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"We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow / And watch where the chalk-white arrows go"
August 18, 2011 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Where the sidewalk ends: A new walking code of conduct, 10 proposed rules for New York City sidewalks.
posted by Fizz (142 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
no walking backwards, no stopping.
posted by sweetkid at 11:32 AM on August 18, 2011


No Walking Three Abreast: $100 Fine per person, which doubles for each additional person.

What's more frustrating than being stuck behind a wall of people walking 2 miles per hour?


What's more frustrating? Meeting such an oncoming party, none of whom are willing to step ahead or behind of the group, forcing you onto the verge.

I'll take the $100 out of their hides.
posted by BrashTech at 11:33 AM on August 18, 2011


does not include escalator etiquette, i.e., STAND TO THE RIGHT YOU MORONS GRARRRR, and is therefore worthless to me.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Finally, something for New Yorkers to be angry about!
posted by DU at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2011 [32 favorites]


Failure to Stay Right: $50 Fine.

This.
posted by Fizz at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2011


I like.
posted by grobstein at 11:35 AM on August 18, 2011


What about sudden stoppers?
posted by nathancaswell at 11:35 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


also: should include exemptions for the elderly/otherwise somewhat less mobile, obviously, and a special million-dollar fine for bicycles on the sidewalk.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:35 AM on August 18, 2011


The Tourist Lane
posted by floam at 11:35 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


What happens to the woman I saw yesterday standing on her bike, on the sidewalk, in the crosswalk zone, through at least two full light cycles, waiting for the Walk light? 1. There is and will be no Walk light unless you press the button. 2. Its name contains a clue.
posted by enn at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh god yes.

Addresses a particular pet peeve of mine

No Zigzagging on the Sidewalk: $50 Fine.
We all know the "weaver" who meanders from one side to the other, cutting us off multiple times along the way. There is an exemption for the blind.

But no exemption for children! If little Jimmy is acting all cute and adorable, walking in circles, stopping to point at cats or squirrels, stopping occasionaly to babble incoherently I should be able to knock his ass to be pavement. It is a harsh world out there kid, toughen up while you have a chance.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2011 [17 favorites]


Leash perpendicular to the sidewalk? Doesn't that mean you're standing on your dog as it walks?

Are.. are there Segway Dogs now? That's kind of bitchin'.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


First World, East Coast, Big City problems?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


the tourist lane
posted by madamjujujive at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there a catalog somewhere of articles like this that get written again every six months forever? Like a TVTropes for hack journalism? Because there really should be.
posted by RogerB at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


I fault no one for walking poorly unless you're manning one of those NASA-designed armed heavy personnel transport strollers. You need a freaking rudder on those things
posted by The Whelk at 11:36 AM on August 18, 2011


I admittedly have not spent much time in NYC, but you know what I hated most about the sidewalks there? Garbage. Garbage on the sidewalks. I'm not talking about litter, I'm talking about the fundamental lack of infrastructure that makes it necessary to put your garbage out in front of your building, taking up precious walking space and stinking horribly. I noticed it was a problem in London, too.

I feel so sorry for you poor, poor souls without proper access to dumpsters and alleyways. It's like you have to live in a third world country or something. But you know, go ahead and take out your rage on people walking with small children. That accomplishes a lot.
posted by phunniemee at 11:37 AM on August 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


slap me five, floam - you beat me to it.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:37 AM on August 18, 2011


A fast lane for people who know where they are going. That's all the sidewalk/pavement needs.
Were I a Londoner I would have voted for the candidate who did in fact propose this at a recent mayoral election.
posted by episodic at 11:43 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


It amazes me that people who so obviously hate other people would choose to live in a crowded city.
posted by rocket88 at 11:44 AM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Having a conversation on a stairwell leading to a train platform: Walk the plank into the Gowanus.
posted by griphus at 11:44 AM on August 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


It amazes me that people who so obviously hate other people would choose to live in a crowded city.

We don't hate other people. We just have somewhere to fucking be right the hell now goddammit will you people MOVE this is a fuckign SIDEWALK ARRGHHHHHH MY HEART.
posted by griphus at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2011 [27 favorites]


also: should include exemptions for the elderly/otherwise somewhat less mobile, obviously, and a special million-dollar fine for bicycles on the sidewalk.

who shouldn't be allowed on trains or sidewalks during rush hour.
posted by TravellingCari at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2011


Failure of knowing how to properly use an umbrella.

Don't keep it in front of your face. Raise it when approaching or passing people so you don't jab their eyes out. $50 for each infraction. Golf umbrellas: additional $100 fine.
posted by monospace at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Outdoor dining" areas that take up all the space in front of pretty much every restaurant in my neighborhood. They make it pretty much impossible to use the sidewalk, and the payoff is what -- eating 3 feet from the garbage trucks going by? Yeesh.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


So what this guy wants is a giant fine for everyone who doesn't walk exactly like him or exactly how he likes.

No.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


What about the people who use giant ass golf umbrellas when it's raining???

You have to either duck under like a hobbit or have your appropriately sized $5 bodega umbrella shredded inside out.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The arresting citizen may waive the fine - provided that the offender submits to a five-minute lesson in proper walking techniques.

Fine for haranguing other pedestrians about the way they walk: $200
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:47 AM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


It amazes me that people who so obviously hate other people would choose to live in a crowded city.

I don't hate people. I want them to be more considerate, quite a difference. One thing I've noticed over the years is that some tourists seem to think that, because they think New Yorkers are rude, that this place is a free-for-all. Actually, we have our own sense of etiquette, which may seem rude to outsiders, but it works for us when most people play along.
posted by Jim Slade at 11:48 AM on August 18, 2011 [24 favorites]


Oh wait, sorry, I'm supposed to put something constructive in their too: Giant sidewalks. Vancouver has done this, taking a large road that motorists loved and demolishing it. It was made into a bus-preferred to bus-only thoroughfare with almost treble sized sidewalks.

So I suppose a major complaint would be to stop demonizing people who are strolling and start demonizing motorists who are given waaaaay more space to move at about the same speed in the downtown core.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:49 AM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Taking one step off an escalator/onto a train and then stopping: Community service. Offenders are forced to continually reenact the Three Stooges bit where Curly stops short and then Larry and Moe slam into him. Offender plays the "Larry" role.
posted by PlusDistance at 11:50 AM on August 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


I realize New York City needs to feel special about everything, and I realize as a Bostonian I'm probably extra sensitive to that, but I really see no reason why this needs to be a NYC thing. Can't we adopt this everywhere, including malls, hospitals, day car centers and nursing homes?

Because I really hate when other human beings who need to go places are preventing me from going the place I want to go. Fuck that shit, man.
posted by bondcliff at 11:50 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can't we adopt this everywhere, including malls, hospitals, day car centers and nursing homes?

