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NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette
March 25, 2013 1:09 PM   Subscribe


 
These would be much, much better if they weren't gifs or whatever.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:12 PM on March 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Nice, bu why do these run so slowly? New Yorkers don't have time for this.
posted by hydrophonic at 1:15 PM on March 25, 2013 [26 favorites]


so what's up with the empty subway car? is there like a monster inside or something?
posted by bitteroldman at 1:16 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why is the empty train car empty?
posted by oulipian at 1:16 PM on March 25, 2013


From the first comment, "Perhaps a note about taking up the whole sidewalk, and meandering from side to side being a no-no?"

Seriously - why the fuck can't people in Manhattan walk in a straight line, parallel to the street? Fucking fucks.
posted by Guy Smiley at 1:17 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


so what's up with the empty subway car? is there like a monster inside or something?


I'm not sure if NYC is anything like Chicago, but I imagine it is and, if so,the answer is 'smell' or even worse 'obvious solid thing that is causing smell.'
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:18 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why is the empty train car empty?

Either a) the air conditioner is on the fritz, and it's like 800 degrees in there, or
b) there is something, or someone in there that smells really funky.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:19 PM on March 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure if NYC is anything like Chicago, but I imagine it is and, if so,the answer is 'smell' or even worse 'obvious solid thing that is causing smell.'

And in summer, it could also be "heat".

And if you are truly cursed, it is "heat PLUS smell".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:19 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


also "screaming crazy person" or "masturbating crazy person." or some wonderful combination of the previous.
posted by The Whelk at 1:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is there anything particularly New York about this? Everything here applies to Philadelphia. Everything applies to San Francisco as well except we actually have underground cell service and we don't have air conditioners.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure if NYC is anything like Chicago, but I imagine it is and, if so,the answer is 'smell' or even worse 'obvious solid thing that is causing smell.'

This was a lesson that I learned pretty early on. 'Oh hey it's rush hour and yet this car has tons of empty seats, the gods are smiling on me this OH SWEET MERCIFUL FUCK'
posted by shakespeherian at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


Why is the empty train car empty?

Do not ask why. There is a good reason why. You do not want to be exposed to that reason.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:24 PM on March 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


Is there anything particularly New York about this?

I'm assuming it's "New York is where Nathan Pyle happens to live".

Although some of the taxi stuff, if he gets into it, could be NYC-centric. (I learned the hard way that not every city in the world lets you hail cabs by just raising your hand. I waited a good 20 minutes on the side of the road in New Orleans before I figured out that might be the case.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:28 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is a good reason why.

I don't know, sometimes (in my experience) it's just people actively avoiding the obvious homeless person, regardless of smell, because they make folks uncomfortable.

However, twice since I've lived in Chicago, the answer to "why is no one on this crowded train standing in that one empty spot?" has been "oh because someone is lying down in the middle of the train wtf." And three times it has been a pool of barf.
posted by phunniemee at 1:28 PM on March 25, 2013


Empty train car = poop/vomit
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:29 PM on March 25, 2013


I managed to witness the birth of an empty train car one time during morning rush hour, I was standing in the car's vestibule area a good four layers of people away from the opening doors with my earbuds in and as we arrived at Clark & Lake suddenly everyone started pushing back toward me and I couldn't figure out what was happening so I took out my earbuds and discovered the horrific sound of someone vomiting right in front of the doors on the inside of the car, trapping everyone.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Some more specifically NYC tips could be like "If you must use the G train be prepared to expand your notions of both time and space."
posted by The Whelk at 1:32 PM on March 25, 2013 [15 favorites]


(oh and if you're taking visitors from out of town sightseeing, go to the top of Rockefeller center cause then you can see the Empire State building from it and it's just more impressive. Costs a fecking arm and leg however.)
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I won't tell the whole story*, but my "Bookhouse decides he's moving the fuck out of New York" night began with a half-empty subway car. I was tired. I should have noticed the car was half empty.

*Teaser: When I tell the story, I get to use the phrase "Jackson Pollock of poop."
posted by Bookhouse at 1:35 PM on March 25, 2013 [19 favorites]


TELL THE STORY.

please?
posted by troika at 1:37 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of many reasons I like DC: Outside of rush hour, "half-empty subway car" is not mutually exclusive with "oh god oh god get me out of here."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:42 PM on March 25, 2013


"If you must use the G train be prepared to expand your notions of both time and space."

I take the G train every day, and it's not so bad; all it takes is a bit of SUBMITTING TO THE INCANDESCENT WILL OF THE UNDERGODS
posted by Greg Nog at 1:44 PM on March 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


One of many reasons I like DC: Outside of rush hour, "half-empty subway car" is not mutually exclusive with "oh god oh god get me out of here."

Er, "does not automatically mean oh god oh god etc." English. Words. Meaning. That stuff.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:50 PM on March 25, 2013


A few years ago I was in the market for a new roommate; I live in a weird part of Brooklyn where the closest available subway is the G.

The second person to show up seemed an interesting and gregarious enough chap, and we'd already been having a lively conversation for several minutes. But then suddenly he said "I've been specifically looking for a place that was convenient to the G train," and I didn't even let him finish before I said "when can you move in????"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:50 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure there's much here that is exclusive to NYC so much as you will absolutely encounter everything on this list if you move to NYC so you'd better know what you're dealing with. Umbrellas from the street? They suck. People talking on their cell-phones while trying to place an order? They suck. People taking up an entire sidewalk to take a photo, you better believe they suck.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:51 PM on March 25, 2013


I'm not sure if this means I'm supposed to go upstream to get a cab because it works, or not go upstream because it's a dick move.
posted by ckape at 1:52 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do not upstream. It is a dick move.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:54 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I won't tell the whole story*, but my "Bookhouse decides he's moving the fuck out of New York" night began with a half-empty subway car. I was tired. I should have noticed the car was half empty.

*Teaser: When I tell the story, I get to use the phrase "Jackson Pollock of poop."


