Asi Lang: New York City

What’s your historical connection to Los Angeles and New York?
I grew up in Los Angeles and lived there till the age of 18 when I moved to Boston for school.  But NY always held my heart and I spent as much of my Boston career as possible down in NYC.  I pretty much knew from the age of three I wanted to be here!

Describe your experience in NYC (or LA).
NY is the city of why-not, I like to say.  Ten times a day, walking the streets, you’re likely to find some art installation, some public works project, some business initiative that required of its creators the simple mindset: “Why not??”  I’ve never seen a city and a government so willing to indulge in these flights of grown-up fancy.  Walk in Grand Central, see a huge acrylic cube in which the Williams sisters are playing squash?  Yep, why not!  That’s one of the things I love most about this city.

What was the biggest challenge of moving from NYC to LA (or vice versa)?
I’ve really had no challenge.  I love both bergs deeply.  They are very, very different but each encompasses an ideal of its own style very well.  LA is the land of comfort.  I always tell this to people heading out there- LA is *not* a destination city, like Paris or NY or Tokyo.  You do not head out to LA seeking out specific destinations or landmarks.  You can, but you’ll be sorely disappointed.  LA is too young a city for that.  Instead, you treat LA like a day spa in the desert.  You go to enjoy life- for ultra comfortable living -the weather, the beaches, the food, the homes, the cars, the shopping, the vacation destinations that are under a day’s drive away- these are the reasons to go to LA.  When you go with that mentality you enjoy it a lot more.  And NY?  Ahh, the 10 million watt power plug that you can’t wait to hook into.  They’re worlds apart, but both flesh out the spectrum of living quite nicely!

How can NYC and LA engage with each other?
I think plenty already happens.  Show me one even semi-noteworthy celebrity who doesn’t split his or her time between LA and NY!  I think the cities are in a very comfortable place in their relationship right now.

Favorite LA secret spot
That would have to be LA96C, a decommissioned Cold War-era missile lookout site that sits atop one of the best ridges in LA.  On a clear day you can see the whole Valley, most of Hollywood, Downtown, the Burbank mountains, Long Beach, plenty of the ocean, Century City, etc., all in one panorama.  It’s absolutely amazing:

Favorite NYC secret spot
The Architecture and Design building on 58th St. between 3rd and Lex.  I love it for two reasons.  First off, it captures one of the best traits of NYC- the universe of universes model.  I’ve always said that this city is a collection of mini universes, many of which you may never even find, though they might be right under your nose.  You could go to a jazz club in a basement floor, a few stories beneath some avant garde mid century-inspired graphic design exhibit, a few stories beneath some diplomats having an Eyes Wide Shut bacchanal before they’re called back home from their consulate.  And the nights you find all three tend to be the best!  Anyway, the A&D building is this temple of modern design located in an otherwise nondescript block in the UES.  Inside lies the second reason I love it- there are nine floors exhibiting some of the best European design houses on the planet.  Kitchens, bedrooms, shower designs, all out of the pages of the best design magazines on the racks.  If you’re into that sort of thing, and want to see what $20,000 buys you in sleek Norwegian cabinetry, that’s the spot.

If you were not at Alliance the Game, what would you be doing?
Probably filmmaking.  Either that or food writing :).  I own a company that makes video games and the skillset required to make a good game is almost identical to that required for a good film.  I actually started in filmmaking as a kid but decided to go into video game development for the time being.  But I fully intend to return, and so even though it’s not a wide step away, I’d pick that as an alternate activity.    

From the 2462 Miles newsletter: connecting NEW YORK CITY + LOS ANGELES

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