12 In Journal/ North America

Los Angeles, As Told By A New Yorker

“We’re made up of the same genetic material, but we couldn’t be more different, or more alike.”

Two major, capital cities come to mind when you think of the USA.

The first is New York.

One of the financial capitals of the world, the city that never sleeps, where you go to make your dreams happen. A music, art, culture, and fashion hub. It’s the place Michelle and I were raised. It’s our lifeblood and not only our home, but home to 8 million others.

The second is Los Angeles.

Of course, the second is none other than sunny, SoCal’s most famous city. The place that LaLa Land is about, where Hollywood and the film industry are based and probably where America’s health kick began.

“So, what do you think of LA?”

As a New Yorker, it is almost inevitable to avoid this question from time to time. Most people I’ve spoken to who currently reside in New York always answer in a similar way when discussing the topic of LA. Simply put: “it’s no New York,” they scowl. I tend to disagree at times. Though LA is no New York, there’s no reason to pit both cities against each other. They’re constantly compared but only because they’re the most heavily populated cities on opposite ends of the country. And yet, they always seem to be going head to head regardless.

I’m probably one of the few people who lives in New York who has no real animosity toward our sister city. I like New York, but I also like LA.

A few weeks ago, I went back to Los Angeles for a second time, to visit one of my good friends on her spring break. Upon revisiting the city and later returning home, I found myself subconsciously comparing the two, while trying to help myself understand what it is that people like and dislike about both and why they’d never move out of one for the other.

In New York, every time you think you see a star, it moves. But in LA, you’re not paying attention to the stars (or what they actually are, airplanes) as you are trying to enjoy the ice cream swirl and cotton candy skies during sunset.

There’s also something about California that makes me actually enjoy the beach, though back home, a trip to Coney Island is my worst nightmare. In LA, the beach is always present, it’s always there and willing to take you back even if you haven’t seen it in a while. Angelenos don’t have to wait all year for summer to come and for the beach to become an option. It’s always an option.

Even as a non-driver, there’s something to be said about being able to get in your car on a bad day or toward the end to a long day that feels like the only remedy. Tons of friends out in California tell me, that while having to drive everywhere (and deal with traffic) is something they’ll never stop complaining about, the fact that their vehicle is a vehicle for a getaway — both mental and physical — is better than attempting to feel the same effect whilst in a crowded subway car. We have better transit in New York, but on a bad day, you can’t seem to hide your tears from strangers and straphangers.

There’s a coffee culture that exists in Los Angeles that can’t exist in New York, because people here are always on the move; always too busy to sit down and enjoy a coffee. Sure, many of the cool cafes and brunch spots in LA are busy and bustling, but never enough to have to put your name down and wait for hours on end just to snag a table. It’s almost as though Angelenos aren’t necessarily paying for the food in LA, but for the space on the street. The price they pay for an overpriced bagel and coffee isn’t for the bagel and coffee, but for the time to sit out in the sun and enjoy their time and company. They have the weather to thank for that. And of course, cleaner sidewalks.

Los Angeles feels less enclosed because it’s not enclosed. It’s sprawling. In New York, the districts are distinct, but closer together. You can tell when you’re in SoHo and then in TriBeCa, but you can tell when you’re in DTLA and then in West Hollywood, too. But in New York walking is easy, because if you’re up for a walk in LA, you’re really asking for a hike. Ah, to have hills and to have range, to have a topography that isn’t mostly flat.

Ultimately, a city is its people. What can I say about Angelenos that can’t be said of New Yorkers?

If New Yorkers are a specific breed of people, so are Angelenos. They drive to places that are two blocks away, because they feel compelled to. They speak distance in minutes versus miles. Once the weather hits below 65 degrees, the winter jackets come out. Their biggest fears come in the form of parking tickets and non-gluten-free items. Biking has become a thing – a soft-core extreme sport more or less. Food trucks and Mexican food are the holy grail. Everyone seems to be writing a book…or a screenplay or starring in “that new indie.” They swear by In ‘N Out, ordered solely “animal style.” They like to work out, go running, and eat well. And they know how to chill out and relax.

They’re trying to make it out alive, just like the rest of us are.

But, for me, everything feels a little different in LA. The food tastes better and the sun always seem to shine brighter. It’s not a place I’m used to, but it’s a place I’ll always enjoy visiting.

Which city do you feel more connected to? Sunny Los Angeles or bustling New York? Let us know if the comments below and be sure to subscribe to our blog with your email to get updated when we release new content/posts!

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  • Reply
    April 12, 2017 at 4:43 PM

    Love this! I’ve never been to LA but hoping to make my way there next year!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2017 at 5:14 PM

    As a NY’er who worked in LA for a while you’ve captured my sentiments perfectly. They’re different cities with different strengths (which anyone in NY can admit in the winter!) Even so, I have to say, NY is where I’d rather be. When I was in LA I missed it all the time and would loop I Am by Neil Diamond haha

  • Reply
    April 12, 2017 at 5:43 PM

    I haven’t been to either city yet but I’m dying to go! I think New York first (I actually have family there and I’ve never been…craaaaazy!) and it’s very close to Toronto area which is where I live. Love all the photos – can’t wait to visit LA, too!

  • Reply
    Paroma Chakravarty
    April 12, 2017 at 6:08 PM

    Loved the post.Will do a similar one comparing SF and NYC when I visit this fall.

  • Reply
    Anna Schaeffer
    April 12, 2017 at 6:10 PM

    Lovely photos! It’s hard to choose which one I connect more to–I love them both! But as far as my style goes, I’m definitely more New York fashion, so I guess I would say New York 🙂

  • Reply
    April 12, 2017 at 7:13 PM

    This made me think of when the Girs from Sex and the city went to Hollywood. I’ve been to both places and you are right, very different people.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2017 at 7:17 PM

    omg L.A. all the way! 🙂 It makes me so happy that you enjoyed it down there so much, and your observations about L.A. persons is so true…..for the entire west coast. Hella true. (LOL)

    I love your cute sunglass photo at the end. Adorbs!

    You must visit Seattle! We are the ugly stepchild of L.A. Our sunshine comes in the form of liquid (coffee), but it’s still got the same kinda vibe.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2017 at 7:37 PM

    In my opinion NYC and LA are incomparable! I’m from northern California and we also are known for “hating” LA. NYC is so much more edgy and cosmopolitan and artistic than LA in my opinion – but LA also has great upsides like nature and the weather. Really nice post on how New Yorkers view LA. I’d be curious of what you’d think of SF too 🙂

  • Reply
    tracy collins
    April 12, 2017 at 8:25 PM

    As a Brit I have to say I really like both! They are so different and yet both are really appealing!! I have been to NY twice though and LA only once but I would happily visit both again at any time!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2017 at 9:14 PM

    Given the chance, I would love to have a place in both cities:) In LA specifically around the beach areas and in New York, a place in Manhattan:) Different vibes but beautiful cities!!!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2017 at 3:24 AM

    I love your starting phrase. I wish more people would realize how similar and yet different we are. LA looks really beautiful. I’ve not had the opportunity to travel there. Hopefully I will get my chance some day.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2017 at 4:43 AM

    Loved the post! I was born in New York, but absolutely love both of them. They are so different, yet so alike? Haha i wish someday incould move to California for a little bit to experience the west coast 🙂

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