You could have knocked us over with a feather when Woody showed up at the Oscars.
After all, it was not so long ago that New Yorkers routinely pooh-poohed this humble burg; now you’re all moving here. My, how things change. But the transition can be rocky. Hence, a guide for the transplanted, homesick New Yorker to the City of Angels.
Where to live: Let us guess: You want a “real” apartment with a doorman and elevator? Get over it. Take our advice and steer clear of the characterless wasteland that is the Wilshire Corridor. Instead, get yourself an apartment (or on the waiting list for one, more like) at the El Royale or one of the other historic buildings on Rossmore Avenue. (El Royale Apartments, 450 North Rossmore Avenue; 213-469-1131.)
How to get around: Face it: You need a car. (For help in that department, call our beloved car consultant.) If you don’t know how to drive, well, don’t bother moving here. Now get a Thomas Guide, a massive tome filled with detailed, easily cross-referenced maps of L.A., the Valley, and Orange County. Available at just about every newsstand and bookstore in L.A. You’ll need it.
What to read: Of course, you’ve already subscribed to DailyCandy L.A. You’ll be glad to hear that the New York Times will deliver to you as well, complete (finally!) with the Sunday Styles Section, wedding announcements (a.k.a “The Women’s Sports Pages”) and all.
What to listen to: For all former WFMU, WNYC, and WFUV devotees: Try pre-setting your car radio to KCRW 89.9, Santa Monica’s local NPR station, with great music programming and live in-studios. Or, if you’re way into the underground music shtick, try KXLU 88.9, Loyola Marymount’s station.
Where to buy used books: Oh, you New Yorkers are so literary! Whatever will you do without the Strand? Head to Dutton’s Brentwood, where the inventory (new and used) is comprehensive, the staff knowledgeable, and the atmosphere sufficiently highbrow. There’s even a little outdoor courtyard where you can sip coffee while wearing black and reading the TLS. (Dutton’s Brentwood, 11975 San Vicente Boulevard, 310-476-6263.)
Where to get a decent slice: It’s true: Too often in California, “pizza” refers to a dinky 9-inch wood-grilled thing covered with barbecued chicken or shiitakes. For the real deal, visit Mulberry Street Pizzeria. Multiple locations and a full-on appreciation for the overall two-handedness of the New York slice. (Mulberry Street Pizzeria, 240 South Beverly Drive, 310-247-8100; 347 North Canon Drive, 310-247-8998; 17040 Ventura Boulevard, 818-906-8881.)
Where to get a decent bagel: Barney Greengrass, located atop Barneys, has H&H bagels flown in every three days. There’s also lox, whitefish, and, of course, that renowned sturgeon. (Barney Greengrass, Barneys New York, 9570 Wilshire Boulevard, fifth Floor; 310-777-5877.) But be forewarned: if it’s New York deli atmosphere you’re seeking, this favorite of agents and publicists is not the place. For that, see:
Where to get deli: Nate ‘n Al’s. A pure, unadulterated Jewish deli. Ex-New Yorkers (and everyone else) come to feast on oversized matzoh balls and corned beef while sipping Dr. Brown’s and getting attitude from the crotchety uniformed waitresses. (Nate ‘n Al’s, 414 North Beverly Drive; 310-274-0701.)
Where to get Chinese: Yang Chow. The slippery shrimp is legendary. Of course, all the regular standbys (dumplings, sesame noodles) are on the menu as well. Afterwards, take a walk around the newly hip Chinatown to work off that apres-mu-shu stupor. (Yang Chow, 819 North Broadway, 213-625-0811; 6443 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, 818-347-2610; 3777 East Colorado Boulevard, 626-432-6868.)
How to get food delivered: Why Cook? will deliver food from various restaurants around town (including East India Grill, The House, and Farfalla) to your doorstep for a $5-to-$10-fee. For life’s little necessities (beer, cigarettes, magazines, Sprite), Pink Dot is the tried-and-true method of procurement for L.A.’s resident agoraphobes and couch potatoes. (Why Cook?, 310-278-3955, www.whycookla.com; Pink Dot, 800-PINKDOT, www.pinkdot.com)
Where to spa: Was it hard leaving Bliss behind? Buck up, buckaroo. Day spas were, like, invented out here. With locations in West Hollywood, Pasadena, and Santa Monica, Burke Williams is a reliable option; if you insist upon a trendy spa, head to Ona on Beverly. Great location (just down the street from NYSE, a store you’ll definitely want to check out), and an overall kick-ass spa. (Burke Williams, Virgin Mega Complex, 8000 Sunset Boulevard, 323-822-9007; 39 Mills Place, 626-440-1222; 1460 Fourth Street, 310-587-3366; www.burkewilliamsspa.com. Ona, 7373 Beverly Boulevard, 323-931-4442; www.onaspa.com) (NYSE, 3585 Beverly Boulevard, 323-938-1018)
Where to get styled: Go to Goodform on Fairfax, owned by the fabulous and desirable Jay Diola. Rock stars like Marilyn Manson go there, but the appeal for the New York crowd is that this excellent salon is the only public place left where you’re allowed to smoke. And that includes bars. (Goodform, 727 North Fairfax Avenue, 323-658-8585.)
Where to get abused: Soup Nazi? How quaint. Let us introduce you to the Sushi Nazis of Sushi Roku, who can be politely described as “all business.” Orders of the “I’ll just have the spicy tuna” variety are scowled at at this authenticity-is-king joint. In other words, you eat what they give you. Sound familiar? (Sushi Roku, 8445 West Third Street, 323-655-6767; 1401 Ocean Avenue, 310-458-4771; 33 Miller Alley, 626-683-3000.)
Where to get nostalgic for something you never thought you’d miss: Times Square’s West Coast equivalent is the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, another formerly seedy tourist hub that’s recently undergone an alarmingly rapid transformation into a hyper-sanitized tourist mall.
Where to buy records: Amoeba, which opened six months ago, has two rooms full of prime used vinyl and recently hosted an in-store performance by Thurston Moore. If these facts mean nothing to you, we suggest the Virgin Megastore, two miles west down Sunset. (Amoeba Music, 6400 West Sunset Boulevard, 323-245-6400)
Where to go jogging: The Hollywood Reservoir. It’s no Central Park, what with the direct view of the Hollywood sign and Reese Witherspoon running past you, but you know what they say: when in Rome. (Hollywood Reservoir: Located in the Hollywood Hills off Lake Hollywood Drive. Consult your Thomas Guide or Mapquest for driving directions.)
Which brings us to another point. As long as you’re living here, why not soak up a little of the local culture? Eat tacos. Go surfing. Shop at Fred Segal. Wear shorts in February. Isn’t that why you moved here?