I could not agree with you more. However I have had some problems along those lines, as I grew up and did most of my martial arts training in Detroit, MI. People there a tad more aggressive than in most areas I've been in since.
Though those kinds of problems aren't limited to that area in any way, shaper or form.
Just this past New Year weekend I was in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and was practicing on the beach. I got about three minutes of form training in before some guy came along and wanted to talk to me about what I was doing. He was from some hard style I have never heard of before in my life and was fascinated by what I was doing. I finally had to give him the link to Yangfamilytaichi.com AND to a Chen family school in that area before he would leave me alone. By that time it was time for my group to leave and I never did get to practice on the beach like I'd been looking forward to that day and, of course, after that day the weather was not good enough for it.
That, by far, is your biggest problem when in a populated area while you practice. People want to know what you're doing and stop you to ask. I guess that's OK, if you're an outgoing, people kind of person or if you just have the time.
The other, more confrontational kind of thing, has happened to me a couple of times. I simply left and the situations were diffused. But it can and does happen. Just thought a word of warning might be prudent.