Category Archives: City of Peeves

New York: City of Peeves #56

The Wild Wheelchair Wielder

Habitat: City sidewalks

rapper.jpgDescription: I don’t want to make fun of the handicapped. And yes, the handicapped are largely, well, handicapped in this city. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I was bound to a wheelchair in New York. But despite all this, there are some handicapped people in this city who have taken it upon themselves to get a distinct advantage on our sidewalks – at the expense of our safety.

The Wild Wheelchair Wielder has a modified electric wheelchair. I presumed that there was some sort of restrictor plate on a wheelchair that runs on its own power source. I guess that’s not the case on all of them, because the Wild Wheelchair Wielder will MOW YOUR ABLE BODY DOWN AT ANY COST if you’re in his way. You may walk at a mere three miles per hour, but this bad-boy in a wheelchair will blow by you at lightning-speed. Ten miles per hour. Fifteen miles per hour. If he could actually walk, he’d be a great candidate for a delivery boy. He can even outrun and outmaneuver most crosstown buses. If you’re walking towards him, your best bet is to dive out of the way, because he will stop for no one. You treat him like a second-class citizen most of the time, and it’s high time that he got his chance to treat you like one, too. 

Now, I’ll be fair. There are so few wheelchair-accessible subway stations and taxis in this town, so they have to make up for it somehow. But with all of the hazards for pedestrians in this city – out-of-control cabs, falling parapets, reckless cyclists, crazed gunmen – a disabled person should not be one of them.

Rating on the Peevery Scale:

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New York: City of Peeves #55

The Subway Rapper

Habitat: Subway trains, stations

rapper.jpgDescription: Okay, we get it. You know the words to every single rap song known to man. We’re impressed. But we’re also guessing that your memory skills could’ve been put to better use than recalling how many times in a row you drop the F-bomb and say the N-word. I can’t even recite a rap song with the words in front of me, so I suppose I should admire your ability to be such a cunning linguist (not a homophone of that phrase, which I’m sure you’ve rapped about many, many times).

You do not need to show off your skills in a public place. The only people who should be spouting off swears out loud on the subway should be those with serious mental problems, not those who are just crying for attention or a record deal. You seem to be pretty level-headed otherwise, yet you have no problem saying “slap that fucking ho” six times in two minutes in the presence of a four year-old child.

Also, you know how most rappers are tone-deaf and rely on sampling to fill in the melodic parts of their songs? Take a hint from them. The only thing worse than your rapping is your fruitless attempt to sing the chorus of the song you’re listening to.

Hey, who does this song?

Yeah? Let’s keep it that way.

Rating on the Peevery Scale:

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New York: City of Peeves #54

The Field Trip

Habitat: Heavily-trafficked tourist areas

youthgroup.jpgDescription: Deserving of being trailed by a boombox playing “Flight of the Bumblebees,” The Field Trip envelopes any sidewalk with a massive swarm of children and chaperoning adults. The Field Trip’s members will undoubtedly all wear the same color t-shirt (generally, something neon) with the name of their school or youth group emblazoned, reminding all other pedestrians that no, they’re not from here, and yes, they have no respect for the fact that other people have a right to move down the sidewalk.

There is no way to move beyond these swarms of children. The adults do nothing to keep the children at bay. Remember in kindergarten, when we were all instructed to “line up, single file?” Apparently, today’s generation of kids was never enlightened. Of course, this would even further lengthen The Field Trip’s obstruction to about ten blocks, instead of just one or two. Even worse than the traditional Field Trip is the hand-holding Field Trip: a group of first or second graders who are forced to hold hands in a line. This isn’t Hands Across America, kiddies. Get the hell out of our way.

The NYPD recently instituted new rules for parades to include “a recognizable group of 50 or more pedestrians […] proceeding together upon any public street or roadway.” Screw Critical Mass; the first group they should target with this rule are these massive herds of Midwestern cattle.

Rating on the Peevery Scale:

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New York: City of Peeves #53

The Subway Loudspeaker

Habitat: Inside the most crowded city subway cars

announce-bullhorn.jpgDescription: People are often grateful that cell phone service is not provided in the New York City subway system. But there’s already some obnoxious voices on the subway: The Subway Loudspeaker. This is not the garbled voice of a conductor, or the generic electronic voice announcing each station. The Subway Loudspeaker is the passenger who has no understanding of what is an acceptable volume level for speaking on a subway train.

Ideally, the acceptable volume level is “0.” Most fellow passengers will let a “1” or a “2” slide, as long as that passenger is not crazy and speaking to herself. The Subway Loudspeaker is at a “10.” “10” is so loud that you cannot hear yourself think. “10” is so loud that you can hear her voice over your iPod. “10” could pierce your eardrum. “10” is so loud that sound engineers have deemed the Subway Loudspeaker’s voice so dangerous that it could result in permanent hearing loss – or at the very least, a ringing in your ears.

