Category Archives: Rants

The Passive-Aggressive Conductor

We’ve all had him and today on the N, he was especially peevish.  From 34th Street to 14th – five times, and from 14th to Canal – 9 times, we heard: “Ladies and gentlemen, please do not hold car doors open while the train is in the station.”  And then one rendition of “Ladies and gentlemen, please do not block the doors while the train is in the station.”  I guess someone at 34th held a door for the 4,000th time and the conductor just cracked.  Luckily, fourteen or fifteen repetitions was enough, and we continued on to Atlantic in peace.

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Summer in New York makes for some Sophie’s Choices on the subway.  Bask in snagging a seat on the rush hour ride home or flee your seatmate who’s been digging ditches in the 95% humidity? I’ve tried a few different approaches lately.  Breathing shallowly through my mouth gave me a headache.  Getting up and changing cars made me feel kinda bad for the guy, who had to realize why.  Moving to another open seat (almost never possible) turned out not to be far enough away.

Any other options I missing?  I’ve been opting to hold my ground, breathe shallowly and glare from time to time, but maybe there’s a better way.

Subway Etiquette

To continue the theme, here‘s a couple vintage New York subway etiquette posters and a little rant on subway etiquette.  Funny she should mention screaming at fellow passengers as there were two women screaming at each other for several stops on the N yesterday.  I had the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication on my headphones, so I missed what it was about, though I did get the sense it had something to do with who got a seat.  The rest of the car was interested and vaguely amused; we would all have felt somewhat differently if two men were fighting — that’s when it’s time to get the heck out of Dodge.

Sidewalking

OK, not technically subway related, but if you’re on the subway, you end up on the sidewalk at some point.

I work close to Times Square and spend a lot of time dodging tourists, especially on my evening walk to the subway when they tend to be out looking for dinner and/or a show. I don’t need to tell you all the annoying things tourists do on sidewalks, nor how frustrating slow or stopped traffic can be when you just want to get home (or at least onto the train to read a good book).

So here’s what we need to teach tourists: I’m not joking about calling it “traffic” on sidewalks. Our sidewalks are like your highways – we take short trips to the store, commute and go out to dinner via sidewalk for some or all of the trip. Just like a highway, a large percentage of people are trying to get where they’re going pretty quickly. But it’s fine if you’re on the scenic route, just translate everything you know about driving to the sidewalk. Want to go slow? Stay to the side. Want to stop, take pictures, check the map, make out? Pull over. Yield to faster movers. Stay alert. Don’t try to go 3 or 4 abreast! If you can’t follow the rules, at least stay out of rush hour, which is a bit later here than back home. Sleep in or have an earlier dinner, just don’t debate where to eat at 7pm in the middle of the sidewalk.