New York to Los Angeles

I often get questions asking for advice for people who are coming to Los Angeles from another state, especially New York. As a born and bred New Yorker, there was a lot that I wasn’t entirely prepared for when coming to Los Angeles so I want to share the advice that I wish I had been given before moving. I’ve broken this post down into sections: people, food, transportation, and some other important-to-know things. You ready?

PEOPLE:

This one is a tie for sure. Being that I’m a born and bred New Yorker, I think I can understand New Yorkers in a way that many (people who aren’t from New York) can’t. New Yorkers have a hustle that is unmatched! It’s admirable exactly how much hustle NYers have. Everyone works, everyone is always on the move, everyone’s always trying to do something. I think that hustle breeds a “gives no fucks” mentality which, I think, is useful in life. The whole, “If you can make it in NY, you can make it anywhere” is the truth. You will absolutely thrive anywhere else you go. 

Los Angeles natives are the absolute best — truly some of the most amazing people. The natives, those who were born and raised in LA, have a special, no fucks given attitude similar to NYers but in a more relaxed way. They tend to have an original style that can’t really be described, but it’s one of those that you’ll know when you see it. However, if you’re coming to LA, be aware that there are a lot of transplants. 

LA transplants are often (not all the time, but a lot of the time) white folks from middle America who were the hottest little things in their hometown of 3,500 people, who then moved to LA to become the next Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone. The issue with those transplants is that they have an idea of what LA is, who LA people are, and what LA people do without ever really knowing that their ideas are all wrong. This poses an issue because they tend to try to be very “Hollywood” about everything, stay in their cliques, sip their juices and praise their CorePower Yoga teacher who is another middle America wannabe. The cycle is vicious. 

If you’re coming from New York to Los Angeles, you will more than likely be alright. Everyone I’ve met that moved to LA from another state has said it takes about 3 years for LA to feel like home and as much as I denied that it would take that long — it definitely took that long. I’m coming up on my third year of living in LA and it’s finally feeling like home for me — I’m getting into my groove, I’ve learned to spot and befriend the natives, I’m finding my way around the city and most of all, I’m finding the balance between keeping my New York hustle and turning it into something that’s useful for the more relaxed LA environment. 

FOOD:

NY and LA are even when it comes to food. They each have their specialties but they’re both equally as delicious. NY kills when it comes to carbs, i.e. pizza, bread, baconeggandcheese, heros, deli sandwiches, etc. NY also has some seriously amazing restaurants just about in every borough. Due to everything being so close to each other in NY, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll find some bomb food wherever you are. The one thing that NY wins in when it comes to food is the Caribbean food — Dominican, Puerto Rican, Jamaican food cannot really be found in LA. A huge blow. 

LA has great food, too, but their specialty is the healthy foods — there are seriously juice bars, salad bars, and acai bowl places everywhere you turn. LA also kills when it comes to sushi and some Mexican foods. If you’re looking for bomb Mexican food, hit up the hole in the wall spots that are Mexican-owned and Mexican-ran. Otherwise, you may as well be in Taco Bell. 

TRANSPORTATION:

This one is even but it also depends on who you are. New Yorkers travel by train or bus just about everywhere. If not, you’re in a cab (which there is a surplus of) or you’re walking, which is also awesome because you can cover a lot of land in no time. The trains and busses in NY never stop running and even though they have their issues, they get you from point A to point B for under $3.00. There’s something special about the MTA — getting to see all sorts of people, being around people from all walks of life and being able to put your headphones in and be alone in a crowd is something that I took for granted. 

LA is traveled by cars — whether it’s yours or its an Uber — you’re in a vehicle. LA trains are fine, but they’re just that. They cut off at a certain point of the night and they’re filled with transients. If you’re a public transportation type of person, driving around may take some getting used to. However, if you’ve been in public transportation and have been longing to drive around, LA will do you good. There’s something pretty dope about being in your own car, bumpin’ your music loud as fuck, dancing, listening to a podcast, and having some personal time while you get to your destination. Traffic can be annoying as fuck but once you get used it, you’re fine. It simply becomes more time to listen to a podcast, catch up with your mom on the phone, watch other people text while driving recklessly, etc. 

