Walking is a great way to see any large city, like New York City (NYC), if you know what you are doing. When you take off to go exploring you will want to know the best way to get there and how far it really is. Now we do love to wander, but sometimes to save your legs you need to know the best route before you head out that door.


Taking the Subway Which Way to Go

You will save a lot of walking if you know which direction you need when you get off the subway. When you are underground it is very easy to get turned around, so don’t assume you know which is the best route back up to the streets. Subways are long and they can span several blocks. For instance, the A, C, E subway station at 42nd street, runs from 40th St. all the way up to 44th St. If you want to go a particular direction, like south west vs north east, it can help you save time and a lot of extra walking if you know before you go.


Streets vs Avenues

In Manhattan, the island is a grid of Streets and Avenues. Streets run east and west and Avenues run north and south. This is important to know, as the distance between streets is relatively short, were the distance between Avenues is quite long. Someone may say it is only two blocks away, but that could mean a 1- to 2-minute walk or a 6- to 8-minute walk. On average the distance between Avenues is .2 miles (1,056 feet), where the distance for Streets is only 260 feet. That means Avenues are over 4 times further apart! You might have taken a bus or subway if you had only known how far it really was.


Watch Out for Trip Hazards


Beware of uneven walking surfaces

New York is an old city and there are many, many different walking surfaces you will encounter, be it brick, concrete, marble, metal grates (there are a lot of them because of the subways), steps, smooth, rough, slippery, chipped…. Wearing good walking shoes will also go a long way in your day of exploration. Be sure to pick up your feet and pay attention as you walk. Oh and remember those compression socks? This is a good time to wear them if you are going to be doing lots of walking.


Walking Behind Someone Tall and Big

Now I am on the short side so I do this often when it is really crowded; I find a tall large person to walk behind. They are like having your own personal guide though the hoards of people. Sometimes they walk a little fast, because they have super long legs, but try to keep up. You will get there sooner and not run into people.



Find someone tall to walk behind.

Don’t Do This, Please

Whether you are one person, or in a large group of people, don’t stop at corners and block the way. It is challenge enough to navigate the sidewalks of New York, don’t make a human wall for all the people behind you. If you are lost or just not sure which way to go, step out of the main stream of people. This will help everyone around you get to where they need to go.


If it is raining please do not use the biggest umbrella you have. Most of the time you only need to have a good jacket with a hood. Umbrellas make it much more difficult to get down the street.


In places like NYC the walking speed of the locals may be much faster then you are comfortable with. If you are not a fast walker, please stay to the side and single file if you can.



Walking is a wonderful way to explore a city. I would suggest checking the Internet to see if there is a walking tour company in the city you are traveling; I don’t know of any major city that doesn’t have several. In fact, going on the Jack the Ripper night walking tour in London is lots fun. Biking is another great way to see a city, but that is for another day.


Here are a few links to tours I found in NYC




http://www.downtownny.com/walkingtours (Self guided walking tours)


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