NYC Vs. London: Whose Side Are You On, Anyway?

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Back in January, journalists Sara Lieberman and Ellie O’Mahoney pulled a Holiday and swapped jobs and cities: Ellie traded London for New York to edit the Sunday features section of the New York Post, while Sara left the Big Apple for Blighty to edit the lifestyle pages of Fabulous magazine.

Prior to their big-pond jump, the pair became friends from afar and decided to document their experience by launching the blog New Girls About Towns. For the past three months, they’ve amassed a loyal following, delivering daily musings on everything from a new talk-of-the-town singing taxi driver in NYC, to the fuss over fish ‘n’ chips in London.

As their time abroad comes to an end, the two declare who’s bigger and badder when it comes to creature comforts: Ben or the Apple.

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Public Transport: The Tube vs. The Subway
There’s no comparison. It may be the oldest underground train system in the world, but the Tube is certainly the more advanced. Take, for example, if you accidentally swipe in at the wrong NYC subway entrance. You'll need to go out, head upstairs to the street, cross an invariably busy road, descend another set of stairs, and pay a new fare — in the same station, but via a different entrance.

In the Tube, turnstiles are not only designated for entry or exit only (eliminating that awkward commuter-rush-get-out-of-my-way-dance many New Yorkers experience pre/post swipe), but if you realize you’re on, say the northbound track and need to go south, you can cross over without leaving the station. Simple. Plus, they use cleverly branded, touch-and-go "Oyster" cards (i.e. the city is your you-know-what) which also avoid the “swipe again at this turnstile” alert.
Winning City: London

Pizza
In London, they don’t do pizza by the slice, so it’s hard to do a, ahem, tomato-tomahto comparison. There is PizzaExpress, but personalized pies and truffle toppings do not a real pizza make. Plain and simple, a slice from a place like Joe’s on Carmine, where the sauce-to-cheese ratio is even, and the perfectly crunchy crust is best dipped in Coke at 2 a.m., is how it should be done. One slice is a snack. Two is a meal. Three is inevitable.
Winning City: New York

Manicures
In New York, you can’t walk a city block without hitting a nail salon. They’re more ubiquitous than Starbucks. However, for a decent treatment in London, you’re better off going big (Liberty’s, Cowshed, etc.) or just flying across the pond for NYC as anything else is slim pickings.

Lack of options aside, London also loses the biting-nail battle not only because of its exuberant prices, but for all the different annoying "levels" of manicures one has to choose from: an express, £15/$18 (file and polish); a spa, £18/$23 (file, polish, cuticle cut); a deluxe, £25/$38 (file, polish, cuticle cut, massage). Plus, a gel/shellac adds at least £10/$15 to each of these prices. Somehow, London spas manage to complicate what should be a stress-free, indulgent treat. In NYC, you walk into a salon, pick a color, and leave 40-minutes later, buffed, massaged, polished and possibly massaged again (if you’re lucky to have a place with dryers), all for under $14.
Winning City: New York

Photo: Courtesy of New Girls About Towns
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Football
Neither of us understand American football. (And one of us was a cheerleader in high school — guess which one!) First down? Interference? Three-point conversion? Totally over our heads.
While we’ve both watched the Super Bowl, we’re way more interested in the halftime show and the commercials. So, if we’re judging this one based solely on sport, Brit-speak football wins hands down. It’s easy to understand, the players are hot (hello, Beckham!), and the league gets the whole world involved. Brazil 2014, anyone?
Winning City: London

Shopping
This is a tough one. And it has the potential to ignite feuds on all sides of the pond. London’s High Street shops — from Top Shop and River Island to Cos and Whistles — are undeniable for their (relatively) affordable takes on runway trends. And the behemoth that is Selfridges is a veritable amusement park for fashion fanatics and ladies who lunch alike. (Right now, they’ve turned their shoe department into a “carnival,” complete with cotton candy.)

But NYC has the three Bs: Bendel’s, Barney’s, and Bergdorf’s. Not to mention a host of independently-owned boutiques lining quaint city blocks — from Bedford and Bleecker to Spring and Stanton. In NYC, you do fur; in London, it’s faux. In the Big Apple, they’re pumps; in Blighty, they’re courts. But since both of us miss our respective go-tos, there’s no way to declare a winner here.
Winning City: It's a draw.

Ellie O'Mahoney is Associate Editor at the award-winning Fabulous magazine, which comes free with The Sun on Sundays. Over the past 10 years, she's worked at Marie Claire, ES magazine, and Good Housekeeping, mostly covering lifestyle. When not on the job, she's either singing in her Glee-style choir or coo-ing up to one of her new twin nieces. Follow her on Twitter @ellieomahoney.

Sara Lieberman has edited entertainment and lifestyle features for the past 10 years, starting in print at Bob Guccione Jr.'s men's mag, Gear, and then moving to digital at Alloy.com and Seventeen, and back to print again at The Post and Page Six Magazine. Following her job swap, she will pursue a freelance career with a focus on travel, food, and fashion. In her spare time, she's either getting her passport stamped somewhere exotic or relishing in pigeon pose in yoga. Follow her tweeting @saraglieberman


Photo: Courtesy of New Girls About Towns