Elevator Rudeness (Not Rules) Endures at NYU

NYU students begin to form a line to ride the Silver Center's north elevator (stopping at odd floors during rush periods). Many students believe the unspoken rules aren't always followed in university elevators.

It doesn’t take New York University students long to realize that the elevators in the Silver Center skip certain floors to avoid rush traffic. It also doesn’t take freshmen long to understand this policy goes along with the basic tenet of the university’s unspoken elevator etiquette: Unless you’re holding something heavy or are disabled, walk up or down one flight of stairs.

Eli Wilkins-Malloy, College of Arts and Science senior, said there are definitely unwritten elevator rules. “Don’t take it to floors three or below,” he said, citing one such faux pas.

Wilkins-Malloy isn’t the only student that knows the rules. “It is super annoying for one person to make the elevator stop and delay the six people getting off on the next floor up,” said Christian Anderson, sophomore at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. “I have little tolerance for people like that,” he added.

Many students, myself included, tighten with annoyance when riders, rushed and stressed, punch their stop without acknowledging that the floor above or beneath theirs is already lit. While students agree that there are elevator “dos and don’ts,” many of the same students feel others ignore these rules.

Gabriella Roselli, CAS freshman, has a theory about why so many disregard common-sense rules. “I’m assuming it’s because everyone’s in a rush,” she said, shrugging.

CAS sophomore Jon Chang was more blunt. “No one really follows them,” he said.  “People just don’t care.”

Well, except Anderson. He posted a sign reminding everyone of “the rules” in the high-rise elevators at Hayden Residence Hall last year because it annoyed him to see people making lazy choices and inconveniencing others in the process. Anderson added he felt the necessity of such action was “ridiculous.” Unfortunately for him, the sign didn’t last long.

“I was pissed that there were people who not only chose to ignore the suggestion, which is their choice, but then ripped it down,” Anderson said, seemingly lamenting the loss.

While Anderson’s endeavor was unsuccessful in curbing campus laziness, the battle has continued in recent years on the Internet, where frustrations have at least been vented, if not resolved. A site listing several basic elevator rules, elevatorrules.com, hopes to promote elevator etiquette worldwide.

“If you are going up or down one floor, use the stairs!” explained a post on elevatorrules.com. “This rule should especially be observed during peak traffic times like morning and afternoon rush,” the post continued.

Anderson said he believed such assumed elevator rules help people to be more aware of their actions. “As someone who always makes a point to hold a door open for someone, I guess it is the same principle,” he explained.

However, the elevatorrules.com added that there are some exceptions to elevator etiquette that many students also recognized.

Though Jessica Dubin, CAS freshman, said it was “really annoying” when the elevator stops at every floor, she allowed it’s okay  “if someone is on crutches or during off-hours.”

Though I’ll admit I occasionally break the rules using exceptions as a smokescreen (If you’re feeling lazy, pretending to be “sick” lessens the annoyance of other riders), I believe the rules are an important part of student life in New York City. Without the embarrassment that comes with being “that person” who can’t walk up one flight of stairs, getting from one place to another would be a lot harder. We live in a city filled with elevators, after all.

Tori Woodward, CAS sophomore, acknowledged this as well. “I think it’s embarrassing when you get in the elevator and hit the next floor up,” she said.

And for those readers who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, please visit elevatorrules.com and, as the site says, make “the world a better place – one elevator ride at a time.”

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