In an increasingly mobile society a person can choose to live wherever they want. I was born in a suburb of Boston and now live in Tel Aviv. Many of my friends from home have moved to New York and Los Angeles. As a result of this, the entire meaning of a city has changed. Where once people moved in pursuit of a job or an industry, today’s youth are moving to cities based on lifestyle preferences and finding a job once they get there. This has led to a new horoscope of cities. The city you choose, like your astrological sign, says something about who you are and more and more people are choosing their new habitat as a means of self-expression.
New York – The people of New York are ambitious. They feel good about being busy and burning the candle at both ends – this means they like to work hard and play hard and do everything else hard as well. Life in New York is not for the faint of heart, after all. The crowded subways and long commutes, the trying winters and the brutal smelly summers. One wonders why anyone does it at all! But there is a glamour and a pride to saying “I live in New York.”
Los Angeles – The people of Los Angeles are also ambitious. But for them it’s not all about hustling for their careers and then hustling to the coolest clubs and openings on the weekend. They also care about their health and their souls. So add to that New York aggression a love of Eastern Religions and New Age Philosophies, and a love of hiking. Los Angeles transplants tend to have food sensitivities and love to make substitutions to a dish while ordering at a restaurant.
Portland, Oregon – The people of Portland are not city folk at heart. They want to be in a city for the social and professional benefits, but would prefer to be out in a quiet village somewhere. That’s why they’ve crafted their city into an eco-friendly vegetarian commune. Moving to Portland shows that you’re committed to the environment and don’t really want to have a job. Here we have the same Eastern religions one will find in Los Angeles, but way less money.
Berlin, Germany – Moving to Berlin is so hip. Those who move to Berlin are the most hip. They are artists, renegades, party animals. Like the people of Portland, they don’t want to work too hard at some nine-to-five job. Unlike the people of Portland, they wouldn’t rather be in a cottage in the woods. They love the feel of urban life, enjoy drugs and clubs, and don’t want to hang out with anyone in Berlin who also moved there from the same country they did.
Tel Aviv, Israel – The people who move to Tel Aviv are a lot like the people who moved to Berlin, except that they’re Jewish. Or they’re Jewish American husband hunters come to score an Israeli and take him back to the real homeland (the USA). Or they came for Birthright and just never went back.
Paris, France – those who move to Paris are romantics. They dream the classic ex-pat dream and don’t care that everyone is talking about Berlin these days. For them it will always be Paris. These people live in the past. Hemmingway’s past and the past of all other Parisian artists and nonconformists who walked those boulevards and strolled those squares.
Tokyo, Japan – If you have moved to Tokyo you are a true pioneer. Those who move to Tokyo have decided to be truly, truly far away from family and friends and to exist in an environment where they will always be a visible outsider. Japanese is not an easy society to integrate into and the language is difficult to learn. People who move to Tokyo are thus people like Scarlett Johansson’s character in Lost in Translation. They like being lonely outsider observers but in an angst ridden way in a beautiful, complex and fascinating place.
San Francisco, California – In our horoscope of cities, San Francisco is like the sign “Gemini” because of it’s dual nature. Either you’re a techie who has moved to San Fran to work at Google, or you’re a radical queer ready to march in the Folsom Street Parade. Or maybe you’re both.
Boston, Massachusetts – If you’re moving to Boston you are a student. Or a lawyer. Or a doctor. Either way, Boston transplants are hard working, mature and professional. They then need to unwind with obscene amounts of beer and sporting events.