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In the minds of most southerners (and perhaps any non-New Yorker), New Yorkers would rarely be described as pleasant. Speaking in stereotypes, it’s less “Fuhgedabowdit!” and more “Get out of the way, jackass!”

I cannot speak for all New Yorkers and tell you that we all have jobs that are either very important or–at the very least–important to us and that is why we just can’t afford to stop and help every person in need of directions. But please know that this is usually the case.

So instead of pleading our case, I hope to provide evidence of Nice New Yorkers in Action in what will likely be a series called “New Yorkers can be nice. No, really.”

Episode 1: New Yorkers understand that emotions are inconvenient.

Allow me to explain. I can’t say that I am overcome by emotions very frequently, but it does happen from time to time. I have cried in a sea of strangers on a few occasions since moving to NYC.

But given the infamous New Yorker hostility, I was genuinely surprised the day a stranger acknowledged that I was crying. No, he didn’t ask, “Are you okay, sweetie?” or “Do you need help?” (These or similar questions are guaranteed upon crying anywhere in the south.) Not a word was exchanged. All he did was hand me an unused napkin from the stack he grabbed to accompany his lunch. And that was enough.