Los Angeles vs. New York… Working to Live, vs. Living to Work?

Growing up in Boston and having gone to school in Cambridge, I had a strong conviction of East Coast superiority. I loved the history of Boston, the competitiveness in Cambridge, and, after spending two summers in New York, the pace of Manhattan. There was a gritty, dog-eat-dog mentality that permeated throughout the city, both up in the boardrooms and down on the streets. There was a toughness and an urgency that New York required, as evidenced by the fast walking, fast talking culture. And even though the suits could be parading around with million-dollar bank accounts, they all still carried themselves as if entering the school of hard knocks: brows furrowed, collars up, and wielding a vast repertoire of profanity.

Even with its rat-race culture, I loved New York. During my senior year of college, I interviewed solely for jobs that were based in the city. Having grown up in the ambitious East Coast lifestyle, it just seemed like a natural progression to move to Manhattan, with its promise of hard work begetting career advancement.

img_0387I ultimately accepted an offer to work in a program which required a year in New York and a year in Los Angeles. When I got my first assignment, I was devastated to learn that I was starting in California. On a cold, wintry day in Boston, I packed my bags and flew out to the West Coast. I figured I’d just wait it out for a year until I got back to New York, where my career would actually begin. After all, LA was about its actors and singers, smoke and mirrors, and Britney and Kevin. Instead of M&A, I figured I’d just find T&A. It certainly wasn’t the same type of professional environment that I expected in New York.

img_0383Throughout my year in LA, I did encounter many examples of the superficiality that I expected when I first came to California. Most conversations centered around the gym, the beach, or the latest celebrity debacle. Meeting people out on the town invariably turned into a casting session. There was an endless supply of aspiring actors, models, and dancers moonlighting as waiters, secretaries, and personal trainers. There was a sleepy, slow pace to LA, where people mostly ambled along. Furrowed brows and premature wrinkles were nonexistent, if not for the worry-free lifestyle, then for the rampant use of Botox.

img_0271To my surprise, I found myself drawn to many aspects of the laid-back, West Coast lifestyle. One huge part of this was the weather. When I first arrived at the Burbank airport in January, I was greeted by 65 degree weather and bundled-up Californians. My landlord, wearing a thick black parka, apologized for how cold it was. (Over my year in LA, I could count on one hand how many times it rained. Almost 90% of the days were over 70 degrees and sunny…even in “winter”. I remember going to the beach in February, and just like in the Corona commercial, feeling disappointed when a cloud would appear in the bright blue sky.) The beautiful weather was something I didn’t expect, and it seemed to justify the slow pace of LA. Lying on the Santa Monica beach in the middle of March, I remember feeling rather smug–while my friends back in New York were shuttered away in their tiny apartments, I was out on the beach every weekend, enjoying the sun. While they were trekking through snow and maneuvering through the NYC subway system, I was cruising down Ventura boulevard in my car, windows down, radio blaring. While they were working weekends and long hours, I was putting in ten-hour days at most, with enough time to go to the gym and still get a margarita after work.

img_0281Yet even with this carefree lifestyle, there were often times when I felt anxious about the life I was living. I almost didn’t want to get too comfortable… it seemed like I was getting complacent or soft. I worried that I was losing my drive and ambition to the allure of comfort and sun. I didn’t want to become the stereotypical airhead Californian, without a care in the world. I’d think of the negatives of living in LA (the superficial people, the earthquakes, the traffic, and the smog) and remind myself of my East Coast convictions. I was bred to be a New Yorker after all, and there was some built-in angst that I had to have. Even with all the comforts out on the West Coast, I was never free from anxiety about my career, future, and ambitions.

A week ago, I moved back to New York to start the second year of my program. As I sat at my austere desk and looked out on the gray horizon, I missed the carefree days of life in sunny California. I can’t help but reminisce about LA and its anti-New York philosophies: work to live, don’t live to work. Life’s too short. Don’t worry, be happy.

A year ago, I would have thought that these philosophies were just an excuse for being weak, lazy, and of course, soft. Now, I’m not so sure. I don’t think I can ever completely embrace either side. As much as I loved LA, perhaps I’m programmed to feel guilt for “settling” or being too comfortable. Perhaps I can’t shake that gnawing ambition and ensuing anxiety. But now that I’ve seen how the other half lives, I don’t think I can bear the rat race of New York. I’m still awed by the intensity and energy of the city, but I’m not quite as keen to be immersed in it. Maybe that means I’m more willing to sacrifice career for life, in order to have fewer wrinkles when I’m older. Or, maybe I just need a few more weeks to get used to the fast pace of NYC again.

At some point I’ll have to choose… but I’m probably just not ready to do it now.

Update (6/25/09): What I Love About New York City

Update (10/14/09): Oddities in New York City

Update (3/31/10): I’m moving back to LA … Guess I’ve made my decision, huh?

Update (4/30/10): Goodbye, New York

Update (6/7/10): Truth is Beauty, and Beauty is Los Angeles

Update (6/29/10): Deciding On Lew Yongeles

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88 Comments

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88 responses to “Los Angeles vs. New York… Working to Live, vs. Living to Work?

  1. Anon

    It’s interesting that you deem the decision to choose life over career as “settling.” Consider that the noun “life” is derived from (or engenders) the infinitive verb “to live,” not the infinitive verb “to work.”

  2. FRESHisBACK

    Good point. Although I think most people (not just me) associate “settling” with something “life”-related vs. “work”… It’s common to talk about settling to start a family, have kids, spend more time at home, etc. “Settling” for a high-powered career isn’t something that we hear about very often.

  3. Maria P.

    Don’t go back to LA if you are an active person and wants to be on the move constantly. People in LA are so stupid and soft (probably because of the instant sun) and way more conservative than NY.

