Manhattan of the West
Updated: Mar 30
I was in the Manhattan of the west this week. Not many people argue that the Manhattan of the east ( New York ) is quite impressive. But the small coastal city in southwestern Los Angeles, located south of El Segundo and north of Hermosa Beach leaves little to the imagination. Manhattan Beach is one of the three (3) Beach Cities that make up the South Bay. With a population @ 35,000 and just shy of 4 square miles, it is one of the best beach cities in the country. Known for its ideal weather and world-class beaches, Manhattan Beach is a pricey little bubble.
Picture the ocean as a horizontal line, right? Okay then there’s sand and it’s like deep sand, not just like a strip. So that’s the next wide horizontal line. Then there’s not one but two boardwalks. The first is for bikes and the second is for walking. Why didn’t someone else think of that?! So annoying when you’re walking and almost die via bike crash. Anyways, the next horizontal line is a row of mostly three-story dream homes. I mean make you drool homes. And modern too not “old money” looking, even though I’d venture to say that’s what bought many of them. Now the next two blocks backing away from the ocean are literally at in incline. Drastic, make you sweat when you walk it incline. But ohhhh the sweat is worth it because you can see that ocean from everywhere.
The first two blocks are residential but the first main street you get to is like a clean, beach style walking town filled with restaurants, boutiques and salons. It’s the perfect design. Ocean, athletic area, homes, then everything you could ever need. And it’s all right there. If you ask anyone in MB how long it took them to get anywhere, they all say the same exact thing – 5 minutes. Well that’s nice. And a drastic contrast from what happens if you leave this oh so perfect bubble. Traffic. But the cool thing is, if you can afford to be there, why would you leave? LAX is shockingly close, about 15 minutes, if you need to get out of town ( again why why why ) which makes it the best bubble I’ve ever been to.
But is it worth it? The median home prices are approaching $2,000,000 although there are still some opportunities under $1,000,000. Manhattan Beach is known for its excellent school system, including its one public high school, Mira Costa High School that was recently ranked in the top 1% of high schools nationally. In addition, the city has an incredible downtown. “Downtown” Manhattan Beach is considered the heart of the city. This area runs along Manhattan Beach Blvd and the streets perpendicular to the Manhattan Beach Pier and Valley Drive.
But is it worth it? I was riding my bike on the bike boardwalk, contemplating this question. Being from the Midwest, I encountered what I labeled a “Midwest mentality” which says “I can’t”. I can’t live there, I can’t travel there, I can’t afford that. It’s really what drove me to leave and move to the land of the dreamers ( La La Land! ). I recalled the time someone told me not to move. I remember my Dad calling California the land of the fruits and nuts. I tried to add up how many times people from other states asked me why anyone would pay such high prices for a home when they could get so much more for their money somewhere else. “Bloom where you’re planted” they used to tell me. I say do whatever the hell it takes to plant where you bloom. Some people say they can’t afford to live where they want to live. I honest to God can’t afford not to. The cost for me is unhealthiness and unhappiness and that price point is just too high. I’ve done the math and I’ve lived in those “look how much you get for this price!” places. I do not feel it’s a better deal. I’ve calculated the cost of making uncomfortable weather livable, AC and heat bill, season wardrobes (seriously how expensive is winter outer wear? ) and paying to get to the places where you actually enjoy being. I’ve seen the wear and tear on homes and cars and the know what hurricane and flood insurance costs. I know how unhealthy it feels to not be able to go outdoors for months on end and what organic strawberries cost in the winter. Most of all I know what it does to me to not see the sun. Seasonal depression is a real thing and I know I can’t live my life like that. So for me, is it worth it? It’s worth everything. I’d rather put my money into where I live then making somewhere I don’t want to live more comfortable.
What would you rather pay for?