New York City vs Los Angeles
#1
Sup Swoopers,
 
I’ve lived half my life in LA and the other in NY, and wanted to provide a comparison for those of you interested in either. Or maybe you’re trying to decide where to live. Either way, here’s the write-up nobody asked for lol.
 
Some quick background on me: Born and raised in LA, left for college in NYC at 18 and have been here ever since (now early 30s). I go back home frequently for vacations and holidays and think I have a pretty good lay of the land in both cities.
 
If you just want the tl;dr version, here it is. Detailed explanations follow them below.

Quote:Summary

  • Earning Potential - NY
  • Cost of Living - LA
  • Commuting - Depends
  • Dating - NY
  • People/Culture - Depends
  • Activities - LA
  • Nightlife - NY
  • Weather – LA
Overall – It’s a tie, so you’ll probably end up deciding based on your priorities and/or deal-breakers. In general, NYC works best for the go-getters who don’t mind burning the candle at both ends, aka the Work-Hard/Play-Hard crew. You thrive on competition and want to squeeze life for all its worth, and you don’t mind sacrificing sleep or paying a premium to do it. LA is better if you prefer to have more balance in your life, with better weather and access to outdoor activities, although you’ll have to accept the general phoniness of people around you, and will always feel like you’re being underpaid.
 
Before we begin, just know that there are always going to be exceptions/caveats. I’ll try to cover as many of them as possible.
 
Earning Potential: NYC (but it depends on your industry)

It’s important to consider mid-career salaries rather than entry-level, since entry level salaries (as well as salaries 20 years in) can be skewed for all sorts of reasons. In NYC, if you can make it through the meat-grinder of the first few years on your (likely) poverty wages, your salary progressions can become quite good, since the ceiling can be really really high…much higher than in LA. They do have a lower cost of living in LA, sure, but that’s also reflected in the lower salaries and lower overall ceilings/room for growth.
 
I know this from personal experience, and especially since I have the benefit of comparing where I am now to my friends who stayed in LA. We are all mid-career now, ~10 years in, so it’s a good point in life to make these kinds of comparisons. 
 
*CAVEAT: Your industry matters a lot. Techies should head to SF (yes, even with the insane cost of living) while oil/gas should head to Houston if all they cared about was maximizing their earning potential. But in a pound-for-pound comparison between LA and NY, your salary will grow better in NYC. All of my NYC friends (myself included) lived on poverty wages in our early to mid-20s. Our LA counterparts were pretty much on parity with us, but had the benefit of cheaper living costs. It wasn’t until maybe ~5 years in that we were getting the meaningful bumps in pay/promotions that finally made NYC livable (and by extension, put most of us in the top 75-90% of US salaries before age 30). That was about when the situation began favoring us in NY. And after 10 years, it was really no contest.
 
Cost of Living: LA (but that’s reflected in the lower overall salaries)

*CAVEAT: Obviously CoL can differ even between neighborhoods within a city. It can depend a lot on your own money habits too. It’s hard to make a direct apples-to-apples comparison, but for all intents and purposes, the per-square-foot price of NYC is higher than LA’s.
 
People may be surprised to hear that it is actually possible to make any budget work in either city. Seriously. You can make 30k/year in NYC and there WILL be housing options for you as well. They will suck hard donkey dick, possibly requiring hours-long commutes, but it always surprises me how much some NYers can do with so little.
 
I live in Brooklyn now (not far from Barclays) paying around 2k/month all-up to share an apt with 2 other dudes. It can feel a little bit claustrophobic at times (maybe mostly cuz of the GFs being over all the time). But I saw an awesome spacious high-rise studio in Downtown LA on Zillow going for just under 2k/month and it included rooftop swimming pool, gym, parking, and various other amenities. I was a bit jelly, can’t lie. But I also don't think I'd be getting the salary I get now if I moved to LA.
 
