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Living in New York vs. London


Kikujiro
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[edit note: this post didn't come out of nowhere, it started on this thread.]

SA: Like every single one of my close friends, I'd rather be living in New York.

(pause while other London members delete me from their PM systems)

Now, let me qualify that. I don't want to live there forever. I find when I'm there that I have a tremendous desire to spend vast amounts of money every minute. Friends who live there feel the place is even more consumerist than London.

Food shopping-wise, I would miss organic foods (an obscure request over there) and the various imports that we get better in London, or you don't get at all (hams, cheese, for example).

Restaurant-wise, I'd miss Indian places here particularly.

But I'd get, you know, decent bagels and Blue Ribbon Sushi (I know there are better ones [Jewel Bako?], but I've been to BR a couple of times and there's nothing like it here) and so I guess it'd balance out.

Plus the rep cinema scene is better here, and the Odeon Leicester Square beats the pants of the Ziegfeld, and London theatre arguably has the edge.

But: I am fed up living in a city that pretends to be modern, but isn't. I am fed up with shops closing at five, and pubs closing at eleven, and the vast majority of restaurants closing at 10.30. I am fed up with our overpriced subway constantly breaking down, and with black cabs whose drivers may at least know where they're going but cost a farcical multiple of yellow taxis.

Oy.

On the other hand: I don't like the separatism over there. A very small number of years ago was walking in Greenwich Village with a black friend, and car went past and somebody shouted: sister, what are you doing with a white guy? (To which the answer was not much, but that's not the point). That wouldn't happen over here, ever.

Edited by Kikujiro (log)
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SA: Like every single one of my close friends, I'd rather be living in New York.

(pause while other London members delete me from their PM systems)

Now, let me qualify that. I don't want to live there forever. I find when I'm there that I have a tremendous desire to spend vast amounts of money every minute. Friends who live there feel the place is even more consumerist than London.

Food shopping-wise, I would miss organic foods (an obscure request over there) and the various imports that we get better in London, or you don't get at all (hams, cheese, for example).

Restaurant-wise, I'd miss Indian places here particularly.

But I'd get, you know, decent bagels and Blue Ribbon Sushi (I know there are better ones [Jewel Bako?], but I've been to BR a couple of times and there's nothing like it here) and so I guess it'd balance out.

Plus the rep cinema scene is better here, and the Odeon Leicester Square beats the pants of the Ziegfeld, and London theatre arguably has the edge.

But: I am fed up living in a city that pretends to be modern, but isn't. I am fed up with shops closing at five, and pubs closing at eleven, and the vast majority of restaurants closing at 10.30. I am fed up with our overpriced subway constantly breaking down, and with black cabs whose drivers may at least know where they're going but cost a farcical multiple of yellow taxis.

Oy.

On the other hand: I don't like the separatism over there. A very small number of years ago was walking in Greenwich Village with a black friend, and car went past and somebody shouted: sister, what are you doing with a white guy? (To which the answer was not much, but that's not the point). That wouldn't happen over here, ever.

All the comments of someone who has not spent enough time in NY to appreciate the value of London

S

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All the comments of someone who has not spent enough time in NY to appreciate the value of London

Almost certainly true, even though you're trying to wind me up. But I notice London came pretty well even out of my existing comparison.

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Kiku, why don't you slap that last long post on the New York or London forum, because it would start a good debate?

I agree with you about Indian restaurants and closing times, but not remotely about bagels, cheese, or separatism.

Go on.

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SA: Like every single one of my close friends, I'd rather be living in New York.

(pause while other London members delete me from their PM systems)

Now, let me qualify that. I don't want to live there forever. I find when I'm there that I have a tremendous desire to spend vast amounts of money every minute. Friends who live there feel the place is even more consumerist than London.

Food shopping-wise, I would miss organic foods (an obscure request over there) and the various imports that we get better in London, or you don't get at all (hams, cheese, for example).

Restaurant-wise, I'd miss Indian places here particularly.

But I'd get, you know, decent bagels and Blue Ribbon Sushi (I know there are better ones [Jewel Bako?], but I've been to BR a couple of times and there's nothing like it here) and so I guess it'd balance out.

Plus the rep cinema scene is better here, and the Odeon Leicester Square beats the pants of the Ziegfeld, and London theatre arguably has the edge.

But: I am fed up living in a city that pretends to be modern, but isn't. I am fed up with shops closing at five, and pubs closing at eleven, and the vast majority of restaurants closing at 10.30. I am fed up with our overpriced subway constantly breaking down, and with black cabs whose drivers may at least know where they're going but cost a farcical multiple of yellow taxis.

