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New York is the least friendly city in the country: survey

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amny Photo Credit: Crowds of New Yorkers/Getty

New Yorkers are used to getting a bad rap for their cold and crabby ways, but how's this for a rude awakening: We're the nation's least friendly city, according to a new survey.

And Big Apple residents aren't taking the results too kindly.

Travel + Leisure magazine's latest "America's Favorite Cities" survey ranks New York as the "rudest" city based on 40,000 reader responses. Gotham last earned the dubious distinction in 2009, but this year it edged out Miami, Washington, D.C., 2010 "winner" Los Angeles and 31 other cities.

Some New Yorkers said that while the constant noise and frenzied pace of big-city life can be frustrating, the survey's finding is off the mark.

"I don't think it's true," former Mayor Ed Koch told amNewYork Monday. "I believe that New Yorkers immediately help if they can. And it's not that I'm looking through life with rose-colored glasses, but it's from what I've seen."

Upper East Side resident Margaret Wilkens, 36, said she regularly notices thoughtful acts, such as people holding doors open, and is herself willing to dole out directions to confused tourists.

"Everyone knows the city's not easy to live in, so I think a lot of us want to help others get by," Wilkens said.

Rich Beattie, executive editor of TravelandLeisure.com, said the survey is based on opinions, so it's hard to explain the low perception of New Yorkers.

"For visitors, it could have been one bad experience that sticks in their minds," Beattie said. "Others could have different expectations coming into a large city, especially if it's for the first time."

Still, tourists continue visiting New York in staggering numbers, with a record 50.2 million in 2011, said city tourism chief George Fertitta, of NYC & Co., praising residents as "among the friendliest anywhere."

Patricia Napier-Fitzpatrick, who runs the Etiquette School of New York, said she takes the survey results "personally."

"I really do think people are nice here," Napier-Fitzpatrick said. "They're probably not aware of how they might come off."

Her advice for New Yorkers: Slow down, and smile more.

(with Tim Herrera)

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