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An open letter to New York City

September 8, 2010

It isn’t you, Armin, it’s my brand new overwhelming life.

September 8, 2010

LA Observations, 4 days in

September 8, 2010

I have lived in Los Angeles for four days. I arrived on Saturday at 2:30pm but spent the remainder of that day shopping 90 mph then enjoyed celebratory libations until 1am, so it counts.

Four days is not a lot of time to make a full call on this city, but it’s plenty of time for snap judgments and the confirmation of given existing prejudices. Here, so far, are mine:

  • None of the Urban Outfitters in a 25-mile-radius have a proper housewares section. That’s four locations in four cities (Burbank, Studio City, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica). No selection of tapestries, no ridiculous-colored shag carpets, not nearly enough of those tree-looking-things you hang necklaces on. This is ironic because the Urban Outfitters in Manhattan have items that cannot fit in 75% of the apartments in Manhattan and yet here where people live in houses the size of my parents’ – nothing. I have places an order online, but I’m not pleased.
  • Additional branches of given stores are far from one another, case-in-point, the Urban Outfitters. Like, there isn’t one in West Hollywood and then another in West Hollywood just 20 blocks away. This is a general theme I’m finding. For example, I have yet to find a Starbucks location from which you can see another Starbucks location. Shocking, I know.
  • There is no Dunkin Donuts. Not, there are no Dunkin Donuts locations – that would imply that there once was or is talk of there someday being. There is simply no concept of the Dunkin here.
  • Regardless of the weather at high noon, it is cool in the mornings and in the evenings. I’m told this has something to do with the desert. Frankly, all I care about is what it has to do to the quality of my frizzy hair in the morning when I leave for work and at night when I arrive at the bar. Major plus column item.
  • People say there is no good Chinese food but then everyone seems to have a secret place where they get great Chinese food. So, first – we are way closer to China here in LA than I ever was in New York, so this no-Chinese-food is completely illogical. And, the “I’ve got a great” situation out here is another trend I’m observing. So far I’ve also seen it applied with fervor to bagel shops and furniture stores.
  • You can pretty much drive any way you want and nobody cares. I did not go over 20 for a solid mile on La Brea the other day looking for this antique store and not one person honked at me. This is great because being honked at really stresses me out, but it probably also implies that everyone is just as bad a driver.
  • I live within walking distance from some of LA’s best vintage clothing stores. This is not an observation, it’s a blessing.
  • Parking garages are the greatest and worst thing about this city (I’d say “so far” but I think that might be it). Worst because there is this whhoollle rigmarole you’ve got to go through with the getting into the garage and worrying your car is going to scrape the ceiling even though the garage is sized to fit every model of car and then getting close enough to the ticket machine to get the ticket without having to put your car in park and open the damn door and then not hitting other cars as you drive around those sharp corner and then finding a spot and not hitting other cars as you pull into it and then not losing your ticket and then doing then not forgetting to do the whole pay-station thing when you leave and then the worst part of all – remembering where you parked. BUT, get this – you can get as much shit as you want at any store you go and you never have to worry about walking it home.
  • And – though I don’t know how this could be possible – everyone is from New York. I have heard more “when I moved here from New York” stories this week than I’ve heard moving stories in my entire life. This is good because everyone can relate to all the insanity that is moving clear across the country (and living here for 4 days without your life belongings having arrived…) But it’s also bad, because in a few weeks they’re going to know it’s time to buck up and stop complaining about how hard it is to remember to fill the car with gas…


  1. Welcome to CA. There are so many more idiosyncrasies that you will learn about in due time from our crazy state.

    Just wait until you get to explore the rest of the state, there is so much more and different to CA than LA.

  2. The best Urban Outfitters, in my opinion, is the Burbank store. They used to have the best deals. However, that was a few years ago. Honestly, I get the impression that the physical stores are getting further and further away from the home goods. Maybe I’m wrong though…
    The SM one is pretty good for home goods sales too, if you can deal with the crowd. Never cared much for the Melrose store though I lived near it. Burbank was always worth the trip.

  3. To piggyback on your observation that everyone is from NY. It turns out that nobody is actually from LA. This place is merely a travel destination. Some people just end up staying a little longer than others. I hope you’re enjoying the experience though.

    P.S. I miss Dunkin’ Donuts with a passion!

  4. No Dunkin Donuts BUT no humidity, which is just delightful. Juuuuust delightful. Although I’d enjoy the no-humidity more if I had an iced blueberry turbo.

  5. Jessie,
    LA is now a better place with you in it. Welcome! You will love the weather, the shopping, the dining, and you have “The California Rosen’s”!!!!! So glad you are here.

  6. Welcome to California! If you are up early enough on Saturday morning, try to make it to one of the Farmer’s Markets. Even though I live in the OC, farmer’s markets are a MUST for SoCal living!

  7. I just got back from a vacation from the East Coast, but the West Coast (Orange County, CA) has been my home since the day I was born. First thing I did was eat a Boston Creme donut from Dunkin’ Donuts! It’s my favorite thing to get on the East Coast. Welcome to California! I look forward to reading all of your adventures in L.A. It’s a place like no other, but that’s a good thing!! 🙂

  8. I’ve always been a lurker on your blog, but now that you mention one of my favorite things in the world–Asian food in socal–I HAVE to comment.

    There isn’t great Asian food around your area (sadly). However, the best Asian food that can be found in the United States is in two places…the 626 or what is known as the San Gabriel Valley…and Westminster/Garden Grove which are in Orange County.

    San Gabriel Valley is about a 40 minute drive east out of your area with no traffic (hah you see we say that a lot here…time + w/ (no) traffic) but it is WORTH IT! As much as I loved NYC food, I really have to say that the Asian food in LA is not only more authentic, but has more variety, AND best of all, a lot CHEAPER. Hit up this area if you’re in the mood for really good Chinese, Taiwanese, or Cantonese food. (The city of Monterey Park is super famous for amazing dim sum.)

    GG/Westminster are phenomenal for Korean and Vietnamese food respectively. Also a long drive, but also very very worth it, and will really blow your mind when you eat it. I’ll add that Vietnamese food is also dirt cheap but totally delicious.

    These are spots only the (mostly Asian) locals know about. So if you ever feel like leaving the west side and getting some authentic Asian food, yelp some places in the SGV or OC and you won’t regret it 🙂

    Happy eating! And I really hope you get a chance to explore LA county east of the 710 freeway haha

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