Here in NYC, we depend on the subway, taking it to work, from work, out on Friday, home on Saturday, and, sometimes, just for the lolz.

If you know anything about NYC, there’s no shortage of, let’s say, interesting characters. Many of these characters test the subway code of conduct—yes, there are unwritten subway rules.

The Door Blocker

The Door Blocker (kindly known as a DB) is like a guard on the nation’s boarder. Nobody gets past–unless bribed or with brute force. Why does it always seem as though the DB is either an aged Fabio or a European backpacker lugging two months of dirty clothes…and a dog?

The Sitters

With subway sitting comes great responsibility… though mostly courtesy. Seating priority goes as follows: Elders, pregnant, disabled, mothers with youngin’s, and then anyone willing to fight over the seat. No questions asked.

Noise Polluter

Is the music that important? Excessively loud headphones, singing along to excessively loud headphones, cell phone musicians, and boom box enthusiasts, we don’t want to hear your awful rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone.” Actually, we’d prefer if you were gone.

The Toucher

Subways can get crowded. We get it. Sometimes you’re going to breathe on a stranger, stand shoulder to shoulder as if singing “Lean on Me,” and maybe inappropriately bump butts, but this doesn’t give you the right to hold hands on the middle pole or play grab-ass with any ‘ole lass. Like driving your Road Test, keep your hands at ten-and-two and look straight ahead–don’t wear a hat and grab the instructor’s belly when the breaks are slammed.

The Sneezer 

Cover your mouth! And you’re not getting a “Bless you.” You may get a different “…you.”

The Excuse-Me-Ladies-And-Gentlemen

“Excuse me ladies and gentleman, I’m sorry for the interruption…” but I’m taking your money for the new pair of Air Jordan sneakers. Until you upgrade to beef tips or, at the very least, Cherry flavored fruit snacks (why always grape?), I’m not buying. Better selling point: Buy a pizza and sell slices for $2 on the late-night L train. We may know a few buyers–possibly this here writer.

The Eater

Why is it always as if this person’s seemingly eating a rotting, overly salted fish? Reasons not to eat on the subway: It’s messy, the subway’s dirty (it smells like piss), and your food smells somewhere between putrid and vomit-inducing. We’d honestly prefer to sit next to a festering pool of day-old Gerber Baby Food than next to your ketchup-loaded Tuna Egg Salad.

The In-Before-Outer

These are people who wait on the platform, and, the moment the doors open, they board the train as people are trying to exit. Think of it this way: To breathe, you exhale before you inhale, again. Who inhales, inhales, then exhales? In-Before-Outers probably do!

The Leg Spreader

Typically, this person ‘s a middle-aged man, spreading his legs as if practicing yoga–cool crow pose, Bro. He takes up two seats carelessly, indicating, “My groin needs a stretching before anyone dares sit next to me.” Buddy, you’re wearing jeans, and the elderly woman carrying eight grocery bags can’t sit.


Hugs are fine. A peck is fine. Anything beyond is too far. As an aside, the man above exhibits a focus unseen since the days of the Karate Kid.

The What’s-Going-On-Here

Whatever you’re doing, we don’t really like…but we’re intrigued.

The Really!-What’s-Going-On-Here

Whatever you’re doing, we can only marvel.

The Tree Chopper

How you managed to find enough room for the tree is beyond impressive. Thank you for sprucing up the subway scent. But, if you couldn’t tell, the man next to the pole is pining for a seat.

The…Nail Clipper?

After getting over the initial shock of the jorts, we couldn’t believe someone would carry nail clippers in their pocket. Next, we couldn’t believe that his nails needed to be trimmed so badly that he couldn’t wait until home. Finally, we were shocked (SHOCKED!) he didn’t even bother to clean his clippings–at least brush off the stranger’s jacket.

Finally, The Puker

That’s why the subway smells like vomit…because it is vomit.


If you find yourself as a violator, we urge you to correct your behaviors. Please, it’s better to let the subway smell like it should–like a musty basement with a water leak. But if you’re wondering, what brings people to commit such heinous crimes, here’s an NYC class for you to delve into their psyche and analyze each body motion.