Greenpoint, October, 2015

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

SubTalk & SubWalk

In anticipation of the upcoming MTA campaign against "manspreading," "door-hogging," "pole-hugging," and other breaches of subway etiquette, I am rerunning this BTB post from December 18, 2011. Scroll down for a possible mascot for the new campaign!

This is the time of year tourists visit our fair city en masse. Since many of them are unfamiliar with our subterranean lifestyle, I thought it would be helpful to provide a little primer on subway ways. (This might be a good refresher for all of us. Clip it out and put it on your fridge!) I've boiled it down to five essential tips, organized into a handy ABC mnemonic:

A little Alacrity goes a long way! Yes, it's right and proper to let people off the train before you get on. But de-training passengers, you too need to shake a leg and clear the train promptly. Otherwise it's gridlockistan.

Your are Bigger than you think! That backpack is taking up my space! Take it off and hold it by your side. As for bicycles: use the first or last cars of the train, which are typically less crowded; better yet, ride them on the street. (Don't complain, in Warsaw, you'd be charged an extra ticket for big bags or bikes.)

Jiri Kovanda, Prague
Put a Cork in it! The subway is loud enough. Please avoid shouting, loud laughter, and hooting!

Do the right thing. When using the stairs, use the righthand side for going up or down. Just like you drive back home. When using the escalator, stand on the right so that people can pass on the left. (We're not bastards, mostly, just in a hurry!)

Eat your heart out! But don't eat lunch on the subway (or bus). If not for other passengers' sake, for your own dignity (not to mention health)!

Thanks, Cardvark!
So enjoy your time in New York City, spend a lot of money, don't be afraid to ask directions, and tell everybody you learned your NYC ABC's from Cardvark!

(JirĂ­ Kovanda is a Czech artist who performed various "actions" in the early 1970s, including standing backwards on Metro escalators and looking into the eyes of riders behind him. Not recommended in NYC.)

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