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The New York City Subway Commuter Kit

Published: December 17, 2018

New Yorkers love to hate the subway. Though the 115-year-old institution is delayed, overcrowded, and glitchy, it’s still how most of us get from A to B. There’s something almost romantic about the daily MTA grind: it hits “pause” on our rushed morning, gives us a chance to sit (or squeeze) among the miscellany of characters populating this city.

Live here, and you’re taking the subway. The only question is how bad the ride will be. We sourced everything you need to endure—and perhaps even enjoy—your subway commute.

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Headphones

Why Buy: There are two schools of thought when it comes to headphones on the subway: be low-key with an out-of-sight pair of buds, or state your purpose loud and clear with an over-ear set. We recommend the latter route as it will deter unsolicited conversation from bewildered tourists and Long Island moms “in for a show.” These lightweight and foldable Sennheisers take up limited real estate in your bag, and their pillow-like ear cushioning is comfortable all day long. We especially like the adaptive noise cancelling that adjusts to external noise levels.

Côte & Ciel Ganges XM Bag

Why Buy: The subway has enough Herschels and Fjällrävens. This backpack/tote/shoulder bag designed in Le Marais (Paris’s SoHo) is way more interesting. Côte & Ciel, French for “coast and sky,” began as a one-off project commissioned by Apple, but now it’s a separate brand of design-forward travel accessories. This style is incredibly functional, featuring an interior laptop pocket, two external zipped pockets, and a water-repellent shell. Also, it looks really cool.

Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch

Why Buy: This watch has all the functionality of the most tech-centric smartwatches but still looks sleek enough to wear with a suit. There’s a lot to like about this device—including the built-in GPS and the four-day-long battery life—but the coolest feature is probably the offline Spotify streaming.

Hobonichi Techo Weekly Planner

Why Buy: The Japanese are famous for smart, streamlined design, so it’s no wonder they’ve nailed the planner. Hobonichi Techo planners have a cultish following with Tumblr pages, Reddit threads, and almost a million Instagram posts dedicated to their worship. The slim, compact design of this model makes it perfect for stashing in your already crammed bag.

NutriBullet Pro 900 Blender with 24 oz To-Go Cup

Why Buy: Nobody likes the guy digging into a fragrant banh mi on the A. (He’s probably the same one manspreading.) Give your fellow passengers the respect they deserve and snack on something that doesn’t smell. The NutriBullet Pro 900 comes with a handled to-go cup and a flip-top lid. In other words, the perfect vessel for your morning smoothie.

Wickett and Craig Leather iPad Sleeve

Why Buy: Keep your iPad safe in this buttery leather case from Wickett and Craig, the specialty vegetable tannery that’s been producing durable, eco-friendly leather goods since 1867. If spending $200 on an iPad case seems like overkill, consider that it was handsewn in the USA.

Lemonade Renters Insurance

Why Buy: This one isn’t for your bag—it protects everything inside it. Most renters insurance policies cover pricey (read: frequently stolen) items like laptops and smartphones, even if they’re taken outside of your apartment. Lemonade is dead easy to sign up for—just download the app and answer a few questions—and can pay back claims in as little as three seconds. Yes, you read that right.

Subscription to The New Yorker

Why Buy: You already have the tote. It’s time to own the aesthetic and actually read the magazine. “Shouts & Murmurs” is the perfect length for three or four stops—save the long-form essays for later (or for storing on your coffee table).

Curated By

Frances Thomas

Quiddity Content Editor