31 things New York got wrong about LA
New York we love you, but you're bringing us down. You think you're the better city, but your reasoning is pretty flawed
Fri May 16 2014
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
When the editors at Time Out New York approached us about publishing dueling our-city-is-better-than-yours-and-here's-why lists, we were game, but in typical shit-on-LA fashion, there were no surprises on their list. We’ve heard it all before, and most of it is just plain wrong. We also know a big secret those dummies don’t: LA is amazing. We’re usually happy to keep that to ourselves (because who wants a jerky ex-New Yorker moving here and blocking our sun anyway?), but this whole “let’s pick on LA because it’s so easy” thing is getting a little old. Since many of their claims are simply incorrect, we’re here to set the record straight—LA is the better city, but most importantly, here’s where New York got it all wrong.
1. "New Yorkers don't have to spend upwards of three hours a day trapped in their cars. Walking! Ever heard of it? It's nice."
We'd tell you about how lovely it is walking among the blossoming jacarandas this time of year, but you won't shut up about when the L train will finally arrive.
2. "We don't have an instant panic attack the moment we smell carbs."
Have you heard about our obsession with La Brea Bakery? You know, the renowned bread company speared by Nancy Silverton, who also gave us Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza (yep, we eat pizza, too). If she sounds familiar, it's because she just won the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef, beating New York's Michael Anthony. Chew on that.
3. "New York stinks of weed just one day out of the year."
And the alternative is a bad thing why, exactly?
4. Madonna lives in New York when she's a cool rock star, and L.A. when she's a creepy, desperate actor."
Are we really bringing Madge into this?
5. "We actually have seasons here. Sure, L.A. residents felt pretty smug when NYC was frozen in the frigid depths of wintry hell this year, but watching the whole city burst into life each spring is wonderful. When it's 78 degrees and sunny every single day, what do you have to look forward to?"
We absolutely have seasons here—they’re subtle and lovely and they have their own smells, temperatures and celebrations. We get that you’re proud of your “real seasons,” but forgive us if negative-temp snowstorms and muggy, hundred-degree days don’t sound like extremes we want to deal with. Life is easier without them.
6. "LA has really great Mexican food. New York has really great EVERYTHING ELSE."
We’ve got some of the best Asian food this side of the Pacific. Our Koreatown blows yours away, and the San Gabriel Valley is a renowned destination for Chinese cuisine. Not to mention, we've got amazing Salvadoran food (pupusas, anyone?), farm-to-table restaurants, food truck culture and vegan cuisine.
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
7. "NYC may have quite a bit of noise, but one thing you don't hear amidst the honking, screeching of trains, jackhammering and yelling? Coughing. Because we don't live in a dense layer of smog."
Actually, we both do. There are good days and bad days in both of our cities, but don't fool yourselves: just because you can't see it hovering over those skyscrapers, doesn't mean it's not there.
8. "It's possible to walk more than five blocks in New York without encountering a reality TV show's worth of Botox accidents and wonky boob jobs."
It's possible here too. Also, cat lady Jocelyn Wildenstein lives in New York, so stop it right meow.
9. "We can go out drinking whenever we want, without the hassle of trying to find a designated driver. And if the bar we're in sucks (which it almost never does), there's always half a dozen more a stone's throw away."
Even we know how to get a cab. It’s not a skill granted only to residents of your tiny island.
10. "No one in NYC wears Juicy Couture sweatsuits to walk around outside."
2002 called. They want their lame LA burn attempt back.
11. "Our restaurants are not only amazing, but they serve food in normal portions that a human being can actually be expected to finish."
What do you have against leftovers?
12. "We have Brooklyn, which is now shorthand for indie cool all over the world. They don't talk about 'très Brentwood' in Paris…"
Brooklyn may have been "indie cool" eight years ago, but now it’s “no one can afford this” cool—a caricature of its former self, filled with cheesy live-work condos and overpriced boutiques selling beard oil and artisanal marshmallows. Also, anyone who says “trés Brooklyn,” in Paris or otherwise, should be slapped.
13. "You're far less likely to be run off the road by a crazed paparazzo chasing Lindsay Lohan around hoping for a drunk upskirt shot."
If you can’t admit to your own share of crazed paparazzi, you’re fooling yourselves.
14. "It's possible to make friends and/or be successful in New York without joining an alien-worshipping cult."
Newsflash: we probably make more fun of Scientology than you do.