I've seen that kind of stuff and other bodily eruptions numerous times on the train. Which is why the "Pantsless Subway Ride" goofballs baffle me.
posted by jonmc at 2:02 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Air-conditioned subway? You guys are spoiled. The London Underground in summer just has warnings that you shouldn't get on the train without water or you might faint and there's usually a story in the papers every year about how the temperatures on the Underground are so high that it would be illegal to transport animals in such heat.
posted by essexjan at 2:05 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd love to throw my hat into the ring with "DO NOT TAKE TWO STEPS OUT OF A DOOR OR TURNSTILE AND STOP DEAD IN YOUR TRACKS OR YOU WILL BE KILLED FORTHWITH."
posted by nevercalm at 2:07 PM on March 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


Some kid did the "two steps and stop" to start texting the other day. I've never felt so old or so murderous.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:09 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Heh, heh... back in the olden days it was more like;

Don't park in front of John Gotti's place, even though there are like three empty spots.

Carry ten bucks in your front pocket for the drug addled mugger. It's all he needs.

When your East Village apt. gets robbed (again) walk around the neighborhood a bit until you find someone selling your clothes and lp's on the sidewalk. Don't argue, just buy your stuff back.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


Air-conditioned subway? You guys are spoiled. The London Underground in summer...

I spent a good chunk of time in London the summer before last, and yeah--you guys have it bad. It's fucking hot and awful down there. It did, however, allow me to observe what's one of my favorite London memories, though:

I was on a PACKED car, in the summer, on a sweltering day, and everyone was pretty miserable. The air was stagnant and awful--not anything particularly stinky, just the smell of a bunch of overheated stuck people. The train stopped at a station, and a voice from somewhere deep in the mass of folks shouted "IS THIS THE ONE!?!?" and a woman's voice said "yes! yes, this one!" And then a little boy, poor kid just tall enough to have his face right smack at ass level, goes bursting out of the train onto the station platform, stumbles a bit, splays out his arms, takes a huge breath, and goes "OH MAN, THANK GOD I'M OUTTA THAT!"
posted by phunniemee at 2:14 PM on March 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


Heh, heh... back in the olden days it was more like;

Things have only changed so much. Out here in Queens a few years back, a member of a major motorcycle club was shot and killed a block or so away from me. I took some small comfort in that he wasn't actually a local resident. Although my landlord's son took the opportunity to give a "the neighborhood's going to hell" speech.
posted by jonmc at 2:16 PM on March 25, 2013


Some kid did the "two steps and stop" to start texting the other day. I've never felt so old or so murderous.

You are legally allowed to push these people, no court will convict you.
posted by The Whelk at 2:17 PM on March 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


Empty subway cars in the middle of the night make me nervous in the same way that empty subway platforms do. I think it's a "I could be stabbed and no one would be around to notice" feel. Even when there are cars empty because there are fewer people on the train than cars in service, I always try to have a couple of other people in the subway car as me.

I know this makes no sense, but it makes me feel better. Empty streets are what make me nervous these days, not full ones.
posted by Hactar at 2:18 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm with the walk in a straight-line crowd. And no sudden stopping in the middle of the sidewalk during rush-hour because you've just received a text.
posted by ob at 2:21 PM on March 25, 2013


Even when there are cars empty because there are fewer people on the train than cars in service, I always try to have a couple of other people in the subway car as me.

Isn't that why there's always a middle-of-the-night cluster in the car(s) with the conductor? Have I been mistaken all these years I've had to go to/from work at 3am?

Oh, and speaking of how bad it used to be, 20 years ago I was working a job that required a hammer and other tools...the other tools went in my backpack, the hammer stayed in my hand, for the whole subway ride AND the wait in Penn Station.
posted by nevercalm at 2:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have never wished for elizardbits to come back to mefi so hard in my life.
posted by KathrynT at 2:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


And no sudden stopping in the middle of the sidewalk during rush-hour because you've just received a text.

I've taken to yelling "EYES FRONT!!!" at people walking down the sidewalk while texting. The look on their faces is inevitably delish.
posted by nevercalm at 2:23 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


"FORWARD MARCH"

Do this enough times and you'll recruit an army.
posted by The Whelk at 2:25 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


At least he's up front about hoping to get a book out of it. Nothing new here though.
posted by headnsouth at 2:28 PM on March 25, 2013


Know what you want when you go into a coffee shop, or at least make sure you've decided by the time you get to the counter, or you'll incur the hell-death wrath of everyone behind you.
posted by essexjan at 2:29 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Navelgazer: "People taking up an entire sidewalk to take a photo, you better believe they suck."

The awesome thing about being from the middle of the country is that we're not in such a fucking hurry all the time so who gives a shit if someone blocks part of the sidewalk for 20 seconds? Of course, we also don't have combined sewers, so it's not instant gangrene if you step in the street, so we can just go around.
posted by wierdo at 2:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hactar, I think it's very sensible to be wary of empty subway cars. One of the times I was masturbated to/at on the El was in the middle of the goddamned day, but it was a completely empty car other than me and the offender. It was not cool and I felt very unsafe.
posted by misskaz at 2:31 PM on March 25, 2013


The problem is not so much losing 20 seconds of your day as that the number of people walking the street is so great that if .001% of them stop to take pictures, you will find yourself running into random acts of photography every seven-point-three inches.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:34 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


essexjan: Siemens has a concept train designed that will offer air conditioning on the deep, small-profile lines. I'm curious how that will work.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:37 PM on March 25, 2013


The awesome thing about being from the middle of the country is that we're not in such a fucking hurry all the time so who gives a shit if someone blocks part of the sidewalk for 20 seconds?

Aaaah we always have this in NYC threads. Sorry, you misunderstand, friend! As Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish notes, it is that there are a LOT of people doing this, all at one time. What happens at a lot of tourist subway stops is that they are also heavy commuter stops, so you have an intersection of people from elsewhere on vacation who want to stroll leisurely, and people who have to get to work ASAP. Also, when people just stop short to take a picture, everyone gets stopped short behind them in a big uncomfortable and confusing clump. NYC streets are like highways, if you need to change lanes look first, if you need to stop, pull over. Don't abruptly change direction.
posted by sweetkid at 2:40 PM on March 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


Also, when people just stop short to take a picture, everyone gets stopped short behind them in a big uncomfortable and confusing clump.

