I moved to New York City in 1989, shortly after the release of “Dead Poets Society.”

I was in search of an identity — an identity I imagined, at the time, as the classic “New York actor.” You went to Los Angeles to be a movie star, and you went to New York to be an actor — at least, that was the simplicity with which my 18-year-old mind saw the situation.

There are times I’ve stayed in Los Angeles for extended periods and felt pressed, even smothered, by the overwhelming gravitational pull the film business has on the community. I never wanted to see making movies as a business. Los Angeles made me feel like a number, and not a very high one. Whereas there’s a feeling in New York that a certain nobility exists in simply being part of a sweaty-handed struggle; it’s a feeling that you are part of a long, dynamic history of the arts — from John Barrymore to the Group Theater to “Hamilton.”

There is a sense in New York that the superficial and materialistic will be mocked, and the humble will inherit a truer kind of gold. Of course, a lot of this is pure romantic lunacy on my part. I actually remember in the early ’90s, when people in L.A. were first getting cell phones, that New Yorkers would never descend to such crass communication. What is true, however, is that New York is not dominated by any one industry. There is a lot of noise here, which I find makes it easier to maintain a kind of anonymity.

Read the rest of the article at Variety.com : Ethan Hawke: Why I Chose New York Over Los Angeles