English: Octopus vulgaris, Octopodidae, Common...

English: Octopus vulgaris, Octopodidae, Common Octopus Staatliches

Just for today, I have this image of LA as an octopus without a heart.


So here’s my disclaimer: I live in LA and just came back from a short visit to NYC (5 days) and DC(4 days). So I really don’t know anything about those east coast cities and I do know a lot about LA.

I used to frown upon the snobbish attitude of the East Coasters but I’m beginning to change my mind.

Is the weather better in LA? I must be joking to even pose this question. The weather in NYC and DC is horrid!


Is it easy to be close to nature, valleys, mountains, parks in LA instead of seeing highrises all around you? My wise office mate Candace reminded me of all the beauty in LA. And Candace is always right.


Other than that? It is embarrassing to admit that after visiting these two cities for just a short time, it’s hard to be impressed by my city. Yes, I can come up with many great attributes of LA, but I will not be that sincere. Yes, it does look like women here have more Botox and facelifts than any other place in the world, so should I be proud of that record?

English: Joan Rivers at Musto's 25th Anniversary.


Both NYC and DC (hot and humid, which I abhor) were vibrant, exciting, energetic, and the most important attribute was seeing feet… I’m talking about people actually walking … like you can see their whole bodies … unlike L.A., where all we see is the top half behind a steering wheel.

They have public transportation, and ‘yes’ the subway can be dangerous, but on the other hand we’ve got drive-by shootings …


And, why don’t we have more theatre here? God knows we have the space to build it?

The Broadway Theatre, showing the musical The ...

The Broadway Theatre, showing the musical The Color Purple 1681 Broadway, Manhattan, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What Los Angeles lacks more than anything else is a sense of intimacy and community.

There are hundreds of reasonable explanations, but it really doesn’t make any difference. An explanation is not a justification. It’s still a sleepy town, and it is still not vibrant. And you can talk about the emergence of DTLA and places like Silverlake etc, but how many theatres do we have here? How often do you bump into another human being and most importantly, how often do you walk?

Let’s face it, in LA you have to drive your car in order to walk, as in: “Let’s drive to Santa Monica, so that we can walk in 3rd street promenade”. Something is wrong with this picture!


Did you ever go to a place that felt “just right”? Maybe you were a tourist, a new resident – but did you feel like you were going back to a familiar place and you had that feeling in your bones that you had come home … and that even if this is not home, you can make it a home? That is how I felt in New York City and Washington D.C.

English: Looking south from Top of the Rock, N...

English: Looking south from Top of the Rock, New York City


So, I’ve lived in LA for more than 35 years. I love my house, my beautiful backyard and many other things, but it’s not home – at least not for today.

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About rachel bar

Psychotherapist and supervisor.
This entry was posted in LOS ANGELES, NYC, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to LA-NYC-DC-LA

  1. Maurice Labi says:

    Bumping into people in L.A is as frequent as a meteor hitting earth. People do bump into people in the movies, screenplays that were written by New Yorkers.

  2. Jay says:

    Perhaps some time should be spent downtown. If you like that sort of atmosphere, and I understand why you do, it is exciting. There are something like 60,000 people living there now and a pretty vibrant nightlife exists as well as the busy daytime. When was the last time you spent an evening in LA rather than the Valley or Santa Monica? While it can’t compare to NY yet, if you had gone to Queens or Brooklyn or one of the City suburbs, you probably would have felt like you were right back in WH! Without the weather, of course

  3. Barbara Cooper says:

    As a born and raised transplanted to LA “New Yorker”, I feel compelled to comment on this post! No question, NY is a fabulous city, but not without many major inconveniences if you live there. For example, when it rains, and it does frequently, you will never find a cab. I think the moment the first raindrop falls, the cabs all run for cover. Yes, there is public transport, but late at night- I don’t think so if you are a woman alone. Yes, there is an energy to the city we don’t have here. But that energy is comprised of 8 million people who live in the city and millions more that commute in every day. It’s crowded and you must be aware of your surroundings at all times to be safe. If you live in NY, going to the supermarket is a challenge. No car to throw your bundles into. You schlep them down the street in a cart which, based on it’s size, is limiting. Yes, you can have your groceries delivered there, but then you don’t choose your meats or produce, you trust the workers at the market to pick it out and then deliver it. The prices of things are much higher there. Everything from apartments to food is astronomical. Space is a premium which doesn’t come cheap. Closets are virtually non existent, so storage is a problem. If you purchase a large item here- like a flat screen tv for example, you throw it in the car and drive home. In NY, you can’t do that.
    On the pro side, yes, there is wonderful theatre, but with the price of tickets being what there are, you don’t go as often as you think you might. Also on the pro side, if you are a night owl like me, all the restaurants are open late- very late.
    No, you don’t bump into people so much here in LA, but even with the multitudes in NY you don’t make friends easily. Especially now, when everyone has a cell phone attached to their ear at all times. When I moved into my first apartment in NYC, I didn’t meet my neighbors until the tri state area blackout in the summer of 1976. The lights went out and all my fellow apartment dwellers on my floor came out of their apartments and asked if anybody needed candles or a flashlight. I had been living there 6 months and had not met these people before then. Because it is so crowded, everyone keeps to themselves by building an imaginary wall around themselves for some semblance of privacy.
    Don’t get me wrong, I love NY and always will. But, I don’t think I would want to live there again. I think, Rachel, that what you experienced is what all tourists experience. You went on your trip ready to enjoy and you did. We have a different mind set when we travel, are thoughts are on new experiences and enjoying life, ready to try new things. I bet if you had the same mind set here at home you would see and experience more great things about LA. And, there is always the weather!

