So you want to explore the sites of the greatest city on Earth, but going to Urlabari in Nepal is expensive, and you’ve settled for the big apple (named for its abundance of orchards). But they haven’t invented teleportation devices yet (they have but the government doesn’t want us to know) and you need to see what’s under the Brooklyn Bridge or the amazing Arbor Day window displays at Macy’s. What to do? Most people opt for walking. But walking in a crowded city is different than walking in Madison Wisconsin from your car to the Cheesecake Factory. Here are some tips!
• Look up! There lots to see! Thousands of immigrants didn’t make these buildings so tall and these movie posters so big to not be gawked at. Is that barely legal girl in leggings and nothing else on that American Apparel ad looking at you? You bet she is! Did Toys R Us flash a Care Bears Blowout sale you need to know the details for? Hell yes! Is that you on the big screen for Kodak cameras waving at your friends as they try to take a picture of a picture? It sure is, and you just may be discovered
• Walk in zig zag patterns! You know who walks in straight lines? Predictable thoughtful people. Mix it up! You’re on vacation. Oh my God is that an Angry Birds ski cap on the other side of the sidewalk. You better walk right in front of people to see if it is. Just realized you passed the McDonalds you wanted to visit to see if their fries taste different than the ones back home (they don’t)? Double back at lightning speed knocking the cell phone out of the local’s hand who trusted you not to do that but totally understands that you are a monkey who saw something shiny and will forgive you.
• Lock arms and don’t let go! Want to make sure you experience everything with your group of friends leaving no man behind? The best way to do this is to lock arms and walk “Last Supper” style down the street. Two, three, or even ten of you doing this, all wearing your bright yellow “Kalamazoo Crew Vacation 2013” shirts sends the message that you are here to have fun, and also that you keep your money in your fanny packs. By forcing the locals to Red Rover through your group, you are keeping the fun spirit of the city in your hearts, and making them slow down so they too can enjoy every single second of crossing Fifth Avenue.
• It’s raining, grab your giant umbrella! Many people who visit New York have never seen rain before. Very simply, this is water that falls from the sky. No one knows where it comes from or its harmful effects on humans, but rest assured, as long as you follow these instructions, you should be ok. At the first sign of droplets on your person, look at whomever you are walking with (you remember walking right? We covered that earlier) and announce “That’s just our luck right Susan?” ( or whatever the name of your best friend is who just recently divorced and is going to put that man behind her by going crazy in the big city by doing tequila shots at a…gay bar!! ). Then, reach into your M&M oversized shopping bag, or Jansport backpack and retrieve your Bio Dome sized umbrella and open it as soon as you can shoving children to the street. Be sure to keep it as close to your head as possible, poking out a few retinas of passerby’s as you continue your journey to the American Girl store. When you’re finished, pack up the umbrella, and keep it under your arm so it sticks out like a sword piercing people behind you in the stomach to let them know, “Hey, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one on this sidewalk”.
• Jaywalking! Do it. Get out there no matter what’s coming down the street. Do it. And do it often
• Escalators! Most people enjoy the lazy carefree experience of an escalator. It’s a chance to unwind and pretend you’re in that Serendipity movie. Stand on either side, left or right. It doesn’t matter. If locals are trying to get past you, just smile and tell them to stop and smell the roses (or vomit, or whatever’s around). I mean, if they were in a hurry, why didn’t they take the stairs? Which brings us to…
• Stairs! Be sure to use the zig zag technique on these as well, especially if you have a cane, are holding a baby, or are obese, like really obese, like Michelin Man obese. Older people should make sure to stop every three steps and sigh loudly to announce to everyone “Where am I, and how have I survived here this long?”
Well, I hope this helps. It can be a pretty daunting task getting around, but you can do it. You saved up all year, got that great group hostel rate, and Grouponed the Hell out of Broadway, so walking around is as easy as pie. We’ll see ya this summer!
"All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking"---Nietzsche
“I like long walks, especialy when they are taken by people who annoy me" --Noël Coward