Though not everyone’s is, my experience in New York City has been mostly positive.
When I was visibly pregnant the majority of people offered seats. (If you’re 5 months, and the train car is packed, and you’re wearing a coat, in fairness to the other citizens, people can’t tell you’re pregnant. I was not above unbuttoning my coat and brandishing the bump.) There were only a couple of instances when I wanted to rip some teenager’s ear buds out, and give him a word or two.
But let’s see what the survey says:
Elizabeth Carey Smith rode the city’s subways while noticeably pregnant and documented how many people offered up a seat. The results, published in the Wall Street Journal with some colorful charts, show that New Yorkers are generally a good bunch.
Over the course of 108 train rides in full cars, Smith was given a seat 88 times. So 81 % of the time she got to sit down. Smith told the Journal, “New Yorkers aren’t as rude as we like to think that we are, or as other people think that we are. I was sure that I was going to find out that people were terrible.”
She didn’t take note of ethnicity but she did discover that men and women were equally likely to offer their seats. Riders on the G train were least likely to get up (will there ever be something nice to say about the G train?!). Men on the Brooklyn-traversing L train were the kindest (ah, those bearded Bushwick hipsters are so sweet). The same can be said for women on the east-side 6 train (I guess the upper east side biotches are all in town cars.)
So, there you have it. New Yorkers are nice. It’s never surprising to me. Though it’s worth noting the larger audience that there are signs on the seats instructing passengers to give it up for those who need it. Now we just need a survey of how many people help haul strollers up those wretched, steep steps.