WEATHER:

I fully admit that I’m bias when it comes to weather so this might be somewhat of an unexpected answer — I think LA weather is dope, but there’s something beautiful about the seasons in NY. I feel like NYers earn their seasons — you go through a harsh winter and earn your spring, you go through a brutally humid summer and you earn your fall. There’s a different kind of appreciation that you learn when you experience all of those different temperatures, moods, and feels all due to the season. I’ve also learned that as annoying as humidity can be, I’d prefer it over dry seasons. 

LA is sunny — like some postcard type sunny. It’s fucking beautiful. Interestingly enough, the daytime in LA is always warm and bright, but the nighttime can drop to about 30 degrees in no time. It’s absolutely insane. LA folks appreciate the weather differently — for them, showing appreciation is going out and enjoying nature. Taking hikes, walks, picnics, spending time at the beach (because they have actual beaches), etc. 

They’re both beautiful, they’re both worth experiencing but I’m just a sucker for winter nights in NY with my husband and baby and living up the summer in NY where it feels like the day never ends. 

JOBS:

I started working at a very young age in NY, (it was an off-the-books job at a supermarket), and continued working throughout my life. I can’t remember ever not having a job. I feel like New York has so much going on, all the time, that finding a job was always easy. Sites like Craigslist and Indeed would have thousands of jobs up on a daily basis in New York. 

I began worked high-end retail in NY and I absolutely loved it so when I moved to LA, my go-to was a high-end retail job. While the opportunities were there, LA wasn’t offering the same kind of money that NY was offering. That was a huge con for me because I strongly believe in asking for what you’re worth and accepting nothing less. 

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t jobs in LA, I think the opportunities are there, but you have to look for them. Craigslist and Indeed are amazing tools for when you’re job hunting and you’re guaranteed to find something, but I can’t guarantee it’ll pay spectacularly .. at least not at the beginning. 

COST OF LIVING:

This one is even. They’re both expensive af.

WEED

Los Angeles wins. Point. Blank. Period. 

DIVERSITY :

NY takes the cake on this one. NY is a seriously diverse city, with people from absolutely everywhere. NY has their own Little India, Little Italy, Little Colombia, Little everything! There are people from everywhere around the world, so it’s beautiful to see people who look like you and people who don’t look like you surrounding you. This also ties into food — because of the fact that NY is so diverse, you can find just about any kind of food in NY.

LA isn’t as diverse. As far as latinx people go, their majority is Mexican people, which are the most amazingly hard-working, kind motherfuckers. LA doesn’t have an afro-latino community, they don’t have many Caribbean people nor South American folks. It becomes tough as an afro-latina to not see people who look like me. It also becomes annoying as all hell when I speak spanish to anyone and they refuse to acknowledge me as a spanish-speaking human being because I look black. It’s ignorant, but I tend to forgive it because you don’t know what you don’t see. 

ACTIVITIES:

This one is a serious tie — they’re both amazing for activities, but for entirely different reasons. You can do just about anything in NY, the blessing about this is that you don't have to do too much searching to find the fun things in NY. Due to the fact that everything in the city is so close to each other, you can literally walk around a 5-block radius and find something to do that is wallet-friendly and fun. 

LA has tons to do too, however, the city is very big and spacious. Things aren’t as close in proximity as they are in NY — so you have to do a lot more searching to find entertaining things to do. You also have to drive to get to that fun thing, which can be both good and bad, depending on your mood. LA takes a little more work in this department but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to do. Do some research, put some work in, and go have some fun!

SHOPPING:

Absolutely equal! There’s stores everywhere, you can find just about everything you’re looking for in both cities. Keep in mind that due to weather and demographic, some of the stores you’re used to shopping at, may not have the same things in a different city. 

TO CONCLUDE:

Both cities are amazing in their own respects! If you’re someone from NY that’s looking to move to LA, my biggest and main advice is: know someone in LA before moving otherwise it’s a difficult transition. If you’re someone who is moving from LA to NY my advice is: don’t take everything personally and be ready to hustle! Either way, you will make it and you will be just fine. It’s your world, you can get through the tough times and make the good times some of the best you’ll ever have.

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