As an actor, where you live is supes important. Wanna do theatre? You must live in New York, or perhaps Chicago before you move to New York. Or London if you're fancy. More into Film/TV/Commercial? Then obviously Los Angeles, or a smaller market to get started in first like Austin or Atlanta or somewheres in Canad-ia if you've got citizenship (or Australia for those descendants-of-good-looking-prisoners-who-generations-later-are-now-gorgeous-foreigners). But let's be honest. It's always been a New York versus Los Angeles decision, amiright? Not even just for actors, but for many of us hopeful millennials in all different career fields.
Some of my closest friends from college came to visit LA this past week from New York, and I was so pleased to see them react positively to their surroundings, and at the same time engage in a much-needed dose of New York-style witty/real conversation (which included the word "dialectic" which I had not heard/used since college). It was heartwarming to have my favorite New Yorkers love LA, because as a rare mythical creature who actually grew up in Los Angeles, I've had to defend my hometown many times while I was putting down roots in New York. Typical conversations might go like this:
Ext. Ivy League Campus Grassy Quad or Int. Ivy League First Year Dorm Room
Any Given East Coaster Who May Or May Not Be Pretentious: You're from LA? I HATE LA.
Me: Oh really?
AGECWMOMNBP: Yeah. It's awful. It's the worst.
Me: Have you ever been there?
AGECWMOMNBP: Yeah. I accompanied my mom on a business conference trip to Anaheim when I was seven.
What makes me even more of a unicorn/rarity is that I actually enjoy both cities. And I know what I'm talking about, you guys. I was born in New York but grew up in LA, and I spent my formative years going to college in New York. So at one point I was bicoastal - I had a dorm room in Manhattan and a bedroom in my parents' house on the Westside of Los Angeles. So clearly, I am an EXPERT.
Which is why all of these Buzzfeed/Thought Catalog type lists showing how different the two cities are and usually prizing one over the other are so disconcerting to me. Why, I ask, would two cities on the complete opposite sides of the contiguous United States (I'm sorry, the fancy New Yorker in me wanted to use the word "contiguous") nearly 3,000 miles apart have any cultural, social, atmospheric, geographical, or transportational (that's not a word; the unpretentious Angeleno in me made it up!) differences whatsoever?? It is just outlandish and completely crazy to think that these two cities would be different in any way, shape, or form, since they are both Metropolitan cities in America. Come on now! So, without further adieu, I present to you a response list proving how similar or arguably identical New York and Los Angeles truly are, framed in the context of what people my age might say or have said:
- New York is so expensive! The rent in LA is so much cheaper! But have you ever thought about the expense of having a car??? The car payments, gas, insurance, upkeep, and times when you get a flat tire/have to dip into your nonexistent emergency fund?
- There is so much traffic in LA. And the subway is so comfy and spacious during rush hour and the G Train always comes on time, right?
- I love to read during my commute on the subway in NYC. PODCASTS, bitches! They're the only reason I still get in my car. Thank god for Ira Glass.
- LA is so beautiful! And New York is really hideous. Especially during Christmastime at Rockefeller or in Sheep's Meadow during the first days of Spring. Ew.
- Every famous person in LA is the offspring of an already-famous-person. You have to know people! This is completely untrue in New York. Unless you're on the show "Girls." Or you're Patti Smith. I've considered signing into a auditions as "Gilli Apatow." What? I'm his niece twice removed (can you remove nieces?).
- There's nothing like New York Pizza! Or a Los Angeles burrito. Never-have-I-ever eaten Mexican food in New York without getting sick, or eaten pizza in LA that's remotely as good as a slice from NYC.
- People are so much smarter in New York. We have smart people here. They just write for TV Shows instead of working on Wall Street.
- LA is a "city where the only cultural advantage is that I can make a right turn on a red light" - Woody Allen in Annie Hall. I hate to argue with Woody Allen, but we've got culture in LA! I listen to KCRW while making rights-on-reds all the time and I feel super informed while doing it. But I will say that Angelenos never ever claim to be more cultured than New Yorkers.
- LA is so fake! An East Coast transplant may think this when first having moved to LA and trying to make plans with a native. It's merely semantics - just like midwesterners might say "pop" instead of "soda," Angelenos say "let's do lunch!" instead of "bye!" It's endearing!
I could go on and on, but you get the idea! Aside from some minor, microscopic differences, New York and Los Angeles are basically interchangeable. I've boiled it down into this very simple venn diagram, for the visual learners out there:
Basically, "New York versus Los Angeles" is a very important conversation that we need to keep having. Let's keep talking about it, in an open dialogue, and let's keep saying that one city is better than the other.
I'll leave you with these wise words, if you're thinking of making the move from one to the other: "Wherever you go, there you are."