NYC2LA Comparison

Doris Night has just come back from L.A. to her hometown of NYC, and has posted point by point comparison of the two cities on MetBlogging NYC. Shockingly, weather was worse in LA than NYC.

I’m especially struck by her statement, “everywhere I went in L.A. the food was amazing: fresh, tasty, and good for you.” Doris, how did you miss all the fantastic LA food that is not quite as good for you? Like the hundreds of outstanding taco stands, or the 24-hour tofu houses / pho restaurants? Or, for that matter, Philippe’s?

Overall though, I think she hits a lot of the big points between the two cities. But the L.A. depicted and compared isn’t quite the same as the L.A. I show my visiting friends from Vancouver, and it reminds me – this is a city that can appear differently to everyone, depending on what you’re looking for, where you’re exploring it from, and who’s showing it to you.

So I invite you all to comment: do you think that Doris hits the right notes in her comparisons, or is there more that could have changed how she compared NYC to Los Angeles?

18 Replies to “NYC2LA Comparison”

  1. She’s from New York. She’ll always hate L.A. because L.A. isn’t New York. And she and all the others like her really need to get down to LAX, hop on the first plane east and go back to New York. Everybody will be much happier that way.

  2. If you read the post, you’d know that she doesn’t hate Los Angeles.

    She says NYC has the leg up in “culture”, but her view of “culture” seems very limited to me–big museums and theaters. LA isn’t a theater town.

  3. It was pretty accurate, except for “traffic.” She should have used the heading “public transportation,” since that’s really what she’s complaining about. I’d say “traffic” means the percentage of time you spend immobile in your car, and I think it’s way better in LA than NY, or for that matter, most other major cities (Chicago, Boston, San Francisco…)

  4. I think her assessment was pretty fair. With exception to the Weather. We’re in El Nino season of course our weather is going to blow. Had she been here the weekend before it was in the 70’s and glorious.

    Anyway she seems to be of the in a NY state of mind so it’s good she lives there. Some people are meant for LA, the unfortunate part is half of them are here and don’t know it yet.

  5. I’ll maintain until I die that nobody knows anything about LA until they’ve lived here for a few years. Even when they’re written with the best of intentions, these “I went to LA for a day or a week and here’s a breakdown of what it’s all about” are always irritatingly shallow. Los Angeles is a complicated, layered city that only reveals it’s real secrets to people that are willing to stick around long enough to stop putting celebrity sightings and awards shows at the top of their interest lists (barring people who need to care for a living).

    As for Doris’s piece, I appreciate that she’s trying to be even-handed. But anybody that thinks LA doesn’t have a good museum culture isn’t paying nearly enough attention. The Getty, The Hammer, LACMA, MOCA, Norton Simon, The Craft and Folk Art Museum, The Architecture and Design Museum, The Skirball, The Fowler Museum and even the Huntington Library all do awesome, interesting programming or have important pieces in their collections that people should see. And that’s only a partial list off the top of my head. I’m not saying it’s a better scene than NY, but the fact that they’re geographically farther apart doesn’t make them worse. Add to that LA’s smoking-hot gallery scene (which she completely ignored) and it’s a much closer race than she implies.

  6. who are these people paying less that $1k for a one bedroom and where are they from?!? good lord. i would kill for something that cheap.

  7. I tend to cringe at those “I spent a weekend somewhere and here’s how it rates to where I’ve lived my whole life” comparisons, but I rather enjoyed hers (even if I obviously didn’t agree with some of her assessments). It was almost cute the way she lumpsums us all as car-bound and refers to us as “Los Angeleans.” Maybe I’ll start refering to her east-coast kind as… New Yorkovicks? Big Applejacks?

  8. “who are these people paying less that $1k for a one bedroom and where are they from?!? good lord. i would kill for something that cheap.”

    My place is less than $1,000. It’s called Long Beach, people.

    “The Getty, The Hammer, LACMA, MOCA, Norton Simon, The Craft and Folk Art Museum, The Architecture and Design Museum, The Skirball, The Fowler Museum and even the Huntington Library all do awesome, interesting programming or have important pieces in their collections that people should see.”

    Not to mention the Museum of Jurassic Technology, MoLAA in Long Beach, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, and the cultural-historic museums like the Southwest Museum, the Autry, the African-American history museum, and the great stuff at the Southern California Library for Social Science Research in South LA.

