new york subways is a cultural subset of New York that can, at times, be treacherous to navigate. the rules i think people should abide by:
1. take up only 1 seat per person. especially on the 4/5 trains, which uses bench-style seating, i really don't understand people who use their bags or spread their legs so wide that they take up 2 seats.
2. allow others to exit the train before you attempt to enter it.
3. give up your seat for the elderly, pregnant, physically challenged or little kids.
these are the basics. there's more nuanced items e.g. moving further into the train when the train's crowded so others can get on, but the above 3 are the basic tenets.
but there's a whole list of bad behavior that is just wrong and disgusting. whether it's engaging in sexual conduct (uh, you are in public. with other people. and that is inappropriate and disrespectful behavior. save it for your bedroom because i'd rather not see it) or groping other passengers (you are a disgusting criminal and should be locked up), there are a litany of activities that you should not do on the subway, let alone in public (and in the case of molestation, never).
this morning i witnessed something really uncomfortable on the way into work. i entered the train in my usual spot, which is near the end of a specific car, close to the conductor's window. near me were the retractable priority seats, each one occupied by one person. in 1 seat sat a larger man. in the other, a smartly dressed blond woman with a large shoulder bag.
as the train took off from my station, i saw the man sharing the center pole with me eyeball the blonde woman. he then proceeded to tap her on the should and ask her to move her bag so he could share the priority seating with her. which is really weird. those seats, appear to be made for 1 person to sit in. while you may occasionally run into the situation where 2 people are sitting, those people are: (a) squished together, with the outer person's butt usually hanging off the seat; and (b) friends. the situation i saw this morning was neither.
and then, out of the corner of my eye, i saw something even creepier: the guy just kept staring at her. eyeing her up and down, looking at what she was doing on her phone. just blatant staring. and it was so creepy.
if i'd been her, i would've gotten up right away (well actually, i would never have let him share the seat in the first place). she got off at the next stop, and when she did, the guy actually reached out and tried to touch/grab her as she exited the train. i don't think she felt it, but i was completely repulsed and infuriated. i wanted to step between them when i saw his arm reach out. i wanted to give him the hairy eyeball as he continued to stare after her with his lewd smile.
but i didn't do either (well no hairy eyeball at least. just side-wise glances of revulsion). if he had actually done something maybe i would've, who knows. but even the almost-somethings he did were so creepy and degrading.
on a more inspiring note: