Recently a lot of people I know have abandoned the great city of New York for Los Angeles, our long time nemesis. Betrayal, anger, I thought we were in this together, and other feelings were felt, but they all muttered something about sunshine and backyards and went on their merry way. For the month of November I'll be living there, and in an effort to "get" this whole LA thing before touching down in the land of loneliness, juice bars, and driving everywhere, I reached out to some experts. Some bi-coastals. Some people who I thought just might have some advice for a scared, pale New Yorker who doesn't really care for sunshine much.
"My dear friend, the actor Ken Page, who lived in both places for years told me that New York is a river and LA a lake. New York has a current that pulls you in some direction. Where LA has none. So you have to row your boat in LA. You gotta get motivated. LA will test your passions, friendships, beliefs. You live in LA long enough, you change. You have to." — Alec Baldwin
"My only advice would be don’t ever hold forth on what you’ve left behind. If you start publicly pining for Murray’s Cheese, the Met, your friends, whatever—you have to understand they have heard it all before, are over it, and if you keep it up they are well within their rights to hurt you." — Chris Eigeman
"I'm sure there are others but there are three great bookstores in LA that I like to visit. Since LA is so vast in a kind of hallucinatory way for a New Yorker, it's necessary to speak of these stores geographically, as if you were talking about a country or a continent. One is in the West, one is in the Mid-West or the Mid-East, depending on how you look at things, and one is in the (far) East. The westernmost store, in Venice Beach, is Small World Books, in the mid-west, or what's known as West Hollywood, you have Book Soup, and in the east, in Los Feliz, you have Skylight Books. Chances are that anyone visiting LA will be in one of those three regions, and so where ever you may be a great bookstore—such a rare thing these days, kind of like a vinyl record shop—will be in reach." — Jonathan Ames
"Make and keep plans with friends to detract from the inherent loneliness of suburbia. Learn to cook or have meals in your home because Seamless is no longer your right hand man. Go hiking—it's counterintuitive, but you'll have to think about making plans to do what New Yorkers naturally do all the time, which is walk everywhere. Get a sense of humor about show business—remember that everybody in LA is a stone's throw away from Las Vegas, literally, spiritually and conceptually. See as many movies and bizarre theater things as you can, especially any kind of one person show starring a C-List celebrity, because those make for great stories when you come back east. Beware of rattlesnakes and women who talk about exercise or blow-outs too much. Don't get a nose job—look what happened to Jennifer Grey. Finally, don't wait for bad weather to stay in and do your work. You won't get anything done that way." — Julie Klausner
"When in LA, you absolutely MUST drive south on the 405 at around nine am. It really personalizes the whole "LA traffic" thing in a way that is bound to give you the ultimate LA experience." — Michael Ian Black
And finally, Native New Yorker Jake Dobkin delivers an all-encompassing assortment of tips:
1. Traffic is a nightmare so you need to work around it by going in the opposite direction or taking city streets during rush hour
2. Hiking is a balm to the soul, and there are hikes literally within 15 minutes of driving from every LA neighborhood. Some of my favorites include Runyon Canyon, the Hollywood Sign hike in Griffith Park, Wilacre Park above the valley, and the Temescal Loop, but there are dozens of beautiful hikes all over.
3. Drive to Malibu while listening to Courtney Love's "Malibu"
4. Most of the good graffiti is in and around the arts district downtown, which is around 4th and Alameda
5. If you must go shopping, Robertson has most of the good stores without the crowds you'd find at The Grove, the Promenade, etc.
6. The native food scene is very hot: LA rivals NYC in its food diversity and it can be overwhelming—reading up before you go is helpful—pick a few places and stick with them.
7. The best bar in the city is Dominick's on Beverly. Let no one tell you otherwise.
8. LA's museums are second only to New York—visiting the Getty and LACMA is essential- but many others, including MoCA, The Hammer, etc, have good shows
9. The Arclight is the best movie theater in Hollywood and comfortable seats
10. The best view of LA is from the Baldwin Hills Overlook in Culver City—but a close second is the views of the valley at night from Mulholland, while listening to REM's "Electrolite"
P.S. If you have any LA tips for me, invites to pool parties, or a spare SoHo House membership lying around (I hear it's chill there!)... please deliver them to my inbox.