Anyone who has seen the Seinfeld finale, whether they loved it or hated it, remembers that it was about the characters getting their just desserts for being such terrible people. By extension, New Yorkers sometimes have a reputation of being rude. I don’t think this is true, and I’ve seen New Yorkers be incredibly polite, but I do think that in a city full of people with such varying backgrounds in such close proximity, there are bound to be misunderstandings. I once saw a pedestrian hold up four or five cars while he gave directions to one lost driver. When they honked their horns he shouted waitaminit! This, to me, is a type of New York etiquette, not rude, exactly, just myopic. Here are some resources that the Library offers to help you be kind to others, or, at least to help you understand where they’re coming from, or, at the very least to help you throw up your hands and have a laugh about it all.
Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There? by Whoopi Goldberg (available in book and ebook formats)
This is a fun guide for kids and teens, who, of course, are not the only ones who need to learn this stuff.
Here’s the Deal, Don’t Touch Me, by Howie Mandel, is about his OCD, but the part about his teenage years will make you glad you never had him as your carpet salesman.
Monk — the TV series and books by Lee Goldberg. Adrian Monk's OCD and phobias inevitably lead to some very awkward situations, causing problems as he investigates cases. These same personal struggles, particularly the OCD, are what aid him in solving cases, such as his sharp memory, specific mindset, and attention to detail. In one episode, entitled "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan," Marci Maven (Sarah Silverman) compiles a list of all of Monk's fears. Again, this show is mainly about the main character's OCD, but I included this particular episode because Monk shows remarkable restraint and admirable civility with Silverman’s character.
Mad Hot Ballroom
Traditional ballroom dancing is alive and well in Washington Heights. Perhaps the neighborhood is reading Betty White’s Teen Age Dance Etiquette (also available from the Library).
21st-Century Etiquette: Charlotte Ford's Guide to Manners for the Modern Age by Charlotte Ford with Jacqueline deMontravel.
Five Very Good Reasons to Punch A Dolphin In The Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)
Social etiquette, animals, rules of grammar, and more are critiqued in ways ranging from the educational to the bizarre in this collection of comic strips from TheOatmeal.com. (PW Reviews 2011 January #5)
The Etiquette Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Manners
Would it Kill You to Stop Doing That?
Here’s a chance to be kind to your fellow New Yorkers by giving them access to a Library book to read on the train. Each dollar you donate to the Book Fund Campaign will go directly to buying new books, e-books, and other materials for your Library. Plus, your gift will be doubled thanks to a generous match by Judith and Stanley Zabar. Think about it — how often is your gift doubled? This is a fantastic opportunity to give a little back to your Library.