Walking, New York City
One of the frustrations of walking in New York is having to stop every block to wait for the traffic lights to change: if you’re unlucky, you can be waiting a while at every single street-corner on a walk north or south on Manhattan. After a short while, you’ll find yourself stepping off the pavement a foot or two into the street, ready to make a run for it as soon as an opportunity presents itself – or the lights change. When you find yourself in another city, you’ll suddenly realize that, unlike in New York, you’re the only one stepping a foot off the pavement at every traffic light: we had to ‘re-train’ ourselves on how to behave when we arrived in Boston!
some tips on walking in manhattan, first of all don't get intimidated on the numbering of streets and on the number of city block you need to walk before arriving at your destination since the city blocks in manhattan tend to be small and mostly flat (unlike in San Francisco, there are lots of sttep inclined streets) so it is easy to walk in here and do it not on a fast pace as notm to get tired easily and the streets follow a grid, you have to divide manhattan into east and west at the middle as not to get confused like for example, 3 east 57th st means it is located in the east side of manhattan.
New york is a fast-paced city, whose residents are possessed of a restless energy that legend says is necessary for survival. Few people seem to have time for anything not on their mental schedule and even asking for directions in the street is best done with an awareness of this, ideally while moving at the same pace and in the same direction as the informant.
New Yorkers have persuaded themselves that living at breakneck speed, always under pressure, is stimulating and is what gives them their edge and makes Manhatten the center of the universe(which all New Yorkers believe implicitly). It may also explain why few people choose to live out their latter years in the city, if indeed, they survive long enough to make that choice.
The city is undeniably stimulating and exciting not only for the wealth of its social and cultural pleasures but also because of its fascinating and truly varied, almost 24-hour street life. Its multifarious neighborhoods, segueing from one to another, offer boundless diversions to the eye and ear.
A casual stroll in almost any direction rewards the explorer with guaranteed serendipity. Rockefeller Plaza at lunchtime, Soho's West Broadway on Saturday, Central Park on Sunday, or Washington Square on any summer weekend will provide a visitor with as much entertainment as the best Broadway show.
New Yorkers are fast!!! We walk fast,talk fast and work fast! Even the upstaters! This becomes evident to me whenever I travel to the Southern states..Everybody there seems to move soooooo slow! Maybe we do everything so fast to keep warm in the winter!!
Another thing about New York state are the names of the cities and towns. They are not very original and many are taken from places around the world. We have Rome,Syracuse,Naples,Mexico,Warsaw,Malta,Pompeii, Ithaca,Genoa,Venice,Odessa and many ,many more all in New York state.
The 'central NY accent. Well..everybody knows about Brooklyn accents and Long Island accents...but living in Central New York...I have noticed that there are some words that are pronounced kind of strangely here...for example the words 'tomato' and 'potato' are pronouced by many as 'potata' and 'tomata', 'creek' is pronouced as 'crick' and the words such as 'twenty' and 'counter' are pronouced as 'tweny' and 'couner' These pronunciations are very common here and I have even caught myself doing it...but I try to make a strong effort not to!
Quick as a New York minute! That is the expression I always have had until I witnessed the people for myself. New York is fast but I was still able to get help from the people of New York. I feel that all people are willing to help. You just have to have the courage to ask for it.
The following image was found on the internet. Unfortunately I am not sure of the source.
Go ahead and cross the street when the light is red. A lot of the streets are one-way anyway, so if nobody is coming...make a break for it! If you need directions to something, try looking for a policeman rather than stopping somebody on the street, especially if this person looks like they're in a hurry to get somewhere. Then again, who isn't in a hurry to get somewhere in NYC?
Life moves at a very quick pace in New York. People are always on the go. Moreover, people tend to talk more rapidly and have less patience with the casual tourist, especially when providing instructions to get from here to there. While I do recommend carrying around a map, please DO NOT study the map at the corner of a street. Not only will you be annoying other New Yorkers, you will also be advertising yourself as an easy mark for a thief or scam artist!
Sure, you'll get lost here. Why not ask someone where something is. BUT choose your person wisely. DON'T ask the dude in a suit who looks like he's going to brave oncoming traffic to make it across the street and into the subway because he knows the EXACT time to the second that his train will pull in (yes, we all do know these things). Instead, ask the college student who is slowly making her/his way into the park to do some sunbathing/studying.
DON'T block sideway traffic on Broadway or any other busy street to take out your map. In fact, DON'T block sideway traffic, ever. You WILL be pushed out of the way!
There's really only a couple rules as a tourist walking the streets of NYC. The first one is you've gotta keep up. Don't lolliegag down the street and get in everyone's way. There's people who live here, and they've got places to go.. like work. If you can't keep up, then be sure to stay out of everyone's way. There's plenty of space on the right hand side of the side walk to let all the natives through.
The second rule is: try not to be out on the subways between the hours of 4-6pm. That's when everyone is trying to get home from their jobs, and you're just clogging up the train for them. Go get some dinner or take a tour during those hours. it's no biggie. You'll save yourself a lot of stress as well.
Most New Yorkers do not wait for the light to change before they cross the street. Technically it is against the law and when Guiliani was Mayor he tried to enforce the jaywalking law by having cops start issuing tickets. I'm not advising you do it; however, if the only reason you're not doing it is fear of a ticket, I wouldn't worry. So many people do it that they'd have to ticket half the city. Also, if you're not used to jaywalking, I'd be careful --it's sometimes hard to maneuver NYC traffic, the messenger bikes being the worst offenders, with cabs a close second.
Don't look people in the eye when you are walking around the city. It's a dead giveaway that you are from out of town. Ignore people as much possible and you'll fit in just fine.
A little surprise when seeing people keep on walking even when 'Don't Walk' signs shown. Well, at least they make sure they walk when no cars passing. Sometimes cars may have to slow down or stop.