No. no No NO NO NO. My daily life is regimented enough already. If you want a perfect, regimented, orderly city please move to Singapore leave the rest of us with the chaotic, lively, vivacious, and occasionally irritating cities we have.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:53 AM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Related: How to Use an Umbrella in New York City: The Definitive Guide

Also: It amazes me that people who so obviously hate other people would choose to live in a crowded city.

Tourists qualify as "people"? What?

I keed, I keed. *koff*
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:54 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Failure of knowing how to properly use an umbrella.

This includes those godawful fucking imbeciles who leave their 10-person golf umbrellas open while walking beneath a block-long awning or construction scaffolding. The rain isn't even touching you, you peabrained fuckwits. CLOSE YOUR UMBRELLA BEFORE I EAT YOUR FACE.
posted by elizardbits at 11:54 AM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


So what this guy wants is a giant fine for everyone who doesn't walk exactly like him or exactly how he likes.

No.


That's nothing. I read something the other day by this guy who wanted the Irish to make gloves out of babies.
posted by PlusDistance at 11:54 AM on August 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


No Zigzagging on the Sidewalk

I zigzag around people who are in my way. Is this allowed?

Tourists Not Permitted in Special New Yorker Only Lanes: $100 Fine.

I'm a Philadelphian who went to college in Boston, so I am familiar with big northeastern cities where lots of people walk. Am I allowed in the special New Yorker only lanes? When I'm in New York the tourists annoy me just as much as they do the natives.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:54 AM on August 18, 2011


Slackermagee - honestly, I like my street just the way it is - just don't walk two across in the narrow areas and if you hear someone behind you, yield and make way..

This isn't about demonizing people - sidewalks are our highways. If you wouldn't do it on the road (tool around at 15mph in a 50mph), we is it okay on the sidewalk?
posted by PissOnYourParade at 11:55 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about sudden stoppers?

Kill them. Kill them with fire.

No, wait - kill them with a blunt instrument fashioned from the carcasses of people who stop in retail or transit entryways to have casual conversations.

(I'm not actually this angry, but people with near-zero situational awareness should probably move out of the inner city - any inner city - to somewhere less densely populated.)
posted by gompa at 11:56 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I allowed in the special New Yorker only lanes

Native New Yorkers only. Yes I realize my own parents would have to use the other lanes, but they walk slow as shit so dems da breaks.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:57 AM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never realized that I was tall until I moved to New York and was suddenly at eye level with every fucking umbrella in the city.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:57 AM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Offenders are forced to continually reenact the Three Stooges bit where Curly stops short and then Larry and Moe slam into him. Offender plays the "Larry" role.

There is probably a fetish community devoted to this, so be careful what you wish for....
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:00 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


What happens to the woman I saw yesterday standing on her bike, on the sidewalk, in the crosswalk zone, through at least two full light cycles, waiting for the Walk light? 1. There is and will be no Walk light unless you press the button. 2. Its name contains a clue.

There are at least three possibilities, and it's hard to know which one any intersection represents if you're not familiar with it:
1. you need to press the button in order to get a walk light ever damn you intersection of Ashby and Telegraph which I really can't avoid walking through unless I go way out of my way
2. pressing the button will make the walk light come faster but it will eventually come;
3. the button doesn't do anything, but it's there to give you something you do while you wait.
I'm guessing this woman didn't know what kind of intersection it was.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:00 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Tourists, who often lack experience walking, do not realize that for us natives, this is a critical mode of transportation.

I've been sitting here overthinking this sentence to death because a) it's ridiculous, b) it fulfills the native New Yorker stereotype and c) it floats the idea that people care about how much experience you have with walking. Walking. Something people with full use of their bodies have done since before they can remember. Now it's a skill I can brag about to people? When do I get to put millions of peaches, age 27, experienced walker down on my resume?
posted by millions of peaches at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


The illustrated "New Yorker express lane" is on the part of the sidewalk where trees, lamp posts, awning posts, trash cans, etc. are. Shouldn't a proper express lane have fewer obstacles?

Although, I'll grant that a lot of fast walking New Yorkers use that "lane" and duck around obstacles into the road itself. Traffic's stopped anyway, so why not?

Really the only of these that aggravate me are the folks who fail to "pull over" when they need to ponder the mysteries of the universe. Not sure which way to head after stepping off the escalator? Fine, just take one step to the side while you decide. Suddenly realized you and your friends need to consult about where to do next? Not a problem, just step to the right while you orient yourself, so people behind you can pass on the left. Need to fish something out of your kid's stroller? Well, you get the picture.
posted by Karmakaze at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


$100 - Failure to recognize that when you live in a crowded urban environment, expecting orderly behavior in public spaces is both ridiculous and frighteningly draconian.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


First World, East Coast, Big City problems?

No. I've traveled. People have to share crowded public space whether it's 5th Avenue or Ciudad del Este. But America in particular has produced a class of people who don't walk much. Or use stairs much, as I gathered as I overheard someone complain while exiting a Chicago subway station last week.
posted by hydrophonic at 12:03 PM on August 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Calvin: Mom, will you drive me into town?
Mom: Why should I drive you, Calvin? It's a perfect day outside! What do you think people have feet for?
Calvin: To work the gas pedal.

- Bill Watterson
posted by madcaptenor at 12:04 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Failure to recognize that exaggerated "rules" to solve inherently unsolvable problems may be an indication of humorous intent: $100 Fine
posted by Kpele at 12:04 PM on August 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh wait, wait... I've got it.. The absolute worst pedestrian offense.

Stopping at the top or bottom of an escalator. Especially transit escalators, but retail counts also.

Violator's should face immediate leg amputation at the hip.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 12:05 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Failure to something something blocking something. $something.
posted by davejay at 12:07 PM on August 18, 2011


All of these would certainly be helpful at the Mall of America. It just needs a little congestion to become virtually unwalkable. Everybody clumps, nobody knows how to exit stores, people stop suddenly, they fill up entire walking aisles (most of which could fit two or three New York bodegas), they push around baby carts the size of minivans, they let their children run about. I suspect it's because the Mall is so popular among suburbanites and visiting small town types, who almost never find themselves walking in a crowd.

I've had similar experience in Hollywood and New Orleans, because both are tourist towns that attract a lot of people who are inexperienced in walking in crows. And, of course, I have experienced it in New York, but I wanted to mention New Orleans and Hollywood so people would understand that it is also a third-world problem.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:08 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


One thing I've noticed over the years is that some tourists seem to think that, because they think New Yorkers are rude, that this place is a free-for-all.

Really, this goes for any city with a largish tourist quotient. Also, there's a special place in hell for those tourists that have the fucking gall to make some snide remark about residents being so busy or rude when someone says "excuse me" because they're standing still on the left/bottom/top of the escalator or walking four abreast on the sidewalk. Seriously? Is common courtesy the new "city folk are rude"?

