Sex & the City? Do it yourself!

When I went to New York in December, one of the things I really wanted to do was see some of the famous places from the Sex & the City TV series and films (1, 2).

(Image source)

I looked into the options and soon discovered that the organised tours you could pay for were pretty expensive (around $50 per person). These tours also included a number of places that didn’t really interest me. (Rabbit hunting in the Pleasure Chest with my mum? ย I don’t think so!) When I thought about touring around New York City in a bus full of (most likely) women, trying to cram in all of the “memorable” places from Sex & the City, my skin began to crawl. The only option seemed to be to design my own tour, with just the places that I wanted to see!

The two sites that I considered unmissable were Carrie’s house (66 Perry Street) and the Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleeker Street). These are really close to each other, both in Greenwich Village.

Luckily, we were staying quite close to Greenwich Village, so we started the day by walking there. It was much more interesting to walk than it would have been to take the subway.

On the way, I saw this great shop:

Shoegasm

As far as I know, this is not in Sex & the City, but with a name like “Shoegasm” it really should be!

We soon reached Bleeker Street.

Bleeker St

I hadn’t planned to go to any of the fancy shops that Carrie likes to shop in (what’s the point if you can’t afford to buy anything?) but I passed a Jimmy Choo shop and did stop to have a peek through the window.

Jimmy Choo

We got to the Magnolia Bakery nice and early, and I got a birthday cupcake.

The Magnolia Bakery

The Magnolia Bakery - birthday cupcake

One disappointment was that the bench where Carrie and Miranda sit in the TV show wasn’t actually there. I wonder if it was just for the show, or if they had it removed because too many people sat there?!

(Image source)

Just around the corner, was Perry Street.

Bleeker St & Perry St

Carrie’s house is obviously quite a big tourist attraction, but it is actually a privately owned house. The poor people who live there must get so annoyed with all the tourists coming by to take a photo. They’ve actually put a chain up now, and a sign asking you not to sit on the step, which is fair enough I think.

66 Perry St - Carrie's House

(Image source)

After a wander around Greenwich Village, we walked to Soho to find Onieal’s Restaurant and Barย (174 Grand Street), which is known as “Scout” in Sex & the City. Scout is the bar which Aidan and Steve opened together.

ONieal's

(Image source)

It was a nice bar, and very quiet when we arrived.

ONieal's

We decided to have a bit of lunch and, of course, a Cosmo.

Cosmo in ONieal's

Our timing was so good. Just as we were finishing our drinks, a tour group flooded in. I was so glad we could leave and not be a part of it!

ONieal's

Of course, there are many other locations around New York which are used in Sex & the City, but all of the above was enough for me! ย As a bonus, we also stopped by the HBO shop (1100 Avenue of the Americas), where I picked up this great book, Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell:

The book includes a Sex & the City map and list of places to visit. I was quite happy to see that there were no additional places I wanted to see. If you’re into brand shopping or bar-hopping there are a lot of other places which I haven’t mentioned. You might want to check out this list for more information. You might also want to read this great article about why organised Sex & the City bus tours suck.

(Image source)

I’m a big fan of seeing places that are used in movies and TV shows, but I’d highly recommend organising your own trips rather than taking a tour. There’s so much information on the Internet, that it’s easy to plan. And now, with this post, you know how to see the highlights from Sex & the City all by yourself. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Legacies

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacies recently. Without wanting to sound morbid, I’ve been thinking about what is left behind when we die.

Last weekend I visited one of my best friends, who has just had her first baby. Something she said made me realise that, in having a baby and starting a family of her own, she had created her legacy.

Not wanting to have children of my own, I started thinking about how, when I died, there would be nothing left of my name… unless I found some other way to leave my legacy.

Tonight I went to a special Time Out event at The Museum of Everything in Selfridges. All of the artwork featured was by people with some kind of disability. The featured artist of Exhibition #4.1, Judith Scott, had down syndrome and no verbal way of communication because she was deaf and dumb. However, she found a way of communicating through art. She told stories with intricately hand-woven bundles of yarn and found objects. And, once she started, nothing and no one could stop her. Only death. Now her work is hung in a gallery for people to discuss as they swig from free bottles if beer and munch on pop corn from red and white striped bags.

