Vogel: New Yorkers rude? Oh gimme a break
According to a nationwide Business Insider poll released last week, New York ranks first in rudeness among all the states. All right! We're No. 1! Let's go Yankees!
Wait a minute -- that's an insult.
We all know that when people from everywhere else say "New York," they mean the city, not the state, and they direct particular venom toward Manhattan. They complain about the rude people strolling five abreast down Broadway, chattering mindlessly and blocking their way.
Hello? Those are fellow tourists!
We real New Yorkers avoid midtown like the plague, unless we work there. Which leads to another complaint from out-of-towners: We never smile and say "Good morning."
Brooklynite Will Curley, 23, who was courteous enough to answer my questions, had a thoughtful response to that one: "These clowns pass four people on their way to work [where they live]. I pass thousands. Am I supposed to grin and say hello to every freakin' one of them?"
Excellent point, Will.
This rudeness rap is unfair. New Yorkers are always happy to help tourists get their bearings. And if you stop us as we rush to an important meeting to ask directions, we will definitely tell you where to go.
A lot of the stereotypes about us are outdated. I'd bet most of those surveyed haven't stepped foot in New York in 20 years, if ever. Too many people still describe New York as not only unfriendly, but dirty and crime-infested. The truth is we're one of the safest big cities in the nation.
Meanwhile, those surveyed cite Georgia as the nation's "nicest" state. Atlanta has twice the violent crime rate that New York has. That counts as friendly?
But judging us as a group, I think many of these respondents might confuse busy and rushed with unfriendly and rude. We're not so bad -- just misunderstood.
A friend of mine from the Midwest said it best. She describes New Yorkers as "hard on the outside, but soft on the inside," with Midwesterners the opposite. Yes -- she gets us! We are soft, sweet and lovable on the inside, if only these folks would take the time to get to know us.
And if they don't, to hell with 'em.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.