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He who is tired of London...!
March 13, 2007 7:48 AM   Subscribe

London calling to the faraway towns. James Harding of the London Times thinks that London is fast eclipsing New York as the world's favourite city. At least for business. He's only echoing earlier comment, but is he right? It’s hard to say which personality, New Yorker or Londoner, is preferable — the ballsy versus the stoic, the gruff versus the curmudgeonly, the sharp-tongued versus the quick-witted. But the real difference between the two is this: New Yorkers come from the five boroughs; Londoners from the five continents. They are Poles, Pakistanis, Brazilians, Americans, Nigerians and more. There are, it is said, 300 languages spoken in London.
posted by Duug (230 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
"New Yorkers come from the five boroughs"? James Harding apparently gets his information on New York from "Sex and the City" reruns.
posted by Justinian at 7:52 AM on March 13, 2007


New Yorkers come from the five boroughs; Londoners from the five continents. They are Poles, Pakistanis, Brazilians, Americans, Nigerians and more. There are, it is said, 300 languages spoken in London.

What an empty turn of phrase. New York was built by wave after wave of immigrants. New York has a neighborhood enclave for pretty much every ethnicity on the planet. It wouldn't surprise me if every language spoken on earth is spoken in New York. Hell, northern virginia boasts over 150 languages.

London may be a preferred city for business (I'd dispute this). But as the man said, if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:53 AM on March 13, 2007


Has this guy ever been to New York?
posted by Mister_A at 7:57 AM on March 13, 2007


I know it shouldn't irk me quite as much as it does, given American colloquialisms for the New York Times, but few things annoy me more than hearing The Times referred to as The London Times.

And fwiw, there are 700 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea. It's hardly a measure.
posted by vbfg at 7:59 AM on March 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


I've lived in both, though not in London since the 80s, and in NYC for more than a decade.

There is no question which city is truly more ethnically or culturally diverse -- or linguistically diverse, for that matter. London is the new Brooklyn. There are easily 300 languages spoken in Queens alone on a regular basis.

It's an invidious comparison, anyway. I've got nothing against London. I love London. But anyone who thinks it's more vibrant or diverse than New York hasn't left midtown Manhattan.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:01 AM on March 13, 2007


Has this guy never taken a cab in New York City? There's probably 3000 languages spoken just amongst NYC cabbies.
posted by inthe80s at 8:02 AM on March 13, 2007


Says the guy from London. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I guess. Let's take a pole. Which one of the world's five continents should we start with?
posted by Titania at 8:03 AM on March 13, 2007


Refering to the Times as the London Times is indeed extremely annoying but then so is that article. Read earlier The Guardian one that he has ripped of instead, it is much better.
posted by ninebelow at 8:03 AM on March 13, 2007


Still full of cockney wankers, chancers and shit football teams though.
/provincial
posted by Abiezer at 8:05 AM on March 13, 2007


New York and London are OK, but Amsterdam is where it's really at.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:11 AM on March 13, 2007


Nationalities and Ethnicities in New York City.

Ethnic Groups in London.
posted by ericb at 8:13 AM on March 13, 2007


Amsterdam is where it's really at

Depends on what you mean by "it."
posted by nasreddin at 8:13 AM on March 13, 2007


What about Constantinople?
posted by Mister_A at 8:15 AM on March 13, 2007


I was never impressed with London. New York, Paris, and Berlin will alway be way cooler in any meaningful sence.

I suspect buisnesses likely London when (a) they ned a big city, (b) their Europian operations are bigger than their U.S. operations, but (c) they speak English.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:15 AM on March 13, 2007


Your favorite city SUCKS!!!
posted by Justin Case at 8:17 AM on March 13, 2007


it should secede from the UK

That's the part that the Times article got right. In a country the size of the UK, a city the size of London is pretty much a disaster in terms of planning for the rest of the country.
posted by vbfg at 8:18 AM on March 13, 2007


This guy is a fucking idiot. It reads like he took a bus tour in Midtown and assumed the rest of the city was just like it.
posted by tiger yang at 8:20 AM on March 13, 2007


I love comparing these cities, but even if a slurred, drunken stupor at the end of a long night of drinking, anyone familiar with both cities could make more cogent and coherent points than this shit writer.

London is rapidly becoming an important financial center vis-a-vis New York, especially when it comes to IPOs. Foreign companies don't want to list in the US because then they are subject to the time-consuming, expensive, and mostly worthless morass of paperwork known as Sarbanes-Oxley.
posted by Falconetti at 8:24 AM on March 13, 2007


There's probably 3000 languages spoken just amongst NYC cabbies

And not a one of 'em English! HAW!
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:25 AM on March 13, 2007


From the sidebar:
Tomorrow morning an architect is coming to talk about changing the shape of the kitchen and whether I can put a bog in the larder.
I actually looked this up. I think it translates as "whether I can put a bathroom in the pantry".


posted by phaedon at 8:28 AM on March 13, 2007


It's absurd to say that London is more diverse. That article is only about the upper-class/movers and shakers, and finance.

almost 3 million of our city's total population was foreign-born as of 2000. We're already majority minority, i think. I've also heard that 200 languages (or more) are spoken by kids in our public school system alone, let alone adults. As for employment, as of 2000: 43 percent of all city residents in the labor force in 2000. In the core working ages – 25 to 54 years – between 40 and 50 percent of all city residents in the labor force were immigrants.
posted by amberglow at 8:29 AM on March 13, 2007


Yeah, but East London is a vampire.
posted by four panels at 8:31 AM on March 13, 2007


London is certainly eclipsing New York for violent crime!
posted by derbs at 8:31 AM on March 13, 2007


"Let's take a pole."

You first.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:33 AM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


New York and London are OK, but Amsterdam is where it's really at.

What's with the preoccupation with the 'Dam, Meatbomb? Sure, I love it too, but I'm tempted to think your rosy views on its "liberal democracy" might just be a tad overstated or misguided. If you were to spend an extended period of time in the Netherlands and try to take note of its day-to-day culture and politics I doubt you'd still maintain this seemingly unwavering reverence of Amsterdam (or Holland) as a supposed social walhalla.

(I tend to picture Meatbomb on his stay in Amsterdam as skipping along Damrak going, "Hey, here are some men cleaning the streets! When they get off they'll probably go home and take acid together!" Then he sees a crack whore on a corner and he goes, "See! Everyone here is using drugs and being happy!")

That being said, the "cultural melting pot" / "number of languages spoken" is beside the point - Tokyo is full of successful businesses, overwhelmingly run by ethnic Japanese speaking Japanese, and, when they travel or communicate abroad, English.

Even assuming that it is relevant to the suitability of a metropolis for business, it goes for New York at least as much as it does for London, as others have stated.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:34 AM on March 13, 2007


That's the part that the Times article got right. In a country the size of the UK, a city the size of London is pretty much a disaster in terms of planning for the rest of the country.

See also: Primate city.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:37 AM on March 13, 2007


Well, Wikipedia says London has 2,288,000 foreign born (as of 1996) so it isn't that different to New York's 2,870,000 (as of 2000), particularly given that New York has a larger population.
posted by ninebelow at 8:38 AM on March 13, 2007


There's one thing all these cities have in common: New York, London, Paris, Munich.

Everybody talks about pop music.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:39 AM on March 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


There are, it is said, 300 languages spoken in London.

There are 300 languages spoken in Flushing, Queens. What an asshat.
posted by zorro astor at 8:39 AM on March 13, 2007


Thanks for the link. I never knew my thinly disguised hatred had an academic sounding name.
posted by vbfg at 8:40 AM on March 13, 2007


here's the 2005 estimated data for NYC (click on Place of Birth 2005--pdf)
posted by amberglow at 8:41 AM on March 13, 2007


I never fly into London (where I lived and worked for ten years) without a deep, dank feeling of depression, which only worsens during the interminable cab ride from Heathrow. After a week of wandering around the piss-reeking streets of Soho I have eaten a decent curry, drunk some decent beer, seen some friends, been round the bookshops, and BOY AM I READY TO LEAVE.

Flying into La Guardia or JFK is still exciting for the moment, although Manhattan gets old pretty quickly. A city without horizons is a strange place.
posted by unSane at 8:45 AM on March 13, 2007


There's one thing all these cities have in common: New York, London, Paris, Munich.

Everybody talks about pop music.


That song suffers from what I call the Teletubbies effect. You know when the Teletubbies introduce themselves and they all sound real happy to see each-other?

