"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

New York Minute

When you leave New York people tend to be more open, easier with saying “hello” or “thank you” if you hold the door open for them. That doesn’t mean that we’re unthinking brutes, even if we are rough around the edges. It’s just that New Yorkers are more measured with their kindness. It doesn’t come automatically, which makes you appreciate it more when you find it. I’ll tell you this, though–I’m a hopeless snob against people who move to New York and are unfriendly. Maybe they are just trying to fit in, but hey, pal, it doesn’t hurt to be nice.

Oh, reminds me of the old joke…How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

One, asshole.

[Picture by Bags]


1 bags   ~  Mar 28, 2011 10:39 am

In a lot of ways I think New Yorkers are more polite than folks outside New York. Or, at least, vastly more polite than we get credit for.

We're not "warm". But that is different from pleasant and polite.

Living so close to so many others means we have to treat each other with decency to get along. I think we do that very well. With some very obvious exceptions. But I think the NYC masses are pleasant and polite to a fault.

2 ms october   ~  Mar 28, 2011 11:01 am

[1] i agree - nyers are more polite than in any places and definitely more so than they (maybe we -not sure if i can claim yet) get credit for.

but yea not warm and maybe not really "friendly."
down south, people are "friendly."
it is a bit more genuine in ny - at least to me.

there is also a code of the streets that governs most interactions in ny that ensure politeness. you slightly bump someone on a train and you best say "excuse me." you walk into a place, you say "good morning."

that's an interesting point about people that move to ny and are intentionally not polite. i would guess that many of them don't really know ny nor are they trying to. just fronting and using ny is rude as an excuse to be an a-hole.

3 nettles   ~  Mar 28, 2011 11:06 am

I've found people in NY to be friendly to me if there's interaction between us. But most NY'ers simply want to get on with their business or get to where they're headed with as little fuss as possible, in my observation.

One thing I've heard from NY'ers who have relocated to my hometown in the NW is that while people may seem friendlier out here, they're much less likely to let you know what they're REALLY thinking. So there's a lot of passive-aggressive behavior masquerading as friendliness. I think there's something to that observation; I'd rather know that you think I'm an asshole than to have you hide it from me.

4 Matt Blankman   ~  Mar 28, 2011 11:30 am

[3] I think that's right on the money - NYers aren't necessarily unfriendly, we're just busy - we always have someplace we need to be. In the Midwest and South, ask for directions and you get friendly inquiries as to where you're from, a story about where you're headed, some advice about the area and lots of smiles. In NY, ask for directions and you get something more terse, like "Block over that way and two blocks south, look for the awning."

5 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 28, 2011 11:49 am

Ha. I say NYers operate in only two modes: amused and bemused. It's funny how out-of-towners will zero in on me to ask for directions (which I'm pretty good with); I'm so anti-conceptualized-New York that I oughtta be arrested for trespassing, but somehow I seem to represent the typical NYer...

6 Alex Belth   ~  Mar 28, 2011 12:19 pm

That's right, "nice" is the wrong word. "Nice" we ain't, but for the most part, a New Yorker will not bullshit you either. The friendliness is never phony.

7 thelarmis   ~  Mar 28, 2011 12:52 pm

yeah, as a native new yorker living in the deep south for 15 years... i'd say, we might not be as forthcoming, but we're more "real." a lot of the "southern hospitality" i find to be pretty fake and glib.

that said, sometimes it really is nice to encounter niceties on a more regular basis. i was in NY half this past week and it really is very very different in almost every way imaginable. i'm glad to be comfortable in both settings...

8 Shaun P.   ~  Mar 28, 2011 1:42 pm

[6] [7] The honesty and lack of phoniness is the most refreshing part of dealing with people in NY. Its not the same elsewhere - what nettles described in relation to the NW [3], I could say the same about New England.

Its one of the most uncommon things about NY, and one of its greatest strengths, too.

9 Raf   ~  Mar 28, 2011 2:52 pm

that’s an interesting point about people that move to ny and are intentionally not polite. i would guess that many of them don’t really know ny nor are they trying to. just fronting and using ny is rude as an excuse to be an a-hole.

I was thinking about that the other say, in relation to a buddy that moved here and couldn't hack it.

I think many people get wrapped up in what they think NYC should be and it's rep instead of what it actually is.

10 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 28, 2011 6:00 pm

[6] Speak for yourself B, I'm nice! >;)

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