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Living in New York vs. London


Kikujiro
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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

Heck, I dimly remember when it was 20 cents (I was 5 and didn't get charged at that point), and I more clearly remember a fare of 35 cents, which lasted a few years. I measure inflation by looking at the rises in subway fares!

The last increase was from $1.25 to $1.50. You're right; it was $1.10 _years ago_.

P.S. My parents remember when it was a nickle.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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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

Maybe that's because you live in the East Village. I see way more interracial couples of all types here than on the Upper West Side, for example. I forget where you lived before.

P.S. I've mentioned my last girlfriend a number of times. She's a chocolate-skinned Torontonian originally from Guyana and of Indo-Caribbean background. I am pretty light-skinned, even for a white (for those who aren't members of the KKK, et al., and consider Jews members of the so-called "white race"). No-one ever made any kind of racial remark when I walked hand-in-hand with my ex-girlfriend, for what it's worth.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Harlem and the South Bronx are still black enclaves but my impression is that even Brixton is more diverse nowadays.

No comment on Brixton. I have yet to have the pleasure of visiting London (or any other part of the U.K.). But the South Bronx is mostly Hispanic (at least the parts I know), and Harlem is gentrifying. I know blacks, whites, and Japanese who live in Harlem. They tell me rents are becoming expensive there, too. I think you have to look outside of Manhattan for ghettos that are nearly fully black. Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, probably.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I lived in London about ten years ago as a struggling actor / hardworking waiter. I absolutely loved it. I lived right off the Cromwell Road near the Earl's Court / South Ken. line. Cannot speak to fine dining as that was not an option for me then. But some other comparisons.

1. Subway v. Tube - Highly similar, both great for getting anywhere one needs to go. Both dirty and crowded, especially during the rush. As for prices, doesn't London have a weekly or monthly pass giving unlimited rides? I found that incredibly cheap at a time when a few pounds made a real difference to me. Of course, pre-tax Transitcheks are great in NYC.

2. Racism - Never really encountered any in London or NYC other than the occasional slur heard from some unknown person in both places (London vs. Pakistanis and NYC vs. a few groups), but then I'm a pampered white boy so it doesn't exactly come looking for me. I did get the sense that black folks in London, the several I knew and occasionally dated, were much more at ease about the race thing, and there wasn't the us/them that is such a part of American culture (I mean this in a nonjudgmental way, i.e. not saying one way to be is more right than the other, just that it is what it is).

3. Fun - Londoners, depsite all the bad press about being cold, formal, etc. they get over here are far more welcoming and fun than New Yorkers. I made friends easily and quickly in London and have had a much harder time of it here in NYC (working insane hours at 30-odd may have something to do with that however, as opposed to the freewheeling life of a 21 year old). I found the Brits to be far less restrained by posing and attitude and far more free to scrap convention and let loose.

4. Parks - Central Park is an absolute masterpiece of urban planning and is rightly the envy of all cities in America and much of the rest of the world. Frederick Law Olmstead was a certified genius. Hyde Park, Green Park, Hampstead Heath et al. are none too shabby either, but CP wins. I'll leave discussion of Pelham Bay and Van Cortland etc. until I actually have a chance to see them (other than one 5 1/2 hour round of torture puncuated by the occasional golf shot at Van Cortland Golf Course).

5. Theater - comparing London and NYC for theater is like comparing white truffles and caviar. Both are the best of the best for what they are. In fact, they are the only two cities worth comparing since everyone else is far far below. You want Strasberg and American emotional reality and power? New York. You want exquisite use of the human instrument, language, and perfect timing? Nobody executes like the Brits. You want Shakespeare? Brits. again RSC is where it all happens(and the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington for second place). You want musicals? Either really, nod to NYC probably. Dance? New York. The point is that either city is theater heaven, just that one may be Nirvana to the other's Valhalla.

