Andrew Zitek: Los Angeles

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Hi, I’m Andrew, a Freelance Software Engineer working mainly with NGOs.  

What’s your historical Los Angeles and New York connection?
I’m from the greater Los Angeles area and I went to college in NYC. My heart is in both places now. My family and good friends from growing up are scattered on the CA coast up to Santa Barbara and I have all the people I love in NYC. It’s really lucky I have clients in both LA and NYC so it’s a convenient excuse to get to see them all.
Describe your experience in LA and your experience in NYC
Usually when I come back to LA, I want to do outdoors things in the sunshine like hike and hit the beach because it’s difficult to get those things in when you’re living in NYC. I also associate LA strongly with Mexican cuisine which is near and dear to my heart. NYC for me is more social–it’s more about connecting with others, strangers even, feeding off the vibes of 8 million people aspiring to something of their own. Also, I’m a night owl like a lot of programmers, and the schedule of working late and going out late seems to fit. The nightlife and entertainment of NYC in general seems way more convenient and appealing to me.

What was the biggest challenge of moving from NYC to LA?
The obvious one is transportation. New Yorkers don’t understand needing a car and LA natives don’t understand not having one. Personally, traffic makes me wanna cry and I’m nowadays very pro public transportation, but for 18 years of my life that was a radical and foolish opinion. It can be difficult being back in LA and realizing that traveling ten miles in any direction (not very far in LA terms) is going to take at least an hour, but hey, opportunity to find a new shortcut! There’s also something magical about singing alone in your vehicle, so maybe that’s the flipside.

How can LA and NYC best engage with each other?
I hear a lot of people try to compare say, Williamsburg with Silverlake, and personally I don’t think that type of engagement works. LA and NYC are nothing alike, we need to just admit that and probably embrace it. If I could write a tagline, it would be along the lines, “do something you can’t do in the other city, and be stoked about that.”

Favorite LA secret spot
If you don’t mind driving to the valley, I love the Aroma Bakery Cafe in Encino on Ventura Blvd. It’s Israeli-inspired casual dining/ coffee, and the only place where I’ve found roasted mushroom humus served still warm out of the oven. It’s completely chainless– it’s off the chain. They also have a nice fresh mint and black tea beverage. It’s just a spot that feels really LA to me–you’re not gonna find many tourists wandering Ventura Blvd, and yet there’s always people out. Maybe makes me a little nostalgic of being a little tike too.

Favorite NYC secret spot
Le Basket on Broadway and W 3rd street has the best Italian sandwich anywhere and it’s only $8.

What would you be doing if you weren’t working on what you are?

I enjoy what I do and I think I can make an impact on people’s lives. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work to do this, and working at a bigger organization with more resources might enable me to do it more quickly and efficiently. There’s a give and take, but maybe something similar at a larger organization.

Inflight entertainment: tell us what you’ve been listening, reading, or watching as of late?
Radio Ambulante — it’s like “This American Life” but covers stories all over Latin America and is produced in both English and Spanish.

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

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