Paris vs. New York… The neighborhood showdown
By Bryan Pirolli in Paris—
Vahram Muratyan’s book Paris vs. New York: A Tally of Two Cities has been making quite an impression on big city dwellers. Debuting at Colette last year in Paris and launching in February in New York, the book visually chronicles the comparisons and contrasts between both iconic cities. Images illustrate the cultural showdown, like the macaron versus the cupcake, the baguette versus the bagel, or the bobo versus the hipster.
Recently images from the new book have been making waves across social media sites, particularly Muratyan’s map of Paris that replaces arrondissements with New York neighborhoods.
For those who know both cities, the comparisons are uncanny, so I thought it might be fun to see which ones are spot-on and which ones seem like a stretch:
1. Bastille – Bowery, East Village: Spot on.
The young, artsy, still up-and-coming Bastille neighborhood where the Revolution ceremoniously began (well, for some) reflects the same vibe you get walking through the gentrifying East Village – although Bastille is much better serviced by the subway system.
2. Marais – West Village, Chelsea: Spot on.
3. Latin Quarter – Greenwich Village, NYU: Stretch.
50 years ago it would have been true, but besides being student neighborhoods, the Latin Quarter feels much more like a tourist trap than the Village. It’s a place where students occasionally study and party, with none of the urban campus vibe of NYU where thousands of students actually live.
4. Montmartre – Gramercy: Spot on.
Severely gentrified since its Belle Epoque bohemian days (think Moulin Rouge) Montmartre, much like Gramercy Park, is a charming place that most people just look at with so few possessing the keys (read: money) to truly access this neighborhood.
5. Passy – Upper West Side: Stretch.
Young people live in and like the Upper West Side. Some young people live in Passy, but no one likes it.
6. Champs Elysées – Times Square: Spot on.
Both are equally avoided by locals. At all cost.
7. Arc de Triomphe – Washington Square: Stretch.
8. Choissy – Chinatown: Spot on.
Porte de Choissy is Paris’s liveliest Chinatown, though New York’s version is even more vibrant.
9. Saint-Germain – Upper East Side: Stretch.
While they share similar qualities like museums and old rich people, Saint-Germain has many redeeming ones for locals, including great restaurants, boutiques, and endless café culture. The Upper East Side has redeeming qualities as well. Just give me a few minutes…
10. Louvre – The Met, Union Square: Stretch.
Two big museums, OK, it was necessary. But I’m not sure about the Union Square comparison aside from the skateboarders.
11. Opéra – Theatre District: Spot on.
Locals and visitors alike flock to the area around the Opéra for a night of ballet, music, or comedy in one of the many smaller venues that fuels Paris’s theater scene. Even though theaters are found all over the city, the majestic Opéra Garnier and its little brother the nearby Opéra Comique are two of the most popular.
Your comparisons? So urban dwellers, what do you think about the comparisons between these cities?