I’m a native New Yorker. I was born in 1979 and raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I grew up taking the 1 train at 86th Street. I started religiously riding the train when I was 12-years-old and haven’t stopped since.
Over the years, the subway has changed a great deal, but there are some annoyances that we come across as New Yorkers that remain timeless. Today, I’d like to address some of the things that make taking the subway…interesting.
When I get on the train during rush hour I am praying for a seat. I know this isn’t likely, but I’m still hopeful nonetheless. So when I see a man sitting in a yellow seat on the train with his backpack sitting next to him in an adjoining seat, I have feelings of primal rage surge through my body. Your backpack does not need to sit down. Dude, look around for a pregnant woman and give that seat your backpack is in to her.
Here’s another charming thing I’ve come across on the train. When the doors open, that’s a physical cue for the people on the train to step aside and let the new passengers enter the train. However, what actually happens is that people stand there looking pissed off that there are new folks getting on “their train.”
Then there’s the guy who leans against the train doors with his gigantic headphones on so he can’t hear you when you’re attempting to ask him to move out of the way because your stop is coming up. You’re afraid to ask him to move because he looks angry to begin with. So you sheepishly walk over to another set of doors to try to get off the train peacefully.
Of course let’s not forget about the panhandlers, who come in a variety of forms. There’s the teenagers enter the train selling candy for their basketball team. I just want to clarify something: there is no basketball team. We’re onto you.
Speaking of people looking to make money on the subway, there are some entertaining ones. There are some bad ass break dancers who frequent the D train. The only trouble is, sometimes you don’t feel like listening to their music and no matter how loud your headphones are turned up, you can’t block out the sound of their jam while they’re jumping on the ceiling of the train.
Finally, my least favorite occurrence on the train. New York City in the summer time is brutal. You’re waiting underground on the hot stinky subway platform sweating your balls off (or your ovaries whatever the case may be) and when the train arrives, you’re psyched! Finally, some relief! There’s an air-conditioned car with your name on it. And look! There are seats.
The doors open and you get onto the train. Suddenly, your heart sinks. Not only is the air-conditioning broken on the train, but there is an intolerable urine smell emanating from the corner of the train where a homeless man is perched with 5000 bottles of recyclables that he’s ready to turn in to a supermarket for cash.
Some things never change in New York City, and these pet peeves of the subway remain timeless.