The New York City subway is a lot of things: delay-ridden, uncomfortable and gross, to name a few. But it’s also the city’s main public transportation system and is often the quickest way to get across town. It’s this egalitarian aspect that makes the subway so cool. Whether you’re an Upper East Side housewife or an artist in Bushwick, the train is typically the most efficient way to get from A to B in NYC.
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So why, fellow straphangers, are my social media feeds regularly filled with sneaky photos shaming subway riders for things like poor backpack etiquette and mismatched socks? Sure, sometimes people on the train are just plain entertaining. And sure, sending out an anti-manspreading PSA or tweeting a pic of a hellish delay are worthy posts. But when it comes to ’Grams that throw shade at homeless people or depict someone who is incredibly hungover, New Yorkers can be a pretty judgy bunch.
Am I saying that you should stop snapping photos on the subway altogether? Not at all. What I’m pointing out is that the system carries more than
5 million people every day, few of whom are interested in scoring you a handful of likes on Instagram. Understand that filming a drunk girl eating spaghetti out of a bag is a pretty assholeish move that benefits nothing other than your own shallow ego.
The subway isn’t anywhere close to a sacred space, but that doesn’t mean we can throw all norms for privacy out the window when we swipe our MetroCards and pass through the turnstile. So next time you go to record a video of a drooling, passed-out dude, don’t. Hopefully, the next time that you’re in a similar position, someone will have the decency to do the same for you.