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Subway Etiquette No Joke for New Yorkers

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As any New Yorker knows, hopping on the subway in the summer is no joyride—and there are some riders who make the experience a lot more unpleasant. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

The big backpack wearer. The door blocker. The pole hugger.

The millions of New Yorkers who ride the subway every day know all types of subway etiquette violators—and they can't stand them.

"The rudest? I'm going to say someone taking up the entire pole by themselves. Honestly, you can have 20 people in one train, you have one pole just being taken up by one person, because they want to read or they want to go on their phone," one rider says.

It's not just in subway cars where you'll encounter breaches of subway etiquette from the likes of the two-seat taking leg-spreader. It's also on staircases and platforms.

"When you're trying to get on the train, nobody gets out of your way. When you're trying to get off the train, nobody gets out of your way. People have to get off the train before people get on the train. New Yorkers should know this," says another rider.

"They don't give you time to get off," another rider says.

There's no cafe car in the subway system—not that it's stopping riders from enjoying a snack or a cup of coffee.

"People are eating spicy, smelly, fried food inside the train. You know, we don't have to enjoy that if we don't want to, you know?" another rider says.

While the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's rules of conduct outlaw soiling its property, some riders clearly don't care.

"The worst thing I saw was a poop on the seat. So that was pretty disgusting," one rider says.

It's these especially obnoxious etiquette breaches that the website Gothamist regularly chronicles, thanks to its subway-riding readers.

"There is an element of shaming. I mean, people get annoyed and they want revenge. And the best way to get revenge is to take a video, put it up on YouTube, send it to us, you know, and that's a good way of enforcing better behavior on the subways," says Gothamist editor Jake Dobkin.

Dobkin estimates the site has gotten more than a thousand photos of videos of outrageous subway antics.

"There's like a lot of, like, people sleeping while right in front of a pregnant woman," Dobkin says.

If you don't want to be one of those people, it's worth remembering that riding the subway is a lot like baseball: there are a lot of unwritten rules that are worth knowing.

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