The problem is Californians don't know how to approach NY'ers. The following article confirms my own personal experiences as a NY'er in LalaLand and goes a long way towards explaining the 'ifs & whys' of alleged "NY'er Rudeness";
"New Yorkers seem to think the best thing two people can do is talk. Silence is okay when you’re watching a movie (though it might be better punctuated by clever asides), or when you’re asleep (collecting dreams to tell when you awake), but when two or more people find themselves together, it’s better to talk. That’s how we show we’re being friendly. And that’s why we like to talk to strangers—especially if we won’t be with them long, such as in an elevator or on a bank line. This often makes non-New Yorkers think we’re trying to start something more than a conversation.
Once, when I was visiting San Francisco, my friend and I stopped in the street to look something up in her guidebook, and she complained that the book wasn’t very clear. A man who was walking by turned to us and said “Oh, that book’s no good. The one you should get is this,” pulling a guidebook out of his bag to show us. I couldn’t resist checking out my hypothesis, so I asked where he was from. He had just flown in from New York.
After we talked about New York-California differences for a few minutes, the visiting New Yorker suggested that we exchange our guidebook for the one he recommended, so we all went back to the store where my friend had bought her book a few hours before. In the bookstore, our new friend called over his shoulder, “Have you read Garp?” I answered, “No should I?” “Yes,” he said, animatedly. “It’s great!” Then I heard a voice behind us saying, “Oh, is it?” I’ve been thinking of reading that.” I looked around and saw a woman no longer paying attention to us. I asked her where she was from: another New Yorker.
Most non-New Yorkers, finding themselves within hearing range of strangers’ conversation, think it’s nice to pretend they didn’t hear. But many New Yorkers think it’s nice to toss in a relevant comment. Californians are shocked to have strangers butt into their conversations, but they accept the intrusion; they are shocked again if the stranger bows out as suddenly as he butted in.
Complaining gives us a sense of togetherness in adversity
There was something else about our conversation that made it tempting for a New Yorker to chime in: the fact that my friend was complaining. A Californian who visited New York once told me he’d found New Yorkers unfriendly when he’d tried to make casual conversation. I asked what he made conversation about. Well, for example, how nice the weather was. Of course! No New Yorker would start talking to a stranger about the weather—unless it was really bad. We find it most appropriate to make comments to strangers when there’s something to complain about—“Why don’t they do something about this garbage!” “Ever since they changed the schedules, you can’t get a bus!” Complaining gives us a sense of togetherness in adversity. The angry edge is aimed at the impersonal “they” who are always doing things wrong. The person is thus welcomed into a warm little group. Since Californians don’t pick up this distinction between “us” and “them,” they are put off by the hostility, which they feel could be turned on them at any moment.
New Yorkers have lots of ways of being friendly that put non-New Yorkers off, such as the way we ask questions. When we meet someone, we think it’s nice to show interest by asking questions. Often we ask “machine-gun questions”: fast, with an unusually high or low pitch, in a clipped form, and often thrown in right at the end of someone else’s sentence, or even in the middle of it.
One conversation I taped, between a woman from New York (Diane) and a man from Los Angeles (Chad) who had just met, will show what I mean:
Diane: You live in L.A.?
Diane: Y’visiting here?
Diane: Whaddya do there?
Chad: I work for Disney Prese—Walt Disney.
Diane: You an artist?
Chad: No, no.
Now, anyone can see that something is wrong. Diane is doing all the asking, and Chad is giving minimal, even monosyllabic answers. He’s uncomfortable enough to stumble over the name of his own company. When I played the tape for Chad, he said that he felt under interrogation. But Diane didn’t want to ask all the questions. She was trying to show interest and get Chad talking. She couldn’t understand why he was so unfriendly. But, being a nice person, she kept trying—by doing more of what was putting him off.
The intonation, high pitch, and clipped form of Diane’s questions would have tipped off fellow New Yorkers: “This is a casual question. Answer if you feel like it; otherwise, say something else.” But Chad wasn’t used to questions like that. When someone asks him a question, he feels he has to answer. So all that attention on him seemed pushy and nosy. He was also put off by the speed with which Diane’s questions came at him. People who are not from New York often complain that New Yorkers interrupt them, don’t listen, and don’t give them a chance to talk. Typically, the New Yorker starts talking before the Californian is finished, so the Californian, piqued, stops talking. So who’s interrupting? The New Yorker? Not necessarily. Who said only one person can talk at a time?.
In a really good New York conversation, more than one person is talking a lot of the time. Throughout the conversations I have taped and analyzed, New York listeners punctuate a speaker’s talk with comments, reactions, questions (often asking for the very information that is obviously about to come). None of this makes the New York speaker stop. On the contrary, he talks even more—louder, faster—and has even more fun, because he doesn’t feel he’s in the conversation alone. When a non-New Yorker stops talking at the first sign of participation from the New Yorker, he’s the one who’s creating the interruption, making a conversational bully out of a perfectly well-intentioned cooperative overlapper." (more..)
Do You Speak American . Sea to Shining Sea . American Varieties . New York City | PBS