i think what vaults NYCFC to #1 is not so much their team, but their fans. They have an easy to hate fanbase.
Anecdote: during one of last year's RBNY @ NYCFC games, I was catching a lot of flak during the game for wearing red to their baseball field. Fine, that's fair. Then as I was on the subway platform waiting for the subway, an adult NYC fan was teaching his two young kids (probably 6-8 yrs old) how to heckle and harass NYRB fans on the platform. The kids could barely speak but were already shouting "go back to Jersey" to anyone in red.
There is something innate about the rivalry between us and the blue team given our geographies. It's not plastic at all.