“Once upon a time, New York City was famous for dreaming big,” says Steve Cuozzo in the New York Post. “Masterpiece after masterpiece” was built, from Central Park and the great suspension bridges in the 19th century, to the subway system and the Empire State Building in the 20th. But now we’ve lost our “aspirational lustre” to the Big Apple’s rival, London. The British capital has recently completed not one, but two “colossal” projects: the 60-mile Elizabeth Line, which “cuts crosstown travel time by half”, and the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station. The once-derelict power plant is now the heart of a “42-acre wonderland” of public green space, hundreds of shops and restaurants, and thousands of new homes. Next year, Apple will move its UK headquarters to the site.
New York, in contrast, has made little progress this century. The new World Trade Center still isn’t complete. The long-awaited Hudson Yards development is just halfway done. “Proposals to link the airports with Manhattan by train spin their wheels.” To be fair, there’s reason for our “aspirational inertia”: Robert Moses, the 20th-century developer who “rammed highways through established neighbourhoods” and chased out New York’s working-class residents, has left a legacy of deep resistance to urban change. But right now, all New York is getting from developers is “obnoxiously tall skyscrapers on Billionaires’ Row”. A trip to London would remind our politicians and planners of how much we could accomplish.