Wednesday, June 2, 2010

NYC vs. LA

Being a certain age (20s-30s) and working in certain industries (PR being one of them), it's easy to forget that any cities exist outside of New York and Los Angeles. While I'm clearly obsessed with life in New York (see my post from a few days ago... or pretty much any of them since I've moved to the city), I always wonder what it might be like to live in LA at least for a little while. I'm sure it'll happen at some point... the weather is clearly way more my scene (fortunately for you, dear readers, this blog stopped existing in the winter or you would have heard lots of whining from this girl), I could still do my job there, and it would be a new adventure which I'm always up for...

So when I do have the opportunity to visit LA, I always spend the majority of time thinking about what it would be like to live there and picking up on the subtle... and not so subtle... differences between the two cities. Here are some pros/cons I observed on my last trip:
  • Nobody walks in LA. Well at least not as much as they do in New York.. I'm quite enjoying life sans car, so I'm not sure how I would adjust to driving/sitting in traffic again. We'll call this a con.
  • Strangers talk to you in LA. I've found myself in situations on my last few trips where strangers just strike up a conversation about whatever they can think of. It always catches me off guard and then I remind myself that only in New York are people too mean or self absorbed to realize that there are other people on the street they're walking on. Let's go with pro.
  • Bars close really early in LA. Not that I'm a huge party girl or anything, but I'm always up for a late dinner and night out on the town. Apparently this is not something people do in LA since last call is at 12:45 a.m. That would take some getting used to/strategic planning, con.
  • People care what your zodiac sign is in LA. Okay, I'm a Cancer... aside from the fact that I was born in early July, I have no idea what that says about my personality. Apparently people in LA do know and judge you for it. Creepy, con.
  • Cost of living is lower in LA (or anywhere). As much as I love throwing my life savings away on rent every month, I wouldn't mind living somewhere a little bit cheaper. PRO!
  • Cabs don't take credit cards in LA. Well, most of them don't. I don't believe in cash, this would be a problem for me. Con until I learn to start going to ATMs more frequently.
  • There are real beaches and palm trees in LA. I miss nothing more about Florida than the palm trees. Humidity I'm okay without, but growing up with palm trees was the best and I definitely haven't seen any since I moved to New York. I don't even think they exist in the Hamptons. Pro.
  • Before I get too carried away with my list, I think my parents would disown me if I didn't mention how much farther away LA is from home than NYC. Pretty sure they're just getting used to the fact that I'm no longer a drive away, and really can't just go home on a whim. CON (happy Mom and Dad?)
From my limited knowledge I acquired over the last few days, it appears that the cons still outweigh the pros.. although I'm sure I could continue the list endlessly :)

The real reason I'm not moving to LA any time soon is because I want to feel like I've really done New York before I leave. As much as I loved growing up in Sarasota, I was so ready to escape by the time I graduated high school I was almost running for the Florida/Georgia border. College was an amazing four years and I loved Athens while I was there, but by the end of it I knew it was time to grow up and move on. I may stay in New York for the rest of my life, or I may just wake up one day and decide I'm done. Who knows... but for now I have many more streets to wander down, museums to lose myself in, and of course restaurants to eat in before I'm anywhere near done with the city.


  1. GREAT post. I know we've briefly had this discussion in the past and I've been through the same internal debate more than once: NYC v. LA.

    Hopefully this will shed some light on your future decision (or serve as a distraction for me as this day drags on)...

    When I moved from NYC to LA (round 1), it was way too soon. I knew I wanted to move to LA in the future because you can't settle down in NYC. I mean, I'm sure some people can if they're lavishly wealthy and don't have to deal with the stress and repulsiveness of the subway and other nightmarish everyday activities endured by "the people." I didn't want to live in a cubicle with no closet, barely making rent and ordering tiny dishes at all the restaurants I dreamed of trying for the rest of my life, plus, while this isn't happening for quite some time, it's not the greatest city to have children. I'm haunted by strollers on the subway daily. I wanted to have a nice, big apartment and eventually a nice house and settle down in a city that has the weather and palm trees and beaches of Florida (though nothing is Siesta), plus the opportunity and glamour of NYC. Of course, LA lacks that certain "je ne sais pas" of NYC, which is hard to put into words, because there seems to be this sense of pride (no matter how much we complain about this city) among people in NYC and while LA people are definitely proud to be from Cali and back their Lakers and Dodgers, it's more about sports than it is about the city, at least on the surface. Of course, NYers love their Yankees, but that's not really what the pride is about. I guess part of it comes from 9-11, but there's still a reason why people say this is the greatest city in the world. I've seen the city from a lot of different angles, from luxury/comfort in Gramercy, always walking in the summertime, to an ice cold, blizzard-filled winter in the depths of Harlem, to a very mixed experience in hipsterville Williamsburg to an acceptable but decidedly unglamorous (and not at all my true NY experience) situation in Queens. I think if I had the cushy bank account and incredible job to stay in Gramercy, I would be here much longer, but, at the same time, I'm ready to go.

