I like New York City a lot, and although it’s not my favorite city, I do appreciate its amazing museums and grand theaters. I love the neighborhoods that stretch all the way from the Battery to the Bronx and the new Brooklyn, unrecognizable to my wife now who went to Bayridge High School and grew up a stone’s throw from the Verrazano Straights. New York has a busyness to it with its big, broad avenues, and trying to catch the pedestrian lights as you walk so you don’t need to stop and can just zig zag your way from 30th to the park. I love Soho and the Village and always wondered where I would live (probably Soho although the park is stunning). So my question on New York is why is it so ratty in places? London can be patchy and the outskirts of Paris are dreadful, but we are talking downtown New York City. It’s very uneven to me. Fun, but dirty, and even the late-night scene is sketchy.
My favorite restaurant in the city is Esca. I love this place – great seafood, nice wine list, but honestly, it’s stuck in the seediest part of town on 43rd Street and 9th Ave, next to porn shops and dodgy quick bites. It’s weird, New York. The transportation hubs just seem to be seedier than they need to be. Grand Central is a beautiful station but it’s confusing. The shops and kiosks around it are grim. Penn Station is even worse and is surrounded by dodgy hotels. Yet here in the thick of it is Madison Square Garden. Let’s not forget to mention LaGuardia Airport, antiquated and inefficient, with no great transportation link into town. Welcome to New York.
So, yeah, I do like New York for two days, grab an overpriced play and go out to a nice dinner, but in the end, no prejudice, London is just a cooler place.