And special for tourists in DC: Do that while either wearing Tea Party/GOP paraphernalia or complaining loudly in public places about government sloth and inefficiency, and you'll get reported to the MPD for acting erratically, talking about sarin, or smelling like gasoline.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:10 PM on August 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


Although, I'll grant that a lot of fast walking New Yorkers use that "lane" and duck around obstacles into the road itself.

It's actually a pretty fun game, sometimes. On a Saturday afternoon, try to walk down Broadway from Canal to Lafayette without stopping for anything except the light -- and even then, only if necessary. Or, around 5PM down 42nd Street from Lexington to 5th Avenue.

You end up dodging, weaving, contorting your body to fit holes between people, speed up, speed down, always eyeing the next available entrance through a group. From what I've seen of first-person videos of riding a motorcycle through traffic, it's a very similar experience.
posted by griphus at 12:12 PM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can there be a sub-rule for Revolving Door Daredevils who absolutely cannot wait for the next 1/5th of the door to arrive before wedging themselves between two fast-moving panes of glass?

Either that or I Must Finish My Conversation Before Taking This Elevator Down One Floor Guy. When you work in the 17th floor and want to go to the cafeteria, you really learn to hate that guy.
posted by xingcat at 12:14 PM on August 18, 2011


You know, in Tokyo they don't have this problem.

But Paris is worse than New York because the sidewalks are so often narrow. I finally gave up and just walked everywhere in the gutter.
posted by Nelson at 12:15 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


the fucking gall to make some snide remark about residents being so busy or rude when someone says "excuse me"

Protip: if you need to get around someone, say "pardon" instead of "excuse me".

I don't know why it works (maybe because it's slightly unexpected?), but it's much more effective. There have been a few times when I've gotten dirty looks saying excuse me, but I've never gotten a dirty look saying pardon, even when said in the same (polite) tone of voice. Maybe it's got something to do with softer vowel sounds, I don't know.

Give it a try!
posted by phunniemee at 12:17 PM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Either that or I Must Finish My Conversation Before Taking This Elevator Down One Floor Guy.

I always stare That Guy right in the eyes with my most cold, unblinking Manson Stare while viciously jabbing the DOOR CLOSE button. Most people can't handle it for more than a few seconds.
posted by elizardbits at 12:20 PM on August 18, 2011


"Now it's a skill I can brag about to people? When do I get to put millions of peaches, age 27, experienced walker down on my resume?"

When you have mastered moves such as the shoulder turn, the two-step pass, the umbrella lift, and the brusque semi-shove.

(My girlfriend and I put together a brief course on Advanced Walking that includes these moves and more, as well as helpful acronyms like Always Be Looking Everywhere.)

My father carries a rolled newspaper or magazine as a baton, which makes correcting others walking much easier.
posted by klangklangston at 12:21 PM on August 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


"Protip: if you need to get around someone, say "pardon" instead of "excuse me". "

That was a habit I picked up on my brief trip to Europe, and one that's been remarkably effective ever since, especially in LA. Romance languages FTW.
posted by klangklangston at 12:23 PM on August 18, 2011


...the shoulder turn, the two-step pass...

All of my shoes have the same circularly-worn spot on the ball of the foot from when I pivot sideways to get through a thin space between two people.
posted by griphus at 12:24 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Failure to Stay Right: $50 Fine.

This issue is a particular problem for our English friends, who somehow think that staying left is the correct way to do things.


Aha. Ha. Ha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahahahahaha...ahhhh.

Has this guy ever been to England? The sidewalks in London might as well have huge signs reading "WALK HERP, STAND DERP".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:31 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


...Hollywood and New Orleans, because both are tourist towns that attract a lot of people who are inexperienced in walking in crows.

I must ask - should I buy my crow in advance, so I can practice walking in it at home, or is there on-site training available? Also, are there rental crows, or must I bring my own?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:33 PM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


You bring your own damn crow. No one wants a crow back after you've walked in it.
posted by Babblesort at 12:37 PM on August 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


That's weird, I never have any problem walking somewhere in my town. Oh that's right I live somewhere that doesn't suck.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 12:42 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stopping at the top or bottom of an escalator. Especially transit escalators, but retail counts also.

My favorite version of this is the top of the escalator, in transit, at RUSH HOUR, for the sake of text jerking.

Instead of fines, I suggest muay thai elbows applied with care to the back of the head, followed by each person taking a swift kick as they pass, thereby helping move the body out of the way of the flow of traffic.

It'll help the rest of us get a little more exercise, too.
posted by yeloson at 12:43 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh that's right I live somewhere that doesn't suck.

There's no place quite like Haubstadt, Indiana in the summer....
posted by nathancaswell at 12:44 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


That's weird, I never have any problem walking somewhere in my town. Oh that's right I live somewhere that doesn't suck.

New York is so awesome that everyone wants to be there. That's why they have trouble walking. They are victims of their own awesomeness.
posted by madcaptenor at 12:44 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Please add the following:

Vacate the curb cuts when a wheelchair user approaches. Do not make me bellow "Make a hole!" or gesture like Moses parting the Red Sea.

Do not dart in front of my wheelchair suddenly. No need to pull your kids away if I see them and you're walking parallel to me, but anything that darts in front just might get chopped off.

Your eyes should be pointing in the direction your body is heading.
posted by Soliloquy at 12:45 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


There are at least three possibilities, and it's hard to know which one any intersection represents if you're not familiar with it:
1. you need to press the button in order to get a walk light ever damn you intersection of Ashby and Telegraph which I really can't avoid walking through unless I go way out of my way
2. pressing the button will make the walk light come faster but it will eventually come;
3. the button doesn't do anything, but it's there to give you something you do while you wait.
I'm guessing this woman didn't know what kind of intersection it was.


Consider it to be kind of like Pascal's wager.
posted by enn at 12:45 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


seconding what zombieflanders said. Tourists think I'm being rude when I say "excuse me, excuse me!". I think they're being rude for not being sufficiently aware of their surroundings to notice that when the train stops, people might have to, you know, get off, or that the huge crowd of people on the street probably have to get somewhere.

There needs to be a $500 fine for families who gather their children and luggage to stand blocking the entrances to the subway.
posted by inertia at 12:45 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


nathancaswell

Agreed.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 12:46 PM on August 18, 2011


My favorite version of this is the top of the escalator, in transit, at RUSH HOUR, for the sake of text jerking. Instead of fines, I suggest muay thai elbows applied with care to the back of the head, followed by each person taking a swift kick as they pass, thereby helping move the body out of the way of the flow of traffic.

Not necessary. Your natural instinct is to stop yourself from bumping into the person. If you override this instinct, and allow yourself to bump into them, it will have much the same effect. You will be prepared for the bodycheck. They will not.

Be sure to exit the scene quickly, hurling the appropriate amount of invective behind you without a glance.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:48 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stopping at the top or bottom of an escalator. Especially transit escalators, but retail counts also.

