Nicole Bray: New York City

What’s your historical Los Angeles and New York connection?
For 13 years I worked in Advertising and halfway through my career in 2004 I was transferred from London to Los Angeles. It was October and miserable in London, so the idea of sunshine, palm trees and a corporate apartment in Venice was way too enticing.

However, as the saying goes, “you need to leave LA before you become too soft, leave New York before you become too hard”. I believe everyone needs to experience living in New York at some time in their life. My best friend was living in NYC following grad school and I felt like my time was “now”.

So I moved to New York in 2012 and set up shop in a swanky TriBeCa apartment. The tremendous amount of opportunity in New York has helped me realize my true calling in life — recently, I switched careers to the art world and I’m now living in Williamsburg. Sometimes, to find true happiness, you have to “downgrade” your life in order to “upgrade” your life.

Describe your experience in NYC and in LA.
As with any place you live, it is all about the people you surround yourself with. I truly loved my time in Los Angeles, because I met some of my dearest friends. I often heard people complain about the quality of people in LA, saying, “it’s hard to find good girlfriends”. However, I was incredibly lucky and was surrounded by a group of ambitious, smart, stylish, worldly, and fun women.

When I moved to NYC, I finally found a city that I couldn’t keep up with socially; once-in-a-lifetime experiences tend to happen every week. Similarly, the ambition and pace of New York is incomparable. The opportunities for entrepreneurship and to make serious money is very real — it is mandatory to stay smart and at the top of your game. The ambition in New York has encouraged me to start my own business and go to Grad School (at the same time). Yes, I’m a little tired but very happy being my own boss.

What was the biggest challenge of moving from LA to NYC?
Hah, real estate. I moved from a 1200 square foot apartment in LA to a 700 square foot apartment in NY, which I paid 2.5 times more for. Plus the NY real estate broker world is the biggest scam on the planet. Also, as a side note, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing every bodily fluid imaginable (not mine) on the subway.

How can NYC and LA best engage with each other?
By sharing our spare bedrooms, couches and air mattresses regularly with our friends. So many employers enable their staff to work remotely, and I think it’s important for people to shake up their schedule and be inspired by relocating to the other coast every now and then.

Favorite NYC secret spot
The Mermaid Oyster Bar on Macdougal has the best happy hour in NYC. Also, The Chelsea Galleries, from 19th to 27th street between 10th and 11th avenue, you can walk in and see museum quality art work for free and it’s changes every few weeks.

Favorite LA secret spot
Kings Road Cafe, their coffee is tasty rocket fuel. And my secret street parking spot by the Mondrian — but I will never tell.

If you weren’t in Grad School and starting your own business, what would you be doing?
Since moving to New York, I have committed to writing my own rules for my life. There is nothing else I would rather be doing.

What’s on your playlist right now?
Downtown Abbey Season 4, the best yet!

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


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