|Posted by Nikki Yeager on February 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM|
Yesterday I made the trek into Manhattan with a friend. We walked down the 86th St. station stairs and onto the platform. With my friend trailing behind me, I sped up to an invisible spot neatly placed between the 4th and 5th poles on the platform and then came to a dead stop.
He gave me a weird look and then let it go.
A few minutes later I realized I probably looked insane to any casual observer. But , there is an art to riding the R train, especially in the monring when you have to fight 1,987 other Brooklyners for one of the few available seats. So just in case anyone ever makes their way to Bay Ridge I figured I'd share my hard-earned knowledge.
1. 86th St. is the 2nd stop on the train and the last stop with any seats available. So I've measure the exact distance from the stairs to each of the train doors. Once descending the 100 year old greasy stairs, park yourself immediately after the 2nd pole or in between the 4th and 5th pole. You'll know which ones these are by counting... or by looking for the group of 10 people who are all huddled together thinking they're smarter than everyone else. And yes, I always think so too when the train pulls up and I'm standing directly in front of a door.
2. Once the doors open I usually speed-walk to the most desirable seat without making eye contact with anyone. If you catch the eye of an older person, you'll have to slow down out of guilt. I solved that problem by looking at my feet and making a bee line for my favorite seat.
As for favorite seats, I've figured that out too after many a morning of trial and error.
Why are the yellow seats so awesome? Because the corner seats have a magical forcefield protecting any sitter from smelly armpits, wet umbrellas and lack of wiggle room. No one can fit in front of you (there's another bunch of seats there) and the person next to you keeps the crowd at bay. You'll be able to easily flip the pages of your paper AND look out the window to see if the express train is coming at any connecting station.
On the other hand, avoid the red seats at all costs. Not only will there be an angry mob of morning commuters trying to steal what precious leg room you have, but you'll also be forced to eat the leather briefcase - or moist umbrella - of the nearest standing patron all the way from BK to Manhattan (turns out briefcases and purses of standing passengers tend to be face-level with sitting ones). Worst of all, you're jammed in between 2 other people who may be wearing huge, puffy coats or could smell like mold or may be spilling their childs' sippy cup full of milk all over your leg (i've had this happen more times than I'd like to remember).
Lastly, the pink seats. Those you just have to watch out for. The good part is that you're in the corner of the train and you only have to sit next to one other person. Plus, corners are great for sleeping which make them morning favorites.
Unfortunately, um, less tidy(?) people have also caught on to that little tidbit of information and favor the corner seats for night long train rides to nowhere. Therefore you have a disproportionately high rate of urine on the seats and/or chances for interesting odors hanging in the air. Just make sure you look before you sit.
Happy R-train Riding!