The Year of London

With the Olympic Games, WorldPride, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Swinging City is rolling out the red carpet, and we’re all invited.

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.

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