The New York Log is back. Another cool story by our guest-editor from the city that never sleeps. This a rather controversial topic. Join the discussion if you like. “Are New Yorkers rude…?”
… that’s what you’re told by Americans (actually even the New Yorkers themselves sometimes).
However, if you happened to grow up in Germany, this city will feel like a disneyesque utopia. My first opinion was that if people in the rest of the states were even friendlier I couldn’t take it. People smile at you on the streets and once a woman even thanked me for sharing a part of her stroll with me, even though I didn’t know her or talked to her. I encountered young people who carried an elderly ladies groceries home and even helped her up the stairs to her house.
Germans have a tendency to call Americans and their friendliness “superficial”. This might even be true, but I would still pick “superficial” kindness over superficial rudeness which you encounter in Germany way too often.
There’s one anecdote that describes why people might think that New Yorkers are unfriendly, while the opposite is true. A friend of mine once told me, that she received a phone call from her mother in Minnesota while at work, telling her that her grandmother passed away. She started crying and left the building to call her cousin who lived in NYC as well at the time. So this girl was standing in the streets, crying her eyes out, sobbing and heartbroken. But the people on the street just passed her, didn’t stop, nobody seemed to care. However this was no act of carelessness or rudeness.
The people of New York just know that privacy is a rare thing in this city. You probably live in a tiny place and most likely have at least 1 to 2 people living there as well. So passing someone crying in the streets pretending to not have seen him or her, is actually just the New York way of giving the person privacy and dignity instead of bothering a person who you most likely couldn’t help anyway.