“Walk Right!” Revisted

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Creative Activism, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking, Satire

The New York Post is just catching up… In December of 1984, Joseph Virgil Skaggs (a.k.a. Joey Skaggs) formed WALK RIGHT! - an ad hoc group of vigilante sidewalk etiquette enforcers who patrolled the streets to make New York a better place to live and walk. Dressed in all black with WALK RIGHT! sweat shirts they enforced a list of sixty six rules for pedestrians they wanted enacted into law.

Tourists, we're begging you: Please learn how to walk in NYC
By Barbara Hoffman
New York Post
December 22, 2017

Welcome to Gridlock Central, otherwise known as New York City during the holidays. It helps to remember that you're not in Kansas anymore - or Manitoba, for that matter. Life will be so much better for yourself and everyone around you if you observe a few basic rules.
In other words, walk this way:

Keep right.
If you're walking more slowly than the natives - and there's a good reason for the phrase "a New York minute" - stay to the right on stairs, escalators and sidewalks, so we can step nimbly by you.

Two-by-two worked for Noah's Ark, but not Midtown. If you must hold hands, prepare to break away when we come barreling toward you, desperate to flag that cab. Walking four abreast as a family? Fuhgeddaboutit. Pair off and stay close.

Don't stop short.
Unless, of course, you're about to be run over. But certainly step aside and out of traffic's way to admire that tall building, marvel at a panhandler or snap a selfie. Speaking of which:

Don't text in revolving doors.
Even seasoned New Yorkers can't juggle that. You can wait 30 seconds before tweeting, "Guess where I am?"

Keep it close.
That rolling luggage of yours has an expandable handle. Rein it in close to your body and not four feet behind you, where it can trip people up.

Get a room
Or at least a doorway. Free love is fine, but not on a busy sidewalk. If you must re-create that famous Times Square kiss, do it in the area zoned for entertainers . . . and pray that the Naked Cowgirl doesn't try to make it a threesome.

Watch that umbrella
Carry it vertically, not horizontally, like a Buckingham Palace sword. There's little room on these streets for error.

Keep up the pace
Stroll through the park, linger in museums - but if you're anywhere near Midtown, be brisk. Try to match the tempo of the natives around you. We're easy to find: We're usually wearing head-to-toe black.

Be polite
Should your American Girl Doll shopping bags hit us in the butt, don't pretend it never happened: Say you're sorry. We'll forgive you. We may even tell you how to find "that place where the ball comes down."

Welcome to New York!