Expatify

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London: the Best City in the World

Big Ben and the London Eye
Big Ben and the London Eye

…when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’ Samuel Johnson

Something for Everyone

London is the best city in the world because it has something for everyone—man, woman, child, as well as all ethnicities, orientations, and tastes. As a world city it stands out from the rest because of its cultural diversity. It has maintained centre stage of the cultural crossroads for two thousand years.

Most world cities have an incredible energy, and some impress more than others in one or two areas, and yet, no other world city is capable of matching London on all levels.

Strength and Development

London is a city that has been tested many times and has become stronger each time: the sackings from Boudicca, Saxons, and Danes, the black death in mid-14th century, the great plague in the middle of the 1600s, the great fire of London in 1666, and the Blitz of WWII. The Great Smog of 1952 descended when pollution levels became unsustainable and was the grand-daddy of the ‘pea souper’ fogs London had become known for. And yet for all these attacks and blights the city has returned again and again, better each time like a phoenix out of ashes to remain the most incredible city in the world.

What is a Londoner?

London is home to a different breed of Briton—it has always been a melting pot of expats from every nation in the world. The original Londoners were Britons (Celts), but through the ages the ‘new’ people included Romans, Danes, Saxons, Normans, Jews, then from the Tudor period onwards an even greater variety of immigrants began arriving from all over Europe and the world. Americans proudly announce that their country is a melting pot, but London pre-dates the United States as a melting pot by several centuries.

Today the expat communities still thrive and most ethnicities catered for. As of 2008, 40% of London’s total population was from an ethnic minority group and there are more than 300 languages spoken in London.

A Climate that Encourages the Best of Everything

While the people make the city, the climate and the architecture make the people. London has a temperate climate, rarely very hot, rarely very cold, enough rain to keep the plants fresh and green, enough sun to enjoy beautiful days throughout the year. The people therefore are temperate as well–stylish and successful, unassuming and yet confident. Creativity flourishes—the East End has the largest concentration of artists anywhere in Europe, and world-wide fashion trends often begin on London’s streets. West End theatre, world-class ballet and opera and all the major movie premiers are found in London. Some of the very best educational institutions in the world can be found here, including University College London, Imperial College London and the London School of Economics.

Many museums and galleries in London are of international importance. The Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, the British Library, the National Gallery, the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern to name the giants.

Once a city with a terrible reputation for it’s food, London now has over 34 Michelin starred restaurants, and offers fantastic restaurants from many ethnicities.

The shopping is varied and plentiful—vast department stores, delightful boutiques, traditional suppliers of all things British, and flagships of many famous brands and labels. Beyond the shops are the famous London markets all across the metropolis, held both weekly and seasonally.

London has thirteen League football clubs and four rugby union teams. One of London’s best-known annual sports competitions is the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Other well-known sporting events include the London Marathon, and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.

If you like celebrity, London is overrun with them, including the most famous celebrity of all, the Queen of England and her family. The Royal Family are one of the biggest tourist attractions in Britain and with their main residences in or near London the city has responsibility to maintain fabulous architecture and parks in order to remain at the standard expected of this royalty. The parks and gardens of London have such horticultural importance to civic planning that people have come from all over the world for many years to study their design.

An Important Role in World History

The history of London has had an influence on the rest of the world for many centuries, making London’s history one of the most important of the world cities to study. London also contains four world heritage sites—sites deemed by the world heritage centre to be of importance to the world. These include the Tower of London, Greenwich, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (the most impressive botanic gardens anywhere in the world), and the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church.

Architecture

London has such diverse architecture that no one single style defines the city—a concept reflected in its people. Notable buildings include everything from the Victorian Natural History Museum to the more recent Swiss Re building. There are plans for even more impressive buildings such as the 72-story Shard of Glass that will be one of the tallest buildings in Europe.

Transport

Transport in London is outstanding. The tube, the 24-hour busses and of course the reliable London black cabs are all exceptional. Cycling is becoming more popular each year, thanks to the support of a forward thinking mayor. Getting to London or visiting other cities from London as a base is easy with four international airports and two Eurostar terminals.

And lastly, but quite importantly, there are many jobs to be had in London. If you’re clean and presentable, you speak English, you have good people skills so you can work with customers and with your team (teamwork an important thing in Britain), you are happy to start lower on the ladder and work your way up and you are happy to commute in order to broaden your opportunities, then you’ll get a job.

No other city in the world can match the facts that make London the best world city.

Comments

75 thoughts on “London: the Best City in the World

  1. New York City is the one and only, the Capital of the World. The NY Stock Exchange is the world’s largest. NY is the headquarters of the United Nations. NY has a 24-hour subway, unlike London. NY never sleeps, unlike London. NY has a far higher GDP than London. NY is a larger city and has a much larger metropolitan area than London. NY is a bigger fashion capital than London. After Hollywood, NY is the second entertainment capital of the world. New York’s metropolitan area has the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, far larger than London’s. New York’s metropolitan area also has far larger Asian Indian, Latin American, and African diasporas than London’s. New York is a bigger art capital than London. New York is still growing, while London is stagnant or declining. No other city is in the same league as New York, and as time goes on, London will be even less and less close to New York. Sorry, London!

  2. I have to say I agree with Fanni.

    New York is a fabulous city, there is no denying that, as are many other capital (and regular!) cities. However, London still retains a far greater diversity of ethnicities and London has a far more interesting and much, much, MUCH longer history. The traditions, the rich cultural history and the lower crime rate are all in London’s favour. It is also far more accessible than New York, which makes it a more fun place to live. There is 24 hour transport in London, a mix of tube and bus and as far as New York’s rep as the ‘city that never sleeps’ I have quite easily found plenty of clubs, bars and galleries open until the early hours and restaurants, shops and cafes, as well as chemists (pharmacies) and grocery stores open 24 hours!

