The weather is nice again and the tourists are coming back. Last summer I still felt very much like a tourist so I wasn't on board with viewing them like we southerners view Yankees, but now, I am starting to understand. If you are coming to NYC, allow me to give you a few hints so you can be a part of the solution, not the problem.
We get it, the buildings are tall. You don't have to stop every 15 feet to take a picture of yet another tall building. You probably don't know what building you're looking at. Even if you do, you probably won't take a good enough picture to know what building it is later. Just buy a book of pictures of famous buildings in NYC and we'll all be better off. If I see you stopping on a busy sidewalk to take a picture, I will not stop or get out of the way to give you a better shot. In fact I might give your subject rabbit ears. At least it's only rabbit ears. Some folks have unexpected "birds" in their shots.
Why am I so hung up on this, you ask. The sidewalks are busy. We are pedestrians. There are lots of us. We have a sidewalk etiquette and when you stop all the time, you mess things up.
More sidewalk ettiqette:
Slow traffic keep right - this applies to sidewalks as well as roads.
Walk on the right - WALK ON THE RIGHT!! Don't be all walking on the left and act surprised when we bump into you or don't get out of your way.
These next few tips are borrowed from my friend who gives this talk to college kids who come up here for summer mission trips.
He tells his guests to observe the flow of pedestrian traffic. If you need to tie your shoe, get out of traffic, stop, tie, and rejoin the herd.
Just because you are through the subway doors, you're not done. Don't walk through the doors and stop. You'll get run over. Keep moving until you either find a seat or a place to stand.
Let people off the subway before getting on the subway.
Don't stare at people on the subway, or anywhere else for that matter.
Walk in columns, not rows. Don't come up here with your 2 best friends and then walk s-lo-w-l-y in a row down the sidewalk where no one can pass your little clump of friends. Walk 2 wide at the most. If that means you need to bring 3 friends with you so you don't have a 3rd wheel, so be it.
Be aware of your backpack. Just because you don't have nerve endings in your backpack, doesn't mean I don't have nerve endings when it hits me in the face as you turn quickly and smack me with it.
I don't mind tourists. It could be that many of the row walkers and backpack smackers are not even tourists. But if you come up here as a tourist and you remember these tips, you will be making everyone's life a little better, so yay you! Ask directions. It's ok. I don't know anyone who minds giving directions. Be in awe of the sky scrapers. They're awesome. Just don't be clogging the sidewalk to take it all in.
Another little tip I use when I have my camera with me is this. When I emerge at a subway stop I am not familiar with and I don't know what direction I'm facing, I find a street sign off in the distance and zoom in on it to see the name of the street. That way I don't have to walk all that way just to find out I want to go the opposite way.