Monday, May 7, 2007

If London is a beautiful china cup of tea…

…then New York is a disposable paper cup of coffee, with a wad of napkins instead of a coffee sleeve.

London completely charmed me. I’ve posted pictures ACN-style to prove it. It’s streets were clean (despite never being able to find a trashcan for my gum), the buildings beautiful and old, the MTA workers nice and helpful! The Tube had cushioned seats and was devoid of beggars. I was as captivated by the lineage of Kings and Queens as I was mesmerized by the variations of British and French accents.

One of my first observations in the NYC vs. London game was that London was not as diverse as NYC. But then I opened my ears and heard many different, some unidentifiable languages and realized that London was diverse, just with other Europeans who couldn’t help their light skin.

As Julie, Jason and I sat over our first cream tea in a little café outside of Covent Garden, we all agreed that we loved London, but debated whether or not we personally could live there. Those who know me know that I loathe when people say “I love New York, but I could never live there” as if they are this independent self-thinker who goes against the popular grain of aspiring to live in NY. Don’t they know everyone says that?! Well, Julie and I both agreed that we would love to live in London while Jason declined based on the financial logical that is clearly absent from both mine and Julie’s decision making skills. Julie asked if I would rather live in London than NY and without hesitation I responded “no!”

Why? What is it about NY that has its barbed claws in us, keeping us from leaving?

When we arrived to JFK after our glorious week abroad, the Homeland Security person in customs was tightlipped, coarse and rude. No cute smiles there, unlike the customs guy in Heathrow. Welcome to America, I thought, the cynicism already creeping back in. As I rode the airbus out to connect to the E train, the scenery of a dirty, low-income, barren Queens contrasted with my recent tube ride into London which showcased the quintessential quaint, English landscape. Welcome to NY, my mind bittered away. What must people think of America as they experience this for the first time? Later, I as disembarked the 1 train and had to carry my heavy luggage down the non-working escalator then up 6 flights to my apartment, I was exhausted, starving, and turning dark. But damn, it felt good to be back in New York. I immediately called Nad to get some V&T Pizza. It had been too long!

New York is like coffee. It’s bitter, dark, and each experience can vary between shitty and weak to strong and bold. Why do we love NY? Why do we love coffee? I mean, lets be honest; coffee (especially NY coffee) is not the best tasting thing in the world. If it were about pleasing the taste buds, I’d drink a chocolate milkshake over a cup of black coffee in a second! But coffee is not about the taste buds, and neither is NY. NY does not set out to charm, to be beautiful, to have clean streets. NY is about bitter reality. It encompasses all ends of the economic, cultural, artistic, ethnic, culinary, crime, education, etc, etc. spectrums. It can be very, very dark. But then, running through Riverside Park on Saturday, the gardens and trees in full bloom, the Hudson reflecting the blue skies, families playing and couples sunning in the grass, old folks chatting on the benches, it, like London, can be just as charming and beautiful. This past weekend I heard 4 sets of very different but all wonderful music, within 3 nights. I had croissants and knitting with 2 good friends at the HPS. And I’m enjoying an incredibly satisfying cup of coffee as I write this.

New York is like coffee: it’s addictive, satisfying and can be to you many things at any given time. London is like a delicious cup of tea: light, invigorating, charming, and consoling.

I loved London, and could totally pull a Madonna and move there in the future, career permitting. I’d love to delve into it’s many layers knowing that so far I have only scratched the shiny touristy top coat. But like Carrie, I think my heart will always have its place in NY.

My new plan: to find a tall Englishman (possibly of half Indian descent?) to marry so that I can live half in NY, and half in London. …I’ll keep you posted.


ACN said...

Yep, I agree with you. But don't forget that most people don't live in the part of London you were hanging out in - most live in the outer suburbs, bland, poorer, not so nice, not so safe and proper. Just like living on the Upper East Side (think Madison in the 70s) or in Greenwich Village or Soho would render such a different impression of New York.

Still, London has a beautiful, historical charm, rife with stories, literature, art, and accents!

I'm thinking of getting MySpace. A music account, anyway. Am I being corrupted? Am I selling out?

D0nnaTr0y said...

Oh yes, I'm very aware that I saw a shiny cross-section of London. Still, our UES & Village aren't as charming as Covent Garden or the South Bank.

You should definitely get a myspace!! Get a music one- post the recording of your latest tour! You'll find yourself getting in touch with so many lost friends, and meeting incredible new artists. I just got a request from this beautiful guitarist from Spain! Why limit yourself from any possible opportunity? You just never know who you may meet.

Do it....!

ACN said...

Music MySpace. Yep. I'm going to as soon as I get the recordings back from my recitals here. One more to go....

New York's charming places definitely aren't as nice as London's charming places. Possibly because New York doesn't have a Prince Charming. Did you say hi to William for me??? ;)

D0nnaTr0y said...

Excellent! I can't wait to hear them!

And yes, I did try to pass on the good word to Prince William for ya ;)

Anonymous said...

While I have never ventured across the pond to London, I'd give my big toe to live in NY if I thought I could be successful doing what I love there (and take some of my students with me). I think that NY just sucks you in...and for me it's the intrigue of knowing the city always has more to discover even if I do want to go to the same old spots every time I visit...I can't wait to visit in July...HPS here I the way, I've started drinking coffee more often (which is occasionally since I never used to drink it at all). :) RF

D0nnaTr0y said...

Red... You're right about NY's balance of old and new spots!! I love discovering new streets! I also can't wait for you to visit, and I can't wait to get down to NC later this summer (I'm wearing my NC shirt today- the one from that little boutique downtown!) And I'm glad you have embrased the world of coffee!! :)

ACN said...

McSorley's. You HAVE TO GO TO McSorley's!