Living in NYC, we get spoiled. Trains run 24/7, and when we get spoiled we start to complain. These complaints turn into real fears. A lot of time spent underground on your work commutes or getting from place A to B can lead to a lot of musings. Here are the most common fears faced by riders on the subway in NYC:
1. Getting into the empty smelly car: Even a true New Yorker can get duped. A crowded platform, an empty car, from the outside it looks empty. Ah, my friend, but appearances can be deceiving because inside it smells like death and you will be trapped.
2. Having something drip from above you while waiting on the track, making you concerned have contracted a deathly disease: Enough said.
3. Walking alone in the pee corridor on 14th Street and 6th Avenue: Your body really doesn’t know what to do—should I be preparing myself for an imminent attack from an assailant or should I be more concerned with holding my breath because of the god-awful smell?
4. Getting trapped under the East River and drowning in a subway collapse: I have thought about this a lot. There is no escape. And I this really freaks me out.
5. Watching a container spill and the liquid rolling over towards you: What idiot left their coffee on the ground? Who does that? Oh, oops, that was mine…
6. Facing the morning L train at Bedford or, now thanks to gentrification, anywhere along the L from Morgan on: One word—sardines. This is how to truly get to know your neighbors, whether you want to or not. The best is the last guy who just jumps into the car and rams into you. Dude, there is literally no room—where do you think you are going?
7. Getting onto a car with no air conditioning and only realizing it until after the door closes because the platform is so hot: This has happened too many times—the worst is when you get on the 4/5 at Union Square and it’s express to Grand Central. You are forced to stand as still as possible because at that point in time you believe that it will keep you cooler.
8. Getting run over with a heavy suitcase by an incompetent tourist: What did they buy? Why are these suitcases so heavy? Ouch!
9. Falling into the gap between the subway platform and car: this is a real fear because this happened to me once after getting pushed off the train and it was horrifying. As the crowd lurched forward my one foot fell into the gap. Half of my body was in the gap. It is a miracle that I wasn’t electrocuted. My left leg was trapped in between the train and the platform. I cannot make this stuff up. Fortunately two of my guy friends spotted me on the ground about to get trampled and swooped in and scooped me up from either arm. As a result of this, my knee swelled to the size of a melon and I could barely walk.
10. Dealing with people who do not understand normal subway etiquette with regards to letting the passengers off before swarming the train: Please. Please. Please. Just figure it out. You are making everyone else around you late and more likely miss their connecting train.
11. Seeing a Mole person out your car window: we’ve heard the myths, and some of us have read the book. They are real. I just don’t know how I would handle it if I looked out and saw one of them out my window.
Despite them all, we suck them up and go along our merry way. Living in NYC is a privilege and you give up certain comforts when you call this your home. I’ve learned to hold my breath a little longer, avoid incompetent tourists, and try to not let all of these fears dissuade me from leaving my apartment.