See also the people who stop walking up the left-hand side of the escalators two feet before the end, which instantly makes everyone behind them also have to stop walking.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:47 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes seriously, I have to pass the Sears Tower every day in order to get to my office building and the number of photographs I have ruined is probably expressed in three figures.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:47 PM on March 25, 2013


Yeah, I'm missing the New York City specificity of this, too. It's the same in Boston, DC, Chicago.... any city with mass transit & tourists has these problems.

Except I've never actually seen the revolving door one. What's that all about?
posted by troika at 2:48 PM on March 25, 2013


In NYC, djinns live in all the revolving doors.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:49 PM on March 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ruining photos was more satisfying back when it wasted actual film.
posted by ryanrs at 2:49 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whereas in London they confine themselves to 70 St. Mary Axe.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:50 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Except I've never actually seen the revolving door one. What's that all about?

People who freak out when they get to an in-use revolving door and stand there like they think their legs will get cut off so they don't go into the first empty space or the second and sometimes wait until no one is using the door and they can control its speed so there's sometimes a like queue of tourists incapable of leaving an office building downtown.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:51 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The awesome thing about being from the middle of the country is that we're not in such a fucking hurry all the time so who gives a shit if someone blocks part of the sidewalk for 20 seconds?

In cities, not everyone has a car and even those that do probably don't/can't afford to drive it to work (and shell out $20+ a day for parking downtown), so people HAVE to use sidewalks and trains and such.

If you were driving on the busiest street in wherever you live, and suddenly like 10 cars just randomly decided to stop driving so that they could text, or one car stopped, turned 90 degrees, and decided to flash its headlights at a group of three cars facing it opposite, that would probably annoy the shitballs outta you, too.
posted by phunniemee at 2:52 PM on March 25, 2013 [29 favorites]


I work on Michigan Avenue, so literally walking to&from my office everyday takes me through one of the most tourist-frequented streets in Chicago.

Yeah, I used to stop for tourists taking pics because Hey! I love Chicago! And Iam glad that they came to visit and also love Chicago! but they take WAY more than 20 seconds to take those photos. There's all kinds of positioning and posing and making sure that cool building is in the background. Honestly if I waited for them, I'd lose half my lunch hour. And in high tourist season there is no going around them without jumping in front of other people and cutting them off - the sidewalks are already pretty busy.

Now, like shakes, I just ruin lots of photos.

On preview, also with revolving doors sometimes they will jump INTO THE SPACE WITH ME and then yelp when the back of the door hits their heels. Yes, that actually happened coming out of the Walgreens in my office building.
posted by misskaz at 2:54 PM on March 25, 2013


I don't know what people think is going to happen to them in a revolving door- they act like if they don't hit just the right pace they'll be spun out into Narnia or something.
posted by The Whelk at 2:59 PM on March 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


I cross a popular photo spot of the Capitol to go from my office to a different building for meetings. It's a big plaza, so I don't get in the foreground of toooo many photos....but I'm making a stupid face in the background of lots.
posted by troika at 3:01 PM on March 25, 2013


oh my gosh some people try to whip through those revolving doors so fast. Sometimes I see someone charging towards one and I just step back and wait for them to go through because...too fast!
posted by sweetkid at 3:01 PM on March 25, 2013


I don't get the revolving door fear either. If someone on the other side has managed to really get it going at a good rate of knots, I just think "Challenge accepted" and rush headlong into the fray with the St Crispin's day speech from Henry V ringing in my head, but then I'm a brave little soldier like that.
posted by ob at 3:09 PM on March 25, 2013 [13 favorites]


Know what you want when you go into a coffee shop, or at least make sure you've decided by the time you get to the counter, or you'll incur the hell-death wrath of everyone behind you.

EssexJan, that's a uniquely English issue in my experience. In NYC everyone is on top of their game in this particular situation. In England I ended up behind a metric butt-ton of nice English folks who were gobsmacked at the idea that they had to actually do something when they got to the head of the queue.
posted by ursus_comiter at 3:09 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't have a sense of smell and I'm usually very opportunistic about things like underpopulated subway cars, so... this maybe explains some of the room-clearing I've caused in the past.
posted by biddeford at 3:10 PM on March 25, 2013


I wish I could glide away from obnoxious members of the public with the word NOPE silently blinking above my head.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:21 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


I like to think these apply to people who live in popular cities and not just NYC.

If you have to dodge people taking tourist snaps on a daily basis though, I sympathize. I would just start punching everyone.
posted by Kitteh at 3:23 PM on March 25, 2013


Basically all of these can be summed up in this amazing gif, which I always think of as FUCK YOU I'M A BUS, although that's not actually what it says.
posted by kate blank at 3:31 PM on March 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


See also the people who stop walking up the left-hand side of the escalators two feet before the end, which instantly makes everyone behind them also have to stop walking.

Hey come to Minnesota where people passive aggressively glare if you dare walk up an escalator or walk on a moving sidewalk.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:56 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The best thing about passive aggression is you can just annoy it and then they just get angrier.
posted by The Whelk at 4:02 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Basically all of these can be summed up in this amazing gif, which I always think of as FUCK YOU I'M A BUS, although that's not actually what it says.

I think of it as Speed: the Director's cut.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:04 PM on March 25, 2013


Every time one of these threads pop up, I can't help but think, "My goodness, you New Yorkers are a precious bunch of privileged fucklings, aren't you?"
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:33 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, the G train. A few years ago, after 3+ years of grad school, I got a job in Manhattan and found an apartment in Brooklyn which was near the G train. Late one Friday night I found myself stepping off the L train and onto a G train platform which had more people on it than normal. There was construction. But I was sure a train would come by after a reasonable amount of time. But I waited for an unreasonable amount of time. One finally showed up--going *in the other direction*. At this point I had two realizations.

The first was that the construction had actually shut down one of the tracks and that there was just a single train going back and forth, up and down the whole line. So I would need to wait the same amount of time I had just waited before this train came back, headed in my direction.

