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5 things only New Yorkers do in public

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

New York is a great place to be alone. But sometimes we can’t help acting like we’re all by ourselves, even when we most definitely are not. From having personal conversations to clipping our nails, these are the things that New Yorkers do in public—for better or for worse—that denizens of most other cities generally manage to keep to themselves. Or inside of a building, at least. 

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1. Eating messily
You know where the best place to eat a plate of warm spaghetti or messy burrito is? Not the subway! And yet, it seems like some people have decided that every over-crowded A train is their personal dining car. Residents of most other cities have yet to master the skill of walking down a street while simultaneously making their way through an Italiano panini and a Diet Coke, but we’ve got places to go! And we paid for that dipping sauce, so it’s not like we’re going to just not use it. 

2. Crying
There’s the slow, evening commute tear over that big mistake you made at work or the post-bar hopping sidewalk sob where you wail at the heavens over your bad luck in love. Nobody here really has a car, so it’s not like we can quietly shut the door, put on a Joni Mitchell album and work through our emotions in an abandoned Best Buy parking lot, okay? If you live here for a long enough, sooner or later you’re probably going to have a mini-breakdown on a street corner. Luckily, anyone who sees you has probably been there at some point, too.

3. Breaking up
Relationship explosions are basically New York landmines. They’re hidden all over the city ready to explode at any moment. If you and your significant other are always out and about, then the odds are that D Day is going to take place in a very public setting. Whether it’s the outside-the-bar drunken argument or the tense corner table mind game or the subway car-screaming match, your fellow New Yorkers generally know to stay outside the eight-foot rage radius. Far, far outside.

4. Making out. Everywhere. 
Sure, couples make out in public everywhere. But in New York, you see extreme PDA on trains, in coffee shops, outside bars, in Duane Reades, outside churches, in elevators, in theaters, in trees, on the sidewalk, in the street, in the gutter, waiting for brunch, waiting for dinner, after dinner, after drinks, after dinner drinks, pretty much everywhere. We know you guys are into each other, but maybe think about taking it back to your tiny apartment! It will be an excuse to get even closer.

5. Personal grooming
For some, public personal grooming can be pretty confounding, (Girl, are you really having some sort of nail emergency? You can’t wait 30 minutes until you’re home to go deep on those cuticles?) but sometimes you don’t really have a choice. It’s not worth being late for a meeting just to go into some closet to change your shoes and put on a different top. Sometimes, personal upkeep can be, well… not so personal here with blush being applied on the trains, nails being filed on the street and even clothes being changed in a coffee shop. (How else are you going to master that day-to-night look?)

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