    Looking at finances, watch out New York, London is a serious rival for the supposed crown. In an article by Stephen J Dubner in the New York Times (7 Feb 08):
    “These days, many Americans — including Mike Bloomberg and Chuck Schumer — fear the answer to that question (is New York still the financial capital of the world?) will soon be “no,” if it isn’t already; London is poised to take over. An article in today’s Wall Street Journal about the credit crunch’s effect on the U.K. economy offers this sobering fact: The financial sector accounts for more than one-fifth of all U.K. jobs, compared with only 6 percent of jobs in the U.S., and contributed about one-quarter of the nation’s economic growth over the past five years.”

    What I love most about London as opposed to New York is the world view. New York is still very much just about America. I can understand why, America is big and important–but the world is bigger and even more important!

    I think London will never ever fade as its own history has shown. It is treasured in international importance (as Fanni mentions UNESCO world heritage sites), with thousands of important destinations within the city, as well as being an amazingly resilient, beautifully developed crossroads of the world. New York is just a fantastic destination. I can see why the Olympic committee chose London over New York! It is a truly amazing city.

  3. London is indeed a quaint historical treasure, Paris is charmingly romantic, while Rome is the classic “Eternal City.” Some feel that Vancouver and Sydney can’t be topped for beauty and quality of life. But sticking to OBJECTIVE metrics, only one city reigns supreme as the Capital of the World, and that is New York City.

    New York’s global perspective is second to none. New York is the home of the United Nations headquarters, the premier jury overseeing global policy. Global coverage by The New York Times cannot be surpassed – from Nigeria to New Zealand, from Uruguay to Mongolia, IN ADDITION to covering the 300 million people of the United States. New York City is home to residents from every single country on earth, from Ghana to Haiti, from Ecuador to Bangladesh. Paris and London certainly contain ethnic diversity but cannot match New York’s sheer number of immigrants from most countries. It is a numerical fact that the United States continues to receive far more foreign immigrants than England, and New York City is the biggest recipient city in the U.S. These new immigrants infuse New York with an energy, vitality, and dynamism which London simply does not have. London’s “ethnic diversity” primarily hails from its past glory, as relatively few immigrants pursue London as their destination nowadays. The New York metropolitan area contains the largest ethnic Chinese and Asian Indian populations outside of Asia, the largest black population outside of Africa, and over 4 million Latin Americans – no other city can claim such ethnic diversity.

    One must remember that because Britain is relatively tiny, it is highly likely that a news story in a British newspaper or a flight to Heathrow Airport is by definition going to be “international,” simply because it originates from outside Britain. Because the Unites States is large, with over 300 million residents in over 3 million square miles, and given the vast diversity and wealth of the U.S., American issues are certainly going to represent a significant PROPORTION of New York’s perspective. But this has no bearing on the “MULTITASKING” ability of New York’s media to cover the globe as well.

    New York is a bigger art, fashion, scientific, and entertainment capital than London, and New York is also the media capital of the world. In fact, Thomson Reuters, one of the world’s media giants, set up its global operational headquarters in New York in 2008, when Canada’s Thomson Corporation merged with London’s Reuters. And as far as buzz goes, when London is generally snoozing at 1AM, Times Square and much of Manhattan are still bustling – one reason being that New York’s 24-hour subway system is far busier than London’s Underground, which is not even the busiest metro system in Europe.

    London’s traditional aura and history obviously cannot be approached by New York. But yesterday’s history is irrelevant to today’s greatness or tomorrow’s promise. In fact, London’s historical icons may actually be a hindrance to its developing an adequate skyline, secondary to preservationist and aesthetic concerns. While New York’s skyline is the standard of reference as the iconic skyline of the world, London’s skyline is, well, non-existent, and the few newer structures, including the London Eye, frankly appear exceedingly odd and tacky in the visual background of the classic icons.

    The current Great Recession has hit New York hard but London even harder. What happened to the great IPO (initial public share offering) frenzy that before the recession was supposed to be a driver for London’s ascendancy to topple New York as the financial capital of the world? Seems to have vanished now in 2010. London has likely forever lost its opportunity to steal New York’s crown in the financial arena.

    As far as the Olympic city selection, puhleez… everyone knows that worldwide anti-American sentiment blocked any chance of New York winning the 2012 Olympics and repeated itself as Chicago lost the 2016 Olympics. Olympic city selection is entirely a geopolitical game and not a referendum about New York City.

    Ten years from now, London will likely look and feel the same as it does now, with approximately the same size and with an aging population, while New York continues to forge ahead dynamically. Unfortunately, Londoner mentality prevents London from having a REASON to grow.

    Beautiful London will always be one of my favorite tourist destinations – but it simply cannot cut the mustard to take on New York’s role as the Capital of the World.

  4. Interesting discussion. Of course to claim any city is the best in the world is simply opinion, but for journalistic purposes I can see why this article was headlined thus.

    Having lived several years in both cities I agree they both have many attributes. They both have many downsides as well, by their nature of being big cities. I would prefer to live in London overall, simply because I enjoy the over all feel of the city, but I love both cities. I also love many other world cities (I have lived in 7).

    Deepak’s argument that New York is better because ‘London is worse’ is not entirely convincing. But unfortunately Deepak makes the further mistake of playing the ‘anti-American card’ when referring to the London Olympics. This is such a boring, outdated, overused inaccuracy–especially as used here: please Google ‘which country has held the most Olympic games’ and see which country is revealed in the search results…!

  5. Response to Olivia:

    Let me modify the statement in my prior entry to read, “RECENT worldwide anti-American sentiment” – ever since the geopolitical events of the year 2001 – and yes, Olivia, that is a valid statement. How many Olympic Games have been awarded to the U.S. since that point in history? – certainly a 180-degree turn from prior years, historically. In any case, Olympic city selection is obviously not a referendum about the greatness of any city. New York has never hosted even one – and that fact has no effect on the psyche of its residents – even parochial Atlanta, Georgia has hosted one Olympics.

