July 28, 2014

LA vs. NYC: The 10 Differences Between Angelenos & New Yorkers

NYC keeps me real. LA keeps me happy.

I grew up in New York but moved to Los Angeles in my early 20’s and never looked back… But that doesn’t mean I don’t have mad love for both cities.

While I’ve made a home and business in Los Angeles, New York City is where I’ll tie the knot in September in true city style.

In the spirit of straddling coasts, here’s 10 very real truths about Los Angelenos and New Yorkers that will hopefully leave you with a sunny smile. 

1. Talking About The Tough Stuff. Or Just Stuff. 

NYC: Brutally Blunt


New York City is populated by rabid misanthropes who will step across your bleeding, dying body to get what they want. And that’s how they describe THEMSELVES.

Brutal honesty should be expected from anyone who doesn’t have a truly excellent reason to suck up to you.

Overt niceness, effervescent praise, and conspicuous kindness will be greeted with great suspicion, if not outright distrust. In NYC, you aren’t somebody until you’ve proved it.

New Yorkers either stick close to the chosen few they deem worthy of intimate association, or subtly trade up over time along the lines of their own upward mobility. 

LA: Cheerful Tact


Unhappiness is like leprosy to Californians.

Unlike in New York (where people tend to wallow in misery) depression and discontent are taboo topics in Los Angeles. In La La Land, something(s) is always ‘amazing’ or ‘exciting’ or ‘unbelievable’, and a typical LA greeting might run along the lines of

“Hiiii you look amazing, how have you been, I’m so excited to see you! Life has been crazy busy but I can’t complain because there’s so many fantastic projects I’m working on with the most amazing, talented people who you absolutely have to meet. What’s new with you? You look so great, I can’t even deal. This juice is AMAZING, right?!”

Angelenos are unusually nice for city-folk, probably because:

a. they secretly worry that meanness, like unhappiness, is aging and uglifying

b. you never know who the next big star will be 

c. everyone feels nicer when it’s 80 degrees and sunny.


2. Outlook On Life 

NYC: Defensive cynicism masks delusions of grandeur


New Yorker’s work harder than any other group in America, and take great pride in being totally stressed out.

They wear their pessimism like an invisible shield, protecting them from disappointment of dashed hopes and let downs.

However, no one moves to New York City to be dull and un-successful.

New Yorkers are secretive social climbers whose tough exterior masks a little girl or boy who always dreamed of moving to the big apple and making it big.

LA:  Blind idealism masks delusions of grandeur


LA attracts the most popular/beautiful/talented kids in class (whereas people who move to NYC to make it grew up as the weirdest/smartest kid in class). 

New Yorkers know they are important, and feel immensely pressed to make sure you know and acknowledge their significance.

Angelenos know they are special and liked, and expect others to notice too. The residents of LA feel genuinely entitled to fame and fortune, as opposed to New Yorkers, who aggressively demand it. 

3. Street Style

NYC: Every day is a fashion show, and that show is mostly black.


Black rules supreme as the NYC shade: it may be cliché, but that’s because it’s true and has been for some time.

Black is slimming (for New Yorkers too busy/stressed to work out or eat healthy), goes with everything (for New Yorkers to poor after paying $3000 rent for a glorified cupboard to worry about mixing and matching), and sophistication (for New Yorkers who DEMAND to be taken seriously).

Since New Yorkers are all smashed together in a tiny space, competition to be the chicest at any given location is fierce, and you never know when one of NYC’s seemingly endless street style photographers might snap a pic and launch your career as a Manhattanite muse. Far less skin is shown in NYC than LA because in NYC you have to rub shoulders with anyone and everyone.

Literally, they’re touching your shoulder and they look dubious and there is nothing you can do about it. Outfits must be subway, taxi, and street compatible and relatively resilient.

LA:  Boho chic originated here.


Daytime in LA is über casual, with yoga pants to show off that toned yoga ass and sunglasses strapped over eyes inside and outside until the last glimmer of sunlight dwindles.

Paparazzi roam Los Angeles like packs of wild dogs, and you never know when one might snap your picture while mistaking you (or someone you’re with) with someone famous.

Laid back sun-kissed effortlessly stunning boho chic is still the most highly coveted aura for any girl in LA LA land. This is the city that worships youth and beauty above all else, so youth and beauty is cheerfully flaunted with every opportunity and itty bitty pair of shorts.

Night time in LA is all about amped up sensuality, defined by seductive & curve hugging silhouettes that are in no way practical. Think fierce, fun, and on trend because when you’re shielded by steel or a velvet rope, you can afford to let that cleavage breathe, baby.


4. Ultimate Unspoken Goal

NYC: Wealth


New Yorkers desperately desire wealth because the richer you are, the more enjoyable/tolerable it is to live in New York City.

New York really does everything anyone could ever want… If you could only afford it.

LA: Fame

la 4

Los Angelenos desperately desire fame because in LA fame is next to Godliness.

The Hills are America’s modern Mount Olympus, where Gods of the Silver Screen live out their dazzling life in breathtaking abundance. 


5. Ruling Class

NYC: Old Money


Pedigree can be feigned, and an Ivy league education is to be expected. America’s East Coast is our venerated center of intellectuals and higher learning, with more prestigious colleges per capita than any other locale.

