November 11, 2010 Phil

New York, New York

I want to clear a myth about New Yorkers. For years I had listened to endless stories about how New Yorkers are mean, impolite and arrogant. There are television shows modeled after the New York attitude. Based on this I headed out to New York City last week for Adtech (a digital marketing conference) armed with my best Mr. Tough Guy look. I was ready to face the hard-nosed, contentious “Boroughgonians”. Let them try and steal my cab and see what happens.

When we arrived on Tuesday evening I felt a hyper awareness, my spidey senses were tingling just waiting for the first shot. We hooped in to a cab and headed to our hotel. I was ready for it, thinking this cabbie HAD to have something for me. Ready with a quick response I started to chat with the driver. His heavy Hispanic accent required my complete attention. We talked about New York, the sights, traffic . There wasn’t a hint of New Yorker in his responses. He asked what route we would like to take to the Hotel and offered great advice on the city. After getting out of the cab I felt completely unfulfilled because my first New York cabbie experience was probably one of my best cabbie experiences. It had to be an anomaly. He obviously wasn’t a native New Yorker.

The next day it happen again. My wife and daughter had joined me on the trip. We were traveling the subway in downtown Manhattan at 4:30 in the afternoon. It was body to body with people hanging off the steel rails as the tunnel torpedo raced uptown. It had to happen here, the setting was perfect. My ears were tuned for the first sniff of it.

Five seconds into the ride a group of talented young men got up in the middle of the train car and started serenading us with Motown tunes. I was waiting for the moment, who was going to stand up and tell them to shut up. I looked around at faces and everyone in the damn car was smiling, reaching into their pockets for change. They had to be piping laughing gas in to the train car. I mean come on, it’s freak’n New York not Pleasantville.

Crushed by the experience, disillusioned by the nicety, the damn “Boroughgonians” had me on the ropes. They went for the final blow as I exited subway car. My absent-minded daughter accidental left her purse on the seat and left the train. As we were walking away a woman came flying out of the subway screaming “you forget your purse”. It was over, the myth was busted. It was obvious that New Yorkers are decent, normal people. The whole attitude thing had to be a front to keep people away.

True story. Do you have a New York experience?

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