2006_08_asksubdoor.jpgI have a really puzzling situation that seems to arise often when I ride the subway. You know how the conductors tell us to "step aside and let 'em off"?

Here is what happened yesterday, which is pretty typical: I was trying to change to the express train from the local, and as we pulled into the station I saw my train across the platform. I was not the only one. There were a whole bunch of us at the door eagerly waiting to leave the train and jump on the express across the tracks. I just happened to be in front, at the door. So anyway, by the time the doors opened, there was a fair-sized guy standing right in the middle in front of the door, with two other people standing at the sides but just blocking enough of the door so that no one could get out.

So I said "excuse me," and he did nothing. Not a move by anyone. So, having no choice really (I certainly couldn't back up, there being all those people behind me, and besides, we want the express!) I had to push between the big guy and the others, at which point he LAUGHED AT ME.

This is what I don't get, Gothamist. What exactly was I supposed to have done in that situation? Why was he laughing?

I only ask because this sort of thing seems to happen a lot, and the reaction of the person or people blocking the door to my requests that they allow me to leave the train is usally something like laughter.

So what is the right thing to do here?

And why are they laughing?

Oh boy. We can only imagine that this is going to incite a lot of comments so lets get started. We don't know how many times we have encountered the same type of lazy behavior from our fellow commuters. People like to lean against the door instead of holding the pole. We even do it ourselves, it's more comfortable. However, in saying that, the proper thing to do would be to either exit the train and stand to the side while others exit and then re-enter the train, or move out of the door before people are trying to exit. But some people are just plain lazy and can't be bothered. Our method of exiting the train in that situation is to say excuse me once, giving them the opportunity to move. If they dont, we shove our way out, while saying excuse me again. We feel that if someone is too lazy to move they probably don't mind all that much being nailed in the gut by our bag or elbow. (Of course, this does not apply to small children or the elderly, or tourists who seem unfamiliar with the trains.) Or you can try another set of doors, but then you risk getting caught in the flood of people entering the trains and missing your stop just because you don't want to be a little pushy. A fun option, if you are feeling a little punchy, would be to start exclaiming loudly how you feel like your going to projectile vomit everywhere. Maybe that'd clear a path for you? We don't know if that counts as "subway etiquette" however.

Now, why were they laughing? Who knows. Maybe they were shocked that people have manners and say "excuse me", when it seems that more often the norm on the subway is every man for themselves. We would just be happy and leave a trail of laughter behind you, while you catch that express train and get to your destination quicker.

We're sure other people have some thoughts?

Photo of R68 door by Triborough on flickr