"Tinky-Winky! Hey, how's it hanging man!"
"Dipsy! Yo, how's the old missus?"
"Laa-Laa! You fantastic bastard!"

And then Po comes along and the voice sounds so different, like "Oh, Po is here too, well, whatever."

That song is the same.

"New York! Woo! Navel of the world! Heard any good hipster indie bands from Williamsburg lately?"
"London! Yeah! White shoes and spiky guitar riffs from the streets of Camden!"
"Paris! Hey, let's hang out in Montmartre and smoke Gauloises while reciting sappy poetry with a fake accent!"

And then "Munich. Oh yeah, then there's Munich".
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:46 AM on March 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


What's weird is that being conscious of diversity is a relatively new thing for London i think--and being worried about it. There's tons of stuff all the time in the UK press about immigrants and national identity and stuff.
posted by amberglow at 8:48 AM on March 13, 2007


(outside of business and trade, of course)
posted by amberglow at 8:49 AM on March 13, 2007


Well, it should be noted that this is in effect part of the wider European struggles with immigration and nationality (in which Britain is a special case perhaps, due to geography, history and its innate issues with national identity).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:51 AM on March 13, 2007


Has this guy ever been to New York?

Apparently not.

there are 700 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea.

Something tells me that this (and most of the other high numbers) is a count of languages in the dialekt mit an armey un a flot sense.
posted by oaf at 8:51 AM on March 13, 2007


But the real difference between the two is this: New Yorkers come from the five boroughs; Londoners from the five continents. They are Poles, Pakistanis, Brazilians, Americans, Nigerians and more. There are, it is said, 300 languages spoken in London.

I know I'm late to the pile-on, but this is so fucking stupid and arrogant I'm going to pile on anyway. Fuck you, James Harding of the London Times. (Yes, I said "London Times." I'm that annoyed.)
posted by languagehat at 8:51 AM on March 13, 2007


Something tells me that this (and most of the other high numbers) is a count of languages in the dialekt mit an armey un a flot sense.

Something tells me you've got the wrong end of the stick. If you go by the "mit an armey un a flot" sense, none of them are languages. They, um, don't have armies and navies.
posted by languagehat at 8:53 AM on March 13, 2007


Jesus.

Both London and New York are about as multicultural as they can be. I wouldn't assume that people from every other country on earth are in both cities, but I wouldn't disbelieve it if someone showed me stats citing just that.

NYC, however, is losing business, mainly because of DHS. It doesn't take too many executives getting harassed at the border for them to suddenly decide that Amsterdam or London or Dubai is a much better place for their headquarters.
posted by eriko at 8:58 AM on March 13, 2007


vbfg: there are 700 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea.

oaf: Something tells me that this (and most of the other high numbers) is a count of languages in the dialekt mit an armey un a flot sense.


From a quick search it seems to be a common way of referring to the place tbh, and it seems as though I was 150 short of the actual number. What forms those languages take I don't know. English and Pidgin are the common ones though.

tbh, the context in which I hear it most is from militant Rugby League fans who say "there are 700 languages in Papua New Guinea but only one sport - Rugby League". That's almost but not quite true, so how true the languages thing is really I'm not sure.
posted by vbfg at 8:58 AM on March 13, 2007


There are 40 kuh-billion languages spoken every day
on the streets in my mind...

/surrealism
posted by From Bklyn at 9:01 AM on March 13, 2007


The "London is surpassing New York" thing is becoming tiresomely common in the UK media. One point worth making is that in my experience of both cities, New York self-boosterism is mainly the preserve of the tourism industry and tongue-in-cheek advertising (apart from specifically 9/11-related solidarity). Whereas almost every middle-class Londoner I know (and I speak as one) seems personally obsessed with establishing that London Is The Greatest World City. I have never been able to interpret this as anything other than a desperate attempt to shore up one's self-esteem having chosen to live in a city with ridiculous property prices, third-world public transport that costs more than NYC cabs, shops and restaurants that are mainly never open when you want them to be, etc etc etc.

The pro-New York Brits in the Times sidebar are still annoying though. I bet they eat at Tea and Sympathy all the time, occasionally venturing as far outside the West Village as, oooh, the Meatpacking District.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:01 AM on March 13, 2007


Touched a nerve, have we? Apparently the team making New York's bid for the Olympics claimed only 200 languages, against London's 300. (Who did they give that to in the end, by the way?)

If you ask me, London is not a better New York. Nor is it a second-rate New York.
posted by Phanx at 9:02 AM on March 13, 2007


Um. In NY, the bars close at 4am (if they close at all), is it still 11pm in London? Why are we having this discussion?
posted by sfts2 at 9:03 AM on March 13, 2007


Heh, I deliberately wrote the London Times because of the predominently American bias of the Metafilter audience. If you call me on it, be aware that it is a bit of a delicious irony (whatever that means)
posted by Duug at 9:03 AM on March 13, 2007


But the real difference between the two is this: New Yorkers come from the five boroughs; Londoners from the five continents.

I just realized what a testament that statement is to how well we all settle in and get along together, as contrasted to London. People easily become New Yorkers after only a very short period of adjustment (whether from Pennsylvania or Pakistan), and because we all share a smaller geographical area than London, we have no choice but to deal with each other all day long.
posted by amberglow at 9:04 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


A predominately American audience requires wilful inaccuracies to get the point? Hmmm, irony indeed.
posted by vbfg at 9:06 AM on March 13, 2007


I do think culturally London is ahead currently, but we'll come back. (They're far more subsidized, and we do better when things are bad, i think.)
posted by amberglow at 9:06 AM on March 13, 2007


Sorry if my earlier comment came across as dissing Meatbomb - I didn't intend it as such. He's a good sport, and I shall forward him a copy of the Treaty of Amsterdam to make amends.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:07 AM on March 13, 2007


My overcrowded, overpriced pressure cooker is better than yours.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:07 AM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


If you ask me, London is not a better New York. Nor is it a second-rate New York.

New London, however, is surely a second-rate York.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:08 AM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


If only we could invest in t-shirts and face paint that accurately reflects our feelings on this pressing issue.
posted by drezdn at 9:09 AM on March 13, 2007


They, um, don't have armies and navies.

But they're being counted as separate and different when they're not (like Norwegian), which is really what that quote is about.
posted by oaf at 9:11 AM on March 13, 2007


VBFG it's not a wilful inaccuracy. It is The Times and it is printed in London. Ergo. Now of course you'll argue that its traditional name is The Times and you are right, but decades of patiently having to explain that to Americans over the phone when I'm trying to interview them has led me to short circuit the process early with a submission that it's the London Times. Sorry if that offends you, but dude, my life's too short.

It's the same reason that I often write about RAM memory, although doing that makes me shudder just as much.
posted by Duug at 9:12 AM on March 13, 2007


omg Hong Kong
posted by grobstein at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2007


Do you write for The Times Duug?
posted by drezdn at 9:13 AM on March 13, 2007


I really love London. I really wish that New York would get reduced to a glowing, radioactive pile of slag (and that in turn salted just to be safe).

That said, the article's ridiculous and the author is either really lazy or shockingly stupid. Can't we just say that both cities are word leaders in pretentiousness and call it even? Or maybe we can have a delusion contest where denizens of both cities take turns pointing at mundane events, overdone art shows and ostentatious architecture and yell "only in New York!/Only in London!" at each other.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:15 AM on March 13, 2007


Touched a nerve, have we?

No, but your saucy tarts seem to with great frequency and recklessness.
posted by four panels at 9:16 AM on March 13, 2007


Just don't call it the Times of London, England.
posted by Phanx at 9:16 AM on March 13, 2007


What's weird is that being conscious of diversity is a relatively new thing for London i think--and being worried about it. There's tons of stuff all the time in the UK press about immigrants and national identity and stuff.
I don't think that's true, though perhaps you meant something else by diversity, amberglow. There was the Irish, then sources at the turn of the 20th century were wittering on about the influx of European Jews to the East End, then there were Carribean incomers in the 50s and associated moral panics/race riots. Sections of the British press have fear-mongered about the other since time immemorial.
posted by Abiezer at 9:17 AM on March 13, 2007


VBFG it's not a wilful inaccuracy.

You just told me you did it deliberately. It is an inaccuracy. Ergo.
posted by vbfg at 9:17 AM on March 13, 2007


Here's a good opinion piece about London's "vibrant" financial services sector. Meanwhile, its self-proclaimed socialist mayor brags about how "London has edged ahead of New York as an international financial centre".
posted by stammer at 9:18 AM on March 13, 2007


Almost every middle-class Londoner I know is an economic migrant from elsewhere (UK or abroad) and has what can only be described as an extreme love-hate relationship with the city; its glorious culture and atmosphere just about balancing its expensive, stinking mass.

