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Nov. 13 2009 - 3:37 pm | 24 views | 3 recommendations | 4 comments

East Coast vs. West Coast: Parenting Edition

You didn’t know about the great East/West parenting style rivalry? Our family of four landed in Los Angeles earlier this week and I’ve been conducting some in-depth research so you don’t have to! The issues:


To complain about traffic in Los Angeles is as futile as complaining about real estate costs in New York. But I will. When stuck on the 110 my baby predictably decided he could not be strapped down in the car seat for one…more…second. On the plus side, drivers seem to follow traffic regulations here. Huh.


Apparently you’re issued a dog upon arrival in Los Angeles. A walk down the sidewalk in our hosts’ neighborhood was a scene straight outta’ Attica. Dogs wailed behind every wooden, chain or sheet metal gate, with a few spilling out into the street to greet (attack?) us as we strolled. But it wasn’t just the neighborhood where we were staying. A canine family member greeted us at every door we darkened. I couldn’t put my crawling son down for fear of a dingo eating that baby. Record for most dogs in one house – four.*


There are exactly three restaurants in Brooklyn I can take my kids to without getting the stink eye. Luckily they’re all top notch in the food department – but it does get old, those shameful feelings interrupting your otherwise delightful meal. Apparently people like children in LA! Unless the wait staff are all professional actors. Oh, wait.


We’re lucky in Brooklyn that we happen to live in a neighborhood with five parks within a few blocks. We had to hoof a mile to get to the nearest park in the nabe we were in. Of course, most people have their own private parks that they call “the back yard.”


You kind of can’t beat NYC for giving your kids the global experience. In her three and a half years of life my daughter has met people and tried foods that were foreign to me until I was in my 20s. But after a few GPS mishaps I discovered there are in fact many areas in LA where shop signs are in languages other than English and Espanol. Big points for an impressive Korea town, but I’m going to guess New York still has LA beat by the numbers.


We were here less than 24 hours when my daughter received an offer for representation. And yes, we “knew” someone.

*In fairness, one of those dogs was our own NYC export that could no longer fit in our tiny apartment with four humans.


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  1. collapse expand

    Ms. Peveteaux,

    The first fact that you have not apprised yourself of is that from a shear geographical point of view, Los Angeles proper is just enormous, 469 square miles (1,216 square kilometers). The County of Los Angeles is a gigantic 4,752 square miles, it is bigger than all of Rhode Island. In contrast, all five Burroughs of New York are only 305 square miles and Manhattan is only 34 square miles.

    The reason I mention this is that on your brief visit you are only experiencing a very tiny portion or either the city proper or the greater surrounding urban area. I am guessing you are out on the West Side somewhere, west of Western and north of The Ten? Your experience would be every so different if you came east to Echo Park or Boyle Heights or went south to San Pedro or Long Beach.

    1) “On the plus side, drivers seem to follow traffic regulations here.” Oh, compared to NY drivers, we are quite sane. There are few drivers in the left turn lane out here who floor the gas pedal as soon as the light turns green and cut off on coming traffic. Strange but ture.

    2) Only four dogs? Bwwwt.

    3) “Unless the wait staff are all professional actors. Oh, wait.” A West Side experience, a total give away. I had an outstanding dinner the other night at a place on the corner of Adams and Central and none of the staff were wannabe actors. In fact they had brought their kids with them to work. Great carne asada and they had a dish I had never seen elsewhere, “torta hawaiiana” (a bolio with ham and pineapple). You won’t find that menu on the West Side (or NY) but kids are welcome.

    4) Los Angeles city and county have the lowest ratio of park space to person of any major city in world. It is 130 sq feet of park land per person, less than half of what it is in NY (300ft2/p). It has been a scandal for decades. It is even worse than the numbers suggest. Los Angeles has a small number of very large parks (e.g. Griffith and Elysian) which are simply not accessible to many people. There are neighborhood parks but they are few and far between.


    5) Once you get out from behind the Tinsel Curtain you will find all sorts of cultures here that you have as yet know idea. You have not tried the Oaxacan restaurants (four kinds of mole!)and you have not even had one kinds until you have had Mole Oaxaqueño. In east Hollywood there is an indoor swap meet with signs in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Tagalog, Armenian, and Russian.

    6) West Side.

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    About Me

    I fled the tranquil countryside of Oklahoma to become an urban upstart in Manhattan with a stopover in Austin, Texas. After adventures in the music business and the theater, I got hitched, became a mom (to a pre-school lass and a baby boy) and moved to Brooklyn with the rest of ‘em. We all make our choices.

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    Contributor Since: October 2009
    Location:Brooklyn, NY