5 Things Carrie Bradshaw Failed to Mention About New York City

by Bailey Powell

 

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Probably one of the worst things to occur as a result of 90s television was the over-romanticization of the Big Apple. Young men and women pour in from the four corners of the world, dreaming of coffee shops, well-heeled suitors, and the ever-so-rare, mildly challenging, yet ultimately endearing dilemma. Women gush about feeling “empowered” after spending an hour with a Sex and the City DVD, and I think of them and smile as I traipse through Central Park, trying not to acknowledge the woman to my left peeing against a tree in broad daylight.

So this one’s for you Carrie Bradshaw, fictional as you may be. I’m obviously an expert on New York since I’ve been here for a whole month, so I now rightfully present: The Debunked Dreams of Sex and the City.

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1. High Heels

Flattering to your derriere and undeniably glamorous as they may be, heels have a little nickname here in New York: cab to curb. Although prancing down Madison Avenue ducking in and out of places like Ladurée and Céline perfectly ensemble’d in a sexy stiletto sounds fabulous in theory, realistically your feet and Ferragamos would be ruined in no time. Regular heel wearing seems to be limited to the ladies who lunch at Bergdorf Goodman (see: socialites, philanthropists, stay-at-home… whatevers, et al) and the office. Those who are particularly faithful to their footwear can be seen surfacing from the subway and striking a precarious one-legged balancing act while trading train flats for a 4″ pump before walking a short distance to their destination.

No matter which of those categories a woman might fall into, the important thing to remember is that not much walking can be done in heels, and New York is a city based just on that. For the women you see in them there’s either a distinct monetary advantage (cab or car service) or a massive commitment to fashion by way of always having two pairs of shoes on your person (mass transit folk), and it’s usually the first of the two. Every now and then there is a rare bird of a woman who departs and arrives back at her apartment in heels (not wedges) and takes the train in between, and that woman- however she does it- is my hero.

Thanks a lot, Carrie Bradshaw.

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2. Miranda

Easily my favorite character on the show, Miranda Hobbes embodies all that I am: orderly, methodical, uptight, and overanalytical.  Sure she has some more positive-sounding qualities, but those are the most important ones to focus on right now because her personality simply does not mesh with the other girls. The focused, overworked lawyer does not roll with a hippie dippy free spirit, a codependent Park Avenue princess, and a promiscuity case who only thinks and acts on her animal instinct. While all kinds of personalities make the world go round and are to be appreciated, in real New York life a Miranda-type would have long since bounced on those bozos. The city does not come equipped with a girlfriend versed in rationale to weigh out the pros and cons for you before you do something stupid… like marry Mr. Big after he left you at the alter once before.

Thanks a lot, Carrie Bradshaw.

from the June 2008 issue of American Vogue

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3. Dating an Investment Banker

I feel like there is some kind of unwritten, unpolled consensus among single New York women that being taken to dinner by a man with a six figure income is the end-all, be-all pinnacle of your dating life. Put a Harry Winston diamond on it, you’re done. Is Big to blame, or are we just mesmerized by the idea of a man being able to support and afford a comfortable, or even luxurious, lifestyle in the astronomically expensive NYC? I don’t know, but what I do know is that last week I went on a date with a doctor who was either really self-righteous, incredibly insecure, or sadly oblivious, and that six-figure suitor had to go.

That was one date, and John James Preston is just one fictional financier. I must say though that finding a normal, attractive catch in this city poses a challenge on both sides of the board, and Carrie did have her dating ups and downs. However, the ideal, tall/dark/handsome mysterious “man friend” is not a guaranteed light at the end of the dating tunnel, which is something seemingly unbeknownst to the females flocking to NYC.

Thanks a lot, Carrie Bradshaw.

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4. Writing a Weekly Column

I’m the last person who would slam a writing gig, but let’s be honest. A measly weekly column in a second rate New York paper is not going to support an I-brunch-in-head-to-toe-DVF-regularly lifestyle and that spacious studio apartment. Later on in the series when she becomes a regular contributor to Vogue (naturally!) and publishes multiple books that lifestyle becomes a bit more plausible.

You’ve got to have one helluva job to afford to even live in the superior borough, let alone in a place bigger than a dorm room. Things like regularly dining out, grabbing exorbitantly priced cocktails at the hottest new clubs, and snapping up the latest pair of Jimmy Choos add up quickly on top of that rent, so let me just repeat: one helluva job.

Thanks a lot, Carrie Bradshaw.

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5. The Effortless Six Pack

Carrie, lover of size 0 looks and despiser of the gym, galavants around the city flashing legs that look like they’ve spent more time on a yoga mat than under a writing desk. While it’s true that with so much walking it’s possible to lose a few, hitting the New York pavement doesn’t tone or equate to a respectable number of bicycle crunches. (I’d also like to add that the high concentration of places like Babycakes NYC and Martine’s in the city cancel out any walking-induced weight loss.)

Enjoying working out is, unfortunately, the smallest hurdle to face if you’re looking to squeeze into a sample size. With extreme weather in winter and summer a jog through Central Park isn’t always doable, and like everything else in the city gym fees are a colossal chunk of change. Yesterday my colleague mentioned that she got a great deal on a membership, paying $2000 up front for two years. While that might break down to a manageable amount per month and is much less expensive than the elite $30k/year clubs, that didn’t stop me from almost choking on my green tea. On top of that, there are apparently a number of sketchy athletic clubs you must decipher from the ones who aren’t asking for a lawsuit.

Oh, the things we go through for that ever important external beauty.

Thanks a lot, Carrie Bradshaw.

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While I pride myself on my awareness of the realities of the city before my arrival, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t since faced a few surprises that only living here could reveal. This article is  a bit tongue in cheek and I, like many before me and many to follow, love to indulge in the occasional episode  of Sex and the City. Humor aside, I do think there’s a bit of unhealthy perspective regarding New York City. Yes, it’s magical. Yes, eight million people in such close proximity make it the absolute epicenter of creativity and the birth of new ideas. Yes, it has a dark underbelly the entertainment industry sugar coats or avoids all together, but the important thing is the good outweighs the bad and that yes, living here is worth it.

Loyally,