New York Subway etiquette

At work, we were sitting around the lunch table today when one of my colleagues was complaining about people on the subway who enter the subway car and do not actually move in. When multiplied by hundreds, what this ends up resulting in is hoards of people crowding around the subway door, creating the fake appearance that the car is full, when in fact, the middle of every single car has plenty of standing space. And don’t even get me started on the seats that are empty in the middle that no one sits on. If you want to create more space… then people need to sit down in those seats!

“You know who’s a New Yorker and who’s new to this city or a visitor when you see people crowding around the doors,” my colleague said. “Real New Yorkers don’t crowd by the doors.”

I don’t know how you define “real New Yorker.” I’ve been living here 10.5 years, and I don’t do that. I end up annoying people by saying “excuse me” and pushing my way into the center of the car. In fact, I don’t see enough people being aggressive enough to do that. So I don’t really think what my colleague is saying is true. If anything, New Yorkers have a reputation of being all in it for themselves, so if that is truly the case, then by definition, the behavior crowding around the doors would be in line with that.

I’m happy to push my way through the subway car, though. If anything, I’m doing everyone else a favor by getting in and making use of the real space in the middle that actually exists.


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