New London, however, is surely a second-rate York.

If this is true then New London must be a real shithole.

What's weird is that being conscious of diversity is a relatively new thing for London

Kind of but also kind of not. It is true that celebrating diversity is a fairly recent thing. London is more diverse, and has been so for much longer, than the rest of the country though. It is worth bearing in mind when thinking about the press that, as vbfg alluded to upthread, London is pretty much another country as far as the Uk is concerned. Different rules apply.
posted by ninebelow at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2007


I really wish that New York would get reduced to a glowing, radioactive pile of slag (and that in turn salted just to be safe).

Thank you, hon : P

I guess you're right, Abiezer--i notice it frequently tho--articles and articles about national identity, London as not the real Britain, and an immigration explosion, etc. (We've always had immigrants coming, and our identity has always on purpose been separate and distinct--and better--from the US's)
posted by amberglow at 9:20 AM on March 13, 2007


Um. In NY, the bars close at 4am (if they close at all), is it still 11pm in London? Why are we having this discussion?

Under the Licensing Act 2003, there's the potential for up to 24 hour opening. I know I was drinking in London until 7am last year... I'm just not quite sure where.
posted by knapah at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2007


You can keep 'em both. The new city for business is Dubai.
posted by Sukiari at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2007


There are, it is said, 300 languages spoken in London.

One might say, it is said, not a one of them is plain and direct English.

New York and London should shut the hell up about diversity. Unless they want to have their asses kicked by Toronto.
posted by srboisvert at 9:22 AM on March 13, 2007


ninebelow--i wonder if it's Blairite policies/actions that have changed it in terms of recognizing diversity as an asset instead of a problem? or trying to, at least?
posted by amberglow at 9:23 AM on March 13, 2007


Perhaps it's reached a different critical mass now, and the arrogance of the days of empire is lost too, no doubt adding to insecurity. I tend to deliberately avoid that section of the UK media and have lived away so long I'm sure I'm out of touch.
posted by Abiezer at 9:24 AM on March 13, 2007


A 24-hour subway (and being able to do things at all hours of the day and night, etc) is the true measure of a fabulous city. : >

I wonder if the growth of the City in London has helped with that at all or will help? (traders working foreign desks need stuff all hours--legal and not)
posted by amberglow at 9:25 AM on March 13, 2007


What aboot Winnipeg, eh?
posted by Mister_A at 9:26 AM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


the arrogance of the days of empire is lost too, no doubt adding to insecurity.

I don't see the underlying arrogance as gone away, but the insecurity is definitely visible. A reality check or something?
posted by amberglow at 9:27 AM on March 13, 2007


Um, that law does not take effect untill November, and in very limited venues - something like 2%.

I think the point stands...for now.
posted by sfts2 at 9:29 AM on March 13, 2007


November 2005, you google genius.
posted by ninebelow at 9:33 AM on March 13, 2007


24hour licensing was introduced in November 2005. However, the point does stand, because most bars aren't open beyond 12 or so.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 9:34 AM on March 13, 2007


New London, however, is surely a second-rate York.

New London is a second-rate New Haven.
posted by oaf at 9:34 AM on March 13, 2007


You could always get a lock-in if you wanted when I was living in London in the early/mid-90s, if you were so inclined.
posted by Abiezer at 9:36 AM on March 13, 2007


Ah, couldn't see the black on red date and saw the 2007 articles. In any event, are we agreed that the bar closing time makes ALL other arguments moot?
posted by sfts2 at 9:39 AM on March 13, 2007


New York is the child of London, and this article is like Competetive Dad telling his son how inferior he is.

And, umm, yeah Duug, do you work for The Times?
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:39 AM on March 13, 2007


a lock-in is when the bar's officially closed but you still stay in drinking? I love that.
posted by amberglow at 9:40 AM on March 13, 2007


Everyone knows StoneyBridge is the capital of the world.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:41 AM on March 13, 2007


I really wish that New York would get reduced to a glowing, radioactive pile of slag (and that in turn salted just to be safe).

Now, now, I'm not sure we want it to resemble Boston.

New York and London should shut the hell up about diversity. Unless they want to have their asses kicked by Toronto.

I think you mean "have their asses politely kicked."

What aboot Winnipeg, eh?

I hear Winnipeg is a frozen shithole.
posted by oaf at 9:42 AM on March 13, 2007


That's the fella, amberglow.
posted by Abiezer at 9:44 AM on March 13, 2007


Now, now, I'm not sure we want it to resemble Boston.

rofl!!!!! perfect!

What, is it Calgary that's booming now up there?
posted by amberglow at 9:44 AM on March 13, 2007


i wonder if it's Blairite policies/actions that have changed it in terms of recognizing diversity as an asset instead of a problem?

The fact that a Labour government has been in power since 1997 has certainly helped but it just part of the wider cultural change. The UK has become much more socially liberal over the last hundred years and this is reflected in the evolving way in which equality and diversity is treated.

And yes, lock-ins are brilliant. Particularly if the landlord gives you free prawn crackers from the takeaway next door.
posted by ninebelow at 9:52 AM on March 13, 2007


What, is it Calgary that's booming now up there?

Calgary, New Jersey?
posted by oaf at 9:52 AM on March 13, 2007


You haven't had a curry and a pint until you've been to Tulsa. There are over 3 languages spoken there!!!!
posted by mattbucher at 9:53 AM on March 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


I don't want to live anywhere that makes my snot come out black.
posted by biffa at 9:59 AM on March 13, 2007


"Liverpool is the centre of the consciousness of the human universe."
Allen Ginsberg
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:02 AM on March 13, 2007


It sucks almost as much as you do, Mister_A. :P
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:12 AM on March 13, 2007


I really wish that New York would get reduced to a glowing, radioactive pile of slag (and that in turn salted just to be safe).

Now, now, I'm not sure we want it to resemble Boston.


SRSLY.

I have no strong feelings on New York, and I've not yet been to London, but I will weigh in that I fucking hate the city of Boston with the fire of a thousand suns. Most of that hatred can be channeled into the fact that Logan International Airport is one of the outer circles of hell.

Sometimes people not familiar with Boston ask me why, if I live in Providence, don't I just move to Boston? The answer is simple. I live in in Providence because Boston is a festering shithole.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:31 AM on March 13, 2007


Well, well, well - it seems our Londonish plans have finally come to fruition. And poor little New York is so shocked! Honestly, widdle baby - did you think that we would not have our revenge? WAAH WAAH WAAH! Baby New York needs his mommy!

Yes, New York - we followed you into your meaningless war. We drank your "Starbucks" and watched your "Tony Sopranos". We even took advantage of your generous package holiday deals. But we were never your friends, New York - oh no. We never really liked you. And, secretly, we were always plotting your downfall - your ruin - your UTTER humiliation.

Our conspiracy - as you now know - was infinitely subtle. For years the finest minds of our intelligentsia planned the most exquisite revenge on you "Big Apples" - examining, deep within our underground caverns, for countless hours, every option for your destruction, each combination and permutation of painful malice and venomous bile. And then, in the very eye of this storm of hatred, we conceived of the perfect plan - a plan to reduce you to NOTHING - nothing but a shame-faced laughing stock!

That's right - we wrote a newspaper article about you, saying that New York was not "all that".

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:32 AM on March 13, 2007 [7 favorites]


welcome to moose entrails, michigan ... we speak a total of 1 language and that's only when we haven't been drinking
posted by pyramid termite at 10:50 AM on March 13, 2007


Sometimes people not familiar with Boston ask me why, if I live in Providence, don't I just move to Boston? The answer is simple. I live in in Providence because Boston is a festering shithole.

You're either delusional or some unknown life form that breathes methane. Only in the Providence area could 100 people die at a hair metal concert in the 21st century.

If Boston is a festering shithole, Providence is tiny shithole that has long since dried up. Just like Revere, but smellier and harder to get to. At least it has plenty of parking, I guess.

Now's the part where you threaten to get in your Camaro and drive up 95 to have your boyfriend Nunzio beat me up. Remember to tell your parole officer that you're leaving the state.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:53 AM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


Anyway, one of the largest reasons London is perceived as a the financial center of the world (instead of New York) is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. According to some people that I heard talking who would likely know what they were talking about.
posted by taliaferro at 11:02 AM on March 13, 2007


New York, London, unite in mocking Boston!

