What 365 Days of Riding the NYC Subway Will Teach You

When I began working in the Big Apple, the subway was a very intimidating and confusing place for me. I actually chose to avoid it for the first year. Walking and cabs were pretty much my only options. I had no idea what freaking letter or color line took me where. After realizing how sucky the traffic was and how over I was walking miles in the heat, I decided to conquer. I got my monthly MetroCard and let the adventure begin. Even though the subway is still pretty terrifying (and very stanky), it is never a dull moment. Here are a few things I learned in one year of using the NYC subway system.

  • If there is a car that looks way emptier than the others, there is a reason for it. And that reason is usually an overwhelming stench. And that stench COULD be because a man just defecated himself.  Just one option of the many.
  • If you give money to every person that comes through your car asking, you will likely pay a cheap rent. *Disclaimer: I am not advising against giving money to the homeless*
  • You will have to get over your personal space boundaries. On the L train at 8:45am there are no such thing as boundaries. Wherever a body fits, a body goes. You will snuggle with armpits and you will learn to breathe as minimal as possible.
  • Hand sanitizer is your homegirl.
  • Chivalry is a beautiful thing. Seeing a man give up his seat for an older woman still makes me smile every time. You would be surprised how many times people DON’T get up for pregnant women/the elderly/disabled. Dicks.
  • You have to pick your poison: Sitting down in a seat that may be infested with bed bugs/was previously covered in urine OR standing and holding onto a pole that a 400 pound sweaty and smelly man may have just rubbed his back on.
  • There can be a mongo difference in express and local trains. And no, I still can’t always tell which is which.
  • Riding the subway is not the best time for naps. I can’t tell you the amount of times I zoned out on the subway and ended up in Brooklyn or Queens accidentally.
  • There are some people in which it’s best to just avoid eye contact with. For me, these people include Jesus preachers, men dressed like legitimate pimps and people that talk to themselves.
  • Despite my sarcastic nature, this one is serious. You cannot stand too close to the edge of the platform and you should have your back turned towards the track. There are some serious psychopaths that push people onto the tracks. I’ve heard it too many times to question it.


  1. M'lady

    July 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    What about when a woman gives up her seat to the disabled / pregnant / elderly? Has that ever happened?

    • facebook-profile-picture


      July 14, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Yes, often! Equally as cool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *