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Old 01-16-2010, 12:09 PM
 
2,179 posts, read 2,812,842 times
Reputation: 2570

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I've been in L.A. for 15 years. It took me a good five years to like it. I had to go home for 6 mos. before I appreciated the uniqueness of L.A. I grew up on the East Coast, in a compact, old, walkable, 4 season, ethnic neighborhood type city, as many L.A. transplants did; and I think that was my bias, that was my problem; for years I tried to find the same thing in L.A. Once I left and came back and stopped looking for home here, I started to see L.A. for the unique place that it is, and now I love it.

L.A. gets a bad rap, that's my point. It is perhaps the most misunderstood city in the U.S. It is not New York, it is not Boston or Philly, and that is why so many transplants just don't get it. It is one of the most sprawling cities in the world, it is almost a non-city with its lack of real centralization and yet everything you want is "about 20 minutes" away. City life, beach, mountains, suburbs that go on forever. And also, the people get such a bad rap. Contrary to the stereotypes they are not vapid, superficial or rude. They are friendly, yet respectful of your space. They are state of the art smart, yet not stuffy and snobbish. They are free thinkers, and yet not without disciplined thought. I am generalizing here of course; we've all known exceptions.

If you love L.A., post why. If you hate it, then post your reasons for that. Please say if you are a native or not, and how L.A. lifestyle compares with where you are from.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Mt Washington: NELA
1,162 posts, read 2,842,328 times
Reputation: 636
I have read hundreds (if not more) generalizations of Los Angeles, and been subjected to just as many via media. I believe the one thing critics either do not understand, or fail to mention is the sheer enormity/variety here. The old transit system made it possible to commute far away from downtown and still call ourselves Angelenos. Now those far-flung places are neighborhoods, all with a different vibe and character. If anyone wants to REALLY know this place, they have to explore endlessly. I've lived in the City for 15 years and am still finding interesting neighborhoods and people. I will never see it all. And you're right, the sprawl is the reason why. If someone lands in an area of L.A. that they end up hating, well I guess it just dooms us all as losers who live in some sort of vapid, cultural wasteland overseen by gangs and weirdos. Not only is that unfair, its downright ignorant.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:39 PM
 
2,179 posts, read 2,812,842 times
Reputation: 2570
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickdahammer View Post
I have read hundreds (if not more) generalizations of Los Angeles, and been subjected to just as many via media. I believe the one thing critics either do not understand, or fail to mention is the sheer enormity/variety here. The old transit system made it possible to commute far away from downtown and still call ourselves Angelenos. Now those far-flung places are neighborhoods, all with a different vibe and character. If anyone wants to REALLY know this place, they have to explore endlessly. I've lived in the City for 15 years and am still finding interesting neighborhoods and people. I will never see it all. And you're right, the sprawl is the reason why. If someone lands in an area of L.A. that they end up hating, well I guess it just dooms us all as losers who live in some sort of vapid, cultural wasteland overseen by gangs and weirdos. Not only is that unfair, its downright ignorant.
Great post Nick. There is no end to the adventures you can encounter in L.A. if you are willing to explore. There was a time I'd get in my car everyday and venture out and into L.A., and I had some very interesting experiences. Wish I had the freedom to do it again. Also, beyond L.A. proper or even the County there is California, one of the most beautiful, interesting states in the country. We've been here the same amount of years. Are you from the East? You don't have to be specific. Just curious if you were looking for the same that I was.
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Old 01-16-2010, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Anaheim
1,827 posts, read 3,296,288 times
Reputation: 1157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Humble View Post
I've been in L.A. for 15 years. It took me a good five years to like it. I had to go home for 6 mos. before I appreciated the uniqueness of L.A. I grew up on the East Coast, in a compact, old, walkable, 4 season, ethnic neighborhood type city, as many L.A. transplants did; and I think that was my bias, that was my problem; for years I tried to find the same thing in L.A. Once I left and came back and stopped looking for home here, I started to see L.A. for the unique place that it is, and now I love it.

L.A. gets a bad rap, that's my point. It is perhaps the most misunderstood city in the U.S. It is not New York, it is not Boston or Philly, and that is why so many transplants just don't get it. It is one of the most sprawling cities in the world, it is almost a non-city with its lack of real centralization and yet everything you want is "about 20 minutes" away. City life, beach, mountains, suburbs that go on forever. And also, the people get such a bad rap. Contrary to the stereotypes they are not vapid, superficial or rude. They are friendly, yet respectful of your space. They are state of the art smart, yet not stuffy and snobbish. They are free thinkers, and yet not without disciplined thought. I am generalizing here of course; we've all known exceptions.

