L.A. Rankings: Tell Me Not In Mournful Numbers*

Multiple Choice
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The readers of Travel + Leisure magazine (who seem to be a picky lot) have ranked LAX as the second worst airport (out of 22) in the United States. LAX was 20th for location, 21st for ease of check-in and security screening, and 22nd for the impression readers had of the airport's safety standards. LAX also ranked 20th for baggage handling and 21st for the maintenance of passenger waiting areas.

The good news? The worst airport was New York's La Guardia.

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But wait, there's more. In a separate poll, Readers of Travel + Leisure magazine (who accept no slight, however slight) have again ranked cities on their degree of rude behavior. The good news? Last year, Angeleños were judged the most rude of all Americans. Now, New Yorkers hold the rudeness title.

Angeleños have risen to a kindly 32nd in friendliness, better than the citizens of Miami or Washington, D.C.

And in the "life without the possibility of parole" category, the editors of Vanity Fair and the 60 Minutes news program asked a representative sample of 986 Americans, "If you had to live the rest of your life in either Los Angeles or New York City, which one would you choose?"

(The poll didn't define Los Angeles or New York, so I presume the battle was between "west of La Cienega" and "south of 96th Street.")

Overall, New York won this one, 46 percent to 40 percent, but the margin is relatively close. Interestingly (oddly?) more women than men prefer Los Angeles (45 percent to 39 percent) and more persons over age 45 (48 percent to 33 percent) than under 45.

New York is slightly favored in another (unscientific) poll at CNN's "city smackdown" page. Currently, NYC is polling 52 percent to 48 percent among those who have a positive view of either city.

But don't run a small business here. The Kauffman Foundation (which focuses on entrepreneurship) and the members of the business site Thumbtack (which is a marketplace for local services) have named Los Angeles - along with Sacramento, San Diego, Tucson, and Detroit - as the nation's worst city for small businesses. (California overall is one of the worst states.)

So, is Los Angeles heaven? Hell? Someplace indeterminate?

I always think of Los Angeles as our ruined paradise (since all true paradises are lost ones). As a consequence, it's our home.

* From "A Paslm of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

D. J. Waldie, author, historian, and as the New York Times said in 2007, "a gorgeous distiller of architectural and social history," writes about Los Angeles on KCET's SoCal Focus and 1st and Spring blogs.

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