Embarking on the ‘Sex and the City’ Adventure: The Legendary NYC of Carrie Bradshaw Thrives for Admirers

Every day new enthusiasts and connoisseurs are enamored by Sex and the City. The saga, debuting in 1998 on HBO, led to six seasons, a duo of films, and another two rounds of the sequel And Just Like That. With its addition to Netflix in April, the series captivated a fresh cluster of devotees. These novel viewers are keen to classify themselves as either a Carrie, a Charlotte, a Miranda, or a Samantha.

The revival of the beloved saga for a swath of younger admirers kindled intense emotions among long-standing followers. Outspoken concerns emerged that the series might be deemed irrelevant by the new cadre of viewers. Despite an article penned by a Gen Z-er labelling the show “awkward” and a handful of recent memes critiquing Carrie Bradshaw’s narcissism, the majority acknowledged its authenticity as a relic 25 years old.

Brought into the show’s fold via a streaming platform, I was eager to engage with veteran admirers and rekindle the enchantment of the series’ quartet of friends. Carrie once ambled 48 blocks in her $400 heels, embodying more fortitude than me, prompting me to board an On Location Tours vehicle to behold the program’s quintessential New York set pieces. Surely, New York City claims its role as the saga’s undisclosed fifth lead.

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattr

allKristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall

Carrie Bradshaw and companions promenade New York City in Sex and the City: The Movie. (New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Intended for mature disciples, the tour teemed with bawdy quips akin to those of the quintet’s self-designated Samantha, and frank accounts of the gang’s amorous escapades. Among the 15 participants, there loomed a trio of unruly Carries, a quartet of tense Mirandas, and not one conventional Charlotte. For the inquisitive minds, yes, I identify as a Carrie.

Primo, a devotee of yore (and likewise a Carrie by self-affiliation), followed the series on VHS and DVD shortly after its original airing concluded in 2004. He introduced the series to his future spouse, Frank, who also became smitten. (Other attendees on the excursion requested I omit their surnames from this piece for matters of anonymity.)

“The show was solely responsible for my longing to explore New York,” Primo confided to me. “Witnessing all those renowned spots made me think, ‘I absolutely must reside here.’”

While the move to New York didn’t happen abruptly, after a solidarity of 14 years, Primo and Frank decided to depart their Texan kin to realize their ultimate Sex and the City-styled matrimonial fantasy in the metropolis. They aspired to exchange vows on the steps of the New York Public Library — in close proximity to where Carrie’s notorious first wedding faltered — but ultimately exchanged their oaths amidst the verdure of Central Park. A congenial group of wedding invitees joined them for the tour preceding their nuptial ceremony.

We embarked on our journey adjacent to the park at the Plaza Hotel’s fountain, an iconic site where Carrie had faced Mr. Big regarding his commitment to another woman. Our chaperone, Amanda, divulged backstage anecdotes and gestured towards key sights along Fifth Avenue. A hot dog kiosk evocative of the backdrop where Carrie donned a tutu, being splashed by a bus in the opening credits of the show, a diner formerly known for a single gathering of the quartet, and an aged church where Samantha encountered one of the scarce men who declined her advances, for he was cloaked in the vows of priesthood.

The expedition’s inaugural destination was the West Village townhouse serving as Carrie’s residence during the initial series. Here, we captured images in hushed tones, yet the locale’s dynamism stirred some excitement among my companions. A resident emerged, entreating in a stern voice, “For you, it’s fleeting merriment but remember, it’s our daily reality. Keep your voices down.” With that, we regrouped and made our way back to the conveyance.

Carrie Bradshaw's stoopCarrie Bradshaw's stoop
The stoop of Carrie Bradshaw’s abode in Greenwich Village, New York City. (Kelsey Weekman / Yahoo Entertainment)

Tour conductor Amanda expressed continual astonishment at how Sex and the City unites individuals. She enjoys “suggesting” specific episodes to individuals; they convey their challenges, and she proposes a Sex and the City episode that might relate. For example, if a man fails to reply to your messages, she proposes watching Season 3, Episode 11.

“Afterwards, they approach me and say, ‘That brought such clarity to me,'” she recounted. “Such is the series’ influence.”

