I was standing at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 125th Street on Wednesday afternoon. There were a lot of people around because there are always a lot of people in New York City. The police came up and told us to leave because we didn’t have a permit.
I was surprised because I’ve never had a permit to be on a sidewalk and I’m on them all the time.
Mostly I walk, but sometimes I just stand if I’m meeting someone or reading the newspaper or waiting to cross the street. I sit on the sidewalk if I'm tired and have even slept on them while waiting in line for baseball tickets. I’ve never had a permit for any of this.
I don’t carry many official documents – just my Yankees Season-Ticket ID card and a MetroCard and a library card and a SABR card and an ACLU membership card – but I figure I should have this sidewalk permit.
I’ve inquired with several city agencies, but none of them have any information.
If I happen to find the people that issue these permits they will probably need me to prove that I’m competent to be on a sidewalk. I can walk in a reasonably straight line and don’t change directions abruptly or stop suddenly for no reason so I’m confident that I can pass any test they give me.
But for now I’m just an undocumented walker in New York City. If you see me running then you’ll know the police are on to me.