As Americans, the first question we usually ask someone is, “What do you do for a living?” It’s a question I usually hate to answer, as I don’t know how to best sum up what it is that I do with my time. I usually say I’m a writer, but I also work two other jobs, so I tend to throw in the fact that I’m not a full time writer. We expect that knowing what someone does for work will tell us…
Everyone always thinks that this blog name, Caroline in the City, is a play on the novel and subsequent television and film franchise Sex and the City, when in fact it’s based on the 1990s sitcom. But I play off of the show anyways. My Twitter bio reads, “A lil bit Samantha Brown, a lil bit Carrie Bradshaw,” which I think accurately sums up what this blog is all about. Some travel tidbits and plenty of life advice. I’ve been a fan of the show for as long as I’ve been able to watch it, as it was off the air my junior year of high school and I didn’t have HBO. But as soon as I could buy the DVDs and watch the edited versions of it on TBS, I did. I’ve seen every episode and can quote them at length.
Since my twice yearly trips to New York have become a routine, I knew I wanted to have at least one day to be a tourist in the city before starting work last week. On Location Tours serendipitously emailed me a few weeks beforehand, asking if I’d like to check out one of their wildly popular TV and film tours. I searched their website to see which one best suited my interests and schedule and ended up on the Sex and the City tour.
Sammi and I met our guide, an actress named Elyse who was an extra in the movie, at the Pulitzer Fountain in front of the The Plaza, where our bus tour began. It was a great place to start the tour, as it’s close to Central Park and accessible to the Subway, not to mention the fact that it was where Big had his engagement party with Natasha. We joined 10 other females, mostly travelers from Australia and England who, like us, had seen most of the episodes in syndication. The tour is even run in multiple languages when requested.
Video screens played the relevant clips from the show and movie, as we went through Midtown, where Elyse pointed out the The Paris Theatre, where Carrie went on a date with herself, and Central Park, home to the men who act like freaks. Across the street were the The Oak Room, where Samantha met her senior millionaire and Tiffany & Co., where Charlotte proposed to Trey.
The city truly plays a character, as Sex and the City was one of the few shows to film on location in New York, which is a difficult and expensive undertaking. Further down 5th Avenue was St. Patricks Cathedral, which played a role in the second film, as did the New York Public Library – Mid-Manhattan Library, where Carrie had her lavish almost-wedding to Big. We also passed the church of Friar F**k and the parks where Miranda tells Carrie she’s pregnant and Charlotte’s dog gets frisky with other dogs.
Elyse also showed us ABC Carpet & Home, a home shopping wonderland where Charlotte and Trey shop with Bunny and Equinox, where Charlotte meets one of two dates that she double books. Blue Water Grill is where Charlotte’s date punches people in the face, while neighboring Coffee Shop played the sports bar where ladies drank for free. Paul Smith Fifth Avenue is where Miranda tried to buy Steve a suit and Two Boots Pizza Restaurant is where Carrie and Miranda eat pizza after stalking out Smith at the raw restaurant.
The first stop of the day took place at Pleasure Chest, the sex shop where the girls bought Charlotte “The Rabbit.” Photos aren’t allowed inside, but obviously they get plenty of business from these tours, as the Rabbit was front and center, costing you about $95 before tax.
Back on the bus, we passed the New York Sports Club, which is where Miranda trained for the marathon and met her single dad boyfriend. Rather than film the scene in Paris and give away the finale spoilers, Carrie’s book party in the finale was actually filmed in the West Village. At Cowgirl, Carrie and Miranda run into Steve and Aidan with their dogs and new girlfriends. The Bleecker St Playground was where Miranda sees Steve’s girlfriend Debbie and where Carrie faces her “look” girl with Heather Graham.
I’d heard of Buddakan from watching Top Chef, but I was excited when we made our second stop at the restaurant, which wasn’t yet open for the evening, but was nice enough to let us look around. It served as the site of Carrie and Big’s engagement party and is one of the most beautiful restaurant spaces I’ve seen. Stanford and Anthony’s New Years kiss in the movie also took place here, within the diversely decorated rooms.
The tour took a turn into the trendy Meatpacking District, where animal carcasses have been replaced with high end boutiques and nightclubs. We were shown Aidan’s furniture store that in reality is an architectural firm. Soho House New York in the district is where the girls cool off after Samantha finds a membership card. The Vitra Store was transformed into a restaurant for Samantha’s birthday in the movie, while the Diane von Furstenberg store played the cafe. Bubby’s High Line rooftop was where the girls partied with the trannies, while Tortilla Flats was where Carrie took Miranda as her “air bag” on a double date with Aidan and Steve.
Our third stop was in the Village, where we were served cupcakes from Chelsea Market, not the famous Magnolia Bakery, which has a line out the door at all times. We were given time to walk around the neighborhood, poking into shops, before hopping back on board. Drive by stops included SUSHISAMBA NYC West Village, Charlotte’s gallery and the restaurant where Samantha invited the girls to Abu Dhabi in the second movie. CIPRIANI WALL STREET® VENUE was where the girls read the Sunday wedding section, or the “women’s sports pages.”
