Its no secret that NYC crime is down, a fact even more publicized thanks to the bickering about it on last year’s presidential debates, causing the entire nation to simultaneously google our city’s crime stats. However, there’s a different kind of criminal that’s continued to slip under the radar and infest our city streets: The type that invade your personal bubble, block your way to work, and make your subway rides a daily contemplation for farm life. They’re the everyday, obliviously inconsiderate, average moron who blatantly ignore the unspoken laws of our city, and they need to be stopped. Here are some of my top offenders.
The Pole Hugger
The Pole Hugger, in my opinion, is undeniably worse than the Man Spreader. A Man Spreader is an inconsiderate ass, yes, though I have no problem saying, “Excuse me” to get them to begrudgingly move. But how do you even begin to address a person that comes upon a pole meant for five or six people and decides to wrap their entire body around it like a koala? “Excuse me, would you mind detaching your entire body from this pole? And, do you need to have your head checked?” When most people encounter a Pole Hugger, they settle for an eye roll and reaching a finger up to the last inch of space three feet above their heads. I like to go for a more hands-on approach and grab the middle of the pole, right at the fleshiest point of contact, knuckles blazing. You want to dry hump the pole, Nomi? You now have an indent of my rings emblazoned in your back fat to commemorate the event. Mazel.
The Escalator Love Seaters
If you’ve lived in NYC longer than ten minutes and you haven’t figured out yet that there’s a standing side and a walking side to the escalators, then there is no hope for you. It is absolutely your choice to snuggle up next to your boyfriend on the same step, but you will surely suffer the consequences when a stream of thirty people shoulder-check you to get by. They probably have a train to catch, and you can just as easily tell your Instagram gossip by standing on the step behind him, and to the right. Special Note: You lose double points here if you’re someone who takes a wide stance in the middle of the stair, by yourself. You are the dregs of society.
The Traffic Jammer
Not much is really needed to be said on this one, as one of New Yorkers’ favorite pastimes is to complain to each other about whoever was most recently in their way. But the list of types and variations of the Traffic Jammer is absolutely staggering, and it’s a wonder we really ever get anywhere on time. In a single hour, you could be thwarted by:
-The girl first to sprint out of the subway car, hurdle herself up the stairs, and stop dead to look at her phone on the top step now that she has service. No need to worry about the wall of people charging up about to trample her. Snapchat is calling.
-The guy lost in midtown who halts in the middle of the sidewalk to look around confusedly, instead of stepping to the side like a person with even an inkling of awareness of the hundreds of people surrounding him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Stopping in the middle of a surge of heavy foot traffic is like hitting the brakes on a major highway. You’re going to kill somebody! (Specifically yourself. That’s right. We’ll kill you.)
-The group of tourists who decide that the perfect place to ask Siri for directions to the Empire State Building is at a busy street corner, and are then horrified when their prayer circle is bombarded by streams of hostile New Yorkers from four different directions.
-The happy couple determined to walk side-by-side as they pass you, even if that means you are literally pushed into the street into on-coming traffic, up against a building, or onto a street vendor’s lap. But, I’m glad you guys are so in love. (I sincerely hope one of you has chlamydia.)
The Bird Feeder
Feeding a New York pigeon is the equivalent of petting a cockroach. Aside from being a crime against New York, it also makes me question your sanity and severely judge your life choices. Don’t fool yourself. City-pigeons are not “birds.” They are disease-filled, feather-covered sacks with wings. We have rats underground, cockroaches in the walls, and pigeons outdoors, and every time you sprinkle bread on the sidewalk, you are providing sustenance to all three of these SPAWNS OF LUCIFER.
The Great Ponderer
There is a proper place and time for deciding what you want to order, and it is certainly not when you’re in front of the counter. There are twenty people behind you with somewhere to be who know exactly what they want and can spit their orders out in perfect cafe shorthand at the drop of a pin. Humming and hawing when you arrive at the front of the line and asking multiple questions involving the words “gluten-free” or ” what do you recommend” is the perfect way to ensure that every person behind you will wish you a quick and violent death. Start asking for samples after you’ve already held up the line and you may as well just leave now. I’ve heard Jersey has become really affordable.
I have already discussed, in great detail, my thoughts and feelings on the destruction of cell phone etiquette in a previous post, but there is a special place in hell for those who transform the rolling dungeons of the MTA buses into their own personal phone booths. Yes, please, by all means, bellow into your phone while we all sit quietly in bumper-to-bumper traffic about your boyfriend’s indiscretions. I was hoping to be held hostage by the story of his girl on the side’s pregnancy test as I tried to cross town today.
It is hard enough to stay healthy in a city that’s stuffed with millions of people, but it’s even more challenging when people are coughing and sneezing into the open air with abandon, and spreading germs onto public transportation like they’re throwing confetti. Anyone who hacks into their hand before gripping the subway pole may as well just lick the bar as far as I’m concerned. They are the reason I practically have to make a separate category just for Purell in my monthly budget—along with the Nail Biters, Nose Rubbers, and Thumb-Suckers—YES, I said ADULT thumb-suckers, and I am so sorry to report that I have witnessed enough of these to give them their own category. If the Black Plague ever returns, NYC will be the first to go.
‘You know what this crowded, smelly train ride to work is missing? Some live tunes coming out of a shitty single speaker at full volume,’ thought no one, ever. Turn it off, bucko. We paid $2.75 for a subway ride, not a ticket to your crappy playlist demonstration.
The Stroller Soldier
I have no problem with moms taking their strollers on the subway and out and around the city; They’ve got to get their kids around somehow. But some of these ladies are so aggressive with the things it’s like they’re driving an armored car. Is there actually a baby in there? Because I’m pretty sure that kid has brain damage after you popped a wheelie and took out three people to get to the crosswalk in time. What makes these moms think they don’t have to obey the unspoken laws of the sidewalk just because they’re pushing a stroller? Especially when they’re rolling along in tandem with three other, gossipy, Lulu-decked, stroller-laden women. You can give me all the dirty looks you want, ladies, but you and your friends aren’t cutting me off just so you can make it in time for low fat lattes before Mommy-&-Me class.
The Train Trapper
If you’ve ever had to regularly take the 4-5-6 at rush hour, or basically any time of day that’s not 3:00 am, you’ve undoubtedly had a few dozen subway rides smashed into a minuscule space in between Delivery-Guy’s armpit, Businessman’s briefcase, and Churro-lady’s bosom. To make these hell rides even more pleasant are the delusional people who don’t make it on, but think that if they just keep trying and body slam into the passengers at the door hard enough, they too can squeeze their 6-foot frame and giant backpack into the last three inches of space in the car. A few dozen door-closings on their shoulders, legs, bag, or even face won’t stop them from holding up the train, minute after minute, as they continue their hopeless struggle, all the while slowly killing every passenger’s will to live.
The Umbrella Bulldozer
It is unfathomable to me how many people lack the spatial awareness to handle walking a city street with an umbrella. How can they not understand that if they just lift their umbrella straight up as they pass people, we’ll not only avoid taking each others’ eyes out, but actually be able to walk at a normal pace? Of course the ones who never lift up are the ones with an umbrella big enough to fit a family of five underneath. What are you, a gremlin? Why do you need 10 yards of coverage to protect you from getting wet? If it’s that imperative that you don’t get a drop of water on you, take a cab.