Commuting: Depends (pick your poison) 

I spent my 20s in a constant drunken stupor. Having a metro was a godsend then. Now in my 30s, I’m sober (health/productivity reasons). And while I feel a million times better, I also notice things more. Like the dreary winter weather. And the homeless/crazy people sharing space with me in the metro now. And it makes me think, “I’d rather sit in traffic in the comfort of my own space in my car.”
 
So I think this really depends on what you are willing to put up with.
 
Dating: NYC (hands down) 

LA County is literally organized to promote isolation and loneliness, making it difficult (outside of a few areas) to have the kind of random chance encounters with members of the opposite sex in ways that wouldn’t come off creepy or weird.
 
It is, in essence, just a collection of suburbs and their being so spread out doesn’t do you any favors logistically. Combine that with a general cliquey and standoff-ish attitude and you get a pretty shitty dating environment that encourages high dating app use, loads of flakiness, and a situation that is mostly in the female’s control. (I think by this point, we’ve all come to accept that dating apps circa 2019 are complete garbage.)
 
NYC, on the other hand, is about as close as you can get to poosy paradise on Earth, no exaggeration. Not only are there literally millions of young women to select from, the sheer variety and constant influx of new girls means you are spoiled for options.
 
I’ve never been a fan of dating apps, especially in NYC. You can go out any night you’re feeling lonely and there’s almost 100% guarantee you’ll at least run into a girl who’s digging your style. Whether you convert is up to you, but the sheer opportunities are truly endless here. It doesn’t even matter whether you’re her “type” anyway since 99% of women’s types involve a guy who’s just into them at all/paying them attention and chatting them up. But when you exist in such close quarters with so many different people each day, you’re bound to lock eyes with at least one or two who at least found something interesting about you. It's all really just a numbers game, after all.
 
*CAVEAT: NYC is a “go-getter” city in every sense of the word. If you want to get more pay at work, it’s not enough to do a good job and just “hope they notice.” You still need to fight for it and know how to really sell yourself. Dating here is no different. It doesn’t matter if you’re a young good-looking millionaire, girls still prize action-oriented personalities. Which is good news. As long as your hygiene is adequate and you’re not afraid to talk to girls, being of average looks really doesn’t hurt your chances here (as it would in LA).
 
People/Culture: Depends (though I prefer NYers)

I grew up in LA, which means I know how to “speak” LA. That means we are superficially nice to one another and agree with whatever we say for the sake of avoiding potential conflict. We will also make plans with others that we will probably not keep/flake out on. Our friend circles are complete by the time we graduate high school or college and we don’t accept anybody else after that.
 
NYers, on the other hand, will be blunt, no-bs, and straight to the point with you. They don’t care about hurting your little feelings. However, I’ve always suspected that they’re mostly nice peeps deep down who are willing to lend a hand if you ask for it. Their dynamic reminds me of military units, where everybody is always clowning on one another but will have each others backs in a pinch. I also think NYers generally work harder, are smarter, and do more impressive shit than LA folk.
 
But the culture of NY definitely reminds you (constantly) that you are just another rat in the race for more of that almighty dollar. You’re a hamster that has to run ever faster on the wheel because you feel like you’ll get left behind if you don’t. And you quickly learn that you are extremely replaceable because there’s always someone hungrier than you willing to work for less. It’s a lot of pressure, no doubt.
 
So this depends on what kind of environment best suits you and/or gets the best out of you. I think that while I do enjoy the more laid-back environment of LA, I am definitely at my most productive/best here in NYC. But this really depends on the individual.
 
Activities: LA 

10 years ago, I would have said NYC without question. At that time, my favorite hobby was probably binge-drinking. I used to tell myself that I had varied interests back then, since I did go to lots of live music events, jazz shows, baseball games, raves, and other social activities. But what was really happening was that the real activity I was showing up for was the heavy drinking…the jazz and the baseball and whatnot kind of just provided a different backdrop.
 
Since I went sober, I’ve been getting more into lifting weights, eating clean, getting lots of healthy sleep, hiking/camping, surfing, and actual outdoors stuff…not just drinking outdoors. It’s changed my preference from NYC to LA. So much of NYC is run on alcohol that I’m hard-pressed to think of a lot of activities that don’t involve drinking here.
 
