Published on January 24, 2011 | by Francy0
London: the city of envy
Seven cities for seven deadly sins. London: the envy
Envy is a feeling, as well as one of the seven deadly sins, which is felt against someone who has something you do not have. It is direct, when you want what the other has, whereas it is indirect, when you would want others to lose what he has.
London takes ordinary mortals to envy, a terrible, furious and absolutely direct envy. Because nobody wants that London was not as it is, but anyone wants to have what London has got. And that is … everything!
What is missing in London? The Coliseum? The arch of triumph? The Parthenon? The Brandenburg Gate? La Rambla? The sympathy of the Neapolitans, the resourcefulness of the Milaneses, the pride of Paris, the pride of the Germans, the precision of the Swiss?
London responds to this with a whole series of “assets” (today we say so) that make it envy from every corner of the globe. London is history, culture and business. It is fun, integration, architecture. It is a jumble of ideas and moods. It is serious, sad, mad. It is closed in itself, but universal. It is tolerant, but homophobic and chauvinistic. It is cradle of feminism and autarchy. It is gay, black, Jewish, blonde, Arabic, Chinese, Catholic, Muslim, Protestant. It is green, chaotic, polluted.
It gives job opportunities and subsidies. And above all … it is a clothing store, opened at 3 am (the one in Europe), and for a few euros, it is a shirt with the face of Bob Marley.
London means multi-ethnic cuisine
The metropolitan area of London has over 12 million inhabitants, the proper city about 7.5 million. It is the most populated city in the European Union and more than 300 languages are spoken here. The white ethnic group covers an area ranging from “white British” to “white Asian”, namely from Trafalgar Square, going to Ireland to get to Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Arabian Peninsula. The black ethnic group, as well as being Britain’s third generation now, passes from Africa to the Caribbean for more than 30% of the population.
The shades of yellow are innumerable. And all this is reflected in one of the essential elements that make very interesting tourist’s life in London: the cuisine.
To enjoy Chinese cuisine, it is not necessary to get into the city’s Chinatown in Westminster: the China Boulevard is on the bank of the river on Smugglers Way (Wandsworth district) and the very fine Hakkasan is in Soho, one of the “worst” London’s neighborhoods.
It is not essential, although it is very suggestive, go to Brick Lane, in the heart of Shoreditch, to eat Indian: at Sakonis, on Ealing Road (Wembley), you can enjoy the Gujrati and the Chinese-Indian admixtures; while at Sagar, on King Street, you can enjoy the vegetarian cuisine of South India.
London means parks and traffic
Few cities can boast so many parks within their “walls”. London has even nine. What envy!!! They are the Royal Parks, the ex game reserve of the nobility, now green spaces open to the public: in the West End there are Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and St James’s Park; in the north of London there are Regent’s Park, Bushy Park; at the periphery, Richmond Park and Greenwich Park; and, finally, Brompton Cemetery near Chelsea. But it is not over, because in addition to private gardens (often open to the public) that are still oxygen in the city, there are other parks in the little more peripheral areas such as Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common, Epping Forest and Trent Park.
But if the green and the clean air is not for you, this is not a problem. One afternoon in Piccadilly and your lungs will feel refreshed and finally will not feel any envy for French boulevard or seven lanes boulevards of Athens. A several number of cars, bus and so on, arrive into Piccadilly from four main arteries of the city: Regent, Haymarket Piccadilly and Shaftesbury.
Or even try parking in Kilburn High Road, one of the largest and busiest streets in London, is also an enviable experience. In addition to the residences and the myriad of shops, restaurants and cafes, there are the various mega stores such as Sainsburys, food and basic necessities, Primark, with its inexpensive clothing, and Argos, everything except the clothes!
London means museums and bazaars
Why being envious?
The British Museum, on Great Russell Street, is one of the great, important, fascinating, well made and rich history museums in the world. The British Museum has more than six million objects reflecting the history of mankind, from its origins to the present age.
The Tate Gallery or the Tate Modern, in Bankside, is visited by 4 million people each year: it has artwork of Boccioni, Cézanne, Dalí, De Chirico, Magritte, Matisse, Miro, Modigliani, Picasso, Van Gogh, Warhol, Kandinsky. Why being envious???
The Natural History Museum, in Kensington, is situated near Victoria and Albert Museum and present to the public about 70 millions specimens of botany, mineralogy, paleontology, entomology and zoology. And, moreover, entry is free, why being envious ???????
Fed up with culture and museums?
No problem. That envy could be with you in the markets of London …
Dover Street Market, in the namesake street, is super-trendy clothing market. Camden Market, between the metro stops of Camden Town and Chalk Farm, boast craft products, a jewellery, clothes and artworks. Columbia Road Flower Market, near Shoreditch, is the flower market (every Sunday). Brixton Market, between Brixton Station Road and Atlantic Road, is food, clothing and multi-ethnic market.
Brick Lane, between Cheshire and Sclater Street, is a Sunday morning poor market of clothing and books, just in the heart of Indian district.
Portobello, on Portobello Road… is the Market, with a capital M.
Bermondsey Market, on Bermondsey Square, has antiques and rare books. Old Spitalfields Market, near the City, has biological products on Sunday and young designers exhibitions on Thursday. Covent Garden, on the homonym square, antiques on Monday and handicrafts, souvenirs and shopping in the other days. Greenwich, between Stockwell Street and Greenwich High Road: Saturday and Sunday, flea and collectors markets. Petticoat Lane, between Middlesex Street and Wentworth, every day, leather garments and clothing.
Not enough? No envy for a city like this?
All that remains is to toast
Lift up your glasses for a city that looks like this, offering everything a tourist and a citizen is willing, that has within its-self a thousand worlds and a thousand cultures. But also toasting make us envious! Yes, because London (along with all the British) with a consumption of 40 million bottles of Champagne per year … is the largest consumer in the world. ENVY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Photo of the London Eye by raindog