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Old Posted Oct 29, 2019, 9:29 PM
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London - My Second Love

Spent a week in London, my second love, after my hometown of Philadelphia. What a city. This was my second time there, and it was still just as magical and mesmerizing as the first. It's breathtaking, charming, perfection. If you're a city advocate, and haven't been, then you're doing yourself a disservice.

Enough of my love letter to London; enjoy!











































































































































































































































































































































































































Thank you for visiting! Until next time
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Old Posted Oct 29, 2019, 11:04 PM
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Fantastic tour, thank you so much. You have a true eye for beauty and interest in every shot! You look like you've done most of the big names.

If ever you come for a third time lucky you must do, in no particular order, some new options for your delectation, if not already done:

1. Brick Lane market (Sunday)

2. Borough Market for food (touristy) or Maltby St Market not too far (also great food, much less touristy)

3. Greenwich, notably the view from the GMT/ Observatory hilltop

4. Regents Park/ Holland Park/ Battersea Park

5. Richmond riverside

6. Climb to the top of St Paul's Cathedral

7. Tate Modern

8. Natural History Museum (free, 80 million specimens - avoid school holidays and weekends)

9. V&A Museum (free, 4 million pieces of art)

10. walk the South Bank

11. Windsor Castle (daytrip, only worth it if the State Apartments are open, dont forget to check out the riverside and Eton village across the river)

12. Harrods (specifically the food halls)

13. Dishoom Indian restaurant

14. Westfield megamall (the one in the west @ Shepherds Bush) for people watching, and to see real Londoners at play from every level

15. Peckham's Bussey building and Peckham Levels

16. Canary Wharf and Wood Wharf

Also do carry on exploring Chelsea (London's de facto Old Town), St James' (where the old money hangs out) and The City, where old meets new.
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  #3  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2019, 1:06 AM
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Great photos of a great city. I loved my time there!
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2019, 12:37 PM
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THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD!

Your photos are spectacular.
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2019, 2:14 PM
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I love London... One thing that has always struck me about it though, it that it's not a place of harmony. The historic buildings seem to have been designed as individual units with no thought to their neighbors, with each building trying to impress, dominate, and intimidate on its own, with the end result being that the old city had a sort of scowling grandeur. I can only imagine how much more pronounced that aspect of things was back when the entire city was coated in a black layer of coal smoke grime. Meanwhile the newer buildings were, one, designed by the thousands at the nadir of urban design in the 1950's and 1960's, and, two, designed not to merely clash with each other and their historic counterparts, but to openly brawl with them. The trend toward novelty architecture, such as with that one building that looks like a giant walkie-talkie, only exacerbated that aspect of things. The total result of it all, to me, is that London is vibrant, refreshing, vital... but God almighty is it ugly.

But, oh, how I do love her so...
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Old Posted Oct 30, 2019, 7:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hauntedheadnc View Post
The historic buildings seem to have been designed as individual units with no thought to their neighbors, with each building trying to impress, dominate, and intimidate on its own, with the end result being that the old city had a sort of scowling grandeur.
That's what we call "émulation" here.
Definition:

Effort to match or surpass a person or achievement, typically by imitation.

Given current crappy human mindset, many of us (including myself, but only to some extent) think that it is the most effective way to achieve any progress.
It doesn't always work, though. The outcome may be more or less chaotic, lacking consistency indeed.

Sometimes, people just need to be reminded that other people around them are basically the same, except of course for many little details that should only be regarded as cool and useful particular traits, instead of raising useless pathetic jealousy between them all.
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Old Posted Nov 2, 2019, 6:14 AM
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Originally Posted by hauntedheadnc View Post
I love London... One thing that has always struck me about it though, it that it's not a place of harmony. The historic buildings seem to have been designed as individual units with no thought to their neighbors, with each building trying to impress, dominate, and intimidate on its own, with the end result being that the old city had a sort of scowling grandeur. I can only imagine how much more pronounced that aspect of things was back when the entire city was coated in a black layer of coal smoke grime. Meanwhile the newer buildings were, one, designed by the thousands at the nadir of urban design in the 1950's and 1960's, and, two, designed not to merely clash with each other and their historic counterparts, but to openly brawl with them. The trend toward novelty architecture, such as with that one building that looks like a giant walkie-talkie, only exacerbated that aspect of things. The total result of it all, to me, is that London is vibrant, refreshing, vital... but God almighty is it ugly.

