I've read in multiple places that two men have been arrested in New York for "manspreading", sitting on the subway with legs spreading.

It seems quite unbelievable. First of all, I don't think people are arrested for travelling without a ticket, which surely must be a worst offence than occupying more than one seat. Secondly because it basically means that you could go to jail for not sitting properly, which I find immoral.

Did it happen? If so, is it illegal to sit improperly?

  • You find not sitting properly immoral? </ambigous_english_parsing> – user5341 Dec 24 '15 at 18:55
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    Apropos nothing, you cannot be arrested for traveling without a ticket in NYC subway. There are no tickets to carry and be checked - only cards you swipe at the subway entrance (and yes, you CAN be arrested if you vault the gate and a cop happens to be around). – user5341 Dec 24 '15 at 19:19
  • that's fascinating, @user5341 ! – Fattie Jun 12 '18 at 17:48


  • There's a largely undocumented - and lacking any detail - single claim from a biased group with an agenda.

  • Even if the claim were true (which, lacking detail or proof we can't prove), it seems misleading, as the arrest would have been for having prior outstanding arrest warrants.

Snopes article pretty much covers this in great detail: http://www.snopes.com/2015/06/02/manspreading-arrest/

Relevant summaries (highlighting mine):

So while multiple outlets reported upon New York City's first manspreading arrests, those articles all traced back to a single Gothamist article. The original article was predicated upon a report released by a group advocating against the New York Police Department's controversial use of "Broken Windows" policing, and it comprised a potpourri of reports, anecdotes, and other datapoints of unspecified origin.

... after detailing all the details MISSING from the report to make it credible....

It's possible that two unnamed men were arrested in New York City for manspreading, but no details about the claim were made available in the original report or any of the many later repetitions of it. The scant information suggested that the men were arrested not for manspreading but for arrest warrants already active at the time they came to the attention of the NYPD.

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    What I find the most amusing is how the same datapoint caused equal amount of outrage on Breitbart and HuffingtonPost. – user5341 Dec 24 '15 at 19:19

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