12 Things I Miss (And Don't Miss) About NYC

This summer, a former boss moved from NYC to the South after more than two decades in the city, and she described her new home as a safe haven following a long “war”: “Manhattanites are so proud of the tribulations we endure, we wear it like a badge, like having served a tour of duty. And now the war is over and I am enjoying the peace.”

I felt the same when I abandoned New York for California in late September, but now that I’ve had some time to adapt to my sunnier, far less dramatic lifestyle on the West Coast, I can see what worked and didn’t work for me back East. Here are 13 things I miss (and don’t miss) about living in New York.

What I Miss

1. The subway

I’m not interested in chatting up strangers during my commute, so driving everywhere in LA gives me solitude and time to think when I’d like some space. It’s also environmentally unfriendly and a pain during traffic, so I miss NYC’s amazing public transit system, which took me everywhere at a significantly cheaper cost.

2. The Bagels

I don’t want to talk about it.

3. Dunkin’ Donuts

DD lives up to its slogan more than any other business: America runs on Dunkin’. DD was open throughout Hurricane Sandy (for better or worse), the employees have always been friendly to me, and the drinks are fun and indulgent when you want a little more sugar in your coffee than Starbucks is willing to provide. This sounds nerdy, but Dunkin’ was a huge part of my life on the Upper East Side, and I do miss the sense of community it gave me every weekend. When I went to DD for the first time in a month since purchasing my own coffee pot, one of the employees screamed and gave me a hug. Not even my friends are that stoked to see me after ample time apart. Will I get my community back when the East Coast treasure makes it out to LA? Maybe. But maybe not.

 4. Walking

Even if you’re too busy to work out, you’re constantly running around the city trying to get from place to place. With all the LA driving I do, there’s not a whole lot of walking on my part anymore, and I worry I’ll eventually put on weight as a result.

5. Fall

NYC is humid in the summer and freezing in the winter, but fall is pleasant and comfortable, and I feel lucky I got to experience it this year.

6. Seamless

I know I knocked on it in a previous post, but Seamless is a life saver every once in a while, especially when you come home after a tiring day at the office and have no interest in cooking.

7. The creative street and subway artists

I once spent a half hour watching break dancers in the Union Square subway station. The quality performers always attract a large crowd, and last I checked, so does this super cool guy who hangs out on the L train platform. Go hang out with him sometime — he’s fun!


8. Being the Californian

There are plenty of West Coast natives in NYC, but it’s still neat to be the out-of-towner. When LA people ask me where I’m from, I forget that I don’t have to start with “California” as I did in New York. I’m just another girl from the Bay Area trying to fight my way into the screenwriting world.

9. 24-Hour CVS and Duane Reade

Because where else could I get Cheez-Its at 3 a.m. after bar hopping the night away (pizza wasn’t an option for me, remember?)?

10. Cute buildings with character and brownstones

Because they make for gorgeous Instagrams if nothing else:


11. Coffee trucks

I could always turn to these when Starbucks and Dunkin’ lines were long enough to make me late to work and I’d run out of Keurig K-cups at home.

12. Getting to wear black so much

I bask in the warmth of LA, but when I want to wear black tights and a black dress, I overheat and look out of place.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=641008724 Brikena Sela

    omg. exactly how i feel

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=88200230 Akilah Hughes

    I’m on board with this. I mean, I’m from Cincinnati, so Dunkin Donuts has never been anything to write home about (pun intended) for me, but I love DOUGH in Bed Stuy and the bakeries here are amazing.

    That said, I actually really miss driving. I hate the subway. I ride the G train, which is the worst train because it comes every like half hour if it feels like it and most the time it doesn’t. Blurgh, I am here for the opportunities and my relationship. I have to keep remembering that or else I’ll go insane and move in the middle of the night!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10135202 Laura Elizabeth Donovan

      I wrote about DOUGH in my initial draft! Decided to take it out as this is already long. I lived in Bed Stuy for a while and LOVED Dough. The G KILLED me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=35802852 Erin Shaw

    I grew up in Los Angeles and lived in NYC for nearly four years. I vibe with most of this list, especially being the out of towner. Recently left LA to move to New Orleans, absolutely LOVE it here and it’s helped curb missing NYC. Very similar vibe, half the cost, better music and better food! Great article though!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10135202 Laura Elizabeth Donovan

      I want to visit New Orleans! Glad you love it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003888422300 Ashley Lynne

    I agree with everything in this. I lived there for two years and it was exactly that way… I always thought of American Psycho when passing through Wall Street or saw well groomed men in suits

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10135202 Laura Elizabeth Donovan

      I met so many Bateman wannabes there! So glad to be away from them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1324442446 Aamina Malik

    Great article! I’ve lived in the DMV my whole life and while I really like New York and its glamour, my heart will always be in DC. I’d love to read a piece about your experiences in DC next! :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10135202 Laura Elizabeth Donovan

      Aw thanks!!!!!! I miss DC too! So many smart and nerdy folks like me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1009882130 Christina V.Hendrix

    I’m from GA but spent my 20’s in NY. Now that I’m back-dear Gawwwdddd Georgians, on the whole, drive in urban areas here like its the first time on the highway their first summer of driving. “Block the box” (a mortal sin n NYC) is no big deal-seriously. Merging is not the time to slow down people-it’s not a turn. And Lawd the niceness-Gawd forbid you not thank someone by waving frantically for letting you over. (Seriously-not waving thanks here-big deal. Hey, it’s like blocking the box in NYC). I mean I’m pretty sure most NY drivers would run over my body if I jaywalked there-here I’d live at least. And I don’t get mad and honk-its just interesting to see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003815398671 Impératrice De La Mort

    I was raised in the Caribbean, but born in New York. I moved back in 2008 and I’m considering relocating to California in the next months. I won’t miss the winter bundle up ritual; the fragrant aroma of the garbage greeting me in the morning; the scenic wait for the train with the rodent populace; the sardine packed subway cars and the list goes on. I will miss the snow though.

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