Best coast?

Today I bring you a guest post on the war of the best coasts from Doniree. I’ve said a lot about LA and NYC and LA vs NYC and how I love them both and I thought why not turn this over to someone else who isn’t from either place? Not because I’m an elitist jerk (though let’s be logistical, I am) but because I want to see the shoe on the other foot or the table turned around to face the wall or whatever.


Long ago, in a Midwestern town [probably not that] far, far away, I once heard someone say [something to the effect of],

You’re either an LA person, or you’re a New York City person.

The critic in me immediately questioned this, wondering why someone couldn’t simply be *both*. Were they really that different? They’re both big, coastal, diverse, culture-rich cities, right? Why can’t you love both?

And then I actually visited LA, and then I visited New York City, and I just got it. And I know, beyond a shadow of a shred of a doubt, that I am in that right-hand, East coast column: I’m a NYC person.

I don’t hate LA

It should first be stated that by categorizing myself as a “NYC person,” I’m not saying that I dislike LA. In fact, I kind of like it. (Kind of. I think). It’s sunny. I like sunshine. I like beaches. I like fish tacos. The Pacific Ocean is cool.

However, I hate [driving in] traffic. Like, a lot. I don’t even own a car, and here in Portland, Oregon, that’s totally fine. There’s no way I’d willingly subject myself to the clusterfuck that is the L.A. freeway system on any sort of regular basis.

I’m a total pansy, I know.

However, if I had to choose one over the other, I can safely say I’d choose New York City. Here’s why:

State the Obvious: The Traffic

I like to walk, and I’m totally down with public transportation. I actually think the Subways in NYC are kind of cool. Maybe because I’m always there as a tourist or for work, and the novelty hasn’t worn off, but still. I don’t have to drive anywhere? And I can get everywhere? SIGN ME UP.

Ooh! Shiny!: NYC is Sparkly

There is something absolutely magical and mesmerizing about the NYC skyline, whether you’re looking at it or smack dab in the middle of it, at any time of day. At sunrise, it’s kind of serene and lovely. During the day, it’s busy, bustling, exciting. Even the “quiet” neighborhoods are lively. And don’t even get me started about New York City at night. Maybe it’s just because I’m a fan of all things sparkly, but I LOVE city lights and New York City just makes me feel magical.

Om Nom Nom: The FOOD

There is absolutely no shortage of amazing restaurants in NYC, and I’m not talking about the fancy ones. I like the tiny little cafes, tucked in between cheese shops and boutiques. The coffee shops and bagel shops on the corner of an old brick building.

Before you stone me for implying that the food in LA isn’t amazing, wait just a hot second. I know that’s not true. But I can’t name a single restaurant in LA that I’ve ever been to (the closest I can come to remembering places that have impressed me is that there was once an awesome patio and mimosas at some place on a hill that Nico and I had lunch at once; oh, and the food trucks). On the flip side, I’m fairly positive I can name every single place in NYC I’ve ever had a single bite. Because NYC food is memorable.

Caveat/Conclusion: More time in LA is needed

Here’s where I admit the root of my complete and utter bias preference towards New York over Los Angeles: I’ve spent waaaay more time in the Big Apple than I have the City of Angels, so one might assume I’m simply more comfortable there because it’s more familiar. And sure, that might be true.

Here’s the thing though: I know a gut feeling when I have one, and I know that something magical happens on the inside, in my heart, in my pants (where it counts), when I get to NYC, and it’s different than the feeling I get when I get to LA.

New York City feels all romantic and like a first love, whereas Los Angeles feels like that cute guy you flirted with in middle school art class: it’s fun, it’s cute, but there’s not really a spark that’ll last.

Or maybe I’m just totally and completely jealous that my Scotch-Irish skin will never be California-girl tan. And this is my way of dealing with that.

Ok, your turn. LA or NYC? And if LA, tell me why and I’m totally willing to show up with an open mind next time I’m there.

Doniree Walker is a freelance writer/blogger based in Portland, Oregon. She spends her free time frequenting Portland’s farmers’ markets, training for her first 5K, and daydreaming about the places she plans to travel. She blogs at and, and you can follow her on Twitter @doniree., and her clients include UMoveFree, a service helping renters find Rockwall, TX apartments.


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24 thoughts on “Best coast?

  1. Suburban Sweetheart

    If I had to choose, I’m a New York person. But let it be noted that NYC is not actually on a coast. If you want to be real about this shiz, you’ll take Boston into account. :) And I think some people don’t fit into coastal categories at all – what about Midwesterners-at-heart (a.k.a. Chicago)? Or plain old Southerners?

    This much I know: I will never be a West Coast person.

      1. Wendy

        There is no flaw in your geography…. just because the Island of Manhattan does not directly border the Atlantic Ocean, that does not negate the fact that it is a coastal city… If you want to get real technical about it much of Queens and Brooklyn (which is 2/5 of NYC) have beach front right on the Atlantic. Soooo – you’re all good.

  2. Rahul

    I’ll stick up for LA because everyone seems to like NYC more including me once upon a time. I felt the same way, I grew up outside of NYC. I loved the bright lights, the hustle and bustle, the sense that people were living for something, but I’ve been in LA for 6 years and I’ve just learned how to fall in love with it. Here’s a quick but no where near intensive guide.

    1. Ride your bike to the beach.
    2. Enjoy a summer night watching people play roller hockey with the beach in the background.
    3. Santa Monica Pier nights.
    4. Go to the Getty, Go to Griffith Park, Go Hiking!
    5. Outdoor movie nights in December? Yes. Outdoor movie nights in December.

