At this point, I’ve hammered the whole How Sex & the City Killed NYC thing about a million times and now, with the movie coming out, journalists are starting to needle the SATC cast on this issue. AMNY's story inspired some fantastic comments (especially #11). And a VNY commenter sent in a link to a New York Magazine interview with Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s a long article, and she says a lot of good things, so I’ve pulled out all the relevant stuff.
In it SJP remembers a different city, back in her Square Pegs days, when I thought she was really cool, back when she was, according to writer Emily Nussbaum, “a very New York type: the ethnic girl nerd with crazy hair, a schnoz, big eighties glasses.” Sadly, that’s the type we’re losing to the ranks of Zero Girls, the girls who flock here to be mini-SJPs. Now we're surrounded by Muffy Teppermans and Jennifer DiNuccios.
She bemoans the vanishing New York, especially Greenwich Village. She and husband Matthew Broderick “keep a running count of these changes, a mutual mourning for the transformation of their neighborhood into a luxe, tree-lined shopping mall. She knows this sounds absurd coming from her, that people blame Sex and the City for the ruination of the West Village; even Broderick says, ‘That’s your fault!’ when he sees a thong poking up from low-slung jeans, and her close friend John Benjamin Hickey, an actor, longs for the days before ‘those girls on buses.’ Parker clarifies that she doesn’t want to sound like Madonna bemoaning what’s happened to New York: It’s not that there’s no ‘creative energy’ in the air, it’s simply been priced out of this particular borough.”
Maybe SJP should read this blog.
“’You know, when I arrived in the city in 1976, New York was financially a wreck,’ she remembers. ‘But to me it’s the New York that Matthew and I literally try to find every day of our lives. It was the best place in the world. It was literature. It promised everything… there’s just so much money now, and the city is so affluent, and all the colors, all the shops, the look of a street from block to block is just terribly absent of distinguishing coffee shops, bodegas. All of that stuff that made it possible to live in New York is gone.’”
On Bleecker, she worries about "the Marc Jacobs effect" and that "a friend who owns a framing shop will get priced out.” She says, “I feel cheapened... like I’m bringing dirt [paparazzi], like I’m bad for the neighborhood.”
screenshot from AMNY
But there is something you can do, Sarah! Embrace your inner nerd! Replace Carrie Bradshaw with good old Patty Greene. How about a Square Pegs reunion movie? How about some activist work? Speak out for the preservation of the mom-and-pop shops you mourn for. Do some free or low-cost advertising work for small businesses. Mr. Big, who also misses the old NYC, can join you. You have the power, Sarah. You can help save what's left of New York from the destructive hordes who emulate the character you brought to life. It’s not yet too late. Ask yourself, what would Patty do?
If you need ideas, drop me a line and I'll be happy to chat with you. In the meantime, here are a few places to get you started: