Tag Archives: F train

The Top Ten Subway Riders I Hate Most

I’ve had this on my mind for awhile now, but have held off on posting anything out of fear I’d be declared the Grumpiest Person on Earth.

But, as each day’s commute has given additional reasons to seethe, I realized I can’t, in good conscience, not post anything. So…I give you: The Top Ten Subway Riders I Hate Most. Or, in other words, The Top Ten Subway Behaviors Most Likely To Make Me Hate You.

I understand one of life’s earliest – and perhaps hardest – lessons is learning to share. And, as an only child for the first ten years of my life, I perhaps lack adequate training.

But: It is a truth (more or less) universally acknowledged that people can be gross and terrible. And, therefore, sharing a car with roughly 8 million gross and terrible people is no picnic.

New York’s Worst Offenders:

10. Close Standers. I understand that sometimes trains get crowded. And, generally speaking, if a train is too packed, I’ll wait for the next one. (I heard a conductor admonish the passengers he was ferrying one summer day, “You’re human beings! Not cattle!”) But…if there’s enough room for you to stand at a reasonable distance from me, I expect you to do so. And I don’t think that’s irrational. I find it all sorts of unnerving when you do not respect this. In short: STEP OFF, BUSTER.

9. Seat Hoggers. So you went on a shopping spree and have 12 new outfits with matching shoes for each? I DON’T CARE. Figure out a way to transport your loot without taking up extra seats. Sure, I could come up and ask you to take your damn stuff off the damn seat, but I know you know that it shouldn’t be there. Empty trains are one thing – pretend you’re queen for a day for all I care — but if it’s crowded, you’re rude and terrible if you just leave it there. The end.

8. Closing Door Jumpers and Door Holders. I think this will be the most controversial as I expect readers to say, “What’s wrong with trying to make a train? Or helping someone out?” And this is one of the few times I’ll agree with the MTA: Jumping in while doors are closing and holding doors delays everyone else on the train. You may not be in a rush to get where you’re going, but someone else undoubtedly *is*…and nothing is worse than when YOU are in a rush and you have to watch commuter after commuter rush in the doors that keep trying to close so we can finally be on our damn way. I think New York would be a much more pleasant place overall if we could agree to respect closing doors. Sure, it stinks when you’re stuck on the platform…but you can take solace knowing that you won’t be inconvenienced the next time you’re not running late and actually made the train.

7. Crowded Train Freaker-Outers. I know the feeling – “OhmygoshhowamIgoingtogetoffthistrain??” But – trust me: in seven years of riding the rails — even when I was trapped in the center of the car and had my neck strategically craned so that I was looking at the only spot on the train that wasn’t blocked out by human flesh, I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYBODY MISS THEIR STOP BECAUSE IT WAS TOO CROWDED. Not once. Sure, you have to be a little assertive and let everybody know that you want to get off, but I promise the riders of New York City’s Subways aren’t conspiring to trap you on the train. In fact, it makes our ride all that much more pleasant if you are NOT there. So, dear rider, when you panic after the train leaves the station prior to your stop and want to move toward the door, please know that you are disrupting the delicate balance that all other riders have created in terms of what precious space exists for each of us. What’s more, with closed doors, we have finite space to move in…and it just makes it even grosser and more terrible until we’ve struck a new balance with you by the damn door. So. PLEASE wait until the train has stopped. We’ll let you off – I promise.

6. Backpack-Wearers. Including this sort of makes me a bit of a black-kettle-caller, but, at the same time, I always make a conscious effort to move my giant purse and/or laptop bag in front of my stomach or, when that isn’t possible, I take my bag(s) off my shoulder and hold it/them low in front of me. NOTHING IS WORSE in a crowded train than an idiot with a giant backpack. (I include purses, shopping bags, man-purses and laptop bags under the “giant backpack”-umbrella.) It’s like there’s a whole other person standing behind (or next to) him/her – that’s how much space it takes up. I’ve been in situations before in which a backpack-wearer continually bumps into me and, childish though it may sound, I hold my ground, refusing to move for said stupid bag. It’s annoying to get hit repeatedly, to be sure, but it also makes hating the bag’s owner totally justifiable. All you have to do is remove it and set it down at your feet. You don’t even have to put it on the gross floor – you can rest it on your shoes. And, in so doing, you’ll open up room for the rest of us. And we won’t hate you. It’s a win-win.

