When visitors from non-pedestrian cities hear that New York – especially the borough of Manhattan – is a “pedestrian city”, they frequently assume that it means people walk a lot in Manhattan. While this may be true, there is so much more to Manhattan pedestrianism and how we utilize our feet. I am not talking about “strolling” which is more of a comfortable means deployed for window shopping or sight-seeing. Nor am I referring to walking (or running) with the intent to exercise – people go to a gym or Central Park for that. I am referring to walking as a preferred mode of commuter transportation in the manner that people from non-pedestrian cities drive their cars to work in the morning.
Sometimes, the distance to be traveled is so great that it requires walking to be supplemented with the use of the subway or bus system, but the first choice for the majority of the 9-to-5 workers in Manhattan is to walk. The desire to
walk to and from work played a major role in driving the financial companies from downtown to midtown, and the convenience of being able to walk to work in Manhattan without ever stepping on/in a subway, bus or car is considered a special amenity for the average 9-to-5 Manhattan workers. They have perfected it to an art form.
Walking commuters avoid known construction areas where sidewalks are blocked, and they especially avoid high tourist areas if at all possible. Most tourists are from non-pedestrian cities and do not fully understand walking as a highly specialized form of transportation. Usually, the intent of the Manhattan walking commuter is completely misunderstood by the average tourist, leaving them with the impression that we are rude. On the other hand, the walking commuter believes that it is the tourist who is rude for blocking the path. After all, I doubt that the visiting tourists would appreciate car commuters back in their hometowns driving the wrong way during the morning commute or even worse – blocking an entire intersection (which is unfortunately where most tourist grievances occur).
as what the drivers of cars do in the non-pedestrian cities. They just happen to be driving their feet.