Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Plea to SJP

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:


ShatteredMonocle said...

My guess is her effort to save anything would be as insincere/half-hearted/nonexistent as that of John Varvatos or the owner of the Blind Bourgeoisie Spotted Pig.

Joshua said...

"Don't Blame Us"--my ass. Boy, if that isn't the rats leaving the ship I don't know what is.

Anonymous said...

People who paid exorbitant prices to live their particular fantasy in the West Village need a big wake-up call: the West Village no longer exists -- it's another freakin' mall in One Nation Under Malls. "Bus Girls" should be added to JVNY Parlance -- another dimension of horror. SJP, go away. Sell your place now for top dollar. Call Countrywide Financial or whatever, then gracefully retire to Phoenix.

L'Emmerdeur said...

So where will she move now that NYC is "ovar!"? Beijing? They're going to eat her designer doggie.

Alicia said...

Sex and the City was a fiction, and Sarah Jessica Parker played a fictitious role. How she, as an actress on the real-world stage, could possibly be blamed for the misguided actions of TV imbibers is simply beyond me. Are the video games to blame for the school shootings? Having read this article, I'm even more convinced that SJP's an extraordinarily intelligent, aware, and interesting person: those criticizing her about something for which she couldn't possibly be held responsible, instead, seem to tout only cliches.

esquared said...

Scarlett Johansson recently sold her loft in Tribeca for a loss of $52,000. Now that's a smart woman. She must have good instincts to tell herself to get out of NY long before the Generation 0 and the bus girls had consumed everything and everyone in their paths.

SJP could be holding out for more money and be "priced out of this particular borough" or her neighborhood for that matter.

As Thomas Aquinas had said: "Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire... leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue consists."

Anonymous said...

Yes, Sarah Jessica Parker played a fictitious role, and she is a real person. Go tell that to the generation zeros who just got off the bus; when they see SJP (and the other actresses in SATC), they tell these SATC actresses that they were the reason why they came to NYC, to be like Carrie (not SJP). But since Carrie is a fictional character, the actress that portrays her is the one to be easily blamed for the actions of these bus girls who wants to live the life, and be a clone of Carrie Bradshaw. Even SJP's own husband blames her for this.

Anonymous said...

Should SJP sell her WV flat to some I-banker, she could find a spot in Dubai! Just as Holly Golightly has been replaced by Bus Girls; celebrity in NYC has gone from Noel Coward, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, etc. to real estate brokers and their idols with unholy combovers. The Statue in the harbor no longer says "Give me your tired"; it screams, "Give me pristine carpets!" It holds not a torch but a cellphone.

Anonymous said...

Damn, Jeremiah - you've got some smart readers! I love the comments for this one - even the one who disagrees. And yeah, shatteredmonocle has a good memory - I dream of the day when someone does take up one of Jeremiah's challenges.

Anonymous said...

I agree that SJP played a fictional character and fiction does not nor should not impact reality; it was a fantastic, escapist show, a fantasy. What has ruined NYC in my view is greedy realtors (remember? those people who get the right to sell real estate after taking a weekend seminar?) They have created the higher prices and higher rents through their brilliant, greedy marketing campaigns, one neighborhood at a time. And I also agree that is SJP and her husband are concerned, they need to show up at activist person. Or host fundraisers for Andrew Berman's GVSHP organization. No more talking--they need to do it.

Joshua said...

Well, I don’t know if I’d absolve SJP so completely. It’s her face that’s been laughing at us from posters, magazine covers, newspapers and the like for the past ten years to advertise HBO’s ultra-glam crap. I remember all those articles about her, all those Entertainment Tonight segments spouting, “oh, how do we dress like SJP?”, “how do we look like SJP?”, how do we become as fabulous as SJP?”, to the point that she became a household name. Not Carrie Bradshaw, mind you, but Sarah Jessica Parker; something which I don’t think would have happened if she were only best known as Johnny Depp’s girlfriend in “Ed Wood” (or as Patty Greene, for that matter). I remember, during the height of SATC’s run on HBO , her activities were covered so fawningly by the New York papers that people stated writing letters to the Daily News (in particular) asking if the editors could go through one day without a picture of Sarah Jessica Parker. No, she and “Sex in the City” are somewhat linked, like it or not (and I always got the impression she liked it). Granted, she now has “reservations”, but the heat is on today, so to speak, more than it was back in the giggly days of 2002, so I wouldn’t get my hopes up that she’s actually turned against the culture that worships her.
This new found change of heart of her’s strikes me as a rearguard action; a kind of insurance against further criticism. I mean, I’m sure that she is aware on some level that there are many people with a distaste for gentrification and the culture of glamorous entitlement that glorifies it, for which SATC is practically a manifesto. I’m sure also that she is aware that this opposition has been getting more vocal over the past few years as rents have sprinted up in response to the new, ultra-fabulous population--In most cases the same people who worship SATC.
Naturally though, all the money she’s made from the outgrowth of this culture (and whatever real-estate investments she may have) undoubtedly suits her fine; which, if I were cynical, I would say is probably why you don’t see her at any anti-gentrification rallies or anything. She’s just trying to cover her ass (not an easy thing to do in lowrider jeans), not actually bring about effective change.

Wonderful article as always, Jerry!

Julia said...

Oh, lordy.

Sex in the City didn't destroy New York. It's not even the best lame lifestyle sitcom suspect.

If anything, SATC told the striver wannabes what all the best upwardly mobile artificial constructs were throwing up on their shoes Thursday nights.

Joshua said...

I disagree, I think it is the main lame lifestyle sitcom culprit (though there are others, it's true), or at least the most aggressively marketed (the NYC tourism website even has a page dedicated to emphasizing that this is the home of the SATC characters).

laura r. said...

"SJP" follows jeremiah on twitter. she only follows about 80 people, mostly movie stars. its a new account, so JVNY is up there w/the hollywood crowd! congrads mr. "J"!!! maybe there is a movie or tv deal somewhere w/this connection. she can produce & do voice over for the "vanishing" HBO seris.