The second was that I was no longer in grad school and that I could afford some things that previously I had prevented myself from even considering. A minute later I was up on the street, hailing a cab for a sweet, sweet ride home.
posted by A dead Quaker at 4:37 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Every time one of these threads pop up, I can't help but think, "My goodness, you New Yorkers are a precious bunch of privileged fucklings, aren't you?"

Bless your heart.
posted by davidjmcgee at 4:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [23 favorites]


Soon it will be Spring. And then every other sidewalk will be blocked with aggressive Children's International panhandlers and I will put myself in harm's way walking into traffic to avoid them.
posted by davidjmcgee at 4:49 PM on March 25, 2013


Every time one of these threads pop up, I can't help but think, "My goodness, you New Yorkers are a precious bunch of privileged fucklings, aren't you?"

I seriously, seriously, seriously in absolute sincerity do not understand where you, and the other disgruntled folks who pop up in threads such as this, are coming from. Would you please elaborate on why being peeved by the inconsiderate behavior of visitors makes New Yorkers privileged?
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 5:03 PM on March 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


Every time one of these threads pop up, I can't help but think, "My goodness, you New Yorkers are a precious bunch of privileged fucklings, aren't you?"

I can't think what you hope to achieve with this kind of comment. Also, yes, please elaborate, what about "these threads" gets you so worked up?
posted by sweetkid at 5:11 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


The awesome thing about being from the middle of the country is that we're not in such a fucking hurry all the time so who gives a shit if someone blocks part of the sidewalk for 20 seconds?

Would that it were only 20 seconds.

Every time one of these threads pop up, I can't help but think, "My goodness, you New Yorkers are a precious bunch of privileged fucklings, aren't you?"

And every time I hear someone kvetching about New Yorkers, I always assume that they're the ones who buy those dinner-plate sized "Never Forget" yellow ribbons.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:26 PM on March 25, 2013 [12 favorites]


Every time one of these threads pop up, I can't help but think, "My goodness, you New Yorkers are a precious bunch of privileged fucklings, aren't you?"

Yeah, as a former resident of Boston, I have to disagree with this. Look, when there are people on the sidewalks in big cities, they are fucking *commuting*. It's the equivalent of someone off for a nice scenic Sunday drive in the middle of LA's rush hour. It's not that we're all ambling along and just happen to be bitchy; it's that *someone is disrupting the flow*. It is frustrating and annoying and while we love tourists because hey, economics and all that, think of every frustration and annoyance you've ever had while driving your car to work and transfer that to a sidewalk or a subway platform. There just usually happen to be a LOT more tourists on subway platforms and sidewalks than there are on freeways.
posted by olinerd at 5:27 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


privĀ·iĀ·leged
(prv-ljd, prvljd)
adj.
1. Enjoying a privilege or having privileges: a privileged childhood; privileged society.

This is New Yorkers complaining about something so small as the way a person chooses to walk. This is the miles of blog posts about such minutae. This is how the masturbatory practice of bitching at these people somehow makes you a better/cooler/urban person. The word "fuckling" I just made up. Although teh goog tells me there's been 52,100 previous uses of it.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:58 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is how the masturbatory practice of bitching at these people somehow makes you a better/cooler/urban person.

No, it's not about this at all, but we all get that your crappy comments make you think YOU are a better person.
posted by sweetkid at 6:03 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Purposeful Grimace, I'm still not clear on how having a pet peeve about behavior your culture considers inconsiderate translates to contributing to the oppression of traditionally disenfranchised groups, and I'm really unclear as to how your use of "privilege" in that context is meant to imply anything else.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 6:05 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


What I hate about revolving doors: people who shove the door faster than the person who is already in it is moving it. Seriously, don't shove the door into that little old lady who is trying to get into the building. You're not helping; you're hurting her. If she could move through the door any faster, she would. (and no, I'm not quite yet that little old lady, even if i feel like it, and yes, assholes do this to me all the fucking time. Don't push the revolving door faster than the person already in it is moving. You have no idea why they are moving that slowly and you will hurt them.)

Also, I have been loving the hell out of the winter that won't end, cause none of the tourists brought their coats and they're not meandering on the sidewalks in the manner that phunniemee so eloquently described.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:09 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Walking to work because you can't afford the cost of a car in the city (and in some/many cases having to get there in a hurry because Bad Things will happen if you're late) = privilege?

WTF?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:11 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Every time one of these threads pop up, I can't help but think, "My goodness, you New Yorkers are a precious bunch of privileged fucklings, aren't you?

That was you in the subway car, wasn't it.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's privileged because we still have jobs to walk to unlike most people in the hinterlands who have to hop trains to pick hobo beans out of the dust and spend their afternoons ameanderin' for pleasure cuz the internet blew down in the great cable fire.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:14 PM on March 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Walking to work because you can't afford the cost of a car in the city (and in some/many cases having to get there in a hurry because Bad Things will happen if you're late) = privilege?

Seriously? These are people we're talking about. Not security fences and armed guards. If the ten to twenty seconds it takes to dodge around your typical ten tourists or so costs you your job, your ability to plan ahead should have had you removed for incompetence long before.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:16 PM on March 25, 2013


You know who else marched through the streets and yelled a lot?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:35 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


My uncle Bernie?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:36 PM on March 25, 2013


Purposful Grimace, I don't get your complaint. If I go to another place and everyone is walking on the opposite side of the sidewalk from what I'm used to, I make an effort to do that too. Similarly, if a reasonably intelligent person is going up the gigantic escalators from the 7 train into Grand Central during the morning rush, they will see that everyone on the right side is riding the escalator and everyone on the left side is walking up the escalator. It's not "privilege" to be annoyed by those who ignore this extremely obvious practice and block the left side of the escalator. I happen to live near a youth hostel... is it "privilege" for me to get annoyed that big groups of German youth block the narrow platform directly in front of the stairwell during my morning commute on a weekly basis?

