Thursday, December 21, 2006

Are New Yorkers Rude?

That was the open-ended survey question in one of the many daily newspapers in the city today. All but one of the published answers were some version of the testament that "No, New Yorkers are not rude."

And I will continue to fully support my rationale that with 8 million people compressed in a city that is relatively small based on on the square mile, your likelihood of running into rude people is dramatically increased. However, this does not certify that the majority of New Yorkers are rude.

If fact, this evening as I waited at a vertical turnstile in the Times Square station (where there is no live attendent and a turnstile over which one cannot hop), I witnessed a man swipe his card as a parade of 3-4 people rushed out. Since he had an unlimited card (as indicated by the "GO" display that flashed as he swiped his card), his "swipe" was considered used and subsequent swipes were now void. [Note to non-New Yorkers: A turnstile will not allow an unlimited card to be swiped multiple times in the same station within a 20-minute period.]

Damn, I thought to myself, That sucks.

The man backed up in frustration and motioned for those waiting behind him to go ahead. However, the second man behind him swiped his own card and motioned for the first man to pass through. He had a Metrocard with a cash balance, which can be used multiple times at the same turnstile at a debit of $2 a pop. The frustrated man smiled and thanked him as he went through, and then the second man swiped his card again and passed through the turnstile just behind the first.

I smiled to no one in particular. Just smiled and thought of the infamous question in this morning's paper.

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