    As far as “better” versus “greater,” Olivia, if you look at the first paragraph of my prior entry, I denoted that “better” (or an equivalent description) has a significantly more subjective connotation than “greater” (or a similarly equivalent description), which connotes reliance upon more OBJECTIVE metrics. Indeed, for some, Vancouver, for example, may be the “BEST.” Therefore, my argument does not imply that New York is “better,” or that “London” is “worse” – simply that New York is indeed “greater.”

    Cheers!

  6. London is indeed the best city in the world. London is not snoozing at 1am, it is lively and exiting. Go away from Manhatten at 1am and the sidewalks have been rolled up. The West End of London is at least as lively as Times Square, London is the banking capital of the world, london is twice the size of New York City and has several million more people, it is more diverse than NYC (which is America’s most diverse city) Don’t forget the commonwealth (previously the Empire countries)are on fifth (20%) of the entire planet. By far the biggest empire (now commonwealth) the world has ever seen.
    No other city in the world even comes close.
    Certianly not the sub-urban sprawls of poorly built wooden houses that pass for cities here in the USA.

  7. Deepak, I lived in NY for years, it is an arrogant pile of pooh, no more. London has it beat hands down.

  8. NEW York City is 305 sqare miles with 8.3 million people.
    (numbers that show 25 million include parts of states as far away as PA and are not New York City).
    London has 14,000,000 people. Which is all of London, Central and Greater London. It does not include the populations of other cities as does the larger number for New York. London’s land area of 659 square miles is more than twice that of NYC.
    Far from what Deepak suggests ” a quaint (read small)…
    it is more than twice the size of NYC in land area and has NYC beat in populaton by many many millions, if we count just the cities and not anything within a 4 hour drive, which is what NYC often does.

  9. Chaz-

    I live in Brooklyn, one subway stop from Manhattan (note spelling) – and are many, many neighborhoods in my borough which have a tremendous social and cultural life, where the sidewalks are not “rolled up” after 1am. You are simply speaking in error. Since the London tube shuts down at 1am, and the NYC subway is 24 hours, maybe you are the one rolling it up at 1am.

    Contrary to what you say, many consider Brooklyn, rather than Manhattan, to be the musical and cultural center of NYC. My idea of culture is not tourists roaming around Midtown Manhattan and Times Square thinking that this is the final development of western civilization.

    Before Brooklyn consolidated into NYC in 1898, it was its own city with many individual neighborhoods – to a great extent these neigbhorhoods remain, and they are vibrant. Visit DUMBO, Williamsburg, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene and Park Slope, to name a few

    Manhattan, after all, is the third most populous NYC borough after Brooklyn and Queens. There are many creative young people who can’t afford to live in Manhattan, and the outer boroughs are betetr becuase of it.

  10. Chaz-

    I’m sorry but you are in error – please get your facts straight before making blatantly erroneous statements – every available source which charts and tracks the size of worldwide urban agglomerations documents New York City as having a significantly larger population than London – whether broken down to a city “proper,” a functional “metropolitan area,” or a “consolidated area” (which includes farther flung suburbs). New York is one of the world’s largest cities by any of those metrics, while London is way down on the list and continues to drop further in the population rankings as other agglomerations around the world outgrow it. London’s “functional” metropolitan area is AT LARGEST 14 million people (and essentially stagnant), while NY’s equivalent “functional” metropolitan area is 19 million strong (and continuously growing).

    I think you also need to exhibit more maturity and objectivity in your arguments, especially while claiming that “London is indeed the best city in the world,” while blogging from (and living in?) “here in the USA.”

  11. Also, Chaz-

    Your blogs exude an emotional outcry supporting London, while you need to understand that this this not a popularity contest – but rather an objective forum detailing why London lags progressively further behind New York’s greatness, as defined by power, size, and current (not yesteryear’s) global influence. I will be the first to admit that even most Americans loathe New York, simply because of its overwhelming size, scale, density, and brashness – but that is not the issue here. London, in turn, may lose a “favorite city” popularity contest to various Canadian and/or Australian cities.

    Most people today would acknowledge that London exerts nowhere near the cultural dominance and influence over global trends as New York or Los Angeles. New York’s continuing population growth is derived largely from ongoing foreign immigration from every nook and cranny of the globe, to the tune of approximately 180,000 new immigrants per year. Who immigrates to London anymore? Where is London going to derive any new diversity without fresh, cosmopolitan DNA? London is a quaint victorian souvenir, a precious jewelbox, a pleasant historical anachronism – but sadly static and stagnant from an objective viewpoint. Why, for example, do thousands of people from India currently migrate to New York each year, while there is no such stampede to London? Simply because New York affords them the economic and social oppportunity to move up the ladder to achieving respected, professional status in a big way and quickly so, far more effectively than London.

    I’m sure that more people (by far) would choose to leave their hearts in beautiful Vancouver, Sydney, Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, London, or Buenos Aires than in New York. But New York is left with the essential task at hand – running the show, 24/7.

  12. I have lived in both cities, but I must say that New York has something that no other city on earth has – and that makes it the best city in the world. This “something” is a personality, an identity that has been taking shape for the last hundred years. I find London a bit more lonely and much more isolated from the outside world. It is not a city people flock to the way people flock to New York. The success that can be achieved in New York is a constant reminder of its superiority. London has had a few success stories like most cities but nothing on the scale of New York. Whether your talking Donald Trump or Michael Bloomberg, or Andrew Carnegie and Rockafeller or Madonna and Lady Gaga – New York simply exudes something London never could. Media in London is 10 years behind New York, and creatively, London is either cheezy or boring. New York’s superiority is because it is in America. Some have stated that that is a bad thing. But the modern open world we all live in was ushered in by the 20th century with America at the helm. Capitalism, free markets, freedom of expression, modernity – these are the things New York not only excels at but embraces as part of its identity. I can’t help but feel that London is just going through the motions because that’s what the world is doing right now. It seems a terrible copy of something that is not British. Some say London is more diverse. But ethnic “meshing” doesn’t happen in London the way it does in New York. If you live in London and your Indian, then your still Indian. If an Indian moves to New York, he becomes something more. He becomes a New Yorker.

