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The myth: New Yorkers don’t care about each other.
Busted: Would heartless people jump onto the subway tracks to save one another? Construction worker Wesley Autrey is perhaps the most famous subway hero: In 2007, he helped protect the life of a young man who fell onto the tracks at the 137th St–City College station. And Gothamites don’t just haul people out of harm’s way: In 2011, Joseph Lozito disarmed a knife attacker on the uptown 3 train between 34th and 42nd Streets.
The myth: Only millionaires can (or do) live in Manhattan.
Busted: The one-percenters may occupy Park Avenue, but there are plenty of island neighborhoods with down-to-earth rents: Studio rates in Harlem hover around $1,400 per month, though they’re twice that in Soho. Middle-classers abound in Washington Heights, where the median annual income is $31,000, and the median yearly take-home pay for Lower East Side–Chinatown residents is $35,600.
The myth: New York City is a hotbed for crime.
Busted: We’ve got a lower per capita murder rate (5.6 percent) than the not-so-scary Charlotte, North Carolina (7.5 percent)—and that’s half of what it is in Indianapolis. Heck, we have about as many murders as Chicago, and that city has less than half New York’s population.
The myth: New Yorkers are a rude and generally unpleasant bunch.
Busted: We’re not wildly cheerful—a 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study ranked New York State dead last in happiness levels—but there are hints of whimsy and glee among the city’s 8 million residents. Comedian Mark Malkoff got strangers to piggyback or carry him across Manhattan on a cold December day in 2009, just to prove that his fellow denizens weren’t scrooges.