London vs New York City

I’ve been asked this question 10’s of times over the last three years from people in either city, "Which do you prefer? London or New York?"

September 2020

London vs New York City

       John Bevan

       Vice President, USA



I’ve been asked this question 10’s of times over the last three years from people in either city,  

"Which do you prefer? London or New York? 

Both are unique in different ways. Recently I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to see family and friends, but the risk of not getting back to New York has halted any flight bookings. My thought process on this subject has been that even if London is better, it’s always going to be there and my real preference of city will depend on future years when I live in neither city and be able to look back with a certain view. 

Let me start with the city I currently live in - New York has changed a lot in the last four months. For a start It’s only about 40% full at the moment but you wouldn’t know it if you’re walking through the East Village after work – the bars are lively and outdoor drinking is now a thing…(it’s the one main thing I miss about London so it carries some weight). The years of standing outside a south west London boozer talking about football, music and life in general I look back on very fondly. Over here, I am often standing inside a crowded bar (pre-covid) talking about the NFL, craft beers and bagels – with no affinity for any. 

25,000 bars are in NY so I am told, and I’ve had a good crack at denting that figure – halt the incoming sarcastic ‘big drinker’ comments if you will.  

One of the main things this city has on its side is access. Access to mountains and land, access to fields and small towns and beaches, access to hot weather and cold weather, I could go on…Americans get a bad name for not having a passport: I don’t blame them  – any climate you want is within a two hour flight. It’s given me the chance to see small towns in middle America I never thought I’d see…drinking $3 pints of local beer while two old boys play space invaders on a machine and Fox News is on in the background…

I always have enjoyed going back to London to visit people and to actually see the place itself. The architecture and layout of certain areas in London gets me every time and it’s something New York cannot get near to. There are often days where I’d really really want to be sitting in a back street pub having a Peroni with the football on in the background.  I can intentionally get lost in London which is physically impossible to do in Manhattan unless you can’t read numbers.  

I think if they are the only things I miss about London then it’s a clear ad obvious answer. New York is still new to me and maybe in another 2 and a half years I will think different. Once I’ve had enough of people bumping into me because they’re not looking, or rude restaurant servers expecting a 20% tip for every meal or ambulances and fire engines going past me at 150 decibels (I’m not exaggerating) or Frat boys at bars downing bottled Smirnoff ice thinking they’ve conquered life, or football fans shouting at the TV telling players to shoot when there’s a throw in – maybe then I will reconsider but for now it’s an easy one…