    • L.A. Girl

      Wow to say people in L.A. are stupid and soft is very offensive . Something new is always better . Do not judge a whole city of people by what you see on television. We do live a care-free lifestyle and enjoy live to the fullest. But in no way does that makes us stupid or soft. Maybe you should come out here and find out . And maybe you wont be some judgmental of us.

      • nonofyourbusiness

        @ L A Girl, ignore Maria P, Maria is just jealous!! think i’ve made my decision i’m gonna go to california rather than new york!!!!

        yeah gee tnks Gurlz

      • Michelangelo

        Hahahaha! This is a joke right? “enjoy LIVE to the fullest”, “in no way does that MAKES us stupid”, “you won’t be SOME judgmental of us”????
        BAHAHAHAHAH!!!

      • LUCIFER 666

        This is the perfect example of a West Coast tree hugger. LA Girl is so sensitive about her feelings to be hurt by rude East Coast bloggers. This is reality, you ignore assholes & move ahead to where ever destination leads you such as life. EC people get use to the ignorance & rudeness by their fellow constituents on daily basis. People can say or text the most God awful things about you, but as long as they don’t put your hands on you to create a physical altercation then you’re okay. I was born in the WC, but I now live in the EC. FYI, I got this advice by EC residents how to deal with multiple personalities of people.

        “Carefree lifestyle & enjoy life to the fullest” – Huh?

        Yeah no wonder why CA is broke!

    • liz

      wow this shows how ignorant and superficial you are- proud angelino with much ambition and immense love for my gorgeous land of angels, and we are not stupid and soft, you best believe if you said that shit to my face you will get your ass beat

      • LUCIFER 666

        I couldn’t agree with you anymore. Trust me, I used to grew up in LA & I now live in NYC. How the saying go, “If you live on the EC then you must have THICK SKIN, but if you live on the WC then you have THIN SKIN in order to tolerate multiple personalities of people.”

    • Brandon

      Perfect example of an east coast asshole.

    • Anna

      HATERRRRRRR!!!!! I can tell you’re from the East Coast -_____- I can say many bad things about NYers and Bostonian and all but I’m not gonna go be low like you.

    • Peace Man

      @ Maria P you don’t know squat! Soft huh? What about the pioneers who had to go through the Hot DESERTS and HUGE MOUNTAINS to get here, also how hard it was to get water in the early beginnings of Los Angeles, so soft?! That’s amusing know the history first before you say something like that.

      • LUCIFER 666

        Okay Mr. Peace Man, it was a long time ago during Lois & Clark. This is the 21st century. We live in the Technological Revolution. Yes, you must have “THICK SKIN” to live on the East Coast in order to move ahead within your profession or else you’ll lose out. Unfortunately, people are “THIN SKIN” on the West Coast such as their personalities to be somewhat sensitive. Trust me, I lived & visited both coasts.

    • MikeD

      Well, I leave bicoastal – and love both cities. But I think that LA is for true personalities able to think (create new, not analyze) who can face themselves. NY is beautiful too, but NY is a rush in sake of being in a rush… why? Because some people simply don’t have talent…

      When you don’t have talent, you have to work hard (either mentally or physically)… Because you can obtain everything but NOT talent – it’s a gift given by God, by Nature or whatever you believe in… So – not talented people has too escape from themselves… they have to be busy to run away from thinking who they really are… Los Angeles’ people are mostly artists (Hi-Tech too), and mostly they already knew who they are when they were just 5 y.o.

      Btw, California is the richest state in America… and it shaped 21st Century with internet, communications, entertainment industry (which is recession proof in the U.S.), you name it… So it’s all about real deal instead of medieval brick&mortar and constantly failed speculations of Wall Street (where I live right now, lol)…

      If you want to understand my point – do read Aristotle re Leisure (why only chosen can truly afford it, and how is it about ability to contemplate (which means being able to think)

      But, if you are truly versatile person – you love both – regular hard working people who has no choice and talented. Because everyone is beautiful in his own and sometimes twisted way… NY is amazing, probably the best city on the planet – because it speaks 800 languages, because there is drama and character, because there millions of absolutely unique (hard life) destinies, because people dress up, because there are so many cozy spots that no one can’t actually count them… And everybody knows for sure what they do and where they go to, but none is sure who they are and why they go there…

      California is the place where most know who they are, but they are not sure what they do, they have a reason to go, but often don’t know where to…

      My point – I choose both!

  4. Ben

    Since you’ve written this how have you been adjusting back to life in NY?

  5. Pingback: What I Love About New York City « FRESH is BACK

  6. New Yorker

    Leave NY before it makes you hard, leave Cali before it makes you soft.

  7. Hope

    I lived in NYC all my life. Native, in fact. Now I’m living in La for the past 5 months. It’s different, that’s obvious. But I have to say I pine for the activity and energy of Manhattan, minus the bitter cold winter and gruesome snowstorms. And though the slower pace in LA seems ‘lazy’, it also allows more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Isn’t that why we work?
    It’s not about being ‘hard’ or ‘soft’. Each city offers its own unique rewards. And though it’s natural to defend the city you call home, recognize the variety each city offers in culture and people. That’s what makes America so interesting.
    Ultimately, after experiencing both coasts, you may find neither city serves you… and decide to explore the other places worth your time.
    Good luck.

  8. Cal_Pauly

    I’m a California native who loves New York City. It’s a completely unfair comparison – apples vs oranges (no pun intended). There are very few places on the planet that have New York’s energy and leave you feeling as if you are truly in the “center of the universe”. I’ve never had a dull moment in my travels and always come back with a story…or two…or three.

    That being said, LA deserves way more respect than it usually gets. California is the 8th largest economy in the world and LA County, all by itself, ranks higher than many leading nations. Point being; business gets done here! Yes, LA is the entertainment capital of the world, but it also leads in many other industries.