6. Pubs - Bars - Clubs - This has been said. Wine bars and pubs, London. Cocktail bars, nobody beats New York. Clubs, it's been so long, but London had some amazing venues that lasted until noon the next day, I'm sure NYC has similar - I've got no desire to do that anymore, however.

Enough for now - this is too long already.

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I did get the sense that black folks in London, the several I knew and occasionally dated, were much more at ease about the race thing, and there wasn't the us/them that is such a part of American culture (I mean this in a nonjudgmental way, i.e. not saying one way to be is more right than the other, just that it is what it is).

Damian, this is exactly what I was trying to say too.

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Harlem and the South Bronx are still black enclaves but my impression is that even Brixton is more diverse nowadays.

No comment on Brixton. I have yet to have the pleasure of visiting London (or any other part of the U.K.). But the South Bronx is mostly Hispanic (at least the parts I know), and Harlem is gentrifying. I know blacks, whites, and Japanese who live in Harlem. They tell me rents are becoming expensive there, too. I think you have to look outside of Manhattan for ghettos that are nearly fully black. Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, probably.

OK, socio-geography poor. I think the larger point stands. Neighborhoods in NYC are often ethnically defined in a way that no longer occurs to the same extent in London.

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Having not been to London in quite a few years and actually never really deeply knowing it, I must say that my comments are based more on, I suppose, general , probably prejudiced, feelings. Be that as it may, I do not remember seeing any appreciable numbers of interracial couples in the streets of London. Of course, thats just anecdotal experience.

Just walk the streets of NYC. There isn't a combination of skin tones per couple you won't see if you keep walking around on any given day. Try riding the subway, which, I might add, is mostly fabulous, fast and cheap.

Consider just the sheer numbers of people who positively interact every day and their diversity. This is a let it all hang out city and yet I witness moments of shared kindnesses all the time. I'm not saying 100% of the time but often. And I'm no Pollyanna, believe me.

Of course, when I've been in London I've been a tourist and I did find people on the street quite nice, but I didn't see the warmth and kindnesses I often see here and I did feel a certain look down ones nose quality in lots of places.

The experiences I had included a gentleman, when asked to blow his cigar smoke the other way because I was sick with the flu said Absolutely Not.

All this amounts to not very much, I suppose, but food-wise, friendliness-wise and affordability-wise, for me, its no contest. (of course, I'm prejudiced)

Edited by stefanyb (log)
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OK, so now I am well rested and have dined hugely on mutton chops and ale ( or have been listening to Nicholas Nickleby on audio book read by Simon Callow while I was running which is why I am talking in this ridiculous way ) I can give this some serious thought

I am fortunate that I spend about 12 weeks a year in the US and much of that in NY. Both are, as I said before, the only cities that matter. There are other wonderful cities, cities I love, but these are the only two I would ever consider making home.

Parks - No contest. London hands down. I love Central P, but er, that's about it. parks and public spaces is just something the UK does so much better than just about anywhere else. The Rose Garden at Regent's Park or the Lake at St James, running through Richmond Park. can't be beat

Food Shopping - General day to day shopping would be London. Ethnic food shopping ( with the exception of Indian ) would certainly be NY. Speciality shopping for luxury items again London. Cheese, again London

Restaurants - High end ( Daniel,RHR ) NY without a second's hesitation. Mid range ( Blue Hill, St J's ) NY again. casual, London if only for the plethora of Gastro Pubs. Ethnic, NY ( again with the exception of Indian and chinese which is usually pretty grim in NY )

Theatre - The fact that the National Theatre Production of Oklahoma is being trumpeted on Broadway as the "Great American Musical' tells you about the state of theatre in the US. Legit theatre is in an even worse state

Cinema - I bow to the knowledge of KikuJ who knows far more about it than I do.

Public Services - NY. London is a tough city to live in. NY seems so much easier, but then I have never tried to find a plumber there

Security - London seems to be a lot less safe than NY. I am however basing this on Theme park Manhattan as it has now become.

