Los Angeles vs New York: The Battle For Greatness

If you’re a fan of boxing, then shame on you. Two grown men in an oversized crib with marshmallows for gloves beating the crap out of each other is not a sport—it’s a night out with too much to drink. But I digress.

If you’re a fan of boxing, then you’re aware of the “Fight of the Century” (a name formerly reserved for that time my brother and I duked it out over the last Smartie) wherein Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao went twelve rounds to the tune of “I’ve got a bigger willy than you.”

The boxing ring is not the only place where supposedly mature people yell “I’m right, you’re wrong” until they get punched in the teeth. The debate about whether The Big Apple or the City of Angels is the better place to live has been going on since leg o’ mutton sleeves were in vogue.

You’re going to want to bet money on this prize fight because Los Angeles vs New York: The Battle For Greatness is going to be a close call! 

Round 1: Weather

Since weather has a direct impact on people’s moods, and both west and east coast citizens are of precarious mental health anyway, this category is not to be taken lightly.

  • Where else can you get sunstroke in December? Los Angeles boasts 364 ass-sweatingly hot days, which is conducive to the year-round outdoor Farmer’s Market at The Grove, events like Friday night jazz at LACMA, and anything at the beach. Actress Lori Kokotailo, who has lived in both cities, enthuses that “you can surf all year long in LA and not freeze your butt off. Of course, you might get bitten by a shark, but still….” Also, you haven’t truly experienced Christmas until you’ve seen Santa Claus in board shorts and a tank top.
  • New York, on the other hand, offers one of the most glorious natural phenomenons of all time: frostbite in April. Kidding. Seasons. Orange and red leaves falling in the autumn and cherry blossoms in the spring make the stink of garbage piled up on the streets in summer and the storm-induced power outages in winter bearable.

Judge’s Ruling: LA 1 – NY 0. It may be unnatural to get a tan in the winter, but I’ll take sweat stains over hypothermia any day of the week.

Round 2: Street Names

The ease of getting around a city adds to or takes away from its value. I mean, if you’re arranging for a late-night hookup and you can’t even find—or pronounce—the person’s address, what good are all those swipe-right dating apps?

  • Los Angeles has street names that are goofy, lengthy, or just hard to pronounce: Cahuenga Boulevard, Thaddeus Kosciuszko Way, Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street, Gracie Allen Drive, which intersects with George Burns Road, Stoner Avenue, and Zzyzx Road (it’s actually outside of LA on the way to Vegas, but it’s too irresistible not to include here).
  • Most of Manhattan is laid out on a giant grid, so navigating the city is pretty straightforward. Avenues run north/south and streets run east/west. But since the majority of street and avenue names are numbers or single letters (as in the neighborhood Alphabet City), visitors to the city might feel like they’re in the middle of a Sesame Street nightmare.

Judge’s Ruling: LA 2 – NY 0. Yes, The City That Never Sleeps makes it easier to fulfill a booty call, but Lotus Land has goofy street names. “Creative” always trumps “easy.”

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Los Angeles freeways leading into downtown.

Round 3: Transportation

Speaking of getting around, you can’t call your city a metropolis if transportation is a nightmare. Well, you can, but you’d be a fool.

  • I once told an LA native that I’d traveled across Los Angeles via subway. He stared at me and said, “We have a subway system?” Smog Angeles is a city where residents regard their vehicle as an accessory that’s always trendy. And while there is a Metro system, it works best when you don’t have to drive to the nearest bus or subway station, transfer five times, and then walk three miles to your final destination.
  • When it comes to commuting, New York’s subway system is like Rihanna: easy, fast, and conveniently located. “No need for a car and no car means no DUI. Ever,” says transplanted New Yorker Rodric Hurdle-Bradford of travel service company Vegas Luxury Group VIP.“You can pre-party all the hell you want…and yes, I spent some nights throwing up on the A train BEFORE I got to a club. So what. It’s better than a DUI.” Also, if you’re hesitant about descending to the depths of hell (a.k.a. 191st Street on the 1 Line), hailing a cab is a cinch—unlike L.A. where you have to telephone for one and then wait twenty minutes.

Judge’s Ruling: LA 2 – NY 1. Subways and taxis and pre-party barfing, oh my!

Round 4: Artificial Joy

No city would be much fun without a plethora of stimulating substances at your beck and call.

