How to walk New York City streets

With so many people from so many places of so many ages and sizes and physical abilities walking our sidewalks this time of year, a commute, a stroll, a rush to get to where you need to go requires some real talent -- talent similar to that which Cork County, Ireland, exported to our shores some 50 years ago. 

"I'm not supposed to do it," 73-year-old Stella Cashman said, "but sometimes I step out onto the street to get around people because they're just too slow."

Cashman won bronze in the 10K racewalk at the 1987 World Masters Games.

"You're working your arms, you're working your hips, you're working your legs," Stella said, demonstrating her form (and thoroughly exhausting this reporter and his photographer) during a walk through Central Park Monday.

Stella still coaches the Park Racewalkers, a team she founded, and after a half century of navigating this city on foot, seemed as well equipped as anyone to provide us with some marching strategies for the summertime when the walking's not easy.

"Unlike the tourists who've got their heads in the sky and they're looking up at the buildings," Stella said.

"I think I'm doing OK," one visitor from D.C. said. "Kinda worried for a while there."

"You have to have a bit of agility now," a young man from Ireland said. "I'm not going to lie, you have to weasel your way around."

"Oh, it's just chaos," a Scottish gentleman said of braving the sidewalks of Times Square. "Absolute chaos. Just follow the person in front."

"Anybody can walk," Stella said.

But not everyone walks the same walk, forcing us to react to those ambling about in ways we can't predict.

"You just turn your hips on and you just leave 'em behind," Stella said.

In Stella's wake, we find those with bags and strollers, those with cameras and selfie sticks, those with inferior walking footwear and vulnerable attention spans.

"Keep your eyes open," Stella said. "Be aware of what's around you."

Keep moving. Stop only when you steer yourself into an eddy outside the current of millions of beating feet, and if you still struggle to adapt to their harmony of varying paces, consult a walking expert like Stella.

"Oh, I know this city like the back of my hand," she said. "I'm probably one of the best [walkers] in the city."