If you love L.A., post why. If you hate it, then post your reasons for that. Please say if you are a native or not, and how L.A. lifestyle compares with where you are from.
I am a native of Southern California, born in LA County, whose parents grew up in the city (my dad lives there once again).

I accept the place for what it is. My perspective has always been that of a visitor from another generation, though I have always had and still have family connections there. This is where my great-grandfather settled when he came from Italy; this is where my grandfather stayed and made his home; it is where my dad returned to after my parents divorced (we were living in Orange County while I was growing up, and I still live here).

But to me it IS old; it is a different place than my daily surroundings for most of my life; it is as if I was traveling through somebody else's life.

There are parts of LA that I would live in, were I to make my home there, but much of it is just TOO crowded for me. My dad lives in a not too crowded part (for LA) but my last foray into Mid-Wilshire had me on my toes, more because of heavy auto traffic and pedestrians than anything else. It was actually better driving-wise down Western afterwards (less traffic) through the southside and noting that, though I was driving through "the ghetto", that these are suburban style neighborhoods, having houses with yards and the like, though still densely populated.

But I hate it when people "dis" LA because of their OWN experience. They don't do their homework, or they believe the TV ads and what Hollywood portrays the "LA lifestyle" as being. They come here expecting eternal sunshine and get pissed off when it rains in January. They come here and then get weird because they can't find any "decent" chili con carne (as one Houstonian told me; he could probably make it himself by buying the ingredients at the store, given his description of the stuff).

They come expecting to be able to live at the beach for a song and then realize they will need roommates to make it or will have to live in the central city or even the hinterlands to make daily life work for them.

They may even come thinking that they will find their blond-haired, blue-eyed "California beach bunny", only to find that there are FAR more dark-haired, dark-skinned, brown-eyed women that don't visit the beach very much, but spend their days working the counter at Taco Bell or the Social Services Agency or wherever. A fair number have yellow skin and slanted eyes as well and may well be that person that is taking your blood pressure and sticking a needle in your arm for a blood test at the doctor's office.

I don't know how many people out there (in this country) are dull enough to REALLY think that what is portrayed on TV shows and radio/internet hype via popular culture is the essential truth, of even part of it, regarding LA. (indeed, any place)

I accept LA for what it is, good and bad.
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:25 PM
 
10,630 posts, read 22,753,005 times
Reputation: 6687
Not a native. I ended up loving LA almost immediately (despite my assumptions that I'd hate it), but then again, I did move to a compact, old, walkable, very diverse neighborhood (Hollywood). It was weird: a blend of the familiar coupled with the exotic and new. I'm not in LA now (although would move back if the opportunity were to arise), but love the diversity of all kinds: people, food, architecture, history, neighborhoods, etc. Less diversity on the weather front, which took some getting used to, but then I realized that while LA might not have the seasons I was used to from the Midwest and East Coast (born and raised in MN, moved to the mid-Atlantic, and from there to LA), it still has its own seasonal variations.

I agree with much of what's been written, especially about hating it when people move to LA (by choice, even!) because of some media-fueled dream, then bash the city because the city doesn't match up with the myth.

LA is a complicated place. It's different than other cities, and it can be difficult to understand. That's what I like about it. It never gets old. There are so many layers to be discovered and new places to explore.

I can understand the frustrations that come with high cost of living, though. I know it's not as bad as some cities, but it's still a difficult place for middle class (or even tougher, low income) people to raise kids, in large part because of the school issues. Many people also have to give up the dream of owning their own home; given society's larger message that home ownership IS the American Dream, that can be difficult. Especially for those of us who have family and friends elsewhere who are able to buy a house, travel, save for retirement, and still have a little left over. I love LA, but for many people it does require some sacrifice to live there.

I agree that LA is the (or at least one of) most misunderstood cities in the US. It's also fashionable among many circles to hate LA. I don't care if people don't like the city, but I do dislike it when they justify it using false "facts" presented as universal truths. Things like the "LA is just one big suburb," "everyone in LA is plastic," "there's no culture," "everyone judges you on what car you drive," (not to mention the "everyone drives and there's no public transportation" myth, but that's another complaint...) etc.

In short, I think LA is an endlessly fascinating place. Like any city it has its good and its bad sides. It's also often a city of extremes. Some people like that, some don't, but whatever it is, it isn't boring.
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