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5 Things That Surprised Me About Venice

Brooklyn to Venice

How Venice looks from a newcomer’s perspective—in this case an 11-year resident of Brooklyn who just made the switch to the left coast.

1. The diversity. Before arriving, I’d been to Venice once about eight years ago for a single afternoon, and my fondest memory was bumping into Jake Gyllenhaal in a gift shop on Abbot Kinney. Which is to say, much of my impression of the neighborhood has been from Us Weekly’s Stars -- They’re Just Like Us and stock shots of impeccably tanned men roller blading down the beachfront. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to find all walks of life (age, race, size, style, etc.) walking the streets, playing in the parks and soaking up the sun.

2. The intoxicating weather. I mean, wow, 70 and sunny every freakin’ day—with no humidity? I’d heard about this weather phenomenon, but it’s something that can’t be believed until experienced. I don’t think I’ve taken my sunglasses off once before 8 p.m.

3. L.A. fashion is starting to make sense. While you might see someone in New York wearing boots and shorts at the same time, it rarely jives with the weather. It’s always either just a little too hot for boots or just a little too cold for shorts. Ditto the person sporting a knit cap whilst in shorts and a T-shirt; it’s a popular look in SoHo and Williamsburg, but those wearers are either sweating under the brow or goose-bumping on the knees and elbows. On the West Coast by the ocean, however, it works.

4. The parking lot driving. No, I’m not talking about the freeways. I’m talking about parking lots. The Whole Foods parking lot is everything (and more) that video says it is. I forced my husband to drive back to our rental so we could walk a half-mile to buy our groceries after one particularly painful spot standoff. I’m not sure I’d ever attempt to park there in the dinner hour again. As they say in NYC, fuhgettaboutit!

5. People really do say “brah” here IRL. Over the weekend—as I watched the young and beautiful parade avocado toasts out from GTA into another glittery, sun-soaked day—a man pulled up on his bike and called out to my neighbor sitting on a crate, “Hey brah, we’re going down to the beach,” to which was replied “see ya there, brah.”

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