Since I have my blog "Gray in LA" I've been checking out my surroundings and travels like an eagle-eyed inspector looking for clues and more than just 50 shades of gray.
In Central Park
I'm in New York, my old hometown, for which I still have passionate and romantic feelings like I had for my favorite boyfriend.
Cities have certain colors, just like people, I think. So, coincidence or not, New York is definitely a steely, platinum, gray and silver city documented by all the great buildings from the Empire State and the Chrysler Building to the new WTC Memorial. Gleaming, cool, sleek! Strangely perfect for ladies of the gray persuasion.
In Los Angeles, (on the right) one looks very different because it is an all soft and natural color-orgy in gold, white, green, dark pinks, flaming reds, avocado-greens, lemon-yellows (like some California hair) and Jacaranda- (a tree) purple.
Whatever color - LA and NY are two absolutely fabulous and fascinating cities - and I feel very blessed to have lived in both - now living in LA for 12 years. I spare you the NY barbs like "Oh my God, how can you live in a city that really isn't one, where people could die of positivism!"
Of course, like with super-competitive siblings with large egos they are at war with each other, too. Both are beauties with scars and huge problems, and I think they would become super-besties, if they'd drop the pretense and the comparing.
The East prides itself of being the ultimate melting pot and the center of the world, harboring the intellectual elite of America plus the biggest, wittiest and sharpest minds. According to the East, the West is in love with the sun and surfer-culture, has laid back new-age old agers and assorted beach-blonde bimbos and crazy looking Botox-babes. Books & Brains? Not in LA, they've got Award Shows instead. WRONG! I say. I have seen and heard fine minds saying cutting-edge things, building fantastic architecture and writing really good books - some people aren't even connected to "the industry".
Be that as it may, and I don't want to get carried away. This blog is also there to examine the passage of time, also known by the word "age" and the specifics of living in a city that thinks being gray and old"er" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sabine-reichel/say-old-without-cringing_b_6887370.html) is a bit like having only one leg or no nose.
And here is where New York is the winner. For sure, New Yorkers are more nonchalant about just everything - some call them snotty and uppity, which I don't agree on. In contrast, Los Angelenos find themselves friendly, charming and welcoming. True. Mostly, because they are escapists and can successfully avoid to be confronted with other humans on a very close (physical) level. They sit in cars, protected not by attitude and quick repartees but by the steel of their cars. NY armor is words and body language.
Being Gray in New York is an absolute breeze because there are many more Silverellas on the streets, in cafés and museums than in LA. I haven't totally figured out whether you simply SEE them more because NY is a public city of walkers, talkers and unabashed street performers. Or maybe it is because less NY women dye their hair, are more daring (probably), have more pride in their gray? Or they are simply older there. Maybe the youth dashes off to LA these days and leave gray ladies in the NY dust...
In every single museum (like the new great Whitney http://whitney.org) I went to, there were fair amounts of silver heads, which leads me to believe - and this is not new - that cultural, intelligent people, in short, New Yorkers, don't really give a rat's ass about looking a bit gray around the edges. This is comforting. Hello, LA! Are you listening?
One thing NY definitely has over LA: Autumn in New York is magical and the song of the same title, sung by Ella Fitzgerald with Louis Armstrong (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50zL8TnMBN8) is one of the loveliest songs ever, and I still get goose bumps when I hear it, more so now, having reached my own personal autumn. No other city has shaped, and kicked, provoked yet embraced me so much. I even forgave it the 2 hold-ups (with a gun) and the attempted robbery in my Chelsea apartment. Because, as it is with true love: you forgive, and forget the pain - and remember the glory.
I will come back to LA not only unscathed but also refreshed, inspired, in a good mood. So, I am here to report to you: There is life in the Gray Line like it should in all these Metropolitan Cities.
What do you think? Any "typical" city tales to tell?
Next blog with more NY Tales is coming soon!