Travel anywhere in our great country and tell people where you are from (your accent will probably give it away), and you’ll soon be paraphrasing Sally Field’s infamous acceptance speech: “You hate us right now―you really hate us!” The truth is, most people have more of a love-hate relationship when it comes to us, than one of pure hate. This includes many city dwellers, and I would know. I used to be one of them. Let’s face it, people in Manhattan often look down on the other boroughs (Google “B&T’s” or ask a city person) while those in the outer boroughs often gripe about Manhattanites’ snooty and holier-than-thou attitude.
Well, a little insight into this attitude could be explained by a series of New Yorker cartoons, which illustrate convincingly this center of the universe swagger of ours―that we are the self-centered, self-proclaimed capital of the world. Well?….. aren’t we?
Why this unreasonable hatred for New York City?
Curious as to where all this venom surfaced from, I started randomly asking friends and acquaintances over the last few years what they honestly thought about New York and New Yorkers, and their responses revealed quite a few recurring themes:
– Try saying good morning to someone on the street in Manhattan. They will avoid you like the plague.
– No one makes eye contact on the street―unless they’re trying to hit on you, or they are recent transplants from the Midwest. They either look straight ahead or down at the sidewalk.
– At the bus stop or subway, no one speaks to anyone else unless they know them. Everywhere else, people look you straight in the eye and smile. (well, maybe not LA)
– New York City inhabitants are self-absorbed individuals, who are always rushing somewhere and won’t think twice about mowing you down. (can’t argue there)
– Forget about that 30-second elevator pitch! You won’t get New Yorkers to talk to strangers on an elevator unless they know them, or the elevator is stuck mid-floors.
And then there are the obvious gripes, about:
– too much traffic (yep), too many people (it’s a big city), and too many foreigners. (Oh, for god’s sake, it’s a melting pot and home to the United Nations. The variety is what makes it such a great city!)
– It’s a filthy, crime-ridden, rat infested hell hole (only the subway system.) Anyone who could remember what New York City was like in the 70’s, knows how far we’ve come.
– New Yorkers think they’re better than us. (Yes, we heard that one already)
– Damned bureaucrat S.O.B.s on Wall Street have royally screwed us over with their corporate jets, and lavish lifestyles! (no argument there)
– New Yorkers are cold, arrogant, selfish people. (Whoa! Now wait just a freakin’ minute!) Completely and utterly false. Self-absorbed we are, but New Yorkers are kind, giving people, always willing to help a stranger in need.
We have a whole lot of good, most importantly, our ability to laugh at ourselves, which all too often escapes the “New York haters.” We love offering guidance to our beloved tourists―it gives us a sense of pride. Even when they cluelessly shuffle along, taking up the entire sidewalk with six to eight of their friends, making it impossible to pass―or worse stopping short to look up at our skyscrapers, we still tolerate them!
When push comes to shove, New Yorkers are loyal and band together as one. Why? Cuz’ we are the freakin’ world.
Clearly many of these negative stereotypes about New York City haven’t strayed beyond the usual touristy areas in Manhattan, ie: Times Square, Rockefeller Center, 34th street, and 8th Street―all areas that city inhabitants steer clear of. You need to bypass these clusterf@#ks and step into the amazing world of New Yorkers’ people watching. It is effortless to stumble on the super stylish, trendy dwellers, nervous chain-smoking businessmen, fitness fanatics, and the infamous Naked Cowboy.
People visiting should make a point of taking the subway (that would be what we call our “mass transportation”) and visit some of our trendy neighborhoods in the boroughs, where they can eat great reasonably priced ethnic food, walk around, and be a part of this free entertainment, we call New York City.
For those of you who say you hate us “rude, cold, self-centered” New Yorkers, you really should take some time to actually get to know us. You may be startled to see the warm, sensitive, cuddly human beings we really are.
And if you don’t, well…Va fungool!