Secret Message To Tourists

New York, as befits the Greatest City In The World, has a wonderful system of transportation known as the subway. New York, as befits the Greatest City In The World, also has a constant influx of tourists, visitors and new arrivals. Unfortunately, these things do not always go well together.

Here is a handy guide for visitors to New York, who may decide to take the subway. This will increase efficiency for everyone, and make your fellow travelers less likely to hate you.

Sometimes it actually IS your first time on a particular route, or perhaps you take this all the time, but you’ve just noticed that Harold is really, really interesting, and funny, and amazingly good company….and less thrillingly, that you’ve missed your stop. These things happen. If you;re some place unfamiliar, please get out of the traffic flow and look at a map or ask someone for directions. Do not stand in the subway doors wondering if you should get on or off.  Do not stand blocking intersections as you determine which way to go. Seriously. No one hates people who ask for directions. Everyone hates people who stand in the way blocking traffic and looking confused.

Get out of the traffic flow by going to the right-hand side of the passage. This is also what you do when someone is walking towards you and you would like to avoid a head-on collision! This is ALSO where you go if you are walking down the street and you need to tell Twitter that you’re in New York! The right hand side is awesome! Try it!

For those who are accustomed to driving, there seems to be some sort of shame associated with using the right most lane. Let me assure you that your fellow pedestrians will hate and judge you much more for standing in the middle of the hallway blocking traffic. Get over to the right. All the way to the right, so you are out of the traffic flow. Then check your directions, look at your map, or text your friends. Then resume walking.

This is also important above ground, where the right-hand side is used for updating your Facebook, taking pictures of the buildings and checking your map. Got it?

Next, getting on and off the subway. Actually, we should call this getting off and on the subway. See, if the people getting off go through the doors before the people getting on, everyone moves more efficiently. If the people getting on board are determined to go first, then the folks on the train have to push around them to get out, which is what we city-dwellers call REALLY STUPID.

Now, escalators. Escalators are quite a lot like stairs, except they move. You have stairs at home, right? On the escalator, people who want to be magically transported stand on the right. People who are in a hurry walk on the left. They will not thank you for standing on the left, or worse, standing in a clump that makes passing impossible. One more thing: The top or the bottom of an escalator is not a super good place for checking your map or your Facebook, either.

Thank you for coming to New York, which really is the greatest place in the world, but thank you even more for not standing in the way infuriating everyone else.

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6 Responses to Secret Message To Tourists

  1. MantisBot says:

    ” If the people getting on board are determined to go first, then the folks on the train have to push around them to get out, which is what we city-dwellers call REALLY STUPID.”

    Those of us living on the other side of the marble call this LIVING IN SEOUL. After a few months of this one generally develops “wall shoulders,” that being the tendency to square your shoulders, lean toward the onslaught and push only with your legs.

    Funny enough, the lower your center of gravity the more effective this is. As a 6’2″ (187cm) tall guy, I find that little old ladies (adjummas) act almost as a force of nature and can very easily send me flying off to the side.

    • Meg says:

      Do you get a foreigner space bubble? I got that in Beijing sometimes… where folks would crowd in to avoid sitting next to me. (Either that or the English Scratching Post…)

  2. bridget says:

    If you ask me for directions and I hate your guts, I can ignore you and stomp off. It’s much harder for me to navigate around you, your iPhone, your messenger bag, and your elbows when you are standing in the subway door looking confused.

    • Meg says:

      Haha! I rarely hate someone’s guts, BUT a good way to make it happen is to stand in the subway doors, or at the bottom of an escalator, or in an intersection, blocking everyone’s path. Aaaaaaah. Why would anyone do this?!?!? I know people drive more than walk, but surely some of the same NOT PAUSING IN THE MIDDLE OF TRAFFIC must be applicable?

      I almost never mind giving directions. I’m not best pleased when I’m running late (or lost in my private subway thoughts), but we’ve all been confused on an unfamiliar route!!!

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