I'm one of those people (well, I do it at the top of escalators). I'm very sorry. I've had a fear of escalators for ages, and trying to overcome it means giving myself a few seconds before getting on. I do try to look out for people in my vicinity though, to make sure my extra time at the top isn't getting in someone else's way.
posted by litnerd at 12:51 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been sitting here overthinking this sentence to death because a) it's ridiculous, b) it fulfills the native New Yorker stereotype and c) it floats the idea that people care about how much experience you have with walking. Walking.

It's not ridiculous because people who live outside of major cities don't walk for transportation. Ever. When I walk to the store in my parents suburban neighborhood people pull over and ask me what's wrong because the idea of using your legs to transport yourself somewhere other than the parking lot is totally foreign.

You know what's worse than tourists fucking up the delicate balance of your neighborhood sidewalk though? Tourists on rented bicycles. Dear god I'm just going to start carrying a lance with me on my way to work so I can spear them all before they kill me first.
posted by bradbane at 12:52 PM on August 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


You know I try to be understanding about walking. I live in a big city, but my parents are yokels, so I know what it's like. They want to stop and look at things(actual event: My father stopped fully in the middle of a sidewalk and exclaimed to point out a squirrel of a color he didn't expect), they're not in a hurry, they don't use escalators often. It's not a much of a problem, and my father thinks the squirrel is genuinely exciting. (As an aside, though, he really shouldn't exclaim when he sees a black person that he happens to think ACTUALLY does look like Snoop Dogg, that was a difficult conversation).

That said, a few months ago I was getting off a crowd subway escalator when a group of tourist children, at the urging of their parents, cut directly in front of the escalator coming up and stopped. I had no choice, but to crush the tiny children or stop and being crushed myself. It was a nightmare and it really brought out the "damn hay-seeds" side of city living that I don't really like.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:52 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fundamentally I have to wonder why we have so many damned parking spaces in Manhattan. They eat up sidewalk & biking space, and they dramatically reduce the throughput of streets and avenues.

There is never going to be enough parking in manhattan, why not give up the ruse & let every person who insists on driving into manhattan park in a garage or commute on the train like a reasonable person.

Each single lane block right now is wide enough to support at least 2 and often 3 lanes of traffic. Think about how much more space we could have if we consolidated every third block into a 3 lane eastbound block and every 6th block into a consolidated westbound block.
posted by rcdc at 1:03 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Blarg. While I was annoyed by tourists and slow walkers and the three abreast folks when I live in NYC as well, it's this kind of elitist smuggy smug look at me I live in new york which means i'm better than you bullshit that drove me out.

Of course, now that I live in Portland, I curse everyone on the sidewalk, thinking 'GOD! In New York people know how to fucking walk!" So, you know.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:08 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Vacate the curb cuts when a wheelchair user approaches. Do not make me bellow "Make a hole!" or gesture like Moses parting the Red Sea.

I have long believed that wheelchairs should come equipped, standard, with cattle prods &/or cowcatchers.


see also.
posted by elizardbits at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


> What's more frustrating? Meeting such an oncoming party, none of whom are willing to step ahead or behind of the group, forcing you onto the verge.

My trick for handling this situation?

Stop and pull out your cell phone. Put it to your ear. Face the group and look distractedly beyond them. Cackle silently in glee as you enjoy the subtle body-language struggle until one of them folds to move around.
posted by mmrtnt at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


> It's not ridiculous because people who live outside of major cities don't walk for transportation. Ever. When I walk to the store in my parents suburban neighborhood people pull over and ask me what's wrong because the idea of using your legs to transport yourself somewhere other than the parking lot is totally foreign.

My small town parents - God bless and keep them - still give me shit about the time they visited me here in Toronto and I made them walk to the restaurant we were having lunch at. It was a ten minute walk, tops. The thing is, they go for much longer walks all the time for pleasure, but as a form of transportation? What are we, animals?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:10 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, to clarify, this isn't an actual proposed bylaw, it's just one guy's 'witty' editorial opinion piece, right?
posted by 1000monkeys at 1:13 PM on August 18, 2011


Protip: if you need to get around someone, say "pardon" instead of "excuse me".

I don't know why it works (maybe because it's slightly unexpected?), but it's much more effective. There have been a few times when I've gotten dirty looks saying excuse me, but I've never gotten a dirty look saying pardon, even when said in the same (polite) tone of voice. Maybe it's got something to do with softer vowel sounds, I don't know.


I usually use a polite version of "excuse me" at first, but maybe the switch to "pardon" will work. I'll give it a whirl. After that, I escalate to the firm "excuse me" twice, but after that I'll start quoting Ludacris songs.

It's not ridiculous because people who live outside of major cities don't walk for transportation. Ever. When I walk to the store in my parents suburban neighborhood people pull over and ask me what's wrong because the idea of using your legs to transport yourself somewhere other than the parking lot is totally foreign.

And it's precisely because of this that I care a lot how much experience people have with walking. It's not bad enough that it's walking is becoming rare enough to elicit puzzlement outside of the city, but walking is in a lot of ways becoming marginalized by municipal (and to a lesser extend state and federal) governments. And as we saw with the mother indicted for manslaughter because somebody ran over her kids on a road with no provisions for pedestrians, we might be entering an era where it could become criminalized in some cases.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:16 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, to clarify, this isn't an actual proposed bylaw, it's just one guy's 'witty' editorial opinion piece, right?

Yeah, that's right. Real laws are proposed in the Post.
posted by griphus at 1:17 PM on August 18, 2011


What's more frustrating? Meeting such an oncoming party, none of whom are willing to step ahead or behind of the group, forcing you onto the verge.

My trick for handling this situation?

Stop and pull out your cell phone. Put it to your ear. Face the group and look distractedly beyond them. Cackle silently in glee as you enjoy the subtle body-language struggle until one of them folds to move around.


This is known in game theory as "precommitment" (really here signaling that you are precommitted) and is the key to a great number of practical puzzles (e.g. how do you control the firing of your doomsday machine?).

Cellphone is good in a pinch. Headphones help.

If you're crossing the street, declining to look at oncoming traffic helps signal that you will not stop them, and they will be forced to stop for you. (Drivers are actually pretty forgiving about this in New York. For safety's sake, I generally walk and look when crossing the street, and drivers usually let me go. In busier cities in Asia, once you have visually acknowledged a driver or motorbiker, you have forfeited the right to cross the street -- they know you know they're there, and they simply force you to wait.)
posted by grobstein at 1:19 PM on August 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


What's more frustrating? Meeting such an oncoming party, none of whom are willing to step ahead or behind of the group, forcing you onto the verge.

