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.