Not long ago, New Yorkers knew how to walk: eyes focused, head down, long strides and fast, fast, fast. But apparently, those basic rules are not being followed by people who visit the city, and longtime New Yorkers are steamed. "People no longer know how to walk on the sidewalk," complains one TV producer.
What's the problem? According to the New York Times, people are stopping suddenly, causing pedestrian pileups, walking too slowly (natives call these people "meanderthals"), stepping on the heels of those in front and yakking on their cell phones. "Typically I think of a cell phone talker as a guided missile," said one.
But there's particular bile for what some call "mall walkers," people who walk two-, three- or four-abreast. "They make me so mad," said one woman. "When you are around a group of mall walkers, you have to find a way around them." People who study cities says there's something to all this kvetching. "I think it is all part of this trend away from being comfortable as a pedestrian," said one expert.
Actually, it could be that New York — particularly Manhattan — is simply more crowded, the Times says. There are 1.5 million residents, mixing with 800,000 commuters and millions of tourists and visiting business people. In 2000, 37 million people visited the city, many of whom picked up their walking habits at shopping malls. Posted 8/1/2002
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