Contrary to popular world belief New York people are really nice. Ask for directions and people will help you. Have a retail issue and are holding up the line the cashier isn’t standing there fuming because they gotta handle your ish. Hold up another line at bed bath because of a coupon issue and the woman behind you instead of sighing with impatience asks you the best way to get coupons on her mobile. Drop your sunglasses while in line at the grocery store someone behind you will pick them up for you when you didn’t even realize you dropped them. At the park for movie night and a homeless guy 1/2 of a couple in front of you gets kicked out for peeing on himself in public and the girl next to you starts to warn others who go to sit in that same spot what just happened. Walk down the stairs of your walk up and run into a guy who offers to help you carry all those empty boxes down to the trash area. Come back from Ikea and struggle to get the dresser up the stairs with your friend and 2 kids around the age of 13/15 rush in to help and carry the dresser up the 4 flights and try to refuse the money given to them for their help. Lock yourself out of your apt the first day you move in and a neighbor will text and call the super to let you back in. After the super lets you in after questioning if you really live there he’ll smile at you every time he sees you and your lil dog. At the Lincoln Center Atrium to use the free wifi and ask an elderly man what the wifi passcode is and he’ll offer up other tips on where to go to use their free wifi.
These are examples of the random acts of kindness that have been bestowed upon me. Besides all the above I’m constantly seeing people give up their seats on the subways for woman; women that are older, that are moms or that just look tired. It makes my heart soar. It really does.
No, the people of New York are not mean or rude. They get a bad rap but I really think it’s because they’re walking around in a super fast pace, minds running on efficiency and purpose, caught up in their own heads. If you stop someone politely they are more than willing to help you and as outlined above, sometimes you don’t even have to ask. No, there aren’t the Cali pleasantries of the “hi-how’re you today?” and the smiles to boot. But a lot of that is fake. People may ask you how you are but not everyone cares. How are you is more a salutation and less of an inquiry, they’re not looking for a response. I mean, not everyone is like that. But that’s a part of the Cali culture. The up front niceties and easy smiles. Some mean it, and some will talk shit as you turn away.
People of New York will gladly help should you need it but don’t expect the pleasantries up front. You need to ask to receive for the most part. Or smile first and then when they smile back you’ll be happily surprised. You just can’t take it personally if they don’t reciprocate that smile or offer assistance up front. I don’t really mind that I’m not getting the niceties off the bat. I like knowing where I stand. I’m not a fan of ambiguities and I appreciate when people are who they are, in all their blunt glory.
The other day I met up with a couple people for happy hour. In leaving from one bar to the next we drunkenly skipped down Lexington Ave asking for high fives from all the passerby’s. Mind you, we were in midtown and it was around 7/8PM. The streets were busy and the people walking by were many. Most loved the enthusiasm we brought when high-fiving. Some ignored us and kept walking. Others were caught off guard then relented to the ridiculousness and reciprocated with just as much enthusiasm. I had one guy tell me he had ebola as my hand was suspended in the air. Another flat out said no. Did that get me down and make me stop? Of course not. I was drunk. It was awesome.
Seeing all those people smile and laugh and high five really made my night great. And I’m sure it was a fun highlight for those people as well. They probably told the people they went home to who asked about their days that there were 3 silly drunk girls asking for high fives and smiling like idiots throughout midtown Manhattan. I’m proud to be part of that story. My point to this is that when you bring forward good energy, you’ll get it back. It will also most likely be paid forward, or at the very least will garner a good laugh, even at your own expense.
Thanks for being kind to me New York. I really appreciate it.