A Note To People Who Ride NYC Trains
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Politics and Activism

A Note To People Who Ride NYC Trains

Spread some kindness whenever you can--a little courtesy goes a long way.

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A Note To People Who Ride NYC Trains
Tim Gouw

I’ve been a New Yorker my whole life. I love the city, the energy it gives off, and the people that live here. However, I do have something to say to my fellow New Yorkers, perhaps to the younger crowd more so than the rest. I apologize if this comes off as a rant, I promise I don’t mean to be insensitive or offend anyone. Speaking as a young adult myself, I feel as though people around my age are slacking in the chivalry department. I’m not talking about bowing to your elders or tipping your hat to every woman that walks onto the train; I’ll agree that that’s probably a bit much in this day and age. What I am referring to is however is courteous behavior, something that all of us, regardless of age, are capable of doing. I don’t know if it’s the school system that undermines these basic values or simply a lack of teaching overall, but thoughtful behavior is something that happens far less than it should. I don’t see it nearly as often as I would like to from people nowadays, and that is slightly off-putting.

Probably the most obvious place where these shortcomings occur is on public transportation. Over 5 million people a day use the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) system to get around, so crowded subway cars and buses are a struggle that is all too familiar to anyone who has lived in New York City for any extended amount of time. Too often on these crowded cars I notice groups of teenagers speaking unnecessarily loud and swearing, completely oblivious to the people around them. As occupants of the same train, it would make sense to keep personal conversations just that--personal. People around you have no interest in your business and the excessive noise is simply rude. This is not to say you cannot speak, or that you have to whisper. We would just like you to talk at a reasonable volume so that not everyone in the same train car or bus is bothered by your conversation. This is something that other people on the train probably won’t bother speaking up to tell you, but wish that you knew. Please, keep it down.

Here’s the more important one, at least in my eyes: the act of giving up your seat. There’s no rule that dictates when you should or should not give up your seat for someone else. It’s simply the nice thing to do, which is usually reason enough to do so. There are times, however, when the gesture would be clearly welcome but isn’t offered. This bothers me greatly, for some reason. If you are a young man or woman and an elderly person boards the car, I feel that you should offer your seat (of course assuming you are able to do so). There have been many times where an older man or woman has gotten onto the car, holding several bags full of groceries, and kids that look to be 17 or 18 years old don’t make any move to offer them a place to sit. I might just be an old fashioned kind of person, but I think that kind of respect should just be a standard. To me it shows good upbringing and solid manners.


I don’t mean to preach or sound pretentious, as though by me doing these things it makes me better than the next person. I don’t want to belittle anyone or put anyone down or make anyone feel bad. I just think it had to be said. Kindness is infectious, and I think everyone’s goal for this coming year (and the years to come) should be to spread a little kindness. It never hurts.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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