New Yorkers are a certain breed, a particular kind of humanoid in over nine million forms. Over 70 percent of them choose public transportation over an automobile; that means over three million commute to and from work on the subway. Stand aside, here are 10 things New Yorkers never want to see anyone do on lines A-Z and 1-7, although they have all been chronically guilty of each of these actions themselves.
Eating gum is okay, swallowing it nobody will care about unless you choke, which New Yorkers may not care about either. But eating food is obscene, make no doubt about it. Smelly food like a hot pork sandwich with cooked cabbage — for reals, this has happened before — will make you some sincere enemies. Unsmelly food, like gummy bears: you will make some jealous enemies. Wait until you get home.
W.W.J.D.? That’s: what would jerks do? Make out feverishly all over the subway car, that’s what. Not a soul alive cares to see your fiery passion for each other, especially when confined like anchovies on the morning rush-hour downtown 6. Okay, maybe one in the morning on the Brooklyn-bound L, it’s a little more legit. Then again, it’ll be some cardigans and tight jeans making out. With respect to all love, wait until you get home.
This is usually the spill-off of P.D.A., as rampant tonsil-hockey can sweep you off your feet into the nearest subway pole. Nothing incites the depths of hell in a New Yorker than wading into a crowded car and seeing one. single. person. leaning up against an entire pole, staring down at their Game Boy. What’s worse is when that person clucks their tongue and gives you a dirty look when the attempt to squeeze your hand below their sweaty back occurs. What’s even worse is when they’re A FELLOW NEW YORKER!! Please, dear unfortunate rider, don’t be like Patrick Stewart above.
While most New Yawkahs are blasé enough to ignore the Bible thumpers who climb aboard with their loving messages of hellfire and tender promises of eternal damnation, they’re still internally irksome…and often offensive.
This article in the Huffington Post was one of many publications lauding our empathetic hero for allowing a sleepy train passenger to lean into his shoulder and sleep. Okay, this happened to me like once a week. I TOO want instant celebrity! Mr. Theil is right: there are some who are wearier and more run down than others, and they deserve a rest. However, this temporary hostel of the upper arm will NOT appeal to most passengers. Please, wait until you get to the subway bench and have yourself a disco.
No further explanation. The wrath of Khan shall be unleashed.
There’s no greater shame than the overlooking of beautiful, pertinent pieces of canonized world literature. However (and this admonishment is for the L train again), picking “Anna Karenina” off of your shelf the minute before you leave the house as a “subway read” means that you’ll be reading it for the next seven months. Also, it means you’re only serious about reading it while in the plain sight of others. Please, take your Joyce and read it like a true academic, under a microscope with a Scotch at home.
Those subway break dancers are masters of the universe. They spent months recreating the space of a crowded subway car in their studio apartment in Queens, and their mathematical correctedness of how their bodies can defy gravity is awe-inspiring. 99.99 percent of the time, their feet will whizz past your face during a triple front flip and you’ll be okay. If the nose does happen to get whacked well, maybe you’re just jealous of their skills. Please, stuff a kleenex up it and wait until you get home to complain.
Oh no, they’re NOT sitting on the stairs, blocking the descent down to the platform. I’m going to say something, these absolute pieces of work. Two more steps and I’m going to give them some verbal literature, they’re gonna apologize and actually take their jacket off and allow me to red carpet it down the remaining stairs. Here I come, ready…oh, well when I just squeeked, “Um, ex-excuse me,” the most frightening-looking man with a fake eye and a full-face scar turned around and glared at me. He must not care about anything, including his own physical safety. This is why he’s sitting on the stairs, he doesn’t care what others will do about it. Sorry, sir. I’ll use another staircase (passes gas as they go back up the stairs).
Come on, it’s the human current. The pushing, spitting, cursing, side-eyeing, stinking, purse-snatching, laughing, clapping, dancing, waving, appreciating of the big huge country of New York City packed into a chain of tin cans rolling along — you love it. Three million plus riders a day, and you’re a part of their gang. The subway’s got your back.