In New York, you can get around by train, by bus, by boat and even by cable tram, but we don’t care about those big shots out there on their fancy-schmacy island. But anytime you have a large group of people interacting, some rules, some form of etiquette has to be established, to keep a level of civility intact. So we offer as way of that, help from Arnold Keller known around NYC as “Mr. Commuter Etiquette Joe.” He’s been riding the rails of the city for decades and is happy to help point out what you’re doing wrong on any of New York’s many forms of transportation.
QUESTION: Whenever I go into a subway or bus and sit, I get dirty looks from people standing. What’s up with that?
Mr. Commuter Etiquette Joe: Well, you see, when on a subway or bus, you’ll notice certain seats with a decal on it asking you to give up your seat to the elderly or pregnant. This is common courtesy. If you are seated, you should let an elderly person sit there. Or a pregnant lady. Or especially an elderly pregnant lady, because, what are you, a mook? Get up.
QUESTION: What about those non-elderly and non-pregnant woman giving me dirty looks?
MR. CEJ: Well, thanks to woman’s lib, you don’t have to give up your seat to a woman because she’s just another commuter, just like you. What makes her so special? She wearing a cast or something? Fuggeabotit.
QUESTION: I always get these big ga-vones trying to squeeze into these tiny spots. Is that right?
MR. CEJ: For those of us less thin, it’s not proper etiquette to squeeze yourself into the last remaining seat. What are you, dreaming? Maybe when you were 18 you could fit in there, but not now. So just stand there and finish your donut.
HANDY COMMUTING HINT: If the doors are closing, do not stick your hand or leg into the door to force it open. The edges of the door are razor sharp and will take off a limb and that just slows everybody down and nobody wants that.
QUESTION: I notice when I’m standing, it’s really close to a guy sitting, so how am I suppose to stand, with my groin or butt facing him?
MR. CEJ: Good question. Ideally, you should stand facing the front of the car, your side to the sitting commuter. But if the train or bus gets crowded, it doesn’t matter. Too bad for him, you know? You paid the same to ride as him, so what if your butt is in his face? What is he, in first class with warm towels while you gotta stand? Too bad for him.
HANDY COMMUNTING HINT: Another thing, when waiting on a platform or terminal, don’t work your way up to the front. All those people in front of you? Yeah, they’re trying to get on the thing, same as you. So unless you’re planning to walk on ahead, stop cutting, ’cause nobody likes a cutter.
QUESTION: What’s the deal with those “no talking” signs on the bus?
MR. CEJ: On buses, don’t talk to the bus driver while the bus is in motion. You think it’s easy driving one of those things? It ain’t. The driver cannot talk to you while driving. He’s like one of those British guards in England and you’re lucky he can’t talk, ’cause he’d probably tell you to shut up and sit down. So I’m telling you now, shut up and sit down.
HANDY COMMUTING HINT: If a bus should have an accident, you may not get on the bus to pretend you were riding it and got hurt at the time of the accident unless you say, “May I?”
QUESTION: What’s up with all these tourists?
MR. CEJ: Don’t get me started on these tourist characters. You guys, seriously, when you enter the vehicle, don’t step through the doors then stop and stand there like a statue, looking around, like you have a choice between orchestra seats or balcony. Get on the frickin’ train, ’cause there’s a load of people behind you and they’re none to happy, you know? Get in and keep moving.
Well, a big hardy “thank you” to Mr. Commuter Etiquette Joe. It’s nice to know somebody is paying attention to all those mooks commuting.