But, oh, how I do love her so...
Hey cmaawn that isn't ugly in my book. The jostling of styles to outdo one another makes for such a tapestry everywhere, and so much attention is paid to the public realm in fitting in the space, from the elevations and colours of the materials to blend in or beautifully offset (even though the styles are different), and the retro fitting of the public spaces to marry the built realm, from the choice of trees (such as birch with black and white stucco for example) to the recent creation of thousands of squares, oases and courtyards between buildings.




For example: a newish style building offsets the older neighbour but blends in - note the employ of elevation and striation:


www.dsdha.co.uk


another insert marries two very different styles:


www.theconstructionindex.co.uk


while another new build had to stipulate a neoclassical style to define the famous art deco neighbour next door (the flagship Waterstones store):


www.intbau.org

and another does the opposite (they also added an extra floor to the old building on the right to marry the elevations).


www.mecserve.com



https://assets.savills.com


^all of those examples are on the same street.

Look again at the OP's pics and you'll see there is planning and intent and collaboration in the plonking of new styles into the fabric.
This is what makes building in London such a nightmare for developers - the absolute gamut of the heritage societies, community groups and design councils.

This was infamously built last year and despite its high spec design and expense, it won the Carbuncle Cup as the country's worst new building for its insensitivity. I rather like the contrast that you do see dotted around but the contemporary architectural community thinks otherwise (Thankyou summersm343):



Personally I love the juxtaposition of new and old, especially in The City financial district, ruled by Peter Rees' design council that protects the heritage but aso ensures the new builds are as striking a contrast as they can make it, in contrast to West London rules, but keeping to strict regulations on interplaying with the street:









It's the winning card by the financial district to redefine itself like no other.


Across from The City is Southwark, which doesn't fall under Rees administration, and has come under criticism. Much like across the river there's a use of contrast - but the lack of cohesion with the surrounding streets at ground llevel has drawn much criticism:





^In The City the developers would have had to interplay a new courtyard and public space with the street, and bottom floors be stuffed with shops and access.

Such as so, where the lobby has been entirey replaced with escalators leading to shops and an indoor market:


Last edited by muppet; Nov 3, 2019 at 2:13 PM.
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Old Posted Nov 2, 2019, 7:03 AM
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Anyhoo the centre has very much dolled up now and prettified - from as you mention the bleak blackscapes of centuries of coal grime that was extant into the 80s - but to the point it's driven out much local life. It's becoming too manicured imo. When they cleaned up St Pauls Cathedral (a painstaking 20 year process) to reveal the gleaming cream stone the heritage societies were up in arms that they'd wiped off centuries of history and the 'beautiful' smoky colour of times.


This is a better example. The originally yellow bricks have been stained black by the soot, but kept that way. In other neighbourhoods they would have been cleaned or painted white or stucco'd over by now, but here they just repainted the bottoms and lintels to offset it, and make the history part of the visual fabric:


ttps://upload.wikimedia.org

I think in short London is very pluralistic in ethos, very interesting - almost too much sometimes. But it's not ugly.

Last edited by muppet; Nov 2, 2019 at 7:59 AM.
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  #9  
Old Posted Nov 3, 2019, 4:07 PM
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Originally Posted by muppet View Post
But it's not ugly.
I guess it's not... It makes me thinking of my annoying mom who likes it a lot, lol.
Whenever I get tired and shout - they all know it's not as pretty as Paris. We are just better!
She replies - wut? don't say that, you little idiot. It's only different.
She's probably got it.
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Old Posted Nov 3, 2019, 10:14 PM
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Absolutely stunning thread on an amazing city, perhaps THE city of the world.
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Old Posted Nov 4, 2019, 2:36 AM
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Wonderful! I was there a year ago for the first time after listening to my wife bug me for 14 years trying to get me to go (she lived there for a time). Such a great city for so many reasons. Less pretentious than Paris, less museum like than Roma, more comfortable than Berlin (just my opinions). Totally livable and yet mega-scale at the same time. I'd go back any time (a good friend of mine who lives there is trying to get me to move there, but it's difficult for a variety of reasons).
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Old Posted Nov 4, 2019, 5:24 AM
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Oh, here is London
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You are repressed
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Is it real?



Great tour!
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Old Posted Nov 4, 2019, 7:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hauntedheadnc View Post
I love London... One thing that has always struck me about it though, it that it's not a place of harmony. The historic buildings seem to have been designed as individual units with no thought to their neighbors, with each building trying to impress, dominate, and intimidate on its own, with the end result being that the old city had a sort of scowling grandeur. I can only imagine how much more pronounced that aspect of things was back when the entire city was coated in a black layer of coal smoke grime. Meanwhile the newer buildings were, one, designed by the thousands at the nadir of urban design in the 1950's and 1960's, and, two, designed not to merely clash with each other and their historic counterparts, but to openly brawl with them. The trend toward novelty architecture, such as with that one building that looks like a giant walkie-talkie, only exacerbated that aspect of things. The total result of it all, to me, is that London is vibrant, refreshing, vital... but God almighty is it ugly.

