Just back from my trip to New York City, I couldn’t help but constantly do as so many San Franciscans surely do while there…that is compare our city to theirs.
To be clear, for the most part, this is an apples to oranges comparison. Their population (8.2 Million) is roughly 11 times our 750,000. In order to make it close we’d have to come up with five boroughs to match NYC’s Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. So let’s give ourselves San Francisco, Marin, Oakland, Berkeley, and Daly City. That’s hardly fair, because Daly City is well…Daly City. Other suggestions? Moving on…
As far as real estate is concerned, there is way more to choose from in NYC, and from what I could tell, you get equally as little for your money there as you do here. For example, a $425,000, 400 square foot cooperative in Greenwich Village on Bleecker or a 410 square foot, $425,000 condo at 201 Harrison in South Beach. At least in Greenwich Village you’d be neighbors with Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hilary Swank, and Isaac Mizrahi (among other notables). Who’s in South Beach? Anyone?
Let’s not get the impression I’m saying NYC is better, especially when it comes to Coffee. I was staying in the Upper West side on 79th at Amsterdam and I couldn’t for the life of me find any place that did a good coffee anywhere near as good as Blue Bottle Coffee, Ritual Coffee, Caffe Trieste, Philz, and so many more you stumble upon just by walking around San Francisco. That’s not to say we don’t have our share of sh*tty places to get coffee either, in fact they’re on just about every corner as they are in NYC (Thinking Starbucks here and the Baristas that can’t steam milk to save their lives. At least the espresso pour is automatic, so they can’t f*ck that up.)
Moving on to recreation… NYC has Central Park, Long Island, thousands of miles of pavement, and what else? Stair climbing up the fire escapes? We have the Bay, which you can actually swim in, sail on, windsurf over, and dive under without exposure to deadly levels of toxic waste (most of the time). We also have Ocean Beach for surfing, and Marin for cycling, mt. biking, hiking, and chasing BMWs down from Pantoll Station. We have the wine country out our back door, Tahoe a short 3 hours away, and I could go on for hours.
What about the weather? If you enjoy blistering hot, muggy summers and waiting for your subway train in the “dog breath” air down there (my cousin actually compares it to that), freezing cold winters where your snot freezes to the inside of your nose, then NYC is the place you should be. On the other hand if you enjoy a nice temperate climate, beautiful “Indian Summers”, rainy winters, and pleasant springs, then you might consider San Francisco. BUT if you choose to live in the Outer Avenues, you might want to try a winter in NYC, because that is what your summers in the Avenues will be like.
Lastly, what about the food. I always hear NYC has “the best restaurants”. “I go to New York for the food.” And on and on. I got news for all you New Yorkers, your food was average at best. We ate out every morning noon and night and didn’t eat at the same place twice. True, you have way more choices than we do and it costs twice as much, but quantity does not necessarily equal quality, and I’m seriously doubting the Zagat Survey, as it seems every restaurant we went into was Zagat rated, and “recommended by the New York Times”, and really not that great. For example, we went to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, and yes, it was good, but not “to die for”, like we were told. It was pizza cooked in a brick oven, and it ain’t that unique. In case you thought you could only get that taste under the Brooklyn Bridge, there is a Grimaldi’s in New Jersey, Long Island, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, Chandler (AZ), and soon Dallas…hmmm.
I think NYC is a totally cool city and the vibe is extraordinary. I’d love to spend some more time there and really get it dialed, but from my short visits, I can honestly say San Francisco definitely holds its own against your world class city. If there are any of you readers that would care to shed some light on all the matters for me, I am all ears. And if you’d care to elaborate that is cool too, because I left some huge ones out…like shopping, and entertainment!
Maybe Curbed SF, Curbed (NY), Urban Digs (NY), True Gotham, Grow a Brain and the Real Estalker can help us out.
My vote, for now, is San Francisco, but like I said already, I’d love to be enlightened.
Bringing it to the ‘hoods:
-Hayes or Haight, if you had to choose [theFrontSteps]
-Pacific Heights or Marina, if you had to choose [theFrontSteps]