Tuesday, 18 September 2012
The observant of you will have noticed that I haven’t been around for a little while. Those of you who know me will know why - and will no doubt be rolling your eyes once more as I announce, not that I am going to New York, but I have now well and truly conquered it. Yes, in five days I think I cracked it and in turn it has massacred two pairs of my shoes (and my feet) as I pounded its pavements. Of course, I haven’t seen it all, but hope that when I return (which I will) I'll be able to kick back and relax whilst fitting in an exploration of Harlem, the Bronx and Queens – plus a trip out to the Giant’s football stadium for some foam fingered fun.
As I wandered around taking in the sights, smells and shops New York offers, I couldn’t help but compare it to London. MOMA? Not unlike Tate Modern at all. Fifth Avenue? Bond Street, eat your heart out. Lower East Side? A little bit of Camden Town with its indie shops stocked with bongs, crystal Buddhas and boho dresses.
I could go on. But, as I headed back to London, I started to think about how my home city compared to the other heavyweights around the globe that I have visited and loved. Unlike Vancouver and Barcelona, it doesn’t boast a beach... but then the Southbank is almost as tranquil as any seafront. It may not have the fairytale skyline of Budapest and Prague, but the beauty of St Pauls and the majesty of the Tower and Albert Bridges can’t help but take your breath away. And it may not have the romance and food of Paris, but it does have the excitement of Borough Market and the culinary delights from around the world found in China Town, Tooting and Wood Green to name a few.
So yes, I was sad to leave New York a week ago – but I was also looking forward to getting home. Okay, so seeing Silence! (a parody of Silence of the Lambs) nearly made me pee my pants, but I am looking forward to catching a new play at the Arts Theatre with a friend for £3 on Saturday. And yes, there is nothing quite like a blueberry bagel or a giant pretzel to set you up for the day, but then there is nothing as satisfying as a big box of noodles at the Stables Market in Camden to tie up a day of shopping. And although the Jazz at the Lincoln Centre was pretty awesome, it wasn’t as bargainous as Daylight Music at the Union Chapel.
And that isn’t all. Okay, so New Yorkers are a fascinating bunch – from the mad taxi driver who told me how much he loved Henry VIII, the American-Albanian who was pro-Romney and the old guy who took it upon himself to be my personal tour guide of Central Park – but they don’t beat Londoners. And, quite honestly, I can’t wait to immerse myself in their self-centred moodiness once more. Because that, my friends, is where I belong.