New Yorkers are fascinating, with their ability to cope with interaction overload. After spending so much time in this kinetic space, I understand why New Yorkers can be abrupt, impatient and rude. These behaviors exist to assertively convey ones intentions through the noise.
Firstly, they select when they want to interact and when they don’t. I have walked down Church Street with literally thousands of people, and every individual that I see is avoiding eye contact, minimizing physical contact with anyone, and essentially not acknowledging the presence of anyone else there. Thousands of people are together, alone.
It’s easy to become offended by this dynamic, measuring a certain unpleasantness with the whole experience of being in the city. But for New Yorkers, this behavior is critical for maintaining organized thoughts, and moving forward with life. The chaos can become a constant distraction if one doesn’t learn to tune it out.
Living in New York is very different than living in the suburbs, in ways beyond the obvious. Someone that lives in the suburbs continues his/her day with the public face on, and only when returning home are the inhibitions and suppressions loosened, and we become more authentic. Then, to be completely private, one retreats to the bedroom and closes the door. There we are freer than anywhere else (although never completely free, because we always have basic principles to answer to).
I equate the extremely small dwellings of New York living as being the bedroom, where one has the greatest privacy to exercise his/her autonomy. Then, because New Yorkers spend so much time out on the streets (that is why we live here, right?) as being the common area of the home. We become more comfortable being genuine in the presence of other New Yorkers because they too are more genuine. So, when there’s a need to be alone with one’s thoughts, and there are a thousand people in front, behind and next to us, we are less inhibited from shutting them out as needed, Hence, the reputation of being abrupt, impatient and rude that we have so effectively established.