For being a bunch of rule-breakers, New Yorkers are surprisingly strict about underground etiquette. We love that our city is a massive melting pot of crazy-ass people…

…until one of those crazy-ass people makes our subway ride anything less than a first-class transportation experience, then all bets are off.

These terrible straphangers are the not-so-fine folks making your commute even worse than it already is.


1. The d-bag who insists on squeezing into a packed train.

Image: Elite Daily

You just had to do it, didn’t you? Listen, we can barely breathe as it is. If we wanted to be slowly suffocated and uncomfortably touched by a bunch of disgusting strangers, we would hit up Pacha on a night Pauly D is behind the decks.


2. The person who tries to make you let go of the pole before the train stops.

Image: Ben Woosley

When we fall and get a concussion because you had to save yourself a couple of extra seconds on your way out the door, are you going to foot the bill for our trip to the emergency room? Didn’t think so. Now sit back down and stop giving us those dirty looks.


3. The “kids” selling candy.

Image: WeHeartIt

Look, we have no problem with actual children selling candy on the subway (and frankly, we’d love it if the Girl Scouts adopted that business model), but what about those “kids” who don’t even look close to raising-money-for-my-basketball-team age? You’re not fooling anyone, suspiciously old candy dudes.


4. The tourists who rope you into being their free guide to the subway system.

Image: Bob Jagendorf

You asked us if this train was going to Times Square. We said yes. Now we’re stuck assuring you that each station we stop at in between isn’t yours and answering all your inane questions about the city for the rest of the ride. It is not our job to babysit you (unless plan to pay us, that is, in which case carry on because our rent is insanely expensive).


5. The bumrushers.

Image: Sean Doyle

What is it about the on/off process that is so baffling to you? People get off; you get on. We repeat: people get off, then – and only then – you get on. The rest of us managed to figure it out like civilized human beings, so why do you still seem confused about the concept?


6. The person who stops at the top of the stairs.

Image: Jason Kuffer

We don’t care how important that phone call is. If there’s a heaven, you’re not getting in.


7. The aspiring rapper.

A subway car is not your launchpad to superstardom. Trust us, there are no big-name label execs slumming it in the underground public transportation system with the rest of us plebs, waiting to hand out a record deal to a promising unknown.


8. Anyone selling, panhandling, evangelizing, or otherwise demanding your attention and/or hard-earned cash.

Image: Russell Petcoff

These people either want to take your money or your will to live.


9. The “It’s showtime!” guys.

Who wants to spend their commute with blaring speakers and feet flying six inches from their face? No one, that’s who. Two feet on the ground at all times, please. You are not starring in a special subway edition of Cirque du Soleil.


10. The “Are they dead or just drunk?” person.

Image: Timothy Krause

No one is brave enough to check, so you’ll never know.


11. The screamer.

Image: Someecards

Why are they yelling? Are they yelling at you? Did no one explain the concept of an indoor voice to them as a child? Are they a performance artist who thinks they’re acting in a game-changing piece of public theatre? Are they actually crazy? Your best bet is to pop those earbuds in, carefully avoid eye contact, and slink off to the next subway car as soon as possible.


12. The person who treats claiming an open seat like a professional sport.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Olympics are over, buddy. And we don’t remember that being an event.


13. The a cappella group.

Image: Nazareth College

This is neither an episode of Glee nor the sequel to Pitch Perfect. Can it. (Unless you’re that awesome old-school barbershop quartet, in which case you and your retro charm can stay.)


14. The person who acts like they’re the only one getting off at a major stop.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

EXCUSE ME! COMING THROUGH! GETTING OFF! EXCUSE ME! This is Grand Central/Penn Station/Union Square/Columbus Circle/etc, jerk-off. Who isn’t getting off?


15. The pole hugger.

Image: College Humor

Unless you’re about to drop trou and perform a routine on it, step away from the pole. Didn’t anyone teach you about sharing in kindergarten?


16. The person who leans in way too close while reading the map.


No seated passenger needs your cleavage or chest hair (or maybe both) that close to their face. Download a subway app to your smartphone like every other decent New Yorker if you haven’t yet committed the map to memory and spare us your egregious violations of personal space.


17. The way-too-into-it PDA couple.

Image: Wallpoper

There’s gotta be a better place to get it on. Like, literally anywhere else. At least save those shenanigans for the back seat of a cab.


18. The person who exits through the emergency gate for no reason.

Image: MTA

Because of your general lack of concern for your fellow man, everyone else in the station is now being treated to the melodic sounds of a blaring alarm system. Thanks, asshat.


19. The girl in the mini skirt so short there’s direct butt-to-seat contact.

Image: Agora Magazine

If you aren’t concerned for your own health and safety, at least spare a thought for everyone else’s. Are you even wearing underwear?


20. Whoever left that bottle in here.

Image: tamasrepus

Thanks to you, it’s going to be rolling around this car for the rest of eternity. Because you know no one else will be bothered pick it up, no matter how many times it makes the trip from the Bronx to Brooklyn and back again.


21. These guys.

Image: Annie Mole 


Honorable Mention: People who eat anything more pungent than a candy bar, people who take up triple the appropriate amount of space by spreading their legs, people who put bags or wet umbrellas on empty seats, people who forcibly exit through the turnstile when you’ve already swiped to enter, tourists who can’t figure out how to dip their credit cards, the dude holding the doors open, the cougher, the starer, the lady applying makeup, the fingernail clippers.


Honorable Awesomeness Mention: You are an expert level subway rider if you frost a cake and feed your fellow passengers. We salute you, cake lady. You are a beacon of light in an otherwise dark, rat-infested world.


Are you guilty of any of these commuter crimes? What’s the worst thing you’ve seen on the NYC subway?

  1. […] subway can be a bleak place. There are the man-spreaders, the pole-hogs, and god help us all the when we hear those terrifying […]

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