Oy.  

That's only because you're a (*cough*) tourist and not a regular.

Organic vegetables and the like can be had if you know where to look (Chelsea Market, the local greenmarkets, Whole Foods, etc.).

Your NYC friends may feel that they're living on Madison Avenue's doormat, but you can live cheaply without breaking the bank. (Hey! Babbo on Saturday and Pakistani Tea House on Sunday...now there's a nice juxtaposition. And home cooked dinners the rest of the week, to balance things nicely. :wink: )

Indian restaurants are much better in Jackson Heights (Queens) and in certain parts of Manhattan (South Indian veggie row on East 28th Street for example; Diwan for another) than on Sixth Street. Jewel Bako (my opinion) by far for sushi. (There are others, as you've seen on the boards.) Someone else can chime in on the bagels. I thought Blue Ribbon Sushi was pretty good until I went to Sushisay. Then I went to JB (You could say its been an education). Haven't been to SY or Sushi of Gari yet, so there's probably room for improvement.

Not into film as much, so can't comment. Also have never been to the Continent or Island and don't have a passport at the moment, so can't comment on that either.

We do have an overpriced subway, and its going to be even more overpriced soon. (But at least its improving, and those spiffy new San Francisco style subway cars beat the pants off the graffitti horrors from back in the early 1980s).

SA

PS. Jason, can you pls move this post too? thx.

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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We do not have an overpriced subway, Soba. Our $1.50 flate fare, including bus transfers, equals ninety of your British pennies. The lowest fare in London is one pound sixty, spiralling up to three pounds seventy if you want to travel right across town. Even after the increase, we'll be laughing.

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SA: I'll respond later when I've stopped starving, but briefly, yes, of course these are the comments of a tourist, but: (i) there's an unarguable general difference between the US and Europe on both GM and organic food; I am definitely right about cinema differences (less sure about theatre); and you read the subway comment wrong: it's ours that's overpriced.

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Setting the rest of Europe aside, that very much surprises me Cabby. I am guessing that you find the very top tier of London restaurants superior to the top tier in New York. But what about upscale dining generally?

Care to expand?

Kiku: I was responding to Soba saying the NY subway was overpriced. Can you enlighten me on what "rep cinema" is? You mean "repertory cinema" where old movies are scheduled?

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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More than one word is required. Access to certain unpasteurised cheeses is legal in London, but possible in New York. What other advantages does London have?

Identify, for example, the London cheese shops which are plainly superior to Murray's or Artisanal . Paxton and Whitfield? Decent quality, but a fraction of the selection. Neal's Yard? Good on the British Isles, but other than that...

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Yes, but I'm applying NYC standards of living as opposed to London. In NYC dollars, $1.50 is overpriced when you consider that it was $1 10 years ago. And its soon going to be $2 with possibly less service than we already have now...along with the prospect of surlier customer service (pls don't get me started on the MTA and the subway workers (talk about overpaid and underworked -- they should have gone on strike so Bloomberg could've fined their miserable sorry behinds...every single one of them. (I'm kinda bitter when it comes to subway workers, but that's my issue.)), dirtier cars, less safe subways (you haven't been a tourist (j/k) until you've ridden in a subway car with a partially nude homeless man who vomited all over himself and was walking around with the top of his buttocks showing, and me with nowhere to go because the train was stuck in a tunnel, I was in the first car, and he was blocking the rear exit!!!), and garbled pronouncements (well, unless you're riding in the new spiffy cars, garbled for everyone else). Any other city has a CLEANER subway system by comparison (and you can't tell me that London's is dirtier because I refuse to believe it.)

Its overpriced if you're living in somewhere like Bayside or Holliswood or the far reaches of Queens near the Nassau border, where you need to take a bus (!) in order to reach the terminus of the nearest subway line. Then it becomes closer to London dollars, and moreso.

Its overpriced compared to Boston or San Francisco. So there. :raz:

SA

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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I am sorry Wilfrid. While I loved the company and the lunch at Artisnal, it was because of the company not the cheese. ANd Murray is fine but no match for La Fromagerie

Let's be sensible. I adore both cities. Would I want to live in NY? Probably not. I am a Londoner and while this city drives me nuts, there are so many things here that excite me I would never want to leave

We can see astonishing buildings springing up wherevever we look. We have increasingly wonderfu restaurants and some, the indian ones ( don't give me Jackson heights it is a joke by comparison ) in particular,are stunning. we have theatre that NY dreams of and Indie cinema that pales in NY by comparison

NY however has an atmosphere of "the possible" that is unsurpassed and that is what what makes me keep coming back even when I don't have to for business.

