New York vs London

I think it was on day two in New York I had this thought pop into my head that "you know... this isn't too different from London" and once it was in there it would not leave. For a traveller who's not a shopper, but loves food, art and just mulling around and taking in ambiance I found a very different New York to the one I expected after years of travel PR bull that left a bit of an imprint on the idea in my head. I can't wait to go back and experience more of the one I encountered.

So here's my list of  the things that reminded me of London while I was wandering around the big apple.
  1. The Subway system. Stations are closer to each other than you think, they also have really beautiful tile designs at the stations. Also, huge rats (but we won't talk about that)
  2. Chain food. So we all know the standard American chain fair like Chipotle and Starbucks. You might be aware the likes of Sushi Samba and Shake Shack that are in London. But Pret-a-manger being all over the place I did not expect. Also, I was not expecting eating really good food at a "local food" event and being handed a business card for the restaurant that had details of a London branch. Bonus points for seeing the H&M logo in lights at the top a skyscraper.
  3. Opening Hours. So we've all heard the city that never sleeps right? For some things like bars and resturants and clubs then yes, but others I was surprised by how early stuff shut, or how late they opened. A lot of stuff had pretty much the same hours as places in London.
  4. Hipsters Everywhere (nuff said)
  5. There is a guy with a really odd tufty yellow hairdo who fancies himself as a politician
 All of that taken into account, they are still very different ways, Most of those are obvious ones, such as tipping and sales tax and pounds vs dollars. The most suprising "I didn't quite realise" ways were;
  1. No drinking outside bars. OK we don't like street drinking over here, but there was a heatwave going on when we were there (as in still in the 20's at 10pm kinda hot) but very few places had seating outside, if they did it was cordoned off and not exactly as open as we are used to here or on mainland Europe.
  2. Taxi Drivers aren't exactly sure of the way around. After a morning wandering the upper east side, we decided to flag a taxi to take us to the Guggenheim rather than walk, seeing as it was hot, I had major blisters and it wasn't that far, in fact the cab turned out to be only $5, so real close. Its also major landmark, yet the cabbie had no clue where it was and I still had to look up the cross streets for him on google maps.
  3. Free wifi everywhere. I'm on three so I was sorted with the feel at home thing. They sent me a text when I got home saying it saved me nearly £2k on roaming fees. Oliver wasn't so lucky thou, and was reliant on wifi. Luckily its everywhere and much easier to access than the similar ones in the UK. It was really only when walking around or in a cab that we only had internet on my mobile. Even in the Subway he had a network
  4. Food is cheaper, and better tasting/value. This might be down to where we ate, but honestly, in London we would have expected to pay more. When you go upmarket it is about the same, but a quick bite and a few drinks it was better. There might be more on the food at some point as Oh My God.
  5. Brands aren't cheaper. I went to NYC ready to shop. I had my card that doesn't charge an exchange fee, and this travel money app. However, I realised very quickly there wasn't much difference. At most things were only a few pence cheaper, at most about 10% cheaper but in the grand scheme of things, unless its something you cant get in the UK its not worth it. Most times now you can blag or find a discount code for 10% so I didn't think it worth the time out of your holiday unless you're a big shopper. Certain things this doesn't apply to - like £14 for a litre of southern comfort from duty free, but generally it was what we found. 
What preconceptions did you have of a holiday destination that turned out to be totally wrong?

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