Monday, January 08, 2007

Sunday Top 10: Why New York is Better Than London

This week, Natalie Raaber is guest-blogging the Sunday Top Ten. I did some editing and added some imagery, and as Natalie is currently in the air somewhere between Newark and London, it is likely that her boyfriend Peter will see this before she does, and if he does, Peter, this would be a good moment for you to comment on the blog. It would mean so much to me and I would totally freak out, like I did when my Mom commented on my blog.

First, this is a photo of Natalie and I in Central Park in November of 2001..... ...after our plane back to U-Michigan was canceled (we were visiting NYC for the weekend just to chill) because of the crash that happened in Queens with that Dominican Republic-bound flight, which obvs sent us into a major panic. At this time, we both imagined living in NYC one day. I live here now, but Natalie is in LONDON!!! She says she will come back.

Here she is to tell you why:

In an attempt to shed some much needed light on the age-old debate of "NY vs. London: Which City is Hotter?", I am guest blogging for my dearest friend Maaaarie.

Okay. A disclaimer. Many apologies in advance…this entry will not be nearly as memorable or witty or clever as readers have come to expect from the very talented, very with-it, Ms. Bernard. But because I promised, and I never (reaaaaaly?!) fail to deliver, I will write this Sunday’s Top Ten. Just this once. Marie helped me out with an extra infusion of trademark wit, but really most of the jokes are my own. Reeeallly.


10. Carrot juice. Freshly pulped (on every corner!)

9. Colombo frozen yogurt. Actually, frozen yogurt, in general—-with toppings, like Oreos and Reeses peanut butter cups. London’s version of “frozen yogurt” consists of frozen fruit (that’s right, you heard me, real, healthy fruit) mixed with frozen PLAIN Dannon yogurt and excreted in ribbon like fashion from an odd metal contraption. It just doesn’t do it for me.

In New York, on the other hand, women have the option to buy soy frozen “yogurt”, Colombo frozen yogurt OR a 30-calorie frozen yogurt like substitute (e.g. Tasti-D-Lite), which they often coat with the crumbles of a 600-calorie candy bar. I love it!

8. Taxis! Ahh, those beacons of hope. Even though I have been hit by two of them (errr, it was sort of my fault, but whatever) and almost killed by at least 11, these modern day rickshaws are little yellow and black temples of delight. And in New York, they’re around for the masses to enjoy. Always. (except if it’s raining, in which case, it’s impossible to find one.)

7. Things actually go BUMP in the night, like after 11pm! To be fair, there are things that go bump in the night after 11 in London, they are just much farther and fewer between. As New Yorkers, we demand constant convenience. If we want carrot juice at 3am, we better have it easily accessible, dammit! And, beautifully, it usually is.

6. Martinis. I love them. I really love them. The fact that you can get a better martini at the Ding Dong Lounge on Amsterdam and 106th than you can ever hope for in all of London makes me want to die. Or just go home at 11--without, of course, a cab, frozen yogurt or carrot juice.

5. Brunch. Sigh. The Londoners version of brunch consists of sausages, undercooked bacon, baked beans (which alone make me want to vomit) and a Guinness. (Are you joking?! That’s like 75% of my daily caloric intake before 1pm, and while I'm talking about 1pm, I should mention that brunch in London is often over before I even wake up! The latest brunch-spot closes at 3pm.). It’s a tragedy.

And also, only in NYC can you order an egg white omlette without the waiter thinking you are insane, anorexic, difficult, a total bitch or a diabetic. And if you are anorexic? Well, welcome to New York.

AND THIS IS THE BEACON OF MY TALE: In order to obtain a good egg white omlette, I take a thirty dollar cab ride (sixty, really, because it's there-and back) to Vignt Quatre in South Kensington.

(Marie's side note: Natalie could also learn how to cook. Just sayin'.)

4. All Things "M": I already mentioned martinis; however, this list also includes: mojitos (the best one's I've had are at Mercadito on B between 11th and 12th), the MTA (or subway), money, the mail (as in it actually gets to where it’s meant to go...or, at the very least, to one of the 4 apartment sublets you've lived in during the last two years) and the MOMA.

The “Tube” is impossible, overheated and always breaking down. It is NOT true what they say about the MTA being so awful--it is, at least, better than The Tube. It’s an archaic logistical nightmare. And it’s fucking expensive. The dollar is weak—and as I am still in exchange conversion mode everything is twice as expensive in London than in New York. A sugar free skinny vanilla latte is about 5$. For a tall! The mail, like the transport system, is a mess. The Tate Modern, in my opinion, does not quite live up to the MOMA or the Met, but to it's credit, it's still fairly awesome.

(Marie would like to add a note and claim this note lest there be any confusion that this particular statement could be attributed to Natalie, that Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum (another M WORD!!) in London beats the New York version any day. Marie would also like to add this semi-humiliating photograph of Natalie, myself, Monica and a wax figure of James Dean, from 2001, in the NYC Madame Tussad's, which is where I begged my quasi-boyfriend Marc to take me all the time, because I am totally obsessed with wax museums)

3. No Plastic Toilets. NY has yet to latch on to the innovative (?) plastic urination stations and I for one couldn't be happier. These Tyco-like toys stand like proudly displayed gray penises in the middle of places like Trafalgar square and China Town. Men (and some daring/drunk women) pee into 1 of the 3 (or maybe 4) receptacles strategically located around the plastic station. This happens at all hours of the night (but they become particularly busy after the tube 12am, or, if you're lucky 1am). In New York we have civilized places for people to pee publicly---like alleys and behind dumpsters. Or in Barnes & Noble.

