Umbrellas in the snow: Why?

Umbrellas in the snow: Why?

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While we hustle down a busy sidewalk, umbrellas impair our vision. They make us wider and bulkier. And when we head into the wind, our umbrella turns into a sort of battering ram.

When the snow falls and our jobs still call, Manhattan sidewalks really stress the "bump" in "bumper-shoot."

Even ambassadors from the drizzly nation that brought the first umbrellas to our shining shores recoil when they see these portable canopies carried along New York's crowded city streets.

But those we found packing umbrellas pleaded self-defense.

Etiquette expert Thomas Farley will excuse umbrella use in wet snow. But for a dry snow, Mr. Manners asks that we all leave our umbrellas at home.

"I think on a night like tonight we're all dodging puddles you need to be looking down and if someone's coming at you with a big umbrella like a prod it's almost like a weapon," he says.

The right to assemble, the right to speak freely and the right to bear umbrellas are all on display on the Upper East Side.

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