I am lucky. I truly believe there are only two citis on earth that matter. London is one. NY is the other. Between them they control everything ( art, fashion, music, film, well the oney side at least ) There are other wonderful cities that I love to visit, but these are the only ones that matter

S

Edited by Simon Majumdar (log)
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Okay, so I ate some dumplings and had to respond. The green papaya is as yet un-mandolined. eG continues to ruin my life.

Cheese: Simon agrees with me, Wilfrid doesn't. I'll leave them to fight it out.

Ham: recent posts show US ham import regulations suck.

Rep cinema: Wilfrid, yes, e.g. the NFT in London. I have on several occasions compared the rep listings for a week in TONY versus Time Out London. London is better served overall.

Consumerism: Soba, I'm not, of course, saying it's not possible to live cheaply in NY. In fact, subjectively, as a tourist, NY feels cheaper to me because I think lower-mid-level dining is a lot better value (this changes as you scale up). And cheaper clothes are cheaper in NY, while expensive clothes are roughly the same price. What I'm saying is that retail and consumer culture NY is overall much better developed. There are very few stores in London that have anything like the ability to make you want to part with your cash than entire square miles of NYC. Even Harvey Nichols still ain't Barneys.

Indian restaurants: this seems to be a widespread consensus, on the basis of which I've never even tried to eat Indian food in NY, so I can't personally comment.

Subway: Wilfrid, I was also responding to Soba.

Bagels: Wilfrid, :blink::blink::blink::blink:

Separatism: oh god, this is a long one that I can't get my teeth into now, but I do feel I'm right (and so do many others I've talked about this with). My sense is that because racism was more actively contested in the US (the civil rights movement, the million man march), versus the UK where it was kind of worn down over time, things have evolved quite differently. I think (as Spike Lee said when I saw him talk at the NFT once) that from an economic and societal point of view, black people have until recently had (and may continue to have) greater opportunity in the US than in the UK (you have, for example, more black judges and senior politicians). On the other hand, that need to actively fight has gone hand-in-hand with a stronger degree of separatism. One sees more mixed-race couples on the street of London than NY. London is not the UK and NY is not the US, of course, but I noticed the same thing in university in the States versus over here. (Light touchpaper, stand well back.) [edit: please note that this is not the same as saying racism is worse or more endemic in NY. It may well be the other way round. It's just different.]

Edited by Kikujiro (log)
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Cleaner and safer than London, though.

As far as dining goes, I would say that there's a better concentration of good dining options at each price level in New York up to the very top tier (I mean the Gordon Ramseys and the Daniel Bouluds). I'm interested in what Cabby and others have to say about that, because I am out of touch with the London side of that equation.

A step down, one is comparing Cafe Boulud, Craft, Veritas, Babbo, arguably Blue Hill, March...and the list goes on...with a London contingent consisting of - what? Pied a Terre, the Lindsay House, La Trompette? I think New York wins hands down at that level, and at levels below.

On specific ethnic cuisines, New York is far behind. Cantonese and the various Indian/Bengali/Pakistani cuisines are superior in London. I am not a good enough judge of Thai, and I am way out of touch on Japanese and sushi restaurants in London. On the other hand, New York has a number of ethnic cuisines which hardly exist in London - Latin American cuisines other than Mexican, for example; where's London's Patria? And by sheer volume and variety, New York must win on Italian, Mexican and Jewish food.

Food shopping? Manhattan is more convenient than Central London, because more compact. I recognize Kiku's shopping problems. London has better markets. Cheese? I think London perhaps has the edge, but it's not as clearcut as Simon makes out. Where it that clear cut is game; not to mention pies.

Someone else can talk more about vegetables and fruit.

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More than one word is required.  Access to certain unpasteurised cheeses is legal in London, but possible in New York.  What other advantages does London have?

Identify, for example, the London cheese shops which are plainly superior to Murray's or Artisanal .  Paxton and Whitfield?  Decent quality, but a fraction of the selection.  Neal's Yard?  Good on the British Isles, but other than that...

I thought London cheese shops had no cheese. Just a runny bit of brie, but the cat got at it.

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Kiku, we were posting at the same time. "One sees more mixed-race couples on the street of London than NY." My experience is just the opposite, but I have no way of telling which of us is right. I have the sense that New York is much more integrated.

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I thought London cheese shops had no cheese.  Just a runny bit of brie, but the cat got at it.

You should come back. The Kings Road has gone downhill since your last visit, and we're not rioting outside the US Embassy any more, but otherwise things have improved :raz:

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