We’ve covered a lot of sidewalk miles during our stay here in New Yawk and with that distance comes a wealth of knowledge and experience. Successfully navigating along crowded sidewalks requires keen observation, instant and correct classification of other sidewalkers, and the proper avoidance technique for any given classification. Otherwise you spend half your time bouncing off people or trolling along helplessly behind them. So in the interest of aiding future visitors to this fair city, I’ll impart some hard earned knowledge of the various classifications of sidewalkers.

1. The Tourist – Very common in Manhattan. Usually identified by the camera hanging around the neck, a distant look in the eye, and a tendency to be looking up at the tall buildings. The Tourist is apt to stop suddenly or change direction with little or no warning. Easily avoided by yelling, “Oh, look” and then scooting by them when they stop to look around.

2. The Zombie – While the Zombie can found almost anywhere in the city, it is seen with greater frequency in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. The Zombie usually plods along in a straight line with an unfocused and blank stare, a gaping and possibly drooling mouth, and a general disheveled appearance. Incidental contact with Zombies should be avoided at all costs. Simply step aside while they pass.

3. The Herd – Often, but not always, comprised of multiple Tourists, The Herd is upwards of four adult sidewalkers with large cabooses walking slowly and side-by-side. Herds will oftentimes span the entire girth of the sidewalk and create a backup of considerable numbers of other sidewalkers of all classifications. Should one become trapped behind a Herd, the best practice is to observe their movement for the slightest gap in their line and hustle through without looking back.

4. The Drifter – This commonly found sidewalker simply cannot walk in a straight line. They tend to drift at irregular intervals from left to right and back again. Successful avoidance requires a bit of observation to estimate the timing of the drift and quick action to pass while the Drifter is in mid-drift away from the side you are passing.

5. The Clogger – This arrogant beast trolls along looking for any existing bottleneck along a sidewalk and, upon finding one, will stop directly in the narrowest point, thereby completing the blockage. Cloggers can occasionally be forced out of their bottleneck by the pressure of the resulting sidewalker backup, or sometimes the pressure will force an opening in other parts of the existing bottleneck.

6. The Stringers – This group is similar in nature to The Herd, except they walk in a oblique line. Most often The Stringers are a cohesive unit such as a family or school group. Avoidance techniques are similar to those used for The Herd.

7. The Bull – This ornery critter is the one most likely to cause injury. The Bull is most often a large male who leans forward into his gait and lets gravity take its course. The Bull will change direction for no one and will not be slowed by downed sidewalkers. The Bull is to be avoided at all costs. Avoidance technique is similar to The Zombie, but must be taken with alacrity. A dangerous, but thankfully rare cross-breed is the Drifter/Bull. Be especially wary of these.

8. The Borg – Utmost caution is required upon encountering The Borg, or you will be assimilated. The Borg are easily indentified by the chintzy, plastic ear attachment used to communicate with other Borg. Female Borg are sometimes difficult to identify on sight due to the hiding of their implants by hair, but as one closes in, one can notice the Borg taking to no one in particular. Less advanced Borg can still be spotted holding older-style, clamshell communicators in front of their faces. The Borg are apt to stop suddenly when the conversation with other Borg becomes intense. This is your opportunity to pass. Listen closely for the rise in tone and you’ll be ready when the time comes to scoot by.

9. The Lost Model – Except in The Village, LMs are slightly built females wearing tight clothing of limited fabric and very high heeled shoes. Note that the non-female variety seen in The Village will be similarly dressed. LMs are looking for their catwalks and as such often exhibit either a confused, slightly scared look, or a perplexed/perturbed look. Even the slightest contact with an LM can cause breakage, crying, and condemnation. Walk softly around them.

10. The Lost Model Wannabe – Similar to the LM except of significantly larger build. Sightings of LMWs have been known to cause nightmares or hysterical laughter.

11. The Swag Bagger – The Swag Bagger is most easily identifed by the “Hi, my name is…” badge affixed to their clothing or hanging around their necks and by the numerous bags of swag they’ve accumulated at whatever conference they happen to be attending. It is common for Swag Baggers to travel in Herds, thereby making them difficult to avoid. If you should find yourself between a Swag Bagger and a conference shuttle bus, leap out of the way as quickly as possible, even if it means diving into traffic on the street.