    I can tell you that having fun while working and helping others become successful are two characteristics that I believe are unique to California culture. East Coasters shouldn’t resist it so much!

  9. Where to live all depends on what you value in life… Whatever it is, is between you and your soul.
    I kind of value sunsets.
    I’m not sure if you see a lot of those in the city.
    Here’s the one from last Sat, in case not.
    chefmatt.com/images/sunsets/100116_web.jpg
    peace

  10. avon

    Im a black male born and raised in LA and i have to say that there are 2 LA’s. 1 is the care free LA that you all keep describing and the other is the murderous gang capital of the country which is the 1 i live in. I personaly hate the gang culture but so many blacks and latinos live and die by this code. And what a lot of people fail to realize is that South LA is only a few miles from the white communities and tourist are being killed. Its very ugly and im disgusted with the whole situation but i so im not glorifying but i had to let every 1 know its not all fun and bitches!

    • mike

      NY is the same way, there’s the side you see in the movies(midtown, the business district), and the gritty one(uptown NY,the South Bronx, Jamacia queens,) that you see in rap videos. I want to add that otuside the NYC metro area, western NY is more like Pennsylvania, northern NY is like Vermont, and southern NY is like Mass or New Jersey.

      • nyc-native

        @mike – I have to disagree a bit with mike’s outdated comment comparing the south Bronx and uptown Manhattan to a south LA’s gang culture. Back in the 90s and earlier I would 100% agree, but not in 2012.

        I remember a while back sometime around 2003 or so, a fight broke out on new years outside of a bar downtown and within 2 minutes a whole van full of police swarmed the two guys fighting, which btw, did not appear gang-related at all. NYC has a police force that is larger than some small countries’ military force. Don’t believe me? Try this as an experiment, go to Harlem on a busy area like Broadway and pretend to steal your friend’s purse and see how long it takes before you’re forced on the ground by an officer.

  11. Danny

    Born in NYC, raised in Florida, I then moved to L.A. Shortly after graduating college. I was offered a job in sales and given the option of NYC or L.A. I had never been to L.A. and when I was offered the job, I packed my car, grabbed my wife (then fiancee) and drove 2.5 days cross country. I Loved California. I thought the location was perfect leaving us in close proximity to Vegas, Mexico, the mountains, and the beach.
    It was so diverse when it came to the people, weather, topography, it truly had something for everyone. After 6 months I returned to Florida more than anything because I hated my job in L.A. A few years later, here I am again wondering if my next move should be to NYC or L.A. I want out of Florida!
    We now have a baby and I see the obvious con’s of NYC which include the frigid winters, lack of space, lugging a stroller in the subway, etc. and I really don’t see any Con’s with California. Cali is an easy adjustment coming from Florida being that it’s what I like to call a “car culture”. Furthermore, the only Con that my wife can come up with is that its “far”. I guess, but depends from what.
    With all this said, I sit here and ask myself…why if I can find cons in NYC and none in California, do I still consider moving back to NYC? Why haven’t I ruled it out? I just don’t know. I ruled it out the first time with simple logic, I was born in NYC, why not try L.A. where I’ve never been. This time around, I am very familiar with both but I can’t seem to make up my mind.
    Can anyone help me shed some light on this roller-coaster of emotion between these 2 awesome cities?

    • Quentin

      Being born in NYC and coming of age in NYC are two different things. I live in both LA and NYC but came of age in the latter. Both cities are different. To me, LA has just as many cons as NYC. It depends on what you’re looking for.

  12. addam

    i grew up in the mid-west and used to live in sf. eventually i got bored by the pace of the city and decided to move to nyc 3 years ago. at first it was great because i moved in late spring and the weather was great, there was lots of outdoor activities going on and a lot more to explore.

    i recently got back from a trip back west where i traveled between sf, la and the mountains of lassen. every time i go back, i can’t help feel like i’m home again. i have maybe felt home in nyc once or twice after having a less than desirable time somewhere outside the city. maybe it’s because i’m on vacation, maybe it’s because i feel so free out there or because i can see myself living there long-term.

    being able to walk around at night in a t-shirt, when if i we’re in nyc i’d be wearing 2 pairs of socks, 3 coats, etc.. is magical.

    i really, really wanted to love nyc like woody allen does when i moved here. i think it was the right move for me to kickstart my career, but now that i’m a bit older and thinking of my future more than before, i just can’t see myself ever being comfortable with living in a box in manhattan, moving to jersey god forbid or feeling isolated in outer brooklyn. i think if i grew up here, i probably wouldn’t want to move because i would have been conditioned to the lifestyle out here.

    in short, i’m tired of walking around frowning all the time, being so serious all the time, bundled up like the kid in a christmas story half the year, working 16 hour days, feeling trapped by the city and feeling like my tiny apartment is the best it can get for me.

    give me the great-outdoors, mountains, beaches, a car, space, weather, palm trees, less-anxiety, sunshine and smiles that la provides.

    • sara

      I am in NYC as I speak, and I love love love NY. I am a native Newport Beach girl and lived in LA for a long time. I am sruggling with with the decision stay in NYC for a real estate job or go back to LA. Ugh! such a hard decision. There is something about NYC I can never get out of my system. It’s dirty, crazy and addictive, gotta love every second of it, especially just walking around instead of stuck in a car all day. NYC just rocks.

    • Bill Bond

      I left Florida for NYC a year and a half ago, and although I’m happy to be out of Florida, I’m contemplating moving to LA. I love the energy here, the public transportation, the restaurants, but I do feel stressed and trapped inside something very insular at times. My goal is to work in the film industry, so I’m leaning towards LA, for that reason and others.

