Cultural Experience | Mumbai

Why Mumbai is India’s New York

To state the obvious, Mumbai is the commercial capital of India and Wall Street in New York is undoubtedly the biggest business hub in the US. Beyond that, both cities are the place to be for those in the film industries, Bollywood and Hollywood. An added bonus there is the regular celebrity sighting both cities open you up to!

However, once you live in both places, you see all these other quirky similarities that only a ‘local’ can draw upon.

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Public transport is everyone’s lifeline. The only difference is that New York subways are underground and Mumbai local trains above the ground. They are lifelines for the working professionals and the tourists on a budget. Buses are used by many locals for shorter distances in both places. Moreover, ferries are an asset common to both cities too, for business and recreational purposes.

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Capitals of quirkiness, both cities are famous for flea markets and thrift stores. From clothes and shoes to antique clocks and turkish lamps, whether it’s the Christmas Fair in Union Square in downtown Manhattan or the stalls down Colaba Causeway, Mumbai and New York are a treat for shoppers with a soft spot for street styles and an eye for intricate artifacts at budget prices.

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Teeming with food trucks, ice cream vans and halal carts, New York’s cheapest and yummiest foods on wheels are tough contenders for the variety of street food served in Mumbai. Whether its just corn of a complicated concoction of Indian snacks, everything from small sandwiches to larger meals are available on the street-side and a fraction of the US prices!

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No matter what time of the day or night it may be, both the cities are always bustling with people. Men, women and children flutter around the streets, savoring food and (window) shopping. At times, Mumbai and New York can feel unsafe when traveling late into the night through comparatively more deserted areas but the lively crevices of both places are comforting for the buzzing city souls.

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There are probably many other smaller things in common but the skyline takes the cake. The resemblance is striking. New York is definitely more packed but the ambience of looking across a river or sea and seeing the skyscrapers creates the same horizon where the natural meets the man-made to create a beauty so stirring that I’ve never seen something quite like it elsewhere.

Ananya Bhattacharya

New York University | 7 stories

Ananya Bhattacharya is a rising junior at New York University, double majoring in Journalism and Economics, with a minor in Creative Writing. She can't travel without a good book to read and she can't sleep without a good meal to eat (foodie alert!). Having grown up in three countries in three different continents, she can't stay put in one place for too long- an avid explorer, she documents her life, partly as journalism and partly as poetry.


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