I like visiting NYC. I think I would even like to live there for a while, except I can't afford it.
The people in NYC have a reputation for being rude and unfriendly, but I have never experienced that. In fact, my SO and I, while standing on NY street with map in hand and confused expression on face, have been spontaneously helped by strangers. Subway workers have exuberantly explained the intricacies of the turnstiles to us. Even more amazing, locals have asked us for help.
NYC also has a reputation for being unsafe. We see our share of crazies and we avoid the sketchy parts of town, but I never feel unsafe. Not in Little Italy or Chinatown or Central Park or the subways or Greenwich Village or Union Square. But then, I can be oblivious.
On our last visit, I stuffed my pockets with $1 bills and handed them out to beggars. One cadaverous fellow who lay crumpled on the sidewalk, propped up by a wall, apparently near death but for the few coins in his Styrofoam cup, was later spotted up and about and hale and hearty. When my SO pointed him out to me, I said I was paying for the performance, like one would throw money into a street musician's instrument case.
Warning: controversial statement coming up. Our visits to NYC have occurred post 9/11. A little part of my brain wonders if that tragic event has not inadvertently produced a kinder, gentler NYC.