The Signs of New York

Some people take photos of historical buildings or landmarks when they go to New York City. But I figure you can see a picture of the Empire State Building anywhere. So I take pictures of signs. Here are some from my recent trip.

Alt text

“Sorry, we’re closed because a High Volumen of Carbon of Monoxid. Thank You”

This was on the window of an Italian restaurant on 9th Avenue. The quaint phrasing — “carbon of monoxid” — distracts you from the fact that carbon monoxide is deadly. “We have a, how you say, leaks of the poison gases!” Aww, cute!

Alt text


This is seen in various places around the city. It must be up there with the Surgeon General’s warning on the list of Most Ignored Signs. In fact, I suspect these signs are posted only in places where tourists travel, and only as an inside joke among New Yorkers.

New Yorkers honk constantly. It is their primary method of communication. And they don’t do it to alert other drivers of danger, or to make their presence known to someone who does not see them. No, New Yorkers honk purely out of spite and anger. They honk to let you know that they do not like whatever you have just done, and to indicate that though the moment has passed, and any potential danger with it, they want their extreme disapproval of your actions noted for the record.

They also honk to tell you that they want you to drive forward, even though there are pedestrians or other obstacles in your way. They think you have stopped for no reason at all and that the only thing needed to get you on your way again is for you to be honked at.

At a Starbucks location I saw this:

Alt text

“STORE HOURS: [etc.] Always Open @”

“Darn, Starbucks is closed. Oh, but look, honey! We can go online and look at pictures of coffee! Why, that’s practically the same thing! Thank goodness is always open!”

In many of the subway stations:

Alt text

“Running late? Be sure to slow down on stairs and escalators. 74% of subway customer injuries are caused by slips, trips, and falls.”

The other 26% are caused by stabbings.

This is too short to be a proper "Snide Remarks" column, of course. But I was going to take the week off, what with it being Memorial Day, and then I decided to run this instead, as a little morsel. There's no SnideCast audio version because, hey, it's all pictures. And it's short.