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Depending on where you are, time of the day and various other factors, passing a person when walking either alone or more so in a group can be perceived as a threat.
As a rule, whenever I’m coming up behind someone I keep my distance either to their left or their right, and I try to make myself visible. If possible I try to ensure the person being passed can see my hands. This is even more important if it is late at night. Trust me!
I take particularly great care if I’m passing a cop. This Puertorican doesn’t want to catch a bullet for being perceived as one that is going for their gun, or looking to close in on them. In fact a cop once signaled me and asked me why I pulled away and walked in the street. I answered “I was accelerating on your sidearm side officer, I wanted my intent clear”. He nodded and stated I was very smart, “cause you never know.” I recognize the stress and dangers police officers face, and again, I don’t want to catch a bullet.
This evening 5 shady individuals were trying to pass me as a group. 2 accelerated and ended up in front of me, behind were the other three. I made myself small so they can pass, but they didn’t. So I had 5 guys closing in on my space. I turned around, ready to break some heads, because where I come from this is how you get setup.
I made eye contact measuring up these idiots and determined they posed no immediate threat. I think they caught my silent threat and looked away quickly. I stopped walking and said “I’m gonna let you guys catch up to your friends cause I don’t want to hold you fellas up”. They nodded and passed me.
Don’t do that, surrounding people in NYC is bad etiquette.