As a Londoner, it is difficult to assess New York without comparing the two cities. The American metropolis is often referred to as The City That Never Sleeps. I admit I was sceptical at first – could the Big Apple really have more events going on than London? However, I recognise that the name has a ring of truth to it: New York was for a long time the only subway in the world that runs throughout the night.
The highlight was walking through Times Square in all its breathtaking neon glory. The organised chaos of London’s Piccadilly Circus is mesmerising, but it cannot match the impact of the bright lights and imposing billboards that demand your attention in New York.
There are not many cities which warrant more than a week of sightseeing. New York is undoubtedly one. In order to get away from the tourists, I enjoyed an interesting visit to Harlem and the Bronx to see New York as a working city rather than the collection of Hollywood reference points it occasionally resembles.
For several decades New York has relied on the universal appeal of its iconic skyscrapers. However, while the Rockefeller Plaza and the Empire State Building remain on every sightseeing list, the city has in recent years made a concerted effort to improve its public spaces. Although Central Park remains the most famous, there are other parks also worthy of a visit. For example, Bryant Park hosts film screenings and other community events, while Battery Park offers sunset views across the Hudson River of Hoboken’s skyline.
The city’s numerous attractions, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Statue of Liberty and even Grand Central Station, all lived up to high expectations. Yet in spite of all this, London still edges it for me. Maybe I’m biased, but London’s wealth of history, and its numerous free museums in which to showcase it, wins the day.
Nonetheless, New York is undeniably a fantastic place. The city represented the last stop of my trip and it was a good place to end. The city’s fast pace makes so many others feel sedentary. I confess to feeling a little tired – perhaps it’s just as well I’m heading back to London where, occasionally, you can get some sleep.