These "little things" you think are "no big deal" become a major annoyance when they happen over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. You might as well be suggesting that people who don't want to be called by telemarketers during dinner time are "privileged" since, after all, "it only takes a few seconds of your time so what's the big deal?"
posted by slkinsey at 6:43 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah I think most of these are just "big city" tips and not NYC specific; it's just that for a lot of transplants, NYC is their first experience of living in a big city, and people like to wear the identity with pride. The only really NYC specific one is the no cell phone service underground - I wish we could get that here. I honestly wouldn't care if I had to listen to people's cell conversations; they don't bother me any more than the in-person conversations or leaky earphones I have to listen to on the subway.

I also disagree about the $20 umbrella being worth more than 4 $5 umbrellas. Umbrellas aren't like shoes. One good gust of wind has wrecked many of my fancy schmancy >$20 umbrellas in one go. Now I just buy $5 umbrellas as needed and wear them down until they're a mess of metal spokes and ripped cloth.
posted by pravit at 6:45 PM on March 25, 2013


These "little things" you think are "no big deal" become a major annoyance when they happen over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. You might as well be suggesting that people who don't want to be called by telemarketers during dinner time are "privileged" since, after all, "it only takes a few seconds of your time so what's the big deal?"

So is it your contention that if all these little things were eliminated you'd be living in a charmed land of unicorns and rainbows? Of course not. It's extremely unrealistic and privileged to think that the world revolves around making life easier for you. It really doesn't. Too many New Yorkers seem to think that every person who doesn't do exactly what they want them to are there to make their lives unhappy. It just isn't so.

And in my experience, life in New York doesn't prepare the residents for life in other major metropolises, at least the Asian ones that I've spent time in. They're the first to cry for air conditioning and quiet, and not to be surrounded by so many people. Weeping like willows, they are.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:52 PM on March 25, 2013


[Folks, maybe lets not make this personal, and especially not personally about Hitler? ]
posted by jessamyn at 6:55 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


So is it your contention that if all these little things were eliminated you'd be living in a charmed land of unicorns and rainbows?

No one has said this at any point.

It's extremely unrealistic and privileged to think that the world revolves around making life easier for you.

No one has implied this at any point. Complaining about everyday annoyances and wishing they would go away is one of the most social bonding activities. The understanding is that no one participating in the bonding experience really expects the annoyances to go away, but talking about them fosters a sense of shared experience and therefore of community, which is extremely important to the promotion of social stability.


Too many New Yorkers seem to think that every person who doesn't do exactly what they want them to are there to make their lives unhappy.


Please cite your sources.

And in my experience, life in New York doesn't prepare the residents for life in other major metropolises, at least the Asian ones that I've spent time in. They're the first to cry for air conditioning and quiet, and not to be surrounded by so many people. Weeping like willows, they are.

I am uncertain as to how this statement relates to the current topic. Could you please elaborate?
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 7:06 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Complaining about New Yorkers complaining about tourists ought to have its own Basic Tips and Etiquette guide. Fortunately for me, out here in Los Angeles, there's nothing to complain about and everything is awesome all of the time.
posted by feloniousmonk at 7:10 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fortunately for me, out here in Los Angeles, there's nothing to complain about and everything is awesome all of the time.

QFT, of a humorous nature. So many NYC folk are comparing sidewalk commuting to the traffic in Los Angeles. You want to know a native Angeleno from a n00b? N00bs complain about traffic. Angelenos recognize it as a given. Like smog, lack of rain and Lindsay Lohan crotch shots. Pro-tip for folks visiting LA, don't get on the freeway at commuting hours. ALWAYS use surface streets. It's a mandatory rule in my industry. Calling in to say you're stuck on the 405 in traffic was a firing offense.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:14 PM on March 25, 2013


Wait, so people know how foot traffic is supposed to flow in NYC are privileged assholes, people who don't know LA well enough to know which roads to avoid are "n00bs" who deserve to lose their jobs?

I think I'm dying of irony.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:20 PM on March 25, 2013 [19 favorites]


I'm not sure if NYC is anything like Chicago, but I imagine it is and, if so,the answer is 'smell' or even worse 'obvious solid thing that is causing smell.'

"Hunh, Baby Ruth."
posted by wenestvedt at 7:23 PM on March 25, 2013


Wait, so people know how foot traffic is supposed to flow in NYC are privileged assholes, people who don't know LA well enough to know which roads to avoid are "n00bs" who deserve to lose their jobs?

Oof, yeah, it was supposed to demonstrate that New Yorkers who complain about foot traffic must not be "true" New Yorkers but rather transplants but it certainly does reek of privilege, doesn't it? Mea culpa.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:39 PM on March 25, 2013


When did this thread turn from fun complaining about city life to jerkbag arguing about whether New Yorkers should never mention their lives in public
posted by shakespeherian at 7:47 PM on March 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ohhhh, that's what this is about. This is a Los Angeles/New York thing.

Damn, I wish you'd said so earlier; I was actually taking those complaints seriously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 PM on March 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


The real problem is that people in LA don't walk if they can possibly manage to drive instead.

That and the fact that some LA drivers think people who walk to work and complain about obstacles are privileged fucklings.
posted by mistersquid at 7:51 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Apparently people in LA are so full of new age good feelings towards others they have to traipse in whereever some folk from another town is complaining about something and let them know they should feel bad for being rich.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:55 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also Asia is apparently horrible and makes new yorkers cry like a tree. I'm learning so much itt.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:56 PM on March 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Los Angeles/New York thing

we don't have a thing unless you mean a love thing
posted by sweetkid at 7:56 PM on March 25, 2013


When did this thread turn from fun complaining about city life..

When part of it became complaining about people from other walks of life not understanding/knowing the unspoken rules about sidewalk etiquette in NYC. Leading to the charge of privilege. Which is still being exhibited by some with the othering.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 7:57 PM on March 25, 2013


Unspoken rules can be hard to learn. When people speak up about them (and can do so with some gusto and wit), more people learn about them.

