Stand Clear of the Closing Doors: NYC Subway Culture

Happy Sunday everyone!  My New York people, are you out enjoying the weather? To quote the New York Times,   “unseasonably warm”– but I’m totally OK with it!

If you’ve even lived in or been to New York City and traveled by subway, I’m sure you will be able to relate to this post. Underground is a whole different culture, playing by it’s own set of rules, with it’s own set of problems and frustrations.

As someone who lives here and travels by train several times a day, I’ve seen a lot of strange and annoying things… and I’ve smelled even stranger. I thought a piece on “train culture” would be interesting and would give me a chance to share some of my top favorite train experiences.

Mostly, it’s all about the people. Sure, sometimes the MTA system screws you over and never tells you your train will be out of service or running local when it should be express. Or you get stuck in a tunnel without cell service- so you can’t tell your boss you are gonna be late for that important meeting… but some of that wouldn’t be so bad if you were just able to sit in piece and deal with it alone. Instead, you are surrounded by people, tons of strangers… all trying to get to someplace.

The weather, the time of day, the temperature outside and inside the car, all of these affect the commute and the people on the train. I’ve seen full out fights start because people won’t move into the center of a car and someone else can’t get in, so they push and shove and piss someone off.

It’s not always bad, thank goodness. When men stand and offer their seat to women, when someone holds the door cause they see you running to the train, those that you share a moment with when there is a crazy homeless person on a screaming rant and the train has stalled out in the tunnels. Remember that post a few weeks ago, “OH the 1 Train”? While I seriously disliked having to stand and have that guy hit on me the whole commute, the girl I ended up chatting with later and the other passengers who shared in a laugh at my facial expression was very fun.

Usually though, as soon as you descend down those stairs underground, the rules all change. We fight for seats, we push and shove to get into a crowded car, and we all deal with annoying things. Here are some of my favorite subway irritating moments… at least to date. Pictures and “definitions” are all mine… as are the titles themselves for that matter.

The Poll Hog:

Definition: Leaning a large portion of one’s body on the center polls that are meant to over a place for multiple people to hold onto when standing on a moving train and offer stability so one does not fall and the train lurches down the tunnels.

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I only understand this one when the train is nearly empty or you are the only one standing. But when you are one of many on a crowded train—DON’T LEAN!! Suddenly there is so many fewer options for everyone else to find a place to hold onto. I’ve been one of 10 people holding onto one poll before, but in the blink of an eye, one person can hog a whole spot and the rest of us might just be outta luck. I don’t know what makes some people feel so entitled as to do this!

The Leg Spreader/ The seat Hog

Definition: Taking up more then one seat per-person. For men, most often accomplished by sitting with legs spread. For women, most often accomplished by allowing ones purse to have a seat of it’s own.

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I’m sorry if it’s uncomfortable, or you really don’t fit in the seat, or you don’t want to keep your personal belongings in your personal space… but you don’t need 2 seats on the train. What? You don’t want someone sitting next to you… or you think you are better then everyone else and you need more space? Oh GET OVER YOURSELF!! It’s rude, it’s also unslightly. And then glare when someone brave enough comes over and squeezes in. In a city where everyone thinks they are entitled either because of who they are wearing, what they do, what they Don’t do, how old they are, and on and on… it’s almost expected, but totally annoying. And I know, it the spots were reverse and I were taking up 2 seats… well, it wouldn’t last long!

The Chicken Wing

Definition: Someone who holds onto the bars and totally forgets where their elbow is… or that they have one at all? Or that it MAY be in someone else’s face! So it reminds me of something like a chicken wing, just flappin’ around wherever.

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I experienced this one for the first time last week. It’s early on a Tuesday morning on a packed train, and I’m sitting in my seat (totally minding my own business) maybe falling asleep every few minutes… when I open my eyes and just a meer 4 inches away from my noise is some mans hairy elbow! Like it’s RIGHT THERE! And shift of my head, his body, or the train will send it smack right in my face! What got me was that the whole trip, he never seemed to notice how close his arm was to me or that I couldn’t move. This could have been remedied if he chose to pull his arm closer to himself, hold the bar a little higher, or angle himself another direction. As it was, I get this great picture and stayed awake the rest of the trip!

At Crotch Level

Definition: I think the name really says it all.

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These are the people who stand right in front of your seat (if you are sitting) and don’t bother to angle their bodies or hold on the to bar with one hand and turn sideways… NO, they stand square in front of you and we… if you are sitting your eyes usually fall right at crotch level. Then of course, as the train rocks and rolls down the tracks, they may swing closer or further from your face. Mostly it’s just awkward and uncomfortable. I understand, you have to stand, I’ve been there. It’s totally cool (but I’m glad to be sitting) just, like, I don’t want to be looking there for the next hour of my commute!

