I recently experienced a classic NYC commuter moment: Entering the station just as the train was arriving, I knew my odds of catching it were about 50-50. So, I sprinted to the turnstile, triumphantly made it through with a single MetroCard swipe and then started a mad dash down the stairs. But, all of a sudden, I had to come to a complete stop to avoid two people casually lounging on the bottom step. After awkwardly squeezing around the couple, I looked up and the train was gone. Truly devastating.
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There are some people who look at a flight of stairs and apparently think, How lovely. An escalating series of uncomfortable chairs. Well, listen up, folks: It’s a stairway, not a “chairway”! Steps are thoroughfares for pedestrians, not impromptu picnic areas. No one should be sitting on stairways in New York, period. Would you pop a squat in the middle of 42nd Street? No!
Yes, there are three exceptions to this iron rule: the TKTS steps (tourists only), which don’t lead anywhere; the stairs at the Met, which have been grandfathered in, and the Union Square
steps, which are so wide, you’d be crazy not to sit on them.
In all other cases, find a bench. Otherwise, don’t get too upset if someone topples over you who’s just on the way to reach their destination. Or trying to, at least.