Bernie Sanders" cheers.