Sex And The City | 2008
If you’re a fan of the long-running show, you’ll know that there’s a hugely successful Sex And The City tour of the New York locations, run by On Location Tours. This page, though, is strictly devoted to the 2008 big screen outing.
Four years on from the end of the TV series (as The Simpsons has it, that show “about four single women who act like gay men”), and the girls are still focussed on the two Ls – love and labels – in New York.
The ‘East 73rd Street’ address of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) is, of course, fictitious. The film uses the same location as the TV series: 66 Perry Street at West 4th Street in Greenwich Village.
There’s been a bit of concern about intrusiveness of some SATC fans on Perry Street (cripes, even the Google Streetmaps image captures somebody posing in front of the famous steps) – but I’m trusting you, as ever, not to be a nuisance. When I checked out the location, there was a small sign asking for a donation to an animal charity in return for the photo-op – which seems a reasonable deal to me.
It should come as no surprise that the ‘Upper East Side’ apartment of Mr Big (Chris Noth) isn’t on the East Side either. It’s the Penthouse Piano Suite of the luxurious (well, it would be, wouldn’t it?) Hotel Giraffe, 365 Park Avenue South at 26th Street in the Gramercy Park district. The 1,300 square foot retro-style penthouse has its own private balcony and, naturally, a baby grand piano – though there are more modest suites and rooms available.
It looks like Carrie has finally found the major ‘L’ of her quest as Big surprises her with the perfect apartment at 1010 Fifth Avenue, directly across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The canopied entrance is actually around the corner on East 82nd Street ( and the interior was filmed in a different house altogether).
The girls meet up for a jewellery auction, where Samantha (Kim Cattrall) gets outbid for the diamond flower ring, at Christie’s Auction House, 20 Rockefeller Plaza at West 49th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
Having been prompted to think about a single woman’s assets, Carrie gently nudges Big toward a marriage proposal.
The restaurant, where Charlotte (Kristin Davis) announces Carrie’s engagement to the appreciative diners, is the Modern, 9 West 53rd Street, the eaterie of midtown’s Museum of Modern Art, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Apart from its architecture and design exhibits, it’s worth noting that MoMA itself houses an unmatched cinema collection of more than 22,000 films and four million film stills.
Carrie informs a markedly unimpressed Samantha, who’s relocated to California, by phone from the Diane Von Furstenberg store, 440 West 14th Street at Washington Street. The flagship store of the populariser of the wrap dress is part of the now-gentrified Meat Packing District, and it features again later in in the movie, though in a way you might not expect.
Carrie’s editor, Enid (Candice Bergen), proposes celebrating the upcoming nuptials with a wedding feature (complete with the irresistible offer of Vogue airbrushing) at her office in the Condé-Nast Building, 4 Times Square at Broadway. Ironically, since the big splash concerns a 40-year-old bride, practical considerations meant that the actual office used for filming is that of Teen Vogue.
It’s while returning overdue books that Carrie realises the perfect wedding venue would be her local library. This only really works if you’re living in Manhattan, and your local lending facility is the magnificent New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street. Its grandiose, lion-guarded frontage is familiar from films such as Ghostbusters and Spider-Man, and its monumental interior from the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair (where it stands in for the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Meanwhile, the strains are beginning to show in Miranda’s (Cynthia Nixon) relationship with Steve (David Eigenberg). The sweet little ‘Italian’ restaurant where foamy upper lips lead to cross words, was the Good World Bar and Grill, which stood at 3 Orchard Street in Chinatown. A Swedish-themed bar housed in an old barbershop, it’s since closed down.
Miranda lives to regret the tart observations on marriage she makes to Big at the wedding rehearsal dinner. The deceptively minimal slate-grey exterior of Buddakan, 75 9th Avenue in Chelsea, where Steve arrives to plead his case, hides the dramatic Chinoiserie Room, every bit as spectacular as it appears on screen. Two stories high, its banquet table seats 36 diners, and that’s not to mention the restaurant’s Library Room – with around 2,500 books.
The Park Avenue address from which Carrie and party leave for the big wedding is the home of Charlotte and Harry, at 930 Park Avenue at East 81st Street on the East Side.
But since we’re only halfway through the movie, the big day ends in tears before anybody gets married.
Over on the West Coast, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is trying to adjust to monogamous life with Smith in a stunning tri-level glass-arch home at 24826 Malibu Road (yours for $55,000 long-term rental – naturally a short-term rental is a little more expensive), in the stretch of luxury beachfront properties east of Malibu itself toward Malibu Bluffs Park.
It’s not only convenient for comfort shopping – at Gucci, 347 Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills – it’s even more convenient when the girls convince Carrie to take the pre-booked honeymoon break anyway.