Fuck that noise. If they're taking the whole sidewalk up I won't get out onto the road. At 6' 5" I just keep walking and leave them scrambling to get out of the way. Sunglasses or a thousand yard stare make it even easier.
posted by dazed_one at 1:22 PM on August 18, 2011



Yeah, that's right. Real laws are proposed in the Post.
posted by griphus


Sorry, what I meant is that I thought that the article would be about actual, proposed laws and he was just reporting on them and giving his opinons, but it appears that it was just the writer's own editorial opinons, is that correct? Or am I missing something here?
posted by 1000monkeys at 1:25 PM on August 18, 2011


I sent this as a answer to a deleted AskMe:

I've never learned to drive, so whenever I leave town I am at the mercy of somebody who drives. I don't like this either, so I tend to try to walk as much as possible. This leads to problems. There was the time I had a business meeting in a small town upstate, I was young and didn't want to be a hassle so I decided to take the train up and wing it from the station. I dressed in my one suit and my expensive dress shoes (I figured people would judge me by my shoes) When I got there I called the company I was visiting to ask directions. The receptionist told me "no problem, head down X street a few blocks and it is right there" well I walked and walked, I don't know what they considered blocks out there but I must have walked several miles. After a while the sidewalk ended and I was walking on the shoulder of what I would consider a highway. Halfway there it started to rain. I showed up late, my expensive shoes caked with mud and they all looked at me like I was the biggest moron ever.

Oddly, I did the same thing in Las Vegas. I called a bar to get directions, you guessed it, they told me a few blocks, and this time I was drunk. I walked through vacant lots full of garbage, past feral dogs, through neighborhoods I didn't know existed outside New York. I finally got to the bar, the bartender said " you the guy that called? that was two hours ago". I had to get him to call me a cab to get back to my hotel.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:28 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remain floored by the number of friends and acquaintances I have to remind not to block foot traffic when we go out places. As I herd everyone out of the road, they look at me as if to say "Oh yeah. Right. Forgot about that."

I don't understand people who don't pay attention to their surroundings.
posted by LN at 1:34 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not ridiculous because people who live outside of major cities don't walk for transportation. Ever. When I walk to the store in my parents suburban neighborhood people pull over and ask me what's wrong because the idea of using your legs to transport yourself somewhere other than the parking lot is totally foreign.

I meant ridiculous-because-it's-hilarious, not ridiculous-because-it's-hard-to-believe. One day I'll get better at this writing thing.

And yep, I grew up in the suburbs and know exactly what you're talking about. One of my biggest fights I've had with my mom was over walking to the store. Because it was far! And hot! And you'll get TIRED! And there's really no one walking around outside so what if someone kidnaps you and no one sees it happening and we never find you again?? I hate how the suburbs teach you to be helpless.
posted by millions of peaches at 1:41 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't understand people who don't pay attention to their surroundings.

SERIOUSLY. Why is it default action of so many people upon leaving a bar or restaurant to immediately stand in a scrum in front of the door so that no one else can enter or leave?

Also, people who do this at the top of subway stairs should be summarily executed, ideally in a public square or on live national TV so that others can learn from their terrible crimes.
posted by elizardbits at 1:42 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Joey Skaggs beat him to it in 1984; previously (although most of the links are borked). If true this could be an answer to this AskMe.
posted by TedW at 1:46 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why is it default action of so many people upon leaving a bar or restaurant to immediately stand in a scrum in front of the door so that no one else can enter or leave?

I'm going to recycle a comment I made in this thread:

On the subject of English pedestrians, an odd thing I noticed when I first moved here is that some people will walk into a shop and then be amazed that they're in a shop. At least that's the way I interpret what happens when they walk five steps through the door and then stop dead--not getting a cart or a basket or anything, just coming to a standstill in the middle of foot traffic. "Bloody hell, I'm in Tesco! How did that happen?"

And then they reverse the process coming back out. "Good lord, London! I was expecting Asbo-On-Sea or Much-Piddling-In-The-Marsh, but this? I'd better stop two feet outside the door and get my bearings".

Don't get me wrong...I love it here, but some days I wish I had a government-issued License to Shove.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:48 PM on August 18, 2011 [23 favorites]


It amazes me that people who so obviously hate other people would choose to live in a crowded city.

I think you've got the cause-effect order reversed there.
posted by baf at 1:57 PM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


SERIOUSLY. Why is it default action of so many people upon leaving a bar or restaurant to immediately stand in a scrum in front of the door so that no one else can enter or leave?

My four year old does this. Constantly. No matter what door she passes through, she must inevitably stop to contemplate her new surroundings a yard inside the doorway.

I yell at her for it SO HARD. It's at the point now where it's an instant Negative Star in her star-chart reward app. Minus three if she does it at the top or bottom of an escalator. Minus five if she does it at the top or bottom of an escalator in a transit situation like a bus station or an airport. Because by GOD I will not raise her to be That Person.
posted by KathrynT at 2:07 PM on August 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I love people. I just don't love how people are behaving right now, and think that they all need to go to their rooms and think about what they've done. They can come out when they're calm and ready to apologize.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:14 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My four year old does this. Constantly. No matter what door she passes through, she must inevitably stop to contemplate her new surroundings a yard inside the doorway.

I'm like a tour guide with my four-year-old, keeping up a running stream of, "Just keep walking, keep moving, just keep walking, there you go, just keep moving, that's right," often with one hand on her back to try to nudge her gently along. All three of my kids (10, 7, and 4) have a talent for getting in front of me and just stopping there. Someday I plan to send them to New York and videotape the mayhem.
posted by not that girl at 2:14 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My personal hell is farmers markets, full of entitled yuppies fresh out of their Priuses (Priora?), where everyone is suddenly stopping or weaving, either at booths or to talk on their phones, and great clots of clods clog the arteries… Grar. Makes me angry just thinking about it.
posted by klangklangston at 2:18 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't understand people who don't pay attention to their surroundings.

I have several friends that often need to be physically relocated via a guiding hand on the shoulder, whenever they stop dead inside a doorway or end of a staircase. This process is augmented by my gentle reminder that blocking the traffic flow is the reason most murders occur, or at least most of the murders I commit.

YES I'M A JERK BUT I'M DOING IT FOR YOU AMERICA
posted by FatherDagon at 2:20 PM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Giant sidewalks. Vancouver has done this, taking a large road that motorists loved and demolishing it. It was made into a bus-preferred to bus-only thoroughfare with almost treble sized sidewalks.

It failed to address our completely oblivious aimless wanderer situation.
posted by Hoopo at 2:21 PM on August 18, 2011


If you're playing sidewalk chicken, up your game beyond the passive aggressive stuff. Assert dominance. Direct eye contact. Then they have to break your gaze as well as step aside. Your dog would be crazy proud because you are the best alpha ever.
posted by woodway at 2:27 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love people. I just don't love how people are behaving right now, and think that they all need a good spanking. (And I don't really love them. But you knew that already, didn't you?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:31 PM on August 18, 2011


Which is why I left off the closing parenthesis. To annoy them. Yeah, that was it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:33 PM on August 18, 2011


Hell—the theological construct.
hell—everyday life.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:35 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think there's a market for tourist maps that include, alongside the legend, the accepted residents' rules for that area.

