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Empty London looks like Manhattan

Blog | By Harry Mount | Mar 30, 2020

Mortimer Street in London-meets-Manhattan (Credit: Harry Mount)

Walking across Mortimer Street (pictured) this afternoon near the Oldie office, I was suddenly struck by déjà vu.

Where had I seen those canyons disappearing into the west before? New York, of course - where I lived 15 years ago. One of the joys of the city's grid layout on a rough north-south axis is that, in the mornings and evenings, you get arrow-straight views down the streets, between the skyscrapers, to the rising and setting sun.

Well, London's largely not on a grid – and its buildings are too low to give that canyon effect. But, in this sunny spring weather, and with the streets empty of the people and largely empty of the traffic that give London its scale, you could for a moment think you were back in old New York.