Monday, February 12, 2007

New York vs. London

There was a great article in The Guardian a couple of days ago which I forgot to post. Well, I'm posting it now. The article was basically prompted by a report by that big-ass consultancy firm all these corporate types want to work for - McKinsey - which said that New York was in danger of losing its financial capital status to London. Anyways, it goes from that to a wider discussion on the merits and demerits of each city.

It's hard for me to comment with any degree of certainty on this either way. For one thing, I've never lived in either city; I've only visited both, New York substantially more than London (I've been to the latter only twice, that too for a week at a time). For another, there's actually very little to choose between them, at least for me. If I were forced to pick, I'd say London, but that's less an issue of New York vs. London and more an issue of New Yorkers vs. Londoners. When I'm in New York, I can palpably feel the arrogance emanating from the average New Yorker. It's not even the arrogance per se that bugs me, but the reason for the arrogance. Simply put, New Yorkers think they are cooler than everyone else only because they happen to live in New York. They attach a great deal of importance to the fact that they happen to live on that relatively tiny land mass when evaluating their self-worth. This results in a vicious cycle, because they start to believe their self-proclaimed coolness, thus upping the value they place in the city, which in turn results in them feeling better about themselves. I never really got that impression when I was in London, though again I should provide the disclaimer that I haven't been to London nearly as many times as New York.

Look, I love New York, I really do. My girlfriend lives there, one of my closest friends lives there, it's got great food, great nightlife, parks, museums, and anything else you could possibly want in a city. I would absolutely love to live there, if and when I get the chance. I'm just saying that I'd rather live in London (if I could afford it, that is - the article mentions how London is substantially more expensive than New York).

Plus, don't forget, London offers three things that New York doesn't. One, a chance to play hardball cricket at proper grounds with outfields and indoor nets. Two, a clean, efficient subway system that actually stops at all the stops it's supposed to for most of the year. Three, travelling to Europe, Africa and Asia is a hell of a lot easier from London than it is New York. If you have two days off in London (and the money), you can simply get up and decide to go to Istanbul for the weekend or to Paris and the Loire valley for a couple of days. In London, you have the world at your footstep. In New York, you have Virginia and Florida at your footstep. You decide which is better.

1 comment:

Silver Naked Lady said...

This argument seems to pop up every decade or so. In 1996 Vanity Fair did a 'Cool Britannia' cover that led to this classic response from Rudy Guliani. 'Our city would kick their city's ass every time.'