There's an old joke that goes like this..."Can you please tell me the way to the Empire State Building or shall I just go fuck myself?"
Well, in a Reader's Digest survey, NYC was found to be the politest place in the world. WOO-HOO! This really doesn't come as a surprise to me. I've commented elsewhere that if you stop someone in the middle of Times Square to ask directions, 5 people will beat the crap out of each other for the opportunity to educate you. We're really fucking polite here and don't you dare deny it or we'll hurt you.
On a more serious note, though, I'm really not surprised by this. New Yorkers are in a hurry. There are a lot of people here and we're all in a rush and we don't like it when you get between us and our goal. On the other hand, we really are conscious of each other. Holding doors open for the person behind us is sort of ingrained. Stores with rude sales people don't get patronized...there are too many other places to spend our money. Forget about helping people pick up dropped papers...people in NY have been known to dive onto subway tracks to help someone who fell. I think it's got something to do with living in a crowded, rushed place. We share that experience. And while, on a day to day basis, there's a more or less "every man for himself" attitude, that doesn't extend to people in trouble...major or minor.'
So, pat yourself on the back NY. Or maybe pat yourself on the butt. That way you can make sure you've still got your wallet.