In Florida, where we don't walk as much (90 degrees/ 90 humidity = death by heatstroke), we'd have all the driving stuff about actually using turning signals in the first place and then remembering to turn them off again when the turn is done; yes, you ARE allowed to turn right on red after you stop unless there is a sign saying otherwise; and no, you cannot stop your car in the middle of the highway even if you do see a real live alligator.

In our theme parks, a different etiquette would apply, including not blocking the lines to the roller coasters because you just have to take a picture of the whole family standing by the sign; quick walkers on the LEFT please and all you oglers of the pretty colors, map readers, amblers and cellphone talkers on the right; and children who squeal and run directly across the line of the left-walking traffic are subject to being crushed like the thrones of the world beneath our sandalled feet.
posted by misha at 2:58 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


doctor_negative: "$100 - Failure to recognize that when you live in a crowded urban environment, expecting orderly behavior in public spaces is both ridiculous and frighteningly draconian."

Yeah except everyone in NY already gets it, and it's the people from out of town that are the problem.

What I don't get is the refusal of some people to believe that local customs could be different than wherever they're from. As if literally living within a few feet of 8 million other people, at all times, is going to involve the same rules as having a yard and fence between you and your nearest neighbor.
posted by danny the boy at 3:01 PM on August 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Priuses (Priora?)

Priori. As in, "A priori, I can tell you're a douchebag."
posted by quite unimportant at 3:09 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Grar. Makes me angry just thinking about it.

Walking through the Union Square greenmarket during the summer fills me with such wild rage that I usually just walk in the street instead, because possibly being hit by a car is better than definitely ramming my way through a crowd of people like a defensive lineman stabbing at random.
posted by elizardbits at 3:09 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


It amazes me that people who so obviously hate other people would choose to live in a crowded city.

Actually, you have the cause and effect reversed.
posted by TheKM at 3:14 PM on August 18, 2011


try going to costco with my husband!!! he stops the cart in the middle of the aisle and WALKS AWAY!!! I've been trying to train him for years but he still does it :P
(and he weaves, and stops abruptly, and will cut into your lane, on his cell phone blargh!!!!!!)
posted by supermedusa at 3:28 PM on August 18, 2011


try going to costco with my husband!!!

Big mistake, lady! Now that I know who you are, prepare to get an angry memail from me every Saturday FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Juuust keeeding. Seriously, though, one of the requirements for a Costco membership should be that you have to pass a cart driving test.
posted by phunniemee at 3:38 PM on August 18, 2011


It's not ridiculous because people who live outside of major cities don't walk for transportation. Ever.

I'm just checking -- I sort of want to assume that you're saying this for rhetorical effect and you know it's not anywhere close to true? Here are some non-major cities I've spent time in: Madison, WI. Hempstead, TX. Columbus, OH. Somerville, MA. Princeton, NJ. All of these places have sidewalks and plenty of people walking on them.

(I will admit that the time I went to Orlando it was impossible to walk anywhere. But the point is that Orlando STOOD OUT for that. Also, it's kind of a major city.)

If you want people to walk in a special New York way when they visit New York, that's cool, but let's not pretend that walking from place to place is some kind of special experience avaialble only to urbanites.
posted by escabeche at 3:41 PM on August 18, 2011


Just to make sure everyone is up to speed:

THIS IS SATIRE
posted by reductiondesign at 3:42 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


My personal hell is farmers markets, full of entitled yuppies fresh out of their Priuses (Priora?), where everyone is suddenly stopping or weaving, either at booths or to talk on their phones

So let me make sure I've got this.. You're angry when the other people at the farmer's market ... stop to buy the things that are sold at the farmer's market? Why? Does it interfere with your goal of traversing the farmer's market as quickly as possible without buying anything?

Is it that they're "suddenly" stopping? Would you rather they slow down gradually as they approach the vegetables they came there to buy?

Do you also get mad at the grocery store when the guy in front of you purchases a lot of food, instead of zooming through the checkout line empty-handed?
posted by escabeche at 3:47 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah except everyone in NY already gets it, and it's the people from out of town that are the problem.

I'm as annoyed as anyone about people being idiots on the sidewalk, but Christ almighty, New Yorkers, this moaning is really getting boring. How can you be sure that everyone on the sidewalk who pisses you off isn't a New Yorker? Do you ask them? Is it always, every single time someone with a map and a Hawaiian shirt and a camera and an out-of-town accent and black socks pulled up to the knee with shorts? It's never just a local not paying attention or distracted? Actually it's not just New York. So many people in bigger cities never want to come to terms with the idea that some of their fellow citizens might be assholes and dumbasses. When we had the riots here after the Stanley Cup, hey all those people were from somewhere else. When we had the Olympics and everything went great, hey we're so great.

aaaanyways, this stuff makes me want to kick New York City in the balls. I didn't grow up in a big city yet this sidewalk etiquette stuff is obvious to me. Others, not so much. It's not just a NYC thing, some people just aren't very aware of their surroundings. And sometimes it's you.
posted by Hoopo at 3:54 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Idiot pedestrians are a problem not unique to New York, but are certainly compounded by the anonymity of the endless New York crowds, with everybody pretending to be Henry Hudson and rushing around "discovering" things. It's all just a terrible passage from Don DeLillo. I'm sure New York is an awesome place and I've wanted to visit it for a long time, but then I get stuck thinking about it and, well, I can get a slice of pizza that folds in half just about anywhere, and once I've done that and I've got my quart of coffee, then what? Not smoke anywhere, then go buy one of those shirts. Check out some of the landmarks and other attractions? Hardly. Wouldn't want to inconvenience a busy New Yorker, in a rush to get back to his desk and set about fucking an economy somehow, by standing to look at a statue or something. I could take a carriage ride around Central Park and pretend that once their shift is over the horsies go back to a nice stable attached to a field somewhere, and not cleaning supply closet in a burnt-out fire station. Sit for an hour an eat a single scallop in a five star restaurant and then puzzle over sales tax and tips. I guess I'd really like to visit the Strand but would probably get in trouble for being in an aisle and not wearing quirky enough sneakers. Oh god.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:07 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


And then there's the danger of bumping into Ricky Gervais, because it seems like he is everywhere in New York, in both second and third dimensions, and who I used to think was a talented and funny man but post-Extras have realised is, in fact, the most profoundly obnoxious person on the face of the planet.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:11 PM on August 18, 2011


Hoopo: "aaaanyways, this stuff makes me want to kick New York City in the balls. I didn't grow up in a big city yet this sidewalk etiquette stuff is obvious to me. Others, not so much. It's not just a NYC thing, some people just aren't very aware of their surroundings."

Well I did grow up in New York, and I don't have sidewalk rage anymore. You know why? Because I now live in San Francisco, a town with less than 1/10th the amount of people.

