Jaywalking Across New York City

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You know what I don’t do in Dallas very much? Cross the street.

Dallas and its suburbs are deprived of one very important thing: people who walk. The city itself isn’t very friendly to walkers, and nearly everyone has a car and uses it. Personally, I don’t know anyone who uses the train here… yet.

New York, on the other hand, is a walker’s paradise. The first day of my three-day, mini-foodie adventure involved a lot of walking. And I mean a lot. I think I walked about thirty blocks just hours after arriving into the city.

There’s one really easy way to tell if someone is a tourist or a local — all you have to do is watch them walk.

Through my experience in Manhattan, I noticed that lots of people were crossing the street even when there was a Don’t Walk sign! Not only that, but they’d stand in the street waiting for a break in the cars for them to run across. I guess New Yorkers are pretty impatient.

With navigating around the city being so easy, it’s no wonder why people walk all the time! The city itself is set up in a grid pattern. If I’m on 47th Street and I want to get to 48th Street… I’ll just ask since I’m a tourist.

In all seriousness, you’d just need to keep walking north. Because I’m hopelessly confused with directions, I would often walk the wrong way. Let’s say I’m going west on 47th Street. Instead of turning right, I’d end up turning left which would lead me to 46th Street. Yeah, I’m not good with directions.

Another thing that was really helpful was that the streets only went in one direction. That’s probably what makes the whole “jaywalking” thing a lot easier. I mean, it’s pretty hard to run across the street when there are cars coming from both directions, right?

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That’s probably why I don’t jaywalk in Dallas and freak out at the thought of it. Last week, I went out to eat twice at a fast food restaurant within walking distance of my high school. Aside from the fact that it’s probably really unhealthy of me to eat it not once, but twice, I had to do something very important to get there: cross the street.

I live in the suburbs. If you want to go anywhere, you have to use a car. Normally, I’m not ever faced with the task of crossing the street in Dallas — many times, there are no crossing lights for pedestrians or even sidewalks. Not only that, but it gets ridiculously hot from late May to around mid-December.

It was a little awkward when a classmate asked if I wanted to go to get milkshakes. I mean, we just met five minutes ago, and I don’t know where to go! Hesitantly, I agreed and he showed me how to get there.

“Basically, you just have to walk to the streetlight on your right, cross the street and walk into the parking lot,” he told me. I’ll be honest — I didn’t know how I would cross the street, and if I were on my own, I’d probably have used the much more dangerous crosswalk (everyone forge. That’s right. I didn’t know how to cross the street. (If it means anything, I’m not used to the area.)

Unlike New York, I can’t just look one way and cross if there’s nothing there. (You scream “tourist” when you look both ways before you cross the street over there.) But this whole “two-way street” thing in Dallas makes me look one way too many.

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The streets in SoHo

If you’re planning on visiting New York anytime soon, keep in mind that crossing streets is very easy and you don’t necessarily have to wait for the Walk sign to come on. And don’t take the subway unless it’s really far. You just don’t get that same New York City experience! I didn’t use the subway until closer to the end of the trip. I had no idea how to use it.

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7 thoughts on “Jaywalking Across New York City

  1. Crossing the streets is fun!
    Unless you live in Vegas and have an idiot friend (cough, Chris, cough) who can’t tell whether or not the chances of you getting run over by an SUV are high or not. Dallas is a lot better with the walking thing but I’ve almost gotten hit by a car several times over.
    Feel lucky. 😛

  2. Oh I wish to walk in New York too! I heard that the streets makes you feel brand new and the big lights will inspire you! Lol! ;p

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