The New York Times loves to cover America's largest county as if it's a foreign oddity with customs so odd they need to be carefully explained. Southern California has 20 million people, the nation's largest ports and a pop culture industry that rocks the globe, but the NYT regards ours as a land of strangers.
Its latest shot is a story about how members of New York's “creative class” are now finding Los Angeles acceptable, preferable even. The piece calls the likes of Echo Park and Los Feliz the Eastside (they're not), says we're experiencing a “renaissance … in fashion” (we've long been the nation's jeanswear and fashion manufacturing capital), and describes our rental market as “relatively cheap” (UCLA researchers last year found our rents to be the least affordable in the United States).
Last year the Washington Post, touting a study on the number of museums and similar cultural institutions in the United States, said, “The nation's cultural capital, at least as measured by number of museums, isn't New York, but rather Los Angeles.”
Here's The New York Times' view: “Los Angeles is widely acknowledged to have become strikingly more cosmopolitan in recent years.” Yes, this was Big Apple–centric, snob-centric, wealthy white person–centric conjecture delivered, ironically, in a story about culture.
Yes, y'all can roll your eyes. It's natural.
But, lucky for us, we don't have to write a full-on takedown this time. You did it for us. Here are some of our favorite comments on the story:
Diana Brooklyn from Brooklyn, New York, says:
This article is so small-minded. The east side of L.A. has been rich in Chicano and Mexican culture, as well as other communities of color, for decades. Not a word about it here, per usual. Same thing happened in Brooklyn. Instead of learning how to integrate into a community in an inclusive manor, it's pure exclusivity. As someone who cherished my time in the early 2000s as an artist welcomed into the Chicano art community on the east side of L.A., this article is really worrisome. After living in Brooklyn since the early '90s, I hope the east side of L.A. has a much more compassionate and human-minded course of development.
SLCmama from Los Angeles:
After 25 years in L.A., I can attest that the art scene has gotten amazing and accessible, and the free-wheeling monthly Downtown ArtWalk feels like the best of SoHo how it used to be, while Manhattan seems like one big strip mall of chain stores. I always have said L.A. is a terrible place to visit but a wonderful place to live, full of secret gardens and hidden amazements that you can only discover after years of residency. Actually, we don't need any more people, though, so you New Yawkers who disagree, feel free to stay in freezing, overpriced, complaining bliss, and maybe venture 3 hours out of town next time you want to see a beach.
MPB from Hayward, California:
Every New York transplant I've met here in California spends most of their time complaining. I get that complaining is habit for them — it's what New Yorkers do best — but believe me: No one here wants to listen to that. Please don't be swayed by this article. Stay in New York.
Tessa, no location published:
Echo Park is not “eastern Los Angeles.” The east side of Los Angeles is east of Main Street, where the street address numbers increase as one travels east.
The Arts District is eastern Los Angeles. The fashion district is eastern Los Angeles. Boyle Heights is most definitely the east side of Los Angeles.
Echo Park, Silver Lake, Sunset Junction, West Adams (hello, WEST Adams), East Hollywood, Angelino Heights and other similar trendy areas are not the eastern part of Los Angeles. Why is this so difficult for so many people to comprehend?
Philly D from Philadelphia:
Really? The real tragedy is that California, and especially Los Angeles, has been ruined by the unceasing flow of people from all over the world. Please don't come, stay home, make that place better. You are doing no one, including yourself, any good by invading an already overpopulated state.
Charlie from Connecticut:
… I'm an artist and I've lived in L.A. for a long time now. They're 2 different cities, always have been. It's good they're so different. Why would you want 2 New Yorks or 2 L.A.s? The snobby notion that L.A. is full of mindless bores is nonsense. The WORLD is full of money-seeking bores. So when you move anywhere, you surround yourself with people you like, people like yourself. NY snobbery stems from the fact that NY has always been the most provincial city in the country.
Richard Sullivan from Keaau, Hawaii:
As someone who was born and raised in New York and lived in L.A. for 35 years, let me say that the so-called NY-L.A. rivalry has always been a one-way street, a fantasy that exists solely in the minds of New Yorkers. Nobody in L.A. cares about New Yorkers and their odd anxieties; no one in L.A. bothers themselves having this conversation — for Angelenos it's all about “live and let live.” The part Angelenos do hate is the waves of New Yorkers who move to L.A., settle in, then denigrate loudly, in public, the very city they themselves have CHOSEN to live in.
Sare from Los Angeles:
As an actual struggling artist in L.A., who can no longer afford a pad in Silver Lake, Atwater Park or Echo Park, I'd like to NOT thank affluent New Yorkers for coming west and gentrifying neighborhoods that used to be enclaves for Latino immigrants. Those neighborhoods had cultures, now they are filled with McHipster establishments. The entire concept that there is no culture in L.A. (usually framing the entire city within the context of the wealthy, plastic surgery–centric Beverly Hills) is inherently racist. Los Angeles was not founded by Europeans, but it has always had plenty of art, dance, theater and music.
Michelle from Rome:
Yes indeed the often promised cultural renaissance of L.A. is now happening. It is great but one big problem Is looming, L.A. is running out of water. What can be the future in a city with no water?
Dave T. from Charlotte:
Having lived in both New York and Los Angeles, I always roll my eyes at these battles of the hipster cognoscenti.
Each city has its allure and each has its warts. But they are dramatically different, as everyone knows.
Pick the one you like, or have a life experience in both. But please stop trying to pit one against the other.