Just like walking down the sidewalk, in New York City, there are rules of etiquette regarding the use of escalators in the subway, and anywhere else they may be found. For the most part, there are two options on an escalator: move or stand still. There are two "lanes" for this, with an imaginary split right down the middle of the escalator. If you are climbing or descending the escalator and are moving to go faster, you should be in the left "lane". If you are standing still, you should be in the right. Never stand in the middle, or stand next to your friend, blocking the move lane. If you have belongings, stack them behind you, not beside you.
For an example of perfect escalator etiquette, check out this line of about 30 people all following proper protocol on an early morning subway commute.
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