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New York’s mammoth skyscrapers, the bright lights of Broadway and the wealthy Upper East Side have often made the US city feel light years ahead of London. When Fashion Week shows happen in London, Paris, Milan and New York twice a year, the festivities in the latter city always seem to shout the loudest.
The late American writer and poet Dorothy Parker once wrote: “London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it.” Or, as Madonna sung in her 2005 hit “I Love New York”: “I don’t like cities. But I like New York. Other places make me feel like a dork.”
But, could it be that New York is now falling out of favour with the fashion world? Former Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter has left New York and is trialling living in London as he considers a more permanent move, stating that the British city is “more glamorous” than the Big Apple.
“London has both energy and civility. New York still has energy but less civility,” he toldThe Times in a new interview. “I know you all think it’s dirty but I would eat off the streets here [in London] compared with New York, which is just filthy. This city is now more glamorous.”
Carter would know, too. The Canadian journalist, who served as the editor of Vanity Fair from 1992 until 2017, has dined and set up some of Manhattan’s buzziest restaurants. In 2019, he co-launched a weekly newsletter with Alessandra Stanley called Air Mail, which is aimed at “worldly cosmopolitans”
“Until the 1970s everything was boiled, but now London and New York are the greatest food cities in the world, particularly London,” Carter continued. “[London has] the best of French, Italian, American; London even has some of the greatest burgers now.”
Carter says that attitude towards partying in London is better than it is in New York, too.
“[Londoners are] more relaxed and less formal, weirdly,” he said. “No one seems to wear leather shoes any more, but sneakers. You party longer and know how to have fun.”
The political climate in the US has also been a determining factor behind Carter’s decision to embark on a one-month trial of living in the UK.
“My wife and I wouldn’t like to live in New York. You’d be shocked how many Americans are thinking of leaving. My wife is British. We want to live in Chelsea, which is like a Richard Curtis movie come to life,” he said.
Of American politics, he told the publication: “Trump was always excessively vulgar. America is becoming more like Vegas. Trump has ensured that with cheap surfaceless, meaningless values.”
However, Graydon said that he could be put off coming to the UK if Boris Johnson ever became prime minister again.
“I wouldn’t mind a Labour government. Keir [Starmer] is a lawyer, but boring and competent is fine. But I wouldn’t move here if Boris Johnson was prime minister, he’s just as bad as Trump.”