Honestly as a NYC native we get a similar thing too, just in the opposite direction. I have been asked straight up if I've ever been mugged, raped (yes I was asked that!) or held at gun point. And many people assume all NYer's live in skyscrapers and take yellow cabs everywhere. For the record, living my whole life in NYC none of that is my experience. NYC is very safe - while muggings (and rapes and hold-ups) happen they are pretty rare. And I grew up in a private, non-attached house with a yard, and even now live in a low-rise building with a yard with 5 giant oaks - one right outside my bathroom window. And I own my own vehicle and only take cabs very occasionally. Etc.
I get these questions, too. The weirdest is when they come from people who live in a place that has a Metro North connexion they never use to come down to see NYC for themselves.
We encounter these odd beliefs about NYC as well.
We were in a cab in New Hampshire with MIL. When he learned we were from NYC, the driver seriously asked if it was possible for someone to own a single family house with a yard in NYC. When assured that, in the outer boroughs it was, he was amazed. 'Wow! You mean real people live in
On a cruise, we were coming up the Hudson around sunrise. There was a bit of morning fog in the streets. This isn't the least unusual. It burns off around 9 AM and nobody thinks anything of it.
An ignoramus was holding forth to other passengers about the horrible pollution that made NYC air almost unbreathable. Normally, we don't intrude ourselves into overheard conversations but we had to say something about this.
One of the best/worst had to be what started as a cheerful, 'Where are you good folks from?' exchange. When we proudly said that we were from Brooklyn, the lady grasped her purse to her chest with both hands and backed away very, very slowly.