Every day, dozens if not millions of beaten, disgruntled, crestfallen New Yorkers board a Jetblue flight to brave the harrowing journey west, with hope in their hearts and one last slice of Two Boots lining their stomachs, searching for a better life. “Culture-less fools!” you used to scoff over your pint at Spritzenhaus before getting kicked out for playing Jenga too “violently” and stumbling to the Nassau station to wait for the G train for 125 minutes. But now, after years of weathering snowstorms, subway delays and people – so, so many people – you’ve come to terms with the fact that New York has won. “Enough!” you cry to an empty train car. You’re doing it – you’re moving to LA! So welcome, fellow survivor. Here’s our very first list of LA neighborhoods as New York neighborhoods to help you navigate the paradise you now call home…
1.Venice :: Meatpacking District
Ten to twenty years ago, Venice was a mecca for stoners and skateboarders unbothered by the capitalist notion of a “workday.” Or “time.” Today, the main throughway, Abbot Kinney, is littered top to tail with gourmet ice cream parlors and vintage boutiques tucked between storefronts for every major fashion house. So yes, much like the Meatpacking district, Venice now attracts the same type of quality person that complains about the ice in their rosé melting. But if Gansevoort Street were on the beach, you’d be much more inclined to tolerate them, too.
2. Silverlake/Echo Park :: Williamsburg/East Williamsburg
One illuminating conversation with the restaurant owner of Silverlake’s sprawling Mexican gem, Casita del Campo, and you’ll hear of a time when they were practically giving the hillside land away for free. Today, you can’t get into the Gelson’s parking lot without a goddam reservation. Decades-old shacks will run you at least $1.4 million. But at least you’re within walking distance of Lamill Coffee Boutique and how else are you supposed to make eye contact with Zachary Quinto before quickly looking away because you’re from New York and you don’t give a shit about celebrity sightings, you counterculture rebel, you. The difference here is Echo Park is actually a distinct neighborhood, whereas “East Williamsburg” is a figment of our imaginations, like the “Shazaam” of our collective consciousness.
3. Glendale :: Greenpoint
Glendale is that large swath of land hovering over better, more desirable neighborhoods – like Atwater and Los Feliz – where friends and their dogs move to for the cheaper rents. They tell you things like “I have so much more space here” and “no but seriously the space.” And you nod along to their voice message, knowing deep down that you’ll never see them again because you live in East Hollywood and 15 minutes turns into 25 after 3pm and it’s really too bad, this friend always had LaCroix. However, if you really like this particular friend, then maybe you’ll take the 5 and meet them at Golden Road Brewing for a burger and cider, but only if you both have dogs that can play together on that dog deck. Otherwise, you’ll rain-check for next weekend. “But there is no rain,” he’ll quiver in his voice message. I know, friend. I know, you’ll think as you mute his IG stories forever.
4. Arts District :: Bushwick
The people that tell you Echo Park is LA’s Bushwick never lived in Bushwick. For graffiti wall-art aficionados, look no further than LA’s Arts District, a jungle of warehouses turned into fusion restaurants that serve activated charcoal cocktails from geometric champagne flutes. It doesn’t have the same grit as Bushwick, but you didn’t move to LA for grit, you moved for the vegan veggie pizza on a gluten-free crust at Pizzanista that you can finally indulge in without prejudice. Hey, your doctor told you that you’re legitimately gluten-intolerant and here in LA you can finally live your life free of that caustic New York city judgment.
5. Los Feliz :: Brooklyn Heights/Carroll Gardens
Sprawling estates cascade down the entrance to Griffith Park. But in a cool, totally unpretentious way. These aren’t the stuffy millionaires of the west side. These are hip families with rescue dogs, reusable tote bags, and sure, also millions of dollars. Their lawns might be perfectly manicured, but they attend intersectional, anti-establishment rallies and shop at Crossroads unironically. The cafes are adorable, the restaurants are delectable and the sweet songs of laughing children frolicking down Los Feliz Boulevard are delightful. Do we want to live there? Yes. Do we live there? If spending every waking moment at The Trails Cafe counts…then also yes.
6. Santa Monica :: Murray Hill
All the cookie-cutter polish of Murray Hill, but on the beach. An entire neighborhood of people who use “brunch” as a verb. A mix of late thirties yuppies pushing their first borns in thousand-dollar strollers and octogenarians who bought their oceanfront condos for five hundred dollars and a bundt cake in 1962. But, again, here in LA, “Murray Hill” is next to an ocean, and our Madison Square Park is a full-on amusement park on a pier! You’ll of course never go to the Santa Monica Pier unless your visiting uncle from Miami begs you to take his kids on the Ferris wheel – or you’re in a Carly Rae Jepsen video. But that ocean air truly makes everything better.
7. West Hollywood :: Chelsea
Copy-paste Chelsea to Los Angeles and you get West Hollywood. Loud, vibrant, fabulous. Restaurants and shops and purse dogs. You could’ve afforded to live in West Hollywood in college, but would’ve had to move to Koreatown for about a five-year stretch while you supported your writing career as a bartender. Now you’re a thirty-two-year-old staff writer on some new Freeform show, and back in paradise, baby! Time to celebrate at The Abbey with some skinny margs and guac. But not too much; you live in West Hollywood again. You can’t gain that Koreatown weight back or they’ll kick you out and send you to… gasp …Mid-City.
8. Hollywood :: Times Square
The literal worst. Tourists, shopping, lights, tourists, honking, yelling, vagrants dressed as Elmo, tourists, smells. …Tourists. If you find yourself on Hollywood Blvd. between Vine and LaBrea, it’s either because you were guilted into taking your family to the Walk of Fame or you blacked out and crashed a taping of Jimmy Kimmel Live. That, or you’re at the Oscars, which takes place in a mall by the way. And now that you live here, you must bear that knowledge as well.
9. Bel Air :: That stretch of 59th St. across from Central Park South
The wealthiest of the wealthy. Mansions guarded by Isreali hitmen. Streets lined with sky-high trimmed hedges. “Succession with palm trees.” Their Tesla is our Prius-with-stained-cloth-interiors. In New York, they’re wall street titans. In LA, they’re producers, lawyers and largely the Kardashians.
10. Koreatown :: Koreatown
Karaoke? Yes. Bubble Tea? You bet. We’re not saying it’s the exact same thing. But we’re not not saying that either. Hey, don’t fix what ain’t broke. The only big difference is that in LA, it’s an actual neighborhood and in New York, it’s a block-long stretch in midtown that you only really know about because of that Pinkberry that opened there in the late 2000’s.
Moving from Astoria and looking for a neighborhood with a Sanford’s Diner equivalent? Just completed Sketch 101 at UCB and ready to bump into Jason Mantzoukas in LA’s version of Hell’s Kitchen? Check back in for the next edition of LA As NY Neighborhoods So Incoming New Yorkers Know What The Hell Is Going On.