What’s your historical London and New York connection?
I’m equally proud to be British, a Londoner and a New Yorker. I first visited New York in the early 2000’s and fell in love just looking at the city from the plane window. I was hooked before we landed. I’ve traveled regularly between the two cities since we started running Glasshouse New York meetups in 2006 and have lived and worked properly between London and New York over the last three years. My aim is to spend two weeks a month in each city, although recently I’ve been making the transition between the two on an almost weekly basis.
Describe your experience in New York as a Londoner.
I have a complete and utter love affair with New York and hope that I get to spend time there until I am a doddery old lady. I love the positivity and the pace of New York. It is a city where some of the most upbeat, talented and positive people head to to make something of their life. I was lucky enough to feel welcomed with open arms both by local New Yorkers and by Brits who’d already made the move. As is the same in London, many New Yorkers didn’t grow up in the city and they remember what it was like when they first arrived. As a result, I was struck by just how many people went out of their way to welcome me to the city.
For a Londoner, New York is brilliant; it’s filled with people who are more interested in where you’re aiming rather than where you’ve come from.
How can NYC and London best engage with each other?
The cities have so much to offer each other and I am so excited to see the flourishing collaboration between the two. In 2006, I often felt like a lonely (and maybe a misguided) voice going on and on about the potential synergies between our tech scenes. When I pushed both sides for more collaboration, I remember some very well known names in the UK tech scene telling me they didn’t see how NYC was relevant to them and vice versa from NYC to London. Thankfully, that has all changed and now it’s hard to get a handle on all the collaboration that’s happening between the two ecosystems!
London and NYC are what many in the industry call ‘hyphen-tech’ cities with fin-tech, ad-tech, fashion-tech etc. all on the rise. Looking back at how these older, traditional industries of finance, fashion, advertising and the rest came together, the potential for collaboration today has never been so great.
NYC can act as a gateway for UK and European firms into the Americas while London is a fantastic gateway into Europe and Asia. Our government organisations, angels, venture capitalists and most importantly the tech entrepreneurs themselves are all making links and connections at a dizzying pace. All we have to do it keep doing more of it and to listen and learn from each other.
I feel sad when I hear people proclaiming “NYC is better than London” or vice versa. What a load of rubbish. I think it’s a waste of time to focus on questions like which city or ecosystem is better than the other. They are just different and both have a lot to learn from each other. It’s also worth noting that neither the London or NYC ecosystems can afford to keep their eye off the innovation in emerging tech clusters such as Silicon Savannah either
Favorite NYC secret spot: Not so secret anymore now that she’s been written up in The New York Times, but my friend Sarah Simmons runs a fantastic supper club, City Grit. (Pictured above is one of her dishes called “Birds Nest”: Buckwheat noodle and cherrystone crowns, turmeric prik nam pla, lacinato kale and miso panko.)
It’s like a permanent pop-up restaurant. Each night, they feature different unknown and established chefs. It’s small and friendly in a quirky SoHo setting where there are always some great people from the startup space.
Favorite London secret spot: I am lucky enough to have an apartment next to Tate Modern on the Southbank. When the tide is low you can walk along the river path and climb down a ladder to the water’s edge. Believe it or not, you can even find some areas of sand! I love the sea and coming here gives me a tiny inner city taste of my childhood growing up in North Northumberland with the freezing cold but absolutely stunning white, sandy beaches.
From the 3460 Miles newsletter: connecting NEW YORK CITY + LONDON