I am the outsider and my friend is the native who is engaging in the typical "New York pride"(a whole other post).
When it comes to New York, it has a near and dear place in my heart, but when I lived there most of the people, unless they were friends, frequent acquaintances or co-workers, they would not be labeled as "friendly" by my analysis. They also do not hold that reputation, but Chicago definitely holds up to that character as it's part of the culture. It's not realistically part of New York culture to go out of your way for people or be kind when you are extremely busy and barely have time to eat a bagel. You care about yourself, your family, your work, and your routine. That is common for most everyone of course, but New York is in a league of it's own.
There is no competition or vengeful intention, but it's just an honest experience and what is commonly heard.
Does this mean that everyone in New York is unhelpful with an attitude? NO
I do love New Yorkers and there are beautiful, funny, driven, talented, endlessly working people. It still is lacking in the words empathy, manners, and helpful.
Many people behave that way because they are conditioned by their environment or current feeling state i.e. there are a lot of miserable people.
Now on the contrary, this August visit to NYC impressed me beyond belief.
Bus driver kind as could be, Chelsea art gallery with open door and smile ready to talk, the man on the halal cart, the hotel staff, the woman selling t-shirt, the music composer, the waiter- this was the New York I dreamed about seeing. I also said what if New York had the kindness and sincerity of Chicago? It did!
Being an analyst, I could observe and CELEBRATE all the small moments of goodness and how people went out of their way. The man spending ten minutes or more in his morning rush to help me with the bike and call customer service. The lady who offered to carry my things through the store? The "extras" that sound materialistic, but they are all about BEHAVIOR.
New York made me like a proud parent and the streets were even cleaner and I didn't smell pollution. Something is going on for the good in that city and I am so happy for them. Even if it was just temporary for God to prove me wrong,
Keep up the great work New York-You left me in "Awww" for many moments and your behavior made my trip sooooooooo much better!