15. "You can meander happily for an entire day in New York with no idea where you'll end up. In LA, you'll drive to one cool neighborhood, go into the three or four places they have there, then get into your car and go to another "cool" place. It's too structured, damn it!"
Hopping between Abbot Kinney, Los Feliz and the Arts District sounds like a perfect day to us. Alternatively, there's more than enough happening in each of those 'hoods to warrant a day's worth of exploration.
16. "Our city doesn't have the creepy-as-hell vibe of Mulholland Drive. [Shiver]"
No movie has ever bent the truth. Everything you see on TV is real. New York was once invaded by an oversized gorilla. Did you know that?!
Photograph: Courtesy American Cinematheque
17. "People in New York don't turn their nose up at you when you tell them you don't work in the entertainment industry."
But don’t ever bring up the fact that you live in New Jersey or Staten Island or Long Island (or anywhere else really). “Bridge and tunnel” might be the douchiest descriptor we’ve ever heard.
18. "We have far fewer parking restrictions in NYC. Alternate-side parking for street cleaning is the bane of our lives, yes. But trying to decipher five parking signs posted on top of each other in L.A. for 30 minutes and then walking back to your car and finding a ticket? YOU'RE KILLING ME."
Simply untrue. Even Louis CK disagrees with you.
19. "If any of your New York friends are working on a script, they're polite enough to keep it to themselves."
Please tell us about how your stocks are doing, for the fiftieth time. Or maybe regale us with your summer plans for the Hamptons again.
20. "We get to enjoy sriracha sauce without the eye-searing fumes from the factory invading our homes."
Guys. We’ve been over this. It’s like 40 miles away and not that big of a deal.
21. "Gridlock traffic at 2am on the freeway? Get the eff out of here."
Touché. We hate that shit too.
22. "NYC's most famous movie quote—'I'm walkin' here!'—is active, tough, and taking no shit. LA.'s most famous movie quote—'I'm ready for my close-up'— is passive, self-involved, and delusional."
"Your" most famous movie quote was improvised by Dustin Hoffman, an LA native. So... you're welcome?
23. "New York has an enormous, intricate, historically significant subway system. Los Angeles has a plastic model train."
Where is this plastic train you speak of? We have a subway. It's quite nice.
24. "Honesty. In New York, people will tell you if you look fat. In L.A., they'll express 'concern' over your 'unhealthy lifestyle.'"
Congratulations on being proud of what dicks you are. It’s called tact.
25. "New York is one city easily divided into five self-contained subsections. Los Angeles, confusingly, has cities (West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, maybe others?) contained within its city limits that are surrounded on all sides by Los Angeles proper. It's as if Harlem, Midtown West and the East Village were separate cities—with separate laws and rules—from the rest of Manhattan. It's weird and bad, and obviously a big problem when getting public-works projects done. And did we mention it's weird and bad?"
This argument is weird and bad.
26. "The air-conditioning in our restaurants is set to 'cool down a person,' not, 'freeze a woolly mammoth inside a glacier for 10,000 years.'"
We’re sorry, you must have us confused with a city that can't live without air conditioning. Half our restaurants are outside, anyway. (And we’ve frozen our asses off in more than a few New York restaurants and theaters before, thanks.)
27. "New York is the country's fashion capital. You see New Yorkers on the street every day out-glamming L.A.'s laid-back look, and check the difference between our red carpets! The Met Gala beats the Oscars every time."
Met Gala and Oscars—basically the same guest list, same stylists, same designers.
28. "Walking down the street in New York gives you a sense of cultural history. Walking down the street in L.A. gives you asthma."
If you’re making a (second, lame) dig at our smog levels, see above.
29. "We know how to use avocados in moderation (seriously Angelenos, they do not go with everything)."
We disagree. Avocados are the food of the gods, they do go with everything and we will NOT have you speak ill of them.
30. "NYC has Broadway, off Broadway, off off Broadway, Lincoln Center, Museum Mile and more than 200 galleries in Chelsea alone. Meanwhile, L.A.'s most prestigious concert hall is named after the creator of Donald Duck."
Oh, you mean the concert hall designed by Frank Gehry, whose architecture and acoustics rival anything you’ve got? It not only hosts great art, it’s a work of art itself. As are the Getty Center, Pantages Theatre, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, the Hollywood Bowl...
Photograph: Michael Juliano
31. "Our stereotypes can totally beat up your stereotypes."
We’re not too sure about this—your stereotypes include eating a lot of pizza and staying out drinking until 4am… our stereotypes involve drinking green juice and practicing yoga on top of mountains. Name a time and place.