I originally intended for this to be a comparison between the US and the UK, having lived in a several places in both countries. However it then dawned on me that these are pretty big and culturally diverse countries. Comparing the two would be widely inaccurate so I decided to narrow it down to just NYC and London.
I should also probably admit that I am somewhat (ok, fairly) biased towards NYC. Not only am I currently living in the Big Apple but I have never fallen in love with London in the same way. Quite frankly, my heart belongs to New York. I would also note that I am specifically referring to Manhattan.
With this being said, London may not be for me but I do recognize it is a fantastic city. And there are of course things that I miss. So here goes my London vs NYC list.
Ok so this has to be a tie. The UK has a reputation for having awful food and whilst I do see where this comes from (pot noodles and awful greasy spoons, I’m looking at you), the UK is home to a huge number of Michelin starred restaurants. NYC is a melting pot of a million cuisines, famous for its pizza and pastrami and bagels, there is always somewhere new to try, some pop up restaurant, some incredible and mind boggling fusion. But London is equally a melting pot of various cuisines, from China Town to Little Portugal, you can find everything and anything under the sun. And boy do I miss British chocolate.
London takes this. Purely based on the pub scene. Yes the swanky NYC bars are fantastic, but you can find equally swanky bars in London. A good British pub? You have to go to London for that. Next!
NYC you got it. Londoners are renowned for being a tad moody. Cold, distant and reserved, Londoners are not a fun and friendly bunch to strangers and the general public (of course they are lovely to their family/friends/acquaintances, but on the streets you will not catch them cracking a smile). I find New Yorkers to be a genuinely friendly, down to earth and approachable bunch.
Now I have yet to experience an NYC summer so I appreciate that voting NYC at this point is most likely extremely naïve of me. But so far, I am not missing the continual London drizzle. I am enjoying the sun on both warm and cold days. Granted, I am likely to change my tune when the oppressive summer heat and humidity hits. Watch this space.
London is obviously a much older city with a rich heritage and stunning buildings. However, I found the sheer scale of London to be pretty overwhelming. I never quite managed to get my bearings and certainly not as quickly as I did in NYC. Maybe it’s the grid system. Maybe it is the fact that I live and work in Manhattan and that I don’t venture off the island all that often, but I seem to have made sense of NYC faster.
6. Public Transport
It had to be said, NYC is just generally more convenient a city than London. Nothing embodies this more than the subway system. It is open 24/7. London's underground kills me. Aside from the fact that it is extortionately expensive, ridiculously overcrowded, consistently late/delayed/not working.... the underground shuts down around midnight. This baffles me. Say goodbye to drinking past 10.30pm. Taxis are unbearably expensive and the night bus is terrifying. NYC seems to have understood that a city that never sleeps needs 24/7 subway service. And you know what? Taxis are so affordable that if you can't bothered (and you're not going too far), hop in a cab! Sorted.
So I give the win to: NYC.
However, this is not to say London is without its many merits. London, I'll tell you what: I miss your good British TV, cadbury chocolate, pubs and sunny afternoons on the common. But no I do not miss your weather.