  13. Pingback: Following Fuzzy Dreams « FRESH is BACK

  14. Fede

    I need some help too… for the last 3-4 months I’ve been debating between going to NY or going to LA. and this is the time where I can’t make my mind. Just recently my girlfring broke up with me due the requirements of dealing with a long distance relationship… she’s working on her master’s up in CT and I was really considering moving to NY so I could be close to her. The work opportunities are abundant even though the competition is fiercefull but I was really willing to try.
    Now my only excuse to move there are the job opportunities… I lived in upstate NY and can’t complaint but living in the city is a different story. I’m not trill about the way of living there, always rushing to get somewhere of to do something and always thinking of a way to stay bussy. Not a problem with that but being used to the way of living in florida (I want to get out of here!) I know it can be a very shocking change.
    Also, and maybe this is something that weights in my balance is the fact that I’m not really sure how easy is to meet people over there… I’m not used to show what I’m not but don’t like to be rude and I’m not sure how NY stands on that.
    What I love of the city is the countless activities you can find, the art (big decision factor to me), its diversity and the fact that is close to the woman I love (I don’t want to loose my hope).
    What I don’t like… people are like on a frenzy, the dirt, the cold weather, how expensive is to live, the “clickyness” of the people when you are an outsider…
    In the othe hand, I’ve been in California and got to know a little bit of LA. It’s definately a more laid back way of life, the landscapes are amazing and you have the freedom of driving to the mountains, the desert, the ocean. I didn’t have a chance to meet people from over there so I can’t say anyting about that. Also I don’t know much about the art and culture that arrives to the city besides what’s happening in hollywood which I’m not really interested in.
    What I loved about LA: the weather, the open space, the landscapes, friendlier? people.
    What I didn’t like about LA: its downtown (zome areas are really scary there), the home prices, you need a car for everything, I’m afraid of getting into the bottox culture…
    At last, I know they both are totally different cities and with very different ways of living, with pros. and cons. but I would like to see someone who can try to convince me to move to either one… I know at this point I’m not in the right set of mind to take a decision so big: one side of me thinks with the heart and the other one tries to use reasoning and I don’t know which one to follow.

    • sara

      I’m a southern California native blonde living the lower east sid (the best side) Try it. Once it’s in uour veins, you’ll be addicted. NY is just cool.

  15. Pingback: Deciding On Lew Yongeles « FRESH is BACK

  16. Mark

    I am a native Californian and I love L.A. L.A is not at all about Hollywood and botox. There is a real culture to L.A that I love. L.A dirty dogs (hotdogs wrapped in bacon) Downtown L.A, China town, Silverlake, Echo Park, Los Feliz and so on. South L.A, East L.A, Compton and so on are parts that are filled with L.A gang culture. The city seems that they dont like to mention those parts but its there and lets face it its another part of the L.A culture. That is the Real L.A. The laid back life style totally comes from the media and movies. It does not show the cultural part of L.A. We have real culture out here and out of town peeps don’t seem to realize that. There is a real energy out here that people fail to realize. Before people start stereo typing L.A experience the real culture of the city. Don’t experience it as a tourist, experience it as an L.A native.

  17. Jason

    Native LA’er – packing up for NYC for good..

    Don’t get me wrong – will always love LA’s sun and West breeze.. but NY is like a drug (granted you need a goog gig to get by), but having my gym, bank, work, favorite restaurant/bar, and at least 3 sex pals within a 7 block radius is IRREPLACEABLE.. PS weekdays are the best nights to go out in NY – you get to meet the sexy crazies. How they get by on 3 hours of sleep, I’m still learning that part ;)

  18. Pingback: Loving (Not) Having It All « FRESH is BACK

  19. New York City would be great if we didn’t have to carry all the BS social welfare programs.

    Also NYC is better because you can have a diverse wardrobe.

  20. Mel

    Hey guys!

    I need your advice! I graduated college last year with a degree in Communications/English. I have ALWAYS had HUGE dreams of moving to a big city for work! Since childhood, I have always dreamt of living in California, probably because all of my favorite tv shows were based in California. However, I am starting to have dreams of NYC, since I hear more and more about it daily from friends. I HAVE NEVER BEEN TO EITHER PLACE, can’t afford a vacation at the time. I always thought I should wait until I spend time in each place to decide. But time’s running out and Imay just have to choose one. What do you gusy think?

    What are your thoughts? Pros and Cons of each?

    • Lucy

      New York has so many poor and homeless people on the streets, just like Calcutta, with far too many bums on welfare. They loiter and yell and have nothing constructive to say. It is too dirty and ugly these days. Everyone smokes here and litters the streets with their cigarette butts. Not enough nature and extremely polluted due to the cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke. Everyone is in a hurry. Too crowded and people knock you down. Not enough white people anymore either; whites are the new minority. Too many nutjobs and neurotics running around. Extremely noisy with trucks and sirens and cars honking their horns; one has to wear earplugs to be outside. The list goes on and and on. I plan on moving in the next year, maybe to the Pacific Northwest.

  21. John

    Only go to LA if you want to be in the entertainment industry. If not, go to NYC!

    • Quentin

      Well said John. LA cater most to people in the entertainment industry. We’re treated like royalty. Valet parking everywhere. But I still prefer NYC.

  22. Ivy

    L.A. is fun,really beautiful city,beaches around,Hollywood,…But New York is New York.No place can compare..It’s crazy!I just love it.There’s always,ALWAYS something new there..If you need party,just leave your apartment and there you are ;)) If you experience New York in any way,you’ll never forget about it.There’s just something magical about that city!

  23. Salomeh

    Hi guys,

    I am from Stockholm, Sweden. I plan to move to the states and study dental hygenist fall 2011. I have visited both LA and NY and love them both! But the question is where is best for me to move? I am 32 years old – not a partyanimal any more. I am tired of all the snow and coldness, although the boring ppl here in Sweden. It is a very hard decision for me as I have been there as a tourist and have absolutely no idea how the “real life” could be. So what do you say?

