Friday, March 24, 2006

The Square Mile VS The Big Apple

Round 1 – The People
Outside of being at a concert, I used to think that London’s Piccadilly Circus was one of the most crowded places to visit. A veritable cavalcade of ignorant, sweat-induced citizens rushing around as though their very lives depended on it. Darting back and forth in random directions seemingly unconcerned that they have just ploughed straight into you and in doing so dented your prized designer bag from Bond Street.

Step aside London, and enter New York. The one thing that astonished me during my visits to Times Square was the fact that New Yorkers appear to exhibit the same characteristics as Londoners but minus their chaotic overtones. Sure, people are in a rush, but it’s a strange muted, organised rush. Everyone walks in a brisk flow but nowhere are people crashing into each other like flesh and bone bangers. You can reach your destination without too much trouble and certainly without any bruises.

Round 2 – Public Transport
The London Underground is a mighty beast that can easily intimidate the uninitiated. I have witnessed people literally in tears as they desperately attempt to navigate the colourful map before them with all the skill and finesse of a dwarf participating in the high jump. Putting your £3 in the machine to get the printed map then finding nothing appearing from the slot except thin air. Purchasing a day ticket for £6.30 and getting it lodged in the turnstile units after a few swipes. Asking a member of staff for directions and finding that you have a one in ten chance of discovering one that can actually speak English. Deep Joy…

Entering the New York Subway does initially exhibit similar issues. The map is arguably harder to navigate than the London equivalent with letters and numbers as opposed to colour coded lines. It’s also bloody hot down there. After that things change… Uber friendly staff that are bilingual. A Metrocard day ticket that at $7 (£4.10) doesn’t cost the earth. Oh, and dry-witted citizens…

It was our second day in the city and we were on a tube. There was a woman sat down who was talking to whoever would listen. She was babbling on about allsorts and was slightly aggressive and very in your face. This went on for about ten minutes before she got up, told everyone to fuck off, walked to the doors and exited the tube leaving us to try and enjoy the journey. I looked at Mrs H; she looked at me and a man opposite us who had been calmly reading his newspaper for the entirety of the journey looked up at us and said, “Welcome to New York!”. Utterly priceless.

Round 3 – City Parks
Hyde Park and Regents Park are most pleasant and an ideal place to spend a lazy afternoon in London. One definite plus is the multitude of games you can play whilst you are there – for instance; frisbee, swing ball, football, dodge the dog shit…

Central Park is massive. Mrs H and I entered it and we never re-emerged until three hours later. Allocated nature trails, areas with ‘keep of the grass’ signs that people actually abide by. Some wonderful water features and ponds to sit around that are home to very small black fish, which the locals catch and stick in fish tanks for their children. We spent quite some time watching a mini New Yorker catch his new pets whilst his grandfather supervised… Speaking of pets, they have mini parks for dogs! How cool is that! It contains all manner of balls and bones for the little fellas to chew on whilst their owners have a chat. A dog crèche if you will. Oh, and did I mention how massive it is? To give you an example, we were sat in Central Park around one of the big ponds enjoying the afternoon sun when this American woman rushed over to us and said, “Do you know the way out of here?”. I explained that we were tourists and couldn’t help her. She smiled, “I’ve been trying to find the way out for half an hour!”. Extra Kudos points New York for having such an amazingly large park that even your own citizens can’t escape!


I feel that I must place the obligatory disclaimer to defend the above. These are my own personal experiences of both cities. I am not trying to discredit one above the other. In fact I’ll be covering our London holiday on this blog very soon. Amazing as it may seem, I love London and I have visited it many times. It's a great city with loads to do - but it 'aint NYC baby!


At March 24, 2006 8:11 pm, Blogger MrC said...

a NY photo site for yers ...

(i've been looking at so so many photo sites this evening!)

At March 24, 2006 10:03 pm, Blogger Harmunt said...

Cheers mate!

At March 25, 2006 12:35 pm, Blogger MrC said...

Mr Harmunt ... it's looking messy at the outrun countdown link bit! (in firefox! although i've not updated my FF for a while! IE is fine!)

At March 26, 2006 12:30 pm, Blogger Harmunt said...

Oh, Mr C!

Checked the laptop (with FF) and you're right. But as my disclamer states - optimised for IE6.

However, I have to support the browser that is most widely used. Like it or not, that's still Internet Explorer.

Incidentally, I was planning on 'upgrading' my main PC to Firefox this afternoon as well... Looks like I'll be putting that on hold then.



BTW - Your site is now an icon-fest!

At March 26, 2006 4:06 pm, Blogger MrC said...

the icons are breeding!

oh dear with the IE loving ... the only people i know that still use it are old, backward/simple, or stuck-in-their-ways, oh... & you! lol


what's going on with neoworx?? the basties! better be back soon, or i'll shake my fist in a menacing manner at the screen!!


At March 26, 2006 5:45 pm, Blogger Harmunt said...

I'm more worried that my flag stats will be reset... *gulp*

At March 26, 2006 5:55 pm, Blogger Harmunt said...

Just checked on Statcounter MrC, and 83% of my visitors are IE6 users. The remaining 17% is taken up by Firefox.

No contest on which browser I have to cater for...

At March 27, 2006 5:40 pm, Blogger MrC said...

ok, i concede ... & i shall put up with it looking messy! ;)


Post a Comment

<< Home