NYC v LA Round 14: Expense

If you want to read what this series of posts is all about, go here.


So I thought I’d do a pros and cons for each of the cities (NYC and LA) based on 15 categories of my choosing – i.e the kind of things that are important to me about a place that I chose to live. For example, since I don’t have any children, so you won’t see “education” on the list, but I do love to eat sandwiches, so “food” will definitely be on the list.

Keep in mind these are MY pros and cons…pros and cons that I have come to after living in LA for five years (2000 – 2005) and then living in New York for five years (2005 – 2010).  This is intended to be a fun (and funny) list, and is not to be taken seriously, but I hope some of you, especially those of you who have lived in both places (or experienced them) will enjoy it. Come back tomorrow for Round 15…the FINAL ROUND.


Neither city is a real bargain, but I was pretty shocked by my expenses across the board in NYC.

My dad tells a great little story about why he didn’t take a job in Manhattan back in the early 1970’s after graduating from Berkeley and it goes something like this, “I came out for the interview and they took me to lunch, and I noticed that the sandwich on the menu cost $10! And I thought to myself there’s no way I can live in a city where a sandwich at lunch costs $10!”

And you know what?  He’s right.  Living here is incredibly expensive, then and now.  A dozen eggs can cost $3.00, $5.00 if I buy local.  A half-gallon of milk (the brand I prefer – which is organic) is about $4.00.  If I’m also able to buy local (not always an option), which I also prefer, it’s easily over $4.00.

My rent on a 2-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side is $2100 a month – more than most people I know pay for their mortgage – and considered a steal by most New Yorkers, and that’s for the pleasure of walking up four narrow flights of stairs every day and having a real jerk of a mailman.

LA is not cheap by any means, and I struggled mightily financially while I was there – in part because I made a lot less than I do in NYC (which in fairness should be considered), but that’s also about experience and growth in my job…and the offset is just not enough to cause an upset.

Also…that mailman really screws NYC…I hate him.  Advantage: LA



  1. Ben Cohen’s avatar

    The milk sounds like a bargain, an I buy local.

  2. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Wow. That’s surprising. While local is always going to be more expensive, I’d think because of your location, that it’d be cheaper than here. So what do you pay for a 1/2 gallon of local organic milk in Vermont?

  3. Greg Burgas’s avatar

    Man, our mostgage is less than half your rent. And we have a pool!

  4. 1979semifinalist’s avatar

    Greg: Oh man…don’t tell me that…especially the part about the pool…that’s too depressing. Yeah, I pay that for the privilege of about 400 Square Feet and no outdoor space. Oy.

    Also, having my own pool is pretty much my number one (only?) goal in life at this point. i.e. “acquire enough money to have a pool”. Does it feel good to know that you’ve completed MY one goal? :)

  5. Greg Burgas’s avatar

    Why yes, it does feel good, thanks for asking! When we were buying our house, my only stipulation, given the AZ summers, was it had to have a pool. How people can live here without one is beyond me.

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