The Year of London
BY Matthew Breen
May 18 2012 8:00 AM ET
Springtime in London, and the city was abuzz. In the West End, Leicester Square, a heavily foot-trafficked area equidistant from hotspots Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Covent Garden, was cordoned off for repairs. Nearly every Central London tube station had no-go areas marked by plywood barriers behind which miles-long escalators were being refurbished. Midday traffic was miserable as construction signs forced reroutes. But hope lay on the horizon.
The opportunity for a makeover was never more apparent: London was expecting a lot of guests this summer, and the city was determined to be buffed, polished, and ready to host. Residents of a lesser burg might tire of the inconveniences, but a stiff upper lip prevailed, and there was every reason to assume London would be prepped and ready right on time.