8 Excuses for Being Late to Work Only New Yorkers Can Ever Use

New York City is the city that never sleeps. It's also the city that is constantly congested with outdated mass transportation, hoards of pedestrians, and miles of traffic. 

Apart from the normal excuses that can be used all over the country, NYC has some pretty common excuses that pretty much only apply to us. 

While we don't entirely condone being late, we do understand that it's pretty much in our blood. 

Here are some reasons why New Yorkers might be late for work on any given day: 

1. The subway

subwaycreatures Yes, that other L train will be here at some point tomorrow...hopefully #25hourdelay #layover #subwaycreatures #csc

We're no mathematicians, but on any given day, there's a 50/50 chance that someone in your office is going to be held up on the subway. If someone has ever told you that they ride the subway every day and it has never caused them to be late, they're liars and you don't need them in your life. 

If you really stop to think about it, there are so many variables that affect the timeliness of any given line. One slight issue with one train can cause a chain reaction. 


Maybe someone was ill and needed medical assistance, maybe someone fell onto the tracks, maybe the local switched to express right before your stop, or maybe Commissioner Bratton decided to ride the subway with his police escorts in order to deem it safe and pose for a photoshoot. 

You never know what's going to delay your train, but at some point, something will. Luckily for you, you can grab an MTA Excuse Slip if your boss asks for one. If you're just being a liar, you're sh*t outta luck, bud. 

2. Some bike delivery messenger (or any biker) wasn't following traffic laws and rammed you crossing the street

nicholastermeer First day of spring. Yikes. //#vscocam#vsco#vsconyc#soho#spring#nycbike#cycle#thisisrebar#nyccycle

There's nothing more dangerous when walking to work than crossing the street and hearing somebody shout, "Get out of the way!" right as a biker comes zipping past your face... that is, if you're lucky to get out of their way.

For some reason, some bikers do not recognize that you, as a pedestrian, have the right of way when crossing at a crosswalk with the walk symbol. Regardless of whether they're riding on the sidewalk (in which case that's a big screw you) or on the street, they should be following the laws of the road. 

Any boss in NYC will recognize that this is an excuse that isn't to be taken lightly. The bikers that don't follow the rules can do some serious damage, and have about as much respect for pedestrian life as yellow cabbies. It's an excuse that's certainly permissible in our books. 

3. You found a dead body

dominik_sieber New York City 2015 #ny #newyork #nypd #action #love

For the sake of human life, we're seriously hoping you'll never have to use this excuse... but it happens, and it's certainly more common than in other comparable cities like San Francisco. 

To be honest, we've been so desensitized by the number of daily news stories that report deaths and violence that we don't think we'd be entirely shocked to find a body at some point in our lives. We'd certainly be shocked, but not as much as we should. 


Really, you can't use this excuse unless you've actually encountered a dead person. For one, you should call 9-1-1 and report the body. Then it'd probably be a good bet to wait for the police, who will most likely ask for your name (or at least that's what they do in Law and Order). 

On top of that, your boss will probably be somewhat intrigued (you don't encounter a dead body every day), and want to hear the details. If you're lying, you might be looking for a new job. 

4. You were bit by a rat and needed to get shots

jayfish718 Lol

Fun fact: we have a lot of rats in NYC. Surprised? Go back to Ohio, snowflake transplant. 

Guess what? Those rats are devious little critters that are looking for scraps and warmth. They're also reckless little daredevils who will crawl on you given the chance. We hope you never feel the wrath of their sharp, disease-infested fangs, but it could happen.

If it happened to us, our job be damned! We're off to the doctor because we don't know where that rat's been. That bite could swell up to an infected, puss-filled wound, and ain't nobody got time for that. Your boss will certainly believe you, especially if you show him the evidence (as in the bite). 


5. Tourists

sarahmelvi Random Friday morning thoughts whilst walking to work..... #tourists #nyc #ny #ilovenyc #nyctourists #imthatgirl #ThatBitchWhoWalkedThroughOurPhoto #thatbitch #zerofucksgiven #πŸ’ #kthanks #tgif #randomfridaythoughts

Like it or not, tourism brings a lot of cashflow to our economy. However, tourists from the boondocks of Kansas don't move half as fast as we do, nor do they understand sidewalk etiquette. 

When we're power-walking our way to work, we really don't need to be slowed down by photo-snapping yuppies taking up the entire sidewalk. 


There's one speed of the NYC sidewalk: fast. If you don't like it, move to the right, look up from your phone, and recognize that other people have places to go.

We sincerely pity you if you're stuck working in Midtown. There's just no escape. 

6. You fell through a sidewalk grate

jrama9 The Piano Men...! Candid Shot! πŸŽΉπŸŽΌπŸŽΆπŸŽΉπŸŽΆπŸŽΌπŸ˜€πŸ‘¨πŸ‘΄πŸ‘΄πŸ‘±πŸ‘±

Falling down through a sidewalk grate is one of our biggest fears. Sometimes the orange cones simply aren't enough to notify you of the danger when you're busting your a*s to get to work. 

You've got hoards of people weaving through the sidewalks in front of you, you see an opening, and you take it. Unfortunately, that opening was due to the amount of people avoiding the black hole into the underbellies of NYC's retail space. 

You're guaranteed to get hurt, even if it's just a scrape or a bump. If it's an honest mistake, we'll feel bad for you. If you didn't see the lack of sidewalk because your face was glued to your phone, we will have no problems laughing at your misery (once we know that you aren't badly maimed from the fall). 

7. The Pope/President/Jay-Z/UN Convention are in town and the streets were shut down

asvokos We went to see the #popeinnyc on Friday.

Okay, so we may not be able to use this on a regular basis, but we certainly used this excuse this past summer when His Holiness blessed us with a visit. We were thrilled to host the Pope, especially since it has never happened before. But it caused us a lot of unblessed headaches as a result of the crowds. 


NYC often has to deal with street diversions due to major events. Just because they happen on a regular basis does not mean that we're thrilled about the fact that they alter our regular route to work. However, its typically a decent reason for tardiness. 

8. It's who you are as a person

muselust Let's just say..all my friends know this is me lol #excuses #alwayslate #me #lmao #plans #nomoreexcuses

We highly recommend not using this one, though we can assure you it has most certainly been used. You may be looking for another job after this quip, but it's pretty true. 

Sometimes, New Yorkers just can't help it. Take Mayor de Blasio for example. He's improved, but it's a little too late (pun intended). 

But hey, better late than never right? 

Check out 9 Worst Types of Commuter New Yorker Encounters

[Feature Image Courtesy Ed Yourdon/Flickr] 

get spoiled in your inbox