NYC vs. London. Which one is better?

Of course, I know the answer. 🙂 It might be not your preferred one, though. This argument is old like the world and many people try to compare those two great cities. Is New York City (NYC) or London the better one for living? There are lots of pros and cons. I’ll share just my own experience and point of view here.

London, with Themes river above Waterloo bridge

It sounds weird to me, how something elegant, aristocratic and colourful could be compared with an industrial, grey and overcrowded spot. But you know what? I don’t mind to argue about the subject at all. I am sure each city has its followers, who would die to defend their favourite living place. If you are one of them, feel free to join me.

Heading to NYC via Queensboro bridge

I am hopelessly optimistic and would probably find a positive trace in both, of course if it exists. Speaking about pros and cons… do you know the joke about the optimist, going to the cemetery (a Christian one)?

I am sure all of you have heard about the difference between the pessimist and the optimist, regarding the half empty/half full glass. But I like much more the cemetery comparison, which is really clever.

The difference between the pessimist and the optimist, going to the cemetery is quite simple. The pessimist expectedly sees the crosses at the cemetery. The optimist, though, is not that blind and can see them as pluses. So, the real gift is to be capable of seeing pluses and advantages everywhere. I believe in being exactly such kind of optimist.

Here are my evidences in regard to NYC vs. London battle. May the best one win.

The weather

It happened on March 23rd 2015. I was suddenly informed my presence is urgently required in NYC and in the same evening I should fly to. Along with the alert above, my brain was about to get frozen.

Frozen NYC, view from Central park

At that moment I was in London, UK. It was already a pleasant spring, temperatures between +17 to 20 C, all trees were blossoming, some birds trills and bees around. The European spring is a great season. All your senses are waking up after the tough winter and you start really appreciating the fond of the sun. I was supposed to fly to NYC right after the announcement, so I reasonably checked on the weather forecast.

NYC, March 2015

Unbelievable! It was…minus 4 C. OMG!!! The daily temperature in NYC was below zero, at the end of the first spring month. In addition, everything was covered by snow. Even the Central park lake was frozen and icebound. Going like to the “North pole”, I ended up buying boots and a warm coat, at the same moment I was supposed to enjoy the European spring.

It got even worse upon my arrival at JFK airport, NYC. Grey frost welcomed me at the entrance. I was hoping the icy weather would be just a temporary issue. At 1 am reasonably the night temperatures are expectedly lower. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I woke up in the morning at minus 6 C and later got some increase to minus 4 C.

Central park, NYC, March 2015

My friends know me very well. I can’t stand the frost and would easily die if I should live at a snowy winter spot. One week in NYC at minus 4 C , sounds to me like a whole year at the North Pole. I can give you a hint how bad actually the situation is…My father thinks, if I was a rebel, caught by the enemies, tortured under inquisition, it would be enough my inquisitors to just place me naked on the snow and I am going to tell them everything I know.

Can you see the plus here? In London it rarely snows and the temperatures hardly drop below plus 5 C. Its rain won’t melt me and I am able to survive it.

So…NYC vs. London regarding the weather. 0:1 for London.

Location

Let me ask you, if you take a 2 hour flight, departing from NYC, where would you potentially land? Correct. You will be still somewhere in the USA, doesn’t matter which direction you are flying to. The simple calculation shows, in two hours you will be still in same country. OK, let’s take a three hour flight. Whats the difference? Correct, no difference. You are still stuck in the same country.

Now let’s take a flight from London. Less than an hour flight and you are in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen or Cologne. OMG! Does it mean you can end  up in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark or Germany in an hour? Yes, it definitely does.

Two hour flight and you are in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Zurich, Rome or Madrid, So in about a couple of hours you are landing at five more countries – Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy or Spain. Sounds like a great city break weekend to me.

Three hour flight from London and you could be in Istanbul, Sofia, Bucharest, Malta or Athens. So, in a blink time, it’s possible to visit Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, an island (Malta) and Greece. What to tell you… If in 3 hour flight I am still stuck in the US, I would definitely prefer to visit 15 more different countries in Europe (the number could be enlarged).

So…NYC vs. London regarding the location 0:2 for London.

Architecture and environment

Madison avenue

My hotel in NYC was on Madison avenue, Manhattan, just in the heart of the city. Two blocks away from Central park (the frozen one). Do you know how Madison avenue actually looks like? Tall buildings, with no spirit, no balconies, no air to breathe. My first impression was, I am looking at industrial constructions, probably old factories, built simply by rough bricks, one and the same type, ugly, already faded colours.

NYC, Manhattan

Do you think I sound offensive? Please, just check the photos. The buildings really look like matrixed boxes, just multiplied along the street. How people could live in such a faceless box?! It looks quite depressing, ordinary and colourless. A city, where the frost already grabbed a part of the life-shine, needs more colours and glamour to survive. 

And that’s not all, because NYC is not only Manhattan, but also Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. I just passed by them, but it did not change my impression at all. On the contrary, it went worse. The grey colour and the ugly buildings get surrounding you as far as you go from Manhattan. Let NYC admirers not be insulted by my statement –  please go and check what I am talking about, also take pictures and then we can argue over it again 🙂 I liked a bit Queens, because of its non-tall architecture, but it’s still chaotic and dirty.

London

On the other side, London and its suburbs are elegant, built with style, ordered and colourful. The large downtown area is arranged with significant, beautifully looking, aristocratic buildings. The symmetry could be found everywhere. It doesn’t matter how far from the downtown you move, the impression of order, style and elegance is still alive. The facades of the buildings are well maintained. You can see colonnades, arches, artistic windows, cute balconies and every building has a spirit, also breathes its own air. I never had the feeling it’s tight, muggy or skimpy. Nothing faded, nothing neglected, no industrial touch.