Because of the above, I feel London has the edge for me over NY. I describe NY as being a young city with a very old vibe. It is great if you have pots of cash but, at the moment lacks a cutting edge energy from its young. London is a old city with a very young vibe. It's clubs, music scene, fashion and art seem to me to have far more energy

So there you go

lights blue touch paper and stands well back

S

Edited by Simon Majumdar (log)
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I have to admit that in terms of parks, NY is on to a loser. Central Park is fantastic but that is basically it, and I do not think there is a single city in the world which can compete with London and her parks and commons. Not had enough time to decide on the gastronomic front though.

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.....

I am lucky.  I truly believe there are only two citis on earth that matter.  London is one.  NY is the other.......

S

I agree that London is expensive - The tube is god-awfully expensive - Having said that here are a few cities that are as exciting -- HKG, GIG, IST and Ofcourse Berlin is fast getting there .....

anil

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.....

I am lucky.  I truly believe there are only two citis on earth that matter.  London is one.  NY is the other.......

S

I agree that London is expensive - The tube is god-awfully expensive - Having said that here are a few cities that are as exciting -- HKG, GIG, IST and Ofcourse Berlin is fast getting there .....

I like all those cities, but do they matter in the bigger scheme of things? Probably not.

S

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Where to begin?

Culture: With six full-time orchestras (and two vastly superior to NYP, namely LSO and BBC), a superior opera house, better theatre (including the RSC, despite its faults), Odeon Leicaster Square, Chelsea Cinema, and the various art/rep houses around, London is vastly better than NYC for the performing arts. The only area where NY may have a lead is in dance, as I am not aware of a company like the Joyce in London. Nothing in London touches Carnegie Hall (you can blame Germany for that), but there are more performance spaces here (if you include the unspeakably awful RFH).

Art: NY still has the edge in fine art, in my opinion, although London does have more by way of museums.

Transportation: Taxis are better, but far too expensive for every day use. The tube runs more often and (at least for me, Lexington Ave line/District line) more reliable; but, the tube is much more expensive and shuts down far too early. London's airports are more accessable and better than NY counterparts.

Food shopping: London by a country mile. Borough Market is vastly better than Union Sq. Harrods/Selfridges food halls are better than any gourmet market in NY, and are less expensive by a large measure. The butcher shops are better in London (lamb, veal, game, chicken much better in London), but nothing beats Lobel's aged beef. Ditto fishmongers. Ditto wine shops. London, at least here, is better and cheaper than NY.

Pubs: There are no good pubs in NY, so even if those in London close early, there is nothing in NY to compare them to.

Bars: NY by a mile. Bars in London are bad and overpriced. You can drink in style at Bemelman's Bar in the Carlyle for a fraction of the cost of an ordinary London bar.

Restaurants: I really can't decide on this one. I like my regular rotation of restaurants in London better, but the cost of London dining is outrageous when compared with NY or Paris. Simon answered this one better than I ever could.

Housing: Prime housing in London and NY costs about the same to rent, but London has far more available. London is also much cheaper to buy (a five story townhouse on my block in Chelsea just sold for 2 million -- it would have been over 10 million in NY).

Safety: Statistics say that London is far safer for violent crime. London crime is going up, NY is coming down. Best advice -- avoid wearing Man U colors to Highbury. :raz:

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I can't formulate my assessment questionnaire style :blink: I'm sure it was Wilfrid, very early on in this thread, who said that New York is a "can do" place, a place where all things seem possible. That's what overrides all of my detailed judgements of everything from litter on the streets to high dining.

For me, New York has an electricity and dynamism which makes almost any activity in New York more exciting than the comparable activity in London. My experience of NYC restaurants in my sixty plus visits to the city spanning twenty years is that the general standard is better than London, at all levels from Burger King up to the finest, although I detect that the gap has narrowed a lot in the last ten years.

