Comedy of manners

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Why do so many leisure travelers choose to visit New York? The Empire State Building? Rockefeller Center? Greenwich Village? Fuggedaboudit! They come here for the attitude.

Just as so many travelers visit Ireland for the cockle-warming friendliness of its citizens, people flock to New York for its...well, for its different kind of friendliness.

And New Yorkers truly are among the world's nicest people. Because they love their city's every pothole and penthouse with an almost alarming ardor, any good New Yorker will leap at the chance to, say, give a tourist directions to the Staten Island Ferry. All of these directions will be wrong, and they will be delivered in a loud, gesture-laden, rapid-fire manner, but for good intentions, New Yorkers come up aces.

So for those of us who live here, the hue and cry over a New York Transit Authority decision to shorten station stops by eliminating the word "please" from subway conductors' canned patter came as no surprise. New Yorkers raised quite a ruckus over the proposed etiquette gaffe. One day later, the TA reconsidered. "Please" is back in the script and our hair-trigger hackles have been momentarily lowered.

Now if we could only do something about that mayor.

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