Learning to walk like a New Yorker

the walk of a child by -JosephB-

People begin to walk around the age of one but do people ever really learn how to walk? In a city like New York where the streets are often crowded, fundamental walking rules should be obeyed. Similar to driving your car in a road full of other cars, when walking the streets of New York (or any other place for that matter) the following 5 rules should be followed to ensure efficient street flow. Although they may seem obvious you’d be surprise how many altercations arise due to failure to observe them. This most notably applies to tourists and outside visitors wishing to acclimate to the mean streets of the Big Apple. You know who you are.

1. Always walk on the right side of the street

Just because you’re not driving doesn’t mean you can be careless. People walk on the left side of the street in the Eastern hemisphere but this isn’t France. This is New York so walk on the right.
This also means that if traveling in a crowd, don’t take up the entire street. If only two people can fit on the right side of the street well then so be it. The rest of your group should follow behind. There is no need to all walk horizontally in one line.

2. When stopping please note that people may be walking behind you

Especially if you’re walking in a crowded street, first slow down before coming to a complete halt. You may feel like stopping to take a picture (or for whatever other reason) but be mindful that a person may be tailgating you closely behind. Stopping without warning will lead to unnecessary human collisions. Make an effort to slow down and begin walking to the side of the street. Once on the clear you may then stop for whatever purposes you choose.

3. Slow down and look both ways before turning a corner

Don’t just turn a corner without caution. People will stop bumping into each other if they just were aware that another person may be turning the corner as well. Again, slow down and look first over the corner before turning. As with driving, if another person is already ahead and in the process of turning you must give the right of way and let them turn first. Don’t try to turn the corner as well but wait until they pass and then proceed to turn the corner afterwards.

4. Speed up if you cut in front of a person. Don’t slow down!

Why would you get in front of a person only to have them now wait for you? If that was the case you should have just stayed behind the person. If the person in front of you is walking too slow for your liking you may cross him or her but be sure there is no one coming ahead towards you as you go around the slow individual. Once you pass the slow walker make sure you speed up ahead of him. Or why would you go in front of him or her only to now get in their way?

5. Don’t hold conversations in the middle of the sidewalk

If you met a friend in the street and a conversation springs up make sure to nudge each other to move to the side. Such encounters results in a conversation immediately arising. Sometimes its a quick greeting with each person going their own way soon after. But you may never know. Other times what seems like a chance reunion results in a long chat. In either situation, be mindful that you are blocking the walking space of others and should immediately motion to continue the conversation out of people’s way. It’s the considerate thing to do.


New York may be viewed as a city full of rude people but that may not be the case. If you, especially non-New Yorkers, aren’t  following the five rules outlined above then you may actually be the instigator and the actual rude person. By being neglectful and disrespectful you are in fact choosing to unnecessarily bump into people. And if that happens don’t be shocked that that person isn’t apologetic.

Photo credit: -JosephB-

I don't know. Sometimes it feels like my writing & thoughts are way off. Who knows if it'll help anyone or if it means anything.

Written by Nassau Jones

  1. Future NYU student says:

    haha. this is funny and true. I like this article.

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