(I've never been there but from the Mooninite scare it seems it's cops an officials are exceptionally slow witted)
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on March 13, 2007


As a Londoner who loves both London and New York, I find they have far more in common with each other than they do with their respective countries.
posted by WPW at 11:06 AM on March 13, 2007


grapefruitmoon: "Sometimes people not familiar with Boston ask me why, if I live in Providence, don't I just move to Boston? The answer is simple. I live in in Providence because Boston is a festering shithole."

Sometimes I wonder why the hell people would choose to live on the east coast at all, beyond the vain sensation that they're somehow closer to "the center of it all" that way. In fact, that kind of silly pretention is why I left Boston; and why I could never for a minute live in New York, which is quite possibly the most pretentious city on the face of the planet.

But then, I'm lucky. I live in Colorado. Even when the weather is awful, it's still a kind of awful a person can live with, a kind of awful that keeps you inside for a few days wondering through the window at the beautiful fields of white stuff covering the ground. Produce is usually pretty fresh, streets are usually pretty clean, a corner restaurant is liable to serve food that isn't drenched in ten different kinds of grease, and people can talk to each other without sneering. Things could still be better-- I could live in Santa Fe again-- but two years ago, when I lived in Brookline in Boston, it was hard to remember such paradises existed, surrounded as I was (and as every inhabitant of those vile Eastern Seaboard cities is) by bad food, bad air, bad manners, bad humor, and bad society.

I'd really like to try living in Texas; seems like a great place. I used to mention this to my Boston friends, but this provoked nothing but sneers every time. It amazes me no end the notion easterners seem to have of that beautiful country; they seem to think that everyone south of the Pennsylvania border and east of east Chicago is an slathering cave-man who lacks verbal, social, and intellectual skills, praises Jesus at every turn, and watches Nascar religiously. I have a feeling they tell themselves this because it's the only way to justify the laziness and boredom that keeps them living in hell.

Of course, I have a feeling London is fast approaching the level of pretention one finds on every corner in NY. Be that as it may, I'd still probably prefer British coldness and wit to Yankee vacuity.
posted by koeselitz at 11:15 AM on March 13, 2007


But they're being counted as separate and different when they're not (like Norwegian), which is really what that quote is about.

No, that's not "really what that quote is about." What it really is about is the fact that different forms of speech get dignified with the term "language" rather than "dialect" only when they're official, national forms of speech, i.e., "with an army and navy." Really. Which means your reference to "a count of languages in the dialekt mit an armey un a flot sense" is unintelligible in the context of Papua New Guinea.

Also, on a different front: Boston sucks.
posted by languagehat at 11:19 AM on March 13, 2007


I don't want to live anywhere that makes my snot come out black.

Yeah, NYC did that for me, too. London, not so much.

Is this common, New Yorkers?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:23 AM on March 13, 2007


So you don't like NY, koeselitz?
posted by Meatbomb at 11:23 AM on March 13, 2007


Apparently the team making New York's bid for the Olympics claimed only 200 languages, against London's 300. (Who did they give that to in the end, by the way?)

You are aware that a good part of the reason they gave you the Olympics was because we (ie the people who live here, not the boosters) didn't want them, right? They judged how the population felt and Londoners were all like, "Please please yes!" and the New Yorkers said, "No, sweet Jesus, no. All the tourists we get already suck and don't know how to walk; please don't make our totally awesome twenty-four hour subways more crowded."

There was the Irish, then sources at the turn of the 20th century were wittering on about the influx of European Jews to the East End, then there were Carribean incomers in the 50s and associated moral panics/race riots.

OMG. There where white people. Then some other white people who didn't eat bacon. Then black people showed up and we freaked out. Yeah, what diversity. We were freaking out over the Chinese and black folks before you even saw a Negro. Eat that, London!
posted by dame at 11:25 AM on March 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


PS: Boston is a hole. It is barely a city.
posted by dame at 11:27 AM on March 13, 2007



As a Londoner who loves both London and New York, I find they have far more in common with each other than they do with their respective countries.


Of course--most world-class cities do--it's fun to poke each other tho : >

(and it's always fun to poke Boston)
posted by amberglow at 11:27 AM on March 13, 2007


Is this common, New Yorkers?
I don't know if we can tell..my windowsills get sooty (i live near a tunnel), but i only have black snot after i get off an airplane. Most Londoners get a headache from NY i find--the light is harsher and it's much much noisier and angular.

(I think black snot is better than damp, tho.) ; P
posted by amberglow at 11:30 AM on March 13, 2007


game warden to the events rhino: "One point worth making is that in my experience of both cities, New York self-boosterism is mainly the preserve of the tourism industry and tongue-in-cheek advertising (apart from specifically 9/11-related solidarity). Whereas almost every middle-class Londoner I know (and I speak as one) seems personally obsessed with establishing that London Is The Greatest World City."

Maybe you have to have shoveled the stuff to recognize it, but this is pure horse shit. Londoners might be obsessed with 'proving' their superiority, but you should recognize the quaint charm in their rush to validate themselves in the eyes of the world. New Yorkers don't resort to 'self-boosterism' because it is their honest and whole-hearted belief that the superiority of their city is a self-evident truth.

They are so sure that New York is better than any city on the face of the planet, and that anyone with an intellectual capability higher than that of a fly knows this, that they don't even feel the need to say so; they just go about their lives ignoring anything that happens in "the rest of the world" until the rest of the world does something that displeases them, like vote wrong or show their intellectual superiority or ask for tax dollars. You can test this easily: ask a New Yorker if theirs is the most important city in the world. They won't respond by hastily pointing out that it might be, and citing data points, like a Londoner eager to be internationally cosmopolitan. No, they'll sigh and give you a weak smile of pity, as though you've just asked if it might perhaps be possible that the earth revolves around the sun.
posted by koeselitz at 11:32 AM on March 13, 2007


the level of pretention one finds on every corner in NY.

Another person who hasn't been anywhere in New York except Manhattan south of Times Square.

There's really no compelling reason to live in the U.S. west of the Mississippi, unless you farm or are in the movie business (or are trying to get into the movie business). At this point, I'm not sure I would want to live in New York for good.

What it really is about is the fact that different forms of speech get dignified with the term "language" rather than "dialect" only when they're official, national forms of speech,

So it's not like what I said, it's like what I said. Got it.
posted by oaf at 11:34 AM on March 13, 2007


Yes, koeselitz. Because it is that obvious. Anyone who actually wants to move to the most-mocked state clearly has no taste, though.
posted by dame at 11:35 AM on March 13, 2007


Meatbomb: "So you don't like NY, koeselitz?"

How'd you guess?

But really, I don't like most of the east coast. I preferred Boston to NY, because it has a bit less silliness, but they're really in the same tier. I genuinely believe that most people would be a hell of a lot happier living in the west; they just don't realize it.
posted by koeselitz at 11:36 AM on March 13, 2007


New Yorkers don't resort to 'self-boosterism' because it is their honest and whole-hearted belief that the superiority of their city is a self-evident truth.

What koeselitz said. What's not to love?
posted by amberglow at 11:37 AM on March 13, 2007


goodnewsfortheinsane - you cantotally get black snot in London, you just have ot hang out in the right places.

Also who started this terrible rumour that Londoners actually wanted the Olympics? Most Londoners I know think it's a terrible idea (probably for the same reason sane NYers would).
posted by Artw at 11:38 AM on March 13, 2007


dame: "We were freaking out over the Chinese and black folks before you even saw a Negro. Eat that, London!"

To be fair to London: this might well be true. But they were giving Negros that silly little "universal rights and suffrage" thing decades before we even decided to start fighting over whether we should still force them to work for us.
posted by koeselitz at 11:40 AM on March 13, 2007


they're really in the same tier.
That's enormously insulting--Boston's a small town with enormous attitude that just pretends to be a real city.
posted by amberglow at 11:42 AM on March 13, 2007


Keep mocking Texas, i'm cool with that. Please stay right where you are.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:55 AM on March 13, 2007


If only I could get a job that pays a living wage, I'd move to Colorado or Austin, or New Mexico.
posted by sfts2 at 11:57 AM on March 13, 2007


But the real difference between the two is this: New Yorkers come from the five boroughs; Londoners from the five continents. They are Poles, Pakistanis, Brazilians, Americans, Nigerians and more.

