New York vs Toronto Scorecard

Observations Based on a 3-Day Trip to Toronto in April of 2012

The "core" part of Toronto seems to be about 45 streets tall and 13 avenues wide.
Toronto: 240 Sq Miles - 2.6 million people - Density: 11k/sq mi
New York: 468 Sq Miles - 8.2 million people - Density: 27k/sq mi
Walking pace: Similar

                                   New York          Toronto
Housing                            D                 A
     Decent one-bedroom in the cool parts of town in Toronto is about $800.
     Decent one-bedroom in the cool parts of town in New York is about $3,000

CN Tower                           n/a               A
     Designed in the early 70s, I thought this would be sort of lame. As it 
     turns out, size counts - and this thing is impressive. Cooler than I
     thought it would be.
Alleys                             D                 A
     There are alleys all over the place in Toronto! They go through entire 
     blocks, and you can walk down them! Very cool. There are 2 alleys that I 
     know of in New York, They are cool - just insufficient.
Politeness                         C                 A
     Toronto is a polite city. I have no specific stories. It is pervasive.

Cleanliness                        C                 A
     There is no litter in Toronto. There is no graffiti in Toronto.
     For a city of that size, it is almost surreal.
Art                                A                 ?
     I didn't experience the art scene in Toronto, but I did talk to several 
     people about it. I theorize that I'd rate it a "B".
Shopping                           A                 B
     New York has the best shopping I've ever seen. Toronto has a very good mix 
     of high, mid, and low-end shopping.
Food                               A                 B
     To be fair, I only ate in a couple of places in Toronto - La Pallete, and 
     Jack Astor's. La Palette's front of house was world-class, and the food was 
     very good. Jack Astor's is a different experience, and difficult.
     (to be fair, this dining was NOT in the same class, the pricing turned out 
     similar, though)
     La Palette
          Me: I'd like this entre, but I'm not super hungry.
          La Palette: No problem, we'll make a smaller plate for you!

     Jack Astor's
          Me: a gin and tonic, please.
          Jack Astor's: You want that "Jacked Up!"?
          Me: What?
          Jack Astor's: Do you want that "Jacked Up!"?
          Me: Uhh.. I don't think so. That doesn't sound good.
          Jack Astor's: It is basically a discounted double.
          Me: Oh! Okay! No.

          Me: I'll have the chicken fingers.
          Jack Astor's: You want that "Sauced Up!"?
          Me: What? No!
          Jack Astor's: Do you know what "Sauced Up!" is?
          Me: No, I don't.
          Jack Astor's: It is our famous chicken fingers smothered in our wings 
                        sauce, and served with ranch dipping sauce.
          Me: oh... kay.
          Jack Astor's: So, "Sauced Up!"?
          Me: No, no, no, god no.

     Please call a double "a double". Please call BBQ sauce "BBQ sauce".
     Call me a pragmatist. Call me no-fun. I'm happy with my food that isn't
     Jacked Up, Sauced Up, Wigged Out, or Freaked. 

Walking                            A                 B
     While the Toronto core is quite walkable, everything is slightly farther 
     apart than I expected. Possibly due to the presence alleys.
     In Toronto, no one crosses against the light. Ever. Even at 3am with no 
     cars in sight, Torontonians will wait patiently. It is creepy.
     Crosswalks do not exist at every intersection in Toronto - it is 
     frustrating. On the plus side, many streets are only stop-sign controlled, 
     so you wan walk at-will!

Street Fashion                     A                 C
     New York fashion seems to be a perennial contest; a daily Olympics of 
     clothing and accessories. Toronto fashion is diverse, but rarely runs to 
                                   New York          Toronto          
Bars, Drinking                     A                 C
     Closing time in NYC: 4AM
     Closing time in Toronto: 2AM
     Advantage NYC.
     Bar density in NYC: High
     Bar Density in Toronto: Average
     Advantage NYC.
     Cost is a bit tricky. There are more local cheap bars in NYC.
     There are more pub-type places in Toronto (on average, not in 
     absolute terms).
     On the high end, NYC has some great choices - Toronto has Barchef (Yeah, 
     they're that good).
Transit                             A                 C
     NYC enjoys 24 hour trains and busses. Toronto runs until 1:30am... which is 
     before bar close. This is the opposite of synergy. Toronto is also more 
     expensive. They have street cars, which I did not expect. People seem to 
     like them, though you often have to cross into traffic to get on them.

Parks                               A                 C
     Central Park, Prospect Park, Union Square, Washington Square, Battery 
     Park... the list goes on and on in New York. Toronto has the waterfront... 
     and... a greenhouse. And that's about it.

Convenience Stores                  A                 D
     You're walking, and you want a bottle of water. What do you do? Convenience 
     Stores! (Delis, Bodegas, call them what you want). These are all over the 
     place in New York, and they're always busy. In Toronto, they have them 
     about every 4-5km. You can literally walk for hours down main streets and 
     not see any. On the plus side - when you DO find one - it is empty.

                                    New York          Toronto  
Overall                             A                 B

Fun Facts! There are no police in Toronto. There are also no fires.