  13. You can’t fairly compare North American, European and Asian cities.
    NY is great, but you can do nothing in NY that you can’t do in LN, plus LN has the juxtaposition of the old, even ancient, and new. Apart from the creaking transport system it is why so many people immigrate to London – from America (when the could go to NY), from France (when the could go to Paris) from Eastern Europe (when the could go anywhere in the EU), from Arabia, from Russia.
    P.S. Madonna lives in London.

  14. Two more addenda regarding Minni’s comment:
    1) Immigration to London nowadays is TINY compared to immigration to New York City.
    2) London proper is inland on the Thames River, so one must technically leave London to visit the oceanfront. NYC (per Brooklyn and Queens) directly fronts the Atlantic Ocean, with fine beaches.

  15. This is quite literally the most pathetic argument I’ve heard in a long while. Having read all the comments (and quite frankly had a great laugh at all your expenses considering how petty and childish the responses are) it’s pretty clear that it’s simply a matter of personal opinion- there is no “greatest city in the world.” I’ve been to London and would love to go to NY, but to say that anyone is superior by using statistics of “my metro is bigger than yours” or “we’ve got the most Chinese outside of Asia” is laughable. Particularly “Deepak” who uses audacious statements like “Your blogs exude an emotional outcry supporting London, while you need to understand that this this not a popularity contest” and then makes the most biased and hilarious pitches outside of low quality business seminars. For instance, the fact that the UN is in NY means NOTHING, and especially doesn’t prove that NY is the centre of the world. The UN is essentially dominated by American policies and American decisions and is funded by American money; as a virtual extension of US foreign policy its presence in NY more signifies it as an American city than anything else. Another one is the subway argument, mature that it is. “London’s isn’t even the biggest in Europe.” Really? That’s funny because if NY’s was in Europe it wouldn’t be the biggest either! Moscow’s has more passengers. Then the celebrity argument! Let’s forget the cultural movements London has produced, the music scenes of the past 50 years, Madonna has left!!!!

  16. Ben,

    You make some excellent points, which are acknowledged.

    On the other hand, statistics and superlatives are AN important (albeit not the only) yardstick of measuring the greatness of cities. Stated another way, it takes underlying greatness to generate superlative statistics and other remarkable facts. Remember, as I have mentioned earlier in the debate, that I have drawn a distinction between the concepts of “greatest” and “best,” the latter of which is much more reflective of the idea of “to each, his(her) own”; also remember that I have differentiated between current “greatness” and historical glory.

  17. Hey!!!!
    I disagree with both of you, I think the best city in the world is Quebec. Its great!! Although i do love new York, I love Quebec even more. Theres so much to do!!

    xx Bennisan Rose

  18. HEY GUYS!

    WOW. What a hot intellectual debate you guys are having.
    I wish I can contribute like you guys, but I’m just a kid. Really, I’m just a suburanite kid that is interested in the world.

    So I absolutely LOVE New York, but I LOVE London too. Both cities are great.

    But I have to say, I’m very interested in China.
    We’re learning about it in Global History, and it’s so interesting! CHINA IS AWESOME! It makes me want to eat Chinese food. But I’m in school and we have grilled cheese for lunch. Boo. Maybe I can ask my mom tonight.

    Wish me luck!
    *crossing fingers for that delish chinese food*

    xoxo
    D.Rock

    ps. Deepak- I’m your number 1 fan!

  19. D. Rock –
    I’m a kid too!!! Except today for luch is sschool pizza. Yuck becuase its not delivery 🙁
    When will Deepak and Ben reply?

  20. Haha, where’s my goddamn number 1 fan?! And I’d love to go to NY, Quebec and the rest of them. Might be going to Virginia next year- not exactly comparable but still! It just annoys me when people go down the whole, this is better than this nonsense- we all know that Sheffield is the greatest city in the world anyway :P.

  21. Oh Heeyy guys, I’m actually D.Rock from above but I decided to use my real name. I just used D.Rock cause it’s similar to Deepak(: haha idk.

    So, I did not have chinese food, just putting it out there. But actually, this week is “asian” week for our school’s lunch. So maybe they’ll have Chinese food.

    And I also realized- I terribly embarrassed myself. CHINA is not a city. oops.

    Haha, Ben! You’re so funny. I guess Bennisan is your number 1 fan now? And I can be your 1.1 fan. Not as good as 1, but close enough!

    Anyone ever been to tokyo? It’s great!

  22. FLOWWWWWWWWWZ –
    I LOVE your name!!!!! and yeah quebec is the bestest place on earth 🙂

    p.s. its BENNISAN

  23. Oh, please……..APPLES TO ORANGES. How can you possibly compare all these wonderful places!!!! They are all DIFFERENT. Singapore is safe and clean, if that’s what you want, Rio is fantastic, just leave the diamonds and Rolex in your home country and stop fretting. New York, exciting. Aberdeen, Scotland, near wonderful beaches and mountains in a 20 min. drive. QUIT THE COMPARISONS. In doing so you’re only short changing yourself. JUST ENJOY.

