USA

In defense of Los Angeles

in-defense-of-los-angeles

I had never understood why LA gets hated on so much. You have everything: a beach, beach towns, small towns, suburbs, a downtown, the mountains, etc. in one sprawling “city.” The only land type you don’t really have is country, and yet even my country-loving family who will always live in Indiana prefers Los Angeles to New York City. On the other hand, my fellow New Yorkers tend to have a bitter, jaded view of LA – like it’s the younger, hotter sibling that’s trying to take its crown as, I don’t even know, the coolest city in America or something?

NYC has done me a good five years…and now it’s time for me to GTFO, not because NYC is a “bad” place to live, but because I’m ready for something new. As my former boss put it, after living in NYC for five years, you’ve “done your time.” As a traveler, I’ve always thought it was healthy to move around, experiencing different cities, people, cultures, and creating new stories doing so, but something about leaving New York City for Los Angeles leaves my fellow New Yorkers feeling some type of way. While many of the haterz have never been to Los Angeles (which just makes them sound ignorant), many have and just didn’t like it, but my question is: why does leaving NYC for Los Angeles provoke a weird amount of hate compared to Miami, Austin, or San Francisco?

I think I’ve figured it out.

The public transportation sucks!

LAX-big-blue-bus-2

LA gets a bad rap because for so long, there wasn’t an efficient public transportation system. This isn’t a huge deal if you’re from small to middle sized cities in the United States where public transportation isn’t a huge priority, but for those who are used to the public transportation in more cosmopolitan cities, LA’s is crapola. In my four times to Los Angeles, three of them were car-less, and while I will say it is a whole lot more efficient to have a car in Los Angeles, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have one.

LA-metro-app

The NYC subway system is extremely efficient and well thought out, but that’s if it actually works like it should. Live in NYC and you’ll soon notice that everyday, you’ll have at least one interesting train story (which I do kind of have a soft spot for), but most times your train story is about how the train went local halfway through your trip, or how it was “delayed due to train traffic” – all making you late for work and stressed about life. Then, if you’re lucky enough to get fight and win a seat on your packed train (packed because it was late, and also late because it was packed), you open the newspaper and read how the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) is going bankrupt and has voted to once again raise the fare of a metrocard. It’s like the more money the MTA demands for your metrocard, the dirtier and less reliable the subway is. Like, how is it 2015 and I still don’t have the slightest bit of service in the subway!

At least in LA, I actually feel like the MTA is doing something with my dollars. In my experience, the busses run more often than in NYC; they’re more colorful (the seats are rainbow-colored!), more modern, and the best part of all, they never smell. LA 1, NY 0.

I mean, even the app is well-designed!

The LA metro, while still not on NYC’s level, is rapidly expanding toward the West (thank god) where all the action is, despite the pushback from Beverly Hills High School not wanting a subway built under their school.

The people are just so, I don’t know, into their looks.

LA always gets this stamp of superficiality because it’s the hub of the entertainment industry. More people are actors in Los Angeles than anywhere else, and since working as on-camera talent equals looking like a halfway-decent, well put together human being, you’re bound to see more halfway-decent, well put together human beings.

But not everyone in LA is an actor and don’t worry, we’ll get to that, but let’s talk about the weather: imagine living a geographically-blessed city, where every day is a warm 70 degrees and sunny. You would probably have a radiant glow year-round. Pair that with LA’s “culture” of juicing and hiking and wa-bam: chances are you’re looking a whole lot healthier than you did in New York.

beverly-hills-palm-trees

But this superficiality thing isn’t all about looks; it’s about personality, that people in LA are all about getting ahead. While there are probably a lot of wannabes willing to do anything to make it, those kinds of people exist everywhere; generalizing a city’s residents to that level is OD ignorant.

If you can’t make friends in a city with three million people, I don’t think it’s because the people are fake.

Everyone works in the Industry.

santa-monica

Believe it or not, LA does have schools, hospitals, factories, which all employ…people! Not everyone works in entertainment, but a lot of people do, and this can either be super amazing for you in terms of more career connections and ease of making friends who are passionate about the same fields you are, or it can make you feel like you’re competition is staring you in the face everywhere you go.

As usual, it’s a glass half-empty, glass half-full kind of thing.

The traffic is horrible.

LA-TRAFFIC

Yes, especially on the highways, but for me, I spend 45 minutes to get to work (Harlem to Brooklyn) every day, on a packed subway train, whereas in LA, I spend 45 minutes on a packed highway, but in the privacy of my own car. Both have pros and cons; in a subway, you can read a book or respond to emails, but in a car, you don’t have to worry about little things like feeling guilty for not constantly giving money to begging panhandlers or forgetting to bring your headphones, and you always have a seat.

LA has no center.

los-angeles-hollywood

If you asked New Yorkers if they willingly spend their time in Times Square or Midtown, your answer would most likely be a “hell no.” Most New Yorkers do everything they can to avoid passing through Times Square, 34th Street, or really anywhere in congested Midtown; they’re always on the lookout for their own pockets of NYC, where no one has found yet.

LA’s city center depends on what you’re looking for. Venice is the center for beach types, startup types, and beach and startup types. The Downtown Arts District is the center for everything cool and up-and-coming, like the super niche potpie shop I ate at, for example. Beverly Hills is the center for luxury. West Hollywood is the center for LGBT nightlife.

A city center isn’t the all-defining factor of what the city is. Your lifestyle leads you to the “center” where you’ll want to spend your time.

What do you think of Los Angeles?

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  • I grew up and now live in Orange County California and learned to love LA after I started traveling myself as a teen. Although I don’t think I could live in LA proper (I don’t like driving enough), I love all the culture and opportunities that are so close! I go up usually about once a month, for anything from a concert, a brunch, or even a cupcake tour! I’m always happy to show anyone around, and whenever I have out of town guests I go!

    • Cool! We’ll be setting up our home there this summer. Couldn’t be happier about that decision! Maybe once the LA metro is more convenient, we’ll see you around! 😀

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