    To backtrack a bit, when I left, I left after just one summer, one incredible summer, and it was hard because I missed it like crazy. I loved parts of LA, but I was also staying in the Valley without a car, so I was somewhat resentful that I had to move and began to wonder if I really HAD to...that's when I started missing NYC like crazy. I was so excited to come back and everytime I thought of this city, it brought tears to my eyes...but then I got back here and experienced 4 brutal months of winter, barely functioning, slipping in ice, totally miserable and I realized those days of lying on benches in Stuy Square with an iced bubble tea were nothing but distant memories or future dreams, months off.

  2. Anyway, I hated my apartments and situation here ever since and the subway has increasingly become more and more of a nightmare. Everyday, after a long, exhausting experience, I experience a hellish, almost incomprehensible ordeal on the subway. When I used to visit NYC, I didn't understand why everyone said NYers were so mean because everyone seemed so nice. Well, after living here, the stereotype is true...people here are truly meaner, crueler, more jaded than people anywhere else in the country and I can say this definitively because I've since spent time all over the country. So many shocking acts of rudeness have happened to me and people I know here--I didn't even know things like this happened anywhere in the world. I also find some of it rubbing off in me not in the sense that it makes me rude to others, but it just makes me miserable and negative in general. In Cali and in FL and pretty much anywhere else, I always felt optimistic and pleasant. I know they say this city makes or breaks you, but I think it does both. I definitely made it here, in a way, last year, but it definitely broke me, too. I think it does a little of both to everyone.

    I know I had to come back here because, when I left, my time wasn't done. However, since I've been back, I've done every single thing I set out to do with the exception of going to the Hamptons and eating at Gramercy Tavern, both of which are on the to-do list for this month. I wanted one more summer in the city and I survived what was one of the most brutal winters I've ever experienced just for this summer, haha. I think it's worth it.

    So, after this summer is up, I'll be ready to leave. I know that the day I leave, I'll be crying and having my doubts, looking up and thinking how I'll miss this place like last time, but I don't think I'll be thinking, "I'll be back" like last time because while NYC has a huge piece of my heart and I'll definitely visit every few months-I won't stay away for long--I'm ready to finally relax...that means not only unpacking my suitcases and finally having a closet and my own bathroom, but having a pool again, being near a beach that's NOT Brighton (yuck) and having a cleaner (though much less efficient) subway system, a car and friends with amazing weather.

  3. I was laughing at your mention of strangers talking to you in LA and it throwing you off but being a pro because I felt the same way. When I moved to FL from Philly with my family and people said hi to us when we walked past, we were shocked, but loved it. Eventually, we started saying hi to everyone and became really friendly people, but in Philly, we were basically trained to be suspicious of anyone saying hello or even walking near us. That's the same in NYC, though while people in Philly ignored each other, people in NYC almost go out of their way to be rude to each other, such as when people crash into others full force and then give THEM dirty looks...when they had a huge, open, empty sidewalk on which to walk without coming into contact with someone and ruining their day. Everyone here also always acts like they're in a rush, but they're not. They'll trample someone to get on the train at, like, midnight. It's like, you're not trying to get to work, you literally have nowhere to go, calm down. It's just that NYC mentality, always in a rush, always moving. I miss being calm and de-stressed. I'm constantly stressed here and feel guilty if I ever breathe, relax or, god forbid, get to sleep.

    In LA once, I was on the phone at a Starbucks, talking about how I had to get to Hollywood from Van Nuys, but didn't know how to get to a bus (this was pre-iPhone GPS...damn Blackberry) and this random girl just suddenly was like, hey, I overhead your conversation and here's how you get to the bus stop...she was from Hollywood and sat down and gave me detailed directions and her phone number if I had any questions. She was so adorable and nice, I couldn't believe that! I've helped people like that in NYC, but no one has ever done the same for me. It was so crazy to me! I bet people do that stuff for others all the time in the South or midwest or, I guess, Cali, but not here!

    Anyway, I can't wait to go back. I have my spots in Hollywood, like my favorite restaurants and clubs and so many great friends out there that contact me everyday to say they can't wait for me to come back, but there's SO much out there to discover. I have a HUGE to-do list! I've never been to Malibu or Santa Monica, even, let alone San Diego or San Fran..I want to drive all over the state and experience's so beautiful out there, with the beaches, the valley, the mountains, everything. It's so different from here. At first, I was almost annoyed by the chill vibe...I was like, everyone is so zoned out and slow, but I realized they're just chilling and living their lives. Just becuase they're not always in a rush, slamming into people, stomping on feet, elbowing people in the face and making everything a stressful, rushed experience, doesn't mean their way of life is wrong.

  4. I think you would fit in so well in Cali and, like you said, you'd have a job out there, the beach, a lower cost of living, etc. While it's technically further from FL, the plane tickets aren't that big of a difference if purchased in advance, especially on Southwest. When I moved to LA before, I got a one-way ticket from FL for 90 bucks including tax.

