This is undoubtedly the worst time of year to be a subway commuter. The underground platforms are hot, stinky and hot again. Commuters sweat through their shirts as they fan themselves with whatever they can find in their bags to use as a fan or risk passing out from holding their breath so as not to inhale the smell of urine.

Old train at the New York Transit Museum
Old train at the New York Transit Museum

Sweet relief usually comes when the air conditioned train pulls up – unless it’s full and you find your nose dangerously close to someone’s body odor.

But the train isn’t all bad for a commute. Unlike when you’re driving, you can get lost in a book – worst case scenario you miss your stop. There are plenty of non-phone-based ways to pass the time that don’t include annoying fellow train riders or staring at Dr. Zizmor ads.

Here are some fun subway activities:

  1. Read the Spanish version of signs, see if you can translate.
  2. Stand without holding on. See if you can go stop to stop without grabbing on or falling over.
  3. Ride in the very front car and look out the window.
  4. Play seat roulette. Try to guess where you’re most likely to get a seat and stand there.Screen shot 2014-06-16 at 2.19.09 PM
  5. Count how many Longchamp bags you spot with Magdalene.
  6. Take the B or D to Brooklyn, the Bronx-bound 1, the 7 to Queens or another train that runs above ground. Stare out the window like an excited kid.
  7. Practice your pole dancing skills. (Wait, no, don’t do this!)
  8. Listen in on other people’s conversations. Bonus points if you understand another language.
  9. Look for the K train. I saw it once!
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