  4. Stephanie Kirschner says:

    Community is key. Probably the single most important component to happiness (unless you’re not tribal at all). I actually miss living in the kibbutz, where if I went to sit on my front porch with a cup of coffee, there would be a couple of people to hang out with within minutes. And I walk every day! It’s just around the neighborhood, but at least I’m moving!

  5. Maddy Zimring says:

    For me, LA is all about the weather and proximity to beach and mountains. I even love the heat of the Valley in the Summer.
    Does that trump great, theater, fabulous walking, superior museums, terrific public transportation, and sense of energy…..I guess so, but i do miss the other things. Thank goodness we can visit the other things in New York, D.C., Chicago, and even San Francisco!

    • rachel bar says:

      ” great, theater, fabulous walking, superior museums, terrific public transportation, and sense of energy….” That’s what I’m talking about!

  6. Carol Bishop says:

    I love NYC!! I miss NYC!! I need lots of money to go back and live on the upper West Side or in the Village!! Anyone want to sponsor me?!! I am never more enlivened, than when I am home, ahh-h, NYC!!!!!!! Every birthday as children, my parents would take us to the theater. When we got older, the ballet and the opera.I remember seeing Mary Martin fly through the air as Peter Pan, HAIR, with real naked people on stage!! and Richard Kiley in Man of La Mancha! There is nothing that compares to Broadway theater in LA!! Or seeing Rudolph Nureyev in Swan Lake at Lincoln Center, or the primate exhibit at the Museum of Natural History -a must!! And let’s not forget the Sabrette stand! Can you imagine a world without a Sabrette hotdog, saurkraut and red onions? Not possible, unfathomable. Let’s go 1968 Mets!!! I am so glad you had a great time in NY Rachel, I wish I could have been there to take you to some old haunts. Great jazz, great food, check out my old High School, a great old brownstone building on72nd between Amsterdam and Columbus. I need to win the lottery!!!

  7. Yoram says:

    Try israel will have both L.A. & emotional to live here

  8. Amy Ebert says:

    Very valid & interesting observations of L.A., Rachel. Minneapolis was one of those places for me that felt like home automatically…although the weather there is horrible…the people are usually warm, friendly, intelligent, and foster/practice a sense of interdependence. Perhaps that interdependence is due to the awful weather! ;D Oh, and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is pretty awesome!

    I hear you on the seemingly lack of community in L.A. I think some people who strive to create theirs do eventually find that sense of community here. I haven’t quite put my finger yet on why so many don’t find that here for a long time (if ever). Perhaps, as you mentioned, it’s because L.A is such a sprawling metropolis & most people drive everywhere. Hopefully, more $$ will be generated to improve our public transportation system now that we’re finally dispensing with the “honor system” for the subway. Fingers crossed more people out & about will improve L.A.’s sense of community!

    BTW–I feel a little bit more of a sense of community at the Hollywood Farmers’ market on Sundays (Hollywood & Vine). It has a cool, funky vibe with all the little bands playing. They even had cute baby goats a few weeks ago! You get all makes & models intermingling there. Bring a hat though because that space is uber-lacking in shade trees! Scott & I are a little spoiled though by living across the street from the NoHo subway station. We can hop on & zip away to a lot of fun locations, and then walk on to even more areas. Anything to avoid having to drive in L.A.! 😀

    • rachel bar says:

      I think that inasmuch as we don’t want to be crowded, too much space and distance is bad for the soul. The subway is a good way of interacting, if you use it regularly.

  9. Melissa says:

    Nope, sorry, NY is not for me. I feel like I’m being crushed by all the concrete and bodies. I don’t disagree about LA though… miles and miles of topography with only a few scattered gems to be found. Never thought I’d move here and raise kids, but here I am. Give me a cabin in the woods on a lake at the top of a mountain with no one for miles around and I’d be happy as a clam – so long as you came to visit occasionally 🙂

  10. rachel bar says:

    Dear Mel, how often can I come to your cabin?

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