She noted the tour draws numerous individuals who initially viewed the series on television during its premiere and who inform her — someone who discovered the series in her university dorm several years ago via Netflix — that she’s too youthful to comprehend its significance. This simply provides her another chance to express her fondness for the series.

“It’s undeniably timeless,” she claimed.

I regularly prompt comrades amidst rewatches, even as we grimace at a prejudiced remark or tired trope, to recall that the show was pioneering at the time. It now serves as a time capsule — evoking memories of a metropolis and societal period that were impactful, albeit not achievable for most. Yet, the foundational themes of companionship and genuine affection continue to echo, despite the dated vernacular and technology.

Our subsequent visit was to Buddakan, the fashionable locale in the Meatpacking District where Carrie and Big held their ill-starred practice supper following Miranda’s accidental revelation to Big that his eagerness to remarry took her by surprise. Exploring its lavish chambers, I pondered the exorbitant rent required for such an expansive space.

Buddakan restaurantBuddakan restaurant
The chic Asian eatery Buddakan featured in Sex and the City. (Kelsey Weekman/Yahoo Entertainment)

Subsequently, we treaded the cobblestone paths back to the West Village. Our host pointed out that the thespian behind Carrie, Sarah Jessica Parker, is a highly astute entrepreneur who owns a shoe boutique a stone’s throw from Carrie’s residence. Tour groups receive a discount when visiting! Although the footwear was stunning, no one made a purchase.

Our guide treated us to cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, which she mentioned appeared briefly in the series, yet that was sufficient to catapult it to stardom.

I sensed a hint of impostor syndrome throughout the journey. I have watched the series repeatedly, yet I was oblivious to the backstory behind the eatery where a bird alighted on Carrie’s companion, the nightspot where Samantha assumed a false identity or the playground where Miranda stumbled. The locales I pass with indifference daily were deeply significant to my fellow attendees.

Carrie Bradshaw musing about love and life in the Carrie Bradshaw musing about love and life in the
Carrie Bradshaw contemplating love and existence in the Sex and the City film. (©New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection)

I witnessed two acquaintances effortlessly answering every puzzle and recognizing every allusion. Brittany, an attorney, shared with me that she was in New York to celebrate her 37th birthday with her companion. She recalled the series had a consequential influence on her life when she initially tuned in as a juvenile (an age she now deems too young) and her admiration has remained. Her cohort became a professional in public relations because of Samantha. While Miranda did not motivate Brittany to pursue law, she resonated most with her character.

Every single person on the excursion had a Sex and the City backstory — the recollections of their discovery, where they observed it, its effect on them, and the moment they became captivated by it. Angela participated in the trek with a comrade to commemorate their 40th year of friendship. Being slightly junior to the ensemble, they viewed the series on HBO during its original broadcast. Angela was well-acquainted with every roadway we sauntered down, despite never having ventured to New York previously. Another participant added that she binged the entire show on TBS, which sanitized the more mature content.

“So for you, the show essentially ran about six minutes, correct?” Angela quipped.

Our tour’s eventual sanctioned visit was to Onieals Grand Street Bar, which can be recognized as Scout — the establishment owned by Carrie’s beau Aidan and Miranda’s spouse, Steve. We made our way through anqueuing to acquire $15 cosmopolitans. Regrettably, the tavern wasn’t adhering to the cocktail rates of the early 2000s.

Some of the Sex and the City tour group enjoying cosmos Some of the Sex and the City tour group enjoying cosmos

Some of the Sex and the City tour group relishing cosmos at O’Nieal’s. (Kelsey Weekman/Yahoo Entertainment)

Traversing past the alley where Carrie was robbed and another cherished brunch location now transformed into a bank, the tour alighted outside Bryant Park. We were recommended to explore the carousel, showcased in a And Just Like That episode.

So much of the metropolis of New York that enthusiasts may yearn to experience has vanished. Even the significant eateries and watering holes have shut down and were substituted through the ages, but the thrill of viewing the series is potent enough to draw admirers to Gotham, if only to stride a few streets in Carrie’s Manolos.

“Should anyone inquire about the tour, inform them that you disembarked four times,” Amanda quipped as we dispersed. She was essentially accurate.

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