Thursday, December 03, 2009

Lagos Vs. New York

(Pix of Island, Lagos)

This is Lagos! No, it is not. It is New York City. Two cities, so much alike! What do they share in common? Densely populated, litter on the street here and there, the hustling and bustling, the high cost of living and yet the lingering nostalgia it leaves on people who visit once making them want to visit again.

In the song “Lagos vs. New York”, Keziah Jones didn’t fail in his attempt to draw the parallels between the two cities. The track from the album “Nigerian wood” depicts the reality in both cities- busy streets that breeds money. Well, they also have a “Broad” in common- in New York, Broadway is the spot for relaxation or amusement and in Lagos Broadstreet is the centre for business activities, just like New York’s Wall Street. In a nutshell, as Jones’ lyrics highlights, in New York and Lagos, amidst the hustling and bustling to make money, you will find things that will amuse you (or depress you). Will it be right to say the two cities are like a theater mixed with amusement and business?

I really thought Lagos was the City that never sleeps until I “met” New York. Twilight and dawn are almost the same here. Shops are open 24hrs, vehicles honking through the streets all round the clock. Okay I admit, you can tell the difference between the two cities at night. While the former bustles in the dark, with stars shinning brightly in the sky, it does go to bed a few hours past midnight. The later comes alive so bright at night and its light so well complements the lively city.

The streets of New York City and Lagos are not paved with gold. People who live there walk with their feet touching the floor. The streets are not filled with terror. For Lagos context, Lagosians (people who live in Lagos) smile and embrace life with a positive attitude despite the harsh and corrupt political climate that trickles from the nook and cranny of the Nigerian government. There are no trees on the streets where people collect money; you will have to work hard to earn good income in both cities.

Did you read/watch the interview of Akin Akinola on CNN? He is a young Nigerian who left his New York-based Investment Banking job to return to Lagos to enhance his career. I bet he settled for Lagos because he knows that the two cities have a lot in common. Okay, maybe Lagos still needs a little facelift to match up with the organized bustling in New York City. I love Lagos. I love New York City too. They are two wild cities that look and feel so much alike, yet in every sense so different.

(I dedicate this article to AJ, whose contagious love for New York City somehow rubbed off on me, prompting me to look at the City through an open mind, thus inspiring this article. I also dedicate this article to all Lagosians living in New York, and to all New Yorkers living in Lagos.)

Source of photo of New York: or images by googleimage search


Matthew Adeiza said...

Jennifer, you are a bunch of talents. Just keep it up and don't relent because you have greatness in you! Great work!

Ubong Udoh said...

Nice piece jenny...As always I could reason well with you. It's really informative.

Jennifer Ehidiamen said...

Thanks friends! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.


Cheap Lagos Flights said...

I agree with you Lagos and New York have much resemblance. Both cities are too busy and rushy as well. However, I like Lagos more because it is my home town. People here are not that much materialist as in New York. So my vote is for Lagos.