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Sometimes you need to get out of the way when you're in New York City

By William Hennelly in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-09-26 23:39

Tourists gather in Times Square. [Photo/IC]

It's easy to find "rules for living in New York" stories online. Some of them make sense, others are silly and trite. Here's another such story.

The first giveaway that you're a tourist?

You and your crew are having a loud conversation — complete with guffaws and chortling — on the train.

New Yorkers don't talk on the subway, and if they do, it's usually in hushed tones. To them, it's a ride to be endured, because unpleasantness can lurk at every stop. It's not a Disney World ride.

When you are getting on the train, do not stand in front of the doors as they open. I understand you see that empty corner seat and want to pounce. Let the passengers off the train first, as the subway PA system intones.

Usually the customers who block the exit doors are the same ones who try to bust on to the train while others are getting off. Sad to say, this can't be blamed only on tourists.

I've seen frustrated riders trying to exit the train barrel through the human blockade like a burly fullback crashing into the end zone from the 1-yard line.

There was a time not long ago when New Yorkers had a notorious reputation for being rude. That seems to have faded in the 21st century. There are plenty of pleasant, helpful people here. But if there's any behavior that is deserving of that rude label, it's boarding the train before others can get off.

Also, do not stand in front of the subway stairwell. I really don't believe that people who do so are oblivious to what they're doing. I do think they're just trying to antagonize someone.

Worse than that is someone who sits at the bottom of the staircase. This is a hazard, and it should not be allowed.

If you are on the escalator or stairs, either descending or ascending, and you are not in a hurry, stay to your right. The left side is for people who are hustling to catch a train as they hear it screeching up.

Not staying to the right is a common tourist mistake. It's forgivable; they shouldn't be in a hurry. They are on vacation.

One time I was riding the escalator down and was completely in the right lane. Some guy lugging a bulky suitcase was annoyed that I also wasn't walking fast, instead of riding down at escalator speed. He yelled, "Put one foot in front of the other!"

I can't print my reply.

Now for the aboveground. Do not saunter in more than groups of two wide (single file is OK) down the sidewalk, unless you're moving at breakneck speed. A lot of people are in a hurry in this city, and even if they're not, if everyone has to stop suddenly because you're ambling along like a caterpillar, you'll cause a pedestrian traffic jam, and probably some spilled coffee.

If you see an overstuffed garbage can, don't add to the pile.

Nothing says ill-mannered more than a mountain of fast-food bags, paper plates and soft-drink cups stacked on top of a besieged garbage can, cascading down to the sidewalk below.

It's as if the slobs are trying to say, "Hey, I'm doing my civic and green duty. I'm going to place my garbage gently on the street next to the trash can."

No, take your refuse with you, and if you can't find a less-packed can, bring it home or back to your hotel room.

The crowds intensify in New York around the holidays. That is when you'll see post office boxes in midtown Manhattan with big heavy locks on them. Why?

Because some people will actually try to throw their garbage into the mailboxes, not to mention on top of, on the sides of …

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