A Brief NY Field Guide: Walking

I am writing a series of posts about NY for people who are coming into town for BlogHer this August. My friend Jett suggested the idea and I ran with it. Today we’re going to talk about walking.

Now, I’m sure you are familiar with the basic concept of being mobile. Please note that through I use the term “walking” for all of this the concepts apply regardless of if you are walking, in a wheelchair or anything else. So let’s just leap right in. Also, for real, wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking in NY and you want your feet happy. Comfortable shoes may be the single most important thing you bring to BlogHer and, really, to NY.

When walking in NY please keep a few things in mind, won’t you? While walking along a street, stay to the right side of the sidewalk. No matter which way you’re walking, stay to the right. You’ll notice most everyone else is as well. That way you don’t have as many clusterfucks with people just trying to push past each other. It’s a simple rule and one that will help a lot. The right hand rule applies to staircases and escalators as well.

You stand to the right on an escalator so people who are walking can get by. If you walk up or down the escalator, then stay to the left and walk till your heart is content. But if you are going to stand there and ride, stay to the right.

Now when you’re walking along a street you may have friends with you. Do try to not block the entire sidewalk with your group. You can hear each other talk fine if you are a small cluster instead of a wide line. As a wide line across the street you are blocking people going the other way and possibly slowing down people behind you. It’s rude.

Also when you need to stop, for any reason, pull over to the curb (Not into the street, there are cars there. Don’t get hit by one. Or a bus. That’s also bad. Or a bike. Do you see what I’m saying? Stay out of the street!) or over to the side of a building and stop there. If you’re at a corner either pull to the side of a building or a few feet away from the corner itself at the curb.

Think of walking in NY like driving on a highway. Imagine, if you would, that you’re driving along a highway and need to stop for a second to get something out of the back of your car. Would you just hit the brakes and stop in the middle of a four lane highway? I hope not. No. I know not, because if you did that there is a really high chance you are dead right now and not reading this.

To any ghosts reading this, I apologize. But you’re still dead. You’re reading this, though, ghost friends, and so, hi! How’s the afterlife treating you? Bet you wish you hadn’t stopped in the middle of the highway like that.

Because you pull over to the shoulder and do your business there. You don’t block people, slow down the world or otherwise make life harder for other people. Just not good form.

If you do just stop in the middle of the street you may get snarled at, bitched at, cursed out, gestured at and/or bumped into. You did it to yourself. No one will feel sorry for you, except possibly some of your friends who also don’t know any better than to be rude people.

And note I am not saying you have to walk quickly or rush around. I stroll around the city quite often myself, with friends. We just leave space for people to get around us, listen for folks behind us saying “excuse me,” and walk on the right side of the sidewalk.

Everyone is trying to get somewhere. Fast or slow, we’re all moving. There are a lot of people. It pays to be polite and follow some simple rules for ease of sidewalk use.

Because, seriously, no one has any problem bumping into you and cursing you out for not knowing how to walk down a damn street. But if you don’t want to walk, maybe you would rather take a subway? Come back tomorrow for some subway talk.

And don’t forget to leave questions for NY, whatever they are, in comments! Come Friday I will do a special, final post that is your questions and their answers.


Other posts in the A Brief NY Field Guide series: General Stuff | Subways | Cabs | The rest

You can also find information , theoretically, about things to do in New York City at UpTake, a site that speciifcally asked me to link to them, and sorta-bribed me to do so. They might even be useful! Who knows!

5 Comments

  1. Jessi July 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    I’d like to point out, for the record, that these rules are not exclusive to New York. I live in what I believe to be the world’s smallest town, (pop. 245, bitches) but still these rules apply. Common sense, people, use it.

  2. APK July 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    They are nothing like exclusive to NY. None of the stuff in this guide is. But, regardless, many people do not seem ot know it or need a refresher.

  3. Jessi July 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Absolutely.

  4. TheGreenCat July 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    I’d like to add one thing: LOOK in the direction in which you are walking! There’s lots of cool stuff to look at in NYC (tall buildings! street maps! your cell phone! naked cowboys!) but PLEASE look where you are going. I can’t tell you the number of times I have been walked into by an oblivious person who was looking the other way.

  5. always home and uncool July 21, 2010 at 9:32 am #

    What’s the best way to respond to this typical question posed by a native NYer to a visitor to his/her fair city:

    “Whatcha gawkin’ at, muthahfucka?”

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