Menu Close

Tag: Subway

A few simple ways to improve the New York Subway experience


Today while clicking around the internet, I found a site called 100 Improvements to the New York City Subway. I read through it (and you should too) and I agree with some of his ideas (solar panels on outdoor stations, train positions, and notifications on platforms, among others). Of course, some of his ideas are stupid or impractical or both (Subway USB power, I’m looking at you), but what are you going to do, right?

It got me thinking of how I would improve the subway experience. And I think I have some pretty good ideas.

  1. Arrest the panflute guy. – Honestly, does it got more annoying than the fucking panflute guy? He’s so fucking earnest. When they arrest him, they should smash his panflute and break his fingers so he cannot make another one.
  2. Publicly shame any dude who sits with his legs spread wide open on a subway car. – We get it, asshole. You have huge balls and have to keep your legs spread wide open so your balls have a seat of their own. But guess what? Your balls aren’t that big. Close your legs. If someone is caught doing this, the MTA should post embarrassing photos of them all over the train so they get their egos deflated. In the off chance your balls ARE that huge go to a god damned doctor already.
  3. Record the “meaningful” conversations of people on the L train. – And then send the tapes to them when they are A) sober or B) over 30. Not as publicly embarrassing as the balls-guys, but potentially more life-crushing.
  4. Ban paint buckets. – No one ever went into a crowded subway station and thought, You know what would be super pleasant right now? Some shit head playing drums on a bunch of buckets REALLY LOUDLY. Stop it.
  5. Install anti-dance devices. – Your show sucks, kid.
  6. Take away Ralphie’s newpapers. – Any longtime L rider will recognize Ralphie, the son of a bitch who’s “just trying to sell newspapers to get back on his feet”. Well, he’s been trying to get back on his feet the exact same way for at least 10 years and he hasn’t seemed to have made any real progress. We see through your elaborate ruse, Ralphie. No one is convinced. Give it a rest, you miserable junkie fuck.
  7. Kick out the stress test Scientologists. – Yeah, I am stressed out and you trying to foist your hokey pseudo-religion/cult on me isn’t helping. Ditto for all the other religious panhandlers in the subway tunnels.
  8. Pay the saxophone alien guy a million dollars. – Sorry. I love that guy. What a brilliant asshole.

There are a few ideas. What do you think could help improve the subway experience?

Pet peeves on the subway

I am a (fairly) understanding, (mostly) patient man. I hold the door for people. I get out of the way. I allow others to go first. I think it’s just common decency. But that’s just me. I don’t like to be a dick (usually) to total strangers. That doesn’t get my rocks off. It’s lame. It’s putting a whole bunch of bad energy into the universe for no real reason. The Space Pope is down with being chill.

As such, it always astounds me when someone goes out of their way to be a total fucking boner. I notice that it seems to happen a lot on the subway which, understandably, is an unpleasant, often stressful place. No one really likes the subway; it’s an unfortunate, unavoidable truth of life here in New York, especially for the lot of us peons who can’t afford to even have a car, much less a driver. But not liking something doesn’t mean you have to be a total cock to everyone else when you get on it. No one wants to be there, so you might as well be pleasant to the people surrounding you. It just makes things nicer.

Now, there are a few things people do that I just can’t stand. Let’s break them down.

  1. The guy who stands in front of the door when you’re trying to get off the train. — Look, guy, I know that you saw that there’s a seat open through the window as the train pulled into the station, but GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY. I can’t walk through you, and you sure as hell can’t get onto this train until I get off. This is even worse when the train is crowded near capacity and there is literally no room for him to get on, but he tries to shove his way on anyway.
  2. The guy who steps onto an empty train and then stops immediately so that he can stand by the door. — Are you serious? Look, this is totally fine when there’s no other people waiting to get on behind you. Great, you like to stand by the door and lean, I get it. But if you’re the first motherfucker getting on and you decide to just stop and be in the way of the 20 other people trying to get on the train, you are a fucking asshole. This is the train rider’s equivalent of driving into an intersection, throwing on the e-brake, and expecting people to just drive around you. Yeah, it sounds pretty fucking ridiculous doesn’t it? Just got on the train and walk toward the center of the car. Theres plenty of room and all sorts of things to hold on to. That’s how they designed the train.
  3. The guy who tries to push his way onto a train that obviously has no room for him and ends up standing halfway in the doorway way, holding the whole damn train up. — Let me clue you in on a little secret, buddy. There’s zero reason to squeeze on a train like that. The train is only ever like that when there’s been some hold up way down the line and people have decided to force themselves onto the first train that arrives. 99 times out of 100 there’s another, much less full train right behind it. All you have to do is wait 2 more minutes and you’ll be able to stand in the train like a human being. Try it some time.
  4. The guy who pushes past you to snipe a seat — Oh, I’m sorry, fuckface, that I was being polite and letting the people on the train get OFF before I forced myself onto the train. I didn’t know it was necessary for you to push me out of your so-important way so that you could sit down ON THE EMPTY BENCH because, you know, 12 seconds later that seat would have been filed with someone else. Oh the train doors are closing and we’re still the only two people sitting??? Well, thanks for pushing me for nothing, dipshit! I really appreciate that.
  5. Anyone who asks me for anything while I’m on the train — I know that your acrobatics show was really fucking amazing, but I have a headache and just want to go home and eat some dinner and watch the episode of Dexter sitting on the table. And, no, I’m not going to give you and your brother a fucking dime. I’ve seen the show before. Oh, you’re selling newspapers, Raffie? No you’re a lying fuck junkie who’s been using the same line on this train for YEARS and the only people stupid enough to give you anything are the people who’ve just moved into the neighborhood. Curl up and die under a bridge, you swollen-hand, toothless, drug-addled fuck.

That list pretty much encompasses the things I really hate on the subway. There are some things that other people hate—delays, slow service, stopping in the tunnel beneath the river, whatever—that don’t bother me at all. In terms of the actual subway service, once I’m on I sort of just let go. It’s out of my hands. But other people on there bug the living shit out of me. That’s not to say there aren’t other courteous train riders; there are, of course. But, my attention is often grabbed by the annoying fuckers much more than the nice people who aren’t obtrusive. And, really, this article wouldn’t have been nearly as fun for me to write or for you to read if I was being super nice to the considerate people, would it?

Awesome photos of old school NY Subway graffiti

[flickrset id=”72157605979490996″ thumbnail=”square” overlay=”true” size=”medium”]

I didn’t take these photos, or compile them, but I love things about the history of NY. This set is of old subway cars that have been tagged (obviously) in a way you just don’t see anymore. Enjoy.

Here’s the photographer’s profile – BH-one @ Flickr