How to walk the city streets of New York
Ok. Get your mind out of the gutter. This post is about how literally to walk on the streets of New York. I recommend you pay heed and use a cheat sheet if need be going forward. Admittedly, I am a bit of a walking snob but I offer these in the vein of helping my fellow humans out. Here are some bits of advice on how to navigate those sidewalks of New York.
- Don’t stop short at the curb. We jay walk in New York. We take great pride in that fact. If the little red hand is flashing, we still have about ten seconds more to cross the street. Ten seconds is a lifetime in New York. Go for it. However, if you are not going to make a run for it, please don’t stop short at the curb. Most of the New Yorkers in back of you will hiss and sigh if made to lose the light. Just step aside.
- Don’t take up extra space. New Yorkers bob and weave in and out of foot traffic. If you are holding hands with your honey –good for you but stop it immediately. We view that as a moving roadblock. Furthermore, if it is raining do not use a golf-sized umbrella. That is just obnoxious.
- Be on the lookout …always. Always walk scanning the environment 50 feet ahead. Is there a person talking to themselves? Is someone agitated up ahead? Watch out as well for doors opening onto sidewalk. There are many Starbucks in the city of New York (hardly any mom pop coffee shops..but that is a whole other blog topic). Their doors all open outward onto the sidewalk and people are in a major hurry carrying very hot liquids. Beware. Look out for open grates on the ground that allow for deliveries day and night. I saw someone once fall down into one. Lastly, if you are already looking down, look for dog poop that pooper scoopers didn’t pick up. We are not as bad as Paris, but still be cautious.
- Watch out for moving items. Bicyclists in New York scare me the same way that cab drivers scare tourists. I’ve bene run over by a bicyclist. Nicole Kidman has been run over for god’s sake. I couldn’t help myself. Seriously, bicyclists on the sidewalks and in the parks should not be there yet they do readily bike through those areas. I really do not understand those that weave in and out of traffic with no bike helmet on. That is a nutty thing to do in New York. Also, be careful when walking by mothers with baby carriages. They tend to use the carriages as battering rams to get through foot and car traffic.
- Walk away from the ladders. If you are superstitious like I am, some streets really drive one batty. There is a ton of construction in New York going on at any one time. As such, there are ladders everywhere. I try to get as far away as possible from ladders. Number one, my mom instilled in me the horror of walking under a ladder. It was to be avoided at all costs as it would bring a major dose of bad luck. In New York, I also avoid walking near ladders because I am always afraid something is going to fall down and hot my head. Yes, I’m paranoid.
- Avoid cops. I don’t know about you but I do not like walking near cops. I just avoid it. This is probably god advice anywhere.
- Look both ways. Even when you are crossing a one-way street, look both ways. You never know if a bicyclist is biking down the wrong way. Further, there are those cars that are just confused by the city layout and go down the wrong way on the street. Luckily, traffic doesn’t move very quickly so they often don’t get far before realizing their mistake.
- If you want to stroll…If you are looking for leisurely stroll through the city streets of New York then either 3pm or 3am is your time. At 3pm, you have way less people walking the streets as many people are locked in their office or cubicle looking at the clock tick. At 3pm, most stores have shorter check-out lines. At 3pm, you can actually sip a cup of coffee with way less fear of being bumped into. At 3am, you can scream and shout and run all around with all the other weirdos walking around at that time. At 3am, you can still shop and eat in the city that never sleeps- you just get to do it with slightly less people.