  24. George

    NY sucks. It’s a dirty cold rat race with a ton of violent crime. LA all the way.

    • Loving*Life*in*NYC

      I disagree — the crime in NYC is definitely not as common as most would think. As with any big city … crime and violence are inevitable – same goes for LA. But I lived on the Upper East Side and always felt safe. I now live in Midtown East and feel as safe as ever. I walk through other neighborhoods at all hours and never feel threatened; there are so many people around, so violence is occuring on every street corner. I’m not saying this because I live in NYC.

      I love LA too! I was actually offered a job there 2 days ago and am contemplating making the move. The lifestyles are completely different and there are pros and cons to each, but it comes to down to the fact that everybody is different and likes different things. One lifestyle isn’t necessarily better than the other; it is all a matter of preference.

      • If you can’t afford to live on the UES or Midtown East (or anywhere in Manhattan for that matter), the reality is quite different. I have lived in NY for 6 years and have been mugged and assaulted. I’ve witnessed shootings and assaults on others. I live in a gentrifying neighborhood, about middle of the road as far as Brooklyn goes because it’s what I can afford. I feel like I must always keep the eyes in the back of my head open wherever I go; there are creeps everywhere (especially if you are – like me – a young woman). I feel MUCH, MUCH, MUCH safer in LA. The overall vibe is not threatening; people are happy.

  25. neil navani

    The following video should help end the LA vs. NY debate:
    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/b8343b7fd4/only-in-n-y

  26. Pingback: Reading is Gilded in the Golden State « ocbooklove

  27. Peter

    I am a little confused ive seen a few posts saying how they couldnt live in the outer boroughs b/c its too far and isolated from manhattan…but driving from queens to manhattan or brooklyn to manhattan is a much faster drive than most drives you have to do in california, that is the silliest reason i have ever heard. You can also raise a family on Long Island and be an hour away from Manhattan. Most of the LA suburbs are just as far from the business areas. Long Island Railroad gets you into midtown in 55 minutes. Only down side of NY is the cold, but i think the bad weather just makes you more appreciative of the good weather. But it also really depends on the person more than the place, I love california, but just to visit. For me its all about NYC.

    • Quentin

      Peter, don’t pay them any mind. People not from NYC don’t realize that five boroughs make up the NYC. There is one local government running these five boroughs. Right now Bloomberg is in the highest office of this local government, which provides the NYPD and MTA to all five boroughs. I have to be repetitive because people just can’t seem to understand this. There are people from NYC who also misunderstands this fact. And you’re right: driving from Queens to Manhattan or Brooklyn to Manhattan is much faster than driving around LA County. And this has to be the best thing said on this blog so far:

      “Only down side of NY is the cold, but i think the bad weather just makes you more appreciative of the good weather. ” — Peter

      I am bi-coastal because of my line of business. But NYC will always be my main base. That is where I would hang my hat in the end of the day.

    • nyc-native

      @Peter I’m not sure how the traffic in LA compares to nyc, but I owned had a car in nyc for about 2yrs and I always drive when I go back and in my experience the traffic is bad about 70% of the time. It can take 2hrs to get from manhattan to the beach in brooklyn.

      It usually goes like this, a broken down car, accident, construction, UN visitor, parade, marathon, etc. blocks out a lane, exit, block of streets and all of the sudden you wish you were on the subway instead. I’m not sure if this is true of other places, but nyc actually has a traffic forecast which you can read in the daily news. Then, good luck finding a parking spot, which can often be like rolling the dice.

      NYC is notorious for confusing parking rules, the the city makes too much money from tickets to make them easier to understand. Then, make sure you don’t leave anything inside the car, lest someone break your $500 window to steal a $30 mp3 player.

  28. pseuzieq

    Both cities are (or can be) whatever you make them. The biggest draw for LA is, obviously, the weather. [Being from the deep south, I miss thunderstorms.] You can be a frenetic, career-minded, fast-paced resident of LA just as easily as you can be a relaxed-and-groovy yogi in New York. You make your own experience. After all, what really makes a city is the relationships you have in it.
    In LA you can more ea$ily choose how far west you want to live, thereby influencing how much of the “botox culture” one is subjected to. [ west-in relationship to Hollywood/Malibu/Santa Monica, etc.] ( I prefer Pasadena because of it’s old- intellectual-money vibe.)
    In NYC, you have your 4 seasons, but winters are HARSH, and not easily escaped without a full-blown vacation out of the region. Plus, there are different limits on where you can afford to live. (Of course any city will ROCK if you have money to live in the neighborhood of your dreams.) There is a pervasive Ivy League mentality (the answer to the question, “Where did you go to school?” seems to be a way of determining one’s worth), but I just observe it, I don’t participate (no matter what hotshot school you went to, or what hotshot career you work in, there’s always bigger-better-faster hotshots).
    In Los Angeles, there seems to be less of a threshold for anxiety. I see it as intact boundaries for work/life balance. It’s possible to have this in New York as well. New York, in general, seems to be more tolerant living a high-anxiety lifestyle. It’s a little more dominated by types of people whose egos enjoy believing that they are living and working at the fastest, hardest, most impressive rates of anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any reason.
    There’s something fun about running around New York in my sun-streaked, long hair, with sandles and brighly colored skirts. There’s something equally fun about wearing a fitted, dark suit and trying to look all serious in LA. At the end of the day, in New York or LA, your sense of humor is what will balance it all out, what will allow you to endure the idiosyncracies and the loveliness of either culture. Having written this, all of a sudden, I prefer Atlanta.