Nightlife: NYC (hands down) 

I don’t think anyone will dispute this. No lame 2am last calls, true 24/7 city, tons of fun places, no worries about drunk driving.
 
Weather: LA

I used to think LA weather was just…boring, since it was always the same shit every day. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC that I found myself excitedly looking forward to seasonal changes. When the spring rains stopped, we were all very excited for all the rooftop bars to open again for the summer. Then, when the leaves fell, we’d go do things like apple picking or pumpkin carving, trying different beers to match the different foods for each season. 
 
But the winters do get dark, depressing, and dreary and makes you hate being in NYC. At least until spring/summer comes around, at which point you magically forget how shitty that winter just was.
 
For as boring as LA’s weather can seem, it’s a really nice year-round temperate climate that lets you enjoy the outdoors as much as you want, while NYers have no choice but to lock themselves indoors for several months on end.
 
Thanks for reading. Share your thoughts!
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#2
I just got accepted for a job offer in NYC, it's outside the city in the Mt Vernon area. Can anyone recommend some areas to look for with not outrageous rent that aren't completely ghetto? I'm interested in Queens and the Bronx for an easy commute.
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#3
If you were to live only half the year (warmer months), would you say it would win hands down?
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#4
(11-08-2019, 03:43 PM)20Nation Wrote: If you were to live only half the year (warmer months), would you say it would win hands down?

Definitively YES. May to October.
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#5
Neither?

NYC is too expensive for the average young professional earning less than 200k. If you have a trust fund, or you're in your 20s, maybe. By the time you reach 30 though, do you really want roommates? Do you want to make all those sacrifices just to live in a place? At some point you want to save money and have a place for yourself. I've been cockblocked many the time by the roommate situation. I disagree that NYC makes up for it with salary, it doesn't in most fields. Only a few fields benefit slightly from NYC salaries, like Finance. Don't underestimate the cost of living...Not sure what field you are in, but the best salaries for tech are not in San Francisco, they're in Texas - when you adjust for the cost of living.

Living near the Barclay Center with roommates is tantamount to living in Baltimore, with none of the advantages (I'd rather live in Baltimore actually). I can vouch, I lived in both places and I only lasted a few months in Brooklyn before I high tailed it to Manhattan where my quality of life dropped even more despite being generally more happy with the location/girls. I'm 36 and I would not move back to NYC unless I could afford a decent place by myself (no roommates) in Manhattan somewhere in the vicinity of Soho, Union Square, East Village, LES, or West Village. It's not worth it to me otherwise. An okay apartment in one of the ideal spots by yourself is something like 3.5 - 4k per month. How much do you want to spend on housing just to live near a bunch of bars?

Your lifestyle can be had in a city that's more affordable and easier to deal with, that's what I'm basically saying. There's nothing special about Brooklyn chicks. Yes, the weather sucks. Downtown LA is shitty and LA in general is a logistical nightmare.

I don't have much use for 4am or 5am closing times in my Mid-30s, it's not a draw for me. If i'm going to pull a mostly sober girl, it's going to be before 2am anyway.

RE: living in the Bronx/Queens...
I personally would back out of a job offer if it required me living and working anywhere but Manhattan and even in Manhattan, my commute was 45 minutes on the subway, which is ironically longer than it is in Dallas where I am now. You can get a better/more affordable urban experience than Bronx/Queens/Brooklyn in a bunch of nearby cities including Philly, Baltimore, or DC.
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#6
What's wrong with the Barclay Centre? Pretty middle class black area, seems to me. And you can't really get any closer to Manhattan in Brooklyn than that.
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#7
(11-08-2019, 08:44 PM)churros Wrote: What's wrong with the Barclay Centre? Pretty middle class black area, seems to me. And you can't really get any closer to Manhattan in Brooklyn than that.

