When I was young I liked to read about cities I never dreamed I’d visit. And that’s how I fell in love with the name of the London train station and neighborhood known as King’s Cross — or “King’s X,” as this most English of place-names was sometimes gracefully abbreviated. But when I first moved to England, in 1996, grace wasn’t so easy to find amid the widespread social and economic challenges that had come to define this corner of north London. Today, much (but by no means all) of the neighborhood has been transformed by swank restaurants and shops, expensively repurposed industrial structures, and the glittering glass offices in which the gears of a decent chunk of London’s booming knowledge economy turn ever faster. Welcome, in these Brexit-tossed times, to King’s Cross, and to one of London’s most fascinating stories of adversity and renewal.


1) 2:30 p.m. Urban fervor

For longtime residents, the transformation of King’s Cross has meant opportunities, but also challenges, including gentrification, crowds and controversies over facial recognition cameras. You’re safe from all three at Calthorpe Community Garden. This verdant hide-out — the product of community activism, on a site once earmarked for offices — offers secluded benches, a swing and the chance to wander past garden plots lovingly tended by some of London’s friendliest strangers. Enjoy a cheese and pickle toastie at the homey cafe (£3.50, or about $4.50; the pickles are from cucumbers grown in the garden).

Source: Read Full Article