Third point plus for London. The score so far is NYC vs. London 0:3.

Parks

I love the London’s greenery. The latest official statistics claims 47% of London is a green space. Hyde park is the endless one. There are so many parks, I can easily count at least 10 large ones. In fact every neighbourhood has its own park. And everywhere you can see planted daffodils, mostly yellow, less white.

Hyde park, London

St. James and Green park are literally covered by yellow daffodils, late in March and whole April. Everywhere is spacious, lightgreen and well maintained. The parks in London are the favourite place for walks, runs, walking dogs, cycling, games or just hanging out.

St.James park, London

Do you know the legend about the daffodils in London? They were the preferred park flower, being extremely cheap and easy to grow. At the Royal gardens thousands of daffodils were blooming every spring. But the story says, during the rule of king Henry VIII, the daffodils were banned. King’s favourite dog used to come back after the morning walk in the garden visibly sick. The dog was noticed of getting lackadaisical, indolent, losing his usual playful attitude.

Central park, NYC, April 2016

King Henry get worried of the consistent dog’s morning sickness, so he ordered an investigation, aiming the secret reason to be revealed. The investigation of the case was shortly reported. The dog used to eat the daffodils, while playing in the garden. The pretty yellow flower alleged for causing the morning troubles.

Central park, NYC, April 2016

To prevent any future inconvenience, King commanded all the daffodils in London to be pulled out and banned. This royal command remained alive for hundreds of years. The symbolic flower actually disappeared from the parks for ages. Recently, it was back and made the London parks beautifully coloured in yellow and white in spring.

London’s daffodils

Here is the moment to confess, I know almost nothing about NYC parks, except Central park. I hope NYC has many other parks too and is able to provide their freshness to the residents and visitors. What I saw was the endless Central park, covered by snow.

A year later I visited the same park, where horse carriages were on stand by, waiting for the clients and it was a nice attraction. Also lots of roller skaters were there, enjoying the park venue. I tried to find other greenery in NYC. Let me admit, the number and the quality of the parks in New York couldn’t be compared with the stunning ones in London.

OK, OK, but lets be fair, I’ll give one point each city, as my NYC park experience was not fully completed, so I don’t want to give any advantage by being kind of ignorant.

The current score goes to 1:4 (almost 1:4,5)  still in London’s favour.

Traffic

Ohhhh, here we go.:( That’s my real pain.

NYC

Now I am going to be really tough to London. What a weird idea to drive on the left side!!! All Europe is driving on the right. Two Americas (the continents) are right side driving. Russia and China, which takes almost whole Asia, are right side driven. So, most of the world chose the logical side of driving. In Europe only the islands (UK, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) are left side driven. Hey guys, it’s so confusing! And the rest of the world, while visiting UK, becomes potentially dangerous, switching to the left.

When Tony Blair was a Prime Minister of UK, a French journalist asked him: “Mr.Blair, UK is a part of European Union, so when will finally turn to the Euro currency ?”  Tony Blair replied:” That’s very clear. At the sea time when EU turns to drive on the left side”. 

I am sorry, guys, but I couldn’t support such a weird idea.:)

So the current score NYC vs. London goes 2:4, because NYC is the one that drives on the correct right side 🙂

Fun

This is really hard to be measured. In fact, I love the night life in both cities. Both have their attractions and sightseeing. Both are famous by their museums, operas and theatres…Hmm..not sure what kind of evidence I am going to apply in here.

I was at Broadway in NYC, watching the famous musical “The phantom of the opera”. It was super, ultra, turbo phenomenal:) I loved the atmosphere, the thrill and the little chaos before attending the play. The theatres are large, gracious and heavy styled in there. You are easily moving to another epoch, fascinated by the hall, costumes and the stage background.

But something was a bit shocking to me… the local residents go to the theatres in jeans and sweaters, which looks quite weird to an European like me. The European style is strictly formal at such events. Showing your respect to the art and to the talent of the artists, you are expected to wear formal outfit. I am afraid, I was the only one wearing formal dress and high heels at that Broadway spectacle.

Situation was completely different, when I was visiting my first spectacle in London. Near Trafalgar square, watching the performance of one of my favourite actors James McAvoy. As expected, all the spectators were in suits and formal clothing. I should say, it’s really a tradition and an art culture, being respectful even by your choice of outfit. In aristocratically trained Europe, a spectator in jeans would be considered ignorant and bad mannered.

There is no such culture in NYC. But I guess the NYC fans would oppose, saying it doesn’t matter. Well… it matters to me and to the most of the Europeans, but I am not going to judge and define what’s right and what’s not. So…let’s behave fairly. I give 1 point each side again. This way, after the Fun section consideration, the final score NYC vs. London is 3:5 .

What’s the final conclusion

It’s definitely great to live in London, where the weather is much better, architecture and environment are stunning and location is truly fantastic. Obviously, you would enjoy the amazing parks and lots of sightseeing, museums, theatres and night life.

Well… traffic… driving on left. I think I have a solution. As you already know, I do prefer walking instead of driving, so walking in London could be fun as well. In case of emergency there is a subway ( when the staff is not on strike). In another emergency, I would jump on a red double-decker bus, that will finally drop me at the final point.

What can I say? With 3:5 final score London is the obvious winner. So NYC vs. London – there is only one correct answer. I told you in the very begging I know it 🙂

 

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