I know you know how to walk and you’re thinking how is walking in New York City any different than where any other place. Let me just tell you, it’s way different. One thing you have to know, there are all kinds of walkers (and I don’t mean zombies) in NYC, especially Manhattan. First there are the oblivious walkers. These people will walk right into you. Most of them are on their cell phones held out in front of their faces and walking towards you from the other direction. You are thinking they will see you with their periphery vision and avoid you, maybe at the last second. That may work sometimes but don’t count on it. You’ll be playing a game of chicken as you walk towards each other from opposite directions. Then count on doing a lot of jumping or lurching out of the way when you get close, as again, they will walk right into you. And by the way, if you think the rule about staying to the right works, think again. These people don’t care about that rule. Maybe they’re from England or somewhere they drive on the left side of the road but odds are, they are just oblivious.
Then there are the diagonal walkers. These are the people who are walking in the same direction as you and they are in front of you and you want to walk faster than they are and get ahead of them. Just when you think there is an opening to one side and you start to head that way to get around them, they start to fade in that direction, or diagonally across the sidewalk. These people are clueless to your intent and don’t really care that they are slowing you down. You will typically have to do a lot of zig zagging until you time it just right and you can get the jump on them. Then move fast, swiftly passing them. Don’t even bother looking over your shoulder at them. These diagonal walkers are also oblivious.
Watch out for the people just chatting and loitering in groups of 3 or 4 and completely blocking the sidewalk. You cannot get by without bumping into them, which is a no no in New York. So you need to walk into the road to get by but watch out as a taxi will hit you from behind if you’re not careful. And be extra careful getting back onto the sidewalk. Those curbs can be slippery. Take it from me. I fell down in a heap one day using this exact maneuver. I fell right next to a big pile of dog poop. Two people, a guy and a girl, came to my aid to see if I was ok and the guy kept telling me I fell into the dog poop but he was wrong. Just missed it. Ruined a pair of dress pants though, with a big hole in the knee. That guy must have hoped I fell into the dog poop since he said it about 17 times with a smirk on his face. “Hey Dude” he said, “think you got some doggy dooty on your leg man”. Thanks for the help dude. I did not fall into the dog poop! Sometimes I walk right up to the group to about 3 feet away and just deke and juke a bit until they get the hint and move to one side. That works about half the time. I do this to teach them a lesson about blocking everyone else from moving down the sidewalk.
Walking in New York City? Don’t Hesitate
Lastly, there are the stop and goers. You’ll be walking down the street and everyone will be moving along nicely when someone in front of you gets a thought in their clueless head. Something that probably doesn’t happen often. And stop. Just stop without even thinking there might be a person walking behind them. NYC is pretty small anyway with not many people in it. Only 1.6 million people live in Manhattan, after all. Chances of someone walking behind you is pretty slim. Clueless. You have to stay vigilant my friends. Keep a certain distance when walking behind anyone. Just in case you need to lurch out of the way to avoid bumping into someone in New York City.