  • If you’re a bona fide pothead, then Los Angeles is the place to hang. You don’t even need to buy it what with all the stoners ambling past you on the sidewalk wafting a cloud of smoke behind them like Pigpen from Peanuts. And there’s a Starbucks on every corner.
  • New York is no stranger to weed, but what it really has going for it is 4 a.m. bars. With “fashionable” arrival times closer to midnight, shutting down the venue at one or two is analogous to Lucy deking out Charlie Brown with the football every time. And there’s a Starbucks on every corner.

Judge’s Ruling: LA 3 – NY 2. It’s a tie. Both cities are like the cool older sibling you never had.

Round 5: Fashion

When George Michael sang, “Sometimes the clothes do not make the man,” he clearly meant metaphorically, because when it comes to LA vs NY fashion, we all judge a book by its cover.

  • In Los Angeles, where “business casual” means leisure suits and flips flops, Casual Friday is when you call your boss by her first name. If you’re trying to impress the opposite (or same) sex, you’re going to have to tell them about the startup you just sold for a gazillion dollars, because it won’t be your outfit that does it.
  • New York is the fashion capital of the country, nay, of the world, some would say. Just walking down the street feels like you inadvertently stepped onto a catwalk — or into Carrie Bradshaw’s closet from Sex and the City. On the other hand, in a city where I saw high-heeled sneakers for the first time, just because you can get away with anything, doesn’t mean you should.

Judge’s Ruling: LA 3 – NY 3. Yoga pants are fine if you’re a certified yoga instructor and actually leading a class, but everyone else just looks like a lazy, posing, hipster-wannabe slacker.

Round 6: Attractions

No, we’re not talking about beautiful people (of which there are plenty on both coasts); we’re referring to what the city offers in the way of points of interest. And no, public urination doesn’t count.

  • The Entertainment Capital of the World has the happiest place on earth—Disneyland—as well as the most efficient place to get your dreams broken: Hollywood. It also has Riverside, the meth capital of the world, and the Valley, which is home to the porn industry. Tinseltown isn’t known for its culture (unless you count all the frozen yogurt huts on every block) and when it comes to supporting the arts, “People are cheap in LA,” says New York native TV writer Jorge Perez. “If they can’t get a $15 play ticket comped? They don’t go.” I’m assuming that by “play” he means “community theater in an abandoned pizzeria.”
  • New York has Central Park, Woody Allen, and Ellis Island—which are dangerous, depressing, and dark (not necessarily in that order). Gotham also lays claim to the Big Six publishing houses, Broadway/Off Broadway/Off-Off Broadway, and the ability to buy food on the street. Plus, when you see someone with a laptop in a café, there’s a good chance that they’re a successful day trader and not one more aspiring screenwriter.

Judge’s Ruling: LA 3 – NY 4. Pizza slices at midnight after having seen Woody play jazz at Café Carlyle. No contest.

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Autumn foliage in Central Park, New York.

Round 7: Attitudes

Different countries, cities, and even neighborhoods all have their own flavor. What may come across as “confidence” to some may be seen as “jackassery” to others.

  • New Yorkers are generally seen as gruff, rude, and aggressive—and that’s their sweet side! People there are real, no-nonsense types. Who needs spinning class, wheat grass, and meditation when you’ve got running for the subway, dirty water dogs, and public intoxication?
  • On the other hand, according to LA TV writer Dan O’Shannon, while “New York thinks it’s superior to Los Angeles, LA keeps forgetting about…I’m sorry, who were we talking about? Oh yeah, New York.” Sometimes there’s such a thing as too much attitude. You know that guy who brags that he’s awesome in bed? Never is.

Judge’s Ruling: LA 3 – NY 5. I’d rather get slapped in the face than stabbed in the back. At least I can see it coming.

And there you have it, folks. After a completely objective, fact-based duke-out over the battle for greatness, the winner is…New York! Unlike Mayweather, no one can ever accuse NYC of fighting “safe”—and that’s exactly why we love it! And now if you’ll excuse me, this Los Angeleno needs to sign up for the witness protection program before her city-mates stone her to death….

Selena Templeton

Selena Templeton is a writer and editor who sees the world through Giggle Glass, a type of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display plus false nose and mustache. It reveals the absurd, amusing, and inappropriate goings on of daily life and displays it in a lap top-like hands-on format, from which she posts to various blogs such as Self Storage Finders, Romantically Challenged, and SelenaTempleton.com. As a former professional organizer and a current Virgo, she is a self-diagnosed authority on storage, packing, organizing, and general neat freakishness.

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