With people responding so vehemently to Gawker's "The Ten Worst People On the Subway," it seemed sensible to think that New Yorkers' rage for their less-than-considerate cohabitants might extend to the above-ground folk. Thus, and with all due respect to Hamilton Nolan, I present to you a companion piece: The Ten Worst People on the Sidewalk —
1. The people who can't put their smartphone down for one god damn minute...
... which is nearly every person with a smartphone. There are, of course, exceptions - and I applaud you. But when Improv Everywhere devotes an entire flash mob to your shitty disregard of other people, you know there's a problem. I get it - you need to map where you're going, or you need to find the closest happy hour, or you need to reassure your wife that you're really on your way home this time. Pull to the side for fifteen seconds. Seriously. It is not other people's responsibility to adjust their trajectory because you can't be bothered to watch where you're going. Put. It. Down.
2. The people who try to guilt trip you into giving money.
There are several of these. Let's take for example Children International. They're a good organization that does great work all over the world. But every time some unshowered aspiring fill-in-the-blank jumps in front of me and demands, "Excuse me, do you like children?" I just want to grab the closest toddler and burrow my clacking jaws into its ribcage emerging with its still-beating heart and gurgle, "Yes! They're delicious!" I know that Craigslist promised this would be the easiest and most fulfilling summer job you would ever have - but go away.
3. The groups who insist on walking side by side.
The number of people in your group is NOT directly proportional to the amount of space you're entitled to on the sidewalk. I know that no one wants to be the caboose of the gang. I know that you want to make sure you're there when your friend says, "I'd totally tap that," so you can nod your approval. But, well... too bad. Sidewalk traffic is not all that different from street traffic. Just because you are caravanning doesn't mean you get to take up all four lanes of the highway. Maybe the sidewalk should have medians. Maybe the sidewalk should have snipers...
4. The people with no-fucking-where to be.
Well good for you. But we have jobs, brunches, meetings, dates, theater to see, planes to catch, happy hour specials of which to take advantage. And quite frankly - we're late. Your spatial obstruction and lack of ambition is interfering with our more interesting lives. Move aside. Move aside.
5. The people who don't care where their smoke goes.
I used to be a smoker. I get it. And with smoking now banned in bars, public buildings, public parks, and even some apartment buildings, it's hard. I get it. Sometimes the sidewalk is the only place you can get that fix. That said, your right to a cigarette really only entitles you to pollute the .212 cubic feet (appropriate for NY smokers) contained within your blackened lungs. Now of course you can't control the wind. As long as smoking is allowed, it's going to blow here and there. But you can control smoking in the middle of a crowd and blowing it all willy-nilly among the fresh-air-loving-freaks... of which I am now one. So please do.
6. The people who hand out fliers.
Whether it's a coupon for a comedy club, a strip club, a dance club, or a club sandwich, whenever someone shoves a flier in my face I hear the words of the late, great Mitch Hedberg: "It's kinda like they're saying, 'Here, you throw this away.'"
7. The people who hunt tourists for their bus tours.
You've got a business to run. Totally fair. Find another place to do it. I'm pretty sure that 3/4 of the sidewalk isn't zoned for your commercial use. It's also probably not zoned for a no-holds-barred beatdown on your ass. But if you don't care, why should I?
8. The people who want to teach you the truth about Jesus.
Maybe there are only 144,000 people going to meet a beautiful black Jesus someday. I dunno. And God bless 'em if they are. But even if every one of those 144,000 reside in modern day New York City, that's still only 1 in every 55.5people. That's 54.5 people who aren't going to be joining you in your big circle jerk in the sky. What does the Bible really say? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Now what would you have those 54.5 other people, who maybe are a little pissed hearing about your little club, do unto you? Probably leave you the hell alone. We suggest you do likewise. You don't want to know what that other .5 of a person will do.
9. The people who block the entrance to the subway stairs.
I need to make a phone call / check my mail / arrange a family rendezvous / stare at my belly button / dry hump my bitch... oh right here at the top of the stairs should do just fine. Aww - that's cute. Fuck you. You thought you were safe because it's not technically on the sidewalk? Because it's that no-man's-land between sidewalk and subway? That's right - no man's... including you.
Get. The fuck. Off. The sidewalk. I don't care if you're delivering food, excited about your new Citibike, or just a douchebag... you're a douchebag. Forget for a moment that it's illegal for you to ride your bike on the sidewalk. It's dangerous. You're not as deft as you think you are. And even if you are, some pedestrians aren't - especially those you approach from behind. Even the nimblest of sidewalk strollers is bound to get undeservedly skittish when they see an asshole on wheels barreling toward them. Oh, and just as a reminder - it's illegal for you to ride your bike on the sidewalk.
P.S. - You may have noticed I didn't mention tourists on this list. Aren't they annoying? Sure. They're super annoying. But that's part of being a tourist - not knowing what you're doing. The people on this list live here. They should know better. That's how annoying they are. They make tourists look good.