Marisa Elena Todd: London

What’s your historical London and New York connection?
I have family in Italy and would stop over in London on the way to Rome from California. Ironically, I never visited NYC until 2009 and instantly fell in love. I moved there six months later. But I always saw myself living in Europe and finally made the move to London last June.

Describe your experience in London as a New Yorker:
London is cosmopolitain, clean and beautiful. The quality of life is definitely better than NYC. Larger apartments, green space, more organic food, cheaper groceries and better cycling. I love being able to be in Paris, Ibiza or Rome in less than two hours. London is really buzzing right now. I have never seen the city so alive.

It’s fun being in a fresh fashion and tech scene. I have been working with startups since the first Internet bubble and it’s refreshing to work with people on their first venture. There is a fearlessness and excitement that just doesn’t happen after your 3rd or 4th startup.

I do miss the electricity and the grittiness of NYC. The fashion industry is New York is much more serious and commercial, where in London it is more about the craft and creativity.

What is the biggest challenge of moving to London from NYC?
Well, I definitely have to stop saying “F$%K” all the time. It does immediately identify you as a New Yorker, but it can also be a bit offensive. People are far less aggressive in the office, so it took a while to adapt my management style. I think I freaked my team out the first few months. Also, I find that not many people work past 6:00pm so the late nights I was accustomed to at the office did not bode well with my team.

I have learned to be more patient and accept that I will deliver about half the roadmap I would deliver in NYC with the same size team. Oh, and then there’s the Tube. People have the worst manners during rush hour. It drives me mad when people don’t move down and make room for those of us smashed against the door unlike in NYC.

How can NYC and London best engage with each other?
NYC and London are so different, yet similar in many ways. Both cities have an amazing amount of creativity and at the same time are financial capitals. New York can be a bit myopic and focused on New York while London is inherently global.

We need to embrace the unbridled creativity of London and leverage the commercial focus of New York.

Favorite NYC secret spot: Cadillac’s Castle in the East Village. They have great designer labels on consignment, many new with tags, all at reasonable prices. Good selection on YSL, Lanvin, Marni, Prada and Givenchy. The owner has a great eye keeps the selection well edited.

Favorite London secret spot: Towpath Cafe on Regents Canal. It’s tucked away on the towpath of the canal There is a great little patch of grass nearby where you can picnic. I love how the narrow boat community comes to life on the canal with the first signs of summer.

From the 3460 Miles newsletter: connecting NEW YORK CITY + LONDON

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