I agree with you that it's closer to Manhattan than other places, but I never underestimate the logistical hassle of crossing the river to get onto the Island with how crappy the Subway has been in the past few years. If I live in Brooklyn, I'm mostly hanging out in Brooklyn... Most Manhattan people don't want to cross the river for a date, that's just how it is...

Nothing wrong with Barclay's on the face of it, but when you've lived in other Northeast cities like I have it doesn't feel any different than Philly or Baltimore or anywhere else, and I'm paying a lot more for it. The bar scene in those parts is pretty sleepy.
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#8
(11-08-2019, 07:21 PM)fullthrottle Wrote: Neither?

NYC is too expensive for the average young professional earning less than 200k. If you have a trust fund, or you're in your 20s, maybe. By the time you reach 30 though, do you really want roommates? Do you want to make all those sacrifices just to live in a place? At some point you want to save money and have a place for yourself. I've been cockblocked many the time by the roommate situation. I disagree that NYC makes up for it with salary, it doesn't in most fields. Only a few fields benefit slightly from NYC salaries, like Finance. Don't underestimate the cost of living...Not sure what field you are in, but the best salaries for tech are not in San Francisco, they're in Texas - when you adjust for the cost of living.

Living near the Barclay Center with roommates is tantamount to living in Baltimore, with none of the advantages (I'd rather live in Baltimore actually). I can vouch, I lived in both places and I only lasted a few months in Brooklyn before I high tailed it to Manhattan where my quality of life dropped even more despite being generally more happy with the location/girls. I'm 36 and I would not move back to NYC unless I could afford a decent place by myself (no roommates) in Manhattan somewhere in the vicinity of Soho, Union Square, East Village, LES, or West Village. It's not worth it to me otherwise. An okay apartment in one of the ideal spots by yourself is something like 3.5 - 4k per month. How much do you want to spend on housing just to live near a bunch of bars?

Your lifestyle can be had in a city that's more affordable and easier to deal with, that's what I'm basically saying. There's nothing special about Brooklyn chicks. Yes, the weather sucks. Downtown LA is shitty and LA in general is a logistical nightmare.

I don't have much use for 4am or 5am closing times in my Mid-30s, it's not a draw for me. If i'm going to pull a mostly sober girl, it's going to be before 2am anyway.

RE: living in the Bronx/Queens...
I personally would back out of a job offer if it required me living and working anywhere but Manhattan and even in Manhattan, my commute was 45 minutes on the subway, which is ironically longer than it is in Dallas where I am now. You can get a better/more affordable urban experience than Bronx/Queens/Brooklyn in a bunch of nearby cities including Philly, Baltimore, or DC.

Lol, I actually entirely agree with you...

A lot of what made NYC fun was just being young and dumb (and broke...even that kinda had its charms). But if you don't drink and party much anymore or make enough money, what's the point of living in the city with the world's best nightlife, right? Kinda loses the only real edges it had. 

What's keeping me here at the moment is 
  • My current salary (~90k+bonuses) drops to around 60k in LA for the same job. It'll be hard to get what I get anywhere else in the US. But then again, I haven't checked out every other city. It's just that NYC and LA are the #1 and #2 largest cities and metros of the US, so they're probably the best starting points. Plus, people in my industry are fighting to get into NYC, which means I'm right where I need to be anyway.
  • My mgmt team/owners really want to see me succeed...like I said above regarding People/Culture, NYers may seem tough and walled-off upfront but if you show you care and want it, they'll go out of their way to help you out. Since a year ago, I could tell I was being groomed for the 150k+ exec/upper mgmt jobs, since I'm being involved in a lot of pretty key decision making. To be honest, I don't think LA bosses give a shit about your career progression. A bit harsh, I know. But having grown up there, I really don't think I would trust them to go this far to help a young ambitious cat out. There's a bit of this "What, this punk thinks he knows better than me?" kinda attitude. In NYC, however, it's more "Alright, so this kid's got some potential...let's see how far he can go."
  • The girls. I think both quantity and quality drop off precipitously in any city outside of NYC. It's disingenuous to say there's nothing special about Brooklyn girls when there are literally millions of them here and you haven't met them all yet. I would even guarantee with 99% certainty that there are girls here who are just your type that you will cross paths with on a daily basis. I don't know Texas, but can you really get those awesome random chance encounters that frequently just by going about your day there?
There's no perfect place. I think both NYC and LA are great for different reasons. My HS buddy in LA would never hack it in NYC, so he made the right call staying in LA. He's into yoga and surfing and spiritualism and doesn't want to work any more than he absolutely has to. But the overall slower pace of LA combined with the lack of professional development and difficulty meeting girls would have driven me crazy.

