Thursday, January 12, 2012

The surge of inspiration in Kings Cross

Image from Flickr courtesy of roeyahram
Many of you will know Kings Cross as most people do: a grubby train station with an overcrowded tube station attached next to the Eurostar terminal where trains take you to Paris. But Kings Cross is changing, fast. My office is in Kings Cross and while I still see a few of the prostitutes and drug addicts that once made the neighborhood infamous, the regeneration of the area is bringing so much more color and life to the area. Before working here, I lived around the corner (flat number 2 of 3 since living in London) and I've witnessed such a change in attitude, inhabitants, and atmosphere.

I had about a gazillion errands to run yesterday and skipped eating in my building's restaurant to use my lunch hour to hit a post office, Boots, and Tescos. On my way back to the office, I made a quick detour to grab a sandwich on the go in the St Pancras International terminal. This is actually a guilty pleasure of mine because nothing is more thrilling and inspiring than to stroll through that building pretending to be off on a glorious European weekend – I especially love the ceiling inside the terminal, so lofting and geometric! And there is a Le Pain Quotidien, which I associate much more with New York than Paris, and I was a little big homesick for New York yesterday so a baguette sandwich was more comforting than just lunch.

I took the canal route back to my office, which lead me up King's Boulevard – a brand new street with a brand new postcode of N1C. The Kings Cross development is so big that the city had to create a new postal code for it! I strolled up past Eat Street (sort of sad that I had a baguette in my hand and couldn't get any tacos), taking in the sight of the new Central St Martins art school building in a converted warehouse (so cool), and crossed over to The Guardian building to access the canal towpath back towards Caledonian Road. 

And for my whole journey, my heart swelled with pride and love for all of the art students exploring and examining the world. They were all there, alone and in pairs or in small groups, with their cameras and their sketchbooks, their overpriced coffee cups and ridiculous quiffs, talking loudly and earnestly about their hopes, dreams, projects, loves, and everything in between. It took me back to my own formative years at Syracuse, floating around in my own gritty urban bubble of art and design, scheming, creating, exploring, and learning. It was such a precious and wonderful time in my life that to see it being played out again along the Regents Canal in London lifted my spirits and reminded me just why I have the job I have now, and how I got to be here.

They should name one of the new streets in the Kings Cross development Memory Lane, N1C.


  1. Enjoyed your inspired reflection on King's Cross as it changes. And lots more excitement to come. One thing, the 'new' N1C postcode continues to acquire romantic mythical status. And a myth it is. It's been around for a long time...

  2. Oh really?! Do you have any more info about that? I'm so curious about postcodes and their evolution...