A careless, opinionated and utterly pointless comparison of the two cities !
The Queen and Politeness
If you have a queen, you have got to learn to bow ;-) Londoners are generally very polite and well mannered. They can hate you and still manage to be polite. A New Yorker would have a hard time doing so. They (New Yorkers) sway between nice and friendly to loud and annoying with politeness lost somewhere in between.
Till today, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II distributes honorific titles like Sir or Knight which the English would die for (quite literally). In America everyone is a Sir, and the only title of any importance are Millionaires and Billionaires which again most New Yorkers would die for – quite literally.
Power of the wheel
If you’re from India you know the law of the road. The more wheels on your vehicle the more powerful you are. Walking on streets / footpaths is completely at your own risk and isn’t recommended for the week hearted.
At heart, the New York traffic scene isn’t quite different from India except that the madness is toned down a bit. New Yorker’s have little patience for anyone obstructing their way and would prefer if walking on streets was illegal.
Now, Londoner’s love to walk and secretly envy cyclists. Disrespecting a person on foot would clearly indicate you are not a Londoner and a menace to the city.
Subways and Tubes
When compared against each other, the London Tube is a zillion times cleaner. It looks clean, it smells clean, and it IS clean. Except that they seem to spend so much time cleaning it, that its always under maintenance!
The New York Subway not only looks like a coal mine but also feels like one. On the bright side its always up, even past 1 o’clock at night, after the London Tube had decided to nap.
Supermarkets and cheese
Supermarkets in London are easy to find. Huge supermarket chains have mini versions of their store spread out across the heart of The City. Do not be fooled, real-estate in London is as outrageously priced as New York. Good food (a synonym which Europeans use for their cuisine) is cheap.
Manhattan has no supermarkets. Enough said. European food is either costly or badly made depending on where you ate it.
Indian Food is everywhere in London. In the supermarkets, in the restaurants, on the television BUT all of it is crap. How did Indian food go so wrong in a country that came to India for its spices !?
Indian food in New York is a dream. Its easily accessible, cheap and a land where “Indian” means “from India” and not the Indian Subcontinent ;)
GAP, Ted Baker & Skin
The dressing in London is smart. People quite rightly wear clothes that make them look attractive. The dressing in New York is casual. People quite rightly wear clothes that make them feel comfortable.
It is a common perception that women in the USA are fatter than their European counterparts, but the ones in Manhattan are definitely not. Women of both cities seem to be doing pretty well on the diet front. Sadly the same can’t be said of the men. Most men in London are athletic and dressed to impress, most men in New York.. oh well.
Also, women in London are a lot more conservative in their dressing showing a lot less skin than their New York counterparts. They even hide their toes with open footwear being quite uncommon. (Given the weather, what choice does one have?)
Which brings us to ….
The Weather Channel
Checking weather constantly in the hope that it will change is a obsessive compulsion you are born with in London. Sadly its contagious, and any newcomer will soon be infected. The sky in London is always overcast, the scene is always gloomy and rain is always around the corner. Some months the rain will be kind enough to drop by only on weekends, how convenient! It is not uncommon for a Londoner to memorize the weekly weather, scheduling each task carefully. No rain on Wednesday afternoon, great – pick up dry cleaning.
With all that rain, its no surprise that the sun decided to take his summer vacation in New York.
A Birds Eye View
When the seatbelt sign goes on and you being to descend into London, you see (weather permitting) pretty red houses, as pretty as you would have drawn them in school. The sight is quite different with New York where you will be overwhelmed by amazing twists and turns and butterfly patterns made by highways that meet the horizon.
I like New York. It makes me feel at home, it reminds me of Mumbai. That might seem like a strange statement to make. Maybe it is strange, but it is also true, at least for me.