Ask CityLab

Answering thorny questions about urban life

Max Rossi / Reuters

What Happens to the Coins People Toss Into Fountains?

There’s a lot of confusion about the secret life of submerged pennies.

REUTERS/Toby Melville

Cyclists vs. Runners: A Path to Peace

Rules for sharing space in the park.


Ask CityLab: Can I Climb Urban Trees?

How to fulfill your leafy fantasies safely and legally.

Susan Sermoneta/Flickr

How Much Loyalty Do I Owe My Local Shops?

Am I a traitor for ditching one mom-and-pop place for another one?

Ghita Katz Olsen

Ask CityLab: How Can I Keep My Dog With Me While I'm Running Errands?

Cities aren’t always the friendliest place for man’s best friend. But you can make it a little better.


Why Do Passengers Insist on Crowding Around Subway Doors?

And how can you get the bottleneckers to move?

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Why Are Manholes Bursting Into Flames?

Yet another thing to blame on snow and ice.

Canadian Pacific/Flickr

How to Avoid Bringing Home Bedbugs

Expert exterminator tips for keeping the menaces at bay.

Meredith Wade

It’s Probably OK To Eat Fruit From City Trees

New research is good news for hungry urbanites.

Saaton /

Ask CityLab: What's the Deal with Steam Rising from the NYC Streets?

The plumes are so common, but also mysterious.

drivebysh00ter / Flickr

Ask CityLab: Why Won't Subway Doors Reopen When I Try to Squeeze Through?

Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

Corey Templeton/flickr

Ask CityLab: Do "WALK" Buttons Actually Do Anything?

Hurry up and wait.


Ask CityLab: How Do I Get Rid of Head Lice?

They multiply like bunnies. The sooner you spot them, the better.

Mary Esch / AP

Ask CityLab: Why Do Sewer Systems Leak Noxious Waste in the Summer?

Caution: Dry heaving and a feces-filled river ahead.

Heiko Kiera/

Ask CityLab: How Do I Wage War on Rats?

An urban rodentologist explains how to defeat the sneaky vermin.

Syda Productions/

Ask CityLab: Do I Really Need to Wear a Seat Belt Whenever I Ride in a Taxi?

There’s a lot of debate over that strap.


Ask CityLab: Why Does My Food Taste So Weird on Airplanes?

A new study suggests it’s all in your ears.

Iakov Filimonov/

Ask CityLab: Can I Bike With My Baby?

Here’s how to safely take your little one for a spin.