First Impressions

The only American city that can compare to London in terms of size and population is New York- but that might be the only similarity. London has a completely different feel from any major U.S. city. In only a weeks time, I can discern that London lacks the hustle and bustle of a New York, Chicago or even my own local metropolis Washington D.C. When Gray, Witt, and I explored the area around Buckingham Palace, it was eerily quiet. Of course there are busy areas and times, but by and large the city is much more quiet than originally expected.

Similarly, the city is exceptionally clean. Despite what I consider a shortage of trashcans, I’ve seen very little trash – especially in the tube. The public transportation system is much broader, more efficient and accessible than in the States. Perhaps this feeds into the relative quietness of the city. It has made getting around very easy. I am also impressed by the sheer age of everything. An “old” building in the States might be a hundred years old. But on the other side of the pond “old” is a thousand. Almost every building we have seen is aesthetically pleasing. The grassy parks bear a stark contrast to the concrete jungles in the States. Professionally, workplace culture is entirely different. It seems people buy into the pub culture and casual daytime drinking and as Mr. Adamson said, emphasize relationships more than “sharp elbows” of U.S. firms. The City has been very welcoming to us, albeit at a tremendous financial cost (see Gray’s post), and I look forward to exploring more in the coming weeks.




  • Jack, I was also very surprised by the relatively calm streets and lack of commotion throughout the city during the day. Going to high school in Washington, D.C., I always dreaded driving to and from school, as I would inevitable hit large amounts of traffic no matter the time of day. Additionally, walking around D.C. is always hectic with people running through the streets as they are on a time crunch. I agree that London is very different than U.S. cities. I was shocked to see how low the buildings were, and the lack of rush hour traffic. Even in suburbs of D.C., there are many high buildings, as the price of real estate has drastically increased over recent decades, but London does not have many tall buildings by modern standings outside of the financial district. Additionally, while there was some road traffic in London, it seldom seemed to be at a standstill such as we have become accustomed to living in the greater D.C. area. I think your analysis that this is due to London having efficient public transportation is spot on, as the tube is a major reason why people do not feel the need to have cars (along with the lack of parking in the city). It was quite interesting to see how two major cities have such different feels to them.

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