Excuse me? The borough I live in is the most ethnically diverse county in America, and it magaes to be so with far less racial and ethnic tension than London.
posted by jonmc at 11:57 AM on March 13, 2007


oh, and Mayor Curley, say hi to the Cabots and Lowells for us (and Bill Buckner). Yeah, the Mets won a few World Series and it didn't take almost a century to do it.
posted by jonmc at 12:12 PM on March 13, 2007


That's enormously insulting--Boston's a small town with enormous attitude that just pretends to be a real city.

I'm with you there. There's all sorts of snobbery, but when it comes down to it, you've just got a bunch of elitists in a poorly organized shithole.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:14 PM on March 13, 2007


Not to mention that for all of Boston's supposed liberality, that city is far more race and class stratified than New York ever dreamed of being.
posted by jonmc at 12:22 PM on March 13, 2007


There's all sorts of snobbery, but when it comes down to it, you've just got a bunch of elitists in a poorly organized shithole.

If the camaro's not running this week, I can meet you in that public zoo in Providence that appears to take WIC checks and thinks that polar bears sleep on mulch.

How's that for snobbery?
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:27 PM on March 13, 2007


Not to mention that for all of Boston's supposed liberality, that city is far more race and class stratified than New York ever dreamed of being.

Tell that to Amadou Diallo, fuckface.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:29 PM on March 13, 2007


So it's not like what I said, it's like what I said. Got it.

You don't seem to bother paying much attention to what either of us are saying, so I guess we'll put this derail to rest. But sometime when you're more awake, you might read our exchange more carefully, and blush.

On topic: Boston still sucks.
posted by languagehat at 12:35 PM on March 13, 2007


you know what city is the worst? the shit hole called san francisco! fuck them!

(just trying to fan the flames in this haters ball)
posted by cazoo at 12:39 PM on March 13, 2007


dame: "We were freaking out over the Chinese and black folks before you even saw a Negro. Eat that, London!"
The African Community in London "The earliest recorded image of an African in London is a Black trumpeter depicted on the Westminster Tournament Roll of 1511. Probably from North Africa, this musician was employed by both Henry VII and Henry VIII." And that's not even counting the legionaries. :p
posted by Abiezer at 12:41 PM on March 13, 2007


Tell that to Amadou Diallo, fuckface.

Say Hi to Charles Stewart and all the folks in Southie and Roxbury, genius.
posted by jonmc at 12:52 PM on March 13, 2007


Okay fine. We had a critical mass earlier.
posted by dame at 12:53 PM on March 13, 2007


On topic: Boston still sucks.

juvenile response: Sucks like your sister after she's had four Samuel Adams Boston Lagers. So, lots I guess.

Say Hi to Charles Stewart and all the folks in Southie and Roxbury, genius.

I get the Charles Stewart part (but it makes me feel better because I worried that my Amadou Diallo reference was a little dated), but the other part leaves me scratching my head.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:59 PM on March 13, 2007


I ♥ Boston (and New York and London). I ♥ 'em all. Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya.
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on March 13, 2007


Say Hi to Charles Stewart

If you had your facts right, you'd know it is *Stuart.* Damn, uppity New Yorkers, think they know their shit.
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on March 13, 2007


This reminds me of a gratifying exchange I had with two business travelling londoners in december, as I helped them navigate Columbus circle. I really like London, and I particularly appreciate that most of the buildings are not so tall that they block out the sun, and I offered some superlative to them to that effect. They were fresh from their flight, one had never been to NY before and was clearly agog - anyway, they reciprocated with superlatives for NY. In the end London and NY are complimentary cities, and tightly coupled ones at that.
posted by Dr. Boom at 1:06 PM on March 13, 2007


Screw NY, Boston and London.

The greatest city in the world is Baltimore, Maryland.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:08 PM on March 13, 2007


New London Times
posted by afiler at 1:11 PM on March 13, 2007


The greatest city in the world is Baltimore, Maryland.

But, it's a city that got crabs!
posted by ericb at 1:12 PM on March 13, 2007


Those of us who have spent considerable time in Bangkok are laughing at this silly little argument. But it's fun to watch, though. Keep it up, kids!
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:23 PM on March 13, 2007


Sorry baby, it's New York. London doesn't have a chance -

and as for it being a "Fiancial Center" they're just trying to get their booster on. Frankfurt - ask mayor Mike, his company is based there - or Dubai - ask that scum sucking America-hating Vice President of ours - or Shanghai got it going on way way more.

And who the fuck would want to get 'locked into' a bar at midnight? Isn't that when you're supposed to go out ?
posted by From Bklyn at 1:34 PM on March 13, 2007


According to the 2000 census, Long Beach (CA) is the most ethnically diverse city in the country, although its population is a mere fraction of any borough in NYC, inclusive of Staten Island, which is sometimes referred to as a borough.
posted by clockzero at 1:36 PM on March 13, 2007


If the camaro's not running this week, I can meet you in that public zoo in Providence that appears to take WIC checks and thinks that polar bears sleep on mulch.

Touché.

Roger Wiliams Park is a weird place, and as much love as I have for Providence, I'll be the first to admit that "Little Rhody" is the retarded nephew of the other forty nine states.

And I still hate Boston.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:40 PM on March 13, 2007


This reminds me of a gratifying exchange I had with two business travelling londoners in december, as I helped them navigate Columbus circle. I really like London, and I particularly appreciate that most of the buildings are not so tall that they block out the sun, and I offered some superlative to them to that effect. They were fresh from their flight, one had never been to NY before and was clearly agog - anyway, they reciprocated with superlatives for NY. In the end London and NY are complimentary cities, and tightly coupled ones at that.

Shut the fuck up!!! There is no need for civility or equanimity in this thread. Also, girls are hotter in NY, whether you're on Fifth Ave or in Canarsie.
posted by Falconetti at 1:43 PM on March 13, 2007


but the other part leaves me scratching my head.

your city's separate-but-equal white and black ghettos.
posted by jonmc at 1:45 PM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]





http://www.overheardinnewyork.com/
posted by From Bklyn at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2007


Wow, I'm surprised that poor little Philly is getting lost in this urban hate-orgy. Surely one of you could spare a disparaging remark about Philly? Please, sir? Just one?

Actually, I'm not surprised that Philly isn't being trashed. It's pretty damned unpretentious for a city its size. Plus, let's face it, Philly has enough problems.

And then there's St. Louis, which, I swear to you this is true, I had to convince a girl at a party last week that it's actually a city. Straight up didn't believe me. Sad part is that, by the end of the conversation, I found myself doubting it as well - and I grew up there!

But yeah, NYC is tight. I've never been to London, but everyone I know who's been there invariably describes it as "less intense" and "not as much fun." Too bad that you can't have the "less intense" without the "not as much fun," but there you have it, such is life.

And yes. The subway system here runs 24/7. You're never stuck anywhere. So. suck. it. haters.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:48 PM on March 13, 2007


Milwaukee doesn't need to brag. If you squint at the lake, you can pretend it is an ocean. Population-wise, it's only slightly smaller than Boston, but without the constant fear that zombie patriots will rise from their graves to kill you.

Once you get past the dead fish in August, it truly is charming... So much so, that post 9-11, New York "tried" to pass itself off as the Milwaukee of the East.
posted by drezdn at 1:57 PM on March 13, 2007


Meh. London, New York, Paris, Prague, Ponteland, they're all exactly the same, when you reach the right distance.
posted by armoured-ant at 1:57 PM on March 13, 2007


amberglow: "That's enormously insulting--Boston's a small town with enormous attitude that just pretends to be a real city."

"Real cities" are generally hideous and awful. Especially when they're as pretentious as Boston or New York. (It amazes me that people who claim to like New York can call any other city "snobby." As much as Boston is crawling with elitists, it's not alone.)

My point rests generally on this evidence: not a shred of the highest culture in any realm, be it art, be it literature, be it music, be it education in general, has emerged from New York in at least twenty or thirty years. That's not a long time, granted, but the fact is that there was a time when New York was the center of some important things. There was a decade there when NY City was the center of the Jazz world; there was a later time when it exerted a wholly different, yet just as vital, influence on the world in the form of punk music. There have been great writers who lived in New York, and who have written about New York; there have been artists who were at the center of their worlds at the time. But now, when all that has fade away rapidly, New Yorkers still wander around parroting the silly line about how they're the center of the cultural world. I ask you, New Yorkers: on what fucking grounds? So far as I can tell, the last important or worthwhile musical group out of New York was Sonic Youth; and even they've been sucking for two decades now. The New York art scene, so far as I can tell, isn't even as vital as the one I knew in Santa Fe (which is to say it sucks) and, even statistically, it sells about as many paintings and sculptures. What the hell do you have to give us, New York, besides smog, pretention, political exclusivism, cultural insularity, and enormous provincialism?

