Coming from a family that called New York City home for more than a century, I am constitutionally required to complain about the way tourists walk the sidewalks and comport themselves when visiting the city. There’s nothing like gawping tourists blocking the sidewalk to bring otherwise self-absorbed New Yorkers together like long lost pals to moan about the yahoos. Lately, spurious notices from the bogus “NYC Department of Pedestrian Etiquette” have been posted around town. The hilarious flyers call for tourists to participate in mandatory training sessions, pass oral exams and receive sidewalk permits. Penalties for noncompliance under a three-strike system include banning from NYC for five years.
Here’s a list of punishable infractions that put tourists on fair notice:
- Blocking the sidewalk or any public area in a large group or just standing like an idiot in the middle of pedestrian traffic. Also referred to as ‘clumping.’
- Walking too slowly with more than one person spread across the sidewalk.
- Weaving from side to side, oblivious to busy New Yorkers trying to get the hell around you.
- Stopping abruptly without stepping off to the side.
- Sudden gestures or movements, for example: Sticking out your arm to point at something and thus smacking someone in the face who is trying to walk past. Hair flipping will also be prohibited.
- Blocking pedestrian traffic to stare up at Very Tall Buildings or to clump in a group to look at maps.
- Waiting for traffic light to turn green when the road is clear and thus blocking jay-walkers.
- Walking with your face in a map or mobile device.
- Walking with big rolly bags on narrow sidewalks or turning abruptly with a big fat back pack.
- Excessive arm swinging or bag swinging.
- Stopping like a deer in the headlights in front of a speeding bicycle.
- Stopping on a bike path with a big group to take pictures of squirrels.
- Not responding when a New York Resident tells you to “Stop Blocking the Sidewalk and Get the Hell Out of the Way! You Moron!!!”