Sunday, August 26, 2012

Little Wisdoms

So this week I am going to do something a bit different. I am going to share little stories and tidbits of things I have learned in my few weeks of being here, instead of the typical delving deep into my psyche to discover who I am and why I am here. These little wisdoms or morals will serve as bits of advice for any future New Yorker's who might be reading this blog, or anyone who might some day visit this city, or anyone who is bored enough to be reading this silly thing.

Wisdom #1: PLAN AHEAD
One of the greatest things about this city is its public transportation system. It can be a marvel to behold, and it can also be a stubborn, unforgiving, fishwife* (*Bitch was to harsh to use on this blog, so I chose fishwife off of Your welcome mom). Like this past Friday. In the area where I live there is only one train that will take you into Manhattan, and that train is the 7. The 7 train goes from my neighborhood to where I get off, Times Square. It can take anywhere from 20-30 min carting thousands of people, which is pretty amazing. Well, this past Friday one of the 7 trains malfunctioned and was making it impossible to get to Manhattan, which really messed up a lot of people's schedules. I wish I had taken a picture, but what ended up happening was that the hundreds of people that were going to take the 7 ended up walking two and a half miles to the next train station. We were a motley caravan of people in business suits, dresses, jeans, and t-shirts all turning heads as we went. We walked those two and a half miles in 90 degree heat and made it to the next train. Some were frustrated, some were downright pissed off, but it made for a memorable experience non the less. Moral of the story? BE EARLY! PLAN AHEAD! Because if the trains malfunction and the buses are overcrowded you will be late. And this city isn't very forgiving.

Wisdom #2:Metro Card
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR METRO CARD WITH YOU!!! I can not tell you how frustrating it is to walk all the way to the train station and realize you left you metro card back home...

Wisdom #3: Uptown/Downtown
When, and if, you get to Manhattan the subway system is simple yet complicated. There are three sets of trains that run north to south on the island of Manhattan, and will pretty much get you wherever you need to go. That being said,  when you go to get on the train, make sure you know whether your destination is uptown or downtown. The reason for this is because at some subway stations you can ONLY get the the subway platform from the outside entrance. What this means is that if you go in on the wrong side you have to go all the way outside and cross the street and back inside again, and this can make the MTA officers very upset. This has happened to me twice now. The first time the older gentleman behind the counter smiled and allowed me through the gate. The second time however was not so easy. A different gentleman was behind the counter and he was definitively a New Yorker because he was going to tell me what he thought about the situation whether I wanted to hear it or not. Here is what he said: Comeon kid, really? You went in the wrong side? (*angry mumbling and pushing buttons*) Fine, I'll let you pass, but you're not a tourist, you're a New Yorker. You should know better. Be smarter next time." Ahh! My emotions were so conflicted! I was being scolded for making a simple mistake, but he called me a New Yorker! I was both upset and completely elated! Now, that being said, I am not actually a New Yorker. Some say that you have to live here for 5 years to earn that title, which would mean I am not even a Dubuquer because I only lived there for 4 years. But to be mistaken for a New Yorker was very flattering and pretty much made my day. Moral of the story? Know where you are going before you go there.

Wisdom #4 Embrace the Randomness
People are weird. In this city, there are some very weird people. Look at this picture on the right. I took in the subway on my way to work one day. Its not the greatest photo, but yes you are looking at a real MARIACHI BAND!  It is not uncommon to see street performers trying to earn a buck, but I feel like a Mariachi Band on the subway is pretty rare. They just walked on and started playing... So I took my ear-buds out and listened, and they weren't that bad. I looked around the train and no-one was paying them any attention. That's just what New Yorkers do. They embrace the randomness and then proceed to ignore it. Once they finished they passed around a hat and got onto a different train at the next stop. Weird! The impressive part was that this dude was lugging around a full sized bass on the subway. During rush hour.

