Yes, I dare to ask the question; which is better London or New York City?
I know a lot of people will definitely have their opinion but this is mine, and mine alone. It is no secret that I love London. I just find it a really fantastic city to visit and I love it each time I go there. To be fair to NYC, I have only visited once so I am probably not the best person to answer this question… but I’m going to look at 5 specific areas and compare both cities.
I found London’s famous Tube super easy from the minute I stepped into it for the first time. The map is actually really easy to follow and I’ve never felt confused about using the Tube at all, even when changing trains at stations.
I did not like NYC’s Subway system. I found it confusing and not very straight forward at all. Although, I have to say I was very pleased with myself when I managed to get to my destination when using said Subway. But the only time I used the cross town trains was when I was with a New Yorker so they could guide me.
Winner: London – despite so many steps at some of the stations!!
2. Iconic Landmarks
Both London and NYC are famous for their iconic landmarks; from the glorious Statue of Liberty in NYC to the popular London Eye in London.
Growing up on the other side of the world, landmarks in both cities dominated my TV and movie viewing. Both cities have had their fair share of alien invasions and been destroyed numerous times on screen, but seeing these cities first hand is quite thrilling.
I can still remember the first time I saw the Old Naval College at Greenwich or St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Just like I can remember the feeling of standing at the Top of the Rock looking down the island of Manhattan and that amazing view of the Empire State Building.
Winner: Draw. Personally for me London is more appealing than NYC but only because of a history point of view but I think for this purpose it can only be a draw.
If we’re talking cabbies, then I think the London cabbies have got their NYC counterparts beat. No one can spin a yarn like a London cabbie. Just be saw to jump in one of the iconic black cabs to get the real experience.
Another bonus is that a London Cabbie has to go through at least 5 years of extensive training just to take the test, known as The Knowledge, to become a cabbie. If you don’t pass, you have to try again. A London Cabbie will know the fastest route to your destination, take you down some of London’s narrowest streets, all while navigating London’s traffic.. all before you’ve had a chance to check Google Maps.
I have to hand it to the NYC cabbies in their iconic Yellow Cabs though. If you can drive through the crazy streets of Midtown, I think you can drive anywhere!
Winner: London – no competition here. Having to take a test that has been called one of the hardest in the world in order to become a London Cabbie, NYC doesn’t even get a look in.
London for me is like one big history lesson. You can go down one road and see sites from Roman times to the most recent century. There are a plethora of historic sites in London that will keep the most history hungry person, occupied for hours.
London, of course, also has the distinction of being a very regal city, with the Tower of London dating back to William the Conquer and Buckingham Palace, being the home of the current Monarch. There is a lot of royal connections in London and you can even do tours specific to royal finds.
NYC, on the other hand, is a very young city compared to London but that doesn’t mean there is not a lot of history in its streets. Dating back to when Manhattan was just a speck on the map and was called New Amsterdam in the 17th century, the city has certainly been at the forefront of some of the most significant historic events.
I really enjoy learning about the history of NYC, so much so that my favourite podcast is all about NYC and its history. The Bowery Boys are a fantastic source of information relating to old and new New York.
Winner: London. I’ve chosen London because, whilst I do love learning about the history of NYC, I think that London has more historic sites you can actually visit and be transported back to a time long gone.
5. Museums & Art Galleries
This subject is quite subjective, considering that both cities have a vast amount of museums that cater to everyone’s tastes; from London’s Transport Museum to NYC’s Museum of Sex.
Both cities also boast world famous museums; like The Met in NYC & of course the British Museum in London. Along side equally famous art galleries like the Guggenheim in NYC and the National Gallery in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Winner: On a technicality, London. Simply because most of the top museums & art galleries in the city are free to visit; whereas those in NYC prefer you to pay.
I think it comes to the shock of no one that for me London is the overall winner. Don’t get me wrong, NYC has it’s appeal and I know people who would prefer NYC over London any day.
For me, the fact that London keeps drawing me back (I’m counting down to my fourth trip in six years as we speak) means that no other city has come close to capturing my heart and imagination as Old London Town.