June 8, 2010

Instructions for use of the subway, for New Yorkers and everyone else

Posted in City life, Uncategorized tagged at 11:22 pm by chavisory

I need to get some frustrations out of my system:

1.  To board train: when doors open, let the people get off, and then get the f*ck on the train.  Do not look around to inspect train before getting on.  Do not stand right inside the door carefully deciding where to sit.  Get the hell on the train and sit down.

1a.  Do not board the train, stop right inside the door, and plant your feet in the “wide stance.”  Nobody appointed you door guard or subway bouncer.

1b.  If the train is crowded, and there are empty seats, sit in them.  There are people still trying to get on behind you.  You’re not being courteous by not sitting; you’re blocking access to both seats and aisle space for other people.

2.  To exit train: when doors open, get the hell off the train.

3.  If you must stand: hold on to the pole with your hand.  Not your entire back.

4.  Tourists: when the doors close, the train is about to move.  Hold on to something, or you will fall, most likely onto me.  Stop it.

5.  Parents: please prevent your small children from swinging around or climbing on the poles.  Besides that it’s rude to other passengers who don’t necessarily enjoy small children swinging in our faces, or who might actually need to use the aisle, there’s this thing called momentum.  The train can stop suddenly and unsecured objects, like your child, will fly about 10 feet on the way to cracking his head open.

6.  Men (usually):  You know what I’m gonna say.  Close your legs.  Seriously.  You don’t have anything that requires taking up two and a half to three seats.  This is particularly addressed to the guy who spent a whole subway ride, on a crowded train, giving me dirty looks and huffing because my knee was touching yours, when my legs were crossed and yours were wide open.

7.  Everyone:  Just learn how to read the subway map.  I understand that it has lots of different colors on it, but it truly, truly isn’t that complex.  (I exempt from chastisement tourists who don’t speak or read any English who make the sad mistake of trying to get anywhere, but particularly Brooklyn, on a Sunday, because there is no way you could’ve known better, and there is truly no comprehensible information anywhere in any language about how the C train is going over the F line, or what the fact of there being no uptown local trains will do to your trip, or whatever the f*ck is going on this weekend.  I’m sorry.  Good luck.)

ADDENDUM, 6/9/10: For exiting the subway station in the rain: Do not clump at the top of the stairs wondering whether you really ought to exit to the sidewalk.  Just do it.  It’s just water.  The quicker you walk out into it, the quicker we’ll all get to be home.


  1. Bria said,

    Yes to all of this.

  2. Allison M. said,

    Everyone that ever rides a train needs these rules. It’s bad on the El, but throw a stroller in there and it’s complete chaos.
    The trains that go from the ‘burbs to the city are a different challenge, because most of these folks act like sitting in *that* particular seat is there God-given right and be damned if you dare take it away from them!

  3. brandy said,

    I’ll admit – I’m a subway pro in cities like Boston or Chicago, but the NYC system is complicated enough that it takes intense study for me to figure out what the hell train to get on. I’m just not used to so many different lines running on the same track.

  4. Mike Ruby said,

    I violate: 1b. when there is really only one or two seats left and I perceive there is someone who needs the seat more but who may be too timid to angle in front of me to claim it; 3. when the train is < 20% full (but I carefully watch and move out of the way if anyone approaches within two yards; hey, I like standing!); and 6. when I'm sitting next to another man who is attempting to leg-crowd me (it's a male competition thing, like whose shoulders turn first on the sidewalk to let the other guy pass).

    Still, I agree completely with the principle and admit my faults.

    Nice post!

  5. Loren said,

    Also: don’t stop halfway DOWN the stairs to finish your cellphone conversation before you go underground and lose service. I mean, a quick “Gotta go” is one thing, but if you’ve got more to say than that, please do it on the sidewalk.

  6. chavisory said,

    ADDENDUM #2: People who just stand in the turnstyles=WTF is wrong with you? Not people standing there trying to get their Metrocards to work…but people who just stand in the turnstyles. It’s a pretty day outside. Go do something.

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