I've noticed an interesting cultural difference between New Yorkers and Californians.
Lets say I am a bumbling tourist, inconsiderately impeding foot traffic, yet clearly lost and in need of help.
New Yorkers, in my limited experience, will bluntly say "hey moron, get outa the way," but then there is always one willing to help me out if I ask.
Californians, in general, will be very polite, but typically get a little nervous if a complete stranger asks for help.
Disclaimer: I've lived in California, but have only visited New York, so my observations are a little biased.