A Suburbanite's Guide to Surviving the New York Subway System

Regular visitors of our blog have likely noticed a trend. A typical blog of ours usually includes something thought-provoking, provides insight into our staff, or a piece that is education or college related. My entry into our blog will be none of that. Rather, this will serve as a proverbial handbook for someone who will break into the greatest city in the world some day. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a corporation that owns and operates our nation's most popular and commonly used public transportation system. When hordes of people are using the subway system, you never quite know what you're going to run into. Now the subway is a fantastic system that allows you to travel all over the city at the fraction of the price of a taxi all the while giving you a taste of the big apple... But sometimes the big apple doesn't taste so great.

Rule #1: Do not touch anything 

Never in all my years of using the subway, have I ever seen someone clean a subway car. I've seen plenty of things down there that I only wish I could erase from my memory but never that. For every mild-mannered, Purell-using citizen, there's another person who has no regard for his fellow man. Just assume everyone has the flu. Keep your hands to yourself and your chances of survival have already increased ten fold. 

Rule #2: Do not make eye contact with anyone 

Now that's not to say you shouldn't be aware of your surroundings. As the old saying goes, "if you see something, say something." That's important to do in today's crazy world but you don't need to be a hero. Back to my original point, never make eye contact. It only makes you a target. While you may be genuinely curious, most inhabitants of New York City have seen everything and are not fazed by even the most outrageous sights.  Now there's two methods to make sure you're doing your part and doing it safely. The first one is to do the cell phone peek. Self-explanatory but just pretend to be on your cell phone like most others but raise your eyes without any head movement so as not to draw any attention. The second method is the head bop. Put your ear buds in and shake and nod your head in rhythmic manner all the while performing an ocular pat down on all commuters. Do not visually address anyone on the train, including panhandlers. 

Rule #3: Do not eat or drink anything

Only a certified psycho would bring something to eat or drink on the subway. In business, there is a term called risk management. Risk management is a skill based on assessing and evaluating situations and variables and how they affect the outcome. There is a high probability you will contract Ebola if you eat or drink on a subway. All you're doing is exposing whatever it is you want to consume to the germ-infested air that is festering in the subway car. Whatever it is can wait until you are above ground. 

There are a few other tips such as find ways to keep yourself occupied i.e. book, music, game, etc. There's also common courtesies e.g. preferred seating for pregnant women and the elderly. I actually prefer to stand anyway. Decreases my chance of contracting some incurable disease. I also highly advise getting a strong understanding of which trains are the most reliable and which stations you should avoid.

As young men and women heading off to college, some of you will return home and start working in Manhattan. Print this and carry it with you on your first day...

-Brian S, Office Director