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a lesson in subway etiquette

October 17, 2008
view of the tracks i take into the city

view of the tracks i take into the city

so i ride the subway everyday for extended periods of time, and i’ve learned several things about subway etiquette.  allow me to share some of my NYC subway pearls of wisdom:

1).  READ THE SCHEDULE!  I cannot stress this enough.  if at any time you need to take a train very early, very late, or on the weekends make sure you check the schedule.  not like me who lives on the “seek and ye shall find” principle and ends up late for work because I missed the only train that gets me into manhattan before 5:45am.

2).  Keep your headphones just loud enough to block out noise, but not so lound that you can’t hear the people next to you complaining about you.  I once walked onto a crowded subway and stood in front of these women who were talking from across the seats.  The were saying terrible things about me standing in their way.  I had headphones on but was still able to hear, so when there was more room I moved to a different spot.

3). trust your instincts.  if there is a creepy person who appears to be following you, looking at you, or just generally making you uncomfortable, move.  there is a guy who rides the same train as i do every evening and he always tries to sit right in front of me and makes inappropriate gestures and things I’d really rather not talk about here.  suffice it to say if he is ever in the same car as me i move at the next available stop.

4).  don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t hold people up or get in there way while doing it.  a simple “fulton street?” and they’ll point, you say thanks and move along.  none of this “excuse me ma’am, could you please tell me where fulton street is?  I’m terribly lost and…” that’ll get you one ticket to a “spit it out, i don’t have all day” talk.

5).  if you are squeamish, claustraphobic, prone to headaches, have sensitive ears, or sense of smell…subways are not happy places for you.  i am squeemish and tend to get nauseated if underground too long so i carry either candy or anti-nauseal meds with me at all times to intercept any potential spewing.

there ya have it folks.  a new-new yorker’s advice to subway riding.  stand clear of the closing doors please…ding dong.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Laura (ex-UCSD coworker) permalink
    October 22, 2008 4:44 am

    I’ll keep those in mind for when I move to NYC.:-) I like your blog. I’ll keep an eye out for new entries, girl… Can’t wait your first winter stories. So, done with grad school?

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