  29. joe

    Great blog, well done. I’m contemplating the move also, I’m from cambridge, have lived in LA, and have been to nyc many times. Spent most of my life in boston and I’ll probably have to go back to LA for a bit before I could live in nyc. I’m not sure I could ever do either coast full time, especially with these east coast winters, and the west coast indifference, maybe I’m looking in the wrong place, maybe I should be looking at a chicago, or an austin, or a denver? Somehow I doubt it though..
    For awhile when I came back from california and began living on the east coast again, I could only ever think if these ppl on this coast knew what life was like on the west coast, they’d think they were running a fool’s errand living here. Life is barely real sometimes, with no cares, no cold, and seemingly less bitterness. However I found it was all colored with an utter irrelevance and disregard for the rest of the world, something I think you pointed out possibly in different words. Thus I came back to the east. But I’ll always believe if you can’t make it work on the west coast, the problem is with you, not with it.

  30. Lucy

    Los Angeles is not the best place to live in California, I like Burbank or Glendale…they’re cleaner and more residential friendly areas. Now New York, as fun and exciting it is living there, I felt that I could never call it my home. It’s just not cozy

  31. SmokingDutchman

    this is like Rotterdam vs Amsterdam,

    Gotta say LA cause ny is to fuckin big

  32. I was wondering if the author of this post could email me? Or if others could weigh in on NY & LA.

    I lived in NY for almost 4 years, DC 3.5. I want to try LA for the weather, laid-back lifestyle and others reasons; such as I am a writer and studied film.

    But I am stuck on NY still. There are reasons for me to go to NY. I am familiar with it, friends, job and easier move. No need for a car, plus, right?

    I’m so curious about LA. Loved the life there when I went. Can the author tell me how she got into writing for TV? Thanks.

  33. Theres something about Los Angeles that makes you like it more..

  34. I’ve lived in NYC for six years and am moving to LA in a month after a lifelong fascination with California and spending a few months there. Big reasons for me include:

    - Beautiful weather and geography
    - Delicious Mexican food
    - More diverse and tolerant culture
    - More laid back
    - More affordable
    - Excellent opportunities in my line of work (music)
    - Feels safer

    Sure, there are drawbacks. I am not excited about having to own and maintain a car and deal with the LA traffic. However I almost feel as though I can’t take another week in NYC after having a taste of what life on the other coast is like. I can’t believe it took me so long to realize how rigid and miserable the East Coast mentality is. It’s all I’ve ever know so I’ve never been able to look at it from an outside perspective. It seems insane to me now! LA here I come, and I’ll never look back!

  35. brandoe134@yahoo.com

    Wow! It really amazes me how much energy you New Yorkers put into hating a city where a lot of you end up. I don’t see the streets of NYC flushed with Californian’s but I definitely see the streets of LA littered in cocky New Yorkers trying to make it here. We don’t talk shit about you guys and you know why?…We’re too busy enjoying ourselves out here. You should try it sometime. We Californian’s have no ill will towards NYC. So you have a better transportation system and good night life, big deal! We have 70 degree weather in the winter, some of the best beaches in the US, arguably the best happy hour spots, snowboarding/ skiing resorts less than 2 hours away, and after work I can jump in my truck with my dog and watch the sun go down with her by my side. Can someone please tell me what’s the problem with all that??

  36. The South Asian

    I really enjoyed reading this, thanks :)

  37. supernovah

    What!!! lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ny vs L.A what a joke the former police commissioner of Ny is now the police commissioner of L.a and he even stated Los Angeles is much worst in terms of being dangerous or deadly. New York by it’s own admission is THE SAFEST BIG CITY IN AMERICA!!! on the other hand L.a is the gang capitol of the U.S. The guy who made this blog should stay in Compton, Watts or South Central now South L.a, for about a year then type up another blog if you live to do that lol! then you might see that New York or is like frozen syrup by comparison, if John Gotti was locked up in Cali he would of paid for protection, Crips Bloods, ESE’S, MS 13 etc.Talking rough & having bad weather doesn’t make you hard nor does great weather & palm trees make you soft…so ignorant! On the other hand L.A has a lot of beauty Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Malibu, Los Feliz too much to mention but Ny has Manhattan…wow! there are two complete different sides of Los Angeles that out of towners like you can’t understand and sometimes by the time that you find out it’s too late. This is unbiased New York is just a BIG dirty old city with great history BIG buildings & a bunch of people living on top of each other. Making this statement is like a pretty girl putting down an ugly girl who tried to make a derogatory statement about her. New York should never be compared to Los Angeles, it should be compared to Chicago or something. Atalanta & Florida ranks way over NY As Hot spots to live, New Yorkers should stay quiet before people start visiting and realize that the talk is just a bunch of hot air! I was raised in Los Angeles & I worked in 7 out of New York for years so cannot pull any wool over my eyes, one of the worst places to live New York! with some of the weirdest people in the world. what a waste of my time typing this, WHAT A JOKE!!!

  38. supernovah

    L.A. is king and still number one and that’s not gonna change so man up & except it!

  39. supernovah

    Oh! by the way Beverly Hills & Holmby hills is not officially part of the city of L.A but it’s part of L.a among about 100 other great locations in L.A, real southern Californians know what i’m talking about and L.A is over twice the size in land than N.Y and well over twice as much better PERIOD

  40. Enrique

    Wow. This is an interesting topic. I really think that if LA and NYC would one day touch each other and become one city, THEN that would be the perfect city in the world. LA has many things that NYC lacks, and NYC has many thing that LA lacks. Each one is different and awesome in their own ways.
    The only thing I’ve got to agree is that people from NYC are well aware of people from LA and are constantly hating on them. In LA, the only thing people hate is TRAFFIC–

  41. Duke

    You’re a fag. Man up and stop being such a queer writing stupid articles such as this. Asshole.

