Fed up with taking 30 minutes to travel from 42nd Street to 53rd Street? More and more Manhattanites are. And they are looking with envious eyes across the Atlantic at the relatively smooth-running streets of London.
But things are not that simple. Mayor Bloomberg has spoken dismissively of the idea of congestion charging. And, although New York is one of the most pedestrian- and public-transport-friendly cities in the States, the car is still king. Whereas more and more streets and squares of European towns and cities are excluding motorised vehicles, here in the Big Apple the car can go pretty much anywhere it wants untrammelled. From the world's crossroads at Times Square to the winding lanes of Greenwich Village, automobiles have free access.
We will have to wait and see if the pain of increasing gridlock will prise the car-loving Americans out of their affection for unrestricted private travel.