What makes New York the greatest city?

Why do New Yorkers keep repeating this publicly? On what objective basis is this true? What’s the insecurity underlying such a proclamation? People who say weird, unnecessary and untrue things are coming from a broken place. If New Yorkers were sure about this, there’d be no need to say anything. Angelenos never talk about LA being the greatest city. To do so would be uncool. It would be unLA to talk that way.

New Yorker Chaim Amalek says: “Partly it is to justify the expense of living here, that’s why. Reflected glory, etc. More substantively, LA has Hollywood and that’s it. No Wall Street, no publishing industry, no news media headquarters, few if any Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, no UN, no multibillionaire mayor, no Times Square, and most importantly, no great yeshivas in its environs. Without a great yeshiva, LA is just that place where Hollywood people live.”

When New Yorkers move to LA, they love to criticize LA, its drivers, its fake manners, its lack of a center, etc. I suspect that when Los Angelenos move to New York or anywhere, they’re much less likely to complain about their new city’s shortcomings. One thing I love about LA is that its residents don’t have a chip on their shoulder about other cities. They don’t hate San Francisco or New York or Dallas… We don’t have a football team and almost nobody cares because we have so much else going on.

LA is like the prettiest girl in the class. All the other girls cut her down out of jealousy and all the guys hate her because she won’t date them.

Los Angelenos put less energy into criticizing other cities than any group I’ve known.

A ton of people I meet who’ve moved to LA can’t find anything to compliment the city for aside from the weather. What’s up with that? It must be a reflection of an unhappy psyche. Well-adjusted people aren’t like that. They don’t nurse resentments.

I mainly lived in Northern California from 1977 to 1993 and people just had this big chip on their shoulder about LA.

I come from Australia. I asked a friend recently about his impressions of the land down under. He said astutely that Australians are the most insecure people he’s met. They’re obsessed with “100% Australian made” and other such nonsense. I told him it’s a cultural cringe.

Los Angelenos have no such cringe.

By contrast, people in Philadelphia are obsessed with hating New Yorker and other more influential cities. That’s why Philadelphia fans are so nasty. They’re insecure about their city and how it doesn’t stack up with New York and Washington D.C. for power and influence.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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