The Screamers… and all those Loud Talkers

Definition: People who treat the train car like their own personal living room. They talk, fight, laugh (cackle), scream, cry… or don’t stop their bratty children from screaming and crying… and don’t for one moment seem to care if it’s bothering every single other person stuck on the train with them.

I have had to look away or close my eyes and restrain myself from glaring at so many people, or worse- from saying anything. Especially mothers with screaming children who act like it’s totally fine that their child is crying at the top of it’s lungs and make no effort to silence them. This is about as bad as the adults who carry on for the whole world to hear. Don’t you care about your privacy at all? I mean, even if you don’t… just shut up! Or use your indoor voices! It’s not that hard and it makes the whole time on the train so much better for everyone.

These are some of my favorites… that are funny, worthy of a definition, and that I can get a pretty good picture of. The list of annoying, frustrating, and unique things on the trains also include, but is not limited too: the incredibly smelly, the drunk, the good the bad and the ugly musicians, the dancers (yes, like the kids who blast music and take up the whole isle to dance and usually hit someone in the face), the starers, and the napping (those lovely people who fall asleep and tip onto their neighboring passenger).

There is always something interesting

What have you encountered on a NYC train?  Anything fun that you’d like to share, please comment!  As always- follow, share, like, comment, etc!  and Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @NYChristiane

love always,  Christiane

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OH the 1 Train!

If you live in New York City, you know that the weekend trains are an insane mess… Even more so then the MTA normally is. So this weekend, while the A Train is not running up to my stop, I get to take the 1 Train. One never knows what to they are getting into and today was NO different.

Let’s backtrack:

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Shakiera may have beaten Pat at foosball, but I played winner and won! 😉 ❤
Last night I was out at a "going on tour" night out for one of my longest and best friends, Shakiera. (If you found and read last nights post, disregard that, it's been taken down… I should NOT write posts while out drinking and bar hopping! So my apologies!). I had an amazing night with wonderful friends… But getting home at 2:00am when I've been up sense 6:00am the previous morning, makes for a tired Christiane on a Sunday morning. This morning I let myself sleep in, read in bed, and eat late. How many times does one get to send off their friend on a year tour?! I messed this up with my former boyfriend and learned a lesson… Friends won't forget you when away on tour. It gives you time apart and great stories for the time you are reunited!

Then it was back to work. YogaWorks on the weekends is sunny, quiet, relaxing, and entertaining.

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Usually on Sundays I throw the windows wide open and sit with as much of me outside close to the sun as possible with a good book between class check-ins. And today was no different.

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The whole point of this preface is to put out there that I’ve been out and about for the past few days and so further work,p, while waiting for the 1 Train at 66th I just want to be left alone to listen to my music.

But does that happen today? NO. No no no it does not. No sooner had I gotten settled at my preferred end of the platform was i approached by a young man. At first I thought, “oh great, I have to give directions to one tourist who probably has no concept of East and West…” So I remove one earbud. Instead of asking for directions he starts flirting, FLIRTING, with me. A 28 year old part time doorman is flirting with my all the way up the line from 66th to 145th, and I about lost it. Dude, I’m sweaty, tired, recently out of an important relationship, working over full time, and trying g very hard to NOT be rude but I’m not interested!

Of course, as soon as he got off the train, my face relaxed and expressed everything I was feeling and wad noticed by a few people on the train near us who had noticed how much he was talking to me. One was a sweet girl who, I had over heard is also a dancer., of course this sparked a conversation between us and it turns out she just booked her first cruise job after moving to the city. We talked dance shoes a bit. She’s nervous and excited… But it felt so good to wish her the best of luck and assure her it will be a great experience as she got off the train. I’m usually not one for small talk on the trains but this was nice… Different. So to the girl I net today on the 1 Train uptown after 8:00pm today… I don’t know your name, but have a great trip!!
It feels like the world is giving me a chance to fix my karma.

Needless to say, tonight required a lovely glass of wine with dinner while watching one of my favorite New York City based movies, “The Devil Wears Prada”.

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And yes, I’m eating out of Tupperware crashed in the living room. #apartmentlive #lifesyle haha.

And that’s my big story for today. I don’t know what the universe has in store for me. One minute I’m wondering when I will awake from the lonely confusing nightmare I feel like I’ve been trapped on for the past 2.5 months… Another I’m tempted to hug a total stranger, but fellow dancer, on the train and wish her luck… Another I’m wishing I’d worn baggy pants and a T-shirt instead of trying to dress myself stylishly today so I’m left alone after work.
I don’t know.

But I do know I have a long day of work ahead of me tomorrow… So I will say goodnight and post this for your reading pleasure.

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Thank you all for tour support! Maybe eventually this blog will start to take on a style or focus… But for now it’s just stories

❤ always, Christiane