  24. OMG Sue is right…
    every place has its own unique qualitites and we all just have to agree that they’re really isn’t any ‘best’ city. Opinions are after all, opinons and no one can change that(:
    I personally think New York is wonderful!

    xox

  25. Interesting debate. London definitely gave New York a run for its money in the naughties, partly because of 9-11 and partly because of the war in Iraq but this was mostly financial. Immigration slowed a bit to New York in those years because of fear and ease of access. But after this recent “depression” it seems clear that London has been hit far worse than New York. More jobs were lost in London, the pound is in decline and immigration to New York has begun to swing back. More money is being managed in New York once again – because its considered a safe bet, and in the financial world its obvious that New York will not only weather the storm better but will come up with the answers to resolve it. New York is also way more social than London. Someone spoke about the celebrity factor and the cultural significance. You can’t match New York in that regard. It’s just so much more colorful and ready and willing to change. London has very little personality. The ambition factor among its people is non-existent and it reminds me of the suburbs in America. People live and work in one area of the city and are not very exploratory. Someone above stated that being an immigrant to London makes you just that – an immigrant in London. Being an immigrant in New York makes you something more. You become a New Yorker. America, in general, is so much better at absorbing immigrants than Europe. Some argue that London is more diverse but I think London “seems” more diverse because the ethnic groups are so compartmentalized. New York doesn’t have that mentality so its less obvious who is an immigrant and who isn’t. Just because your Asian or Black or Indian or Russian doesn’t make you a foreigner. Your still a New Yorker and you have to assimilate to make it. New York in a way demands that of its citizens. In London, immigrants don’t assimilate. They live in their own secluded neighborhoods and remain Indian or Asian etc. They will never be “British”. Brits are white anglos. Americans don’t have that burden because in essense all Americans are immigrants, including me.

  26. Why are you argueing about who has the most ‘cultural diversity’. If anything its a bad thing. Its like spot the white man in London

  27. A special relationship with the US and with Europe on its doorstep, also (administrative) capital of the Commonwealth and previously capital of the British empire. That is all that needs to be said.

    London is a clear mix of both American capitalist greed and European socialist equity… bringing, in equal measures, both the economic prowess of New York and the cultural beauty and history of continental Europe. It isnt as economically dominant or high-rise as NYCs business core, nor is it as historic as Paris or as beautiful as its boulevards and haussmannian architecture. However, London has each of its ttwo feet in both camps.

    London has countless places, artifacts and contributions to the worlds rich tapestry of development throughout the past 2000 years. Temple Church, Tower of London, St. Pauls… the list goes on. Besides the Shard (London Bridge Tower) will not only be viewed as the modern day Empire State Building but also as a symbol of London’s aspirations.
    (Anyway, apparently the design for the Empire State Buildig was based on a planned Victorian high-rise extension to Whitehall)

    I think it is pretty obvious, in an increasingly globalised world, where the potential is; both economic and cultural.

    Based purely on quantitative measures perhaps New York is the capital of the world, but qualitatively London wins easily; mainly due to its geographic and geopolitical standing in the world.

    The USA has had its time and the credit crunch tied with increasing appreciation of history and high culture brings Europe and therefore London to the fore. Culture is now the number one blueprint used to attract and stimulate economic development.

    However, look twenty years into the future and London and New York will be battling for 2nd (maybe 3rd and 4th) place as China takes over the world; Shanghai and Beijing have their own unique histories and cultural contributions combined with huge, rapidly developing urban economies.

    By then London will be the capital of the western world, but still lagging behind many eastern world cities.

  28. all you people who say ny is better have you ever thought why it is because london is built on a swamp and ny is bulit on rock if london was on rock and not swamp it would be bigger than ny and better than ny

  29. It’s true, london has everything and every opportunity. Want to live in poverty… london. Want to spend your life feeling like a grain of sand slowly being suffocated in a egg timer by the crushing mass of millions of people squashed into far too small an area… London. Want to die of a heart attack in the street whilst staring up at a Starbucks… London.

    Museums are good though 🙂

  30. Paris is french, Tokyo is Japanese, Madrid is spanish, New York is american and London is a world city…
    The most visited city in the world with the busiest airports (5 airports). and this is because with its two financial centres it is the capital of finance today.
    300 languages are spoken in London city while in New York these langauges are mainly spoken in the suburbs.
    The West End beated Broadway a while ago.
    Shoredich is the area of the world with more artists per square meter. and believe me you can see it when you are there. there is not a similar area in the planet.
    The diversity of NYC is based on nothamericans and southamericans… NY has people from everywhere in the US mainly.
    The populaiton from London is from everywhere in the world. A lot of americans by the way. there is no country i could not mention… i work in London in an american office and there are 3 british people and 8 other that are from everywhere in the world. New Zeland, Sweden, Spain, France, South Africa… In an office in NYC eveyone is either from the US or South America. The foreigners in NY work in horrible places and live in the suburbs. A swedes person lives in Central park and does not surprise anyone. I would like to see that in NY.
    IN London everyone is mixed and being a foreigner is good because of the language skills you bring with you.
    NYC is a great city but it’s an american city. I’m sorry for a lot of english people but they lost London to the world a lot of time ago. Come to London and you will be part of it after 5 minutes. everyone is from somewhere else in the world.

  31. london is by far the greater city,new york is a child to london being a man,london has everything that new york has and a lot more besides.as for size london covers twice the area of new york if we are talking about the actual city and when americans give new yorks population at twenty million it is a joke,they are including other towns and cities which are miles away if london used the same methods its population would be at least 45 million,believe me ive been to both cities and london is much larger,but size does not greatness make,london is much more diverse and a more outward looking city,new york has always been very vocal about its greatnes shouting it from the rooftops london does not need to do that as it is confident of its greatnes and was a world city when new york was not even heard of,i rest my case.

  32. London is the greatest city in the world.

    Deepak is just insecure as shown by his desperate outcries in overhyping New York, which is just another bog standard city anyway.

    New York is so..American.

    London is so..WORLDLY!

  33. I have lived in both London and New York, and I prefer London. New York is a fantastic city, but it’s just too American. I agree completely with the posters above me, London is a world city where New York is an American one. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but as far as objectively determining which is the greater city, it’s a toss-up.

    London and New York are the greatest cities in the world, far and away. You can’t objectively choose one. Look at the many studies done on the issue. They’re tied in about a third, London wins in a third, and New York wins in a third.