When it comes down, the New York "centrality" really only stems from a vivid and anxious hope by its inhabitants that they are "cool." There was a time when there were New Yorkers who actually strove to make the world better, and who gave something interesting to society at large. That time is long gone.

My feelings on this subject can be summed up thusly:

"My friends all ask me how I can leave New York. 'Won't you miss the lights, the shows, the culture? Isn't it all so beautiful?' I respond: of course it's beautiful. If you can forget what a hill looks like." -Bernard DeVoto, "On Leaving New York"
posted by koeselitz at 1:59 PM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


New York sucks. (just because it upsets you all soooo much LOL).
posted by Merlin at 2:00 PM on March 13, 2007


But yes, Afroblanco, I should say: I do like Philly.
posted by koeselitz at 2:00 PM on March 13, 2007


I followed a miniskirt in a cab in traffic for 10 blocks, last time I was in London...seriously nice legs, when we finally got past her, she looked like Prince Charles from the front.

Chicks are hawter in New Yawk.
posted by sfts2 at 2:09 PM on March 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Every fucking city feels the same.
posted by elphTeq at 2:11 PM on March 13, 2007


We 'pretentious elitists' will be most evident and out-in-force this coming Saturday all over Boston. Woo-hoo green beer!
posted by ericb at 2:12 PM on March 13, 2007


cazoo: "you know what city is the worst? the shit hole called san francisco! fuck them!"

True story:

I was in San Francisco over this past New Year's. I like that city, although it's too expensive; the weirdness keeps me going. Anybody who thinks New York is 'diverse' should try Sand Francisco, or better yet LA, for a little while: there are New Yorkers who are a little strange, but not in the constant and frightening way that you meet weirdos in LA. That's something I love about California.

Anyhow, we were on the bus one night, and we struck up a conversation with an older woman next to us. Rather, she struck up a conversation with us: "watch out, young lady. There are a lot of weirdos here. You should stick with this young man here." We told her we were visiting from Colorado, and asked what it was like living in San Francisco. In return, we got a litany of complaints: the landlords are awful, the rent is far too high (which seems understandable), the people are all "a little funny," the weather doesn't make sense, the food costs too much, you can't find anybody who'll do a decent bit of work, everything is dirty, and the police don't do their jobs.

"Wow," I said. "It must have been hard to live here all your life."

"All my life? Oh, no. I moved here from New York eight years ago. Family's here, unfortunately."
posted by koeselitz at 2:12 PM on March 13, 2007


your city's separate-but-equal white and black ghettos.

"Milo, how old was that issue of LIFE?"

Those neighborhoods are pretty diverse now. Say "The North End" and "Mattapan"-- the former is all white (much like certain parts of Manhattan) and the latter is all non-white (much like some parts of New York's outer boroughs).
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:21 PM on March 13, 2007


You can test this easily: ask a New Yorker if theirs is the most important city in the world. . . . they'll sigh and give you a weak smile of pity, as though you've just asked if it might perhaps be possible that the earth revolves around the sun.

Actually, no. We would give you a blank stare, which is the same expression we use with people who talk about the microchip the CIA has implanted in their left buttock.
posted by jason's_planet at 2:22 PM on March 13, 2007


New York is more fun. Even Brits think so:

Its an English tradition
Find some money make some time
Get busy on your island
Slowly lose our minds in New York.
--Richard Ashcroft
posted by mattbucher at 2:23 PM on March 13, 2007


"[Deleted City Name] doesn't need to brag."

Confidential to drezdn:

This is "flyover country" - we don't exist. We like it that way. The less they know about us the better.
posted by MikeMc at 2:28 PM on March 13, 2007


Hmm - good conversation fodder for the London meetup on Friday, although I suspect the conversation will be just as anecdote-heavy and evidence-light...
posted by greycap at 2:31 PM on March 13, 2007


Back to the article:

And the reason for this is that foreigners in New York are, always, just that. The city treats even its long-term residents from abroad as visitors, welcomed on to the cocktail circuit, perhaps even to a share of a house in the Hamptons, but never to the power-broking tables at the Four Seasons.

This is stoooooooooo-pid. I mean, like, realllly ducking fumb.

How did this bonehead get published?

Mr. Harding, you do not know diddly-shit about my city. Please educate yourself about it before you venture to put pen to paper in the future.

TIA.
posted by jason's_planet at 2:31 PM on March 13, 2007


James Harding of the London Times thinks that London is fast eclipsing New York as the world's favourite city.

OK, I just polled the entire world and they said:
1. Shanghai
2. Mumbai
posted by mattbucher at 2:33 PM on March 13, 2007


There's really no compelling reason to live in the U.S. west of the Mississippi.

Unless you enjoy fresh air, that is. Or big trees. Or world-class views in every direction.
posted by owhydididoit at 2:36 PM on March 13, 2007


not a shred of the highest culture in any realm, be it art, be it literature, be it music, be it education in general, has emerged from New York in at least twenty or thirty years.

I suppose hip hop doesnt count as "highest culture".
posted by supercrayon at 2:37 PM on March 13, 2007



How did this bonehead get published?

He's an upper-class twit, i assume--he's speaking to his peers alone.

Poor Philly--people don't even care enough to hate it--they're even calling it the 6th Borough now. ; >
posted by amberglow at 2:38 PM on March 13, 2007


Oi! Bumpkins! Piss off!

This isn;t about you. We know you'll moan on about how rolling in dirt is better than living at civilisation at a drop of a hat, and it's really not terribly intersting.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on March 13, 2007


(hiphop's 30+ years old already, super)
posted by amberglow at 2:40 PM on March 13, 2007


Oi! Bumpkins! Piss off!
Oi! Jade Goody!
posted by amberglow at 2:44 PM on March 13, 2007


(hiphop's 30+ years old already, super)

Is it that old already? Fine then, my devastating point was all for naught.
posted by supercrayon at 2:49 PM on March 13, 2007


"Oi! Bumpkins! Piss off!

This isn;t about you. We know you'll moan on about how rolling in dirt is better than living at civilisation at a drop of a hat, and it's really not terribly intersting. "


If you're profile is correct this isn't about you either. Bumpkin.
posted by MikeMc at 2:51 PM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


You don't seem to bother paying much attention to what either of us are saying, so I guess we'll put this derail to rest. But sometime when you're more awake, you might read our exchange more carefully, and blush.

Actually I am, but I'm guessing you don't want to admit to the truth that (shock, awe!) you've lost an argument involving languages. My use of the "army and navy" quote was entirely appropriate when it comes to overcounting "languages," and I'm sorry you can't see that.

But, yes, fuck "The Hub" (of eastern Massachusetts).

Unless you enjoy fresh air, that is. Or big trees. Or world-class views in every direction.

Most of Florida, and even southern New Jersey, has the first two, without a doubt. Depending on what you mean by "world-class views," both places have all three.
posted by oaf at 2:55 PM on March 13, 2007


When I was in college I had friends who had this crazy apartment which was more of a place to party and play SNES hockey. They had a map of the world, and there were pins all over it in two colors, red and blue. Turns out, red was for places where visitors to said apartment had gotten laid. Blue was for acts of self-abuse.

This is where my brain goes when I think about geography. And London and NYC are both great, it's stupid to treat this as a zero-sum game.
posted by bardic at 2:55 PM on March 13, 2007


My use of the "army and navy" quote was entirely appropriate when it comes to overcounting "languages," and I'm sorry you can't see that.

All right, maybe I'm dumb today. Pretend you're talking to a fifth-grader and explain in simple language how a quote saying "a language is a dialect with an army and a fleet" applies to the statement "there are 700 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea."
posted by languagehat at 2:58 PM on March 13, 2007


hiphop's 30+ years old already, super

And officially part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last night -- Grandmaster Flash brings hip-hop to Rock Hall.
posted by ericb at 2:59 PM on March 13, 2007


Poor Philly--people don't even care enough to hate it--they're even calling it the 6th Borough now.

But they have good cheessteak.

