Oxford Circus Crossing

Loving the new Oxford Circus crossing area unveiled yesterday after a £5 million makeover. It’s modelled on a crossing system used in Tokyo where traffic is stopped in all directions so people can cross diagonally. Bit scary with the madness of London traffic, but considering the usual congestion, especially around the holidays, a welcome change.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/nov/02/x-oxford-circus-crossing
http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/london/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8337000/8337673.stm

London Links: Londonist

Starting now, with one of my favourites, I’ll be posting occasional links to anything London that I’m reading: articles, events, products, blogs, photos, books, etc. Anything goes.

One of the best London sites and resources out there is Londonist. Last week, they celebrated their 5th birthday!

Not only does the site have a briliant personality, it knows this city inside out. I check it often for a heads up on the crazy happenings, a different perspective on the news and entertainment, interviews with interesting London folk, posts on beating the recession in the city, a bit of history, some eating and drinking recommendations, theatre and music reviews and all the other amusing, rediculous, fun, strange, important and not so important happenings, etc. in the Big Smoke.

Essential London reading!

Trafalgar Square: By Fountain Light and Candle Light

Took a wander down to Trafalgar Square tonight in search of the candlelit vigil against hate crimes. It wasn’t up to much, but the fountains were lit up all pretty, changing colours. My camera doesn’t take very good night photos, but here’s a few.

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Although the vigil (that I didn’t see) was not meant specifically for Ian Baynham, the 62-year-old who was killed by a bunch of teens near Trafalgar Square this week in a homophobic attack, it is worth writing that arrests have now been made regarding that incident. It’s truly appaling that something like that could happen at all, let alone in the middle of London’s tourist district during the busy night life hours. Ian was out celebrating the start of a new job and all the papers say his life was on the up.

And speaking of violence in the city, gun crime and rape are both up this year, 17% and 20% respectively, according to the BBC. On the plus side, I suppose, the overall number of crimes in the city fell by 1.2%….

Number One Name: Mohammed

Last week, it was revealed by the Office of National Statistics that  Mohammed is now the most popular boys’ name in London, and a few other British cities. Considering its significance in Islam and the fact that the Muslim population is rising 10 times faster than the rest of the population, it’s not surprising.

It’s refreshing, I have to say, coming from a small American city so white (97.86%)  it was historically known as a “sundown town“. There’s not much religious data available, but the few pages I did find listed it as “0.02% are an eastern faith; 0.00% affilitates with Islam.” 

Being in a city like London where you can walk out your door to so many different languages being spoken, having a choice of Nepalese or Pakistani or Spanish or Moroccan restaurants within a few minutes walk of one another, seeing differences in people’s faces, lifestyles, cultures, faiths, etc, is one of the most incredible experiences. It opens your eyes to so many possibilities and life choices.