Sloane Davidson: New York City

What’s your historical Los Angeles and New York connection?
I moved to Los Angeles in 2003 in a very romanticized way after a 6 week roadtrip cross-country from Boston. I had that feeling that dreams grew on trees and mine were ripe for the picking. I remember driving down Sunset Blvd for the first time – downtown all the way to the PCH – and just being like, “yeah I can do this.” I lived in Venice for 3 years and Santa Monica for 2 years. I grew, thank god, to have a more realistic view of LA but man there is just something about that place. Love it to death.

I had a two year sabbatical between Los Angeles and New York. The first was spent on a sabbatical volunteering in a few different spots around the world and the second was spent in New Orleans. I moved up to New York 2 years ago living first in a sublet in Carroll Gardens and since then in a lovely apartment in the East Village. I always knew I would end up in New York. My dad and his whole side of the family is from the Bronx when it was a really upscale Jewish neighborhood. I grew up coming here to visit family and always just wanted to have that New Yorker thing down where I could walk out of the subway and know which way to go.

Describe your experience in NYC.
It’s a different perspective (not better, just different) moving to a city when you’re in your 30s versus your 20s. I know every dive bar and underground music spot in Los Angeles. In New York, I know all of the speakeasys and museums. I’m an info junkie – it’s my thing – so I’m always exploring new neighborhoods and letting the day take me. In LA, I would drive to a part of town, ditch the car and walk. In NYC, I take the subway or walk there, walk around and walk home. In both places I was actually on foot or biking a lot. I like the perspective of slowing down to see the environment around you.

Some people say New York is tougher because of the density and the grind, some say LA is fake and everyone is disconnected from each other. To some extent that can be true, but I’ve found great circle and amazing people in both places. It just takes time and patience.

What was the biggest challenge of moving from LA to NYC?
Space and access to the outdoors. There was something about having a lot on my mind and getting in the car and driving to Temescal Canyon to hike or driving up Lookout Mountain or driving up to Malibu and staring out at the Pacific Ocean that really created a sense of calm and perspective. It’s harder to find that alone time in New York. It’s harder to get out of the bubble even though hiking is just an hour away. I push myself to get out as much as often to create that space and perspective.

In terms of people, starting over in a new city is always hard and I really created an amazing and diverse circle in Los Angeles. I have really had to work at not comparing one place to the other and letting each stand on its own two feet.

And if I was being honest, another challenge is not having that extra pair of shoes or clothes in the back of the car to switch into! It’s harder to schlep stuff around in New York without feeling like a bag lady.

How can NYC and LA engage with each other?
These are the two hubs. Don’t tell SF or Boston or anywhere else – we know it’s true! We fly back and forth all the time, we have to support each other. We have to highlight each other’s successes and tech communities the way two places like Boulder and New Orleans do. By creating conversation between the two places we create a larger dialogue about what is happening outside Silicon Valley. New York and LA have entertainment and Madison Avenue and strong philanthropic circles, it’s just about continuing to find new ways to engage with each other and make the cities feel more connected.

Favorite LA secret spot
I loved activities that brought a neighborhood or collection of people together. That could be anything from the North Hollywood Farmers Market to the Culver City Art Walk, any openhouse at The Brewery is not to be missed and of course standbys like Sunset Junction, Abbot Kinney Fest and any of the museum nights where they stayed open late for the young professional set. I love the lights on the city from the Getty on a Friday night.

Favorite NYC secret spot
In New York I love spots where you can find sudden peace and quiet that take you away from the city in an instant. This can be places like Wave Hill, the Cloisters, Garden at St. Luke’s in the Fields, Elevated Acre and my most recent find, The Noguchi Museum.

If you were not at Lippe Taylor, what would you be doing?
I’m definitely believe in following your passions and never been scared to reinvent yourself. I already had a career in nonprofit fundraising and worked at a startup before going agency-side. I think if I was going to do something else I’d really like to be a professional rescue worker either here in the US or as part of a peace-keeping mission with the UN. I also love my blog, The Causemopolitan, and dream of just writing all day. Last, I could be a ski bum in a heartbeat.

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

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