Lineage and legacy build New York City, and the upper crust is still mostly populated by the old upper crust’s offspring. 

LA: New Money


New money: we’ve got it and we love spending it.

Pedigree doesn’t matter, and who has time for a college degree when you’ve got auditions to attend and head shots to take?

That 20-year-old ass won’t last forever, so use it while you’ve got it. You can read when you’re old and ugly. 

LA is all about reinvention, about making the most with what you’ve got, and about building your own reality. No one in LA cares about who your Grandfather was, they’re too busy worshipping youth, brilliance, and beauty. The City of Angels has no interest in the past. All the matters here is the present and future. 


6. Choice Career

NYC: Creative or Business


NYC workers can be sorted into two categories: Business and Creative.

Business types may feign interest in the well-being of the world or art openings, but when you look closely, you’ll realize that they are interested in one thing and that thing is money.

Who says money can buy happiness? New Yorkers who don’t live in a 5 story walk up single.

Creative types bask in pretension, and nurture their childhood dreams of painting/photography/graffiti art/electric guitar.  While business minded New Yorkers often get better with age (and the slow accumulation of wealth), creative types dwindle into bitter Woody Allen archetypes with each year sans that big break.

LA: The industry is everything.


All roads lead to the industry.  ALL OF THEM.


 7. Dating

People you’ll date in NYC:


Investment bankers making lots of money by moving it around, high fashion models, street style bloggers, disillusioned publishing assistants, lazy novelists, font-obsessed graphic designers, and bike messengers.

People you’ll date in L.A.:


Aspiring actors, terrible singers, neurotic screenwriters, controlling directors, obsessive agents, Scientologists, and mattresses.

So many mattresses.

All the mattresses. Mattresses being, of course, the ubiquitous model/actress. 


8. Lifestyle

LA: Have you tried kale?


If LA were defined by a single hashtag, that hashtag would be #healthyissexy.

Unlike New Yorkers, who have never really gotten over heroin-chic, Los Angelenos are all about diet, exercise, and any holistic remedy to their least favorite aspect of nature: aging. Californians pioneered kale, smoothies, organic, sushi, yoga, and pretty much any other mind/body trend.

Californians are consumed by how to get from point A to point B and where to park once they have arrived at point B, preferably after taking the side streets and NOT the 405. 

NYC: Have you tried the latest hot spot?


New Yorkers function at a rapid borderline inhuman pace, always scampering to the next big thing while wildly disavowing the previous big thing as ‘passe’ before anyone else does.

Both LA and NYC are filled with fabulous places to go and people to see, but New Yorkers are hell-bent on fitting as much fabulous into one night as possible.

LA’s sprawling city, car dominated transportation, and general aura of relaxation results in a going out culture that typically only involves 1, 2, or maximum 3 stops a night. New Yorkers invented club/bar hopping, and have enthusiastically embraced marathon nights packed with as many stops as possible.

It helps that New York bars stay open later than bars in LA, giving NYC dwellers far more time to dash through THE places to be.


9. Neuroses

New York Mental Issues


Obsessive Compulsion, Self-Loathing, Alcoholism, Anxiety, Anger Management Issues, Thinly Veiled Depression, Crippling Insecurity

Los Angeles Mental Issues


Anorexia, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Narcissism, Borderline Personality Disorder, Drug Addiction, Heavily Veiled Depression, Crippling Insecurity. 


10.  Environment

NYC: Are 3 layers enough for Fall? Is there money on my metro card? Where’s my umbrella?




8 Responses to “LA vs. NYC: The 10 Differences Between Angelenos & New Yorkers”

  1. A-Rock says:

    SO TRUE!!! Hahahaha! Well written! Thougouhly enjoyed by this Angeleno, dating an East Coaster!

  2. Thom says:

    David has not left his apartment in la

  3. Anonymous says:

    I loooooove LA!!!

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  5. dani says:

    I grew up in santa monica and moved to NY 12 yrs ago. I have since grown used to the horrible weather, too many tourists around midtown, gross ppl on the subway, etc
    However, i cannot even enjoy a visit to LA! I find it so boring, so dead, too spread out and not even a pretty sight. I feel like i am suffocating if i have to visit LA. So NY may have its minuses, it is me, it is my home and i wouldnt live anywhere else.

  6. b says:

    Hey marina. So much to say as i think about the differences between the two near daily. I am from LA, lived in NYC, now back in LA (with a few other cities / countries in between) & feel differently than your sentiments here. But everyone has their own experiences and it was cool to enjoy yours. Both cities have their pros and con’s but I’ll take NYC citizens any day over LA’s, but LAs comforts (minus the f’ing ever worsening traffic) and quality of life far surpasses NYCs high cost bs. And old money exists large in LA!! I come from a staunch Pasadena family here ! Old $ is what Pasadena’s built on! Thanks for the entertaining anecdote however!!

  7. Alice says:

    Hilarious! And sadly there is much truth to this…well said Marina :)

  8. David says:

    This article is absolute nonsense. It is filled with every cliche about Angelenos and New Yorkers there are. Not everyone in LA works in “the biz” nor date people in that industry. We aren’t sunshiny, and bright-eyed optimists. We are just people. Who ever wrote this article should actually come visit here. This is a huge melting pot of people from all over the world. Im so sick of people writing articles about LA based off what they think LA is.

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