  42. JS

    Wow. Yes. She should man up. Stupid.

  43. BornInLebanonYetLivesInLAAndWantsToMoveToNYCBecauseItsAwsome

    LA means good weather, spoiled rich people and slow paced “Let’s hit the beach” environment…So in other words… PROS= weather, awsome beaches, relaxing (if u like that), cheaper (than NYC, but still expensive), and awsome diversity of people…” CONS: the people (the spoiled and rich ones at least, superficial, and not a wrinkle on their face from all the botox), slow pace (if you dont like that), no nightlife (compared to NYC), traffic (but i guess thats in NYC more). New York has more to offer, and its a much more dynamic city. Los Angeles is nothing without the business industry… but New York is the cultural capital of USA… NYC’s only drawback is the stuff that LA offers that NY doesnt such as the weather and beautiful geography…

  44. No

    To call LA a slow-paced place is asinine. Southern California could literally secede from the USA and become it’s own country because of our superior economy.

    That fast-paced lifestyle you’re talking about is just a bunch of assholes clumped together.

    • LUCIFER 666

      Bull shit, “CA could literally secede from the USA & become its own country b/c of its superior economy.” “I know folks, who smoke crack & they make more sense than you do” – Ex.Convict, Austin Powers Gold Member. Alright genius, how come CA asked the Federal government for major financial bail outs. Since CA is over $50 billion debt due to its mismanagement & social welfare. LMAO! It’s funny how CA tries to claim as the 8th largest global economy, but they can’t fix their own problems in order to positively lead by example across the country. Better yet, CA tries to dictate how other states should follow CA’s path of success into blunder. There is a saying, “you turn CA upside down & everything falls apart.”

  45. asaf

    this blog has just confused me even more about the choice I need to make. it seems that both cities are AWESOME.

    LA has awesome weather and beaches, which is the big plus for me and number one reason to choose between the two.
    BUT I also just HATE traffic/ smog / gangs and bottocs – and LA got them all. NY offers me the ability to walk anywhere, great transportation, everything you need in life just is five blocks away, and maybe(?) a better job opportunity,,,
    if I could just find a city that combines the two… or find some place in CA with all the benefits of LA without the gang-traffic-smog-bottox problems… could be awesome.
    can someone help me brightening my mind?

  46. corre lation

    I grew up in California and most recently was living in DC and NYC. The big difference between NYC and LA/SF, is the rigidness of the east coast. People there don’t smile and overall you can tell they are miserable. NYers are clumped on top of each other like sardines and have never get to experience the great outdoors. Plus the weather is terrible!! Once you live in CA, you will realize that people here are care-free, happier, funnier, and the first question out of their mouths wont be, what school did you graduate from? You can make equivalent money out here and have the TIME to enjoy it. Isn’t that what life is all about? Working to enjoy yourselves??

    anyways, live in new york to feel the grit, power, and overall insane pace of life. then for us native californias, move back and appreciate life for what it is back here. I suppose it also depends what stage of life you’re at as well… For me, its Easy. California to live, NYC for short vacations.

  47. My one year anniversary of living in Manhattan (moved from Santa Monica) is tomorrow and to commemorate it I’m writing an entry comparing the two. I’m originally from the Midwest so I think I have an unbiased viewpoint. I agree with most of your observations. You’ll have to check my entry out tomorrow, I’d love your feedback.

  48. jessica

    I have been having such a hard time deciding between the two. I have lived in New York before and to me it just feels like home. This city inspires me so much, and every day there is something to do or see. And I must disagree with all of the comments about people being rigid and unfriendly. Most people I came across in New York were very friendly, creative, and intelligent individuals. However as much as I love New York, a part of me thinks LA might be a better decision right now because it is slightly cheaper and in ways much easier to make it in certain careers I am looking into. I just wish there was an easy way I could decide! Ugh!

  49. blacktopstrat

    I’m born and raised in southern California, I’m 21 now and have lived in San Diego for almost 4 years. I was born in Pomona I grew up in various cities; Ontario, Fullerton, West Covina, and Rancho Cucamonga (I attended Options for Youth, a charter school where you go 2 days a week for one hour, google it) before moving down here for college (scholarship mf) What the main debacle I read here is the competitiveness of NY is too much to leave behind… NY City is a finite area, pretty small, and the rest of the state is a cold farmland, as is the majority of New England. Southern California is huge, and lots of freeways to get you anywhere you want to go fairly quickly, you’ll get used to the traffic and learn to plan around it and how to utilize the side streets. LA is the only area getting attention, as i said before, I live in SD now and it is waaayyyyy chiller. If you really want a laid back, f**k it vibe where people don’t think they are the star of their own TV show with no wanna be models and actors who moved in from the midwest, then SD is still golden. Beaches are much more beautiful, this city is ON the coast, LA is still 15-25 miles inland, traffic is much smoother down here as well, and I like the airport way more. I guess if you like feeling important around tall buildings, go to New York. If you like bigger spaces and 100′s of 1000′s of square miles to play in with each are having it’s own unique flavor, then come here. Actually, their are too many fuckin non natives here, sides the Native Americans, but everyone here seems to superficial to even consider that so never mind. You know the 2010 census is the first time that residents of California were made up more of people that were actually born here versus the permanent tourists. Both sides of my family go way back here, so on second thought, stay out, go to New York

    • LUCIFER

      How sad that you never traveled anywhere across the country & world for that matter. This is the typical Cali mentality too much fun under the sun. Don’t get me wrong, CA has the best beaches & geographical sceneries on the US Pacific coast (besides HI & AK). LOL! Yes, CA is laid back & friendly. But don’t let it fool you. Once you live in CA & get the vibe of the people then they can be pretty flaky & shallow. How they don’t have depth in their character & well roundedness by what is going on throughout the world. This is why CA’s broke as the 8th largest global economy to brag its so-called sovereignty from the Union. Now CA asks DC for financial bail-outs due to its mismanagement & social welfare. Yeah, CA sure knows how to carry the entire US economy. LMAO!