But, oh, how I do love her so...
I’d say that is generally the case in much of heavily-touristed “central London”, yes. With due respect to this forum’s own Steely Dan and his love of Brutalist architecture, you’ve gone a lot of stuff like the Barbican Centre which is just truly, irredeemably ugly.

But I’d make two points:

1) There are some really beautiful neighborhoods outside of the centre, and that’s where London lives for the most part. Not just in the way that most New Yorkers also live outside of Manhattan, but that most of “London life” also takes place outside of central London*. It is much less centralized than an American city, even one with the size and diverse neighborhoods of New York, and yeah the center has been built and rebuilt for 2,000 years in a completely ad hoc manner so there is no harmony. And yeah, WW2 bombing was not helpful.

2) Further to this, London wasn’t built or rebuilt at one point in time, let alone by one authority (a la Napoleon III’s Paris). There are only a few places in the center that were built (and maintained) with this sort of uniformity in mind, like Regent Street. Instead, even in the first ring of neighborhoods around the center (think Zone 1 on tube but not Congestion charging zone for cars), individual streets or squares were designed by whatever architect was hired by the aristocratic landowner who chose to develop those several acres from their estate.

Examples:
Holland Park - https://goo.gl/maps/Up8mhyeU2QB2YZ7f7
Onslow Gardens - https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4910...1goA9etbCg!2e0
Cadogan Square - https://goo.gl/maps/xyNwLSgVU2LDdrAUA
Queens Gate - https://www.google.com/maps/@51.4986...WCl7U7o-pA!2e0
Canonbury Square - https://goo.gl/maps/HXYZAHkmReqbiWJX8
Jesus Green - https://goo.gl/maps/YJCY79hgrsLcbHxV9

There are lots and lots of streets and squares where the architecture hangs together, but they will still be completely different from the one around the corner because of the patchwork way that the city developed. But it’s kind of nice to stumble on a new, different looking architectural set piece every couple of minutes as you walk around. You’ll actually get larger consistent neighborhoods farther out, because as you got toward the later parts of the Victorian period people were developing larger chunks of terraced housing at once (although it’s not as nice).

Lastly, the main commercial streets tend to be uglier, as well as choked with buses and crowded with tourists. Locals tend to avoid walking down them, and instead weave through the city using small side streets.


* I.e., not even the 20- and 30-somethings with high-paying jobs live anywhere near tourist traps like Trafalgar Square, or in Soho, or in the City, or even for the most part in Fitzrovia or Farringdon, whereas in NYC they are in Manhattan or now maybe prime Brooklyn without exception.
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Old Posted Nov 4, 2019, 7:20 PM
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Old Posted Nov 4, 2019, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
I guess it's not... It makes me thinking of my annoying mom who likes it a lot, lol.
Whenever I get tired and shout - they all know it's not as pretty as Paris. We are just better!
She replies - wut? don't say that, you little idiot. It's only different.
She's probably got it.
Paris is more beautiful as a whole, but London has stunningly beautiful pockets.

There’s a photographer on Instagram named Skye O’Neill that has a lot of good examples.
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2019, 10:12 PM
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Thank you for the comments and compliments all! Glad you enjoyed
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Old Posted Nov 5, 2019, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by muppet View Post
Fantastic tour, thank you so much. You have a true eye for beauty and interest in every shot! You look like you've done most of the big names.

If ever you come for a third time lucky you must do, in no particular order, some new options for your delectation, if not already done:

1. Brick Lane market (Sunday)

2. Borough Market for food (touristy) or Maltby St Market not too far (also great food, much less touristy)

3. Greenwich, notably the view from the GMT/ Observatory hilltop

4. Regents Park/ Holland Park/ Battersea Park

5. Richmond riverside

6. Climb to the top of St Paul's Cathedral

7. Tate Modern

8. Natural History Museum (free, 80 million specimens - avoid school holidays and weekends)

9. V&A Museum (free, 4 million pieces of art)

10. walk the South Bank

11. Windsor Castle (daytrip, only worth it if the State Apartments are open, dont forget to check out the riverside and Eton village across the river)

12. Harrods (specifically the food halls)

13. Dishoom Indian restaurant

14. Westfield megamall (the one in the west @ Shepherds Bush) for people watching, and to see real Londoners at play from every level

15. Peckham's Bussey building and Peckham Levels

16. Canary Wharf and Wood Wharf

Also do carry on exploring Chelsea (London's de facto Old Town), St James' (where the old money hangs out) and The City, where old meets new.
Hey! We absolutely plan on coming back for a third time one day. My response are below:

1. We actually did go in both Brick Lane Market and Spitalfields Market this trip

2. We went to Borough Market both trips. Did not go to Maltby Street Market though. Will absolutely have to check that out next time.

