I just got back from a long weekend in NYC, which has prompted me to once again consider that supreme ontological dilemma: which city is better, LA or New York?
Obviously, there are a lot of strong feelings on this issue, but strangely, most of that comes from the pro-New York crowd. And the strongest of the pro-New York sentiment comes from New Yorkers who are now cast adrift in what they feel is a vast cultural wasteland, where you cannot even find a decent deli, fer chrissakes: Los Angeles. These people are never shy about letting you know how they feel about New York as opposed to LA. They slip it into conversations that are only tangentially relevant to the issue. For example:
Man, this coffee is great!
Not as great as the coffee at the coffee house on 62nd between Lex and Third. Yeah, I used to stop there for a coffee and a Post
on my way to the subway, and the guy behind the counter is totally
New York, it's so great....
And so on.
Everything in New York is better, they say. The trash is more picturesque. The street people more clever, and oh so New York. Even crime is better in New York, where criminals vie to commit offenses so heinous that they will generate a headline in the New York Post
(which reminds them to harp on the fact that LA has no tabloid papers).
And don't even get them started on traffic in LA.
Pro-LA people rarely get riled by this talk of New York. We take it in stride. Hell, everybody pounds on us: politicians, religious leaders, moralists of every stripe, Easy Coast intellectuals, West Coast intellectuals, San Franciscans, and the list goes on and on (and on). We take it on the chin daily, and that's okay. All of the therapy and Prozac is paying off: We're secure in LA's greatness.
No, it's not great like New York, but New York isn't great like us. We're two different cities. They've got cultural institutions. We create pop culture. They're 19th century urbanity. We're the city of the future. They wear sensible shoes. We wear flip-flops year round. They've got hot dog carts of varying cleanliness. We've got food trucks of varying cleanliness.
We should probably just declare a ceasefire, and both turn on San Francisco.
But that will never happen. The truth is that the whole thing is just too fun to give up.