It is an unwritten rule in NY that if you are a tourist, especially if you are part of an enormous tour group, you do NOT ride the subway during the morning rush hour. This is not only courteous, but for your own safety, as pre-caffeinated New Yorkers attempting to get to work on time are not known to be the nicest bunch.
As I waited to get on the 6 train at Grand Central this morning, a young mother with a toddler and a newborn in a large stroller stood next to me. I see this woman nearly every morning with her children and I usually let her get on the train in front of me so she doesn't get shoved around too much by the other people crowding onto the train. I think of myself as her own personal commute bouncer. As the 6 train arrived today, a HUGE tour group of high school students and their teachers/parents attempted to shove their way onto the train, knocking myself and the woman with her children out of the way and not even letting the people trying to leave the train get off. Though the parents/teachers weren't doing any of the shoving, they were standing in the back yelling and ENCOURAGING the students to shove their way onto the train so that the entire group could get on before the train left. The people trying to get off the train were IRATE and one of the high school students nearly got herself punched in the face for her overly aggressive tactics. I blocked the woman with the stroller from the herd and got her and myself out of the way. The entire group managed to get on the train when an MTA employee finally came over to investigate the hold-up. He asked the chaperones where the group was headed and when they answered the World Trade Center and the young mother and I groaned. The 6 train doesn't connect to the World Trade Center stop. We waited for the entire group to get off the train, and the MTA employee held the train and allowed the mother and I to get on and finally make our way to work.
I'm annoyed at the students for the complete lack of consideration for the people around them, but even more annoyed that the chaperones not only allowed the behavior to happen, but that they encouraged it. This group was going to pay tribute to a site where thousands of New Yorkers lost their lives, yet they couldn't show an ounce of decorum and selflessness. I would have been more than willing to assist their group onto the train, or to point them in the direction of the MTA employee stationed on the platform to answer questions, but instead I nearly got a black eye just trying to shield 2 young children from harm and get to work on time.
I really need to get out of this city before I turn into one of those curmudgeonly old women with their grocery carts wandering the street complaining about the young hoodlums.