City Rumble – New York City versus London

Let’s get ready to rumble!

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Okay, sorry, that’s not a little bit like me! Here we are, Thursday, and welcome to my brand new piece – ‘City Rumble’, comparing my experiences in two comparable cities and deciding which I preferred and of course, giving reasons why. And I’ve decided to start big – New York City doing battle with London.

Why are they comparable? Well, they are both extremely iconic for starters. They both have long histories (sure, London’s is quite a bit older), they are both cultural centres, and they both are just brilliant places to visit. That’s right, I’m not comparing two cities one of which I loved and one I hated, I love them BOTH.

Central Park can't be beat!

Central Park can’t be beat!

So ummm right where to start? Parks. They both have parks. I mean, any good city has a few parks – my home town of Melbourne, we’re swimming in parks. Espeically when it’s raining. Or flooding. Although, mostly we swim in pools or the ocean. That was a bit misleading. Anyhoo, London is full of parks, you have Hyde Park, the commons, but more to the point if you walk around enough you find these small little cute parks everywhere for people to chill in.

Central Park

Central Park

Juxtapose this with (oh yeah! This concept for a blog post means I can use that word heaps more now!) New York. Yes, plenty of parks, but there are none that can compare with Central Park. It’s huge, it crosses suburbs, it has paths and lakes and statues and ice cream. It is the place to go regardless of the time of year. It’s probably the most known park on planet Earth and it is unmissable if you’re in New York. In fact, if the pace of the city is getting too much for you, why not spend like a week there and ignore the rest of the city?

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Manhattan across Central Park.

Manhattan across Central Park.

Central Park is a great place to get the taste of the Manhattan Skyline. New York’s Manhattan Skyline is so famous and known around the world that cricket coverage today has a diagram of the runs per over scored, and they call it the ‘Manhattan’. Okay, so for our North American friends that may mean very little, so here is a screen grab to explain it to you.

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Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.

New York from the Empire State Building. And me.

New York from the Empire State Building. And me.

The Tower of London.

The Tower of London.

Not that London isn’t unidentifiable by its buildings. Sure, no Empire State Building, which is awesome by the way, but the House of Commons, the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, not to mention Buckingham Palace… yes, London has an impressive array of buildings to see. With the backdrop of the Thames and the London Eye… there’s so many impressive pieces of architecture in London.

London Eye and the Thames.

London Eye and the Thames.

The place to see a show - Shakespeare's Globe in London.

The place to see a show – Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

Shows? You want to see a show? Well, I spent every day of my first trip to London doing just that. I saw Chicago (I know, ironic init?), Doctor Doolittle (yes, there really is a stage show), Oklahoma (the irony continues) and Grease in London. Tickets can be found, if you know how, for awesome prices. I paid between five and fifteen pounds for those shows. In New York I got a half-price ticket at Times Square for ‘The Producers’, but that was still about $35. However, the quality in production of all shows makes all prices a steal.

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Times Square, well there’s no place quite like it. London perhaps is lacking an iconic outdoor section, perhaps due to rubbish weather. Both cities have awesome, if not cheap in any way, shopping. Oxford St shines for London, but hey, amongst a thousand places, New York has Tiffany’s!

Both have amazing subway systems. Public transport reaches all parts of the cities, and both systems are very iconic. New York’s subways versus London’s Tube? Hard to find a winner, but I’d probably lean towards New York. Mind you, London also has double decker buses.

The nature and size of America means New York City is not quite the transport hub that London is for the rest of the country. London has four or five major train stations to get your connections at. And boy some are pretty impressive – King’s Cross for example.

King's Cross Station.

King’s Cross Station.

Question on notice for your comments – which city is more friendly? It’s an interesting thought. For me it’s London, but that’s mainly because I already know people there I think. Big cities like these two have a reputation for not being very friendly, I don’t know though…

Which city at the end of the day do I prefer? The answer is London. My experiences in London have been great, but New York City is also a city that’s hard not to love. It’s just so alive! Growing up watching a lot of British TV here in Australia, I think this made me long to go to London. For the traveller, I think both cities should be visited in one’s lifetime. They are both unforgettable.

If you had to choose which one tickled your fancy more, NYC or London, which one would it be and why???

Next Thursday two more cities will be matched up against each other – Mumbai versus Delhi. Which city rubbed me up the RIGHT way? May the Journey Never End.

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