Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Time to Dawdle: Walking in New York

I think I first became a fast walker after our many trips to Cedar Point when I was a kid. As soon as the gates opened, my dad, sister and I would rush to the newest ride with the longest line, leaving my mom in the dust.

All that practice came in handy at Ohio State, where the size of the campus combined with my procrastination meant I absolutely had to walk fast if I was going to make it to class in time. Or stay warm and dry, depending on the weather.

But all that's nothing compared to the way I walk here: not only fast, but with a purpose.

I certainly don't wait for the walk signal-- a quick flick of the head to make sure no buses will barrel me over does the trick. On the rare occasions that I do have to wait for the signal to change (mainly in Manhattan), I certainly don't wait on the sidewalk. That, I've noticed is a sure sign of a tourist. Locals creep out as far as they can into the street, ready to dash if nary a car hits the breaks for even a split second.

I did my share of jaywalking at OSU, but it's at a whole different level here. At least a few times a week I even make a diagonal across an intersection on my 4 block walk home from the subway. It's like a tiny present at the end of a long day. Paul says Ohio University in Athens has a marked, legal diagonal crosswalk. That's something I'd like to see!

How I walk isn't anything unusual here-- in fact, it would be unusual *not* to walk like this. The only exception? Parents with strollers. They (usually) stay on the sidewalks and follow the signals.


  1. Do you ever seen any pedestrians get hit by cars?

  2. When Phil and I went to NYC in May 2005, he was driving my car through Manhattan and was freaking out at the possibility of hitting someone.

  3. I'm reassured at least that parents don't use their innocent children to push their way through crosswalks before the walk signal! :)



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