Seriously, do you have any idea how many people 8 million is? It's not a New York thing because NY is special, it's a New York thing because NY has so many goddamn people it's impossible that someone isn't actively ruining your day right fucking now. People who have to deal with it every single day try to slip through as painlessly as possible. People who don't have to deal with it every day stand at the top of the subway exit with their freaking luggage all over the place.
posted by danny the boy at 4:18 PM on August 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


The reason New Yorkers know that it's mostly tourists is that if more than 0.5% of the city behaved that way people would be getting beaten to death in the street. It took maybe 2 minutes in New York for the walking etiquette to become obvious to me, and I had a really pleasant trip, and I'm a guy who grew up in the suburbs. I don't know where the reputation for New Yorkers being rude comes from. They are only brusque if you commit the cardinal sin of wasting their time. Which in a city of 8 million is entirely reasonable, because then you're the asshole.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:26 PM on August 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


Klangklangston: When you have mastered moves such as the shoulder turn, the two-step pass, the umbrella lift, and the brusque semi-shove.

(My girlfriend and I put together a brief course on Advanced Walking that includes these moves and more, as well as helpful acronyms like Always Be Looking Everywhere.)


You forgot the best acronym, L.A.A.: Locate, Assess, Avoid. It's the other side of A.B.L.E.!
posted by holyrood at 4:28 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


my +20 modify for crowd weaving avoids most fines.
posted by clavdivs at 4:37 PM on August 18, 2011


Yes, walking through touristy areas is difficult, but even on quiet out-of-the-way streets you come up against the Basic Law of Sidewalk Motion: the more people in your group, the more right you have to be as slow or as motionless as you want and to ignore walkers coming from ahead or behind. There seem to be a lot of New Yorkers who follow this law without guilt.
posted by gubo at 5:00 PM on August 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Those Sex & The City girls are always walking four abreast. So annoying!
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:11 PM on August 18, 2011


Seriously, do you have any idea how many people 8 million is

Yeah, I lived in Tokyo.
posted by Hoopo at 6:04 PM on August 18, 2011


I don't give a shit if you want to walk two, three, or five abreast. Just don't act like I'm the problem because I need to share the sidewalk with you and I happen to pass you in the other direction at the same moment and refuse to sidetrack into the mud or grass to let your phalanx of awesomeness continue uninterrupted.
posted by blucevalo at 6:48 PM on August 18, 2011


If you're crossing the street, declining to look at oncoming traffic helps signal that you will not stop them, and they will be forced to stop for you. Drivers are actually pretty forgiving about this in New York.

This is probably the stupidest thing I have read on Metafilter in 6 years. Are you the type of person who runs alongside a bus after it has left the stop, too?
posted by mlis at 7:17 PM on August 18, 2011


You've misparsed my paragraph so badly that it's hard to understand where to start in responding to you. Sentences don't obey the associative property; you can't just move the parentheses around without changing the meaning. And it sounds like you are criticizing me for doing something I explicitly said I don't do in New York.

I know it's unproductive to say "Go back and read my post" but I just don't see how to get through to you otherwise.

Do you think my advice is anti-social or morally wrong (or unwise)? Your remark about running after the bus suggests this interpretation. Go back to my post -- I wasn't giving any advice.
posted by grobstein at 7:34 PM on August 18, 2011


This is probably the stupidest thing I have read on Metafilter in 6 years. Are you the type of person who runs alongside a bus after it has left the stop, too?

There is a certain sense of confidence (and, indeed, entitlement) that pedestrians need to learn we can face cars with. Personally, I have completely stopped giving a shit-eating grin, a grateful wave, and a sprint across the street for cars who yield to me when I have the right of way. I'm not going to give someone the fucking Nobel Peace Prize for not running me over with their giant machine.
posted by threeants at 9:31 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is room in the center of the subway car! Do not jam up the doors! I was going to rant about this but then I remembered the fucking disgusting slime on the upper lip of humanity that was this hideous woman walking hand in hand with some other repulsive asshole on the narrow path of the High Line as slowly as possible while loudly complaining that she was bored and the park was dumb and she couldn't understand why anyone would want to come there and then SHE WAS STEPPING ON THE GRASS OH MY GOD HOW DARE YOU and then my blood pressure spiked but I couldn't FUCKING GET AROUND HER and was forced to listen to her shit on THE LOVELINESS AND GENIUS OF THE HIGH LINE while she took up the whole path ALSO SHE STANK OF DEATH.
posted by prefpara at 11:41 PM on August 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Walking without a stick up your ass: $500 fine
posted by Sys Rq at 1:04 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


We live in Vancouver, but my husband and I fit right in during our recent trip to New York. We already follow all the above-noted rules because we see them simply as common courtesy. My newest pet peeve and sidewalk scourge: dog strollers. No, I'm not kidding. If it wasn't bad enough that one must go out of one's way to avoid tripping over leashes, or accidentally stomping on one of these yappy little rats, now their owners (or mindless slaves) have begun pushing them around in enormous strollers.

I recently gave a man the benefit of the doubt for blocking the skytrain door with his stroller. I thought, new parents have it tough, I'll spare him my stink eye...until I glanced down and saw to my horror that this stroller contained no baby. Now I see these stupid dog strollers popping up everywhere in Yaletown, and five pound purse dogs are taking up the sidewalk space of two adults. GRAAAARGHH!!!!!!!
posted by keep it under cover at 4:37 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


So let me make sure I've got this.. You're angry when the other people at the farmer's market ... stop to buy the things that are sold at the farmer's market? Why? Does it interfere with your goal of traversing the farmer's market as quickly as possible without buying anything?

Not speaking for kangklangston. But for me, yes it does. The Union Square farmer's market sits right outside the subway station, which means you have to walk through it if you want to get to where you're going (assuming that you're not going to the market itself). And it always seems like more than half of those people are not there to buy, but to gawk and weave and stop in the middle of flowing foot traffic for no apparent reason.
posted by zerbinetta at 6:07 AM on August 19, 2011


How can you be sure that everyone on the sidewalk who pisses you off isn't a New Yorker?

Can't speak for New York, but in London, I work at Canary Wharf (financial district, lots of commuters, no tourists) - the place is incredibly easy to get around, everyone knows where they are going, how to act in crowds, etc. When I go into the centre of London, the most horrible and hardest-to-navigate places are the tourist areas. This is regardless of the number of people in the area, or at the station.

(As an aside, I suspect that the people walking on the right in London are European or American, whereas the English are walking on the left, leading to massive confusion and collisions...)
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:52 AM on August 19, 2011


"So let me make sure I've got this.. You're angry when the other people at the farmer's market ... stop to buy the things that are sold at the farmer's market? Why? Does it interfere with your goal of traversing the farmer's market as quickly as possible without buying anything?

Is it that they're "suddenly" stopping? Would you rather they slow down gradually as they approach the vegetables they came there to buy?

