Thursday, July 19, 2012

Top 5 Rules for Walking in New York

New York City is fantastic--lots to do, lots to see, and lots to eat.  Naturally it attracts visitors.  But, all visitors should have a primer on how to walk through the streets of Manhattan.  I'm here to provide just such a primer.

5: Umbrellas.  Learn how to use them.  Seriously.  If it isn't raining, they shouldn't be open.  If it is, they shouldn't prevent you from walking normal speed.  Also, get a sense of where your umbrella begins and ends.

4: Stairs.  If you step off an escalator or come out of a stairwell, the proper thing to do is keep moving, not stand there until you figure out which direction you need to go.  Every second you stand there gazing aimlessly into the bright lights is a second closer the people behind you are getting to murder.

3: Pay attention to stop lights.  You may look up and see a "don't walk" sign flashing.  But look at the stop lights--if cars that would otherwise hit you are stopped at a red light, and cars going the same direction as you have a green light (not an arrow, but a green light)--go!  The pedestrian lights are a few steps behind the traffic lights.

2: Ignore "don't walk" signs.  If you are at a corner and there is a "don't walk" sign, but there are no cars in sight, just go.

1: Treat it like driving.  You wouldn't stop your car in the middle of the street to look around.  No, you'd pull over first.  Same thing applies--the streets here are filled with busy people frantically trying to get to and from work.  When you just stop it causes a traffic jam behind you.  Just don't do it.

You're welcome, fellow New Yorkers.

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  1. Kooz - you missed if walking in a group larger than 2 to stagger so that if people want to get by you they can.  there is nothing worse than getting stuck behind a group of 3 or 4+ tourists out for a "sunday stroll" taking up the ENTIRE sidewalk when you are trying to get somewhere by a certain time!

  2. I couldn't agree more--that is absolutely a rule and should be included.

  3.  When you get off the train at Grand Central get to an open area before stopping to gaze with your mouth open.

  4. My strategy for walking in NYC is to never make eye contact with people who are walking toward you, while still tracking them out of the corner of your eye. This is how you get them to make way for you in a crowd - fear that you're going to accidentally plow right into them if they don't. You do have to actually keep watch though, because they might REALLY not be looking where they're going.

    As for #2, you put yourself at a major risk for a jaywalking ticket out in Los Angeles if you do that. It's crazy how people just stand there waiting for the signal, with nary a car in sight, but you gotta do it. Takes awhile to recalibrate in either direction when you go from one coast to the other.

  5. Per my drama teacher in high school, I always try to "walk like an exclamation point, not like a question mark!"