Saturday, 16 June 2012

Playing away

Fine, I'll admit it. I am having an affair.  I'm cheating on London with another city.  My new love is three and a half thousand miles from the city I call home, and all the cliches are true.  My city-on-the-side is younger and hotter than London.  It gives me things that London doesn't.  And I'm ashamed to say that this has been going on for a while; over the past few years we've spent more than a few dirty weekends together.  In fact, I'm with my new urban love right now.  Want to see a picture?
Check out that blue sky, and the sunshine.  And what a skyline.  And yes, that's a yellow cab you can see in the bottom corner, and the new tower rising above the former World Trade Center. Busted. I'm cheating on London with New York.

I'm sorry, London, but you've got a tough fight ahead to win back my affections.  You need to up your game.  New York is friendlier than you.  Its people smile more, talk to strangers rather than giving them the evil eye and they're not a bad-looking bunch.  The city runs on opportunity and possibility.  Five years in London has left me with a sense that London's glass is typically half-empty.  New York's glass always seems to be half-full, and refills are often free!  This place makes me feel braver, capable of more, less angrily focussed on the annoying minutiae of life.  Of course, when I am here I am on holiday, far from work and the office, and holidays are always more fun than the drudgery of the everyday.  But I could see myself doing all that I do in London here, but having a more enjoyable time of it.     

After several months of driving rain, and a number of sunshine days so small I can count them on one hand, London's been bringing me down.  New York greeted me with warmth at least, and sun after a bit; it is now perfect drinking-outside-on-the pavement weather.  And whilst I've also experienced New York's less pleasant climate extremes - from heatwaves to snowstorms - at least the city knows what's expected from it in each season, and it delivers with conviction.  London has less of that conviction; and not only in relation to its weather.  Maybe it's because New York is a newer city that it is still trying to impress.  Unlike, its older urban sibling, London, it has not sat back on its hundreds of years of achievement and congratulated itself.  Instead New York feels like it's still trying to prove itself, showing the other cities what it can do.  It is a city moving forward, under its own motive power.  London feels like it's stalling right now, treading water, drifting a little maybe.  That's not what a girl wants in her city - it's not nearly so attractive as drive and ambition.  I feel bad but who can help what the heart wants?  Sorry London, I think this might be serious.  

12 comments:

  1. Haha! good piece.

    Strangely London to me seems full of energy right now. But the rain.... oh dear, you are so right! I fear you are a fair weather lover! :D

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! Can't say I'm missing the weather one bit right now...the lack of Vitamin D in a typical London summer isn't good for anyone!

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  2. Loved this piece. NYC is definitely one of my favourite cities!! Enjoy your love affair and make sure you try brunch at Freeman's Alley and/or a cupcake from Sprinkles :)

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    1. Thanks LouLou (and thanks for the retweet too); I've now torn myself away but will be back to try your recommendations before too long I hope...

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  3. So, when are we calling you the Accidental New Yorker then? You are not missing much over here, it keeps raining anyway!

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    1. Ah, don't tempt me Muriel. I'd move myself and my blog Stateside in a heartbeat! (Glad to know London's not trying very hard to win my back.)

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  4. Oh my goodness, this sounds like SOUL love. Good for you darling xxx

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  5. I would have run of with New York years ago, but unfortunately her farther is a bit of a conservative type and he operates a strick immigration policy. So I am stuck with London for now, if I complain though then she would turn against me, but I cannot help but feel like I am settling.

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    1. Ah so true, escooler! Old Father Immigration is very tough on long-term sleepovers...more's the pity.

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  6. New York is such a tart! Lucky you - enjoy. Just happened upon your lovely blog via the expat network :)

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    1. Thanks, Rachel. Bloody loved it, but sadly home again now...just a holiday fling! Glad you found the blog, and thank you for leaving a comment. Pleased to have you reading!

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  7. Ah, I know the feeling. I´ve been in London for 5 years as well and NY is home for me. I still adore London but I understand the need for an escape!

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