It's a common sport to pit Los Angeles and New York against each other. The rivalry seems ageless, explored over and over (and over) again by countless movies (like Annie Hall) and misguided New York Times think pieces. But why fight when the two cities are really so similar? Take these nine ways the cities are basically identical:
1. Fuckin’ hipsters
Silver Lake, Williamsburg — what’s the difference? The residents of both neighborhoods are really into artisanal this and locally sourced that and seem take their dressing cues from Orthodox Jewish men.
2. Your commute
Everyone rags on L.A. for having terrible traffic, but it’s not like getting around New York is speedy — even by train, it easily takes 35 minutes or more to get most places. And in both cities people chat about their routes proudly. “How’d you get here?” “Oh, I took the 405 to the 10 to the 110 to the 5/the 1 to the Q” “Really? Why didn’t you take the 405 to the 101/the 2 the whole way?”
3. Your rent
Paying $700-900 per person? That’s pretty reasonable in Los Angeles or New York, even if it is more than a third of your monthly income. Just remember not to ask your friends in non-coastal cities how much they pay in rent — that question will only lead to pain and sadness.
4. The air quality
L.A.’s smog is (in)famous, but the air in Manhattan is far from immaculate thanks to secondhand smoke (seriously, why do so many people in New York smoke — didn't they get the memo that it's gross?) and all of the exhaust from the buses, trucks and taxis that traverse the city’s grid.
5. The noise outside your window
Sure, your out-of-town friends might joke that you fall asleep to the lullaby of various emergency vehicle sirens, but it’s true: if you’ve lived in L.A. or New York long enough, it’s hard to fall asleep anywhere else because it’s too quiet.
6. Aspiring artists and rich kids everywhere
New York and L.A. are creative capitals, which means that both cities are filled to the brim with waiters (a.k.a. actors, comedians, directors, writers, et al). But anyone who actually has to work to pay their rent usually lives on the fringes of the city or in “up-and-coming” neighborhoods, while the trust-fund kids live in the posher parts of town.
7. An abundance of food options
Name a country and/or a dish, and you can probably find an amazing version of that food in both cities. It's fantastic, but it definitely spoils us when we visit second-tier cities — What do you mean you don't have Japanese fried chicken here?
8. “Stars! They’re just like us!” encounters
In L.A., we studiously ignore our celebrities when we see them grocery shopping or eating dinner with their families. In New York, they take pictures of celebs who fall asleep on the train. In both cases, the omnipresence of famous people doing normal things makes us immune to being star struck (most of the time).
9. Absolute certainty that you live in the best city in the world
New Yorkers can’t imagine living anywhere less convenient, and Angelenos can’t fathom surviving an unending marathon of seasons. Residents of both cities are adamant that theirs is the best, and they’re both right — New York and L.A. are the best. It just depends which one you live in.