Another interesting question. I guess the reference to "brown" and "clouds of steam" is a reference to how industrialized the East (NY) is compared to the West. At least that's my perception. I see the East as being where the heavy factory-based industries locate and the West as being where the more service/ high tech (i.e., clean) industries locate. As we discussed in another question, the West also seemed to be in a subdivision building boon at the time so the comparison of the West to the white washline could refer to the "happy, shiny, everyone's the same" feel of the new planned communities. NY would be much more of melting pot in terms of culture, architecture, etc.
As for the comparison of the East as "holy" with the West as "empty-headed", I'm just not sure. I didn't get this feeling of the negative comparison from the rest of the book.