Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Waiting on Line vs. Waiting in Line: Part Two

In coping with Hurricane Sandy, the election and now a Nor'easter storm, New Yorkers have suffered through a lot of inconveniences lately. Just consider how much time people are spending in line (or "on line," as New Yorkers say).

A gas shortage in Queens. Photo courtesy of New York Daily News.

From the Gothamist blog:
Whether it be for gasoline, diapers, the subway, meaningless participation in the electoral college, or for the sole working elevator in an office building still running on reduced electricity, waiting on line always demands the same degree of civility and patience.
To help out, Gothamist provides some handy rules for waiting on line, such as not cutting or stepping on people's heels.

Most interesting to me: The writer concludes the blog post by defending the "on line" phrasing:
On a side note, because this comes up every freaking time we mention waiting on line, New Yorkers do in fact wait ON line. Waiting IN line is also acceptable, but don't try to correct us in the comments on this regionalism.
Gothamist links to a map showing where the "on line" expression is used around the country. (I assume the only reason it pops up in Los Angeles and the Bay Area is because of transplanted New Yorkers.)


As I've mentioned before, even New York subway signage adheres to the "on line" expression. But there may be some dissent forming. I noticed this local PSA on the platform of a 7 train in Queens.


How culturally insensitive!