October 18, 2006 - 8:27PM Materialistic and pretentious, but far from sophisticated: this is Sydney. A poll of 365 tourists and residents, released on Wednesday by the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, found 41 per cent thought materialism was the worst thing about the harbour city. Pretentiousness came in second, with 38 per cent, and arrogance third at nine per cent. The best qualities of Sydneysiders were their friendliness, talent and dynamism, the survey found, each coming in at about 30 per cent. Sophistication, however, was not, with only six per cent nominating this as a top Sydney quality. Working in Sydney was competitive, challenging and stressful, with the beaches and multiculturalism tying for best promotional feature. More than half of all respondents, 68 per cent of whom were locals, said Sydney was most like a convertible, with another 24 per cent comparing it to a four-wheel drive. Chamber executive director Patricia Forsythe said the poll had uncovered some discrepancy between how Sydneysiders saw themselves and how others saw Sydney. "Thirty seven per cent of locals think we are too materialistic, but this figure increases to 49 per cent among visitors," Dr Forsythe said. Interstate or regional visitors made up 24 per cent of those surveyed, with eight per cent international tourists. The findings also challenged some traditional perceptions of the city's laid-back lifestyle, she said, "There is a perception that Sydney's strength is our combination of natural beauty and cultural vitality," she said. "However, it seems that Sydney is not as relaxed as our beach culture may suggest, with two-thirds of respondents describing our work environment as either competitive or challenging." New York was the city most preferred, aside from Sydney, among 36 per cent of respondents, who lauded the Big Apple's culture, career opportunities and infrastructure.