5. Pole-Leaners. Simply put, they are about as inconsiderate as it gets. Sharing is caring, folks – even my eight-year-old niece knows that and she’s been saying it for years. So when you lean up against a pole and make it impossible for anyone else to hold on, you’re being a jerk. And, even if you’re wearing headphones, I don’t believe that you’re blissfully unaware of what you’re doing, swept away to iPodland — and THAT makes you an even BIGGER jerk. Once, I was coming home from work with a men’s softball team and an idiot in a sweater and an iPod and a book. And said idiot was leaning against the pole, listening to music and reading. Nice for him. BUT…I had to gingerly hold the pole up by his neck (although perhaps I should have jabbed him in the neck with my fat finger? You think that’s what Emily Post would have done?) and the train suddenly started up and one of the softball players reached out for the pole, but realized he’d have to hold it down by the jerk’s nether region and he pondered it for a moment and then decided to hold on to the ceiling. I saw this play out and we both sort of laughed and, in theory, I suppose it was a nice, friendly moment with an anonymous New Yorker, but I would be willing to sacrifice said moment in exchange for a pole to hold onto.

4. Doorway Standers Who Lean. Nothing is worse than if you actually manage to snag a seat and some yahoo stands sideways in the doorway and leans back into YOUR seat space. I’m sure it’s a comfy pose, but then you, as the person seated, have to lean back or sideways in order to avoid said leaner’s back and/or you have to clear your throat or be a big fat meanie and say, “Excuse me!” when the whole thing could be avoided if the Leaner would just stand where s/he is supposed to.

3. Elbowers. Similarly, it is also annoying when someone seated decides to thwart Leaners by resting their elbows on the partition. (Some A trains have glass so you can’t do this. They are beautiful trains.) Then you, as the Stander, have to hold yourself at sometimes precarious positions to avoid said elbow. Can we declare a truce? I won’t lean on you if you won’t elbow me out of the doorway?

2. Platform Standing-in-Fronters and Rush-Aheaders. Literally nothing irks me more than when I am patiently waiting for a train at the station and someone comes along and stands in front of me. Do they really not understand that I was giving the Third Rail a little space? Or is it THAT IMPORTANT that they get on the train before I do? I’ve said it before – if I’m not in a hurry, I won’t get on a too-crowded train. So the odds are that I’ll happily let you by me if it’s not a train I need to board immediately. But one of the quickest ways to get scowls from me for countless stops is to stand in front of me when I was already waiting. I HATE IT. I also hate people who push ahead when you’ve been patiently waiting. They, too, are jerks. I hope Dante saved a ring for them.

1. Not-Waiters. Or, more specifically, Subway Riders Who Are In Such a Damn Hurry to Board the Train That They Cannot Possibly Wait For You To Get Off First. In general, rules are meant to protect us. I can get behind that, more or less. And so – here’s the only other time I’ll agree with the MTA – when that anonymous male voice asks people waiting in the station to please let passengers off the train first, I think everyone should listen. It’s simple physics really: Only so many people can fit a given space. And in order for new people to come on to the train, old people have to get off. And yet the #1 Worst Subway Offenders, IMHO, are those who throw this rule to the wind and stampede onto the train as soon as it pulls into the station. Just the other day, I was at Jay Street and two women who looked like linebackers (T is teaching me about football) were standing in front of the doors. And, childish though it may sound, I refused to move until one of them finally stepped aside a little. Again, New York, please: Can we just strike a deal in which I promise I will always quickly get off the train if you will stand in an orderly fashion outside the doors and GIVE me room to deboard? It’s not rocket science. And, until you Not-Waiters get it through your thick heads, I will continue to give you dirty looks. Ball’s in your court.

Image via vauvau/Flickr


Filed under Brooklyn, football

The Great Pizza Fiasco of 2009, Entirely New Apples…and Binging Throughout Manhattan (and a Little Bit of Brooklyn, Too).

I haven’t been SO focused on self-improvement lately that food has slipped *entirely* through the cracks.

I have been meaning, for example, to blog about the Great Pizza Fiasco of K’s recent(-ish) trip. You see, she had never been to Grimaldi’s before…and if you’re someone who comes to New York from time to time — as K is (or was) known to do — it seems like the kind of place you need to go once. I took my oldest childhood friend on, like, a Tuesday in the middle of the afternoon and we were able to walk right in. So…I thought maybe if we got there *right* when it opened the line wouldn’t be too bad.

