We fact-checked kids’ opinions of New York and Los Angeles

One of them’s “crazy,” one of them’s “slow.”
One of them’s “crazy,” one of them’s “slow.”
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan; AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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This week, Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show is broadcasting from Brooklyn instead of its usual Hollywood set. In a bit that aired Monday night, the ABC late-night talk show’s correspondents interviewed kids in New York and Los Angeles on their impressions of the other city.

It was funny, because encouraging small children to perpetuate stereotypes is wrong but also charming, like dressing babies up as dictators.

The kids were honest and direct. But were they right? Because we’re adults and we can, Quartz decided to fact-check their claims. Given my special qualifications in this area (grew up in greater LA, moved to New York, moved back to LA this month) I eagerly accepted the job.

Let’s do this.

LA kids on New York

“They’re kind of cranky sometimes. They kind of ignore you when you go there.”—Blond girl with headband

Quartz says: Part 1: True, though what appears to Angelenos (and, arguably, all other people) as “cranky” is defined in New York as a completely legitimate expression of displeasure when someone has done a terrible thing, like move 0.6 seconds per minute slower than the speed of traffic.

Part 2 is demonstrably false. How can you tell a stranger to get lost without acknowledging his existence?

“People are crazy.”—Girl in Hello Kitty tank top

Quartz says: Who can say what’s crazy? Is it “crazy” to dress up in orc ears and live in a self-built Troll Museum? To get your dog a manicure? To pay $1,000 per month to live in a closet? Yes? Then okay, this is true.

New York kids, on LA

“They’re not that bright.”—Girl in pink parka

Quartz says: False. CalTech is in LA. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is in LA. The people who envisioned a world in which cowboys fight aliens and convinced the world to pay $174 million for the privilege of seeing that dream come to life are in LA.

“Slow.”—Boy in green jacket

Quartz says: True. People cross streets and parking lots here like wildebeest grazing on a predator-free plain. Ridiculous. Respect your own time!

“They’re mostly into plastic surgery, because they really want to look perfect.”—Girl in beanie

Quartz says: True, partly. From my unscientific observation: The greater LA population is composed of a majority with little to no interest in obtaining plastic surgery, and a minority with few priorities above the quest for physical perfection.

Incidental note: This weekend my husband overheard a woman at a cocktail party telling a very sympathetic group of women how frightened she was during her pregnancy, because she briefly thought she was carrying twins, and you know what twins do to your abs. (“Twin skin.” That’s what they called it.) Another woman assured her that doctors could fix this.

“I hate [LA Dodgers second baseman] Chase Utley because he broke one of the Mets’s legs.”—Girl in Mets cap

Quartz says: True. Yes, Utley did break shortstop Ruben Tejada’s lower leg in a slide that looked more like a full-body tackle. Yes, it was ugly. Yes, the Dodgers’ win was allowed to stand, even though the slide was ruled illegal. This isn’t really LA’s fault. Stick to the question.

Open questions

What’s the worst thing about New York?: “Donald Trump’s there.”—Boy with freckles, LA

Quartz says: Debatable. By this logic, at different times this year, this has also been the worst thing about Richmond, Va. Mobile, Ala. and Laredo, Tex.

New Yorkers’ top complaint about their city: “Maybe that it’s too busy?”—Blond girl with headband, LA

Quartz says: False. The top New York complaint is the cost of housing. Always the cost of housing.

Angelenos’ top complaint about their city: “That there’s too much gluten in the world.”—Blond girl with headband, LA

Quartz says: True. There is too much gluten in the world.

Which city is smarter?: “Definitely New York. People know how to do things way faster and people grow up way faster. Like, today I’m like this big [holds hand to hairline]. Yesterday I was like this big [holds hand to chin].”—Boy in green parka, New York

Quartz says: False. Not biologically possible. Take everything Green Parka says with a huge grain of salt.

Give an impression of a person from LA: “You wanna go shopping? Okay, let’s go shopping.”—Girl in beanie, New York

Quartz says: True. I think I saw this person yesterday at the Starbucks next to Nordstrom Rack. Eerily accurate.

Which city drinks more? “LA.”—Boy in red polo shirt, LA (Refused to give justification, nodded when interviewer asked if he was drunk.)

Quartz says: False. In a nationwide survey, 21 percent of people in New York County reported engaging in excessive drinking between 2006 and 2012, compared with 15 percent in Los Angeles County. This kid was clearly drunk.