The final stop of the day was Onieal’s, a speakeasy that from 1900-1973 had a secret entrance for police officers, including during Prohibition. It was home to Scout, the bar that Steve and Aidan opened together. The wood interiors and comfortable seating made it easy to see why it was chosen. We ordered the drink of choice for the girls, Cosmopolitans.
A few more stops rounded out our tour, including the Starbucks Union Square, where Carrie met with Louise in the movie, and the Barnes & Noble Union Square, where Carrie looked at books before hers came out. The Hotel Giraffe served as Big’s apartment in the movie. The bus dropped us back off near Bryant Park.
The Sex and the City tour proved just how relevant the show is today, even ten years later. There are plenty of girls, and guys, who move to New York looking for love. I loved all the fun facts that Elyse shared with us gals on the three and a half hour tour. The tutu in the opening sequence is the cheapest thing Carrie wore in the show, costing around $15. Vogue handled all of the wedding montage in the first movie. Sarah Jessica Parker’s contract stated that she got to keep every item of clothing she wore on the show, including the shoes. Charlotte’s gallery became too expensive to film in, so the writers changed her storyline.
You could definitely go see these sights on your own, but On Location Tours makes it easy for visitors. They show you both the sights to go back to and the ones important to the show. The tour also gives you discounts and coupons for the places you visit, like 15% off at Pleasure Chest, free drink with dim sum at Buddakan and a coupon for the Michael Kors store.
Before you go on this tour, you should know that you may need extra cash apart from the ticket price for snacks and shopping. Feel free to bring food on board. Cupcakes are included, but cosmopolitans will set you back $9. Locations are subject to change, depending on street closures and unexpected situations. I recommend sitting on the left side of the bus, as that’s where most things were pointed out. There was a bathroom on our bus, but I don’t recommend using it unless you absolutely have to.
The Sex and the City tour is best for a girlfriends getaway, bachelorette weekend or just a day in the city. I recommend it for fans, but casual watchers can get something out of it as well. But if you’ve never seen the show, I think you should use your $50 elsewhere.
On Location Tours runs all sorts of themed tours in New York and Boston, including tours specifically for The Sopranos and Gossip Girl, as well as celeb-spotting tours by TMZ and a Turner Classic Movies tour.
I received two complimentary tickets to the Sex and the City Hotspots Tour NYC, courtesy of On Location Tours, but all opinions are my own.The Sex and the City Tour of New York Everyone always thinks that this blog name, Caroline in the City, is a play on the novel and subsequent television and film franchise
#hplphotoaday Day 27- In My Dreams. I dream about returning to #Croatia, the place that made me want to travel long term. This photo is from the city walls in #Dubrovnik. #herpackinglist @herpackinglist
#hplphotoaday Day 26- My #Camera. I love my @canon DSLR that I’ve taken all over, including here at the Twelve Apostles in #Australia. Read about it on #herpackinglist! @herpackinglist
My friend Jessica interviews me for her food blog about my favorite eats on my travels.
This week our Foodie Spotlight is on Caroline Eubanks, an Alantan native who has done what most of us only dream about over a bottle of wine.
“I would love to go to Asia…”
“I would just love to travel the world!”
“I always wanted to eat crepes under the Eiffel Tower…”
Who ever really gets up…
In our five days on the island of Vieques, we drove our rented Jeep down nearly every paved road and some that weren’t. We explored as much of the island of possible, which is difficult when you consider how much of it, about half, is protected by the government and inaccessible to the public. On our drives, we constantly discovered abandoned places, like the stadium on the way to our rental…
#hplphotoaday Day 25- My Favorite Souvenir. I love collecting #jewelry from all over the world. Pictured are Hilltribe earrings and bracelet from #Vietnam, a jade elephant charm from #Thailand, an evil eye bracelet and vintage earrings from #Turkey, a leather bracelet from #Italy, turquoise earrings from a market in #Germany and a wooden bracelet from the #USA. #herpackinglist @herpackinglist
Lovely brunch at Empire State South for @racheleubanks1 birthday. Candied bacon, pepper jelly and creamy grits. Yum. #thisismysouth #empirestatesouth #atleats #atlanta #weloveatl (at Empire State South)
#hplphotoaday Day 23- Travel Thirst. Flashback to #Oktoberfest 2011. Whether it’s Prost-ing Paulaner in Germany, sipping vinho verde in Portugal or enjoying rum punch in Puerto Rico, I love trying the local drink. #beer #germany #herpackinglist @herpackinglist
#hplphotoaday Day 22- Gear Review (video). I love my @timbuk2 Snoop insert that turns every bag into a camera bag, including my Manhattan Portage messenger and my Timbuk2 Aviator backpack. #camera #gear #herpackinglist @herpackinglist