It’s best to be upfront about these things. A colleague of mine at The Times, James Harding, recently praised London as "the coolest city on earth." "The world loves a long weekend in New York," he wrote, "but these days prefers to make its home in London." He cited London’s pre-eminence as a modern financial centre, and it is impossible to deny the figures that support this: in 2001, the US accounted for 57 per cent of all stock market flotations over $1bn; by 2006, that figure had fallen to 16 per cent—and risen from 33 to 63 per cent in Europe. Hoorah for London! As a New Yorker at The Times, I was unsurprised to be asked to join in the chorus of praise, in print, and I was happy to do so. I’ve lived in London for 15 years, and every word of what I wrote was true. I love London. I love St Paul’s, Borough market and the tunnel under the river to Greenwich. I love getting on a train and being in Paris a few hours later. I love the sense I have of a city that’s culturally unjudgemental; yes, there is fashion in culture but fashion is not all, the way you sometimes feel it is in New York.
But then I try to take the tube, and I am not so sure.