I’m an East Coast guy who feels at home in SoCal.
I’m not sure if it’s because America has become so homogeneous or because there are so many New Yorkers who’ve relocated out west. But for some reason, as soon as the plane lands and I get my bearings, I’m good to go in SoCal. For context, I’m a Jersey guy living in Harlem, and like many New Yorkers, I’ve traveled the golden state numerous times for business or vacations. I spent the past two weeks in Temecula, which is not LA. By the end of the trip I realized that I could be happy living in NYC or SoCal. Hey, a Guy’s Guy needs to be flexible. So, with respect to the great interior of our nation, here are some musings and differences between our two coasts and how they impact culture, Guy’s Guy style. Some are obvious while a few are only found below the radar.
Geography and Culture
Tall buildings anchor NYC. SoCal is spread out. Duh. But, this creates makes a major difference in how people live. Subways, buses, taxis and walking dominate city living. We’re in each other’s face all the time, so like it or not, there is a constant energy exchange. And that’s good. But, that also means that you’ll never experience loneliness like you do in the big city. In Manhattan, everyone is in a hurry and there are a lot of crazies, so unfortunately, at times, the vibe can feel more suspicious than friendly, unless you are a tourist.
In SoCal you drive and drive and drive, so you’re literally alone—with your thoughts or Sirius Radio. That’s not a bad thing, but it makes a difference. You hear “hello” and “have a nice day” and “no problem” a lot more in SoCal, but I’m not sure there isn't much behind the words beyond a subconscious desire for a human connection.
Is it me, or do the portions seem a heckuva lot bigger in SoCal than NYC? You also get more bang for your food dollar in SoCal. And, understandably, with all of its farms, the produce and veggies in SoCal are big and fresh. Taste? Let’s give that to New York, where you can eat any cuisine from any part of the world at anytime. However, for some reason, New York still struggles with Mexican food.
Names of Streets and Towns
In New York we have global iconic, old school names for streets like, Fifth, Madison and Lexington Avenue. We coin names for new nabes like Chumbo and LoLo, but there are no new towns in New York. In SoCal, new towns are being built every day, many with American Indian or Mexican names, like Temecula, San Marino and Aliso Viejo.
In Temecula, if you make a right off Galleron Avenue onto on Butterfield Stage, then make a right on Rancho California Road you’re in wine country. There are a lot of “Vistas” and "Ranchos” out there and a growing wine country. There are also a lot of “Old Towns” in SoCal, built on what were once the actual centers of frontier towns. Pretty touristy, but they can be fun if you can stop thinking like a New Yorker for a few hours.
In NYC, we run in parks like Central, Prospect and Hudson River Park. It took me a day to figure out where to run in Temecula. First, you have to hit the pavement before 8am and then it’s all sun, hills and asphalt. I thought Central Park had challenging hills until I took a few laps around my mother-in-law’s community. Because there is no real mass transit, there are a lot of stay-at-home moms who are really into fitness. They hit the gym regularly and it shows. Check plus for SoCal on that one.
New York is one noisy place to live. Pulsating jackhammers, rumbling subway trains, police sirens, taxis honking their horns and people yelling are standard sounds we New Yorkers are accustomed to hearing before 8am. During my two-week stay out west at times it was so quiet that I could actually hear the wind pick up at about 5pm every day. Wonderful.
Padres or Yankees? We don’t even have to go there.
Believe it or not, many radio stations still play the big hits of the Eagles, Doors, Jackson Browne, Beach Boys and the other the west coast icons all day, every day. Cool.
I’m all in on New York. It’s my favorite Guy’s Guy city and there’s no place else like it for people, energy, women and opportunity. That said, a Guy’s Guy is open-minded and I could actually see myself living the quiet life out west in a few years. Well, maybe. It’s really about what works for your state of mind and lifestyle.
This week’s Guys’ Guys of the week are the New Yorkers who moved out west for a mellower life and the actors who chose to live in New York because of its vitality and energy.
Are you East Coast or West Coast, or does it even matter?