3. We didn't get to Greenwich either time unfortunately, but absolutely plan on going next time.

4. We made it to Regent's Park the first time, but not this trip. We did not make it to Holland Park or Battersea Park either trip. Both look incredible - will definitely have to visit both next time.

5. Richmond Riverside looks awesome as well... will have to check that out too.

6. We went inside St. Paul's both times, but didn't get the chance to climb to the top. Will absolutely do so next time.

7. Didn't go to Tate Modern either time. Neither of us are not too into Art Museums. More into the history and Natural/Science Museums... although the British Museum and V&A are incredible.

8. Went to the Natural History Museum our first trip.

9. Went to the V&A both trips.

10. We walked the South Bank our first trip from the Westminster Bridge to the Tower Bridge. This trip, we walked the South Bank from the Blackfriars Bridge to the Tower Bridge. Do you suggest walking more of the South Bank?

11. Absolutely want to check out Windsor Castle.

12. Harrods - we went to Harrods both time. We're both pretty into fashion - but my fiance is a huge fashion buff

13. Will definitely check out Dishoom

14. Westfield looks intense. Will have to check that out for sure. Although - we prefer the High Street shopping feel over a mall

15. That looks pretty cool, and I heard Peckham was a pretty hip, "up-and-coming" neighborhood. Is that true?

16. Would love to go to Canary Wharf - next time for sure!
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Old Posted Nov 6, 2019, 10:03 AM
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wow you guys are aficionados! Looks like you've seen the big sights and the more secret sights too, inc South Bank!

Do check out Tate even if you don't like the exhibits - the architecture, atmosphere and people watching is often much more interesting than the art which is a fun sideshow in itself (try and find the worst piece you can, and the best, most pretentious one to put by your chaise longue at the after party - it may be the same - plus the one you genuinely like).


https://static.independent.co.uk


Unlike the other hotspots Peckham is not obviously hipster when you arrive, it feels 'real' aka sketchy and poor (though it isn't), with a super-interesting vibe of South London chav, African markets, thrift stores, indentured artists, Euro tourists, Euro immigrants, and in-yer-face Jamaican bounce. One of the pleasures is actually trying to find the buildings (Bussey and Levels) and the kooky way through alleyways and carparks. Also a big amount of high end foodie stuff going on, and cinema for a fiver. Don't expect it to be as obvious as Brick Lane market or manicured like Hoxton, and definitely weekends> weekdays.





The other big parks are Hampstead Heath (prettiness and views) and Richmond Park (wilderness with deer) which are HUGE spaces.


www.telegraph.co.uk


Oh and Kew Gardens for the world's best, and the latest UNESCO Word Heritage Site.


https://secretldn.com



It sounds like you've done so much it'll be time to head out again, into the metro.

Daytrippers - hire a car and head for Cotswolds for quintessential pretty England, inundated with other daytrippers


www.telegraph.co.uk


Oxford (genuinely working town despite the droves) over Cambridge (utterly given over to plugging the tourist).


www.adventureballoons.co.uk

If you visit in warmer climes, Brighton - head for the Lanes medieval warren of alleyways, and North Laine (unconnected), an area of everything kooky and leftfield. The beach is pebbly and a vast show of the great unwashed here to take their first dip. A bit like Vegas by sea where everyone loses. Try not to take photos of the freaks. Kemptown (aka Camp town is the gay high street for older queers with spin-offs in the sidestreets).




Margate is the smaller, sketchier, hipper, artsier, tackier, tongue-n-cheek-tackier version


www.telegraph.co.uk

Last edited by muppet; Nov 6, 2019 at 7:06 PM.
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  #19  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2019, 3:19 PM
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Thank you for the comments and compliments all! Glad you enjoyed

definitely go see my buddy chef fergus at st. john next time.

https://stjohnrestaurant.com/product...-tail-eating-1
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Old Posted Nov 7, 2019, 12:40 AM
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That was a stunning tour Summers! Thanks for sharing.
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