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The Many Similarities Between San Francisco and New York City

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If you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in San Francisco, CA, and New York City, NY, you may have noticed a large amount of eerie similarities.

What makes these two cities, about as far away from each other as they could get in the contiguous United States, so alike? In short, they are places where dreams are made (and often crushed), where money changes hands (usually out of the pockets of low-income households), and a gentle ocean breeze caresses the populace (it often smells like diesel).

Here are just a few of those similarities:


While Manhattan is an island and San Francisco is a peninsula, they nonetheless share many features. The “main hub” of the area is in a tightly packed, densely populated tiny amount of square mileage surrounded on most sides by water with a cooler, bigger neighbor to the East (Brooklyn and Oakland), a suburban sprawl that caters to Financial District workers (Northeast Jersey and South Bay), and an oceanside community of wealthy people (the Hamptons and Marin).

An Overabundance of Fitness Studios

This is true of other cities to be sure, but the sheer number of Equinox locations, yoga studios, pilates studios, crossfit gyms, fitness boot camps, and extreme booty blast HIIT TRX dance aerial classes (I don’t think this is real but please don’t start one) would lead you to think everyone in these cities is training to be a triathlete.


Most people are not triathletes, however; because when they aren’t struggling to maintain a body fat percentage in the teens, they are eating. Or talking about eating. Or waiting in line to eat. Or having a fight about which place is the better place to eat. Or putting what they eat on Instagram. Or being turned away from a place to eat because they didn’t make reservations on a Friday night like idiots.

People in both cities just love to wait in line for food


Very contentious mayors, a core Democratic base, alarmingly left-wing wackjobs that pop up just to cause problems, and coffee shops on every corner for millennials with tech jobs to stand outside and discuss who loves Bernie more.


There are just so many pigeons.


For all that San Francisco is a beautiful city, it is also incredibly disgusting. Without going into all the reasons why, you can’t really walk a block without having to look down and side step something gross. And in New York, it is well documented that the lack of alleys causes a huge stench problem, especially in the summer. Don’t forget about their continued placement on the US’s “rattiest cities” top 5.


Specifically artists who cannot afford to live there. Inevitably, they end up moving to LA. Both cities have plenty of galleries, art spaces, art schools, and studios. They do not, however, have the type of financial support readily available to allow artists to live there with any agreeable standard. Basically, if you want to paint…you’ll get priced out.

Those Pesky Dreams

It’s not all bad. There are the young people moving in with starry hope in their eyes. There are the decades-old apartments with three generations of families living inside of them. There are the magical nights when you think anything could happen, and that the “anything” will be good. There is music and the ocean and the nearby hills and the ever-present reality that you are doing your best, whatever your lifestyle, in a city that welcomes it all.

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Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

At age 2, I was getting run over by a bike in an alley in China. At age 8, I was avoiding man-o-wars on Tybee Island. At age 14, I was overdrinking sweet tea while running through the woods barefoot. At age 20, I was learning Art History and how to drop it low. At age 25, I was making fun of drum circles at Dolores. At every age, I am charming the fuck out of you. Just wait, it'll happen.