I spent a good chunk of time outside of New York recently, both in Texas and abroad, and as usual, the people I ran into usually wanted to hear about how life in the Stinky Apple really was. It’s great…for the most part. As a transplant, I get a kick out of hearing about everyone’s “Truest New York Moments”. That is to say: a moment when they saw, smelled, or heard something so profoundly disgusting and awful that their brain kicked back around to defensively embrace it with a perplexed smile and to proclaim “THAT’S NEW YORK!” This usually happens on or around the subway. Without further ado, and in no particular order.

My own stories: The most physically unpleasant was being in a train car where somebody clearly shit their pants. This has happened multiple times. The worst part is, the third time it happened, I was too tired and had a seat, so I didn’t switch cars even though I had five more stops.

Less than two months after moving here I saw a crazy and/or homeless guy nearly get into a fistfight with a lesbian couple on a crowded L train. Not really that gross but it felt worth noting.

My personal favorite: my brother and I were waiting for a G after a housewares trip to Target. Across the platform, a homeless guy was sleeping on a bench, facing us. At one point he stirred, unzipped his pants, pulled his cock out, and began pissing off of the bench and onto the platform without getting up, then rezipped, which was considerate given the circumstances. Nobody was on the platform at that time, but moments after the guy took care of business, a woman carrying shopping bags came down the stairs. I was in a quandary: did I yell at her and inform her of the situation, potentially provoking the hobo’s wrath, or did I say nothing, and watch her get her shoes covered in vitamin-deficient urine? Luckily, the woman looked down, saw the puddle of fresh liquid, saw the homeless guy snoozing away, put two and two together, and gingerly stepped over the piss without breaking stride. A true New Yorker.

My brother: He was waiting for a train and saw a guy dancing back and forth on the platform, facing the gap, while slurring in a sing-song voice. Eventually, my brother deciphered that the guy was singing “Please God, let me pee”, partly because the guy then turned around and started pissing directly onto the platform while people were there.

Just the other day, he observed a guy in a subway car, drunk out of his mind in the middle of the day, eating smelly roach-coach chicken out of a styrofoam container, and then throwing the bone onto the floor. The gentleman then proceeded to light a cigarette and stretch out across an entire bench. After he finished his leisurely smoke, the maestro then proceeded to walk to the space between subway cars, while the train was still moving, and take a piss.

My gf: She told me about seeing a girl in a skirt menstruate on a seat and then leave the car (she was wearing a skirt, presumably with no underwear, which might be the most disgusting tale of all). The good samaritans aboard the subway saved at least two or three people from sitting in the crimson puddle, but one guy came on with headphones in and didn’t hear anybody yelling at him until it was too late. Once he had sat down he noticed people looking at him in revulsion, removed his headphones, and was informed that he was sitting in period blood. His response was to look down at his seat and go “Awwwwww, man!” He then hesitated for a moment, and shrugged. What else was there to do?

Gf’s roommate: I heard this story just yesterday. If I remember correctly, she said when she was first in the city, at 16 or 17 years old, a guy got on the train and proceeded to walk up and down the car with his exposed, fully erect penis on display, then situated himself inches from her face and began spouting gobbledygook.



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