(I'm a nicey-nice Canadian who's been to New York several times and have always found people there to be brisk, charming and often incredibly helpful.)
posted by maudlin at 8:04 PM on March 25, 2013


Is this really just about how goddam awful LA is?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:05 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


The thing is, the unspoken rules about sidewalk etiquette in NYC are neither unspoken nor unique to NYC, as the regular appearance of such links as in the FPP attest to and as Mefites from other cities where folks commute by foot have been pointing out. Some cities in other parts of the world are indeed different. People in Hong Kong walked sooooo sloooooowly and didn't have the stand to one side of the escalator walk on the other convention, for example. 'Course, actually stopping in the middle of the sidewalk was not a wise idea. Somehow, as a tolerably observant person who hasn't ever even lived in a big city, I've managed to get along and conform to local customs in both places, in many other cities around North America, as well as in various European cities, where there are often similar conventions to keep pedestrian traffic moving as there are in US cities. It really is no different from bicycle lane etiquette in places where significant numbers of people commute by bike. Or California's keep the traffic moving car laws and customs that drivers from every other state in the US find insane (yet manage to adapt to when driving in California, for the most part).
posted by eviemath at 8:09 PM on March 25, 2013


I like the "watch for adorably cute monsters rising out of the bay" tip the best. Though I'm not sure what to do when that happens, based on the animated gif. It could have been more clearly presented.
posted by eviemath at 8:13 PM on March 25, 2013


Also Asia is apparently horrible and makes new yorkers cry like a tree. I'm learning so much itt.

Well, many New Yorkers are FROM Asia so my feeling is they can take it in stride.
posted by sweetkid at 8:14 PM on March 25, 2013


When part of it became complaining about people from other walks of life not understanding/knowing the unspoken rules about sidewalk etiquette in NYC

Your willingness to die on this hill continues to be a source of utmost bafflement to me, especially given your statement of

This is how the masturbatory practice of bitching at these people somehow makes you a better/cooler/urban person.

followed in short order by

And in my experience, life in New York doesn't prepare the residents for life in other major metropolises, at least the Asian ones that I've spent time in. They're the first to cry for air conditioning and quiet, and not to be surrounded by so many people. Weeping like willows, they are.

and

So many NYC folk are comparing sidewalk commuting to the traffic in Los Angeles. You want to know a native Angeleno from a n00b? N00bs complain about traffic. Angelenos recognize it as a given. Like smog, lack of rain and Lindsay Lohan crotch shots. Pro-tip for folks visiting LA, don't get on the freeway at commuting hours. ALWAYS use surface streets. It's a mandatory rule in my industry. Calling in to say you're stuck on the 405 in traffic was a firing offense.


Additionally, I am still unclear as to why you insist in calling it "privilege." Perhaps we are suffering from a conflict of vocabulary. My understanding is that "privilege" is, essentially, "a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to one person or group of people." Many other threads have demonstrated that New Yorkers do not universally respond with hostility to individuals who join them in the act of social bonding by kvetching about their own daily annoyances, even when those individuals are not New Yorkers or discussing life in New York. Nor do those individuals feel inhibited from participating. So I remain unsure as to your meaning.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 8:17 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I apologize for inadvertently lighting off an LA/NYC thing. I love them both, really (although, obviously, LA is superior). Until recently, my Basic NYC Tip would have been to not get there from Boston via Fung Wah, but evidently that wasn't just my opinion.
posted by feloniousmonk at 8:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Maybe we can redirect this away from interrogating one person, which has kind of become a derail?]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ok, I'll bow out. Tah, all.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:26 PM on March 25, 2013


Some of these are good, but not specifically NY enough. For example, I would add: the iced tea is unsweetened, you add your own sugar.

And a true NYer knows that you need to go at least a block upstream to be in the clear for a cab. Nothing cheap about it, you walked the block upstream, the cab is yours.
posted by borges at 9:37 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Expect to be dealt with harshly if you complain about NY privilege to a NYer.
posted by borges at 9:39 PM on March 25, 2013


I like LA a lot. I've spent some time there, I've got friends and family out there, and under the right circumstances it is gorgeous in a way that NY just can't be (and vice-versa, to be sure. NYC will never have LA's sunsets, and LA will never have NYC's autumns.)

But they are two very different cultures, and the fact that NYC is so populous and yet so pedestrian-subway centric just makes for its own thing. (I own a car in Brooklyn, which I mostly use for moving from one side of the street to the other for parking purposes.)

NYC is, in my experience, simply much more of a community than LA is, by virtue of the fact that you just have to deal with so many more people face to face every day. And that's fantastic. As Dar Williams said, "people found this city because they love other people," but one can love their family and still be very, very frustrated by some of their habits, and that's what we're talking about here.

When you live in what is in many ways the world's biggest small town, you have your loves and your peeves, and etiquette isn't privilege - it is a way of making sure everyone can get along.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:49 PM on March 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


I would also just ask people to understand and respect that Spring Break season has just begun and, in NY at least, winter is stubbornly refusing to give up the stage, and so we might be a little cranky with all of that right now.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:56 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


And no sudden stopping in the middle of the sidewalk during rush-hour because you've just received a text.

Today I stood along the middle of a long corridor between a parking garage and a public library for about an hour, and lemme tell you a good 3/4 of the hunnerd-so people who walked by were nose-to-glass with their phones. So many people I literally didn't have time to stop each of them and say "Hey remember that guy in La Crescenta walked smack-dab intah a BEAR? He was texting while walking," which is what I usually do to strike up conversations on the sidewalk.
posted by carsonb at 11:05 PM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


carsonb: Maybe you should try a different opening question.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:18 PM on March 25, 2013


Jeez it's not like I carry a picture of Tony Danza naked around with me, so starting conversations on a false premise like that wouldn't work for me.

Actually, wait! I can probably find that pic on my phone! Hang on. *Head down, thumbs flying*
posted by carsonb at 11:22 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


These are cute, very true to life. Particularly thankful for the one about the restaurant door- nothing worse than getting stuck at the table right in the draft. I know better now, I always ask for a table as far from the door as possible.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:43 AM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Personally, when I was in NYC last week, I was annoyed at how slow foot traffic was moving on the sidewalk and there wasn't enough room for me to go around people which I found very annoying.
posted by nolnacs at 6:08 AM on March 26, 2013


Weirdly enough, being from London, most of the rules about being a pedestrian and other urban social cues that I learnt there are exactly applicable to NYC. Spooky.
posted by ob at 6:41 AM on March 26, 2013


I don't know what you people are all on about, but this is the worst east coast/west coast feud ever, and in the midst of it, you've just managed to invent a new thing. I am absolutely taking naming credit for "privilege trolling."
posted by Mayor West at 6:55 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


but this is the worst east coast/west coast feud ever

*rolls down car window*

*hits West-Coaster with a Nerf ball*
posted by Greg Nog at 8:22 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know what you people are all on about, but this is the worst east coast/west coast feud ever, and in the midst of it, you've just managed to invent a new thing. I am absolutely taking naming credit for "privilege trolling."