    IT’S A TIE

  34. Which city is more affordable? Which city has better schools (if you’re not a millionaire)?

    I peruse the real estate ads for NYC every time I go down to the city, and the pickings are slim if you’re not making a lot of money. And anyone following NY politics knows how the public schools are.

    Anyone with a London perspective on the things that make day-to-day life livable? (Besides the museums and the theatres)

  35. Londons the best party city in the world. Been around for some 2000 years. New Yorks, a modern concrete jungle

  36. London RULES. Sorry New York but ur glory days are over.
    London is larger than New york by area and population, although in statistics this is difficult to explain because London’s population is measured with the Borough boundaries and not the entire metropolitan area including many towns and cities outside new york that are accounted in it’s so called 20 million population.

    London has 2 financial districts, and appear to have taken the crown from NYC thanks to many things such as it’s geographical location and world relationships.

    London is the most visited city in the world
    The weather believe it or not is better, the stereotypical impression of london’s climate is wrong, it infact has less annual rainfall than new york and san francisco.

    London has a better transportation system, also the oldest … the world follows london!

    London music, arts, fashion and entertainment scene is easily more vibrant.

    London is the original metropolis.
    The population is infact increasing, it was declining from the late 70’s until the 90’s but is expected to grow by a million by the next 15 years.

  37. London – well we have lots of art galleries, theatres, an unbelievable number of parks (try counting them), numerous department stores (Harrods, Harvey Nics, John Lewis, Peter Jones, Liberty, Debenhams and more), great shopping areas from Oxford Street and Knightsbridge to Camden Town, great markets, bridges gallore (a spectacular sight lit up at night down the Thames), beautiful architecture, historic buildings, it’s steeped in history, has royalty, lots of pomp and ceremony (who does it better) and loads of diversity from houseboats on the Thames to magnificent majestic palaces. We’re quaint and quirky but oh so grand too. I think we have it all. NY, well a great city, vibrant and exciting but more upwardly mobile than anything else. Love both places but I think London takes one hell of a lot of beating.

  38. whats deepak on about with new york? by your name your obviously not properly from there and no other city can beat london new york all looks the same unlike london – america comes from europe – very original..

  39. This is why we hate americans, the fattest most big headed people in the world, London is better than new york, Fact.

  40. London all the way. New York is a baby city but no amount of skyscrapers can ever make up for a lack of history and heritage, you cant buy that shit it has to be earned its a time served thing. I have no doubt New York is an amazing city but london is a magical city. The only true world city. Paris is the worlds second greatest city then New York would probably come 3rd or 4th

  41. My my, but how my initial posting has (un)surprisingly sparked such agitated desperation amongst the woefully declining Londoner agenda! Nurturing approximately 800 spoken languages within its municipal boundaries (compared to 300 in London), New York City is the One and Only, the Capital of the World, the Center of the Universe. End of story. New Yorkers couldn’t care less, however, unlike weak and frazzled Londoners. I’m originally from India myself, and trust me, all roads lead to NYC, not Rome, and certainly not to London. Sorry Brits, but the truth is bitter, isn’t it?

  42. @ Deepak: I don’t understand how you can just label your opinion the truth. New York and London are both happening places, but have various differences. New York has dazzling skyscrapers while London has historic buildings among modern buildings such as the Gherkin. London does indeed feel almost surreal the first few times you visit, due to its rich history. New York doesn’t quite have that element to it, but is a lot more practical to live in.
    Its a matter of opinion, not fact:bottom line.

  43. the 300 languages spoken by londoners was a fact discovered by students at New York university when they were trying to prove that their city was the most diverse city in the world, In london schools there were 307 spoken in NY there were 295, the 800 figure is fantasy

  44. London is simply the greatest town for students i’ve been to NY and London and the people in london were nicer where as in NY they would just stare and looked big headed. Nothing beats the sensation of riding in one of london’s black cabs to visit some of the fantastic night clubs!!! That’s my opinion anyway and london is for sure ranked as the best european city!!!!

  45. As an American, I should I suppose support New York, but I wont. New York City looks great in movies/tv/posters with its grand sky scrapers, but judging a city by what you initially see when you drive from the airport is foolish. New York fundamentally lacks substance, it no doubt is awash with culture, but it lacks history and harmony of London and also it lacks the safety wise.

    London is an incredibly impressive city, its transport system is superior to New York, the tube may have its faults but it is easy to navigate, efficient and safe, unlike New Yorks Metro.

    London’s weather is also better, it is mild in the winter and the summer, where as New York features extremes. Too cold in the winter, and unbearably hot in the summer. Statistically the myth that London has bad weather is completely false, NYC gets 20% more rain per year than London. Also San Francisco, Sydney and Melbourne all have slightly more rain per year than London.

    London is the centre of the UK, it is connected to the UK by high speed rail and Europe by Eurostar, and the rest of the world by the world busiest airport and 4 other airports.

    London is also the financial capital of the world, a common error is thinking it is New York (I imagine the sky scrapers are to blame).

    Crime in London is much lower than in New York, and statistically, per capita crime in London is the lowest of any city in the world.

    Both are great cities, but London has the edge.

  46. I think Deepak is jealous. Typical envy and inferiority complex. He really needs to grow up and get over himself.

    Anyway, New York is just another city, a load of big buildings on a scrawny little island, a fake park stuck in the middle and a load of self centred arrogant unfriendly people, not to mention the disgusting materialistic culture that runs riot there. People who deem this dump to be the ‘centre of the universe’ should really do some REAL travelling – and by that, I mean outside continental N.America. Go to Europe and Asia. I love London and I live 30 miles away from it. Americans who stereotype it as something far from reality need to grow a brain and see it for what it really is – a WORLD city. The world is in London; whenever I get off the train there’s foreign languages all around me; it’s amazing and unique (whereas in New York I was surrounded mainly by fat Americans). Immigrants flock by the second – be it plane, train or boat.