Do you also get mad at the grocery store when the guy in front of you purchases a lot of food, instead of zooming through the checkout line empty-handed?
"

From the tone of your comment, I'm led to believe that you're the type of moron who can't manage to walk at a farmer's market.

So, let me make sure I've got this — You think farmer's markets are a place where the basic tenets of pedestrian travel don't apply? Where, in a clot of people, it's even better to suddenly stop dead in your tracks while you contemplate rutabagas instead of stepping to the side, ideally with some sort of élan, to actually go buy those things you want? And rather than respect the flow of traffic, you think that somehow darting crazily to one side or another isn't rude?

Because truly, it does seem that you've either intentionally misread me or you are a terrible walker and are blithely unaware of how frustratingly stupid you appear to everyone around you.

With due respect to your remedial walking skills, the basics of walking apply equally, if not moreso, to the farmer's market — slower walkers keep right, don't stop until you're clear of traffic, and recognize that not everyone around you has all day to linger, so general socializing should either be done at a brisk pace or out of the thoroughfare. Likewise, strollers, dogs and small children are obstructions and should be left at home if at all possible. You should not be stopping to talk on your phone, or, god forbid, text.

Following these rules also allows those of us whose minds are quick enough to both walk and peruse booths simultaneously to get what we need quickly and pleasantly while still asking you politely to move if you're in the way (as inevitably happens), rather than a brusque, "Move, asshole," and a swat with a rolled newspaper. The majority of people are able to handle this middling responsibility, but it only takes one oblivious moron to fuck up foot traffic for a block.

As for grocery stores, I do choose the shortest line (I assume you choose the longest out of some desire to savor the Trader Joe's ambiance), and reserve my ire for people who want to linger and chat with the cashier after they've paid and bagged, and the idiots who abandon their carts in places that obstruct traffic. Perhaps those two annoyances didn't occur to you because you're a perpetrator?

Have I got it?
posted by klangklangston at 8:03 AM on August 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


MrBadExample, I am totally going to steal "Asbo-on-Sea." Bloody brilliant.
posted by whuppy at 9:50 AM on August 19, 2011


Sorry -- I see now that my comment was pretty snippy, as I guess it must have been to inspire this response.

The thing about the farmer's market -- or at least every farmer's market I've ever been to -- is that there aren't any off-ramps or shoulders. When you're at a stall, buying vegetables, you are standing in a place where someone would otherwise be walking. There is NO SUCH THING as "clear of traffic" there. So yes, I guess, "the basic tenets of pedestrian travel don't apply," because, at least to me, a basic tenet of pedestrian travel is that you don't stop in traffic; and that tenet, applied to the farmer's market, would mean not buying anything.

What's more: farmer's markets are different from grocery stores in a way that's really relevant to this question, which is that you don't actually know in advance what food is going to be there, where it'll be, and whether you want it. That guy in front of you who suddenly changes course towards a stall? Maybe it's because he saw fresh blueberries there that weren't there last week and might not be there next week. And if he looks at the blueberries for a minute and moves on? Was he a moron who wasted everybody's time by stopping at a stall and not buying? No -- maybe the blueberries weren't any good. Of course people need to be courteous -- but farmer's markets are designed to prioritize other virtues over efficiency, and you can't expect people to give up those features (e.g. deciding what to buy once you see it) just because you don't care about those features and they inconvenience you. There are plenty of places where you can get calories into the trunk of your car much more quickly and cheaply than you can at the market.

But I know you actually don't mean that people shouldn't shop at the farmer's market, which I guess is what you meant by "intentionally misreading." So how about this -- I'll do you the courtesy (which I should have done in the first place) of assuming that you're not the jerk in the checkout line fuming at somebody who told the checkout guy to have a nice day instead of racewalking off in silence, and you can assume I'm not the jerk who stands stock-still in the middle of a crowded sidewalk taking in the atmosphere.
posted by escabeche at 10:14 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


In the Dave Barry book Taming of the Screw, in the chapter about electricity, there is a drawing of an underwater turbine. The turbine is set up to generate a charge from the current caused by undersea movement of lobsters--what Dave refers to as the Prevailing Flow of Lobsters (PFL).

The easiest way to get around in an unfamiliar area without pissing people off is to keep with the Prevailing Flow of Lobsters, so to speak. If you're in New York where people walk on the right, just keep with the Flow. If you're in London where people walk on the left, just keep with the Flow. It's not that hard. Be the lobster. Just keep moving. Become one with the PFL.

This can sometimes be awkward, though, as it occasionally results in a seemingly unprovoked giggle-snort while walking around in a crowded area, picturing everyone around me as a highly determined lobster.
posted by phunniemee at 10:31 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you want slow-walking tourist rage, hit Pike Place Market when a cruise ship is in dock. There's a reason I avoid that place like the plague between June and October.

In other words - this isn't just an NYC thing. It's a "people, remember to leave room in your fanny pack for your fucking brain when you travel" thing.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 10:42 AM on August 19, 2011


Can't speak for New York, but in London, I work at Canary Wharf (financial district, lots of commuters, no tourists) - the place is incredibly easy to get around, everyone knows where they are going, how to act in crowds, etc. When I go into the centre of London, the most horrible and hardest-to-navigate places are the tourist areas. This is regardless of the number of people in the area, or at the station

This is true in most cities, however I would exclude lunch hour when office workers amble around like idiots even in the financial districts. In fact, in a City as rainy as Vancouver the office tower areas have a whole other issue, which is the golf-umbrella-Blackberry-fancy-suit-guy. That said, the phenomenon of there being tourists and local people enjoying leisure time in the commercial districts of major urban centers is not new, and was likely true at any point in your lifetime. That is, in fact, the intended purpose of having all those shops and flashing lights there, all in one place. Take a look around at the area shops; are they selling T-shirts and knick-knacks with the name of your town on them? Those aren't for you. Acting as though visitors to Times Square or Picadilly Circus should have plotted a course and marched with the same speed and determination as you on your morning commute to the office is not reasonable. If you are walking in an area that is a tourist draw, you should expect tourists and a slower pace.
posted by Hoopo at 11:18 AM on August 19, 2011


The dirty secret is that a lot of these clueless idiots aren't out of towners at all! I'm pretty sure it wasn't a bunch of tourists who were clumped around the door in spite of all the room in the middle of the train when I got on the G this morning.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 12:17 PM on August 19, 2011


Whatever happened to those New Yorkers who said:


Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.

Ba da, Ba da, Ba da, Ba da...Feelin' Groovy.

Hello lamp-post,
What cha knowin'?
I've come to watch your flowers growin'.
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo,
Feelin' groovy.

I've got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all it's petals on me.
Life, I love you,
All is groovy.

posted by TedW at 6:47 PM on August 19, 2011


We do that on weekends. In Brooklyn.
posted by sweetkid at 6:48 PM on August 19, 2011


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