5 haikus about folding subway seats, which the L train is probably about to have more of

Like ghosts they appear at the end of cars, unannounced, unwelcome. You may not even realize they’re there, not a real subway seat but an ephemeral imposter, until the straphanger utilizing the seat gets up and THWACK, the seat hits the wall. Folding subway seats have not been, in all honesty, a frequent enough occurrence on my commutes over the years for them to haunt my daily existence, but when I come into contact with them, greeting and parting are memorably unpleasant.

Only once have I seen a straphanger purposefully close the seat behind them by hand, so as not to momentarily deafen everyone around them. Usually, people just get up, and the seat with them.

You may have noticed but the subways are just a little bit overcrowded. One of the solutions the MTA has come up with is foldable seats which can be locked in place during the morning and evening rush hours to allow for more bodies to be shoved into each car. Photos of these folding seats, spotted by the New York Post in an MTA rail yard on Wednesday, look quite different from the current ones in use on the subway, and thus may not be quite as deafening when they close. Still, now seemed as good a time as ever to pay homage to the ear pain and memories caused by the OG folding seat, especially with these new folding seats set to roll out likely within the next week or two, the Post reports.

Here are this straphanger’s thoughts on the impermanent little chairs, articulated in haiku. If you’re not sure what folding chairs look like, here’s a photo, from a Photobucket user who has created an entire deck’s worth of Pokemon and YuGiOh inspired subway-themed trading cards.


Please stand up gently
Your butt holds the sound
Boom boom seat hits wall

Look an open seat
Oh sweet God that sound is pain
Never mind, I’ll stand

I crave permanence
This seat is temporary
Folding in on self

Stay a chair
Transitions are difficult
Dear lord that is loud

Why are they standing
There is a seat, it’s hiding
Don’t let it fool you

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