The NYC Subway Etiquette Continues: To Clip or Not to Clip! That’s The Question!


If you’re a New York City resident, you’re familiar with what some would consider “nasty habits” while riding the subway. In this incident, we had a healthy debate about nail clipping.

In the YouTube video, two gentlemen calmly (which is a FIRST for most New Yorkers) debate subway etiquette. The gentleman holding the bicycle is obviously appalled by the Argentinean man who is clipping his nails. The man put off by the offensive act argued:

“If you would like to be a normal human, than you would not do that…These people are normal human beings because they decided, ‘I’m not going to brush my teeth on the subway’…that I don’t mind, you can file away, just the clipping is really gross. Please don’t do this.”


It’s actually hard to define what normal is in NYC, I mean I’ve seen everything from fist fights, drag queens, rats jumping on and off homeless people to this deer head captured by my dear friend Omayra Arroyo.

But the BIGGER debate is, what is proper etiquette while riding the Subway?

It’s a debate so strong that it has inspired one artist to post mock MTA signs throughout New York City at one point.

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Artist Jay Shells said he surveyed 100 people of their pet peeves while riding the subway and compiled a list of the top ten most offensive. The graphic designed prank was a mock to the MTA signs we’re familiar with in NYC and were immediately posted at stations throughout NYC.

“I surveyed 100 people on their top pet-peeves (not service related) while riding the Subway. I narrowed the results down to the top ten most occurring issues and rewrote them as a sort of list of rules. I designed posters in the style of the Service Changes posters we see everyday and silkscreened about 40 of each (400 total) and am currently putting them up on trains throughout the city, throughout this week. I encourage people to look out for them, and to take them before the MTA does.”

Recently a brawl over spaghetti prompted the MTA to consider prohibiting eating while riding the subway. Personally, I am in agreeance with pretty much every pet peeve listed by Jay Shells.

As a passenger who takes the MTA during the weekday, I grow weary of the preaching, candy selling, drum beating and many other offenses that’s become New York City’s sub culture.

As a visitor to this hard nosed, tough talking city, if you’re encountering any of these rude acts, your best bet is to remove yourself from the immediate area and go to another car.

Confronting a native New Yorker in their natural habitat could spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E!!!

Trust me, I’ve seen these things end badly!

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One thought on “The NYC Subway Etiquette Continues: To Clip or Not to Clip! That’s The Question!

  1. Pingback: Moving-on 365 days in NYC’s subway trains & Staten Island’s ferry, too! « Moving On

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