Dear New York, what's up with the niceness?

Look at all these people singing in Times Square. So much niceness. What gives, New York?

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Oh, New York. People say you never sleep, and you're filled with neon lights and people scurrying from place to place. Rumor has it you're a tough place to call home. Some suggest that people leave before you get a chance to harden them.
But lately, we're a little taken aback by all the good things we keep hearing about you. You're not getting soft, are you? The sweet city stories are getting hard to ignore.
Here are three recent examples that caught our attention:
Not another manic Monday
When we first heard about your murder-free Monday, we were tempted to shrug it off as some random thing. (There was not a single reported slaying, stabbing, shooting or knifing in any of the five boroughs on Monday, according to the New York Police Department.) Some of our commenters were thrilled or surprised.
"Having lived in 'the world's greatest city' for over 30 years, I never thought I'd see the day," wrote reader BlackDynamiteOnline.
NYC cop's act of kindness goes viral
NYC cop's act of kindness goes viral


    NYC cop's act of kindness goes viral


NYC cop's act of kindness goes viral 02:04
A few attributed the numbers to online shoppers hunkered down for Cyber Monday or criminals who did a better job of hiding bodies than usual. Others thought the whole thing was a little strange.
"Imagine! We are celebrating a murder-free day," said KPerspective. "This is sordidly interesting."
There was more good news to come.
Random acts of kindness
The police officer who gave a pair of boots to a homeless man is the talk of the Web. Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Florence, Arizona, snapped a photo near Times Square that ended up being posted on the NYPD Facebook page. The post received 338,000 likes and more than 22,000 comments.
"This is awesome. We shouldn't be surprised by this," commented Facebook user Tony Stiltner. "I believe things like this should be the norm. But I am absolutely thrilled. The officer is a true hero and others should learn from his actions."
Twitter users picked it up as well, and the #NYPD hashtag was full of tweets buzzing about the story on Thursday morning.
"(Shout out) to the #NYPD cop that bought the homeless barefoot man some socks and winter boots," wrote J Tucker in a tweet. "That's awesome. Wish more cops were like him."
We also heard good things about storm recovery efforts.
Generosity after disaster
Let us not forget how people have come together as the East Coast recovers from the pounding it received from Superstorm Sandy. We received numerous iReports sharing stories of giving and courage, and highlighted a few of them in a story on
An impromptu Broadway performance, volunteer work, storytelling, photo restoration efforts and a rapping duo were among the efforts we heard about.
Upon encountering this story, a reader using the name Reen B raved about the people of the region.
"I love New Yorkers. Good for these people for helping out with their creativity, a gift not all of us have but everyone can appreciate. Godspeed, NY/NJ, here's to healing and hope."
What gives?
Maybe the holidays have everyone in an extra-good mood. That's assuming we make it past our upcoming date with Doomsday, which no doubt has some people musing about the fragility of life.
We're still a little baffled -- and delighted! -- by all these touching stories, so we now turn back to you.
Is there something really going on here? Is New York getting nicer, or are we just now seeing its true colors in a trio of recent news events? Do you heart New York? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments below or put your video commentary on CNN iReport.
If the comments on this story are just as nice, we'll know that all this friendliness wasn't just a fluke.