Walking. To most people, this is a seamless thing that they do every day. To the millions of tourists who come to New York, this can be a sometimes daunting task. Listen, we get it -- you're on vacation. However, unlike traveling to a beach, resort or theme park, you've chosen a fully functioning city as your destination of choice and the people who live here are always in a rush to get somewhere for no apparent reason whatsoever. We're very happy to have you -- we just need you to walk a lot faster so that we can our desired destination in a timely fashion. It almost seems as though you guys step off the platform of Grand Central and lose all common sense. So next time you decide to visit the best city in the world for vacation, here are a few tips on how to walk in New York City.
1. Don't look up.
Next time you're walking in New York while on vacation, pretend you're driving a car. You wouldn't stare upwards while operating a motor vehicle and we don't expect you to do so while walking down our streets. We too love the magnificent architecture Manhattan offers, however, if you really need to stare up in the sky please do so to the side of the sidewalk. This also applies to taking pictures of buildings. If you get caught staring upwards in Times Square, there's a good chance you could get trampled over by a group of dancers who are running late for the non-equity tour auditions of the regional tour of Sugarbabies. I know you don't know what any of the those words mean, but it truly is very, very important and timely.
2. Don't congregate in entrances.
God love you tourists. You love to stand in groups twenty to thirty in entranceways and exits. You see, doorways are there so that people can leave and enter buildings (or, in the unlikely and unfortunate event run from a fire or alien invasion.) We simply cannot do that if you and your posse are blocking the exit. Bad places to stand en mass include the entrance to subways, Starbucks and the Apple Store on 59th Street. Stand off to the side. The doorway of Shake Shack is not a national landmark, so please put your iPhone away and get in or go out.
3. Don't stop at the top of stairways or escalators.
Upon exiting a subway station and reaching the top -- keep moving. When you stop to check your map or see how many likes your Instagram of the Statue of Liberty just got, you create a traffic jam of epic proportions. I cannot tell you how many times I have almost fallen backwards down a flight of stairs because a Japanese tourist decided to stop at the top of the stairs of the subway without warning, for no reason at all. The ebb and flow of New York consists of a steady stream of entrances of exits of things and that simply cannot be done if you're in the way. So please, check your map or your Instagram off to the side.
4. Follow traffic signals.
Just because you've come to visit our fair city does not make you invincible. Just like at home, you must follow traffic signals or you will get run down by a cab or a renegade DiCarlo food truck. When the hand flashes red, that does not mean you and your girlfriends should run into oncoming traffic screaming and laughing. Getting hit by a car could quite possibly be the least funny thing to happen to you while you're here so stop laughing about it and wait for the walk signal. New Yorkers are always in a hurry, but even we can wait until traffic stops to cross the street.
5. Stop trying to get cabs in Times Square.
Unless you're a bellhop or your name is Sarah Jessica Parker you will not get a cab in Times Square during daylight hours. Move it along to Sixth Avenue because you're essentially in everyone's way.
6. Don't take pictures in the middle of the street.
We all love a Facebook profile pic that really nails it, but under no circumstances should you stand in the middle of a crosswalk in order to get it. Not only will a cab not stop for you, you really shouldn't risk your life attempting to take a picture (unless you're me trying to hop the fence to Sandra Bullock's home a few years back but that's a completely different story altogether.) Common sense prevails here folks, standing in the middle of the street for any reason isn't smart and you wouldn't do it at home so try not to do it here either. Also, save those mid-jump action shots for Central Park. I once saw a kid get kicked in the face when a group of teenaged tourists tried to take a picture of themselves jumping in Times Square. You know where the kid who got kicked in the face is now? Akron. Food for thought.
7. Know what you want to order at Starbucks.
Most Starbucks coffee shops in New York have no less than three people in line at any given time. This should be ample prep time for you to figure out what you'd like. Don't hold up the line. A. It's only coffee, you're not naming a child. B. The menu has about twenty items on it, you're not navigating a map of the South Pacific and C. New York Starbucks' and your Starbucks back home have a relatively similar menu. This isn't a new experience so get your coffee and move along. Not only are New Yorker's always in a rush, we're extra ornery before we have our coffee in the morning or around three when we need our mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Pissing us off at Starbucks is pissing us off on sacred ground and we will not stand for it.
8. Just Hurry Up.
Leisurely strolls in New York are best saved for Central Park or a nice walk along the Hudson River. Not 5pm on Wall Street. Seriously, just walk faster.
9. Ask for directions.
We may always be in a rush but when a tourist stops a New Yorker and asks for directions we will literally stop everything we are doing and make sure you get to your desired destination. Don't mistake our pathos of New York as kindness. We love nothing more than to prove that we know more about NYC than you do. Can't find the New Amsterdam Theater? We will personally escort you to forty-second street and tell you, in detail, about the the theater's beaux-arts architecture. Looking for Trinity Church? We will not only tell you how to get there but give you the exact coordinates of Alexander Hamilton's gravestone. Need a nosh? We have no less than four deli recommendations on file in any given neighborhood and can tell you which one has the best pastrami sandwich according to girth. There's no reason to get lost in New York because we will make sure you get where you want to go and make sure you know that we know more about New York than you do.
You see, we're not assholes. We are just super busy people who are always in a rush. Many people who come to New York think that we hate tourists, but it's simply not true. Our city needs you to see our Broadway shows, dine at our restaurants and shop at our overpriced boutiques. Without your money, we'd be nothing. We appreciate you visiting, we just need you to get the f**k out of our way.
Follow Mark Brennan Rosenberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markbrosenberg