The 15 Worst Kinds of Pedestrians in New York City


Sidewalks are getting crowded. The DOT says so! They sent teams out to measure pedestrian volume, and they found that the city’s sidewalks are now more congested than they have been in the past five years, showing a 13 percent increase in pedestrian traffic since 2007. The other day we were walking on such a sidewalk, minding our own business, setting a brisk pace, when someone walked quickly up just behind us, and stayed there — tailgating, if you will. This was in no small way annoying. Earlier in the year, we wrote of the urban phenomenon of sidewalk rage, of which anyone who’s lived here more than a year has most certainly suffered. Here, we have named the 15 most annoying types of New York City pedestrians, a/k/a, those most likely to imbue you with that rage.

15. The Creeper. This is someone who does exactly what we just mentioned. Not quite as fast as you, and yet, somehow faster, they creep up behind and won’t just go around you, but instead maintain a pace irritatingly close, like a dog on your heels. The best thing to do is to step aside and let them go around, because if you increase your speed, they will too. If they step on the back of your shoe, all bets are off.

14. The Crasher. This is the Academy Award winner of bad walkers, the one who seems not to notice you (but they must, after all, they’re sharing the exact same sidewalk, and they have eyes). Whether they are extremely preoccupied or texting-while-walking or blind, they walk right into you, either slamming into you directly, full-impact, or body-checking some section of your torso. This hurts.

13. The SPREAD-ACROSS-THE-ENTIRE-SIDEWALK-AND-SAUNTER-LET’S-EVEN-HOLD-HANDS-WHY-DON’T-WE? People. Exactly what they are. They have never been to New York before, and they really could care less what you think about how they’re walking or if you can’t get around them and are running late, because they simply cannot relate. Hey, do you know where the Avenue of the Americas is?

12. The Singer. The attention-whores of the walking set. Usually tuneless, always annoying. For the love of God: Shut. Up.

11. The Abrupt, Indiscriminating Stop-and-Gawker. This is the easy-breaking rubber-necker of the sidewalk circuit. Be careful. You’ll be blamed for rear-ending if you bump into them, and yet, we all know they were the ones distracted by staring at a double rainbow or the Empire State Building or a large inflatable rat or a lady with no top, which means they are not a real New Yorker and you may resent them freely. Sometimes they take photos, too.

10. The Morning Dog-Walker With the Dog in Intestinal Distress. We don’t blame you for walking your dog. But could you…maybe…do it away from that major street we walk down on our early morning commute? This is not good for one’s Monday. Or one’s hangover.

9. Those People Who Ask You Where You Get Your Hair Cut. Or if you like comedy. Or if you care about something that of course you care about but you’re not going to stop and waste your time signing a petition held by some complete stranger about it, and shouldn’t charities be focusing on their Internet presence at this point?

8. The Irascible Phone-Talker. Like the singer, this one allows that which should be private to become ever so public, like when they engage in a screaming fight on their cell phone with someone you can also hear on the other line, screaming right back about so-and-so’s herpes. See also: Loud talkers not on phones.

7. The Biker-on-the-Sidewalk. Don’t do that. Also applies to unicycles. You know who you are, unicycle guy!

6. The Person Who Smells. A lot. More than just a little sweat or an accidentally bypassed morning encounter with the deodorant, this is that particular stench that embraces you every so often on the hottest days of the summer. You don’t know who will possess it…until they walk past, and then you do.

5. The Creepy “Hello” Utterer. Why do you need to say hello to a stranger? Do you think we don’t have enough to worry about, that now we have to consider how to say hello back to you? Is this some elaborate ruse, via which you will snag our pocketbooks and run? Or, worse: Do you actually want to be friends? If you tell us to smile, we’ll punch you in the face.

4. People Waiting to Get Into Clubs on the Lower East Side on Saturday Night. That is all.

3. Your Parents.

2. The People Who Move Out of the Way For You to Pass. Sometimes we love these people. But sometimes we know they are doing it passive aggressively, and they glare at us as we pass, and make comments under their breath, and it dawns on us that maybe we are the obnoxious ones in this situation. That hurts worse.

1. This Guy. He manages to combine so many of the above, he really should be a PSA, and not just a late ’90s music video.

What did we miss?

Previously: Sidewalk-Raging New Yorkers Secretly Want to Punch Tourists in the Head