  50. Tellem

    So… being from cali makes you soft? Lol

    So… Having a couple of idiots yell at you in the streets makes you hard? Lol

    And you bitch about califirnia because we actually DRIVE cars? Lol

    I forgot anything you hard ass new yawkuhs have to get off you ass and do yourself is such an inconvenience. Id sure like to have some loud mouth blabbing retard taxi me everywhere that ought to toughen me up huh?

    I invite you untouchable hard asses to come out here and peddle your loud mouth shit to a real californian, well see how hard you really are.

    Lol sit in your little apartments all day and bitch about you stupid jobs while the guy over here is workin the same tier while enjoying a beautiful day on the beach laughing his ass off at you and drinkin a beer

  51. sc

    wow! great article! I’m stuck in this dilemma too! I moved to LA 3 years ago from NYC. I’m so torn! One minute I want to be in NYC and the next minute I want to stay here in LA. I tend to get so frustrated by the slowness of people in LA! It honestly drives me nuts! However, I then think of those days of riding the subway and it’s every man out for himself. I too am scared of losing that drive and ambition that many people have in NYC. Okay, I admit it! I am finding myself getting lazier and not even dressing in business attire like I used to always do when going to work. I do appreciate the weather and living space that I now have. I do miss the season changes but then I remember those cold blustery days and the many times of busting my behind on the ice/snow. lol!! What to do…what to do?? If only I had a job of where I could be bi-coastal. In the end there is just no comparison. Each city is unique in its own way. I LOVE NYC! I haven’t been able to say I LOVE LA…yet! Torn! :-/

    P.S. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one in this situation.

  52. Karim

    You guys in the states are all really Lucky. I am desperate to move to LA exactly for the point that everyone I met was really nice, the food is great Service is exceptional and the weather is to die for. I live in London and I work a 14 hour day as a food stylist and home economist. London is an incredibly stressful atmosphere to live in and I definitely want a better way of life. I’m sure I’ll find that in California. Everyone I spoke to was kind, polite, willing to help lost British tourists and certainly not stupid!!! The only problem that I am battling at the moment is the dreaded working Visa.

    So whats if there is a bit of traffic? The city is enormous, I cycle everywhere in London and commute 20 miles each way to work.

    PLEASE LET ME IN Califoirnia! :)

    • Suzanne

      Good luck, Karim. And Welcome! I recently left LA for San Francisco for a job opportunity. You’d love it up here as well, I’m sure. :-)

  53. Karim

    Oh and for all the people who are trying to choose between bot – dont just move to both. Stay as long as it feels like home then try somewhere else!!!

  54. Cecilia

    Since 2010 is there any update on your NY LA saga? Don’t you think that a deciding factor in deciding where you live the rest of your life would be where your heart is?
    I’m in love with LA but would move to NY if that means being with the one i love. Of course hoping they’d consider CA ;)

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  56. Wally

    I’m originally from NYC but lived in Boston 10 years and once in LA for 2 years. Also, I’ve traveled to almost every state in our beautiful country. It’s simple really, you attract people like you wherever you go. If you’re a free-spirited person or a “on-the-run” type, you’ll get those in NYC just as much as LA. Sort of. I think both coasts have something great to offer and if you want to degrade someone or a city just because that’s how you feel, great. You have the right. Just ask yourself if you’re being open-minded or not. By no means am I saying I turned soft because I like California. I’m saying I met a lot of amazing people in both sides (and in between). I like the writing and its description of both cities. Well put.

  57. Serenity Mae

    I currently live in So Cal. after having lived in Long Island, NY most of my life. LOVE NYC for many, many, many more reasons than L.A…..the wonderful public transportation system (no one CARES what car you drive because everyone takes the subway – what a concept!)….no horrible freeways…genuine people who tell it like it is, the museums, broadway, theater, movies…great pizza, bagels, ice cream…YUM! The only thing that is keeping me in L.A. is the weather (for health reasons, I can’t live in a cold climate). Otherwise, I would live there in a heartbeat.

  58. This better be the last time ever I see one of these stupid articles.

    I dont even know where to start off there is so much wrong and no right whatsoever in this pile of crap I just painfully sat through trying to if you want to call it read.

    First of all you fucking weirdo I actually grew up in that shit hole so just because you spend a summer in the Rotten Apple doesnt mean your a New Yorker, so dont you dare call yourself that.

    Second of all Im from Los Angeles, so when you call my city slow soft and whatever other nonsense came out of your mouth, none of those actually qualities my city has ever had by the way, you are taking random shit shots unauthorized at a place you know nothing about and therefore have no right to comment about. Hell you couldnt even get our weather correct motherfucker.

  59. The fact remains

    Bad accentec pieces of crap with shortman complexes come from the East out West cause they can’t handle how much their territory sucks and are jealous of us

    They get out here trying to extract without contributing or caring about us at all allthewhile pitting all of us Angelenos against each other in the process and its got to stop

    Suffer on your own on the wasteland East Coast by yourself. and stop trying to make us part of your misery asshole

  60. pff. i went to USC..am from Europe..how can u even compare LA and NYC? LA is great for us europeans for women…but its not a city, ppl are shallow and easy, would go as far as naive and gullible. cakewalking in terms of jobs,nightlife and whatever. NYC we at least feel some competition from americans. I work in finance, moved from London to NY and i can say this is where its at. If u r 20-30 and dont have a NY experience..you missed out. At least if ur american.
    From New Yorkers perspective people living in other cities in some way are kidding themselves.

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