2. Singing: In London, people sing all the time. In bars, in restaurants, on the street. In New York, we have places for these people, e.g the A train at 3AM, Julliard (if you know what you're doing), American Idol auditions (if you don't), and, of course, KARAOKE BARS.

1. Maaaariiiiie! My love—who understands that fingers are to be picked. Wait no, she doesn’t get that, she slaps me (hard!) on my hands every time I start picking. It’s her only flaw, really. She is a special woman—and very close to my heart. I owe her (a huge portion) of my mental, physical and emotional well-being. I am about a million times smarter than I ever would be because of Marie. She is hip and she is a star!

In conclusion, I (it's Marie/Riese now) would like to share another lovely photograph. This is Lewis and I in England. You can see that we are about to become Knights of the Round Table.


Anonymous said...

Wait, there is seriously no fro yo in London?
omg what do people DO???

Mercury said...

That's really funny, the NY vs. London, because my best friend & I like to talk about Where We're Gonna Go When We Get Out of Here, because we live in Alaska which is "when hell freezes over" - it has happened, call in your debts - and it is one of our favorite conversations. And she, lately, has been "I'm totally going to LONDON!!!" and I have been "It's all about NEW YORK!!!" and now I can send her this post as proof that she is wrong & I am right.

my word verification is pronouncable: smenita. It sounds spanish. (I get this from the "ita" suffix.) If you added an extra e, it would be an even more intresting word.

Book Cannibal said...

This post has made me realize how ungrateful I am; I mean, I'm not good at praising New York. I dislike carrot juice and frozen yoghurt, and I would be stoked to have plastic urinals on the street after getting kicked out of Flight and having such a long walk home!

riese said...

Rachel, i suppose it's still up in the air, depending on how much you like carrot juice? How did your friend react to Natalie's info?

I don't like carrot juice, either. Natalie likes to drink vegetables in many forms which I find unpleasent. In fact, eating vegetables, at times, is also difficult for me.

I cannot though live without fro-yo.

Tati Karoli said...

haviland--we do nothing here. we eat the sausage and drink the beer. sigh.
i miss you! i hope you are well tell heather and sherrie I say hello:)

Rachel: ahhh, it's a tough call, really. london, as much as I loathe certain aspects, is wonderful. and so is new york. hmmmm. i would still go with new york, though:)

book cannibal:
hii! errr. i am an ungrateful bitch, too. i mean, look at the cities I am comparing, both are pretty awesome. i think it's easy to attack the one you live in, bc, well, you live in it everyday. it can be maddening!

hi peaches. mail my shit:)
what a blog entry, no?! thank you for making it witty and acceptable!
carrot juice is not for the faint at heart. i love the beet juice as well, as you know.

helnad said...

Nata! So glad you're back! As a fellow, err, Londoner, Im gonna have to add a few things: 1). Call me crazy, but the accent. Though depicted in cinema as sophisticated, sexy, and, umm, exotic, the British accent (well, amongst only some Londoners, cause some, really, are damn sexy) is high-pitched, nasal, and overall disturbing. If I hear a cacophonic "hiya" one more time, I'm gonna strangle a dog. 2) The cabs. I know she DOES list this. But, I don't think she does justice to just how terrible and ridiculously expensive the London cab "situation" is. I mean, they ARE asthetically pleasing and you DO get to sit facing your fellow travellers, and on the rare occasions where I do find one and have the cash to pay for a trip, they're quite pleasant. But, there is absolutely no reason I should have to sell a kidney and sucker-punch a grandma using a walker in order to take one.

"As it were", Natalie has basically summed up London's negatives to a tee. Vingt Quatre really is the only place to go for brunch and an egg white omelette and I, too, have spent a ridiculous amount of money joining her and Peter in our midnight excursions for chinese chicken salad.

Anonymous said...

Rachel, before you start packing your suitcases you should know that Natalie's view is a little biased, due to the fact that she never leaves the West End (apart from her weekly field trips to South Kensington, of course). This is ridiculous! It's not like restricting your radius to Manhattan. It's more like never leaving Soho! Sure, part of the reason is the anxiety it causes even to think about having to use the tube or finding a taxi. But closer to the truth is her disdain of anything that just sounds like going near "Zone 2" or "south of the river". This goes so far that she has not once managed to visit her best friend (in London, I qualify, sorry Helene) Chelsey, who lives both in Zone 2 and south of the river, since she moved there last year.
A London view based on the West End is like Starbucks based on their Sandwiches.
But, that said, Brits do provoke a beating by the way they talk, and the West End just has the least of them.

riese said...

Helene, I thought all British men talked like Ian McKellen or Hugh Grant. You know; foppish, etc. The cab situation frightens and upsets me. I need cabs. I need CONTROL, dammit!

Peter, I LOLed at your description of Natalie's geographical habits, which seem totally in character (though, to her benefit, she did walk Oscar with me in Ypsilanti a few times), after I stopped hyperventilating with excitement that you finally commented!! YAY!!

Rachel, are you following this? Turn off your DVD and chek it out. This is your future and it's in our hands!!

Mercury said...

Um, I am now. I was sort of on a hiatus from internet for a few days. This is what happens when I take a break. I swear my average emails per day also, like, tripled. I blame Nine Star and yeah, DVDs. I've been testing like a madwoman!!

But yeah, London does sound awesome. I sort of shy from the idea because the thought of the paperwork involved makes my insides crinkle. I HATE paperwork. But I definitely have to go there. I just thought about how much of my income is going to be devoted to travel, once, I, you know, have an income. I guess I can't make the final call till I see both places in person though.

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