7 Ways to Stay Sane on Your Subway Commute

It's showtime...

ny subway hero

Ahh, summer in NYC. The free outdoor movies, the rooftop pools, the happy hours…and then there’s the stinky, hot, crowded subway. Here’s how to stay sane on the train, so you can arrive at your destination calm, cool and collected, even when it’s 100 degrees.

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Avoid "showtime" Like The Plague

If you hear someone shout “It’s showtime,” your train is about to be filled with dudes flipping around on the subway poles, Cirque du Soleil-style. Move as close to the subway doors as possible to avoid getting hit in the face with a sneaker.

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Transport Yourself To The Beach

Thanks to the OMG. I Can Meditate! app, you can pop in your headphones, shut your eyes and hang out on the beach for 15 minutes. Try it the next time you’re stuck between stations.

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Comedy Central

Get Out Of The Flow Of Traffic

If the train is super crowded, push through the people crammed near the door and move to the roomier center of the car. The top pole is underrated, people. Take advantage.

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Try Breathing Exercises

The next time you have someone’s armpit jammed in your face and you feel like you’re going to scream, try equal breathing. Breathe in for a count of four, then breathe out for a count of four. Repeat slowly until you reach your destination. 

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Beware The Empty Car

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: If no one else wants to be in the empty car, neither do you. It’s either hot, smelly or both. Never break this cardinal rule.

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"Modern Lovers" by Emma Straub

Distract Yourself With An Amazing Book

Here’s an idea for your daily commute: Read Emma Straub’s engrossing new novel about three friends in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. They’re former members of a semi-successful rock band but are now dealing with the challenges of middle age. Just don't get distracted and miss your stop.

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Brooklyn Blonde

Wear Layers

In the summer, you can walk into the subway as a put-together gal and emerge as a mess of melted eyeliner and lipstick. Take off your sweater and stick with a tank top while you’re on the train. You’ll stay cooler and save money on dry-cleaning, so it’s a win-win.

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From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.