7 Unspoken Rules Of The NYC Transit System

7 Unspoken Rules Of The NYC Transit System

Just like the "bacon-egg-and-cheese," these rules are essential for every New Yorker.
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If you're a New Yorker, you know that the MTA is just as essential as your "bacon-egg-and-cheese" in the morning. Even though I'm sure many of us have a love/hate relationship with the system, it's undeniable that many of us wouldn't be able to get from one point to another without it. As a native New Yorker, you learn to utilize the train and bus system like no other. If you bet me one hundred dollars that I couldn't get from the Upper East Side in Manhattan to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn without setting foot above ground, I'd be one hundred dollars richer. As I'm sure the same with many New Yorkers no matter the destination.

Just like every culture, there are a set of unspoken rules that go along with the MTA and the riders who rely on it every day. In my 20 years of using the MTA subway and bus system, here are some rules that I've noted, and firmly believe all New Yorkers know even if it's part of their subconscious.

1. Step aside as people get off the train or bus

Subway push

Every day there seems to be someone who believes they're brave enough to stand right in front of the doors as people get off the train or bus. It's almost common sense to move aside and let people off the vehicle before you get on. Not only does it help the train move faster, but you won't have to get stared down by literally everyone next to you because you decided to be inconsiderate.

2. That middle seat is a "no no"

You know what I'm talking about. That one seat on the train or bus that's right in between two other perfectly reliable seats. The one that no matter what, you refuse to sit in because why would I ever want to sit next to two people instead of one? Unless the vehicle you're on is absolutely crowded, this seat is usually avoided at all cost. It's pretty sad actually. The seat just wants to be loved like every other seat, but is condemned to a life of holding bags instead of backsides.

3. Yes, you should probably give that seat up

As a young adult, I've dealt with this far too many times. Imagine you're on the train or bus after a long day of school or work and all you need right now is a place to rest your legs while you venture home. An elderly, pregnant, or disabled person gets on and you know your conscious is literally kicking you in the face. What do you do? Well, just give it up. I know it's hard, but just know that person has been through enough to deserve that seat especially if you're a bit more able-bodied and willing than them. Honestly, to me, there's only one exception to not giving your seat up to someone that fits under those categories, and that's if they're a complete asshole before you even get the chance to stand up.

4. If you hear "SHOWTIME" just look straightforward and avoid eye contact

very New Yorker knows this (more often than not) dreaded sound. Usually designated to only the subway system, "SHOWTIME" is most associated with someone performing a dance on the subway platform or in the train cars. Sometimes the acts are pretty good, and you might even enjoy seeing someone flip in between the seats. Nine times out of ten though, you're rolling your eyes whenever someone almost kicks you in the face. Now, this isn't to take away from the performers. As an artist myself, I know that it takes not only guts but charisma to perform on any platform in front of people, let alone New Yorkers. But when you're on the way home from work or school and exhausted from a full day, this is something that may not necessarily make your day better.

5. It's not a dining car

People are always on the go in NYC, so this one I'm pretty lenient about. I've been the one devouring a sandwich on my way to class and I've also been the person holding their nose because I can't stand the smell of whatever it is you've decided to drag on this vehicle. Either way, I think it's important to be aware of those around you and just waiting to get wherever you're going to before you decide to chow down. Even though it's kind of innate for some New Yorkers to be inconsiderate, you never know what allergies, restrictions, or just what mood someone may be in when you decide to break that meal open. Unless you're on the literal verge of starvation, give it some time. Not only could you spare someone from using an EpiPen, but it's also an act of consideration that all of us greatly appreciate.

6. NYC wildlife are passengers too

Listen, if that "pizza rat" video amazed you, then you're not a native New Yorker. Whether it's rats, pigeons, squirrels, raccoons, possums, or even the occasional dead shark, these animals are basically passengers too. I see rats playing tag every day in various stations. I've dodged pigeons who've mistaken my head for a large piece of bread. Once you live in NYC, you realize these miniature passengers are just a large part of NYC as you are. As long as they're not dropping bubonic plague everywhere, I think you're good.

7. We're all in this together

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that no matter where you're going or what you're doing, we're all experiencing the same emotions on this ride. Every delay, every disruption, every late arrival, every stop missed, we all feel it. Remember to be considerate of those around you. I've met some of the best people while being on the bus or train because of the pure fact that we all knew we were going through something together. We may hate it, but NYC's transit system does unite us even when we least expect it.

Cover Image Credit: Fancycrave / Pexels

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.

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Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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Central Jersey Exists, So Here Are The Top 5 Places You Should Visit

"Where are you from?"

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College students from New Jersey are often asked the one question they dread the most: "Where are you from?" You hesitate for a moment because you are unsure of how to handle the situation this time. "Central Jersey," you reply. The room is filled with laughter and yet again, you are unsure of what exactly it was that you said wrong. "Central Jersey doesn't exist," they claim. "No, seriously, though. North or South Jersey?" Confused, you reply with "North, I guess?" You're unsure and maybe even a little embarrassed at this point.

All true New Jerseyans know that central Jersey does, in fact, exist. The area is filled with the best restaurants, sights, and attractions that always seem to be jam-packed with interested tourists. Here are the top five best places to visit when visiting central New Jersey.

1. Asbury Park boardwalk

Over the past couple of years, the Asbury Park boardwalk has become increasingly popular. The boardwalk contains many boutiques and shops that hold beautiful articles of clothing, bathing suits, beach toys, and even Asbury Park related trinkets. There are many incredibly delicious restaurants on the boardwalk or within a five-minute walk. The Asbury Park beach is one of the best places to spend your time during the day. The beach bar is located right off of the boardwalk and many beachgoers are allowed into a specific, enclosed area of the beach where the bar is located and you can drink your drink in a special beach chair.

2. Playa Bowls

Playa Bowls has recently expanded all over New Jersey, but there are many great locations in central New Jersey—especially right off the beach. Playa Bowls is a grab-and-go restaurant where you can order items such as açai bowls, organic smoothies, fresh juices, and at certain locations, even coffee. The restaurant has many different options as far as bowls and fruits to add. They are always willing to work with you if you want to make a substitution. Their food is delicious, refreshing, and even extremely healthy!

3. Coney Waffle

Coney Waffle is one of the best and most well-rounded ice cream shops in central New Jersey. They have everything from your typical ice cream cone to ice cream waffle sandwiches. Of course, they also have extremely delicious and insanely decorated edible specialty milkshakes. Their shop is so one-of-a-kind that it attracts large crowds of intrigued individuals who are dying to try their ice cream masterpieces!

4. Pier Village

Pier Village is one of the best locations to visit in the summertime at the Jersey Shore. Located right next to the boardwalk, there is an array of different shops and restaurants. They are known for having some of the best clothing stores and boutiques. After a long day at the beach, many beachgoers go straight to these shops for dinner and some shopping.

5. WindMill of Belmar

The WindMill is one of the best fast food places to visit when in central Jersey. They are known for their classic cheese fries and also have some of the best hot dogs and hamburgers in the state. This location is known for their late-night crowd and for the actual windmill, featured on the buildings of their other locations.

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