Mayor, the point is that for all of Boston's posturing, it's history is as ugly as anyplace else.
posted by jonmc at 3:04 PM on March 13, 2007


Wait, I'm confused. Other than the argument about the army and the navy, were we supposed to be serious?
posted by dame at 3:05 PM on March 13, 2007


I certainly hope not.
posted by languagehat at 3:14 PM on March 13, 2007


What about Constantinople?
posted by Mister_A at 10:15 AM

That's nobody's business but the Turks'.
posted by evilcolonel at 3:20 PM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


explain

The count of 700 languages would be significantly lower if you didn't count those with a high degree of mutual intelligibility (like the various varities of English) as separate languages. 700 dialects? Sure. But languages? No, unless you're willing to say that English is several languages being mislabeled as one.
posted by oaf at 3:24 PM on March 13, 2007


Can't get decent BBQ in either city.
posted by Cyrano at 3:27 PM on March 13, 2007


Can't get decent BBQ in either city.

Actually, this place is pretty damn good, as is this place. This place probably doesn't count as bbq, but they do have the best damn pork loin you'll ever eat.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:35 PM on March 13, 2007


MikeMc - I'm from Laahndon you caant.

(Also I'm not activley arguing that actually Nowheresville in the state of nobody-gives-a-toss is superior to London or New York due it's superior cow tipping oportunities)
posted by Artw at 3:36 PM on March 13, 2007


oaf, I understand that. What I'm asking you to explain is how a quote which appears to imply that Papua New Guinea has no native languages can be used to explain the statement "there are 700 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea." The Weinreich quote has nothing to do with degrees of mutual intelligibility; it is purely a statement about terminology. I'm assuming you just tossed it into the mix without thinking too much about how exactly it applied; if that's the case, now might be a good time to step back from it. You really don't need to give me a lesson in dialectology.
posted by languagehat at 3:38 PM on March 13, 2007


oaf: what does that have to do with the "army and navy" quote? Are you saying that because there is no "army and navy" aspect to Papua New Guinea, there is therefore an overcounting, because if there was a central projection of power, then the language the power-wielders would speak would collapse the various "languages" into mere dialects because there is now a privileged language to reference all the "languages" cum dialects to?

The central aspect of the quote, as I understand it, is that some distinctions between language and dialect are erased merely by the fact that one group has power over the other. I don't necessarily see how that applies to PNG.
posted by Falconetti at 3:38 PM on March 13, 2007


oaf: what does that have to do with the "army and navy" quote? Are you saying that because there is no "army and navy" aspect to Papua New Guinea, there is therefore an overcounting, because if there was a central projection of power, then the language the power-wielders would speak would collapse the various "languages" into mere dialects because there is now a privileged language to reference all the "languages" cum dialects to?

The central aspect of the quote, as I understand it, is that some distinctions between language and dialect are erased merely by the fact that one group has power over the other. I don't necessarily see how that applies to PNG.
posted by Falconetti at 3:38 PM on March 13, 2007


is there an echo in here?
posted by Falconetti at 3:40 PM on March 13, 2007


FYI Brooklyn is only sort of New York City.
posted by four panels at 3:43 PM on March 13, 2007


Other than the argument about the army and the navy,

well, in the Navy you can protect the motherland, and join your fellow, man....
posted by jonmc at 3:50 PM on March 13, 2007


Despite trying to make out that NY is soooo different than the rest of the US, NYers have that very USian habit of absolutely having to be #1, no question about it. As this thread demonstrates :-)

Only the journalists in London care about it being better than anywhere else.

Gimme Bangkok, Amsterdam, Sydney, Brighton & Hove and SF.

But the Knicks better make that 8th place in the Eastern!
posted by i_cola at 4:01 PM on March 13, 2007


I'm from Laahndon you caant.

Chav.
posted by MikeMc at 4:03 PM on March 13, 2007


London is great, but then I do live there. I'm sure New York is nice too.

Milton Keynes is where the hating should be at.
posted by iso_bars at 4:09 PM on March 13, 2007


Why do the British give their cities and towns two to three word names, when one would do just fine?

But I'm betting Milton Keynes is the equivalent of Howard County, MD. God, what a shithole that place is.
posted by bardic at 4:11 PM on March 13, 2007


At least for business.

Seems to be true. I remember a recent article in "The Economist" and NYC was declining fast, the only area in finance where it was still #1 was Hedge fonds. I guess they included the Hedge Fonds in CT. Some of the reasons that were given:

* Tighter regulation of public companies (Enron wink wink) in the us

* Meetings are much easier held in London (Post 9/11)

* Rich people from the middle east moved their money from NYC to London.

Was was not mentioned: Night live has cooled a lot in NYC too.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 4:23 PM on March 13, 2007


You really don't need to give me a lesson in dialectology.

I don't need one, either.

The crux of that quote is that "language" versus "dialect" is, at least in everyday use, largely a political distinction.
posted by oaf at 4:53 PM on March 13, 2007


The weird thing is, London isn't even a proper city, like New York, or Minneapolis, or Calgary.
Instead, it's like a vast agglomeration of towns, all clumped together, and at the edges, it dissipates into patches of farmland and forest, which eventually predominate the further out you go; this farmland is then punctuated with other clumps of town that are just like bits of London, and then there's a thin strip of pebble beach or a chalk cliff, and the sea - that's England, more or less.
It really does have a special character - places like New York I consider 'cities', but London is something else, more like a vast town than a city
posted by Flashman at 5:06 PM on March 13, 2007


According to the 2000 census, Long Beach (CA) is the most ethnically diverse city in the country, although its population is a mere fraction of any borough in NYC, inclusive of Staten Island, which is sometimes referred to as a borough.
posted by clockzero at 4:36 PM EST on March 13

Big news to me. I grew up in Long Beach. My parents moved there in 1957 when it was little more than the Navy and lots of old (white) folks. My home movies taken when I was child frequently show me playing in public parks devoid of people. When I was 12 I went to Girl Scout camp and met my first black friend. I always wanted to follow her to the showers to see if her skin was black all over.

Now I live in Raleigh. Raleigh has 1 and 1/2 languages: English and indecipherable gibberish spoken by the country folk. Also we are very diverse here; we have people who are Bethal Baptist, First Baptist, Holy Baptist, and Holy Apostle Church of Fire Redemption.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:36 PM on March 13, 2007


Gimme Bangkok, Amsterdam, Sydney, Brighton & Hove and SF.
gimme Madrid, Montreal, Glasgow, Amsterdam, Cologne, maybe Tokyo, ... (but all after NY)
posted by amberglow at 5:54 PM on March 13, 2007


You guys are silly.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:02 PM on March 13, 2007


I blame the schools.
posted by jonmc at 7:12 PM on March 13, 2007


There was an article in the New Yorker recently about New York's supposed erosion as a financial center and the argument that it is because of Sarbanes-Oxley, which this article rejects.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:26 PM on March 13, 2007


I am shocked - shocked - that there hasn't been any Los Angeles hate in this thread.

drezdn, I just did my non-resident wisconsin taxes. Based on that hellish process plus the horror that is the office in Milwaukee that caused me to have these taxes, I forever hate Wisconsin. No offense, but I think the state should be walled off and turned into a prison.

And I grew up in North Dakota.
posted by flaterik at 8:50 PM on March 13, 2007


I am shocked - shocked - that there hasn't been any Los Angeles hate in this thread.

It's a post about cities.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:23 PM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey, it must be time for another Worthless Internet Opinion. OK, let me get ready. Whew. Here goes:

All cities suck unless you're some combination of rich, young, sensation-seeking and drunk. London sucks more than most. I've never been to New York, sadly, so I cannot comment on it with any authority. I suspect it sucks, too, if perhaps on a different hole.

There. Did I do it right?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:39 PM on March 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


unless you're willing to say that English is several languages being mislabeled as one

Someone's clearly never been to New York.

Or, for that matter, London.

I'm just sayin'...
posted by dersins at 1:23 AM on March 14, 2007


Why do the British give their cities and towns two to three word names, when one would do just fine?
But I'm betting Milton Keynes is the equivalent of Howard County, MD. God, what a shithole that place is.


Milton Keynes is of course named after the two greatest economists of the 20th Century, it's a new town and the name was supposed to capture the the desire for economic prosperity*. This has actually occurred to some extent, MK is pretty well off, lots of parks, low unemployment - it's key problem is a lack of character, largely stemming from its very newness.

Of course, I left as soon as I could.
posted by biffa at 1:45 AM on March 14, 2007


I lived in New York in my 20's. I lived in suburban London in my 40's. Can't make a realistic comparison. However, I do think London could do better. What's up with a mega-city that shuts down the subway at night? And seriously, if London is so great, why are the pavements/sidewalks so damn narrow? I'll accept the bar closing times and be a little (but only a little) forgiving on shop opening times.

