“Many people consider New Yorkers lepers,” a woman wrote on the Facebook page belonging to Betsy Billard, a financial analyst who cried as she read the post the other day in her apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

“It is the ultimate in scapegoating,” Billard said by phone on yet another morning when the city’s newly unceasing soundtrack — ambulance sirens — wailed from the streets below. “I was sad and extremely angry.”

Three hundred miles north, in the Maine oceanfront town of Old Orchard Beach, Scott Eccleston described himself as a “Christian man” and said, “I want to be understanding and kind. I try to fight off being afraid.”

Yet Eccleston, 64, a photographer who has lived in Old Orchard for 30 years, cannot help but notice that houses in his neighborhood that are normally empty in spring now have two or three cars in the driveway.