New York VS London
It’s my first trip back tp NYC is a long while. Customs has finally been sorted out, even with newly added forms, scans, questions and access that reminds you of attempting to get into an oversubscribed new restaurant. It’s not bad at all. Heathrow is overcrowded, Gatwick sometimes sends you through tunnels and underpasses that look like sets from the ‘Saw’ movies. The Heathrow Express drops you at Paddington, which is no use to anyone. But the cab ride from Kennedy to Manhattan sucks. Verdict: New York.
Rudeness of NYC cab drivers. Asked to take us to The Edition he took us to the Edison (other end of town) then called us ‘f**king bulls*t a**holes’ for making him misunderstand, said he hated his job, was having a lousy day and not making enough money, then calmed down and apologised profusely, and we overtipped him because we felt sorry for him. UK black cabs, perfect but pricey, Uber usually charm personified. Verdict: London.
Despite what everyone tells you, NYC doesn’t really change. The streets are still covered in steel plates and steaming pipes, half the sidewalks are buried still under scaffolding, the traffic is still worse than Istanbul’s, the buildings are mostly still present and correct. And the wind from the Hudson still cuts like hurled knives. Arrival in rainy London underimpresses and the ride through the architectural wonders of Middlesex can make you suicidal. Verdict: New York.
The NYC weather shocks because you’re out on the street with no cover. I’ve been here in deep snowdrifts, torrential rain and unbearably humid heat, and always feel the same; where can I go and hide until it’s over? You keep on the move until your feet are falling off. For some reason I’m never near Central Park when I should be, so there are few places to stop and relax. London has its blessed parks. Verdict: London.
Thanks to Brexit, the comatose pound is now toilet paper against the US dollar. New York has become more expensive than Finland. There are more ways of spending a lot of money than ever before, and more store chains, but you only have to reach the East Village to find the tiny independent stores and easier costs again. I’d forgotten the cheery bluntness of US waitresses. The opening gambit from one was, ‘Gentlemen, welcome, your table is just over there and the toilet is right down at the end.’ At another restaurant the waitress seemed happy to discuss the dessert choice for what felt like several hours. NYC takes its food seriously and the choice is fantastic, but portions are huge and menus aren’t too adventurous. Verdict: London.
There’s little difference now in the cities’ entertainment options; film, TV, theatre, even art exhibitions – they’ve all crossed the channel, meaning that NYC is less unique than it was. Most of the large stores are global brands, although there are always Macy’s and Bloomingdales. NYC was full of santas yesterday. Not only the Ho-Ho-Hoers but reindeer, drunk elves and one girl dressed as a very large parcel. America loves dress-up. But that is crossing the channel too. Verdict: Both.
So, NYC: Exhausting, noisy, slow-moving, overcrowded, exciting.
London: Exhausting, noisy, slow-moving, overcrowded, ecomfortable.
Your findings here.