New Yorkers Actually Not The Biggest Complainers In America

by BILLY GRAY · March 30, 2010

New Yorkers can gripe about pretty much anything. But the "everyone's a critic" maxim that describes the city's collective cynicism so well (and makes everyone else despise us) is better suited to San Franciscans these days. At least a 2nd place finish gives us something new to complain about.

The results were determined by an analysis of calls to 311 complaint centers in 15 cities. Which might comfort New Yorkers dispirited by the city's showing. After all, everyone lives on top of each other in New York which leads to constantly frayed nerves. That combined with a desire to get the hell out of our postage stamp-sized apartments and onto the streets results in the public theater NYC is famous for, but also the dreaded public confrontations--flipping the bird, calling someone an asshole, assaulting a photographer--that necessitate popping a Wellbutrin just to brave a peak hour subway ride. In other words, we don't have time to make a phone call to vent.

But according to the Pew Philadelphia Research Center, the City by the Bay does:

"The 311 center in New York received 224 calls for each 100 residents, compared with 446 in San Francisco, 185 in Charlotte, N.C., 152 in Baltimore, 151 in Chicago, 110 in Miami and 101 in Houston."

New York woes in order of 311 call frequency are: noise, crappy landlords, alternate side of the street parking (something I still don't understand despite hearing about it for 26 years), no heat or water and lost property in taxis. San Franciscans put some glowers in their hair about: street cleaning, graffiti removal, public housing and abandoned vehicles. The inability to find a decent pizza, I'm sure, was a few spots down the list.

Meanwhile, both groups can put down the phone for a bit and marvel at the fact so few people bitch and moan about living in Houston.