“Your Souls, Like Your City, Are 95% Concrete”
Los Angeles is a city that rarely gets lukewarm reception. People love it or they hate it, and there’s perhaps no place where this is more evident than on the City of Los Angeles’s Yelp page. Yes, apparently entire cities, like your local coffee shop, or the Italian place down the street can be summed up and picked apart by a virtual peanut gallery (San Francisco and Chicago have 4 stars, San Jose has 3 stars.) And that’s not all! So can freeways, parking lots, public bathrooms, prisons, and even the United States Congress. (For some perspective, the 405 freeway has the same 2 star score as Congress. Perhaps it’s the gridlock?)
Drawing from 178 reviews, Los Angeles earns an average of 3.5 stars, a score that reflects a litany of 5 and 1 star reviews. As far as complaints about Los Angeles go, they are more or less what you’d expect. First and foremost, people hate the traffic. “Horrendous,” “mad,” “insane,” and “outrageous” are just a handful of the adjectives users employed to describe it. One went so far as to say that she “was sitting in traffic for so long that I actually started crying.”
Other complaints centered on parking, the “stupid” “self-centered” “fake” “vapid” people who live here, resentment toward the film industry, the homeless, local government and the LAPD. Plus our “potholes are insane!!!!” (which is completely true). Not surprisingly, there were several rants from New Yorkers and San Franciscans who are seemingly born and bred to hate the Southland and everything it stands for.
“The Armpit of Hell”
But aside from the standard L.A. bashing Angelenos have grown accustomed to and generally don’t reciprocate, some criticisms were overly harsh, others unintentionally hilarious and there were many rife with amateur psychoanalysis. One user described it as “the armpit of hell,” another thanked Los Angeles in “advance for falling off the continent,” and another declared “your souls, like your city, are 95% concrete.”
As far as praise goes, many Yelpers lauded L.A.’s weather, its diversity, its food scene, its architecture, and museums. We even got compliments on our public transportation. There were even a few kind odes from our friends who say ‘hella’ from the north who actually grew to love L.A. (gasp!)
Here is a pick of the juiciest zingers:
“You have no center, no grounding, no heart, no roots. And you think you’re so beautiful…have you ever seen yourself? I mean really LOOKED at yourself? You’re all strip malls and concrete, coated in dirty grey smog…it’s really quite sad,” said Splendid E. of Marquette Michigan
“It gets one star because I have to give it at least one star, not because it deserves any stars. In fact, it owes me stars. It is the worst city in the world.” said Benjamin W. of Beverly Hills. In the same review he stated that there isn’t a single decent restaurant in all of L.A.
“Overpriced parking meter rates”
“I just wish you could see the sky.” (Is this all they had to say about our city of four million people?)
LA Converts from the Bay Area
“I live in the Bay Area, yet every time I come down south, I can see why people live in L.A. There, I said it”
“By tradition and birth I am supposed to hate Los Angeles. . .every great era needs a great villain and Los Angeles has played that villain to perfection. San Franciscans always think they’re more enlightened, cultured, more bohemian than they’re Angeleno cousins. The response of L.A.: whatever. They don’t care. They’re too busy to even sweat such stupid sh*t like that which infuriates us to no end” . . “It’s a unique city and is perhaps the city of the future. In the California cultural wars, it has defeated San Francisco and I have no doubt that in future centuries it will overtake New York, London, and Paris. They all know this. That is why they hate LA so much.”
While the one-way rivalry between Los Angeles and many other cities may continue for eternity, one user summarized L.A. best when he wrote, “Los Angeles has enough variety to make everyone happy, just go out there and find it.”
For another example of how people are crowdsourcing their input of L.A., read our interview with Tara Roth of LA2050 who hopes that crowdsourcing can fuel civic improvement.