Now that I, a native Bostonian, have been out in Los Angeles for a month or so, I think I can offer a fair and (somewhat) impartial opinion on which coast is truly superior. I took a few different factors into account and this is what I’ve found out.
Having lived in D.C., Boston, and Los Angeles, I found that east-coast cities are more compact. Even New York–a geographically large city–has more “going on” per square mile than Los Angeles. Additionally, Los Angeles is a much shorter city, as in there aren’t really any skyscrapers outside of a few in Downtown, and even those are rare.
D.C. was a somewhat squat city, as well, but that was due to a city-wide building regulation over security and safety of the nation’s capital.
There is a lot more designated parking here in Los Angeles than any other major city in which I’ve lived. I guess this isn’t surprising, given how common driving is here compared to Boston.
The grid system out here is a lie. There are numbered streets, but they aren’t straight lines. There are more than just letters and numbers. The “other” streets don’t have any sensical pattern, unlike D.C.’s spoke-street system that logically complimented the numbered and lettered streets. Sure, Boston’s streets are completely chaotic, but no one pretends otherwise. Bostonians are proud of their streets.
Simply put, people are friendlier in the west. East coasters have a sense of self-importance. It comes from the idea that we move faster and therefore feel like we’re doing and accomplishing more. There’s obviously no real reason for our arrogance, but we’re too arrogant about our arrogance to stop being…arrogant. West coasters, or at least Los Angeles natives, are way more willing to accept themselves and their lifestyles as they are and to embrace individuality.
People are also more physically active here (shocker). In the land stereotyped by Green Juices and Yoga-Moms, it’s unsurprising that I’ve come across more boutique workout studios and gyms in my walk to work than anything else. The only comparison I can make is that studios here are equivalent to Dunkin’ Donuts in Boston; you can’t walk more than 10 minutes in any direction without bumping into one.
There are also more options outside of studios here. While Los Angeles isn’t a walkable city, the diverse geography allows for beach-side activity such as swimming, running, biking, or volleyball–but also hiking and trail running in the hills.
Pizza here sucks. I can’t say this is a theme among the whole west coast. Though I did struggle to find good pizza in D.C., I say my pizza experience here has been the worst of my city adventures.
On the bright side, there is plenty of Mexican food. While most of it is amazing, the high quantity of Mexican food also leaves a larger margin for error. I’ve had the misfortune of stumbling into a few less-than-great eateries myself, but the ratio is still 4:1, with great Mexican places in the lead. The tacos almost make me forget about the pizza.
In addition, there are barely any “normal” ice cream places. All the ice cream I’ve seen is Halo Top, dairy free, locally sourced, or organic. I recognize that these are all actually very good things, but would it kill the city to open up a Friendly’s or some other generic, over-sugared chain creameries?
Lastly, and most disappointing to my over-caffeinated self, there are significantly fewer coffee shops. Maybe it has to do with the density of east coast cities, but I felt like I was running into coffee shops every block in both cities back east–and not just Dunkin’ and Starbucks. Here, I have to walk a mile to find a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
Don’t get me started on how I feel about Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
In conclusion, my shockingly biased decision is that the east coast is superior in only the“vibe” category. Maybe this is just my east coast arrogance talking, though.
Sucharita Mukherjee, West Coast Correspondent
Sucharita is a native Bostonian, transplanted to Los Angeles for the semester. A second-year PR graduate student, she hopes to be a publicist and make the rich and famous seem stable and well adjusted. Her favorite activities include consuming Dunkin’ coffee, rooting for the Patriots, and quoting The Departed. She will have a tough time adjusting to life outside of Boston.