10 Easy Etiquette Lessons for New Yorkers

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If you see this guy, you may kick him.
The way we live in New York City is different than the way "other people" live, we know that by now. This means, sometimes, that we are sophisticated and disgustingly superior -- we do things faster, more efficiently, with a dash more style and pizazz, or just better -- than the average person. (Disagree if you must, but you're not going to win.) But we also, we're going to have to confess, do things worse. And with the advent of cell phones in subways -- starting Tuesday on several lines, be prepared and forewarned -- there is bound to be a lot more doing things worse. After the jump, a reminder of 10 ways in which we are not exactly perfect. And tips on how to be more so!

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10. This goes out to the people using New York City as their trashable every-ready playground. Maybe you just moved here, maybe you've lived here for years, or maybe you've been chauffeured in for a Saturday night on a giant purple minivan full of screaming girls for some kind of medieval bride-preparation ritual. In any of these cases, despite the appearances, there are certain rules to adhere to. For instance, if you're going to get shit-faced and vomit, do it in a trashcan (put your trash there, too!). If you're going to scream and yell in the streets, shut up and go home. And if you're going to drunkenly drive home and plow your car into an innocent cabbie, you suck massively and should never be allowed back.

9. This cell phones on the subway thing, let's discuss that. Chances are, you already know who you are, but you are too busy talking on the phone to acknowledge it. Listen. Do everyone a favor. Get off the ole mobile for 5 or 10 or even 30 minutes and enjoy the sound of brutal, luxurious silence. The person you're on the phone with will be so much more amenable to your needs (absence and heart and all that stuff) when you call them back, and we'll stop shooting you with eye-daggers. Make "No one wants to hear you talk right now" your mantra. It goes well on a T-shirt, too!

8. Realize that the population disfavors you. You are one person, and not better than any other one person, even if you are married with children. Thus, do not buy, carry, or expect more than your allotment. This is to say: Don't carry a giant umbrella that stretches across the entire sidewalk and other people have to duck to get around. Don't block an entire sidewalk by stopping abruptly and standing there with your seven pieces of luggage, passionately embracing your long-lost lover, who has just appeared on the street. Don't steal someone's cab when they were there first; don't crash into a pedestrian with your bike or a bike with your pedestrian; and don't meander back and forth across the sidewalk, weaving and bobbing, unless you are very, very drunk, and very, very quiet, and you are gone by morning. In that case, we forgive you a little.

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It's easy!
7. Practice the one-in, one-out concept. This is applicable to any and all doors. If you reach a door, and someone is opening it and exiting, allow them to do so! Then, it's your turn. *Extra special bonus human points for holding it open for them, particularly if they have luggage, a small child, a potted plant, are of advanced age, or simply seem to need assistance. Actually, if someone is exiting or entering through a door and you are empty-handed but DON'T reach out to hold the door for them -- man or woman, cat or dog, guinea pig or gerbil -- and, worse, if you rush in before they can get out, may you be destined for a hell in which Emily Post lectures you forever. Sorry, it's just fucking rude.

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5 comments
Nena
Nena

I would add to this groups of young yuppie and wealthy mothers who walk in groups with their strollers, 3 abreast. Even 2 abreast down the middle of the sidewalk is really rude. I've had to literally walk in the gutter several times.

sidewalk denizen
sidewalk denizen

Let's emphasize: if you MUST talk on your phone in public do it SOFTLY.  If I can hear you and I'm not the person on the other end, you're talking too loud.  Yes, I mean YOU.  You think I mean someone else, but I don't, I mean YOU.  YOU are TOO LOUD.  And that text can wait, particularly if sending it right now means you walk right into me.  Which you just did.  Wait!  You did it again!  STOP IT!  Put that phone away and watch where you're going.  Also, I have a few more suggestions:  when you reach the top of the stairs in the subway, keep walking.  Do not stop.  Really, pay attention.  Corollary: when you are on your phone (see above, but still...) and reach the subway stairs, do NOT keep talking and block the entrance and/or the bannister.  SHUT UP, put your phone away and keep moving.

esquared
esquared

sorry but title should be more like '10 easy etiquette lessons for non-new yorkers visiting (e.g. tourists, b&ters) new york, or newly transplants (e.g. scary sadshaws trying to live the fabulous life, trust fund hipsters) living in new york'...

Roscoep Coaltrain
Roscoep Coaltrain

#10- a shout-out to that horrific 'yo, bro,' bachelorette party hell that Avenue A has become most nights? 

Al Swearengen
Al Swearengen

How about: 11. If you can't live for a single second without a smartphone held inches from your face while you IM/Facebook/Twitter/etc, go live somewhere without other people, dogs. curbs for you to trip over.

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