That's existed for years over in some fandom circles.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 8:41 AM on March 26, 2013


I don't know what you people are all on about, but this is the worst east coast/west coast feud ever, and in the midst of it, you've just managed to invent a new thing. I am absolutely taking naming credit for "privilege trolling."

"privileged" is the new "hipster".
posted by Afroblanco at 9:20 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"privileged" is the new "hipster".

No, because privilege is a real thing that actually exists and has a definition, even if some people don't know how to (repeatedly over-)use it.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:22 AM on March 26, 2013


The awesome thing about being from the middle of the country is that we're not in such a fucking hurry all the time so who gives a shit if someone blocks part of the sidewalk for 20 seconds? Of course, we also don't have combined sewers, so it's not instant gangrene if you step in the street, so we can just go around.

The thing that I think people might not understand until you do it, is that walking in NYC for many people is commuting. People understand when a driver is angry on their morning commute because someone cuts them off, or is driving 40 in the fastlane, stops short for no reason, or heck, maybe there's three of them taking up three lanes on the parkway all going 45 miles per hour like there have nowhere to go.

When I've got 10 minutes to get from my office to the train, which should be an easy distance to walk in that amount of time as long as I walk quickly and it becomes an obstacle course of dodging the girl who stops abruptly in a crowd, walking in the street to go around the group of people walking three across holding hands, navigating through the crowd of tourists trying to take photos of themselves in front of Victoria's Secret. Oh great, now I'm stuck until the traffic clears on the corner with the dudes yelling about how THE END IS NEAR because none of these people are walking fast enough and I'm sure I'm going to miss my train and i'm going to have to wait half an hour to get the next one. But I make my train! Hooray! And then I realize I'm in the vomit car.

So, while I would like to think I'm a nice person who understands that sometimes people have to walk slow, or are tourists in an exciting and strange place, sometimes I just want to get from A to B as fast as possible so I can get home, without getting stuck on the train with the Crazy Vomit Guy.
posted by inertia at 11:36 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, subways without air conditioned might have us beat. I went to Paris in July once, I was amazed anyone in that city managed to arrive anywhere looking sane and put together, because the subway was like being in a crowded toaster oven.
posted by inertia at 11:40 AM on March 26, 2013


The worst thing about 'hipster' becoming a meaningless rude word used only by ignoramuses to denote someone cooler than them is that there is still a real phenomenon of people who are fashionable but also very judgmental, amoral, and cruel in every scene who are getting away with murder cuz there's no good way to describe them except maybe Scenester but not really.

Don't let this happen to privilege. The stakes are a lot higher.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:45 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Hipster" is the new "facism."

wait a minute.....
posted by nevercalm at 11:52 AM on March 26, 2013


You know, there's something else that sticks in my craw about this:

The awesome thing about being from the middle of the country is that we're not in such a fucking hurry all the time so who gives a shit if someone blocks part of the sidewalk for 20 seconds?

It's not just that "someone blocks part of the sidewalk for 20 seconds". The problem is, it sends the message that "I am so fucking important that I don't care if my desire for a selfie is inconveniencing people who are trying to do what they need to do."

It's the same problem, at its root, as the person who doesn't hang up their phone when they're ordering something at a coffeeshop ("I am so fucking important that I don't care if my gossip is inconveniencing the barista trying to do her job, and the other people behind me in line"), the person who insists on taking flash photos at a live show ("I am so fucking important that I don't care if my desire to have a blurry image of this concert I'm at is inconveniencing all the people around me trying to watch as well, and the people onstage who are blinded by my flash"), the guy who upstreams a taxi ("I am so fucking important that my need to get uptown for a party right away is inconveniencing the woman with two suitcases and a bag full of Christmas presents for her family who clearly needs to make a train and has already been out on the curb trying to hail a cab for 20 minutes already").

(Okay, that last one may have dredged up a memory.)

At the heart of all of these - it isn't that "we're in too much of a rush to walk around people for a couple seconds". It's the fact that the other person is basically, through their actions, declaring "I am more important than you." And perhaps that's where the ire is coming from - it's the sound of 12 million New Yorkers screaming back, "no, you fucking well aren't."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:54 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


....I will admit, though, that there are times when other New Yorkers do some of these very things. However, the ire is probably more heated ("no, you fucking well aren't more important than us and you should damn well know that already").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:05 PM on March 26, 2013


At the heart of all of these - it isn't that "we're in too much of a rush to walk around people for a couple seconds". It's the fact that the other person is basically, through their actions, declaring "I am more important than you."

Building on that notion, I sometimes wonder if it's just plain lack of consideration. That many, many people don't think of their impact on others. Whether making a right turn from the left lane, texting two steps out of the turnstile or what have you, I think the overrarching sentiment might be "I don't give a damn about people other than myself." Which is sad and frustrating.
posted by aureliobuendia at 12:36 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


For those of us who live in Suburbia and have trouble understanding why thoughtless sidewalk practices enrage New Yorkers and other city dwellers, I present the following thought experiment: instead of on the streets of your city, imagine that these offenses are occurring at Costco on a Saturday afternoon. That guy who leaves his monster cart cattywampus in the middle of the aisle while he runs ahead to grab grapes, fucking everything up for everyone? That's the guy who stops in the middle of the sidewalk to take a picture.
posted by KathrynT at 12:48 PM on March 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, it's the sound of 12 million New Yorkers screaming back "THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!"
posted by inertia at 1:07 PM on March 26, 2013


Building on that notion, I sometimes wonder if it's just plain lack of consideration. That many, many people don't think of their impact on others.