So he and I both made the right call by looking inward at our priorities (and non-negotiables) and making decisions based on that.
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#9
(11-08-2019, 10:41 PM)Coast2Coast Wrote: What's keeping me here at the moment is 
  • My current salary (~90k+bonuses) drops to around 60k in LA for the same job. It'll be hard to get what I get anywhere else in the US. But then again, I haven't checked out every other city. It's just that NYC and LA are the #1 and #2 largest cities and metros of the US, so they're probably the best starting points. Plus, people in my industry are fighting to get into NYC, which means I'm right where I need to be anyway.

Run those numbers in a cost of living calculator. 60k in LA is about 90k in NYC - depending on which calculator you use, so your friends aren't really earning that much less than you. Also, I don't exactly know what you do for a living, but the assumption based purely on "#1 and #2 largest cities and metros" is not a good one. Dallas pays better for a large number of jobs, even in terms of raw salary as do other cities like Atlanta or Austin or even Denver. I'm a Software Engineer in Dallas and I'd make about the same in NYC, where I should be making close to 90-100k more to account for cost of living difference. Generally, if people in your industry are fighting to get into a place, that place is going to pay less! Nobodies fighting to move to Dallas, lol. I get money thrown at me to stay here.

You should be more cynical about upper management promises as they can easily renig and don't get all excited about "being groomed". I've had similar promises thrown my way over the years. You can definitely find higher paying work elsewhere. Personally, I wouldn't live in LA on 60k any more than I'd live in NYC for 90k. After the taxes, you're getting robbed! I actually made less in raw salary in TX when I moved here but my paycheck was bigger than NYC because there's no state or city income tax! Your equivalent salary here in Dallas is 40k. I couldn't even live well here making that. That's basically entry level college grad wages. Most all the 23-25 year olds I work with, who are not even engineers, make 60-70k.

I've lived in a lot of places, I can give you the low down on some cities from living and dating there and others by visiting. For example, dating in NYC was the worst of any of the cities I've lived in, even Dallas where a lot of girls are not only better looking, but more conservative both in appearance and personality with less tattoos, more makeup, bigger breasts, better bodies. If you're sheerly comparing places based on how hot the girls are, then Miami wins - sorry. NYC chicks with their weird clothing styles, paleness, manly attitudes, and overall feminist beliefs doesn't win a contest for me - and Brooklyn is pretty much the epicenter of that shit. You don't have to tell me, I lived there. Where NYC wins is just sheer quantity of girls to fornicate with, if that's your bag. Take a few trips to Vegas a year and you'll have the same thing.

Chance encounters in Dallas? I've had them, but yeah NYC is good for that. I'm not going to try to sell you on Dallas, I'm actually trying to get out of here, but I ain't moving back to NYC. There are a lot of great places. Chicago is a great city! Miami and Tampa and actually, Houston is pretty dope and has the right demographics (latinas and asians), the chicks are so friendly. Atlanta is NYC South - and you'll find a lot of cute Southern Belle's there, and the ratios are the best.
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#10
Nice datasheet. I say neither because both are expensive and I hate nightlife and traffic but that's just my opinion.

Depends on where you want to fly out as well. LA is close to Vegas, Hawaii, and Southeast Asia. NYC gives you access to South America, Florida, and Europe.
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#11
Good stuff dude. I just made the move from LA to NYC back in summer, loving it so far. The work grind is real though.
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#12
What's wrong with the Barclay Centre?
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