I was running to the office elevator and since I made it in there by the skin of my teeth (my hand got caught in the elevator), I said thank you to the other people already there, and then I realized that one man had been pressing his floor's button - to close the doors. Should I have said, "Actually, thank YOU for trying to shut the door on my hand, you jerk?" or just glared at him. Is there such a thing as elevator etiquette?
Well, actually... Miss Manners implies that this door closer is totally rude, and that the least he could have done would have been to give you a helpless "I was at the whim of the elevator mechanisms" shrug. We at Ask Gothamist, however, think that talking back to this guy would be equally rude, so we'd settle for just glaring at him. (Seriously, though, if you're that guy? And you see someone running for the elevator? You can wait the 30 seconds it will take for the runner to arrive.)
We also work in a tall midtown office tower, and deal with elevators several times a day, so we've basically seen it all. Older men tend to let the ladies go first, for instance, and the Help Desk at New York Magazine confirms that this should be the case. (Because, you know guys, it's not like you have to exert great physical effort to gesture towards the open door and say, "After you." Yeah, yeah, gender equality, but letting the women go first also prevents a mad dash for the door by establishing some order for who should walk out first.)
And don't take the elevator if you're only going up one floor, especially if there is a perfectly functional staircase close by, because that's just silly.
Another funny thing is the Law of Elevator Thermodynamics (™ Ask Gothamist's friend Dave) which states that all persons in an elevator at any given time will move as far away from each other as possible, such that they are all evenly distributed. We don't really know why this is true. But have you ever noticed that if you get into an elevator with three of your coworkers, the four of you will all wind up in opposite corners?
Here are some other elevator etiquette guidelines.