The East is the area of London that most reminds me of Manhattan; it is a region of contrasts: with its
trendy students and vintage lovers occupying the likes of Shoreditch and Old Street; the bankers who stream in and out of Liverpool Street, Bank, Moorgate and Canary Wharf every weekday, and the streets of Whitechapel, Aldgate and the Isle of Dogs which combine the cultures of the two, with their populations of varied ethnicities and backgrounds and sadly the sharp reminder of what these areas once were; downbeat parts of London; with homeless people on every other corner.
In surface area, New York City is tiny compared to the City of London, meaning its mix of cultures, languages, thoughts, styles, ideas and inspirations are all bundled into one, what feels like, minuscule space compared to the vastness of Greater London. This is what makes the East feel so similar to me: everything in Manhattan is crammed onto one island of a 15 by 2 mile radius meaning that when walking through the city, the environment can feel like in changes in milliseconds.
Just like East London, with everything so close together, the contrasts that can be experienced from one corner to the next are hugely intriguing: one minute you’re in the depths of poverty, the next a quirky cafe or fancy stationary shop; from dirty old forgotten stores to beautiful displays of some of the best architecture in the world; never quite knowing what will come next.
These displays of old and new, and rich and poor show the progress that has occurred over years of building city life into what we know it as today. I can’t help but wonder what our cities will look like another another 50 years from now. Cities bring me a true sense of excitement: the hustle and bustle, the energy, the success and the failure all mingled into one place; it’s infectious.
The beauty of city life is that they bring the worlds together of those who are worlds apart. How lucky I feel to be a City girl.