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).

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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?  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?!

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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

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

ONieal's

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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!  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.

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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. 😉

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The locks of love…

On my recent visit to New York I was very keen to visit Brooklyn Bridge, mainly because I had seen it featured in Sex and the City, and wanted to see the view of Manhattan from Brooklyn. One particular scene from Sex and the City had stuck in my mind, and that was the one in the first movie, where Steve and Miranda meet on Brooklyn Bridge to show that they are willing to forget the past and continue with their marriage.

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But I hadn’t realised that Brooklyn Bridge was such a popular place for romance. Apparently Brooklyn Bridge has become the place for couples to declare their eternal love to each other by attaching a padlock to the bridge.

Locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

Scores of locks have been lovingly left on the bridge, some with messages, names or dates written on them, others plain. Despite the fact that it is actually illegal to attach anything to the bridge, there are these handy little loops all over the place, which people have cleverly made use of.

Locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

The tradition dates back to a book by Italian novelist Federico Moccia, which became popular when it was turned into a film, “Tre Metri Sopra il Cielo” (“Three Steps Over Heaven“), in 2004. Following the popularity of the movie, couples began declaring their love on the Ponte Milvio in Italy. Sometime later, perhaps around 2007, the tradition made its way over the Atlantic to the US, and people began to attach their love locks to the Brooklyn Bridge.

As I said, it is illegal to leave these locks on the bridge, but no one seems to be doing anything about removing them. And, really, what harm are they doing?

Locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

I wonder now if that scene in Sex and the City was inspired by this tradition of declaring one’s love on Brooklyn Bridge, although Miranda and Steve don’t actually leave a lock.

Locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

What do you think? Is leaving a lock on a bridge a good way for a couple to declare their eternal love? Would you do it?


Guilty pleasures…

I have a confession to make. Recently, and not for the first time, I have got into a book, even though it’s meant for kids or teenagers. Yes, me, a fully grown woman, reading books about teenage vampires.  I’m talking about Twilight, of course.

As I said, this is not the first time. Before Twilight came along, I read Harry Potter.  In both cases, I resisted reading the books for a long time.  Even when they became hugely popular and movies were made of them, I still tried to resist.  I thought I should be reading grown-up books. But, both times, a friend eventually recommended the book to me, and I do like to trust a friend’s recommendation. So, I gave in.

As for Harry Potter, I enjoyed reading the books, although I grew a bit tired by the time I read the last one.  I felt it had gone on a bit too long. I also watched the movies, but gave up on them somewhere along the way. The movies were good, but much more for kids than the books, I felt. The books, despite being written for kids, included a lot of adult themes and jokes; things which would perhaps go unnoticed by the younger kids.

Twilight also seems very adult, despite being written for teenagers. Actually, when I first started reading it I was still resisting, and still thinking “this book’s for kids!”.  But, about half-way through, when it started getting really romantic, I found myself getting drawn in further.  As a teenager, I had been really into vampire stories – I liked Anne Rice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and reading Twilight just brought it all back for me. I guess it makes me feel like a teenager again, and that’s why I like it (god I sound old!).

I do have one final guilty pleasure to confess: The Carrie Diaries.  This is a prequel to Sex and the City, about Carrie as a teenager and, actually, I didn’t realise it was meant for teenagers when I bought it! It wasn’t until I started reading that I cottoned on. But, despite that, I really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next book. It was painfully funny at times and, again, reminded me of being a teenager.

So, this all leaves me wondering: should I be writing books for teenagers? I had feared that perhaps teens would soon be quitting reading in favour of computer games and movies, but it seems that maybe that isn’t the case – yet.  Anyway, if I write a book for teenagers and no teens want to read it, I’m sure some adults will! 😉


The settling gene…

I was walking home tonight, when I saw guy I know from work waiting at the bus stop.  Normally I would just say ‘hi’ and continue walking (I don’t know him so well), but he waved me over with a huge grin on his face.

“What’s up?”, I asked.

His reply was to show me his cell phone with a picture of his two-week old baby boy on it. (Last time I saw him, he was still expecting.)

I think I reacted appropriately. “Wow! So cute! Congratulations!”  That’s a normal reaction, right?

The thing is… I faked it.  Just as Miranda Hobbes fakes her sonogram in Sex and the City (Season 4, “Change of a Dress”), I faked my reaction to this guy’s baby.  I mean, yeah, it’s great news. And he was clearly thrilled. But it’s so hard to get excited about other people’s kids.

I’m definitely at that age where all my friends are buying houses, getting married and having babies (although not necessarily in that order!), and I can’t help wondering… is there such a thing as a ‘settling gene’?  And, if so, do I have one?

As a single girl in her (gulp!) late-twenties, living in rented accommodation, and doing a job which, let’s face it, probably isn’t a lifelong career, I really do feel worlds apart from most of my friends right now. But I have no maternal instinct urging me to settle down and procreate. I do want to buy a house someday, but I don’t know where I want to live yet. And I don’t know if I want to buy that house with someone, or go it alone.

Two of my co-workers are planning weddings right now, and two of my best friends back home got married last year.  Another of my friends back home is getting married really soon, and one of the best friends mentioned above is about to have her first baby. I’m thrilled for them all, I really am.  But I do find it hard to really be interested in it all when, honestly, I’m not. I’m mean, of course I’m interested in my friends and what they’re doing. But I’m not really interested in weddings and babies.

Is it possible that I am in fact just missing a gene? A gene which would make me dream of white weddings and storks?  I am romantic, and I’m not opposed to the idea of settling down (with the right person), but it doesn’t seem to be something I’m going to be doing this side of thirty. And if I do settle down, I really don’t think there will be any babies!

I don’t think I’m completely alone in this line of thought, though.  In fact, I’m reading a great book at the moment (The Group by Mary McCarthy), with this excellent line in it:

It was plain to Polly that many of her married classmates were disappointed in their husbands and envied the girls, like Helena, who had not got married.

Maybe I, like Helena, could seem to have an enviable life, at least to those who are unhappy with their own. I have no ties, from either a husband or a baby, which means I am able to live in a foreign country and basically do as I please. My free time is my own, my money is my own, my choices are my own.  I don’t really have to answer to anyone, and I’m free to change my mind, my hairstyle, and my sheets 😉 as often as I like.  Maybe I’m better off without the settling gene?

What do you think?