On the Subway

The Gawker recently published this list of “The Ten Worst People On The Subway.”


I have a few more to add:

The spitting woman on the 6 train and the women with baby carriages who think they’re more important than everyone else.  And loud tourists, men who stare at women, and those who choose not to shower.  People who do not get up for pregnant women or disabled people, teachers who cannot control their students while on field trips, and although they are sometimes entertaining, buskers.

It comes down to this: a REAL lot of people share the New York City public transportation system.  We need to make our shared space as comfortable as possible.  In general, that means we need to be as polite to one another as possible.  Do not make a mess in the cars or on the platform of the subway: no nail clipping, no food, no litter, etc.  If you are carrying suitcases, pushing a stroller, or traveling with a bike, please understand that although those around you should be considerate of your extra load, you are not special.  Push into the cars as much as possible, and keep your voice under control.  In school, we call this using our “indoors” voice.

Bathe.  Some cultures are more particular about this than others, but especially during the hot New York summer, body odor can become poisonous gas.  When you bump into someone, which is bound to happen, simply offer an “excuse me” or “I’m sorry.”  It does not make you less of a person, and even if the collision was not your fault, it offers a solution to what could become a problem.  Cover your mouth when you cough, sneeze into your shoulder or a tissue, and never touch a rail after you have introduced your hand to a bodily fluid.

Don’t stare.  Offer help to tourists who clearly need help navigating the subway system.  When a seat opens up, observe if someone needs it more than you do.  Gentlemen, although it is not mandatory to do so, offering your seat to a woman is always very kind; chivalry is not dead, thank goodness, and a simple gesture like this can win points for your gender.

Remove your bags from the seat.  Do not take up more than one space when the car is crowded.  Don’t put your feet on the seat, ever.  Reserve the PDA for a private setting.  Do not blast your music or play your video game with the sound on.  Thank goodness boom boxes are no longer in fashion.

My personal pet peeve is “Man Sitting.”


Chances are that your crotch is not so big that you need all that space.  This phenomenon has turned into an epidemic; men everywhere sprawl out with legs akimbo.  Imagine if women sat like this… close your legs, thank you.  Chances are that my curvy behind need that extra space.

Some of us wake up very early to get to work, and by the time the afternoon comes, we are exhausted.  I’ve fallen asleep on the subway many times (and ended up in Canarsie on the L at 1 am).  Let’s try not to do this.  Drooling and unwanted cuddling may result.

There are more subway behaviors that I’m sure need to be corrected.  What can you add?

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