With only 5 days left in my current LA habitat, I thought I might write about all the things I like and dislike about this fairweather city. And I’ll start off on a positive note for the sake of karma during my upcoming cross country drive to NYC.
Things I will miss about LA
1) The abundance of nearby hiking. Runyon Canyon celebrity sightings, Malibu peaks with a view of almost the entire SoCal coastline, and casual strolls along Venice Beach.
2) The inclusion of avocado in almost everything. From BLTs to fruit smoothies to Tuna Tartare, SoCal is an avocado-fan’s haven.
3) Speaking of healthy food, the substitution of turkey for beef in almost every dish! Non-red meat eaters rejoice!
4) Thanks to irrigation from Northern California and Oregon, LA is always blooming. The most beautiful, colorful, and diverse gardens I’ve ever seen have been here in Hollywood.
5) The faded splendor and elegant past lurking under every pawn shop sign and tourist trap. This city used to be amazing; from Angel’s Flight downtown to the wonderfully art deco Emser Tile building in Hollywood, no other city has as many remnants of the Golden Age as Los Angeles.
6) The fact that I sat across from Larry David in a small room in the back of a brasserie in West Hollywood. And he said hello to me. My life was complete at that point.
7) Speaking of celebrities, the fact that they are integrated into society here and no one but the paparazzi seem to notice. From Drew Barrymore to Jodie Foster to Jason Bateman to Halle Berry to Ke$ha, I’ve run into them all while out and about.
8) The cars, oh the cars. Since the climate is so dry and moderate, there are a plethora of wonderfully maintained vintage cars on the road. Thunderbirds, Rolls Royces, Porsches…sometimes it’s a scene straight out of Sunset Boulevard.
9) The cleanliness. West Hollywood in particular is as pristine as a movie set. There are loads of Priuses (Prii?), meticulous streets and sidewalks, and any trash thrown on the ground by party-goers the night before is quickly swept up before the city even awakes.
10) The availability of free things to do. You can swim in practically any rooftop hotel pool in the city (and watch Mansome being filmed!), picnic or read in gorgeous Beverly Hills’ parks (where photoshoots are likely going on), rollerblade from Venice Beach to Santa Monica, or pay just $10 to watch an old film in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
11) Two words: Latte. Art. I’ve been to Seattle, and let me tell you. They don’t even come close to LA baristas’ talent. From baby birds to swans and detailed leaves, it’s a foamy paradise.
12) Hollywood looks like nothing else in this world. When I was driving from Seattle down through Portland and then San Francisco and I finally reached Hollywood, I felt like the sun literally started shining; as if I had truly entered the movie version of Tinseltown. It is a feeling and a look that is hard to describe, but if you drive down the palm-tree lined Sunset Blvd while the city is still sleeping and the sun is just coming up, it is simply magical.
13) The thrift stores. It’s not that they are great or even have the best quality (and certainly not the best prices), but they are the only thrift stores I’ve ever run across where I’ve been able to scoop up vintage Valentinos and Italian leather.
14) The vivid and colorful sunsets which only compare to those I’ve seen in Turkey and Florida.
15) Library Bar at The Roosevelt. You tell them what flavors you like and they concoct you a delicious cocktail from their full herb and fruit bar. I want to be buried in a beautiful coffin of my egg white and fig-flavored favorite.
16) The Hollywoodite history. From Marilyn Monroe to the Black Dahlia to Bugsy, you can visit every step of their way.
14) The Santa Ana Winds. When the Santa Anas blow, it seems like magic is stirring in the air.
15) The proximity to Palm Springs and Santa Barbara; wonderful wine-happy towns that are a world away from your troubles.
16) The Malibu Winery. Holy wow. Way up on Mulholland is the perfect spot for a romantic sunny day sharing a bottle of wine and a picnic basket full of gourmet cheese and dried fruit followed by a twinkling night in front of an old movie streaming from their projector. Not to mention the decor of vintage Air Streams and Model T Fords.
17) TWO BUCK CHUCK.
18) Smoking laws. Since I don’t smoke, I find joy in the fact that not only are you not allowed to smoke indoors, but outdoor patios are now prohibited as well. My lungs are thanking the city of West Hollywood as they breathe in…well, smog. But hey, at least it’s one less thing to worry about.
19) The fact that you have a magnificent view from almost any street because of the hilly nature of the city. They don’t call them the Hollywood Hills for nothing.
20) The window displays of the shops on Melrose, Robertson, and Rodeo. Part of Prada’s is underground below the clear sidewalk!
I’m sure I will think of more, but this is my positive goodbye to a city that I will miss for the few gems it offers. Next up, why I will not miss LA society or the relentless sun.
Au revoir, LA.