Published May 2003 All Rights Reserved

Living in Paradise:
High Quality of Life Too?

Is there a paradise? Well, yes, but the chances of living in paradise is equal to winning the Jackpot Lottery. Compare living styles between one city and the next, you may find nothing more to base our ideas upon than myths, legends, or hearsay from others -- especially if we've not visited.

While growing up in Southern California, I knew no more about life in New York City or Seattle than what television images presented. New York City, for example, to me as a teenager was the scariest place in the world. Travelling there meant sudden death by subway stabbing, or by falling into an alligator and rat-infested sewer system. High school students joining my class from the northeastern United States painted a different picture of course -- they usually hated California, they missed their friends, and despised their parents for moving to the land of sunshine and 70-degree weather year-round. All myths. I didn't know until leaving Los Angeles, that it actually was the most violent city in the United States. And California sunshine is overrated. That state's high income taxes actually pay for any extra hours of light. New York City subways by in large are safe and clean, and crime is low, and the sun shines as much here as anyone needs for a golden tan. As for leaving behind Southern California weather, you can have it; the smog, the relentless days of low-clouds-and-fog, the summers that are not warm enough to swim at Venice beach, and the winters that tease you with weather appropriate for July.

The biggest myth of all is that Los Angeles is "laid-back." Angelenos are so wrapped-up in survival, they think "laying back," is a comfortable automobile on the 605 Freeway. So, to the New Yorkers hoping to live in L.A., I ask, "Why?" Once we settle past the myths of nice weather and orange-tree-lined cul-de-sacs, they start to question their dream.

I grew up in San Juan Capistrano, CA. Other cities I've lived, include Dallas, Rochester, NY, and San Francisco. Dallas can be too hot, the Bay Area too cold for my taste. Rochester is a good place to raise a family, but professional jobs are hard to find. New Windsor, NY, in the Lower Hudson Valley will always be a favorite of mine for the climate and diversity of culture. Time has enabled me to visit other cities long enough to observe culture differences. My take on it all truly is hearsay to you, the reader. But it might firm-up or put into question your plans to either relocate or visit these cities making our world.

Featured Cities
Fort Worth
San Francisco
Los Angeles
New Windsor, NY

Lifestyle SPEED scale: 1=Slow 10=Fast
MIN SALARY REQ: to own residence
6 San Francisco Questioning life, self, politics, but answers lose to more questions. Real estate prices are laughable. $233,000 NO
10 Los Angeles Beautify self, live in fear of crime and nature. Can't afford to waste a minute. Must have a car. Difficult to meet people, because everyone is working. Hard to find a nice house for less than $500,000. $255,000 NO
8 Dallas Big cultural shifts: "Old Southern money" [finally] lost to new; JFK complex passed. Pride in Texas first. Always ready to make a deal. Class division: whites focus on career, Latinos focus on quality of life, blacks focus on community. Material wealth plays big with whites and they are most likely to own a truck and a gun. $90,000 NO
4 Fort Worth, TX Private people. Laid-back, friendly, residents enjoy "downtown," focus on family and friends. Dallas is another world and not found here. $70,000 MAYBE. (Not as a single.)
6 London, England Party animals. Serve yourself. Social equality earned if you play the game. Focus on world and sports. They know how to laugh. 84,000 pound YES (For a high wage)
3 Rochester, NY Friendly. Family oriented, focus on friends and sports. Can't wait for summer. $77,000 NO (But visit often)
2 Paris, France Well educated, outspoken politically, aware of social issues, do not trust government, focus on France and quality of life. They demand quality food and friendships. 66,000 euro YES
6 New York City Complainers paradise. Politically estute, wide range of intellects, focus on community, focus on world. Tolerant. $102,000 YES (And do)
5 Berlin, Germany WWII guilt lives. Shame of past, but proud of heritage and vision. Accepting of extreme desires. Focus on family, friends, quality of life. They stand on principles. 54,000 euro UNDECIDED
4 New Windsor, NY Lower Hudson Valley; Metro New York. Focus on environment, high quality of life, focus on family, friends. Breath-taking landscape, perfect four seasons. $68,000 YES

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