I love London. It's a busy, energetic and very green city. My favourite park is Kew gardens. I love the wild areas in the back of the park where there are huge trees and wild fowl running around. It's got lots of natural character and is a great place for long walks, as long as it's not raining.

In my spare time I go shopping or window shopping around Covent Garden. I like the buzzy, cosmopolitan atmosphere around there; its got great restaurants and coffee houses. Coming from New York, I like a lively atmosphere. My favourite restaurants, though are in Putney - a place called Hudsens and a little bistro called Pierre Victoire.

Londoners in general seem to have a combination of cheery optimism and big city

cynicism. They're streetwise, yet can laugh and be humorous. I also like the fact that parts of London can be so different. Some areas feel very villagey and others are just vast urban sprawl. While areas like Chiswick and Putney are gentrified they're still pleasant places to live in. Greenwich Village is especially odd. Just like a teeny village in the middle of south London. But

having the two extremes, the quaint and the urban sprawl, means you have the choice of living in one to escape to the other.

Some things do bug me, though. I hate the traffic. And the

Underground should be better staffed. I don't mind waiting if a train is late, but I do mind not being told why. Of course, the fact that pubs shut at 11pm is very strange to New Yorkers. Sometimes I want to go out late at night for a drink and can't. And London is a bad place to be unemployed. It's expensive and if you're on the outside of all the hustle and bustle, it's not a nice place to live.

Ethan Freeman plays the Phantom in Phantom

of the Opera, Her Majesty's Theatre, The

Haymarket W1 (071-494 5400)

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