Is New York America's Rudest City?

Yes, say the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine, with respondents putting the Big Apple just above Miami, at the top of a list that also includes Los Angeles (No. 4), Atlanta (No. 7) and Baltimore (No. 9).

As a longtime New Yorker myself, I take issue with the categorization of my home city as an epicenter of rudeness. I told the magazine as much and continue to defend Gotham any chance I get. Do we cross the street well before the crosswalk signals say it's safe to do so? Guilty as charged. Do we harrumph at Starbucks when we have to wait longer than a minute for a macchiato? Certainly. But there is no city I'd rather be when it comes to pulling together and helping out those in need...whether it's a tourist in need of directions to Strawberry Field, a fellow city-dweller who has dropped a scarf on the sidewalk or, more dramatically, pulling together in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy or crisis, as witnessed during the attack on the World Trade Center and the great Northeast blackout of 2003.

New York's reputation apparently suffers from years of negative publicity. The antiquated image of NYC as the Rotten Apple was given dramatic airing in films such as Fort Apache: The Bronx and the original Out of Towners. But those films portray a city that could not be more different from its contemporary counterpart. Crime rates are at historically low levels. Squeegee guys no longer besiege cars exiting the Lincoln Tunnel. Even our protests, as evinced most recently by the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in Zuccotti Park, are uncannily peaceful.

Indeed, it's nothing short of miraculous that a city of 8 million people (one which swells daily with phalanxes of commuters pouring in through our bus, train and ferry terminals) is able to function with such (relative) absence of snapped tempers. Where else but in New York do straphangers ride literally cheek by jowl in sardine-crowded subway cars and merely grin and bear it? (Okay, maybe we don't grin, but most of us do bear it.)

But clearly we've got a public relations problem. What can we do to ensure that we don't land on T+L's list next year? Perhaps there are a few things we can do, starting with these five phrases...words that can help ensure we continue to peaceably coexist in the nation's most populous city:

"Excuse me?" is so much more preferable than "What?!" or "Huh?!"
"Sorry" ensures that an innocent nudge doesn't turn into an escalated incident.
"Please" is the antidote to "Gimme."
"Thank you" is the easy way to extend gratitude to ones who lend us a hand.
"You're welcome" encourages the proliferation of "Thank you."

Are we ready to show the world that we're not nearly as rude as they believe? I hope so. And for this advice, I say "You're welcome."

What do you think? Are you a New Yorker who believes we get a bad rap? A visitor who's had a less-than-positive experience in the city? Please share your comments here.