Today I had a meeting in Hollywood, which despite any topic of conversation - personal or business - is most always a pleasure. Heading home during somewhat-rush-hour (just after 5:00 pm), stopping at Hollywood/Vine at Trader Joe's (I was out of cereal!), and jumping back on the subway without having to wait for more than five minutes each time reminded me of New York. When I was bringing in more money I would visit my brother in New York twice a year, for a week to week-and-a-half at a time. Of course I loved eating, shopping, and wandering around the museums, but what I loved more than anything was taking the subway.
At any time of day or night, the L would get me from Brooklyn to Union Square and back without me having to wait more than five minutes. Sometimes I'd run through the turnstiles and past the closing doors without a hitch. I loved the rush at four in the morning heading back from a club, feeling a strange sense of calm at a time of day when I am anything but. Most times, if I'm heading home on the subway after midnight in Los Angeles and walking the mile or so to my house in the dark, I'm super on-guard. Sure, there's a very slim chance someone will jump from out of a bush and knife me, but I'd like to think that if something similar happened to me in a better lit part of Brooklyn, perhaps someone stumbling home in close enough proximity would hear me scream. Maybe that's just wishful thinking, but whatever.
Suits, artists, musicians, bums, models, schoolkids, wanderers, concert/theater-goers, writers, janitors - everyone and their mother was on the subway today. No demographic was singled out, no ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic class. The subway was for everyone this afternoon, as it is most times of day in New York (not always in LA). Naturally, the question among my East coast friends then and now seems to be that unless you live in Long Island, why have a car? Answer: not everyone lives in the city. Sometimes, "a car is necessary".
My West coast friends feel the same. I've come to grips that the Valley is one of the more obvious suburban areas complementing the "big city" we have here - although plenty of surrounding cities could easily fight for the title. When it comes to the question of going elsewhere besides the hustle, bustle, and glitz of the city, how else are you to get to the beach and the mountains (mad sucker that I am for day trips)? So faint the whisper of a car tickles my ears - a car as an option, and not a necessity. Ding ding ding ding ding... if only in a perfect world.
Anyway. Gotta love Hollywood, Los Angeles proper, and anywhere else that welcomes the use of two legs and bicycles as transportation (even if said Trader Joe's on Hollywood/Vine has no bicycle parking - a post on that soon). If I had more money, I would move. Los Angeles will never be New York, but it is still one amazing city. I hope to never leave. And if I did, it wouldn't be for long.