The New York Mantra: “The best place to take a bullet is in the girlfriend” — spotted on a man’s t-shirt at the Food Emporium in Hell’s Kitchen… yes, he was shopping alone
The Californian Mantra: “We’ll melt your popsicle” – from the song “California Gurls” by Katy Perry… you know it’s a Californian song if they deliberately (?) misspell one-syllable words
In the past few weeks, several readers have emailed me about my semi-bicoastal life, asking me for recommendations about New York versus LA. One person even wrote me a very long and sincere note, though our email correspondence fell apart after she asked if I could recommend any plastic surgeons out here in LA. (Uh, no, but I would advise you to steer clear of the ones who advertise on bus benches.)
Since January 2008, I’ve lived for more than a year in both LA and New York, in Hollywood and Santa Monica, the Upper East Side and Hell’s Kitchen. What I’ve learned is that, in our society, people fall into two separate yet equally important groups: the hardcore New Yorkers, who hope to crush, conquer, and rule the world, and the Dionysian Southern Californians, who seek medical advice from strangers.
These are my recommendations.
If you want to meet a wealthy guy who wears cuff links on the weekends and pretends to do cocaine just to sound like a nouveau-riche douchebag, you should live in New York.
If you want to meet a girl who barely looks eighteen, popping a morning-after pill while nonchalantly eating an ice cream sandwich outside of a CVS Pharmacy, you should live in LA.
If you want to start a political conversation with your foreign taxicab driver about the ethics of tax reform (“How can you possibly support the estate tax? You drive a CAB!”), you should live in New York.
If you want to start a car radio showdown with an elderly gentleman driving a black Mustang and blasting Vivaldi in the middle of Please-Don’t-Shoot-Me Sketchtown (a.k.a. downtown Los Angeles), you should live in LA.
If you want to run into a throng of teenagers outside of a movie theater, badmouthing the high school slut who they call “Bobblehead”, you should live in New York.
If you want to run into a throng of middle schoolers outside of Hollister, giggling over the thongs they just bought, you should live in Los Angeles.
If you want to ride the subway with hunched, grizzly men who carry an empty coffee cup in one hand and a can of paint thinner in the other, you should live in New York.
If you want to eschew public transportation altogether and instead drive along a highway death trap (cue Commander Chuck Street, jovially, reporting the morning traffic: “Another casualty accident on the 405!”), you should live in Los Angeles.
If you want to see a pigeon eat couscous off the sidewalk while narrowly avoiding a splat! death-by-bicycle, you should live in New York.
If you want to see a golden retriever play Quidditch in an Air Bud-Harry Potter mash up for the ages, you should live in Los Angeles.
If you want to date someone who works at a glossy bank that is placing a big short on middle-class America, you should live in New York.
If you want to date someone who doesn’t have a job outside of going on auditions, working on his/her memoirs/screenplays, and exercising, you should live in Los Angeles.
If you want to live a normal, happy existence with 2.4 kids, a hanging tomato planter, a library full of James Patterson books, and a social life that doesn’t involve big red Solo cups, you should live in Westchester. Or Pasadena. Anywhere but New York or LA.