A couple of weeks ago, I packed up a U-Haul with only my essential possessions (since my new room is roughly the size of a shot glass) and headed for the greatest city on earth, New York. As I drove up the NJ Turnpike with the stench of warm garbage and broken dreams wafting through the truck, the Manhattan skyline came into view and I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to now be living at the heart of it all. After this, anywhere else in the world would be a significant downgrade (save, of course, for the wonderful city of Philadelphia).
Not coincidentally, I came to this conclusion prior to several perspective-changing events. First, the living quarters. Priced at just under 3 years salary for a Peruvian alpaca farmer, my charming apartment has no air-conditioning, little natural light, a bathroom door that opens directly into the toilet After these experiences and others (which may compel me to write my own blog), I began to reconsider my previous position. Could a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker (for 2 weeks) like me really call the Big Apple the greatest place ever? How might NYC compare to LA? They are always juxtaposed as opposites, but could opposites attract?
As I reflected more deeply, some important similarities began to surface. Beautiful women. Done. Celebrities. You bet. Nightclubs. Great restaurants. Check. Antagonism between police and minorities…well, that’s pretty much everywhere, but Rodney and OJ essentially guarantee that LA’s got the number one spot on lock. All of these things, of course, are key ingredients to defining a world-class city.
Additionally, LA’s real estate is pretty reasonably priced for what you get. Of course, this is relative to NYC’s bastardized definitions of “affordable and “reasonable”, which are laughable to anyone else on the planet. Further, the people, while shallow and flaky in their own way, are still entertaining. If I say “Aggressive New Yorker,” you probably envision every Yankee fan or resident of Brooklyn. Conversely, “Aggressive Los Angelan” conjures up images of Ari Gold who, though slightly sociopathic, leaves me in tears with every verbal tirade and indecent sexual proposition, not to mention his classic tirade at Josh Weinstein’s beach party in Season 1. Even the vegans in LA are better, employing individualist laissez-faire attitudes to meat and dairy consumption, as opposed to the militant activist vegans of my fair city. And I’m not going to start on the many ways in which Malibu trumps the Hamptons…
However, for all the respect due to the Left Coast, in NYC you can still go out on a Saturday party until at least 4 AM, then drive home and fondle some real breasts whilst eating a legitimate slice of pizza, then wake up and drive to a bar on the highway with no traffic to cheer for your city’s (two) football team(s). So, while I refuse to relinquish NYC’s title of “the best city ever” just yet, I will, on behalf of this fair city, recognize that LA is a city worth recognition and merit. And that’s about as great of a compliment most Manhattanites will ever give.