Yeah, that's exactly it.

it's the sound of 12 million New Yorkers screaming back "THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!"

Only if it's a fellow New Yorker.

(For the record, though - like one of the people in the comments, I actually make a point of offering help if I see someone looking at a map and looking confused. Although I did once have a couple stop me somewhere in the Lower East Side and ask if I could tell them where they could find Cannery Row, and I was too stunned to even come up with a smart-ass comeback.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:12 PM on March 26, 2013


Maybe they meant Canal St?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:04 PM on March 26, 2013


No, they definitely meant Cannery Row. "You know, it was an old fishing pier and now it's got all kinds of restaurants and things?" the woman asked, trying to prod my memory; they thought that i was staring at them in shock because i'd never heard of the place, and in fact they gave up on me and walked away after telling me "I don't know why you haven't heard of it, it's really famous," but i was actually staring at them in shock trying to figure out how to tell them "lady, that's over 2000 miles away on the other side of the damn country."

Only later did I realize I should have said, "okay, here's how to get there - first, hail a cab. Second, make sure he'll take you all the way to JFK. Third, get a ticket to San Francisco. Then ask someone for more details when you get there."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:57 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't let this happen to privilege. The stakes are a lot higher.

Yes, our discourse would certainly suffer if we could no longer call each other privileged.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:18 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


New Yorker's don't care much for privilege, but chutzpah we consider mildly admirable.
posted by borges at 9:17 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "At the heart of all of these - it isn't that "we're in too much of a rush to walk around people for a couple seconds". It's the fact that the other person is basically, through their actions, declaring "I am more important than you." And perhaps that's where the ire is coming from - it's the sound of 12 million New Yorkers screaming back, "no, you fucking well aren't.""

No, they're not declaring they're more important than you, they're declaring they are of equal importance. By claiming that your use of the public space is the only valid use of the public space, you are implicitly claiming that you are in fact more important than people who choose to interact with it in a different way.

Seems like getting rid of the shit in the sidewalk would probably improve flow more than shaking your fist angrily at out of towners.
posted by wierdo at 9:56 PM on March 26, 2013


Come to Toronto, where even the locals act like tourists. I had never before seen someone sprint past several dozen people for the opportunity to stand to the left on an escalator.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:37 AM on March 27, 2013


Actually, I think it was a local who was yelling at me that one time where she started shouting that no one is allowed to walk up escalators. That was an odd one.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:30 AM on March 27, 2013


Seems like getting rid of the shit in the sidewalk would probably improve flow more than shaking your fist angrily at out of towners.

It strikes me that "shaking our fist angrily at people who hog the sidewalk" is precisely how we get rid of the shit in the sidewalk.

Sidewalks are for walking. It's right there in the name.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:44 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sidewalks are for walking. It's right there in the name.

But we drive on parkways and park on driveways! English, you so crazy.
posted by phunniemee at 9:46 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you're seriously referring to other human beings as shit, you really need to rethink your attitude.
posted by wierdo at 1:01 PM on March 27, 2013


Also, sidewalks are used for a lot more than walking. They're used as a place to stand while hailing a cab or for waiting on a bus. They're used as a place to stand while you buy shit from hot dog vendors or newsstands. Sometimes, elevators even pop up out of them. Go figure.
posted by wierdo at 1:04 PM on March 27, 2013


I apologize, that was a harsh way of putting it. Allow me to start over.

No, they're not declaring they're more important than you, they're declaring they are of equal importance. By claiming that your use of the public space is the only valid use of the public space, you are implicitly claiming that you are in fact more important than people who choose to interact with it in a different way.

It is possible to share the sidewalk; doing so would ensure that both parties' rights to the sidewalk receive equal value.

However, most of the people who take pictures don't do so in a way that even considers sharing as an option. It's possible to try to stand still and take a picture, but confine the photo-studio to one side of the sidewalk and ensure that there is still plenty of room for people to pass by behind them. However, most people stand with the photo subject at one side of the sidewalk and the photographer clear at the other side, thus occupying the entire sidewalk and declaring it solely for the use of a photo op.

That isn't "choosing to interact with the sidewalk in a different way". That is flat-out declaring "don't care, my photo's more important, go walk in the street."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:10 PM on March 27, 2013


Yeah, as I said before, there are plenty of other people blocking the sidewalk in a completely city-sanctioned way. Not for your convenience, mind you, but for the convenience of the vendors paying for the privilege and hoping to make some money. Kinda shoots the idea that sidewalks are only for walking down in flames.

Part of living in a society with other people is that on occasion your preferred public space is unavailable to you. I get that it's annoying, but it seems about on par with someone bicycling down a very congested but high speed road. He/she has every right to be there and I will support them in that because it's just as much their street as mine, but it is still annoying to other people trying to use the space.
posted by wierdo at 1:24 PM on March 27, 2013


Yeah, as I said before, there are plenty of other people blocking the sidewalk in a completely city-sanctioned way. Not for your convenience, mind you, but for the convenience of the vendors paying for the privilege and hoping to make some money. Kinda shoots the idea that sidewalks are only for walking down in flames.

The vendors do not block the entire sidewalk, though. They share it with the walkers.

That is the difference, and it's rather an important distinction.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:27 PM on March 27, 2013


There's an issue of predictability that makes a difference. Inanimate objects on the sidewalk are where they are, you can usually see them in advance and plan not to run into them as a pedestrian. Similarly except for being deserving of respect and human consideration and such, differently abled people might not move along a sidewalk in the same manner as many other pedestrians, but this does not hold up sidewalk traffic when they are moving predictably and other pedestrians are paying attention to their surroundings. What annoys me, whether I'm on foot, bicycle, or in a car is people not paying attention, and making sudden changes in their motion whether that be for internal reasons (eg. stopping in the middle of a sidewalk to text or take a photo; taking up all the space because they are unaware of other bicyclists on the bike path; etc) or in reaction to foreseeable obstacles that they just were neglecting to pay attention to. I don't think this sort of behaviour is malicious in it's intent ever. But it is inconsiderate/rude and anti-social in it's effect.
posted by eviemath at 2:17 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


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