Currently Ashley does things in emerging tech; mostly 3d printing and bitcoin.
She’s also working on developing an event series that brings together do-gooders, entrepreneurs, creatives, techno-anarchists, criminals and politicians to create a dialogue around topics and ideas that are ugly, controversial, and/or misunderstood.
What’s your historical Los Angeles and New York connection?
I’ve always adored New York – and moved there in 2007 after graduating college to see how long I could last in that city without starving. I ended up staying 8 years. I’ve always hated LA – it was probably #1 on the Worst Cities list for me. But a few years ago that hate gradually changed to a hesitant appreciation for the city, mostly for the weather, which was really just a gateway drug for me to discover other awesome things about LA.
Describe your experience in LA and your experience in NYC
It was instantaneous, my love for New York. It was disgusting and smelly and I spent a lot of years living in a very expensive box. I was making $30k fresh out of school and paying $1250 to share an apartment. But everything sparkled there and I fucking loved it. My first apartment was on Ludlow and Rivington. Then I moved to Ludlow and Grand. I spent my final 4 years on Ludlow and Canal drinking all the bubble tea. I loved that city and never thought I would leave. Until one day I did. And it was an ugly breakup. But I think that’s the way things have to be if you ever choose to leave. And only now am I admitting to, and realizing, how much I miss that place. I will always be a New Yorker at heart. But the rent is too damn high.
I moved to LA in April, and it’s been a love/hate relationship thus far. For the most part I really like this city. I love wandering the streets of DTLA, I’ve found an amazing Ramen spot off Sawtelle (Tsujita Annex), and I drive up the PCH to Malibu once a week or whenever I need some time with myself and the ocean. But I live in Santa Monica which I find exceptionally boring. I’m moving my stuff into a storage unit next week because I’ll be spending the rest of the year traveling, but will probably look for a spot in Venice when I return in January, with the goal to split my time between Venice and Detroit.
What was the biggest challenge of moving from NYC to LA?
“I don’t go east/west of the 405” – hearing this makes me want to punch people in the neck. Also I miss bodega cats.
How can NYC and LA best engage with each other?
Hack Tinder’s geolocation match feature and start making bicoastal babies.
Favorite LA secret spot
Did you know there’s a proper speakeasy in Venice? It’s only open on Wednesday. Drinks are donation only. There is a piano. It is awesome. And you should come with me sometime.
Favorite NYC secret spot
Swat Bar – it’s off Allen and Canal above a Chinatown Bus station. It’s a grimy karaoke joint that is usually only frequented by 50 year old Chinese men drinking Hennessy and singing in Mandarin. About 3 years ago I convinced the owner to let me throw my birthday party there. They gave me an hour open bar for $10/person so I charged $25 and donated the extra to a nonprofit I liked – we raised a G. My friend DJ’d some filthy southern music, and had ourselves a real righteous party.
What would you be doing if you weren’t working in emerging tech in LA?
I would be making things in Detroit.
Inflight Entertainment: tell us what song/album, TV show, podcast, or web videos you’ve been watching lately.
hypem.com/ashert for your listening pleasure.
From the 2462 Miles newsletter: connecting NEW YORK CITY + LOS ANGELES