New York magazine thinks New Yorkers need a reminder about the social contract - or at least how to lead life in a slightly classier way - so they've created "The Urban Etiquette Handbook." From David Cross explaining how not to alienate a celebrity, to guides for etiquette in City living (how do you make sure another resident of your building doesn't think you're a mugger), offices (do you invite your coworker to your wedding), cellphone and iPod usage, friendships (if you make more money, except to give the nicer gifts), dining out (if the food is bad, it's not the waiter's fault, so you still need to tip!) and awkward family situations ("Hey, my kid is kicked out of school!"), it's all about how to navigate through various situations with grace and aplomb that would still make many titter about you behind your back. Of course, our favorite section centered around the ways of subways and cabs; certain subway stock character were analyzed like this:
Crime: Holding the closing doors.
Rudeness Factor: 2 (out of 10)
Why It’s Inappropriate: It’s the perfect illustration of Spock’s famous tenet: Sometimes the needs of the many (people already on the subway) outweigh the needs of the few (person rushing to catch the subway).
When It’s Appropriate: When you’re the person rushing to catch the train. Hold that door!
Unexamined, however are the people who just stand in the doorway even though 20 people are getting out of the train car behind him and 30 more people are coming in - what is so hard about moving in?
Of course, the most New York thing to do about "urban etiquette" is not to follow it. Which is why we loved Amy Poehler's suggestions for "being a civilized New Yorker": "When walking on a New York street, try not to spit, litter, bleed, or take a crap" and " Don’t ask white girls if they 'left their ass at home.'" Indeed.
What's your biggest peeve about the lack of city etiquette? Ours might be not walking efficiently enough on sidewalks - you know, either people walking more than two people wide on a busy street, stopping to chat in the middle (versus near a building) to chat, etc.