    There are so many more. For as much as a negative the traffic is there is SO much to do here. So what, there’s traffic. Last time I was in NYC I waited 30 minutes for a subway.

    1. Almie Rose Post author

      WORD to the subway comment. They can take forever and trying to get from Manhattan to Brooklyn can easily take 30-40 min. And if you take a cab trying to get from downtown to uptown the traffic is always terrible so that takes a solid 30 min. SO THERE EVERYONE.

  3. Adria

    Wait? New York isn’t on a coast? Pretty sure Coney Island/Rockaway Beach, etc are flush up against the Atlantic. Just because Manhattan is squished between two rivers doesn’t mean that those rivers don’t flow right into the Atlantic just south of the Southern tip of the island.

    I feel like all I do is debate this issue. I’ve only been in LA for 8 months, and I can tell you this, I will never stop being a New Yorker. Sometimes when I ride my bike to work I close my eyes and try to pretend that I’m in NYC. I like hiking and sunshine, but you, Doniree nailed it about the magic of New York. No city, not a one, feels like that. When I fly into New York I cry. Every time. Every. Single. Time. It’s just that powerful.

    I don’t mind not sweating and freezing and sweating and freezing and sweating and freezing daily no matter the season, though. (AC in the subway, heat outside, heated subway, freezing outside…there’s no winning, NY, no winning with the weather).

  4. Alana Margaret

    This California girl living in New York says NYC all the way. Late nights and good public transit always wins. I also had a bicoastal family so both are home to me. And by both, I mean the Bay Area and New York, so obviously I would never concede to LA winning anything.

    If the contest were SF vs. NYC, my heart would be more torn, but right now I’m pretty much loving the New York.

  5. Carey

    Well, as far as I’m concerned, Richmond VA is the greatest city in the world.

    I felt super small in NYC and not cool enough to be in LA but I did love Chicago. So I have to agree with Suburban Sweetheart and say that I think there should be the third option of neither.

      1. Carey

        Yes, please! I really felt that it was the perfect balance. It’s a big city but I didn’t feel small. There was always something really great to do and not to mention parts of Batman were filmed there? Hells yes.

        Plus, the bean. I mean really. That bean is the best.

  6. Tony Archer

    New York is all heart.
    L.A. is all face.
    New York is fucking honest about what it is and who it is, even if that person is a entitled elitist asshole.
    L.A. is always lying it’s ass off to get a part, or maintain someone’s public image, or destroy someone’ public image, or to get a date or to even exist.
    New York understands history and legacy and embraces the hell out of it.
    L.A. tears everything down and gives everything a facelift every chance it gets.
    New York has working public transportation.
    L.A. more or less legally requires you to own a car and sit in traffic for a million years to get ANYWHERE.
    Drive three hours from New York and you could end up in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, or any number of cool places.
    Drive three hours from L.A. and you could end up…still in L.A. Traffic sucks.

    Every time I’ve been to New York, I’ve left feeling like a better person and feeling like I truly knew who I was and what I wanted in life.

    After four years of living in L.A., I felt like my soul had been injected with venom and I had been turned into an incredibly bitter, jaded, distrustful, asshole. It took me a good year and a half after I left to start to feel like myself again.

    That being said, while I love New York dearly, Seattle is where it’s at. :)

  7. Meagan

    I totally get it. I’m an NYC person I guess, because I lived in Chicago for 6 years and can relate more to NY than ever before. I like visiting LA but I don’t like a lot of the culture there. I mean Hollywood is cool but everyone there is for the most part “just trying to make it” and it leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. I like California living though and I’d much rather prefer that over NYC living, just somewhere other than LA for me. LIke Napa :)

    1. Tony Archer

      YES. Everyone trying to make it is a HUGE part of what I dislike about L.A. And it’s not anyone’s fault, that’s just how the city works. Everyone there is kind of there because they feel like they HAVE to be there. Whether it’s because they are trying to make it in the industry or because they finally broke into the industry and they have to stay there because that’s where the jobs are, you’re kind of stuck there. Eventually all that starving while you wait tables takes its toll and starts to seriously affect the psychic well being of not just that one individual, but the entire city.
      Then you take a place like the Pacific Northwest, which is so far out of the way that for the most part people are only here because they WANT to be here. The same with New York. People live in New York because they genuinely LOVE their city. It makes a huge difference on the very feel of a place.

  8. Lauren

    I’m with you, Doniree. This small town, Midwest girl picks NYC every time.

    The sparkle, the subway, the food – all of those are spot on. But then there’s the neighborhoods and CHRISTMAS and history and a sense of being a part of something big while at the same time reveling in complete anonymity.

    LA traffic makes me crazy. (Chicago traffic is equally as horrid; I traveled 14 miles in 56 minutes on 290 yesterday – and that was a REVERSE commute.) I can’t talk like those LA kids, either, which means I’ll never fit in. Where does that verbiage come from, anyways? The hiking is nice though. And the beach.

    Can we get a post about the glory that is the 612? MSP, what! 😉

  9. West Coaster

    At least on the west coast you don’t have crazy aggressive drivers that honk at you for any reason thinkable! I am a person too! I would really appreciate not being run over and cursed at, at the same time. Everyone is so self involved and in a rush. The city is a tad dirty and the subway made me cry (CRY) because it was so gross the first time I boarded it. I know LA has it faults too. But give me a relaxing environment where I can see trees about everywhere, people wearing colors other than mainly black, and wonderful weather.

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  12. caroline

    I am so glad I am not alone on this one. NYC is just…perfect. When I walk the streets of New York I feel so powerful. Magical is a good way to put it. I’ve lived in Dallas my whole life, and when I got to New York I finally felt like I was home. New York just gets me, you know?

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