|How nice it would be to hop in a taxi to head downtown for a night out with the girls.|
Unless you have the budget to take a cab everywhere you go, you’ll be one of thousands of pedestrians in NYC walking miles every day. Like most New Yorkers, my main mode of transportation tends to be the subway, bus, or my feet. I have a habit of putting on my headphones, listening to music, and pretending the sidewalk is my runway. While I’m out there strutting my stuff, however, my little world is usually interrupted by the realities of walking through New York City. Here’s a look at the woes of pedestrians in NYC.
During the summer, NYC pedestrians have to deal with suffocating humidity. As a girl with curly Polynesian hair, I’ve given up on trying to look cute from June through September. There’s also the dripping condensation from air conditioning window units. What’s more, it took me awhile during my first year in the city to realize that the drips weren’t always from A/C, but pigeons were urinating on me.
In the dead of winter, it’s difficult to climb over the mounds of snow that build up after the plows clear the streets, and the many puddles of slush look deceptively shallow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stepped into one of those, only to have the dirty water pour into my wellies (rubber boots) and have to walk home thinking, “Oh my God, there’s liquid herpes in my shoe.”
|Avoiding the puddles of slush takes skill.|
It’s nearly impossible to find a section of New York City that isn’t host to at least one construction project. For pedestrians, that means minding random ditches, navigating around blocked-off sidewalks, and dealing with the incessant noise of jackhammers. I live just off 2nd Avenue, the site of the never-ending subway project, so I get to wake up to that noise as well.
Almost every woman walking the streets of New York has to deal with cat calls at some point. Personally, I’ve developed a system of getting guys on the sidewalk to leave me alone. Sometimes, if a dude tries to stop me and ask for my phone number, I’ll yell “Raise your standards!” and leave him with a look of confusion. Another method I’ve employed is sniffing loudly and wiping my nose on my sleeve in the most disgusting manner possible. That usually does the trick.
Skirts and Heels
I used to love wearing flouncy dresses and stilettos – but life as a pedestrian doesn’t make that an easy option. Skirts will easily fly up into your face if there’s an unexpected gust of wind or if you walk over a subway vent on the sidewalk. And high heels? Those eventually become the enemy. Sure, I can start out with a Naomi Campbell-esque strut, but 30 minutes later I’m usually hobbling as if I have a sprained ankle and arthritis in my knees.
|Though not sexy like high heels, flats are much more practical.|
I know a lot of these people are just trying to support a good cause, but “Hi there, can I talk to you for a second?” is possibly the most annoying question you can hear when you’re in a rush. And they happen to ask for donations while simultaneously making you late for work.
Poor Sidewalk Etiquette
It baffles me that more people don’t have the common sense (or courtesy) to realize that this fast-paced city means you need to maintain a certain level of etiquette when you’re walking around. First of all, it drives me insane when groups of people stroll side by side, taking up the whole sidewalk so nobody can pass.
Secondly, I can’t stand slow walkers. It’s difficult to get to where you want to go when you’re being blocked by women with strollers who take leisurely strolls through Midtown during rush hour.
Also, there’s a reason I do my best to avoid areas like Times Square. Tourists are constantly stopping to take pictures while on the sidewalk, leading to nonstop foot traffic pileups.
|I walk around the tourists in Times Square.|
Pockets of Garbage Smells
We’ve mentioned odors several times in regards to NYC. You can travel through the city, and then suddenly get hit with a stench that makes you think an elephant just took a dump on your face. It’s just another one of the many inevitabilities you have to deal with as a pedestrian. Look on the bright side, though – at least you’re not sitting in traffic; you’re saving money on cab fare, and maybe even burning off happy hour calories.