Photo by Daina Bouquin

In 1909, The NY Times ran an editorial regarding smoking in the subway system, with a finer focus on straphangers that were carrying extinguished cigars and cigarettes on train cars, as those give off a particularly foul smell. The piece read, in part:

"In the impoverished air of the subway the smoke is something worse than a nuisance. Probably fine and imprisonment could not be threatened... but at least the users of tobacco could be told of their offense. Smoking was forbidden when the underground road was new, but for some unexplainable reason the prohibitory signs have disappeared. They should be restored. Not only do many men continue to puff their cigars on the platforms, but cigarettes are lighted freely by youngsters waiting for trains."

Cut to this morning, 105 years later, on a delayed 6 train. Daina Bouquin captured this scene, noting, "This guy was laying down taking 3 seats. He sat up, bummed a cig & lit up." Shockingly, aside from the man who appears amused by the whole thing, no one seems to be reacting. Or offering an ashtray. Or a coffee to go with that morning smoke.

The MTA's rules state that "riders may not smoke anywhere on New York City Transit property which includes outdoor stations"—if caught, the fine is $50... and a place in our Subway Etiquette Hall of Fame.