If you are ever in the Time's Square area, you will witness some very random people. As part of my commute to the LARK I have to walk through Time's Square. Not gonna lie, that sentence feels really good to say, but while walking I have witnessed some very weird people. There was an African-American man holding a cardboard sign that said "Need Money 4 Weed. Why Lie?". There were performers promoting their show wearing nothing but bright purple underwear. And of course there are the people who dress up in full body costumes. I have seen Spider-Man (not the real one), The Hulk, The Statue of Liberty, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Elmo, Micky and Minny mouse, and Batman. Moral of the story? Embrace the randomness, it will prove to be quite hilarious and make your day better.

Wisdom #5 Drunken Tourist's
As many of my friends back home will attest, I don't get drunk. I absolutely love the socializing, but I don't enjoy getting drunk, waking up the next morning feeling gross, and paying money for the privilege. So I guess this might be more of a me thing than a New York thing, but don't be a drunken tourist. For some reason on my train rides home in the evening, after work, I have on multiple occasions gotten on to trains with loud, drunken, Jersey Shore wannabe kids. They were loud, obnoxious, and made everyone else one the train visibly annoyed. There was one time I got on the train and these loud drunk jersey shore wannabe's were on the train being loud and obnoxious. They were shouting things like "We are so drunk!" and "I can't wait to get drunk" and "YOLO". ugh. So once the train pulled into the next stop, myself and most of the rest of the people in that train car got up, walked out of the train and into a different train car. Once we all sat down we kind of looked at each other and then one lady said "Ahhh, peace..." and then everyone chuckled and then we went about our own business. Moral? People on the subway are usually trying to get either to or from work, and don't want to put up with loud obnoxious drunken people. DON'T BE A DRUNKEN TOURIST.

Wisdom #6 The Elevator
Here is a silly little wisdom, but its something I noticed right way. Ok so in the Midwest, whenever anyone gets onto the elevator with multiple other people, whomever is closest to the buttons kind of becomes the "button pusher". They smile and look around the elevator car and ask "Which floor?" And then they push the buttons for everyone. Not so in New York! When you get on the elevator you push the button and get out the way! Everyone pushes their own buttons here and don't need help from anyone. Don't even think about talking or making eye contact either. 

Wisdom #7 99 cents
I have yet to find a chain store here like the Midwest has in the vein of a Dollar General of Dollar Tree. But what New York does have are hundreds of little stores known as 99cent stores. They are owned by different individuals and so the stuff inside varies from location to location. Across the board, at all these locations, I can tell you this: Even though he store's name literally is "everything is 99 cents" not everything is 99 cents. That's pretty much it for this wisdom...

Wisdom #8 No Standing
So if you are even in New York, you will most likely see one of these signs. I had never seen one before, so it confused me. It especially confused me because it was right next to the bus stop sign for the bus I was standing and waiting for. I stared at it for a solid 2 minutes hoping it would tell me what it meant. It did not. So, not wanting to be ticketed for waiting for a bus, I just paced in place. My thought process was: If I am moving they cannot ticket me for standing.... Well come to find out this sign is basically synonymous with no parking... it means you can't leave you vehicle idling and get out and go do something and come back... Moral of the story? YOU CAN STAND NEXT TO A NO STANDING SIGN.

So there you have it, my 8 little wisdom's. I hope reading them was not as frustrating as living them.  A quick update you on my job status: I have interviewed for a few different part-time jobs, no luck yet. But I do have some good news! J-City Theater has hired me on for their next production, Regrets Only by Paul Rudnick, as their Stage Manager!! Yay! They are a great little company in Jersey City and I am very much looking forward to working with them! So I will probably be writing about that soon.

Until next time!

"If we all reacted the same way, we'd be predictable, and there's always more than one way to view a situation." -Major Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell (1995)


  1. Your wisdoms are very fun to read Joey. You sound a little bit like an anthropologist.

  2. The elevator culture is hilarious! Never thought that elevator protocol would change from region to region!

    Haha no standing!! XD That made me laugh. I wouldn't have any clue what to do either.

    Yay for a job! Can't wait to here more Joeys. =D