So…we arrived at 11:30. There was a *bit* of a line, but the restaurant was empty and I figured we’d be okay as long as we got in during the first wave (we had tickets to Billy Elliot at 2:00!). So…we waited. There were some folks carrying in boxes and whatnot…and I thought maybe they were running behind. And then a guy came out with a clipboard and walked down the line, asking how many people were in each party. I assumed that maybe the info on the Web site was wrong or that I had misread it and the place didn’t open until 12:00. We waited patiently — it was, after all, almost noon by then — and then, what do you know? A giant tour bus pulled up right in front…and I thought, “No! This isn’t happening!” And yet it did. An entire tour bus full of people walked right in. And that was it…we only had an hour until we had to leave…so instead, on our way back to the trusty F train, we stopped in the Dumbo General Store (which I was later told is Hecho en Dumbo at night…and is totally a restaurant I have been meaning to try FOREVER).

So, it all worked out in the end and everything, but…I don’t know, Grimaldi’s. Seems like maybe we’re getting a little big for our britches, no? Especially since it isn’t exactly the ONLY place you can get good pizza in this town. So…trying to prove that very point, I tried to take K to Lucali the following night…but, dammit, there was a power outage and they were closed. So. K did not get pizza in New York. We *did*, however, have hot dogs outside the West Side Story theater, appetizers and mojitos with orange girlie doodads at Havana Central (also a tiny little nod to our mutual alma mater…), burritos at my favorite burrito place IN THE WORLD (I can’t believe some of those Yelp reviews. I love this place and I *hate* California Taqueria…so clearly Abigail S. and I find ourselves on opposite sides of the Burrito Fence…in fact, I think the guacamole there is maybe the best part…and the Gourmet burrito makes me pretty much happier than anything else. And why do you *have* to have rice and beans in your burrito, Daniel G.? I don’t get it. If I was a braver person, I’d register and write my own review. Perhaps that will come later in my quest for Sandra Bullock Clarity), and, finally — one of the places K actually wanted to go! — Tom Colicchio’s ‘wichcraft. (Another food connection? She bought me a lewd apron for my birthday. How about that?)

The following weekend I made my way to — gasp! — New Jersey to visit another K. And I was actually pretty shocked that I only had to ride New Jersey Transit for 70 minutes, but felt like I was leaving the city far, far behind. (I was also a little bit in love with the child sitting in front of me who kept calling every body of water he saw “the ocean.”) K II lives in a very bright and airy apartment on the Princeton campus (or pretty darn close) and there are lots of trees and birds and bugs. And we went apple-picking! I was not able to get my standard pie apples, but I’m not so much of a stickler that I wasn’t willing to branch out with three new varieties. I *wish* I could remember all three, but one was definitely Macoun. And…as K II took me to a charming kitchen store in the heart of Princeton (that had a revolving cake platter that plays “Happy Birthday!”) and bought mini tart pans (that’s the difference between the two of us — my tart pan is HUGE), I was totally inspired to make an apple tart of my own. (The recipe I like most on Epicurious, however, calls for cardamom and I did not see any at my local grocery store…but Trader Joe’s in the middle of the day in the middle of the week has sort of become my new favorite place to be…and Joe should have cardamom, right?) She was *also* talking about how much she likes donuts…and she was searching for a baked good to claim as her “thing” and I really, really wanted to be able to find a recipe for baked donuts that would blow her away (she was reluctant to embrace donuts because of all the frying)…but, sadly, I didn’t see anything good in any of my cookbooks (Martha has an interesting one for pumpkin cornmeal donuts…but they, like virtually every other donut in creation, are fried)…although a quick Google search pulled up *these* baked donuts…although they are also quick to note that it’s an entirely different taste sensation. If I was a more industrious blogger, I’d try these recipes out and come back with some original reporting. Which I suppose is *maybe* still a possibility, but…

…the traveling doesn’t stop there! My mother is flying in tomorrow…and we have big plans to eat a lot: Mesa Grill, Grand Central Oyster Bar, The Spotted Pig, Buttermilk Channel…and I don’t know what else. Shake Shack? Blue Smoke? Artichoke? I am sort of the proverbial kid in a candy store here as I pick out all these amazing places I would never go if it was just me.

But, wait! There’s more! Big J and I booked our tickets to Costa Rica today! We leave on November 12. And my guidebook is patiently waiting for me at the Red Hook post office. And surely there will be *something* food-related for me to blog about between now and then. (I am tempted to sign this, “Besos! LL.” But shall refrain.)

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Filed under birthdays, books, Brooklyn, frying, gadgets, Martha, pizza, Uncategorized