The luxury ‘Mexican’ resort is just a few miles from Samantha’s home. You can’t stay there, though – it’s Villa Lizton, 4440 Encinal Canyon Road, a private Mediterranean-style home set in more than four acres of grounds above La Piedra State Beach, just to the west of Malibu.
Having left Steve, Miranda also leaves Brooklyn, settling into 148 Henry Street at Rutgers Street near Manhattan Bridge on the Lower East Side.
It’s while shopping with Miranda for Halloween costumes in Duane Reade, 873 Broadway at East 18th Street, that Carrie sees the dreaded wedding issue of Vogue on sale.
It’s time for Carrie to make changes, starting with hair – going dark at Riccardo Maggiore Salon, on the third floor of 136 East 57th Street at Lexington Avenue.
She also gets an assistant – Louise, from St Louis (Jennifer Hudson), meeting up with her in Starbucks, 13 Astor Place. Carrie and Louise commiserate about broken hearts in Bemelman’s Bar at the venerable Carlyle Hotel, 35 East 76th Street on the East Side. The art deco bar’s whimsical murals are the work of Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of the enormously popular Madeline children's books (which inspired the 1998 film).
New hair, new assistant – time for a new desk. If you’re set on recreating the whole experience exactly, this is where you’ll come unstuck. The store in which Carrie and Charlotte shop is not a furniture store. It’s Luce Plan, 49 Greene Street, in actuality a lighting store, just south of Broome Street in SoHo.
Samantha is reminded how much she misses New York when her white fur is doused with red paint outside the ‘Mercedes Benz Fashion Week’ marquee, erected (just for the movie’s Vivienne Westwood show) in Bryant Park, between 40th and 42nd Streets, behind New York Public Library.
Bryant Park is also where you’ll find the carousel glimpsed during the opening credits.
The neighbourhood Italian restaurant where Carrie meets Louise with her new boyfriend is a casualty of NY’s ever-changing scene. La Focaccia, which stood at 51 Bank Street in Greenwich Village, has closed down since filming.
Still operating since the Seventies, the restaurant festooned with Valentine’s Day streamers and balloons, in which Miranda finally ’fesses up her guilty secret, is Raoul’s, 180 Prince Street, between Sullivan and Thompson Streets in SoHo. You might also have seen this French bistro-style eaterie in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Boston’-set The Departed.
The elegant cast iron pavilion in Central Park, where Carrie and Miranda have a heart-to-heart about forgiveness, is known as the Ladies’ Pavilion. It was built in 1871 as a shelter for the one-time trolley stop at 8th Avenue and 59th Street. You’ll find it on the peninsula known as Hernshead, on the northwest shore of Central Park Lake, near West 75th Street. And if you can’t afford New York Public Library, you can celebrate your wedding rather more modestly here. It's also featured in Woody Allen's Celebrity.
Miranda weighs up the pros and cons of a reconciliation with Steve in lawyer-like fashion in Nicole Farhi’s 202. A restaurant in a clothes store may sound like the ultimate SATC experience, but it was actually an offshoot of the London 202 in Notting Hill (at 202 Westbourne Grove, which explains the odd name). It stood at 75 9th Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets but, if you never tried it, you’ve missed your chance. It closed in 2011.
Miranda, of course, ends up following her heart and meets up with Steve on the Brooklyn Bridge.
A heavily pregnant Charlotte bumps into Big at since-closed Lumi, 963 Lexington Avenue – where she finally gets to use her well-rehearsed “I curse the day you were born!” speech. This high-style Tuscan restaurant served up Mediterranean-influenced dishes since 1995. It was regularly featured in the TV series, its dining room the work of SATC’s own production designer, Jeremy Conway. The premises now houses Brasserie Cognac East.
Big rushes Charlotte to Lenox Hill Hospital, 100 East 77th Street on the East Side, where she gives birth to daughter Rose. This also happens to be where Sarah Jessica Parker’s son, James Wilkie Broderick, was born in 2002.
When Carrie and Big finally get hitched, it’s in a low key ceremony – without labels – at the Brooklyn Supreme Court Building, 360 Adams Street, Brooklyn.
The less-than-formal reception is held just a few blocks east in Junior’s, 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension at DeKalb Avenue. A Brooklyn institution, founded in 1950, it’s the self-proclaimed home of the ‘most fabulous cheesecake’.
After so much playing fair with the NY locations, there‘s a bit of trickery for the final round of cocktails. Sadly, you won't be able to finish your tour with a Cosmopolitan at the site of Samantha’s 50th birthday bash. The ‘restaurant’ the girls enter is Vitra, a furniture store at 29 9th Avenue in the Meat Packing District. And the interior is no place to get a drink, either. It was created just around the corner in the Diane Von Furstenberg store, 440 West 14th Street (I said we’d be returning here).