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A stunning city, but so coldly sterile

By Andrew Pollack on 10/29/2003 at 02:23 PM GDT

Some thoughts about London...

First, its an amazing city. It works well. You can get anywhere, things are where you need them, and it sure does reward taking a long walk. No matter where you go there is art, there are parks, the buildings are amazing, the history is palpable.

On the other hand, in no city in the world have I ever felt so distant from the humanity of the city. Particularly late at night when I'm waiting for a train to get where I need to go, I feel like a small cog in a large and apathetic machine. Its draining to say the least.

The local culture seems to bear this feeling out. Advertisements for all sorts of things that will help relieve "that tired feeling" are commonplace. It seems as though everyone feels this and considers it normal.

I can't wait to get back to Maine.

There are  - loading -  comments....

You need to spend more time in the pubs...By David Bailey on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
You're reaction to London is certainly different than mine. London was great the first time I visited and it's gotten better with each return.
Where are you staying the West End?By Carl Tyler on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
I don't think soBy Bruce Elgort on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
I have visited London many times on business and never got the feeling that you describe. Maybe because London wether is similar to Portland, OR weather. Also, maybe they are also happy that you are back in Maine :-). On another note your blog colors look like "Lotus Notes". Also, all of the links and referrers are centered in the blocks wich makes them hard to read for a blind person like myself. Cheers.
re: where are you staying...By Andrew Pollack on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
I was staying initially at the Marriott County Hall, which was very nice. I then moved to the Hilton Olympia (Kensington) which was not. (I blogged that too). I know lots of people like it there. I really enjoy London most of the time, but I do find it more sterile than other cities. Guess its just me.
By Ben Langhinrichs on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
I find it more so now than in early 80's when I first visited. Maybe it was staying at "American" hotels, but London seems less connected than it did before. Still a wonderful place in setup, but I think I know what you mean.
Fair commentBy Ben Poole on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
I've grown up living some 60km from London, and whilst I love London, that distance suits me. I work there, enjoy the city, but also enjoy leaving it. I find some parts of the west end VERY sterile, so can agree with you there. Overall though, it's an amazing city, and I second the comment re pubs: THAT'S where it's at for warmth ;-) (Towns outside of London are even better for that).
To a tee..By QuickClix on 06/23/2004 at 11:21 AM EDT
That sounds like London to me.. 5 days a week is enough for me.. but when I have the pleasure of some weekend overtime.. its a different city. The weekends are always more friendly and fun.. pity we have to work during the week I reckon we could do a 24/7 weekend atmosphere given the chance. My pet hate Trains and Tubes even run better on the weekend !!

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