"Those who prefer Paris or Rome complain that the English capital has no precise center, that there is no spot in the city that could be considered the hub around which the wheel revolves. But the truth is that that is not really how London is apprehended. It is divided into chapters, the chapters into scenes, the scenes into sentences; it opens to you like a series of rooms, door, passage, door. Mayfair to Piccadilly to Soho to the Strand. Or, on a more intimate scale, the narrow little maze of Shepherd Market, with its ethnic restaurants and small spare trendy shops, to the wider but still quiet length of Curzon Street, to the full-on cacophony and traffic, both foot and auto, of Park Lane, and hence into the more quiet embrace of Hyde Park. It is though four different landscapes, histories, ways of living, can be encapsulated in a walk around the corner - almost any corner. One moment, the throng and the lowering office building. The next, quiet, isolation, and the window eyes of a mews house. London has nearly as many residents as New York has, yet even its most central locations never feel overwhelming in the way much of Manhattan does, mainly because of this effect, this ability to step within minutes from tumult into peace. In its variety - architectural, historical, topographical - London holds as unique and singular a place in the world as the glory of its literary legacy would suggest."
- Anna Quindlen, Imagined London