Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New York Train Etiquette

New York City F Train
Assuming there are people reading this other than my old roommates and my dad (Hi Daddy!) I figured I would tell you all a little bit about myself. Instead of a lengthy bio of which no one will read I will add a few things about myself in my posts whenever relevant.

I was born in New York City and grew up three blocks away from the Empire State building and four blocks away from the original Macy’s. I loved growing up in The City (yes, The), but it wasn’t all that extraordinary. I always tell people that I pretty much did what they did growing up: I hung out with my friends, went shopping, went to the movies, and went to the park (our version of a backyard). Throw in only a couple of Broadway plays and really good take-out there wasn’t that much else. Then I remember that I was able to do something many people weren’t growing up – go places by myself before I was 16 (the age most kids get their driver’s license). This led me to be more independent, aware of my surroundings and less afraid to vocalize my thoughts, because if you don’t say, “excuse me” loud enough you will surely be stuck behind the large tourist group taking pictures of pigeons.

Taking the train around The City isn’t something I really think about anymore, but occasionally something happens and I feel the need to express myself.

This morning I got on the train with my little sister, Christine, in Queens. It was rush hour so the trains were packed, but we were on the verge of being late so we had to cram our tiny selves onto one of the cars. It was in this moment - when I was being pushed from all sides as people tried to make their way on the train - that I was inspired to write a blog post. A blog post on train etiquette. What does this have to do with being a Leadership Consultant? I have taken a fair amount of plane rides on my trips to and from Miami, but I’m not yet privy to all the nuances of plane etiquette. I am, however, well versed in the do’s and don’ts of taking the train.

Here are 5 tips that will ensure you safe passage from point A to B:
Pictured: 3 people on one side of the pole
  1. Take your Metrocard out before you reach the turnstile – please don’t forage through your abyss of a purse or briefcase in front of the turnstile preventing others from entering and leaving the station.
  2. When the train is packed and people are trying to get on, please move into the middle of the car to make room so there aren’t 20 strangers shoulder-to-shoulder breathing on each other by the door.
  3. Please for the love of Mayor Bloomberg give up your seat to the elderly, pregnant and crippled. In what world did you think it was ok to stare at your phone playing Candy Crush Saga while the woman in front of you is on crutches and can barely keep her balance as the train moves?
  4. Each train is carefully designed to fit a certain amount of people on each bench. The newer trains can fit three – I repeat THREE – people on each side of the pole. I am barely large enough to count as one person, so even when the bench I’m sitting on is full people often see a sliver of blue seat and wiggle their way next to me. To my left, I’m pressed against some dude who may as well not be wearing headphones because I can hear every lyric to Baby’s Got Back blasting through them and to my right, my leg is squished underneath half of your thigh because this half of the bench is only meant for three people! [End rant]
  5. Last, but definitely not least, wait for people to get off the train before you get on. It is more efficient that way and you are sure to avoid any purposeful elbow jabs and forcefully said curse words.

Although it is hectic, the train is still one of my favorite things about New York. It runs 24/7, you get to see all different kinds of people, and sometimes there are entertaining performers on the platform or in the train. I don’t think plane riding will be equally as interesting, but I’m sure I will learn a lot about plane etiquette during my travels! 


  1. FINALLY! i've been dying for your next post ;] and i'm glad you know we read your blog. it is quite witty and FYI i read it with your voice in my head haha <3

  2. 1. A chapter member in Connecticut told me she had gone to the "The City" during my visit and I asked her, "which city?" West coast problems haha.
    2. You will learn plane etiquette very quickly! In fact, I did a similar post to this one about plane travel before I started traveling last year: Plane and train travel are actually pretty similar - just be prepared and move out of other people's way and you won't have any problems! :)