Photo: Luna Vandoorne/Shutterstock

14 Things You Say When You're Late in NYC

New York City Languages
by Vanessa Nirode Sep 3, 2015

1. “My taxi driver didn’t know how to get to Brooklyn!”

It is mind-boggling how often this is really true.

2. “Sorry! I had to take the G train to get here.”

Oh, yes, the good old ‘ghost train.’ There isn’t any middle ground here. When it’s good, it’s amazing. When it’s bad, you can find yourself down on a platform somewhere in Brooklyn or Queens with a few hundred of your closest friends waiting for a train that never shows up.

3. “There was a sick passenger on the train.”

The dreaded ‘sick passenger’ announcement can cripple a subway line for hours. No one ever knows ‘sick from what.’

4. “There was police activity on the 2/3 line.”

Another one of the MTA’s cryptic announcements: “Due to police activity, 2/3 trains are running with delays.”

5. “The tunnel was backed up.”

Technically, those who use this one live in New Jersey and are trying to get into the city…but we’ll let that slide.

6. “The president is in town.”

Whenever our great city gets a visit from President Obama, traffic is effectively snarled for hours, streets are blocked off, and epic gridlock ensues.

7. “The 2/3 was running local.”

When express trains run local without warning, your commute time can often double.

8. “I couldn’t get a cab in this rain!”

9. “Girls was filming on my block.”

I work in the film business so I can never get away with this one (no, I don’t work on Girls) but the presence of Lena Dunham and 8-15 film trucks on your block can definitely muck things up a bit.

10. “I couldn’t get out of Queens.”

Weekends in Queens often mean that the 7 train isn’t running. The N and Q are on the R line or maybe it’s the V line — which is now the M line — and you find you’re effectively stranded in Queens.

11. “Some idiot was double parked next my car.”

This is one of the reasons why it’s good to not have a car in the city: there really isn’t enough parking for all the cars that are already here.

12. “I thought I left my cell phone in a cab.”

Not a real reason for being late but we’ve all used this one at least once.

13. “I called an Uber but it never showed up.”

What this really means is “I waited too long to leave and it was too late to take the train and I thought I could hail a cab but then I couldn’t find one so I called an Uber instead and by then I was already late.”

14. “Trains were effed-up!”

The classic, all-encompassing NYC excuse for lateness anytime.

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