    Also, don’t forget the future lies in Asia – their cities are rising so fast it’s scary. Dubai – imagine what this place would be like in 10-20 years. Then there’s Shanghai. And then there’s Tokyo. Oh, and don’t forget India. Sorry, but NYC is a has-been. London’s fine and doesn’t need to prove anything; it is what it is – a world alpha megacity.

    But the most important factor to me on what makes a city highly favourable is friendliness. Sydney and Auckland are way up there, along with London and many Asian cities. Oh, and this is just my OPINION; unlike Deepak who thinks anything he says is ‘truth’ – he’s clearly arrogant and that’s why his city isn’t favoured by me – the attitude there stinks just like the smells on the streets there. I’ve been to New York and would never go again because I found it very overrated and overhyped. It’s nothing special and no real different from any other city. Sorry.

  47. Also Deepak, it’s funny how you called Londoners ‘weak and frazzled’ when, after 7/7, they picked themselves up and got on with their lives the very next day. Unlike New Yorkers who to this very day still cries about 9/11 like whiny little babies. New Yorkers cry when they get hit, Londoners pick themselves up and move on. I don’t know about you, but the former looks tougher to me. So spare us your ignorance. You’re not that tough, and your city isn’t really important anymore.

  48. London is the most diverse city on Earth. You will find people from all over the world living here, whilst in NYC most people are from either North or South America. Deepak, who keeps claiming that nobody immigrates to London is clearly wrong.

    London has huge communities of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Chinese, Filipinos, Nigerians, Kenyans, South Africans, Ghanaians, Jamaicans, French, Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Germans, Americans, Aussies, Brazilians. Name any single country or place on earth, and they surely have a huge community represented in London.

    London has been rated for several years “Financial Capital of the World”. Ahead of New York City. More International Banks are located in London than in any other city in the world.

    Standard of Living is also higher in London. You will see less poverty (if any) than in NYC, coming from someone who has experience from the Suburbs of both. Look at most quality of life surveys, and LON comes ahead of NYC.

    London’s five airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City), are well spread out through the Metro area, and together, 130 million passengers pass through them every year. More than the airports of any other city worldwide (JFK + LaGuardia + Newark doesn’t even come close)

    London has a huge mixture of charming, magnificent old buildings as well as amazing glitzy modern marvels. Norman Churches, Gothic Cathedrals, Asian Temples and Victorian/Edwardian/Tudor buildings so close to an increasing number of futuristic modern highlights.
    Plus, of course, a Royal Palace (Buckingham), a huge Castle (Tower of London), Tower Bridge, the unique Glass-&-Steel Gherkin and a top-quality Ferris Wheel (London Eye).

    New York’s skyline is far better (i love Skyscrapers and looking at citys’ Skylines), and IMO only Hong Kong & Chicago can compare to NY’s skyline, but London’s skyscraper scene is expanding at a fast rate, and soon enough, London will have constructed an awesome Skyline.

    NY has 8.3 million people in 305 square miles. Plus an exaggerated metro area of supposedly 19 million. But this includes places hundreds of miles away in Pennsylvania etc., which isn’t really New York.
    London has 7.6 million people in 600+ square miles. Let alone a Metropolitan area of 14 million+ (If London used a NYC-Style Metro area featuring places miles and miles away, the Southeast of England could easily get over 20 million people).

    Lastly, and most importantly, Deepak says he is from India. He also claims that NYC has more Indians than any other Non-Indian city. But that is WRONG. New York has 68,233 Indian-Born residents, whilst London has 248,000 Indian-Born, plus the Indian Community of London as a whole is estimated to be between 500,000 & 1 million, which makes it by far the the largest community of Indians outside India.

  49. Despite all the facts and figures, deciding which is the ‘best city in the world’ will always be purely objective. For me, London is the greatest city in the world because i’ve spent the best days of my life in London … rain or shine it always seems to kick me out of a bad mood. You don’t need to spend lots of money in London to have a good time; simply looking eastwards from blackfriars bridge at sunset should always do the trick. Despite what some may think, i find history an essential part of any city, and London is steeped in it. I also love London because of it’s incredible artistic/musical/cultural output, which makes me, as a Londoner, feel truly unique.
    I am lucky enough to have seen many of the great cities the world has to offer, but despite the utter beauty of Paris, and the youthful energy (and good weather!) of Sydney, i will be forever attached to London, simply because in my eyes, it is the greatest city in the world.

  50. I certainly agree London is the greatest city – the culture in the museums, theatre and galleries is second to none. I lived within 1 hours travelling most of my life but visit regularly and have still not touched the surface (44 years old now)- wonderful wonderful London, which is surprising as us English do not like blowing our own trumpet – I’ve loved most major cities in Europe and in the world like New York but London is the tops – just come and visit and you’ll feel the same. Gary.

  51. I’ve visited both London and New York City and if I had my choice to live in either city, I’d choose London without a second thought. Culturally and historically, there really is no comparison between the two cities. If the two cities were martial artists, New York would be a first degree black belt, knowledgeable in all forms and techniques but London would be a Grand Master, whose entire life has been devoted to the perfection of the art. Both cities have become modernized and have changed with the times but London simply outclasses New York by virtue of it’s longer existence and the will of it’s citizens to preserve it’s essence.

  52. Google hits:
    1) New York – 4.7 billion.
    2) Hong Kong – 2.3 billion.
    3) London – 1.9 billion.
    4) Paris – 1.7 billion.

    New York has more hits than Hong Kong and London combined! Unbelievable! No wonder so many Chinese consider New York City the Center of the World.

  53. It’s a bit silly to describe either New York or London as superior to each other. Both cities are great places to live.

    But I understand and agree with Deepak. London is for better and mostly worse in Europe, it may have more history but as an immigrant you will always have a disadvantage. Some europeans and white americans may chose London over New York, but the rest of the world would always pick New York, probably also San Fransisco and Chicago over London.

