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If You Think Parisians Are Rude – Then Go To New York City!

February 1st, 2010 · 10 Comments

Rockerfeller Plaza

I’ve always heard that New York City during the Holiday Season takes on an entirely different atmosphere as New Yorkers get caught up in the holiday spirit.  People slow down and the snow not only covers the streets with a blanket of white and everything seems more hush-hush, but there’s also a blanket of goodwill that comes over New Yorkers.

Central Park covered in snow

Of course I wanted to see this for myself!  Afterall, when you go to NYC at any other time of the year it’s a dog eat dog, survival of the fittest, jungle out there!  Everyone rushing about, stressed out in what can only be described as the Rat Race and even though you go there as a tourist, you end up as stressed out as everyone else.

Katarina and Rose walking in the snow.

Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Christmas Season really does change New Yorkers.  People weren’t as fixated on getting from one place to another, where time is money and the goal is the almighty dollar.  People in the streets actually stopped and took time to give directions.  Everyone seemed friendly and helpful.

Old Glory in the snow.

The memo to be nice, however, stopped there; they forgot to tell those working underground in the subways that it was Christmastime.  Whenever one of us asked for directions, this was the usual exchange:

Me:  “Excuse me, is that the direction toward Greenwich Village?” I said, pointing toward the southbound train.
Subway Worker:  “Humph.” she mumbled, waving her hand in the direction I was pointing toward.
Me:  “Sorry?”
Subway Worker:  Still not saying a word, but waving her hand more vigorously in the same direction.  (Words were just too much work to ask of her.)

Again we needed directions down in the subway.

Me:  “Excuse me, can you tell me which train to take to catch the ferry for the Statue of Liberty?”
Subway Worker:  “Mummph, muummble muumble mummble.” she said through the glass window, but with her microphone off.
Me:  “I’m sorry, but I can’t hear you.”
Subway Worker:  Grabbing her mike so I could hear her, and then thinking better of it, she pushed her microphone away from her once more and said, “Mummph, muummble muumble mummble.”
Me:  “Sorry, but I still can’t hear you.”
Subway Worker:  Out came her hand in a “Heil Hitler” salute, pointing in the direction I was suppose to take.

Over and over it was the same old story!

I looked at Patrick and Rose and shook my head thinking, ……And they say that Parisians are rude!  At least in Paris if you ask someone politely for help, they will very politely help you as much as they can.

Walking toward Radio City Music Hall.

Maya Muses:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Parisians get a bum rap.  In 39 years, I can only think of 3 rude encounters with Parisians.  Instead they are as polite and as helpful as anyone can hope for, many times going out of their way to assist you. 

Like Parisians, however, I really shouldn’t generalize about New Yorkers, I’m sure there are many of them who are just as helpful, and as I’ve said, people on the streets seemed quite friendly, but it was systematic down in the subways that any assistance you may need is seen as an intrusion on their naptime! 

Still, it doesn’t take long to encounter a rude New Yorker; from waiters in a restaurant to public transportation, you won’t be disappointed…..not even during the Holiday Season!

Photo Credits:  Personal Photos

Tags: If....Then.... · Travel

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jon // Feb 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    It’s understandable that the subway workers are in a bad mood, but that waiter is completely nuts!

  • 2 Patrick // Feb 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Well!!! It’s probably not much fun to work 8 hour shifts under ground around rushing people without sun light and I can understand that can make you moody. Like you said Lynn people in the streets were very pleasant and helpful maybe because they were not New Yorkers…I hope not.

    If anyone decides to visit Paris, make sure before talking to anybody you say “hello” or “bonjour”. Not doing so, you’ll be considered as a very rude and impolite person. Do not expect much in return except curses.

  • 3 Pam // Feb 3, 2010 at 3:07 am

    I think it all depends on one’s experience. I’ve met some really nice people in NY and some really rude waiters in Paris, but that’s my experience which seems quite different from yours.

  • 4 Lynn // Feb 4, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Jon, he must be, because it wasn’t that he was just having a bad day,…..there are countless reviews where people say the same thing about him!

  • 5 Lynn // Feb 4, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Cheri, I took that into consideration that it can’t be much fun working underground for 8 hours a day, but the same could be said about those working down in the Métro in Paris and they’re not as grumpy as the workers in New York.

  • 6 Lynn // Feb 4, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Pam, I couldn’t agree more….it all depends on each individual experience and I’m just recounting my own for what it’s worth.

  • 7 joan // Jul 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I agree with Pam too; you can’t really generalize any one place or setting; when I went to new york the subway workers were especially friendly.

  • 8 Lynn // Jul 19, 2010 at 8:45 am

    True Joan, it all depends on one’s experience. Mine happened to be that we kept running into rude people even though we were trying to be as friendly as possible. I could understand if I was being rude or pretentious or whatever, but that wasn’t the case. Maybe it was the fact they were working during the Holidays,…. who knows?

  • 9 Tony // Feb 9, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I’ve lived in NYC my entire life & I can attest to the fact that it can be a veritable vipers pit sometimes….heck, most of the time.

    The subways are the worst. There you will find no shortage of louts who will sneeze without even attempting to cover their foul noses, or cough without covering their disgusting mouths, or just be plain rude, pushy, and downright uncivil. Each subway car is more like a rolling Petri dish, where you’re just as likely to be exposed to some pernicious respiratory disease as you are to actually making it home on time.

    And I find it absolutely hilarious that any subway worker would have the BALLS to be pissed off at anyone. They’ve got the softest gig in the entire public sector. It’s not as if they’re actually held to any discernible standards of performance. If they were, the trains & buses wouldn’t as obscenely late as they often are, and our subway platforms wouldn’t reek of urine & be infested with rats. When you look at the sad state the subway system is in, you have to wonder what most of them are even paid for. The bottom line is that the MTA is only good at is stealing money from the taxpayers, little else.

    You can practically eat off a Berlin or Beijing subway platform, but try that with one of New York’s effluvia caked subway platforms & you’ll get a nasty case of hepatitis…if you’re lucky! The MTA is a joke, and so is this reeking toilet of a city.

  • 10 Lynn // Feb 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Paris subways use to be a lot cleaner, but some stations sound just like the ones in New York! Still, they do work well and mostly on time. During rush hour they run every one to two minutes, by the time you walk from one end of the platform to the other, another train has arrived!

    But!!! Tony!!! You definitely need to get out of town! At least for your own sanity! Sometimes just a short trip out of town or out of the country is enough to make you see the City once again with rose colored tinted glasses!

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