NYC basic tips and etiquette, by Nathan Pyle


I love it! These need to be made into posters and displayed in the airports and train stations!

People standing at the entrance/exit of a subway stop drives me CRAZY! At the entrance nearest my workplace, there’s a lady selling sliced mango who likes to plant herself right at the top of the stairs – not only blocking it herself, but creating a crowd of people either buying from her or just trying to get around her. I want to yell at her to get the f*** out of my way… but alas, I’m not from NYC originally, so I don’t have the yelling-at-strangers personality trait.

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There’s a sarcastic version of this in the old “Alf Tales” cartoon show. In (I think) the one where they do the Fractured Fairytale version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Alf comes to the Big City and is trying to get directions. Everyone ignores him:

Alf: Uh, excuse me…Oh kind sir could you…Hey there, could you tell me…AH!
[Pulls out “Big City Etiquette Book” - studies for a moment and then body slams the next passer-by to a halt.]

Alf: Where’s the Gazette Offices?

Local: Two blocks west then hang a right.

Alf: OK, on your way then!
[Releases local]

Begin your sentence with “The fuck?” Everything else will flow naturally.

NYC Etiquette: Assume no one else exists. Proceed.

You can tell he’s not a native (as I am not). He uses “in line”, the natives all use “on line”, as in “Are you on line?”, which sounds crazy weird to me.


Oh, no, you’ve been mistaken all along, they were actually asking if you were jacked into the matrix, or walking around in your meatsuit like some off-islander


I think these are fantastic. Great stark drawings and the level of humor fits the situation really nicely. The whole “let people off the train first” one though makes me think about structural vs. individual problems. Of course there are a lot of people who really really suck and are lacking in passenger empathy. On the other hand, the train doors are an impatient overlord, and wait for no man, and they tend no to adjust timing or be sensitive to the level of passengers on the train. If there is one person exiting, or ten people (including a twin stroller and a bicyclist) the doors remain open for the exact same amount of time. Why is this a cartoon about NYC, and not about people everywhere? The conditions of the city are so much to blame, at least as much as rude individuals. When was the last time you took “There’s a train right behind us, folks” at face value?

EDITED to offer solution:

It seems to me that it would be relatively easy to put a sensor on a train that continuously weighs the contents of each traincar, and tracks patterns of fullness to a T, and adjust deployment of trains, wait times at stations, etc…based on real streams of data that have been analyzed.

The time that the door is open is adjusted, because the doors are opened and closed by the human beings who are conductors. When you see what looks like them being too fast in opening or closing the doors, they are actually trying to move the crowd faster because during the times when the trains are the most busy, the same can be said of the tracks - they have trains soon behind them and that makes them have to get out of the station earlier.

The conductor’s behavior in that case is to say ‘tough luck, the next train will be soon, just get on that one’ to the people still trying to get onto the train when they start closing it, and to know that they will have to try to close the doors two or three times until people stop holding them up.

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We get on line on Long Island too.

This was a cause of confusion and merriment when I went to grad school. When I suggested to friends in my (networking related) degree program in that we get on line (for movie tickets, for the Indian food cart in Field Robotics) they thought I was being a geeky smartass.

Ok, so there is some adjustment, and I’m certainly aware that they’re trying to stay on schedule, but the fact of the matter is, there are people who are justifiable afraid that they won’t get on the train if they don’t start entering while people are still getting off. There are often times when all the people can’t even get OFF a train before the doors close. I don’t think this is a clear-cut case of people just being jerks, even if the structure may be necessary, it is still a structure contributing to the problem, and I bet we can do better structurally, as well as personally.

Best drawings about Paris tips and etiquette ever. Oh wait.

“Ooooooh noooooo!” I think you mean: “Oooooooh Yeeesssssss!!” Scabby the Rat is awesome!

Also: “Beware the empty train car”
Too true. Like much of these, they apply to any alpha city really. In Chicago (even more so) it was always wise (depending on time of day/stop) to walk along the approaching train on the platform scanning the windows for potential oddities before choosing your car.

That is the 1st thing I thought of after reading that cartoon

The only one that bugs me is about subway seats. As someone with an invisible mobility difficulty, I shouldn’t have to give up my seat any more than pregnant lady or old man, and I shouldn’t have to put up with angry stares from strangers and stuff.

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