...although I used to--prior to 2006. (Note: I considered writing this as a reply to Moondoggy's post because it has a similar theme, but, what-the-heck--it's cathartic.) That summer, my family took a two-plus-week trip back East to visit New York and New England. We drove a clockwise route from NYC to upstate NY, thru Vermont and NH to Maine, down to Boston, then back to NYC for the last four days. On the way we got to see/experience three baseball-related sights: Cooperstown, a Fenway Park tour, and we caught just a glimpse of Yankee Stadium.
We were a bit apprehensive about the final NYC leg of the trip--we're not big-city folks--but we shouldn't have been concerned at all. We ran into--much to our surprise--lots of helpful, friendly (!) Gotham-ites. And two NYC-dwellers stood out above the rest.
First, there was an annoymous guy on the subway. On our first full day, we did a lot of traveling on the subway. At some point, we hopped on a train going uptown instead of downtown. As soon as we got on, I realized we blew it. We were obviously tourists, and I was looking at the route map, trying to figure out how to reverse our direction. A local businessman noticed our plight, and made sure we got on the right train. He actually got off the train we were both on, and directed us to the right platform. He then got back on the next train going in his direction. To top it off, he made sure we could fix our problem without having to exit and re-enter the station, which would have cost extra fares. We thanked him profusely for his above-the-call-of-duty help.
The other outstanding person we met was our waitress (from Yonkers) at Totonno's pizza in the upper-east side. We had spent most of another day in and around Central Park. A co-worker of my wife had suggested a pizza place not too far from the park. When we went to the corner where the pizza place was supposed to be, no luck. (After we got back, he realized he gave us bum directions.) We looked around, starving, and just up the block was another place: Totonno's, whose awning read, "Only God Makes Better Pizza." Bingo! It was late afternoon and the place had just opened. Again, we looked like obvious tourists. The waitress pegged us, correctly, for Californians, and jokingly asked if we wanted ranch dressing on our pizza, because everyone in Cali eats pizza w/ ranch dressing. I came back with some now-forgotten stereotypical comment about New Yorkers, which completely broke the ice. We had some of the best pizza I ever had--a thin Margherita pie (no ranch, of course), along with salad, bread, a large (free!) carafe of Chianti, and (free, again!!) desert. For most of the meal we were the only ones in there, which meant we were treated like royalty. Overall, just a great dining experience. And I think we helped dispell at least one California stereotype.
Ever since that trip, I haven't had the hate for NY that I used to have. Those two people are the faces of NY to me and my family, and it's hard to hate folks like that. Now Boston, on the other hand...