It would happen all the time. We'd misread who was going where and end up either bumping each other or doing that awkward dance to avoid a head-on collision. If you've ever visited New York or another big city, you've probably done that dance too.
Well guess what? After about two months, the number of collisions has dropped. What happened?
After some reflection, it appears I have unwittingly adapted many of the traits of native New Yorkers that keep them from constantly bouncing off each other like Weebils on acid. Here they are, free of charge, for you to use on your next visit to the Big Apple:
The DDG, or "Distant Directional Glance" -- This is a sure-fire winner. As you cross a street and are about to met by a mass of oncoming traffic, don't look at the person straight ahead of you -- look past them either to their immediate right or left. To wit: Look just over their left or right shoulder. This gives them a subliminal message: This guy's obviously focused on something to my right, so I'd better move to my left to avoid him. It works like a charm.
The NASCAR Drafting Move -- Auto racing fans know this move: Use they guy in front to clear a path. Just let the person ahead of you run interference as you work your way down the sidewalk, and draft right behind him or her as they snake their way through a crowd. Don't follow too closely though. If they have to suddenly stop, you might suddenly find yourself conjoined in a position that will make people think you live in the Village.
The Gesture -- I don't like this one as much as the DDG, but it has it's place. Simply pointing with your open hand in the direction you're heading. It's a little Donald Trumpy (i.e. assholish) but on occasions when the person about to collide with you gives you that look of "hey, I'm looking for a sign here, buddy" it's acceptable to give him one.
Staying to the Right -- I can officially proclaim that this does not work in New York City. I don't know what it is about this town, but the "keep right" thing that makes our Interstate Highway System work so well just doesn't play here in NYC. You'd think every fifth person here was British based on the number of people who bear left in crowds and barrel headlong into you.
The Intentional Collision -- I've had a few younger people, especially women, confess they've intentionally collided with a good-looking member of the opposite sex in hopes of starting up one of those romance/relationships that come straight out of a Hollywood movie. Let's be clear: None of them say it works, and I've yet to meet a New Yorker who said they met their wife bumping into each other on the Lexington Avenue sidewalk. But hope springs eternal.
Whatever your situation, I hope you don't end up in a street collision -- unless you want to.