For the past year I’ve lived in London, and whenever I tell people I’m from New York, they always ask me to compare the Big Apple with London. So, since I’m returning to New York today, I think it’s about time I answer that question in full.
Despite there being an entire ocean between the US and the UK, NYC and London are fairly similar. They are both multicultural, metropolitan centers. You can meet people of every background. And since both cities are so large and diverse, you can find basically anything you want there. There are art and history museums, restaurants of every cuisine, beautiful parks, and venues for sports, music, and other events. You should never say you’re bored in NYC or London because you simply have no excuse.
Oh, and the food. Both cities have amazing food. Competition is so tough that each restaurant needs to be truly amazing. Yes, British cuisine isn’t the greatest, but you don’t have to eat British food in Britain. London, just like NYC, has tons of amazing restaurants and food shops for all tastes.
There are quite a few difference, however. And no, not just the accent. First off, the architecture is pretty different. While London does have a few skyscrapers, New York is covered in them. The buildings there are all metal and glass. For some, that may give NYC a coldness. For others, it might feel sleek and modern. Meanwhile, London’s architecture often feels more historical and charming. It has character to it. But I suppose that’s all a matter of taste.
I would also say that London as a whole is cleaner. There is still dirt, grime, and graffiti here and there. You can’t exactly avoid that in a city. But in NYC, it’s much more common, especially in the subway. That may be due to the higher concentration of people living in NYC. With all its high-rise buildings packed close together, there are so many people in such a small pace.
That’s another thing people may dislike about New York. It’s just too busy and too crowded. And everyone, it seems, is in a hurry. If you stand still, you’re in the way, and people will be upset.
But one thing I will say that’s better about New York: it’s the city that never sleeps. That means nothing ever closes. You want pizza at 3am? You got it! Looking to party until dawn? Hell yeah! In London, everything closes so early. Britain is known for its pub culture. But even on a Friday night, it’s not uncommon for a pub to close at 11. Oh and don’t even try to do anything on Sunday. A lot of places are closed. Even the grocery stores have shortened hours.
In the end, I think both cities have a lot to offer. NYC, with its quick pace and vibrant nightlife, will definitely appeal to younger people. However, I think all that excitement can get exhausting after a while. London has its fair share of excitement, but the pace is a tad slower. Not to mention, I personally think it has a cleaner, more relaxing environment.
Let me know what you think. Everyone has their own opinion. Besides, London and New York City are big places. Maybe you’ve seen different parts that gave you different experiences.