Jess Kantor: New York City

What’s your historical Los Angeles and New York connection?
I lived in NYC for most of my life, moved to manhattan the summer before high school and stayed for close to 20 years. I didn’t leave until 3 months ago when I moved to LA to work for the Sundance Institute.

Describe your experience in NYC.
NYC when I first moved was and still is magical. I would hang out in the meadow after school (For those of you that don’t know that’s Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow) and developed a street smart that only a city kid can understand. I had the opportunity to study ballet amongst the best in the country and then when highschool was over and it was clear I wasn’t going to be full time dancer, I decided to stay for NYU.

After school, I had a great network so I just started working and never really left. As I got older I started to just feel pulled in so many directions and felt I knew the life I wanted to lead but didn’t have the room to do so in my home town. I was ready to move when I started pursing the opportunity at Sundance Institute and when they offered me the role, it just made sense to switch coasts.

What was the biggest challenge of moving from LA to NYC?
Well, I never learned how to drive. So, I got my driver’s license the week I moved. I’d say that I adopted the LA lifestyle pretty quickly, but found it harder to find solid smart people. The ones I’ve met have been awesome, counting ALL of my colleagues but it’s definitely been more of a challenge.

How can NYC and LA best engage with each other?
I’d say the best advice I’ve been following is to enjoy each city for what makes them great while allowing the two to feed each other. I can get frustrated at the lack of inefficiency in LA, but then realize I have time for a pre-work surf, and still manage to get my work done. In NYC, you just don’t leave work before 8 pm. The space to be creative in LA is wonderful but then heading back to NY to take that creativity and turn it into action is super powerful. Together that’s a pretty neat combo.

Favorite LA secret spot
Well. I’m very new to LA still. I doubt I’ve found any secret spots yet. Right now I’m on a quest to find an empty point break.

Favorite NYC secret spot
The most northeast spot of the central park reservoir has the best view of the skyline. I recommend it for deep thinking, and proposals.

If you were not at Sundance Institute, what would you be doing?
I’d own a bakery/ shaping studio in Hawaii – and make surfboards and tasty treats all day in between surf sessions.

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

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