Idiots Guide: New York City vs. Los Angeles : The Definitive Comparison

In the United States the two keynote metropolis’s are located on either coast of the 3.8 million square miles of breathtaking beauty we call America. New York City is the east coast representative, it’s the most populous city in the United States, and one of, if not the greatest city on planet earth. It’s a metropolitan area that is broken up into five boroughs including the crown jewel island of Manhattan. The city has a population of approximately 8,550,405, and that doesn’t include Long Island and the outer counties upstate and beyond. Los Angeles is the west coast representative and ranks #2 in just about every statistical metric between the two cities. Where New York is dense and tall, Los Angeles is relatively sparse and wide. Greater Los Angeles county carries a substantial population of approximately 18,351,929. Where New York’s crown jewel is Manhattan, in L.A. that designation falls on numerous areas including Hollywood, Santa Monica, and the beach communities of Redondo, Manhattan, Huntington, Venice, Hermosa, Newport, and Malibu. New York City is the elder statesman with a historical pedigree that extends back to this nations inception. Los Angeles is the younger, brighter, transient, manifest destiny locale. Both cities are magical in there own ways, and the debate about which city is ‘better’ is a long running one. Now, Idiots Guide has taken the challenge of rating these two cities by comparison using 7 specific criteria (Culture/Diversity, Weather, Sports, Cuisine,  Housing, Transportation, and Affordability), a ‘Best of Seven’ if you will. With the ‘edge’ in each category going to one or the other until the best of seven is tallied in total. So without further delay…Idiots Guide presents:  The Big Apple vs. The City of Angels


#7.   Culture/Diversity:  

Made NY

New York City is the original gateway to America with it’s roots predating the Ellis Island immigration movement of 12 million souls during the late 19th century. By definition it is a true ‘melting pot’ of race, religion, language, and of course culture. One would be hard pressed to find a more culturally diverse city on planet earth. From Argentina to Zimbabwe and every country in between, there is a representative living in the ‘Big Apple’. Amazingly, all of these cultures come together to embody what is often referred to as the ‘New York State of Mind’. An attitude that emboldens New Yorker’s and annoys basically everyone else. New Yorker’s are very proud of their city, and they have no problem letting you know about it. Besides, let’s face it…They have a very good point. Score: 10 out of 10.


Los Angeles is also a city of incredibly rich cultural diversity. It rivals New York in terms of cultural representation, although it would be impossible to exceed New York’s diversity. Whereas New York had it’s immigration ‘heyday’ in the late 19th, early 20th centuries, Los Angeles continues to field a massive influx of new residents every day, month and year. Being the world capital of the entertainment business makes Los Angeles, Hollywood in particular, a target destination for millions of hopefuls every year. A positive consequence of this is a convergence of hoards of the most attractive human beings from all throughout the world. Los Angeles is truly where the beautiful people live. Los Angeles also has the market cornered on immigrants from Latin America, and as a result is the beneficiary of that rich culture. The Asian community is a profound contributor to L.A. culture as well. Score: 8 out of 10. 

Culture/Diversity Edge:  New York City  (1-0) 


#6.   Weather:

LA Symbol 1

Let’s face it, when it comes to agreeable weather there is virtually no place like Los Angeles. With annual average highs of 71.7 degrees, average annual lows of 55.9 degrees, and an overall temperature average of 63.8 degrees, Los Angeles is the king sitting atop the mountain of gold. Residents of LA do experience the four seasons, although they are considerably milder in all respects. Snowfall in the winter is highly unlikely, excessive rain in the spring is also highly unlikely. Los Angeles has an average annual rainfall of just 18.67 inches. Basically less in one year than some states in a few days. Perhaps the best part of the great weather in Los Angeles is the absence of humidity, and as we all know it’s the humidity that gets you. The fact of the matter is that Los Angeles is basically a mild desert environment, with a stable, sunny disposition. It’s hard to beat the weather in LA. Score: 10 out of 10


New York City is a place where you can expect snow and a ‘White Christmas’ in the winter. You can also expect to marvel at the awesome spectacle of masses of colorful turning leaves, escorted by a slight chill in the fall. Springtime exhibits the spectacular bloom of seasonal flowers. This is all true. What is also true, is the bone chilling cold of long deep winters, freezing rain, and wind chill factors. The oppressive, sweltering heat and humidity of mid to late summer that weighs on one’s head like wet concrete. What New York’s weather gives in beauty, it returns in discomfort. In the Summer the average high is 83.4 degrees, often paired with high humidity. In the winter the average low is 26.3 degrees, with wind chill factors that often bring the temperature down past zero. Bottom line is that it gets mad cold in the winter, and crazy hot in the summer. With the upside, again, being the wonderful aesthetic of seasonal change.  Score: 7 out of 10 


Weather/Climate Edge:  Los Angeles (1-1)


#5.   Transportation: 

NY logo 3

In many ways the New York City subway system is the very best in the entire world. In recent decades however, the technological advancements in rail transport has been owned by Japan. As far as the United States goes, it’s New York hands down. It’s a 24 hour 365 day subway system with the most station/stops (469 stations), as well the longest overall track length (846 miles) on the planet . The  New York City Transit Authority is perhaps the best of it’s kind in the world. It is a system that moves over 5 million souls throughout the city, everyday. Mind you that this doesn’t include buses, taxi’s, or the Long Island Railroad. When it comes to public transportation, New York City has a firm hold on the brass ring. The highway/freeway system is winding, vast and typically clogged with soul crushing traffic on a daily basis. However, New York has some of the most architecturally  impressive bridges on earth, including the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Score: 10 out of 10

