I decided Last night, i’d die for PC, LA and NYC.
In one of Drake’s new songs 9, he talks about how he “decided he would die for it”, it meaning his hometown of Toronto. What does that even mean!? So if a bunch of gorilla’s raided the city of Toronto and demanded the city to sacrifice Drake to avoid the city of Toronto being ripped to pieces by 45 crazy Gorillas. Do we really think he sacrifices himself? Well you must damn believe he would! He would do anything for the 6! Its his hometown, he probably has so many memories in that city as a kid, sharing pb and j’s with his friends that he probably would die for it. We can all relate, 98% percent of people I have met LOVE their hometown. Those 2 % percent that don’t are people that grew up in Tucson, Arizona. For whatever reason we hang on to the first memories we make in life with the cities,towns and streets we grew up on. I mean, people from New Jersey, LOVE Jersey. I can easily say Jersey is one of the worst places on earth, but those people ain’t leaving it or if they have they for sure are going back. When I lived in the South Carolina, a guy came up to me and told me “Hey kid, I am from the west coast, don’t ever fall in love with a girl from the South, she may act like she’s okay living out west, but I promise you, she’ll force you to move the south”. Don’t get me started on people from California, California is amazing, but for like 2% of the population that actually lives near the beach, I just don’t see how living in the valley etc is that great, if you’re gonna live in California you need to be at least 45 minutes near the beach. Anyways, back to hometowns,we end up all being pretty die hard, ill run through a brick wall or die for my city. And, right now in this moment actually years ago, I decided i’d die for my hometown, But I would also die for the 1.5 of the other cities I have lived.
In high school my friends and I used to go to our town’s iconic Main Street in Park City, Utah. Among other things, we would harass tourists and walk across the street in front of cars and yell “This is our Town”. It was a spot where we could feel nostalgic and dream about what it was going to be like when we all grew up and left. That street made me feel important, it still does, it was ours, the starting line of a adventure. I remember summer nights, sitting on benches and watching the city shut down and talking about how we were gonna make it. I know this sounds a little cheesy teen drama One tree hillish,but when you’re from somewhere, you dream about leaving and taking that city with you. I gained a strong sense of pride to be from Park City, I feel strongly about my hometown.
It has been a little over 10 years since I have lived in Park City. It’s amazing where you end up and the paths you take. After I graduated college, I took a job not knowing initially where I would be re-located. I was worried I would be moving to some small town in Iowa, there I was with these ambitions to go make it and it was possible that I would end up in Omaha. Luckily that didn’t happen and I was sent to the best city in the world, New York City.
I had never been to New York City until the day I arrived to look for apartments. Everyone has this how I arrived to the City story, the difficulties of doing day to day errands etc… and the excitement and energy that the city provides. I felt so damn important in that city. It’s been 2 years since I left, looking back I am amazed at the caliber of people I was around. There was something about the city that pulled people together, it was like all the nasty garbage, mossy subways and gross air combined to seap into people and created a everlasting bond. Life was fun and simple as we all had good jobs and enjoyed the privileges the city offered, but I feel like I went to war with those people and created a long lasting family friendship. I might die for those people and I say might only because when it comes down to saving someone you just never know.
Manhattan means everything to me, side note, I knew this kid that said Manhattan by pronouncing emphatically every syllable. Just say the damn word Manhattan in one breath. A co-worked of mine once told me “Every time you think you’ve beat the city, the city comes backs and wins every time.” This was so true, one day the trains would all be on time, things would be going great and then the last transfer you need to make to get home is delayed 21 minutes. When you see that delay on the screen and its the middle of summer/or winter and you’re a few stairways down, and you’re too far from home to get a taxi, those moments build up and wear on you. Living in NYC meant everything to me. I used to take a train, get out and walk a few blocks to a rental car company, then drive across the George Washington bridge, and go through anywhere from 2–6 tolls just to get to my clients in Jersey. However, every day, EVERY damn day, when i’d be returning from New Jersey as I turned upon the New Jersey Turnpike, i’d see the city and I would feel this immense energy and happiness to call NYC my home.
I left NYC two years ago to move to LA, I needed to experience living in California. I remember my first weekend, a friend had a hotel in Hollywood that we all went to. That was my first taste of LA, this fake who knows who town. I instantly was missing the every man for himself, but genuine feel for sincerity in New York. LA seemed so fake to me. It took me about 7 Months until winter time that I feel in love with LA, It was January and I wasnt walking around the city feeling like I was courageously manning the frigid tundra getting from point A to point B just to stay alive. My affinity for LA continued to deepen once I was shown the stash of goods the city had to offer, and by goods I mean the Tacos. You could get on a camel, ride it to mexico and still have a hard time finding better tacos than what LA has to offer.