And New York: Where is your glory, today? Why do most of the biggest shows now originate in London?! What's up with the fucking Republican mayors?

This Sarbanes-Oxley thing doesn't seem that terrible. I find it disturbing that corporations find it so onerous. Could it be that corporations find it that difficult to operate in the full light of day? How curiously vampiric.
posted by Goofyy at 1:50 AM on March 14, 2007


biffa: apparently (depending on your faith in Wikipedia) not.
posted by patricio at 3:13 AM on March 14, 2007


If it were named for Friedman and Keynes, it would be pronounced Milton Canes, since Keynes is 'Canes' not 'Keens' as commonly thought.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 3:49 AM on March 14, 2007


Wow. You New Yorkers are touchy.

So far I've lived in Helsinki and London. Moving to Madrid in 2 months. Of these, I love London the most. I am aware of its flaws, but love it nonetheless. I've only visited other countries/cities, which is never an indication of what it is actually like to live in a place. Maybe give New York a try next.

Also, Goofyy: I always complain about the fact that the roads in London are designed for narrow horses, not cars or people...
posted by slimepuppy at 4:15 AM on March 14, 2007


*I may have made up some facts about Milton Keynes.
posted by biffa at 4:21 AM on March 14, 2007


What's up with a mega-city that shuts down the subway at night?

They didn't build enough tracks, with the net result that they can't imperceptibly switch to parallel running tracks like they do in other cities when track checking is done. They do that every day so they shut down each night. It sucks mightily, especially since nobody in government has been able to do project management since about 1895 so it's never really going to get fixed.
posted by vbfg at 4:33 AM on March 14, 2007


I live in Beijing. So Beijing is better than all your shitty cities.

Plus, who needs public transit when mopeds are $100 and gas is subsidized? I can get from one end of this town to another in an hour despite the notorious traffic jams. Plus, I mean, intellectual center of China, cultural center of China, languages in the hundreds if you count the Chinese dialects, fantastic theatre scene, business opps out the ass, cost of living lower than Clear Lake, Minnesota (try looking that one up), almost cruelly good dining choices, hawt wimmins & mens (think Brazilian models by the dozen), bars routinely open all night, history up the ass, and better burgers & burritos than anywhere in the world (get yourself over here and try Lush and The Saddle if you don't believe me).

I ain't leaving.
posted by saysthis at 4:41 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


London the best city in the world. Only in the eyes of a SUN reader our BOOOOOYZE can do no wrong TYPE. I can hardly wait until 2012, and the rest of the world sees the mess. The Dome late and cost over runs, Wembley stadium the same,plus public transport is a joke. Suburbs full of Chav`s, waters shortage every summer.
posted by happybunny at 4:44 AM on March 14, 2007


They didn't build enough tracks, with the net result that they can't imperceptibly switch to parallel running tracks like they do in other cities when track checking is done.

Wait, what? They don't switch tracks in New York as far as I know (and I basing this on the fact that sometimes when they do have to do trackwork they shut down a line/make it run express/make it run on another line). But the line I live on only has two tracks and it runs 24-hours unless they are doing trackwork (ie, fixing shit, not "checking" it). Please to explain.
posted by dame at 6:30 AM on March 14, 2007


who needs public transit when mopeds are $100 and gas is subsidized?
Someone planning to stay alive in Beijing for more than six months? :D I ride my Forever bicycle with the plebs like a good citizen.
posted by Abiezer at 6:46 AM on March 14, 2007


Why do the British give their cities and towns two to three word names...?

You mean like calling some place 'London' instead of 'New York'?
posted by Phanx at 6:56 AM on March 14, 2007


But the line I live on only has two tracks and it runs 24-hours unless they are doing trackwork

It is possible to run a 24-hour service over two-track parts of the network, but it gets insanely difficult when almost every line is.
posted by cillit bang at 7:52 AM on March 14, 2007


Please to explain.

It was the explanation offered to me by a London resident at 2am whilst I was trying to kick down the doors of a tube station.
posted by vbfg at 7:58 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


saysthis, it seems business opportunities and history are in opposition with each other in Beijing.
posted by vbfg at 8:11 AM on March 14, 2007


It is possible to run a 24-hour service over two-track parts of the network, but it gets insanely difficult when almost every line is.

Oh, I see. Your subway sucks because we are smarter. Check.
posted by dame at 8:43 AM on March 14, 2007


Also, that still doesn't make sense. Nearly every local train is running on the same track all the time. (I imagine the expresses are too, but I can't prove that.) So what exactly is the percentage? And what is this "checking"?
posted by dame at 8:47 AM on March 14, 2007


No, our subway sucks becuase it's the first subway. TBH I'd still take it over NYs, it;s cleaner and nicer, with the understanding that if I party into the night my drunk ass needs to get a taxi.

Of course France and (probably) varfious parts of Asia totally have us beat on this.
posted by Artw at 8:50 AM on March 14, 2007


And what is this "checking"?

I took that to mean repairs and being aware of the need for repairs.
posted by vbfg at 9:03 AM on March 14, 2007


Explanation from the tube heads.
posted by vbfg at 9:05 AM on March 14, 2007


it;s cleaner and nicer

Cleaner yes. Nicer is to be debated. Our trains are bigger and less claustrophobic. And I'm pretty sure the Tube is lying to you, vbfg. Because many many lines do not have four tunnels. If they did, then nothing would ever be diverted for repairs. But it is. And in general, the trains go 24 hours. So I'm going with, "We don't do it because we can't figure it out, even though other people did."
posted by dame at 9:19 AM on March 14, 2007


Oh, I see. Your subway sucks because we are smarter. Check.

*has flashbacks from the last PC vs Mac thread*
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:29 AM on March 14, 2007


So I'm going with, "We don't do it because we can't figure it out, even though other people did."

I'd believe it. i think I mentioned above somewhere that we just can't do project management in the public sector anymore.

tbf, I live at the other end of the country and about five minutes walk from pretty much everywhere I want to be. It only really matters to me when I'm in London and it's dawning on me that the cost of a three mile taxi ride is roughly 50% of the value of my house.
posted by vbfg at 9:42 AM on March 14, 2007


Because many many lines do not have four tunnels. If they did, then nothing would ever be diverted for repairs.

Looking at the track maps here, there are enormous quantities of triple and quadruple track. It's also impossible to "divert" trains on the tube, since there are very few connections between lines, and almost none of them are usable in passenger service.
posted by cillit bang at 9:46 AM on March 14, 2007


For an underground train service that kicked off in 1863, I think London's doing pretty ok. But thanks for assuming the reason the underground isn't operating 24/7 is because we're stupid.

Though it does get insufferably hot, because there is no way to 'fix' it. And yes, when it fucks up, it fucks up royally.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:54 AM on March 14, 2007


Though it does get insufferably hot, because there is no way to 'fix' it. And yes, when it fucks up, it fucks up royally.

Insufferably hot is some classic English understatement.

Isn't fucking up royally the point of a constitutional monarchy?
posted by srboisvert at 10:49 AM on March 14, 2007


Taking Bite Out of Big Apple Hype Machine -- "NYC & Co.'s relentless hype confirms New York's reputation as the City of Grandiose, Bogus, and Misleading Claims."
posted by ericb at 11:06 AM on March 14, 2007


there are enormous quantities of triple and quadruple track

Are you talking about the express tracks? Because those are other trains, and yes, sometimes trains only run express because they are doing work on the local, but most of the time, all four are in use.

Also, less smart (or willing to do what I am sure is annoying juggling) doesn't mean stupid. But it is a bad explanation for not running twenty-four hours. And not having AC.
posted by dame at 4:05 PM on March 14, 2007


who needs public transit when mopeds are $100 and gas is subsidized?

the trees? the air?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:02 PM on March 14, 2007


drezdn, I just did my non-resident wisconsin taxes. Based on that hellish process plus the horror that is the office in Milwaukee that caused me to have these taxes, I forever hate Wisconsin. No offense, but I think the state should be walled off and turned into a prison.

Sure, between the taxes (my wife works in IL but lives here, a recipe for tax disaster), the swings between 70 degrees and 30, and the hobo uprising of 2006 it can be a tad trying, but if you turned it into a prison, the people from Illinois wouldn't be able to get to the dells.
posted by drezdn at 7:28 AM on March 15, 2007


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