LA logo 4For time and memorial Los Angeles was known as a car city. For decades getting around the city required a vehicle, no doubt about it. In recent years that has started to change, with the opening of their ‘Metro Rail’ subway system, which officially began on July 14, 1990, however it only started to open convenient lines and stations circa 2003 -2006. Los Angeles highway/freeways are a legitimate nightmare during business hours. The 405 (San Diego Freeway) in particular, is a slow moving parking lot, all day and night. The bus system is quite effective and has steadily improved over the past decade. The good news is that with the advent of social ride businesses like ‘Uber’ and ‘Lyft’ there are many options when out comes to transportation in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is good and getting better, but not quite up to New York City standards. Score: 6 out of 10


Transportation Edge:   New York City  (2-1)


#4.  Housing: 

LA logo 5

One of the greatest things about Los Angeles are the excellent choices when to comes to choosing a neighborhood to live in that suits your needs and/or preferences. There’s beach communities like Santa Monica, and Venice. There’s suburban communities like the San Fernando Valley, the exclusivity of upscale Beverly Hills, and of course there’s that little town called Hollywood, USA. That’s the good news. The not so good news is that actually purchasing a home in Los Angeles will cost you s small fortune, or an actual fortune. Rental rates are relatively reasonable depending on what part of the city you choose, the key word being ‘relatively’. It’s a big city, so rental prices usually reflect that reality. Availability is another plus, as for the most part you can find a rental where you want, the issue being what you are willing to pay. Overall, the housing situation in LA has more upside than bad. Score: 8 out of 10 

NY logo 6

The story of New York City housing can be told with the fact that New York County is the second smallest county in terms of physical land area. New York City is densely populated to say the very least. It’s the most densely populated areas in the United States. The island of Manhattan has a population of approximately 1,644,518 co-habitating in an area of just 22.83 square miles. In other words, approximately 72,000 residents for every square mile. Anybody interested in sardines? With that being the case, the availability of housing is considerably challenged. The price of rental housing in particular is astronomical. Simple fact of the matter, too many people not enough space = expensive rent. If you can find a space and then afford a space, then you are in business. If not? Not so much. It’s just what it is. Score: 4 out of 10 


Housing Edge:   Los Angeles  (2-2)


#3.   Sports/Sports Teams/Fans: 


Professional New York sports has a long, storied history with occasional instances of legend. New York has at least 2 professional teams for every major sport. The vaunted New York Yankees are the most successful franchise (27 World Titles, 40 Pennants) in the history of baseball, ‘America’s Pastime’. It’s fans span the entire world, it’s symbol is perhaps the most recognizable in all of sport. All of the New York pro sports franchises have at  least one world title to their credit. Sports and success is synonymous with New York City. Their fans are knowledgable and passionate, and often put the ‘fan’ in fanatic. There are other cities with amazing passion for their teams, it’s just that New York sets the bar, and has for over a century.  Score: 10 out of 10 

The Hollywood Sign

The Brooklyn Dodgers became the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 1958 season. A fact that old school Brooklyn Dodgers fans will never get over or forgive. The Minnesota Lakers became the legendary Los Angeles Lakers prior to the 1961 season. Los Angeles professional sports teams, much like a significant portion of the population are transplanted from other places throughout the nation. However, this doesn’t suggest that their teams and fans are any less substantial. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated, and passionate fan base than Lakers fans in basketball, and Dodger fans in baseball. It’s true, some ‘fans’ are fair weather, but not enough to matter. The Lakers in particular have become a keystone franchise of the NBA with 16 World Championships, 31 conference titles, and 23 division titles. The Dodgers have 5 World Series Championships since arriving in Los Angeles. Success is no stranger to LA, it’s teams and their fans. However, New York City sports has the edge.  Score: 8 out of 10


Sports/Sports Teams/Fans Edge:  New York City  (3-2)


#2.   Food/Cuisine:  


Ask almost any American (outside of Chicago) in what city can you find the best slice of pizza, and they will, to a man, tell you…New York City. In all honesty you can extend that notion to virtually any cuisine you can think of. Italian food, New York. Chinese food, New York. Jamaican food, New York. Spanish food…you guessed it. A huge by-product of a melting pot city with over a century of cuisine roots, is that the food gets perfected. Then there is something about the water in New York that takes it’s food to another level entirely. It’s a big part of the reason why a New York bagel is basically unrivaled. The same goes of Italian sauce. Being a port city, the freshness and quality of the ingredients are amazing. There is no shortage of great restaurants from the hot dog cart, the food cart, the pizzeria, and the Michelin 4 and 5 star establishments. It’s difficult to equal the quality of food in the city of New York.  Score: 10 out of 10 


Bev Hills

The food scene in greater Los Angeles is off the chain. The city has a plethora of great restaurants both large and small, Michelin rated or mom and pop. The influence of Mexican and ‎Oaxacan cuisine is palpable. Los Angeles is perhaps ground zero when you are discussing cultural ‘fusion’ in food. There is a litany of up and coming chefs with notable talent cutting their teeth in various venues in LA, from the food trucks to Spago. When talking about Sushi, Los Angeles can hold it’s own with the best of them. When it comes to Thai food? There is no better city, period. Overall the Los Angeles food scene is exceptional. Score: 8 out of 10 


Food/Cuisine Edge:  New York City (4-2)


#1.   Cost of Living/Affordability: New York City vs. Los Angeles

Newport Beach

A. Consumer Prices in New York City:  26.87%  higher than Los Angeles, CA 

B. Rental Prices in New York City:  48.67%  higher than Los Angeles, CA

USA Interstate Highway Sign

C. Restaurant Prices in New York City: 25.05% higher than Los Angeles, CA

D. Cost of Groceries in New York City:  30.15% higher than Los Angeles, CA

 Cost of Living/Affordability Edge:   Los Angeles  (4-3)


*New York City vs. Los Angeles Final Score:   NYC 4  – LA 3  (Final)