Video by Jessica Leibowitz /Gothamist

Sitting down all day may be slowly killing you, but sitting down on the subway is sometimes just the thing you need after a long day at the office, doing errands, exploring, or however it is you fill your day. But the trains are often packed, and maybe you don't quite meet the criteria for someone to volunteer their seat for you. How can you work the subway seating puzzle to your advantage? The above video covers a series of techniques and tips—most already known by real New Yorkers—for getting a seat on the subway and making the most of your ride.


Subway Sitting Techniques

  • The Perch (a.k.a. The Squat): When there is only a sliver of seat available, ease your way onto the edge of the seat. Do not lean back in order to avoid contact with the passengers on either side of you (who will hate you if you touch them).
  • The Migration: All of the trains pulling into the station are packed, and there's barely a way to squeeze inside, never mind get a seat. Take the train in the opposite direction until seats that go in the right direction start to open up. Go all the way to the end of the line if necessary. The classic example of this is the Brooklyn-bound L, which is usually full by the time it gets to Union Square or 6th Ave. Take the L to 8th avenue where it will empty out, and in no time you'll be on your way home with your very own seat.
  • The Slide: This involves your friend and two open seats. As someone else tries to take one, slide across the two seats seizing one and then your friend should slip in behind you to take the other.
  • The Pick and Roll (a.k.a. The Screen): Use your entire body to block access to a prospective seat. When the person in front of you gets up to leave, use the bar above to rotate into the seat in a fluid, ballet-like motion.
  • The Bulldozer: You're on a crowded platform as the train pulls in. As soon as the doors open, some people might bulldoze their way onto the train and make a beeline for any open seat. This is a dick move, and we don't necessarily advocate it, but it does exist in case of emergency (like if you're securing the last seat for your pregnant wife).
  • The Upgrade: When you're in a "middle seat" stuck between two people and an empty two-seater opens up further down the train, get up from your seat and move to the empty two-seater (even though there is no other possible reason you would do this other than contempt of your fellow passengers).
  • The Squeeze: You've got a seat, but then someone sits next to you pressing you against the wall or bars. You are immobilized, but at the same time it is strangely cozy. THIS is hygge. Make the best of it by taking a nap! Awwww.

Happy sitting!