    I still get choked up hearing Empire State of Mind when I'm anywhere but NYC, but get annoyed when I hear it, basically, I'm sure I'll always love NYC and miss it like crazy...when I'm somewhere else.

    I'm excited to have a jam-packed, fabulous New York summer because there truly is no place like the city in the summer and I mean not only being able to walk everywhere and tan in the parks and eat on rooftops and patios, but the rotting smell of trash baking in the heat and the sweaty shitshows on the subway.

    You'll always have a place to stay with me when I move back out there, hopefully this fall...around September, if all goes well. I do hope you make the decision to move there, at least for a little while, regardless of whether or not you intend to stay. I always wished I could combine FL and NYC and there, I really feel like I can. I think you'll find that to, as you probably already have in a way. We definitely have to see each other soon here in the city, but it'd be great to have you out in Cali. We'd have such a great time exploring together! When you finish with the museums here, you just let me know. =)

    Anyway, that was truly an epic novel that was likely totally unncessary, but people liking the zodiac out there isn't too big of a deal haha (and i know everything about my that weird? lol), but the cash in the cabs isn't too big of an issue because at least their bars take credit without a 10190385235623875628752658 minimum like most places in NYC and I find myself in bars much more often than cabs. Haha. Also, as far as the bars and clubs closing really early in LA, that is true...I was horrified when the "coolest club in Hollywood" turned on all the lights and kicked everyone out at 1:45, even everyone in VIP, but the restaurants are open really late and there are a lot of places that have after-hours parties, so you can keep it going. Plus, you have more space at home, so you can host people for drinks and dinner if it's too late to go out...or can always hang out at the beach late at night like everyone used to do in SRQ. It's not so bad! Also, we're getting old (23 is scary), so the clubbing thing definitely gets old and, when we do go out, we just have to get used to getting ready earlier. I got used to it in the month I was out there...extra early, actually, because there's often accounting for traffic, but, if you live IN Hollywood, which is surprisingly affordable, at least compared to NYC, you can just walk everywhere! :)

    Hopefully I convinced you (and myself) that Cali is the place to be, at least sometime soon.

    I originally came on here to comment in response to your comment on my blog about how lifechanging the pretzel M&Ms are, but clearly got carried away...anyway, on that note, let's discuss more pros/cons in person over dinner or tanning in the park soon-just let me know whenever you're free. xoxo

    P.S. My comment was too long, so here is round 4. I apologize for any typos in advance. I'm too tired to proofread haha.

  5. Ummm your comment(s) just made my day. Epic and amazing. I think I need to do a follow up post after work tonight!! And agreed times a million that we need to get together ASAP, calling you when I'm back in the city next week <3

  6. Hi Jess!!

    I figured I might as well respond to this post because I've spent about six months in NYC and six months in LA. So I'll go through this point-by-point and give you my feedback :)

    It is true that nobody walks in LA. It's physically impossible to go anywhere without a car, unless you live right in Hollywood and would only like to walk around Hollywood. Strangers do talk to you in LA, but sometimes it's really weird. People are NOT friendly in Hollywood, but I guess that's part of the Hollywood feel. I worked on Sunset Strip (so West Hollywood) and people were rude as ever there. However, when you get out of Hollywood, people are generally very pleasant and are willing to help you out.

    I never once went to a bar where last call was at 12:45 a.m. Most of them are done at 1:30 a.m. but I'm usually done by then. :) There are definitely places where you can hang out after 2 a.m. though. Not sure about the zodiac sign thing, so I'll skip it. The cost of living in LA is definitely lower than in NYC, but trust me -- it's not that cheap. For a NICE (i.e. not in the ghetto) one BR apartment, the cheapest you can find is about a grand. I would love to live in Santa Monica, but the starting price was around 2 grand. SO, until I save up more money, that's not happening. I laugh at my friends in smaller cities who are paying $500 a month and think that seems so ridiculous.

    Cabs take credit cards in LA? I don't know why they didn't take them for you. However, they do bitch about it. I took a cab with a friend to downtown near the fashion district and it was $12, but we didn't have cash. He knew this before we even got in the cab, but he still grumbled about it. Whatever dude, we already told you!! I love the beaches and palm trees in LA. Did you go to Malibu? It is beyond beautiful. Pepperdine's campus is stunning.

    I loved New York so much, but I always knew it wasn't the place for me. With that being said, I fell in love with LA. There were times I legitimately hated the people or something went wrong with LA, but I am so glad that I experienced living there because I would love to really "settle down" in LA if Atlanta doesn't work out. I was born & raised in the South, so I know there's a huge part of me that would love to stay here -- but LA was such a great place. So, I'm torn between ATL and LA. :)

    Anyway, I sincerely hope you had a fabulous time in LA! Perhaps we'll hang out there one day if not in Athens this fall for games...