A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

By Nina Pajak

A few months ago, I wrote about the many pedestrian infractions people commit around this city, and how they make me super duper mad like Hulk. Since then, it seems that Santa got my letter.

I’ve heard of a couple of other ways in which similarly angry city residents have attempted to standardize and put forth rules that would cut back on rampant sidewalk crime. For instance, real estate executive Robert Selsam, who came up with a facetious Pedestrian Code of Conduct and corresponding fines for infractions. He dreamed of a day when sidewalks would boast a “New Yorker only lane,” so that those of us who don’t want to linger and take photographs in front of hot dog carts can get where we’re going. When I read about that, I thought: Yes! You are so right, Robert Selsam. And also: Wow! Here is someone who is grouchier than me and clearly way more committed to griping as a sort of full-time occupation. I salute you while simultaneously feeling relieved that I’m not as far gone as all that. Yet.

Now we have Jason Shelowitz, the smarty pants behind the “Metropolitan Etiquette Authority,” under which brand he has been posting some pretty stupendous signs around the city. For instance:

“Pay attention while walking. Your Facebook status can wait.”

“Clean up after your horse.”

“Pull up your pants. No one wants to see your underwear.”

One of the etiquette signs popping up around NYC on Sept. 13, 2012. (credit: Jesse Zanger/CBS)

The signs aren’t preachy or priggish or overly condescending. Just totally true and simple in a “why didn’t I think of that” kind of way. Of course, I cringe to think how many pedestrians have seen the signs, stopped to snap a cell phone photo and then continued on their way while attempting to upload to Facebook and/or text the pic to a multitude of friends. LOL.

Now that Jason has embarked on this worthy occupation, he’s going to have to keep the signs coming. I have a feeling we could all come up with helpful slogans for days. Here are a few off the top of my head. I’m sure you’ve got plenty of your own.

“Don’t spit on the sidewalk. Not only is it gross to step in, but it’s revolting to watch.”

“Watch where you swing that stroller.”

“Let everyone off before entering the subway car. It’s not going to leave without you.”

“Don’t lean against the poles on a crowded train. You’re not the only one here.”

“If you’re going to cut someone off while walking, don’t slow down!”

“Leaning on your horn will not make the light turn green.”

“Don’t make that elderly man stand up for the pregnant lady. Or vice versa.”

“Turn your music down! You’re going to go deaf.”

“Taxi thievery will not be tolerated.”

“Don’t ride your bicycle on the sidewalk unless you are under the age of twelve.”

Oh, I could go on. This is my favorite kind of poetry. Your turn.

Let’s hear your suggestions! Leave a comment below…

Comments (2)
  1. Pam says:

    It’s a sideWALK, not a sideSTAND. Move to the inside if you want to chat.

  2. SM says:

    Walk straight ahead on sidewalks, not on a diagonal so you walk into other people and trip them.

    Move all the way into the subway car — don’t hover around the door so others are blocked from getting in.

    Don’t sit in handicapped bus seats if you’re young and healthy.

    Don’t walk on crowded sidewalks while dangling a lit cigarette at your side, just waiting to burn a hole in a passer-by’s pants.

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