Someone asked me to share my opinion on the difference between New York and L.A. and so, naturally, I wrote them a book!
I’m from New York City: born & raised. Some people think we’re rude and harsh. Others think we’re savvy and amazing. I think it depends on the setting and your understanding of the culture.
If you want to imagine growing up in the city—picture yourself navigating pieces of it alone very early on; even if that simply means taking the train to & from school by yourself at 10 or 11 years old. Regardless of what type of neighborhood you hail from, you tend to build your defenses fast.
You’re hasty. You’re either wary or naive, rarely in between. And if you have no connection to person X standing next to you, it’s not likely that either one of you will spark a conversation. Often times this reality carries over into your late teens/early adulthood because you’ve never truly thought it safe to socialize.
I feel as though I can see the difference between my friends who never left the city and those of us who did. We’re all progressing well in life; but socially we differ majorly. I am now way more amicable to people who may approach me. I’m still guarded—but I’m not nearly as angry or rude as I once was. But like I said… if all you’ve ever known was to keep it moving and to be wary of people, why would you change?
Also worth mentioning… New Yorkers respect work. We have our fair share of grime and politics and whatnot. But typically, if you make it in NY, you’re qualified. The con is, I don’t know how many New Yorkers take the time to actually enjoy their life. It often seems as though they live only to work. …Not all, but a lot!
I recently left L.A.—where I lived and worked for 3 years. The amount of time I spent there has nothing on my NY upbringing… So while I feel my opinions are valid, they are solely limited to this recent experience.
Growing up, we always considered people in L.A. to be fake. I completely disagree with that idea now. L.A.—or Hollywood, I should say—is truly entertainment capital and everyone there not only thinks that they’re somebody… but a lot of times they kind of are.
Networking is everything. People there can more easily navigate or find their way into the “Hollywood scene” than a New Yorker could make it into its equivalent. Your relationships are crucial. People want to know who you are and how you can benefit them. If you’re going to make it there: relax, unwind, and get with the damn program. It’s actually really refreshing.
Yet, this is where the “fake” theory comes into play. People open up very quickly because they want to make that connection early. It’s a genuine connection for the moment… but as you get to know them, you realize their flaws, their defenses, and the weird shit that would have turned you all the way off had you known.
The typical native-New Yorker may not have ever even made eye contact with you. The typical L.A. (Hollywood) adult may tell you their life story within the first 20 minutes. They might both be amazing people… or they could both be assholes. But that first impression shapes your expectations and ends up defining a lot.
And for the last chapter of this BOOK…
I found L.A. to be pretty segregated. I can see how someone who grew up in Watts would never think of traveling to Beverly Hills to “grab a bite.” I can see how some people could end up rarely leaving their neighborhood! Blame it on the transit system, the landscape (so spread out), or people’s familiarity and comfort level… Whatever the reason, the separation seemed real to me!
In New York, you may mainly stay in or around your neighborhood, but you’ve likely been exposed to much more. Even if it was just that one field trip. I mean, honestly, we probably rode through more neighborhoods on that one bus ride to the mall or train trip from our borough to Manhattan than most people see in their whole childhood.
I know everyone’s different… But that’s my truth!