The key for me lies in a combination of motivation and expectation. In New York, the city of the wannabe, everyone from floor sweeper up to restaurant owner seems so much more motivated to do the best he/she can than is the case in London. And the other side of that coin is that customer expectation, and demand for value and service, is higher in New York.

I wouldn't like to live permanently in NYC, because the pace of life and self-imposed demands are greater than I would choose. I am not culturally conditioned to that. I prefer what I find to be the more human and tolerant culture of London. But there is no city in the world I would rather spend a couple of weeks in than New York.

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Transportation:  Taxis are better, but far too expensive for every day use.  The tube runs more often and (at least for me, Lexington Ave line/District line) more reliable; but, the tube is much more expensive and shuts down far too early.  London's airports are more accessable and better than NY counterparts.

Something I liked about the New York subway (at least at the stations I used) is that it was just below street level which meant there there were relatively few stairs to go up or down. On the London Underground you have to use mile-long escalators and travel through mazes of twisty passages, all alike, to get to and from the platforms.

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Macrosan

I think much of what you say is very true. I think I said it is the air of the "possible" that makes NY so attractive to me. That being said, even before the horrors of 9/11 there was a very noticable decline in the energies and enthusiasm in NY. I have not been vsisiting for 20 years ( My first trip was in 1986 ) but I have been in NY on over 100 occasions in the last 12 years. The change is noticable

What makes both cities so remarkable is the fact that neither have anything to prove and know it. They are not cities that constantly tell you they are world class cities. One of the reasons I loathe Sydney is that every time I go there, people are always saying " isn't this the greatest city on earth/" er no, it isn't. It is a pissant little town of a couple of million that thinks having a great fireworks display once a year makes them important. Give me Melbourne any day

NY and London are constantly re-inventing themselves. I can see why people love Paris for its unchanging charm. Little has changed ( in terms of the buildings for centuries ) but to me that is a state of atrophy. I love coming in from Kennedy and seeing cranes and building works, the same in London. Nothing inspires me more than seeing the Swiss Re ( The Gherkin ) raising itself over London.

Bringing this back on topic to food. I love the way that NY ( in particular ) and London keep trying new things that other cities don't. Sometimes this is fadism and leads to a squealing herd of wanabees running around the city after a new chef, but often the results are extra ordinary. NY rules the world in this aspect

S

Edited by Simon Majumdar (log)
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Harlem and the South Bronx are still black enclaves but my impression is that even Brixton is more diverse nowadays.

No comment on Brixton. I have yet to have the pleasure of visiting London (or any other part of the U.K.). But the South Bronx is mostly Hispanic (at least the parts I know), and Harlem is gentrifying. I know blacks, whites, and Japanese who live in Harlem. They tell me rents are becoming expensive there, too. I think you have to look outside of Manhattan for ghettos that are nearly fully black. Bed-Stuy and Brownsville, probably.

Correct. And GJ needs to look outside central London at places like Stratford and Eastham if he wants to know where the ethnic "enclaves" have gone.

Fine art: New York is leagues ahead of London. There are simply a larger number of private galleries showing a wider variety of work.

Parks: I am not going to take the claims for London parks seriously unless the case for New York parks is made properly. Get out of Manhattan and look around. There are vast nature reserves out there, apart from parks which are much larger, and arguably much more beautiful than old Central Park.

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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Parks:  I am not going to take the claims for London parks seriously unless the case for New York parks is made properly.  Get out of Manhattan and look around.  There are vast nature reserves out there, apart from parks which are much larger, and arguably much more beautiful than old Central Park.

Does this not prove the point?

If you have to leave Manhattan to get to them then the whole concept of public parks is taken less seriously than in London

S

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There are probably more experimental offerings in NYC but I’m sure they’re mostly utter tosh.

Worthy of dear old Plotnicki. Congratulations on your open-mindedness.

So who is the new Peter Brook that I should look out for?

There are bound to be good things, I know. But I no longer have the energy to find them among the bad.

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