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Lessons for New York Tourists: Vol. 1 – Walking down the street. July 26, 2008

Posted by Robert in Humor, Not Political, Social Commentary, Travel.
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Can you spot the tourists?

Can you spot the tourists?

Hello America.  It’s me, every single person who comes into Manhattan every day in order to conduct business and earn a living.  I wanted to take a moment out of my very busy day to welcome you to our city.   I know you’ve wanted to visit for a while now and I’m so thrilled that you picked today, the day that I’m running late for work, to do so.

In this post I’m going to offer you some friendly advice.  You see, we New Yorker’s aren’t as ruff around the edges as we are made out to be in Law and Order.  In fact, most of us have never killed our mistresses.   We know full well how important the tourism industry is to our fair city.  That’s why we’ve learned to co-exist with you, our inexperienced guests.

We do however have one request, get the hell out of our way when we’re walking down the sidewalk.   I’m serious.   There is no faster way to get one of us to cut you (we all carry blades) than to stop short and make us  adjust the velocity at which we are moving.  You see, we know exactly where we are going, we do it every day.   We understand that you probably do not.  We don’t care.  That happens to be your problem.  But it’s you’re lucky day, because I’m about to let you in on a technique that when followed, will make sure that you and your family can navigate the city and not piss any of us off.

It’s quite simple really.   Manhattan sidewalks work a lot like what you would call “roads” back in your neck of the woods.   As you’re walking, every time you wish to do something, just ask yourself “If I did this while driving in a car, would I piss the guy behind me off?”.   If the answer is yes,  chances are you’re going to anger the guy walking behind you.   For example, let’s say you’re driving 65 down the highway and you decide to stop abruptly and stare at something on the side of the road.   Well, that’s pretty much exactly what you’re doing when you stop right in the middle of the sidewalk in Manhattan.   At any given moment there could be a thousand people on the same block as you, and they all need to get somewhere.    Manhattan is such an easily navigable city because  it’s basically laid out in a grid and everyone walks briskly to get where they are going.   In fact, if it wasn’t for your tourists, the locals would move around so efficiently it would resemble something out of an Orwellian dystopia.  Only an AWESOME Orwellian dystopia, one where all the tourists are dead.

Anyway… I’m getting sidetracked.   What is the solution, you ask?  Keep moving or get out of the way.   We know that there are lots of shiny things in all the windows and we know you can’t tell if that’s 5th avenue or 7th you’re walking toward, but when you get there, you’ll know and you won’t have to turn strangers into enemies in order to find out.   If you do need to stop, just pretend you’re driving again.  Make your way to the right side of the sidewalk and stand next to the wall.   There you’re free to check your little map, look at the sneakers that you can’t buy back at home or even chat with the friendly punk rock homeless kid who’s sleeping next to a dog and is just trying to get a bus ticket back to Portland.   See, it’s that easy.   You get to explore the city at your leisure and I get to not hate you forever.   We both win… mostly me.

Some parting hints:

Streets in midtown Manhattan are mostly one way with a few exceptions.  If you’re walking with traffic down a one way odd numbered street (ex. 49th Street) the Avenue’s will go up in number (5th, 6th, 7th).  Obviously the opposite is true of  even numbered streets.

Broadway is not straight up and down.  I can’t tell you how many of you people can’t find Broadway because of this fact.  Broadway runs diagonally and looks like the slash key on your keyboard under the delete key.   It crosses 6th Avenue at 34th street.  Therefore if you need to get to Broadway and you’re on 6th avenue south of 34th street follow the traffic on an even number street, you’ll be walking east.  If you’re north of 34th street, follow the traffic on the odd numbered streets.

Never pay more than $1.50 for a street hot dog, $2 for a pretzel or knish, $4 for a gyro and $5 for a meat and rice platter.  Any more than that and you’re getting hosed.

I hope this little lesson has been helpful and condescending.  It was meant to be both.  Tune in for the next lesson where I teach you the art of using the damn subway without looking like an idiot.

If you wear one of these, we know you're a tourist.

Bonus Hint: If you wear one of these, we know you're a tourist.

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Comments»

1. avila - July 26, 2008

Stupid tourists also irritate the tourists who know what they’re doing in a big city…like me. 🙂

2. Kim - July 28, 2008

This post made me laugh…. I’ve never been in NYC. But, I will definitely be taking this advice when I go there…. I’m pretty small-town USA. =)

3. Miss Lisa - July 30, 2008

Oh man! This is so right on! Especially on Wednesdays, when the streets are filled with groups of people coming off large busses all wearing the same colored shirt.

And I walk from 8th and 34th to 6th and 43rd every day! Right through the heart of Time Square.

4. Fred Berkins, CA - January 30, 2009

Dude,
one could also argue that if you are arriving late to work everyday (whether that be because of tourists or not), then you need to set off earlier.

As for the comparison to driving down the road, it’s not really the same is it. It is illegal to stop in the middle of the freeway, it’s not however illegal to stop in the middle of the sidewalk though.

So actually, it’s YOUR PROBLEM !

5. Walking Down The Street in New York - Revisited « My Aim Is Truth - January 30, 2009

[…] one of the earlier posts on this blog, I made an attempt to give some helpful hints to would-be visitors of the fine city of New York, in order to make their trip here more […]

6. Matt - March 27, 2009

Man you New Yorkers act like its the most populated city in the world!!!
get over yourselves. respect the tourists cause if it were not for them it wouldn;t be such a “great” city would it!!!


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