- Posted May 2, 2012 by
Los Angeles, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
City smackdown: Los Angeles love
City of Angels vs New Yuck
New York used to be the most amazing city in the world. It was Mean Streets, Annie Hall, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s all rolled into one. And then the poor got priced out, Wall Street types took over Manhattan, the suits took over the bar scene, and NYC became a playground for Carrie Bradshaw and her chick lit gang. What happened, New York? You used to be cool.
And where did the artists go? They moved to Los Angeles: city of angels, city of dreams, city of broken dreams. And a city with a better contemporary art scene than NY. It’s a city where the spirit of Raymond Chandler is still very much alive. It’s a place of dichotomies and extremes: good vs. evil, optimism vs. cynicism, innocence vs. corruption. LA is the most fascinating city in the world, simultaneously beautiful and ugly. Remember that surreal scene in Collateral where Tom Cruise encounters a family of coyotes prowling the streets of downtown after dark? That’s LA. There’s strangeness and mystery lurking just beneath its glamourous surface. But that’s all part of it’s mythology and allure.
Now remember Ross and Rachel? That’s NY. It’s become a city that’s lost too much edge to be used as a character in film noir. It’s a city more comfortable playing Gossip Girl’s best friend. No thanks.
New Yorkers’ common complaints about LA will include the usual suspects of pizza and bagels thrown in with the Neil Simon or Woody Allen quotations about right turns on red, and they’ll think they just said the most clever and original thing in the world. They’ll also try to convince you that perfect temperatures, cloudless blue skies, and bright desert sunlight are just boring. They’d rather have all four seasons.
It’s just too bad all four of NY’s seasons pretty much suck. The pizza and bagels? I’ll give NY that because every other good ethnic restaurant that used to make up the vibrant fabric of that city has left for more affordable pastures in New Jersey. What NY has over LA are the french dining establishments like La Bernardin and Eleven Madison Park, (because Wall Street needs to eat) but NY doesn’t comes close to the depth and breadth of serious world cuisine that are offered to Angelenos every day and at affordable prices. That’s the consequences of a place that’s becoming Trump’s playground.
I admit that LA is more of an acquired taste. It’s a city that doesn’t give itself up so easily to visitors. You have to stay awhile and you have to earn it. But if you’re curious and adventurous, the city will open up and you’ll discover so many wonderful things that less curious and less adventurous people might not ever know. Even driving around, there are residential masterpieces by brilliant architects (Neutra, Wright, Schindler, Koenig) that dot the whole city yet go unnoticed by most. It’s a city of best-kept secrets and discoveries. The true beauty of the city exists in the periphery of what you see and what you think you know.
But even if you aren’t adventurous, there are still endless amounts of things to do. And there’s plenty of culture despite what a New Yorker will tell you. The two Getty museums, Norton Simon, LACMA, MOCA, and UCLA Hammer alone will keep you occupied for days, or see a concert by LA Philharmonic (who are much more exciting these days than the NY Phil) at the incomparable Walt Disney Concert Hall. On top of that you can surf, ski, snowboard, hike, or play golf all over LA. Actual sports. Try that in NYC.