How to Behave On the Subway

In NY, you simply have no other choice but to use the subway. Distances here are too great to walk everywhere on foot. It may be technically possible, but you would require infinite amount of time to do that. I will share a couple of pointers with you, which will hopefully prove useful in using the most popular means of transportation in the city. In the picture above you’ll see an empty subway car – take a close look, because you won’t see it again. 

1. When the train stops and the door open, do not madly rush in, seeking for seats you are not likely to get, but rather stand aside and let other people in.

2. Once inside the train, move forward towards the center and don’t block the access to the door. (Obvious? Not really.)

3. Don’t seek eye contact, unless you want to hear: „What’s your problem?”.

4. If you ever hit anyone by accident with your backpack (I beg of you, just remove it), say you are sorry. In NY, the word “sorry” should be on your lips at all times.

5. Remember: Subway is neither your place, nor a cozy spot to relax in, even if the train you are on happens to be warm and relatively empty. Don’t talk aloud about your private stuff so that the entire train can hear you. No one’s interested!

6. This place is supposed to be very chilled out, but the rule of giving your seat to older people or to women with little kids still applies. The likelihood of an old lady yelling at you for not giving up your seat is smaller than it is in Poland, but it does exist.

7. If someone starts talking to you, don’t look at them like they’re crazy (even though there is at least one crazy person for every subway train in NYC), just talk to them. Avoid nuts and people out to harass you. But otherwise, small talk is normal over here and can make your trip more pleasant. Even if sometimes you will with the other person to shut up.

8. You think that you’re special and you take two seats? Oh, you’re not special and someone will prove you that in a second.

9. Once you spot dancing guys, better move aside. It’s not really a matter of good manners; more like a survival strategy – unless you enjoy the taste of someone’s sneaker in your mouth as a perfect morning snack.