  9. Piggy-backing on the museum comments, her remark that L.A. isn’t a theater town misses the mark. Certainly this city’s theater doesn’t have the visibility and reputation of New York’s Broadway, but it is a vibrant and vital cultural aspect. On any given night there is that “plethora of shows and plays” from literally hundreds of theaters in operation throughout greater Los Angeles. In fact I’d bet that there’s more boards being trod upon out here on a daily basis than back in N’Yawk.

  10. New Yorkovicks… LOL!!! I have a pretty unique perspective as I lived in NY for many years (not all of it in NYC) and have been here in SO Cal for 28 years… (not all in LA, though I live in the city now)… I think she was pretty close for having done a weekend visit… I spend a few weeks per year in NYC, and I must agree with her that it is a far more walkable, transit oriented place. NY is much more enjoyable to me as a visitor than it was as a resident, because I can leave when I get weary of that “NY attitude” thing. Midtown Manhattan has that infectuous enery, and as an architect, the built environment is beyond compare. LA does have something that NY misses – this sense that anything is possible, that dreams can come true (and they actually do for a lot of people here) and that there are no limits. LA is an edgier city than NY (but I also remember NY in the 1970s when the best parts of the city felt garrisoned against the war zone that most of it was then). As for the food – yes, NY has the marquee restaurants and very good eats – but you’ll pay dearly for it, and there’s not much “good” food. There’s a lot of great food, some good food, and a lot of not-so-good food. LA has far more to offer to the “average person”, and we don’t lack for high end places either… but Jillian and Laura nailed it – the taco stands, lowbrow places with kick-ass food, etc are far more prevalent here. And yes, the LA geographical setting is fantastic, especially on a day like today with the clear air, mountains and… snow!

  11. wow, my new york vs canada comparison didn’t garner nearly as much discussion, and i took a lot more swipes at canada in that one.

    i appreciate everyone’s comments (except for don – dude, chill, i do not hate l.a.) and freely admit my scope was limited since i was there for just a few days and was at the mercy of the folks i was staying with (who live, by the way, in sherman oaks and near pasadena, hence the cheap rents).

    thanks for all the info on museums and the theatre – i guess my opinion was more around the convenience factor. as a non-driver, i love walking where i need to go or hopping on the subway instead of having to get in a car and look for parking, etc., etc. so that’s not to say that l.a. has no culture. my bad.

    as for food, i did have some excellent “bad” eats as well, if not on this trip then on others. i chose to focus on the fresh, organic angle because it’s not as easily found here at reasonable prices.

    of course i’ve experienced gorgeous weather in l.a. i was just commenting on how crazy that it was so cold. obviously i know that it’s not always that cold; otherwise i probably wouldn’t think it was that crazy.

    anyway, i don’t think one city is better or worse than the other. for me, l.a. will always mean nice weather, great food, beautiful beaches, and celebrity sightings (which are invaluable to this celebrity whore). but new york is home.

  12. Wow, you guys really seemed to pounce on Doris! I think she was incredibly even-handed.

    @5000: You are correct in your contention that nobody can truly sum up a city after a short few-day visit, but does that mean that nobody should ever post city comparisons? I think it is human nature to visit a place and compare aspects of it to where you live. Also, those comparisons are not specific to LA. People from EVERY CITY ON EARTH come to NYC and compare it to theirs, writing about the expense, or the bad cab drivers, which is a completely limited view. It is the nature of the beast in living in such a well-liked and interesting city.

    HAHA I love the new names for us NYers.

  13. Also, I have to agree with Laura–any place without a taco truck or a decent Mexican restaurant is not a place for me.

  14. @5000: You are correct in your contention that nobody can truly sum up a city after a short few-day visit, but does that mean that nobody should ever post city comparisons?

    Pretty much, yeah. I don’t want to read movie reviews written by people that only watched the trailer either. If somebody wants to write about a trip they took or some time they spent somewhere I’m all for it, but that’s a bit different from a point-by-point comparison of one place you know well to one place you’ve barely visited.

    Not that I’m specifically complaining about what Doris wrote. Like I said, I appreciate her effort to be objective about it. I just think those kinds of stories are better avoided in favor of something more personal.

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