Commuting in NYC: Expectations Vs. the Brutal Reality

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I used to work in a museum all the way downtown, which meant that a few days a week, I was commuting from the Bronx to Battery Park City-- for a total of 2 hours a day.

Obviously, a big part of the experience of working in the city is the actual commute.

But let's face it: commuting is like 95% of the reason why New Yorkers complain so much in the first place.

You're guilty of it, I'm guilty of it, we've all done it, so let's just get that out of the way now.

Anyway, commuting never seems to go smoothly, no matter where you're coming from or where you're going. Here are 9 expectations that you'll have when commuting in New York City versus what actually ends up happening.



You'll walk a few blocks to catch the bus and if it's not waiting for you when you get there, it'll come within a minute of you getting to the bus stop.

The brutal reality


You'll get to the bus stop, and just as you get there, the bus will pull away and you'll be stuck-- upwards of ten minutes until the next one comes.


[via Rachel Tumin/Flickr]

This morning, there won't be any traffic, so the bus shouldn't arrive late.

The brutal reality


Puhhhhlease. The New York area is basically the traffic hub of the East Coast.

You should always expect traffic unless it's a holiday, because it's literally always everywhere.

Expectations (11)

The subway car that is being held at the station will wait another minute so that you can get in, quickly and painlessly.

The brutal reality


Those doors will shut the moment that you get within three steps of the subway car, and you know it.



The train you're on will be running express for rush hour.

The brutal reality


The train you're on is supposed to be running express for rush hour, but the monotonous conductor will announce that the train will now be running local, conveniently right before it was supposed to run express.