Films and TV can’t get enough of the rude New Yorker: the grouchy landlord, the obscenity-laden cab driver, the wise-cracking cop. Is it true? Are we cantankerous, bossy, shove-happy, and generally uninterested in your problems? Only before we’ve had our coffee, but that’s most people. New Yorkers aren’t rude, we don’t want to waste time, ours or yours. This is a diverse city of 8.5 million people, most we never see twice. Our mornings and evenings are spent crammed against complete strangers in the subway; it’s best to depersonalize everyone, go about our business, and assume that you have business of your own and don’t want to be bothered.
The honest truth is that New Yorkers are actually really nice, we enjoy parks, live concerts, street food, and art museums. We’ll happily give you directions, suggest someplace to eat, or carry your luggage up the subway steps, but you do have to ask. Yes there are jerks here, but jerks are everywhere, even back home.
Remember, television and movies thrive on conflict, so they will keep the rude New Yorker myth alive as long as it sells tickets. But trust that we’re worth talking to…after we’ve had our coffee, that is.
– Mark Gilman, Tour Guide