Top 10 Gross Things of NYC

New York City Garbage is Gross

Having lived in NYC for 10 years now I have seen some seriously disgusting things. Please don’t misunderstand, I love NYC, it is a very exciting place to live however, a city of 8.4 million people you’re bound to see some very strange things that could make you lose your lunch.

Here is a list of the top 10 gross things I have seen since living here:

1. The spitters- yes we have our share of people who just can’t help themselves. They have to spit everywhere, on the sidewalk, sides of buildings, you name it. My favorite is when people need to spit so badly that they spit on the subway steps because they just can’t wait until they exit the subway. Some spitters are so eager they don’t look beforehand. I have had to do some extreme “Matrix” type moves in order evade an arsenal of phlegm. 

2. The bubble gummers- I love the people who are just so finished with their gum they just spit it out anywhere in lieu of throwing it out in the garbage like the rest of us. These people are just as despicable as the spitters above except worse, given the fact that the half life of gum rivals that of a Twinkie. In addition, if you are the poor unfortunate soul that steps in it, it could take you the next year or more for you to remove it.

3. People who groom in public places this includes but is not limited to, cutting your hair on the subway, shaving your bikini line at a public park, clipping your fingernails on the subway just to name a few. I have seen all of the above. Recently, I had the great pleasure of shopping for steak and there was a very normal looking woman clipping her fingernails in front of the meat counter. By the way- We had fish that evening instead.

4. The nose pickers & wipers- as a NYC commuter I ride the subway everyday as I live too far from my office to walk. On way to many occasions to even count, I have had the pleasure of watching someone pick their nose for the full duration of my subway ride. Just to be clear, they aren’t just kind of rubbing their nose they are digging in there, knuckles deep as if they are trying to unearth the Arc of the Covenant. It gets even better when Indiana Jones Nose Picker finds what he/she is looking for and wipes it under the seat or on the subway bar. Lovely.

5. The fried food eaters or other smelly food of the subway- Yep, NYC is the city that never sleeps. Everyone is just so very busy that some people are inclined to eat on the subway. Including the people who love to eat McDonald’s, KFC and an array of deep fried fast food. A few months ago, there was a relatively normal looking young man who was sitting next to me that opened up a bag of chips. Pretty safe right? At least I thought I was safe. Only they weren’t chips they were fried minnows (no joke, that was not a typo). I used to have a couple of goldfish and it smelled like the food I used to feed them. I was pregnant at the time so the smell was even more pungent. This man was stuffing them in his mouth like a 5 year old with a bag of Big League Chew. Gross.

6. This should probably rank number 1- I saw a pair of tighty whities that had more skid marks than the drag strip at the Lucas Oil Raceway in the 34th St. Herald Square Station. Not much more to say about this.

7. The Smellys – these are the people who hate deodorant and who if god-forbid they are next to you on the train and are hanging onto the subway bar their armpit next to your nose could be confused as a WMD. Where is CTU when you need them?

8. Empty Subway Cars- I can’t complete this post without mentioning that if there is an empty subway car there is a reason. There are smells I never knew existed until I moved here- thanks to empty subway cars. (If you don’t understand what this means just drop me a line at and I’ll explain).

9. Litterbugs- It always amazes me how many people in NYC litter. I have seen people throw their garbage on the train tracks, in the subways, on the street, etc. My favorites are the tools that leave half empty cups of coffee on the train that then tip over and spill making the floor of the sticky and the bottom of your shoes too. Very nice.

10. Rats – At the 23rd Street F line stop they are so friendly they will approach you on the platform. My husband saw one attempt to crawl up a woman’s pants. Gross. 

NYC, I love you but you’re gross.

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