Los Angeles Is What New York Wants to Be When It Grows Up - Pacific Standard

Los Angeles Is What New York Wants to Be When It Grows Up

If New York City is your adolescent self, then Los Angeles is what you aspire to.
Author:
Publish date:
Birds fly across the sky at daybreak over the downtown Los Angeles  skyline on December 14, 2011. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Birds fly across the sky at daybreak over the downtown Los Angeles skyline on December 14, 2011. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

New York City is where you prove yourself, if you aren't born there. Being born in Greater New York City and being great is a cottage industry for Martin Scorsese. We are done with New Yorkers making America geopolitically dominant. Talent is New York's greatest export industry. New York makes talent better than anyplace else on the planet.

Proper homage served, what's all this business about fleeing New York for Los Angeles? Advertising talent loves Los Angeles. Why? "New York is very much about making it ... L.A. is about making things."

I grew up in the Rust Belt. We make things. Well, Los Angeles was built on post-World War II manufacturing, a time when manufacturing was in decline most everywhere else. Los Angeles and Long Beach make a globally dominant port. Southern California is/was the aerospace industry. Like the Rust Belt, Los Angeles makes things.

New York City used to make things. Now, it just makes careers, a way station to someplace else. These days, someplace else is usually Los Angeles. What was New York in the 1960s is Los Angeles today.

If I were to pick a talent refinery for my children, where would I send them? Los Angeles, not New York or London. Ed Soja gets the last word:

Los Angeles seems to break every rule of urban readability and regularity. it is no surprise, then, that Southern California has become a center for innovative and nontraditional urban theory and analysis.

ps_break1.jpg

Jim Russell, a geographer studying the relationship between migration and economic development, writes regularly for Pacific Standard.

Related