Greater London is divided into 32 "London Boroughs" -- 12 boroughs and the City of London make up Inner London, and the other 20 boroughs are considered as Outer London. Each borough elects their council members every four years, and is primarily responsible for administering local services such as schools, health services, and housing, while pan-London programmes are administered by the Greater London Authority, consisting of the Mayor of London and 25 elected members of the London Assembly.
My first introduction to Haringey (an outer borough of London) was about six weeks ago when Keenan and I, along with my good friend, went on a walking tour along the Parkland, London's longest nature reserve along a former railway line, which takes us through the leafy areas of Haringey. Since then I have made many trips up to Haringey. If I wasn't catching an overground train up to Bruce Grove or White Hart Lane from Liverpool Street, then I was certainly either on underground on the Victoria Line to Tottenham Hale, or on the Piccadilly Line towards Cockfosters (go ahead, laugh) to Wood Green, or on a bus to the not-so-well connected enclaves of Muswell Hill or Crouch End.
One afternoon, I found myself on an hour long bus ride on the W3 taking me from not-so-nice areas near Northumberland Park, a large council estate (read: housing projects) in Haringey through the leafy park of Alexandra Palace and finally to my destination, Finsbury Park Station where I can hop on the Victoria Line, my preferred underground line when possible. I certainly feel like I've covered most, if not all of Haringey's 11 square miles over the past month!
Home of the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club (4th in the ranking after Arsenal if you follow the English Premier League), my initial impression of Haringey is that is a geographically and ethnically diverse borough. To the west, you'll find the well-heeled areas of Highgate, Muswell Hill, and fashionable Crouch End, all which are leafy, quiet, family-oriented neighbourhoods surrounded by vast wooded parks including Queen Woods, Alexandra Park, and Priory Park. Crouch End is lined with beautiful boutiques, pubs, restaurants, and several hair salons, and of course your usual high street grocery chains like Marks & Spencers, as is Muswell Hill.
Crouch End (N8):
Muswell Hill (N10):
On the contrast, to the east, there are neighbourhoods which are considered to be the most deprived areas in the country according to the 2007 Index of Multiple Deprivation. The eastern part of Haringey is extremely ethnically diverse and home to a large East African/Afro Caribbean community. The geography also changes quite a bit, moving from hilly woody terrain to flatlands near the River Lea in Tottenham Hale.
Harringay Green Lanes:
Tottenham Hale @ Hale Wharf (N17):
White Hart Lane - Home of the Tottenham Hotspur:
Other neighbourhoods in Haringey such as Finsbury Park and Turnpike Lane (Green Lanes) are "rough around the edges" but also have many hidden gems, just ask my colleagues who lives in Manor House in Haringay. Take for example the upper end of Stroud Green Road toward Crouch Hill station has some nice independent shops and restaurants, but at the end of the road towards Finsbury Park station, the area becomes rough with several run-down shop fronts. As I was sitting in my 3:00PM meeting on Seven Sisters Road, there was a big drug bust just three blocks away where one-hundred kilos of heroin worth £4.5million was seized by the police around 3:30PM. Straight from the scene of The Wire….
Finsbury Park Underground:
Well, I hope this give you somewhat of an insight to my working life in London. I don't want to bore you with details, but I'll write more about work another time. We're awaiting news on several big Olympic-related contracts, so wish us luck!