You know, I don't doubt some of the pilot stories on here, but I have to say that as many times as I have flown in New York airspace, Boston airspace, Philly airspace, and many other places, I have yet to run into a rude controller. Whether I was IFR or VFR, I just never had a bad experience. Granted, I don't have as many hours as some of the jet drivers on here, but still. It all sort of feels like some really frustrated folks on both ends of a straining system.
Still, part of the pilot/controller "relationship" is how you approach it as a pilot. If you know what you're doing (or don't and just admit it) and you approach the conversation in a positive way, and adjust your requests and tone in a positive way, you get a better result. Just like any other relationship in life.
Whether you're a controller or a pilot, leave the holier-than-thou attitude at home and we'll all get along a lot better and accomplish what we're all there for - getting home safe and alive, and as quickly as the system allows.