Lonely Planet Writer Talks San Francisco vs. New York

  |   I Love SF, Mass Transit, Video   |   5 Comments

One Mr. Robert Reid has posted a brief article and video on the Lonely Planet website comparing “USA’s great two cities.”

I’ve never lived in NYC, so I can’t weigh in on this definitively (I’ll leave it to broke-ass stuart), although I’ve done my share of visiting and have always had a great time there. (Also, I’m afraid to say anything bad because NYC will probably overhear me, jump out of an alleyway, and punch me in the face.)

But that won’t stop me from making snarky comments about Reid’s San Francisco analysis. He makes it a little too easy with this summary of his video:

I identified four key ways that the scale of goodness tips to the West Bay, including better coffee, airport transfers and subway maps — plus a far healthier connection to preserving the past.

In the video, he mentions BART’s “cute map.” Man, really? I hope he’s being sarcastic here, but I fear he’s serious. BART can afford to have a cute map because it’s such a sorry excuse for a subway that it hardly even requires one. This empty praise serves only to make BART feel better about itself than it should, prolonging any kind of meaningful improvement. So, thanks LP.

He says “Mission burritos” are “much better” because they have “more foil.” I’m not sure what he’s comparing these to, because, do people eat burritos in NYC? I’m sure they do, but I’ve never heard a New Yorker try to claim theirs are better.

In the end, Reid does what a writer for a travel site predictably must do when comparing two major destination cities: hedges. While spending all his time talking about “positive” SF stuff, his final words are, “but is San Francisco BETTER than New York City? No.”

Maybe I’m not the only one intimidated by NYC’s tough-guy status.

  • Robert Reid | Apr 6, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Hi there. Robert Reid here. Enjoyed your take.

    I had the pleasure of spending five years in San Francisco — and actually I made a lot of fun over other post-New Yorkers making fun of the ‘city that sleeps’ while there. But am back in NY now. And, to be honest, I make fun of NY more. There are some things — like life and living it — that SF just does better than NY.

    Both are obviously fantastic cities — the USA’s top two.

    Couple things:

    * I don’t say SF isn’t better than NYC at end. ‘Does all this make SF better than NYC? No.’ Four THINGS can’t make a city better, I agree with you. So I tried to sneak in a Switzerland on it.

    * Burritos are better bc they’re better. I only mentioned keeping some foil on to make them easier to handle!

    * I really have an issue with NY subways deliberately keeping you from cheap access to airports in way that BART doesn’t. Also BART’s carpeted floors feel cozier — you could sit on the floor if you really wanted — and the map is better. So, yes, I did mean it I guess. (I get particularly upset on NJ Transit’s robbery of NYers getting to Newark Airport.)

    Just thought I’d chime in.

  • Jeff Diehl | Apr 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    good sport! and i stand corrected – you’re even neutral-er than i gave you credit for.

  • michael | Apr 14, 2010 at 1:25 am

    no one will jump out of an alley and punch you in the face; manhattan doesn’t have alleys… duh. all those “sketchy new york” scenes in alleys that you see in movies are filmed in LA.

  • Junk Thief | Apr 24, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I’ve lived in both, and while I left my heart in New York I don’t know that I want to live there again. My measures of “better” are a bit different. I prefer the weather here, especially the cooler summers. Some things are more convenient here, but it’s much duller overall.

  • Russ | Aug 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    The best part is BART DOES charge you extra to go to the airport.