Why I traded Daisy Dukes in LA for Parka Coats in NYC

NYC Skyline, courtesy of Flickr

When I first meet people and tell them where I’m originally from, many of them ask “Why the hell did you leave California for New York?”  Trading sunshine and a mellow lifestyle for a six month winter, angry commuters on over packed trains, and concrete jungle is not exactly things people do.

California beach, courtesy of Flickr

However, in June 2012 I packed up a suitcase and moved to the city after being accepted into Teach For America. Since living in New York, I’ve learned that both of these cities are incredibly different. I’m a California girl at heart but over the last few years, I have been enamored by the charm of New York City. 

So why did I move across the country and trade it all for a rough winter? Below are 3 major reasons why I moved and why four years later I still remain in the ‘big apple.’

  1. The “hustle” mentality

New York is the city that never sleeps. It’s filled with endless possibilities in terms of career choices and ambitions run high here. Although Los Angeles is similar in that aspect, in New York I’ve discovered that almost everyone is on the same mentality of always reaching higher for their next goal. There are so many people here, thus, a lot of opportunity for employment. The culture here is ‘survival,’ everything is cut throat and for some reason I really thrive in that environment.

    2.                                                                      The seasons


In California, we don’t really have seasons. The weather is constantly warm and it rarely rains. When it rains, the whole world stops. There is nothing to complain when there is beautiful weather but living in New York, I have learned to appreciate the beauty of seasons and the leaves changing colors. Although winters are rough, I do enjoy seeing snow fall and inhaling fresh air instead of the smog that plagues Los Angeles.

3.                                                                     The diverse culture


One thing that I cannot get over about New York is the vast amount of food there is available. There are so many people here who have brought their culture and shared it with the rest of us. Don’t get me wrong, Los Angeles is also diverse, but its diversity is not as concentrated as it is in New York. In NYC, I can walk down the street and find a Halal truck and Mexican food all within seconds of one another. Being exposed to this has allowed me to grow as a person and appreciate cultures outside of my own. At every stop of the city, you will find something outside of your comfort zone. 

I still remain in the city because despite how hard it is to survive out here, there is no place like this anywhere else. I’ve traveled to 13 countries but not place has the magic that NYC possess. 

What do you like/dislike about New York City? Comment below. 


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Samantha says:

    I would love to live in LA! I’ll be visiting later this month so I’ll let you know which I like better

    1. hernandezmonica says:

      Let me know how your trip to LA goes. Definitely try all the mexican food there, we’re known for that!


    I feel the same that people in NY have the goal and they try hard to achieve the goal. They come here for a better life. Also, when the season changed, people can have a chance to dress up and changing cloths for each season.

    1. hernandezmonica says:

      Yes, it’s a lot of fun seeing the seasons change!

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