  54. It’s really funny how close-minded people behave. For all the idiots that doubt London is the greatest spot on earth. Try to imagine anything and I mean it anything and not find it in London….get me some history from NY

  55. “If you are bored of London you are bored of life” walking the streets of London you can smell creativity and free spirit. The spirit of genuine Londoners is shared in NYC we have a bizarre bond with New yorkers. Both truly cosmopolitan cities with a vibrant expectation of anything can happen.London is like an older brother to the big Apple but both have the same spirit. As said in the original text the people make London but the buildings history and the diverse cultures of London make the People.
    You can meet anyone from any place on our planet here that’s what makes it so very special.

  56. @Chang
    Judging a city by the number of Google hits? WTF?
    You really need to get out more.

  57. Quiet, because I have better and more important things to do with my life in NYC than to be checking back in to read the drivel of some of these people. Why would anyone go to live in Europe, anyway? It’s a dying continent.

  58. Let me simply specify, before others add frivolous remarks about my comment directly above – I have more important things to do and not enough time to be checking back at this site FREQUENTLY. I did so today merely out of curiosity, and prior to today, as you may notice, it was over two years ago. Cheers!

  59. Deepak,

    I’m Indian American and disagree with you. I was born and raised in the U.S. and also feel that NYC is overrated.

    I have relatives who live there, so understand how the frog can sometimes think that the well is all there is in the world. They think that everything revolves around NYC. I think they should stop watching so much television.

    NYC, like all very large and populated cities, does have a lot to do, but here is what I don’t like (kind of representative of the U.S. as a whole):

    1) Bad attitudes demonstrated by people on the street. Spend more than 3 seconds looking at someone (even if you did not intend to, but are just lost in thought), you get a resounding ‘WHAT YA LOOKIN AT??!’ There is more stratification in the U.S., more division between rich and poor. 25%+ people lack healthcare and many are struggling just to survive. Combine that with a huge number of absentee fathers/parents and you have a recipe for a thug in 15+ years.

    2) Gluttony. Yes, we Americans are gluttonous. We are a WalMart (quantity vs. quality) culture. We cuss out Indian tech support and curse Chinese companies, but then happily go to buy a $299 Dell laptop and $5 pair of shoes from Payless. Genetically modified foods, raping of our environment, and utter disregard for are planet and others is what we are about. We consume something like 25% of the worlds resources. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the free coke refills at fastfood joints whereas in Europe they ration it.

    3) Desi scene. Seriously. No contest between the two and you know it. Indian culture has been absorbed to a certain degree by British culture. Everywhere you go there are curry houses, I went shopping in London and heard bhangra music on the PA. Spend the weekend in Southall if you ever get homesick of India. Jackson heights does not compare. Much smaller and right next to little Puerto Rico/Ecuador.

    4) U.S. Gun culture. Sandy hook. Columbine. Arora. Nuff said. You know it.

    5) Stye. Despite NYC being a fashion capital, NYCers (save those that shop exclusively designer on 5th/7th avenue) are not as stylish as Londoners (or Europeans in general). Gotta love that accent as well. A LOT better than some crazy hybrid italian/jewish/rough accent you get in NY.

    6) Go to the Bronx at night. Find one place like that in London. Again, easy access to guns in the U.S. is a terrible thing.

    7) Proximity to the rest of the world. Except for being close to Canada…. yeh? or Mexico, the U.S. is not nearly as centrally located as London. London + train tickets = Paris, Spain, Italy. 8 hours and you are in Delhi. 8 hours to NYC. In an increasingly globalized world, this is becoming an increasingly important factor.

    8) Traditions. I saw the marriage of Prince William. I was so impressed with the age old traditions they maintained. In the U.S., there are very few preserved traditions. Its a cluster F*CK of mixed europeans. Ask my white friends about their ancestery and many won’t know of it. They are “1/4 Irish, 1/8th Cherokee, 1/8 Polish, 1/2 British” or something like that. Hence no real tradition.

  60. So glad I happened to drop in on this party again after several months – I should say it’s actually rather fun and amusing to watch those who have some vested stake in London try to make their futile points!

    To commenter DT (above this one) –
    1) First of all, don’t tell me what “I know” — thanks.
    2) You conveniently and selectively neglected to mention Edison, which in the NYC area is a bigger Indian neighborhood than (New York’s) Jackson Heights and (London’s) Southall combined.
    3) Also, New York is CURRENTLY, in 2013, continuing to receive 10 to 15 thousand fresh Indian immigrants AND 25 to 30 thousand new Chinese immigrants ANNUALLY. What Indian ever migrates to the UK or Europe anymore? None. In fact, they are fleeing the UK and Europe to the U.S. in droves (with the possible exception of yourself and a few others who’ve chosen to take the backward route).
    4) You really seem to exhibit racist overtones – in one fell swoop, you’ve insulted Puerto Ricans, Ecuadoreans, Canadians, Mexicans, Jews, Italians, Polish, Irish, and yes, even British people, all of whom constitute part of the wonderful kaleidoscopic fabric of New York.
    5) Europe, including London, is unfortunately doomed over the long haul, without any hope or future. If you have any intelligence, you will escape out of there and get back home to the (clichéd) good old USA – but that is clearly your prerogative, not mine.
    6) If you combine Hong Kong and London together, yes, you just MIGHT get the heft of New York. So your relatives in New York do indeed seem to be possessing a good deal of wisdom themselves.

    Cheerio!

  61. (Clarification from earlier comment):

    5) Europe, including London, is unfortunately doomed over the long haul, without any economic hope or future, short of economic stagnation, given the antiquated economic and stagnant demographic structure. If you have any intelligence, you will escape out of there and get back home to the (clichéd) good old USA – but that is clearly your prerogative, not mine.

  62. @deepak
    Go back to India. New Yorkers don’t like you and we don’t need you to defend us. Both cities are great in their own ways, whether you think ones better is a matter of opinion. We should worry about Asian cities that are growing like wildfires.

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