Igniting an Anglo-American feud, the readers of Time Out magazine nominated New York the greatest city in the world, with London coming in a close second. Some of the Brits aren't taking it well. Stephanie Marsh in the Times of London blasted the Big Apple in a column titled 'New York has lost its edge.' In her piece she asks, “Is New York still the centre of the Earth? Well, if your definition of the centre of the Earth is McDonald’s and Starbucks, then yes it is.”
She argues the city sold out to corporate culture:
The collapse of Wall Street as a source of overreaching authority in the global economy suddenly left Bloomberg’s assertion that New York was a “luxury product” seeming tasteless and out of step with the new culture of austerity: many of the shiny, faceless condos that have become ubiquitous in the city now stand half empty.The bankers who populate them and much of Manhattan have turned into some of the most reviled people on earth...
Manhattan, as more than one New York-based blogger has claimed, is still “a gated community for the rich”. The cultural critic Julian Brash has complained that under Bloomberg the citizens of New York have been turned into consumers — it is a place where everything is about what can be bought and what can be sold...One struggles to think what actually comes out of the city these days, creatively speaking.
Irresistible New York-based gossip site Gawker pounced. A headline streaming across its homepage read "British Sunday Times Writer Who Thinks New York City Pretty Much Sucks: A Formal Response."
The column begins with a greeting: "Oh, hello there, Stephanie Marsh of the Sunday Times. When you write an essay called 'New York has lost its edge,' and you live here, it's okay. When you're writing from London...The question presents itself: What the shit do you think you're talking about, lady?"
The piece eviscerates London in a side-by-side comparison of the cities:
- Tipping: "The service in your restaurants sucks, because you have to instruct people how to tip by putting a mandatory charge on their tab, like many other countries that do this. Which is the wrong way of doing this, which is why every server you will every have in London will probably be an asshole."
- Nightlife: "Your nightlife is just stupid. Pubs close at 11, our bars don't close until four. Who goes to bed at 11? Are you serious? ... By the way: most of those rappers you guys play on repeat (and not even the good ones...50 Cent?!) still live in New York. Our clubs and nightlife might have their issues, but they blow yours out of the water."
- Weather: "You guys have never had a nice day of weather in the history of the universe. Seriously. The only person Madonna has to compete with for causing a scene is the fucking sun. It's yellow, it's in the sky, sometimes, it...nevermind."
- Local Media: "Your tabloid newspapers make the New York Post look like The Paris Review."
- Sports: "You guys have soccer—yeah, I called it soccer, goddamnit—teams. Multiple ones. Great. We have two baseball teams (including the 2009 World Series Champions), football teams (Including the 2008 Super Bowl Champions), hockey teams (I'm sure they Won Something Great recently), and a basketball team. All of them except for the Knicks could smash every London soccer player. Nothing else, just 'smash' them."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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