I sincerely believe that LA has the best tacos in the World. As far as food goes, when you talk about which city in the US has the best food, a lot of people jump right to NYC as the best. I think NYC has amazing food, but I have come to decide after traveling a bunch that NYC is 3rd on the list. San Francisco has the best food, there is so much variety in the food, and Idk its just the best. Los Angeles is Second, and hear me out how LA food is better than NYC. NYC has a ton of really really good places that are widespread, but just good. NYC is famous for PIZZA, which is a widespread human top 3 favorite food. However, NYC lacks in having more than Italian specialties, like everything is good, it has to be. Now LA, has Mexican,Asian and also this trendy healthy lifestyle crap that it specializes in… My point is, you can find a great Italian, burger, steakhouse anywhere.. and you can find really good pizza in most places, conceding NYC pizza is a notch above others. However, you can’t find LA Mexican and LA Asian anywhere else, they do those two groups better and do the other things like everyone else just as well. To round out my top US food cities, ill go Portland #4, they care so damn much about having amazing trendy food its phenomenal. And then, ill say #5 Austin Texas. I will say though, somehow I have never been to Chicago randomly. which is weird because my grandparents lived in Chicago practically their whole life and my mom grew up there. At my grandpa’s funeral, this man approached me and said “Are you Raul’s grandson?”, I said yeah and he introduced himself as Junior my grandfather’s cousin. we started talking about Chicago.. Junior pulled me aside and said “look, your Grandpa saved my life, he helped me change my life etc…, I owe the world to him. I used to be high up in the police force in Chicago, if you ever want to come out and need anything, ill take care of you.” That’s some straight up mafia business right there! or for me that’s my biggest Mafia moment I have ever had… Except for the whole 2 year adventure of working with Car Dealerships in New Jersey. But honestly, to have a family member from a big city like Chicago pull me aside and act like he was welcoming me into his cool mafia team, I am just a kid from the ultra privileged town of Park City, Utah. Like even just the name JUNIOR! Unfortunately since then Junior has died and I have still never been able to live out my Mafia dream in Chicago. That’s all besides the point, basically I am leaving Chicago as a possible city to be in the TOP 5 of my Fav US food cities. Back to LA, after living in LA for two years, I have realized the lifestyle of waking up, getting some typical Acai bowl, working out, and being able to go to the beach and finish the day with Tacos is a great lifestyle. I have also found a sincere loyal group of friends here. My crew in LA has been amazing, anytime we go to the beach or roll to get taco’s I feel legit, those people have made me.
Now I am moving back to Utah, to pursue an MBA degree at the University of Utah. Thinking about this baffles me, so much of who I am and have been the past 4–5 years has been these cities I have lived in. As I reflect on this, I am reminded why these years were special. I met and shared memories and moments with amazing people, people in these Cities are talented, you have to be. Even more than talents, I found people that I meshed with and developed strong relationships with, these people became family to me. These people have made me for who I am now. I realize I have been lucky to experience all the culture, food and unique identities each city and each little neighborhood provide. I write about these cities because they are so much of who I am, when I left Park City, I was Park City. Now I feel like so much of me is Park City, NYC and LA and I am proud of that. I get all pumped up and ready to go kick bricks thinking about these places I have called home. It’s interesting, anytime a phase in your life is ending, it gets kinda nostalgic and sad. You wonder what the next phase is going to be like. A leader I knew in College once told me, when I went to college I had the best time of my life, then after college that phase was better, and then the next phase was better. I have noticed this is true, everyone always asks me, which did you like better LA or NYC. That’s such an unfair question, because in those moments that I was in each city I would choose that city. That’s what was important in that moment. I have noticed each phase of life is better than the previous, obviously it can be harder and you can go through certain things, but I think you can learn to adapt and realize you’re growing and find happiness in that, alright enough of that Tony Robbins walk across fire crap. I have lived the adventure that I always wanted. I wanted to go and experience big city dreams. It’s weird, I am sure the pace of life will be a lot slower than what I am used to, it will be weird living as an adult where I grew up. It’s all come full circle and its really kinda weird for me to say this in a weird resemblance LeBron James (who I dont think I am) way,but I’m coming home.