There was so much I had to say about New York City, so much I wanted to write about. I have now reached the end of this series and I’m proud of the content I have published and shared with the world on this little corner of the Internet.
New York put an end to an inspiration slump I was personally going through. I suppose a lot of my travel is about getting inspired, acquire knowledge and experiences, but not all places have the power to inspire me. I also feel as I get older, it gets more difficult to seriously be impressed and excited about things. I don’t want that to happen, but it does. I think it’s only natural… but even living in such a great city as London, I face dry spells of inspiration that only get back when I am capable of physically leaving the bubble I live in every day. And well, New York did it for me.
The most important thing is that New York made me appreciate how much I really like London. Don’t get me wrong. I liked New York. A LOT. But I feel London, for the best and for the worse, has stolen my heart and will likely continue to be my true love, even if I eventually move on to somewhere else.
Having in mind that New York and London are, in so many aspects, incredibly similar, there were things that, as a stranger to the city, I immediately noticed about NYC that heavily contrast to London (and I’m not just talking about the skyscrapers – I wrote about that here!). And of course, I had to put it on a list – these were the interesting things I noticed about New York (and I guess the U.S) during my week there and how they compare to London.
-1- People are LOUD. This is something that I definitely picked up immediately in NYC. I wasn’t so bothered by the noise from the traffic. The volume of human voices really called my attention and perked my ears. While in London you will often find the occasional louder human being, the volume is generally lower.
-2- Drama. Drama everywhere. This point connects nicely with the first one. I wouldn’t have noticed there was so much drama if people weren’t so loud on the phone. There was always a fiery argument going on with the other person on the other side, or a juicy piece of gossip being communicated. Again, Londoners are definitely a little more reserved. Still, this feature about New York makes it feel like you’re living in a movie every day, and if you like people-watching you will find great amusement.
-3- The parks are small. I was a bit disappointed that really the biggest park that I would call a park in Manhattan is Central Park. The other green squares one can see on the map are exactly that – squares. Often the lawn is closed, and I also noticed how dogs have their special corners. I guess this is important to avoid them running off to the road. Again, I am spoiled by London, where the equivalent to Central Park (Hyde Park) is just one of many options for us.
-4- Access to culture is even more unequal. Democracy doesn’t really apply to culture in the United States. I paid well for entry to museums. From what I could gather, some of them do offer a free entrance for New York residents or students. But in London the number of fantastic museums you can visit without paying a single penny is enormous. Thank you, London.
-5- HUGE food portions – of course, in America everything is gigantic. Even getting a salad in the supermarket that was supposed to be one serving, seemed to be able to feed at least two people. In London, the servings are definitely less generous, and I suppose that is why people here tend to be smaller.
-6- Food prices – I know I was in Manhattan, but I was a bit surprised with the lack of little supermarkets with more accessible bites. Sandwiches, salads, and snacks were so expensive. Nothing like Tesco’s Meal Deal.
-7- The VAT not being included in the prices – honestly, this is something I don’t understand. You never know really how much you’ll end up paying in the end… wouldn’t it be easier to just show the final price?
-8- Why are there so many different ways to pay $1? I don’t use cash in London anymore, but in New York City it is important to keep some notes and coins with you for tipping purposes. What I did find interesting is that there are at least four different forms $1 can take, which made my tourist brain very confused (I had on my wallet at least a note, and three different $1 coins)
-9- Easy to navigate. The roads and the streets make sense in New York. At the end of the day, it is so easy to navigate in New York City. You only need to know the number of the street and whether you’re east or west, north or south. I am embarrassed to say how many times I keep getting lost in London after living here for almost seven years…
-10- Strong AC. I get that it was hot when I visited NYC, but do we really need an air conditioner in full blast everywhere? I was often very cold inside shops and museums… and don’t even get me started on the train! Of course in London AC is a rare thing to find… which is okay, except when we get heatwaves from the inevitable climate changes as we did recently, with the city achieving 40 degrees Celcius and all of us dying without AC…
These were the main things that really differentiated New York from London to me, personally. I still think these two cities are more alike than different, in both good and bad ways. I would probably name New York, New London instead because it is really what it is.
What do you think? If you’ve been to both cities, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!