The New York Times did our favorite thing this week: It published a story about Los Angeles.
New York Times stories about Los Angeles are amazing because they’re like seeing the city through the eyes of a dorky time traveler from 1992. This guy’s been reading about these scary riots and it reminds him of that old science fiction movie, Blade Runner. He’s pretty sure there’s no rail transit in LA and doesn’t think those NWA fellows are a very good influence on young people. Everyone he talks to has a screenplay, he’s noticed! He loves to quote Harris Telemacher and Alvy Singer and snort-laugh about it.
The New York Times is still one of the best daily newspapers in the U.S., publishing important and deeply reported journalism every day—about New York, about Liberia, about the internet—but on Los Angeles, it’s comically clueless. Willfully clueless, we have to guess.
Inspired by this week’s cringey real estate piece on Echo Park, we've created this bingo board to quantify local scorn for these condescending and clueless stories:
Let’s try it out with that Echo Park article:
Hipsters: “Echo Park has a long history of arts and counterculturalism. The neighborhood grew out of Edendale, a defunct historic district made up of what is now Los Angeles’s hipster trifecta: Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz.”
Walking is a novelty (plus sunshine and palm trees): “‘In Los Angeles people drive everywhere and neither one of us were super keen on that idea... We drove into Echo Park and were like, wow, this reminds us of home, just with sunshine and mountains and palm trees.’”
Geographical error: “It is close to Downtown Los Angeles and gritty Skid Row...”
Quote from person who moved to LA less than a year ago: “Kelsey Payne, a video editor, made her own cross-country move to Echo Park with her husband, Ian, a software developer, in early 2019, after both grew tired of the East Coast.”
Yoga: “Echo Park Avenue offers a string of locally owned businesses, including Pilates & Arts, a hybrid movement studio and art gallery; Yogala, an inclusive yoga studio where classes include Kundalini, Jivamukti and energy healing...”
Try it yourself with these recent neighborhood profiles on Highland Park and Cheviot Hills, or this classic that later got edited to be less racist, or this one for the art alone, or these older stories on how everyone in LA loves Uber or how “East LA is all French now,” according to Natalie Portman, or on any story, really.
Or go outside—it’s really nice out there.