Despite the inability to escape the sound of her voice, the Subway Loudspeaker is probably gossiping about something personal: an argument, a sexual experience, perhaps even a crime committed. Occasionally, her volume level is a reflection of her ignorance: she’s probably from the suburbs and just never rides the subway, so she doesn’t know any better. But more often than not, the Subway Loudspeaker just loves to hear herself talk. And we would love to do nothing more than tape her mouth shut and let us enjoy a quiet commute.

Or, at the very least, tell her to “stuff it.” Quietly.

Rating on the Peevery Scale:

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New York: City of Peeves #52

Swimming Upstream

spawning.jpgHabitat: Subway corridors and stairways, crowded sidewalks at rush hour

Description: Often times, New Yorkers criticize tourists for enveloping entire sidewalks in mayhem, forcing normal seasoned pedestrians to the fringe of the sidewalks, and even into the street in the myriad tourist traps of New York City. However, during rush hour, many New Yorkers seem to forget that it is their responsibility to set an example.

Example: every morning, I walk between the 4/5/6 and N/Q/R/W platforms in Union Square station. And nearly every one of those mornings, I am faced with an overflow of commuters pouring off a downtown train. Do they move to the right, like the MTA tells them to? No, of course not. Instead, they take over every square inch of walking space faster than a flash flood. The corridor is at least 30 feet wide, but this stream of inconsiderate commuters occupy all 30 feet of horizontal clearance (of course, who said New Yorkers were ever considerate?). I, travelling towards the platform they’re all coming from, end up dodging commuters around me like salmon struggling up the Columbia River. The scramble from left to right resembles a game of Frogger – and at $2.00 a pop, it’s an expensive game of Frogger, too.

Where is the outrage? Why do we not express our resentment towards these impediments of pedestrian traffic flow the same way we resent their cousins from St. Louis or Sacramento? Maybe we fear getting punched in the face. But I can’t imagine being punched in the face is any worse than getting run over by a morbidly obese office worker who will steer clear of no one.

Rating on the Peevery Scale:

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New York: City of Peeves #51

The Geriatric Gaggle

oldfolks.jpgHabitat: Before and after matinees at Lincoln Center

Description: Welcome to Florida in New York! No, not Florida, New York, the backwards town upstate with quite possibly the most deceptive name known to man. I’m talking about the scene around Lincoln Center on any given Saturday afternoon with a performance. You might as well be in the middle of the activities center of a retirement community in Boca Raton. I don’t think anyone in New York believed this many old people existed – let alone could make it into the city on their own.

Why, oh why, do I pick on the elderly? Well, they’re slow. Is it their fault? Not particularly. But add physical disability to mild dementia, and the result is the largest pedestrian clusterfuck since the Brooklyn Bridge on 9/11. Where are they going? They really have no idea. How are they getting there? Very, very slowly. Will they step aside and let you through? Probably not, as any sudden movement may result in their incontinence kicking in, and that would merely add another messy complication to this sidewalk disaster.

This particular peeve rates low on the scale of annoyance, as it can be easily avoided by staying away from any live theater event on any afternoon. Feel free to stray out for the 8pm performance on Saturday, because by then, these folks are already home in bed.

Rating on the Peevery Scale:

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New York: City of Peeves #50

The No-Rush Hipster

hipsterltrain.jpgHabitat: Subway stations, particularly on the L train.

Description: The term “rush hour” is more relevant in New York City than anywhere else. Any time that a train rolls into a station as commuters descend the staircase, most will have a penchant to move quickly in order to catch that train and make it to work on time.

This is not so with The No-Rush Hipster. Despite his youthful appearance and lack of any physical handicap, he takes the hipster mentality to new levels of oblivion. The No-Rush Hipster will take his sweet, sweet time getting to a subway platform, even if there’s a train ten steps in front of him. After all, he’s in no rush. He’s never in a rush. He’s a hipster! He has no job. He doesn’t believe in things like “deadlines” or “timeliness” or “hours” or “reality.” He’s not in a hurry to get somewhere to earn his living – everything he needs is in his trust fund, which packs the pocket of his ultra-slim jeans with cash.

We commuters, with real jobs that earn real money, don’t need someone like the No-Rush Hipster getting in our way during our morning commute. Really, the question that lingers is: what is the No-Rush Hipster doing in the subway at 8:30am? I’m willing to bet he’s still wasted from some hipster art show or indie rock after-hours party. So, next time he’s in your way, just bowl him over! He won’t feel a thing!

Rating on the Peevery Scale:

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