As I type, Tasha is attending the red carpet premiere of Sex and the City: The Movie at Radio City Music Hall. And while our clique is living vicariously through her "Stars and the City" night, we know that a Carrie-lifestyle on a Carrie-paycheck is a far cry from the fantasy that drives 20-somethings to New York in droves. Hell - I wouldn't be honest with myself if I didn't admit that the HBO series didn't add kindling to my blazing New York City fire when I was a college student living in North Carolina.
My friends and I shop at sample sales or hook each other up with the goodies and perks associated with our own careers. I have a box of cereal under my desk for lunch or I pack sandwiches during the week. We party in A- and B-list clubs only if we know the promoters hosting comped tables. Despite our decent upper-middle class incomes and jobs in the entertainment, fashion and publishing industries, even the cheapest bottle service is out of all of our budgets - if we plan to still make the rent. We pick brunch spots based on all-you-can-drink-for-under-$10 menus - not exactly the kind of places where you sip Veuve Cliquot mimosas next to ladies in floppy, widebrimed hats. And don't get me started on how we cram our lives into a modest amount of square footage at outrageous prices.
Cast members yesterday conceded that they were familiar with the critique that "Sex and the City" helped launch these changes by drawing out-of-towners hell bent on living the life at all cost. High-priced designer labels and extravagant lifestyles have been as much a part of the series as its four female stars -- Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon.
Nixon, for her part, is all too familiar with these bright-eyed girls. "When people come up to me on the street and say, 'I just got here from Iowa two weeks ago. Your show made me come. I'm like, 'Oh no,'" said Nixon, who plays reprising Miranda Hobbes. "People do come here looking for love, but what do they find?"
Quite possibly bad luck in love, cramped apartments, shopping trips that don't include Fifth Avenue and life in a borough other than Manhattan.
Even a recent article in The New York Times was a reminder that Sex and the City: The Movie is a movie:
Every year around this time, tens of thousands of postcollegiate people in their 20s flood the city despite its soaring expenses. They are high on ambition, meager of budget and endlessly creative when it comes to making ends meet.
Some tactics have long been chronicled: sharing tiny apartments with strangers. Sharing those apartments with eight strangers. Eating cheap lunches and skipping dinners — not just to save money, but so that drinks pack more of a punch and fewer need be consumed.
But there are smaller measures, no less ingenious, that round out the lifestyle. These young people sneak flasks of vodka into bars, flirt their way into clubs, sublet their walk-in closets, finagle their way into open-bar parties and put off haircuts until they visit their hometowns, even if those hometowns are thousands of miles away. Read more
But we keep on coming. Some leave, some barely get by, some make it. But I think few find that New York City will be something they would ever regret.