My friend Anthony in Bay Ridge took it quite well when shown a recent Municipal Art Society poll ranking Manhattan as New York's friendliest borough.
"Are you freakin' kidding?" Anthony cried. "I don't know how you live with those rich phony snobs."
Meanwhile, my Manhattan neighbor Kim grumbles about the "bridge-and-tunnel types" who scream in her ear and across the restaurant as their friends enter. "Yo -- over here!"
Can't we all just get along?
As someone who lived half my life in Brooklyn and half in Manhattan, I understand both Anthony and Kim. But sorry, Anthony, all Manhattanites aren't rich snobs; and sorry, Kim, everyone from the boroughs isn't boorish.
The poll strikes me as suspect. Manhattan has been stereotyped for years as the unfriendliest borough, and it's the friendliest?
While few say it aloud, let's be honest: Many Manhattanites feel superior to people in Brooklyn, who feel superior to those in Queens, and all three look down on the Bronx and Staten Island. No, not politically correct -- just true.
I guess that explains why 32 percent of those polled cited Manhattan as friendliest, while only 11 percent picked Staten Island, with the Bronx at 6 percent.
These results understandably infuriated Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. He called the poll "flawed," saying Staten Islanders are friendly. He claimed: "You knock on a neighbor's door in Manhattan, they say, 'Who the hell is this?' "
Exactly. We don't want you knocking on our doors. If we want you to come over, we'll invite you. You say "friendly," we say "intrusive." Does this attitude make me snooty? Maybe. It sure hasn't made me rich.
When I was a kid in Brooklyn, neighbors would knock on our door constantly to borrow something or to talk about their brilliant children or the Mets.
In Manhattan, what I like best about my neighbors is their unfriendliness. I've lived for years in my West Side apartment and I don't know half the people living on my floor.
But the truth is that there are down-to-earth people in Manhattan, snobs in the Bronx, and vice versa. Outsiders stereotype New Yorkers enough. Let's not do it to each other.