In New York things is open late. You can get anything you – groceries, laundry, a last minute gift – on the way home from work.
I’ve been spoiled.
I just moved to London, and lo and behold, my local grocery store closed at 8pm. 8pm! And so did the drugstore. I had to walk to another part of town to find something open.
What do people do when they need to work late?
As I hurried through town I noticed something. On every corner, people stood outside. Drinking, shouting, catching up. The sound of British accented laughs echoed through the alleyways.
The stores don’t need to be open late, because people get off work at a normal hour (or at least early enough for a post-work drink).
In New York, what came first? The I-work-more-than-you culture? Or the 24-hour amenities? A few long workdays could have spurred demand for a few stores to be open late.. which spurred other bodegas to also stay open late.. And these ‘open’ signs spurred an acceptance of work-all-the-time culture…And suddenly everyone was working all the time.
But when did it become ‘cool’ to brag about a 24-hour life? Or to stay late just to be spotted still cranking away past 8pm? In London, no one is bragging about hours worked. Hours in leisure, however.. those are something to brag about. And people do it here.
Turns out I’ve been gypped. And I am ready to be spoiled.