How to Ride a Fucking Escalator in NYC

Ahhhhhh, mooooove!!!

The most frustrating thing about the movement of crowds is that it just takes one person to fuck it all up: 100 people can walk up or down a staircase only as fast as the slowest one. (Have you ever tried to get out of the AMC Empire in Times Square? God almighty.) And thus the subway system’s escalator problem. In a perfect world, the system’s two-lane escalators work as such: the disabled, aged, and slothful keep to the right, leaving the left open to people willing to walk. But it only works out this way half the time. At best.

The other day I got on the escalator at the Jay Street-Metrotech station that connects the R to the A/C/F. And as usual, someone stood on the left and stopped moving, thus stopping the entire line of people behind him. Ordinarily this is borne by all passive-aggressively—foot-tapping, watching-checking, deep-sighing—but this time our ranks had an upstart. “Excuuuuse me!” a man shouted from the bottom of the escalator in a condescending lilt. Nothing. “Walk or move to the side,” a woman higher up instructed. We now had a full-blown revolution.

But the object of the crowd’s opprobrium didn’t get it, or didn’t care, and we all stood still until he reached the top and movement could commence as etiquette intended. Basically, I’m writing this so you’ll share this with all your Facebook friends, especially those who tend to be unaware of what’s happening around them, because I really need to get where I’m going! I’m already late for work because I overslept because I was closing the bar last night!

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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