Platform Hanging

Ah, platform hanging. That time-honored tradition in the New York City Subway where scores of people who have no idea when the next train is coming just hang over the edge of the yellow strip on the platform to get a glimpse down the dark tunnel ahead. Contrary to popular belief, platform hanging does not make the train come any faster, just like pushing the elevator button several times does not make the elevator arrive at your floor any faster. It’s actually similar to fidgeting in a way; people feel more comfortable waiting if they’re doing something rather than standing completely still.

Of course, it’s rather unsafe. If you hang for too long while a train is coming, and if you don’t pull back in time, the train is going to clip you and you will be seriously injured. God forbid you lose your balance and fall, or someone pushes you and you fall onto the tracks. You had better get out of there fast, or duck into the trench between the tracks, because if that train hits you… not only are you dead, but you could traumatize the train operator for life (and s/he will have to go through a drug test).

Of course, because it is this dangerous, the MTA likes to discourage it. Especially now that countdown clocks are being installed in some stations. So, now, instead of peering down a dark tunnel, you get to stare up at a clock.

Boring.

Platform hanging will never die. Even with those clocks, which are actually rather useful. Why? Tradition. People are used to platform hanging. Heck, I do it all the time. It’s kinda like the New Yorker’s way of saying, “Where’s the train?” without actually asking anyone. Sure, it is dangerous, but if you play it correctly you won’t get hurt. Just be careful about who is around you and don’t lose your balance.

Of course, if you do this and die, it’s your own fault. I accept no responsibility for anyone’s stupidity. I never do.

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