New York Pet Peeve #562: Umbrella Etiquette

by Brittney M. Walker

When it rains, like most places, people pull out their umbrellas. But unlike most places, New York is a pedestrian city where a lot of people populate the sidewalks. Many people possess expired driver’s licenses or don’t have one at all if you’re a native New Yorker. Anyway, the other day it randomly rained. Like seriously, randomly. It was sunny and warm. Then these dark clouds came out from somewhere left field and it started raining.


I was caught outside in the rain without an umbrella. But it was warm and my hair is worn most of the time in a messy natural Afro, so I didn’t mind the rain. Usually, however, I have my umbrella in the rain because I’d rather stay dry.

In a rush, I’m pushing through crowds of people lollygagging through the rain with their oversized umbrellas. Boy was I getting the New Yorker grumble. I know I gave a few sideyes to unsuspecting strollers and tourists. I probably even gave a few shoves and deep breaths as I squeezed between umbrella users.

The thing is, it’s raining. Walk faster. If you’re going to use an umbrella, at least have consideration for other people on the sidewalk. The contraptions take up half the sidewalk, like three people. As a result, people in a hurry, like myself, have a hard time passing you by. I may even have to step into the street or a really dirty New York puddle. Besides that, some people stop in the middle of a busy sidewalk to stare into the window of a store. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Move out the way.

And if you’re under an awning or scaffolding, put the damn umbrella down. Ain’t no rain coming through.

Finally, my last piece in this rant; if you’re umbrella is broken, I mean with the spokes all exposed, get a new one. No one wants to get poked in the eye or their hair get caught up in your inconvenient piece of unnecessary obstruction, like mine almost did.

I remember coming to New York last year in the winter and laughing at a news report that was entitled, “Umbrella Etiquette.” Well look at me know.

By the way, I still use an umbrella. However, I’m extremely cautious about it and try to only use it under extreme or low traffic situations.

That is all.

Filed under: BK Life, New York Tips, NYC and tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

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