Would You Rather?

Which is the lesser of two commuting evils: Bumper-to-bumper traffic or subway delays?

By Lambeth Hochwald  | September 25, 2017 - 2:00PM

Hell hath no fury like a New Yorker late for work. And yet there we are on too many mornings, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or trying to stare a hole in the grimy, un-moving wall of the subway tunnel, with no choice but to do it over again the next day and hope things move more smoothly.
We asked five New Yorkers which is the worse place to be stuck, in a traffic jam or on a stalled subway train. Reactions were mixed.

A traffic jam means a concert in a car

"I’d rather be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic because I can have more space for a full concert with whatever music is in the car, take a break to snack, and change the climate control from hot to cold."—Chanel Speedy, Harlem (pictured below)


Cool under traffic pressure

"I’d rather be in bumper-to-bumper traffic. My husband can’t believe how calm I am in traffic. I always say [to myself], 'I have a comfortable seat, climate control, a stereo, and a hands-free phone which I can hear with my windows up.' No preachers, no hustlers, no acrobats on subway poles. It beats standing in crowded, smelly, screeching subway car any day!"—Diane DiResta, Staten Island

Riding out the smell

"This is a tricky question. If I can sit with my book, then it's subway all the way. That is, unless I took a gamble on that car with the mystery smell thinking, 'I can handle it for 30 minutes.'"—Brooklyn Emery, Forest Hills, Queens

Fresh air for me

"I would rather be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic as you are able to open the windows for fresh air should you feel the need to do so. The other advantage is that you’re in control of your situation. If an earlier exit or turn becomes available, you can always take it. And if you’re in a cab, you can exit and proceed on foot if the traffic isn’t moving."—Eric Katzman, Bayside, Queens

All the train's a stage

"I can wholeheartedly share that I would rather be stuck in the subway with someone screaming how the world is ending and "Zinon" is our savior, while someone else starts with, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, it's showtime!" as they spin above my head and kick me in the face than ever be stuck in New York City bumper-to-bumper traffic."—Lisa Santacruz, Upper East Side 

The verdict: For a majority of these New Yorkers, even bumper-to-bumper traffic is better than being stuck underground.



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