The Museum of Everything Exhibition #4.1 Judith Scott - ยฉ (Image from Time Out.)

The museum’s founder, James Brett, commented that “we’re here to make stuff“. He added, “perhaps if we don’t make anything, we weren’t here at all“.

This comment stuck with me and my thoughts about legacies. My friend made a family. Judith Scott made objects we can now call art. I have always said that I write because I have to, because I can’t not write. I’m here to make stuff with words, otherwise there’ll be nothing of me left behind.

The Museum of Everything - Window displays at Selfridges

The Museum of Everything - One of the window displays at Selfridges

The Museum of Everything is at Selfridges until 25th October. If you need inspiring, it’s the place to be. Exhibition #4 is on the Lower Ground floor of Selfridges and Exhibition #4.1 (Judith Scott) is upstairs in the old Selfridges Hotel. Both spaces are incredibly designed and worth visiting for their utter uniqueness.

***UPDATE: Exhibition #4.1 at the old Selfridges Hotel has been extended until November 6th,ย so please check it out!***


Three-oh

The other day, I was reading an article in the Evening Standard called 30 things to do before you’re 30. The article referred to the now grinning with pride Beyoncรฉ pictured below, and how she had managed to get pregnant just in time – she’s 29.

(Image source)

See how she glows? She’s glowing with relief because, at 29, she must be feeling the pressure. There are just so many things one must do before turning 30 – everybody says so.

According to the article, when people are faced with turning thirty, they think they ought to have bought a property, had a baby, co-habited, owned a designer handbag, written a book, dropped their last “e” (what?!), learnt a language and lived abroad. Phew. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Given that I only have just over 3 months before the big three-oh hits, I don’t think there’s much chance I’m going to cross everything off the list.

But, you know what, I don’t really care.ย 

I used to have this feeling that turning thirty was the be-all and end-all. I know people who still think this – friends who are getting their knickers in a twist because their birthdays are approaching and they’re not married/up the duff/living in their dream home/all of the above.

I had one goal this year – one “thing to do before I turn thirty”. It’s proving difficult, and I’m not sure if I’m going to have achieved it 100%, but my goal was to be financially independent by thirty. By “financially independent”, I mean that I don’t want to be taking any hand-outs and I don’t want to be relying on credit cards.

I’m living in a really shitty little flat at the moment. It’s worse than some of the places I lived in when I was a student. But, you know what, I can afford it. My salary is low, but I’m budgeting my living expenses to match. For once, I’m not living beyond my means.

My twenties have been about working out what I want from life. I hope my thirties will be about achieving those things. I don’t think I need a list though, do you?


Observations from an exercise class…

A bunch of pink, sweaty women, writhing around in a school gym on a Tuesday night – what must we look like? Every week (well, almost every week – you know, unless there’s an offer of something better to do) we gather to shake our booty to the Latin-inspired beats of what is known as “Zumba“.

We wiggle, we shake… we even try to shimmy. The toned and tanned instructor smoothly moves from dance step to dance step, encouraging us to be sexy. Sexy? In an exercise class? Yes. We’re supposed to be sexy women, proud of our bodies, shaking our butts and sticking out our boobs. Calling out to imaginary men to come and dance with us.

We try.ย In our minds, we all aspire to look something like this:

(Image source)

In reality, we actually look more like this:

(Image source)

The class is entirely female, although men are welcome. Men do do Zumba, but not here. Our class is made up largely of middle-aged women – some younger, some older. There are certain stereotypes you will find in every exercise class. There’s the ever-so-keen one who always arrives first and stakes her place at the front, chatting with the instructor. Self-tan woman, who is an interesting shade of orange. Awkward girl, whose body is really stiff and robotic. The older lady, whose boobs occasionally brush the floor. And me – the hopelessly uncoordinated yet still enthusiastic one.

I generally stand somewhere around the middle, but to the side so I can dash out for water when I start choking on my own sweat. I try to watch the instructor and ignore everyone else around me. I try to “dance”, rather than “exercise”. I try to forget aerobics classes and think salsa, merengue, hip hop. I try to “zuumbaaaah” but, being British, I do find all the shouting and “yee hah”s a bit much.

Still, at least I earn my dinner on a Tuesday night.