November 24, 2016

Have You Ever Been to NYC?

Happy Thanksgiving! This year I am thankful that I live in LA. Russians have a saying - everything becomes known in comparison (everything is relative). The truth is I was so used to my perfect life that I was completely oblivious to how good I actually had it. I have always deemed Los Angeles to be my dream city and always enjoyed living here. However, I did not fully realize how much I love it, until I visited New York.

Not only New York is not the place for me, but its vibe had also struck me as a complete opposite of Los Angeles'. For those of you who are planning to visit NYC for the first time, below are some thoughts to help you manage your expectations.

New York City (NYC)
LA (Greater Los Angeles area)
Prices are outrageous. Per conversation with the manager, a place comparable to what I have in LA will cost me three times as much in NYC.
Prices are much higher than in most other states, but bearable compared to NYC.
In the city it is a nightmare. Drivers do not yield the right of way to pedestrians, drive in places they should not be, park right across the crosswalk. Parking situation is definitely much worse than in LA. Prices are higher. Parking spots are scares - they lift cars sometimes three levels.
Aside from an occasional mistake, drivers are conscious of pedestrians and do their best not to block the crosswalk. Just yesterday someone yelled "sorry" at me, because she stopped too close to the intersection and I had to walk around the vehicle. Otherwise, LA is notorious for its horrendous traffic and lack of parking.
Grocery and clothes prices are comparable. Tax rate is only slightly lower than in LA.
Aside from housing prices, everything else (such as food and utilities) cost about the same as most other states.
Crowds are ridiculous. Streams of people are walking in both directions. Get in your way. Photobomb your pictures. Museums are so packed - there is nowhere to even sit down for a split second.
You will never see anything like what we experienced in NYC on a regular day. Aside from events there are never rushing crowds of thousands of people on the streets of DTLA. Museum foot traffic is very comfortable as well.
Public Transportation System
Awesome, very extensive system. Subway rains run on time. Surprisingly, it was fairly easy to figure out. However, it is always packed. Also, it is more expensive per ride than it is in LA.
Not as developed as in NYC. Also, there is a stigma in LA about using public transportation - most people feel that it is  beneath them. Thus, our buses and subway trains are comparably light on passengers.
Garbage Collection
Whoever collects trash in NYC is my hero. Considering the size of the city, you would think they collect enough taxes to modernize their trash collection system. Seeing mountains of trash off of 5th Avenue is a huge turn off.
We have trash chutes. :D
Unexpectedly, the city is very clean. Even the East Harlem (El Barrio) neighborhood where we stayed at, was impressively clean.
LA is dirty. I also live in el barrio - primarily Hispanic neighborhood. My street does not even have street cleaning. There is trash everywhere. It is disgusting. It makes me wonder what kind of person would just throw stuff on the street, rather than put in a trashcan. I think it is part of the culture.
Rats. They nonchalantly cross the street right in front of you. They are everywhere. I've never screamed so loudly.
Roaches. There is no escape. The climate is so favorable - they live everywhere outside and craw into any and every little hole you may have in your window, door sill, just randomly in the wall… Yes, they are in the walls!
Too cold. It rained two out of the 9 days we were there.
Perfect. Rain is rare. Sunshine = happiness. 60 degrees here feels so much more comfortable than 60 degrees there.
Let's just say non-friendly. Everyone just goes about their business without caring about how their actions affect others. Even museum staff is so unpleasant, it makes you uncomfortable.
Never have I received the same kind of non-service in any of the LA museums (trust me, I've been to more than an average Angelino). Sunshine is the happiness vitamin (vitamin D). Maybe that is the reason why we smile more here - we love life!

Don't get me wrong - the city does have a lot to offer. For example, one thing that completely exceeded my widest expectations was the Cattelan's solid gold toilet at the Guggenheim. Overall, however, between the cold, the rats and borderline rude people, I was un-impressed. NYC seems to be gray and uninviting, as opposed to always sunny and smiling LA.

Needless to say, I will not be coming back on my own account. But this Thanksgiving I am grateful that I had the experience to realize that what I have is magic. I am in love. 

Have a relaxing and safe Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? 


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