A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation from “On Location Tours” agency in New York to join them for a “TV & Movie Tour”. As my friend, Monica lives in New York, I asked her to go on my behalf… especially since she is a “Sex and the City” fan and one of the specialty tours on the menu is… you guessed ! The Sex and the City Tour !
“As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. And when that happens, I guess she has to let go of the coulda, shoulda, woulda, buckle up and just keep going.”
To say that I am a Sex and the City fan is an understatement. Ever since I was a teenager living in Europe, I was religiously following each episode and I was yearning to one day walk the New York City streets. Time passed, my dream came true and here I was now on the TV show’s tour bus.
When Cezar asked me if I could go on the tour instead of him, I jumped at the opportunity. Although several years have passed since I moved to the Big Apple, I had never gone on the Sex and the City tour. Why that is I don’t exactly know; perhaps because I already knew Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha’s stomping grounds. To later learn I did not in fact know of all the locations was incredibly refreshing.
On the hottest day of October, in a bus full of women, resembling a UN assembly, and two straight men, lost in the sea of Carrie wannabes, on we parted from the stunning Pulitzer Fountain (5th Avenue between 58th and 59th Street), the scene of countless iconic movie shots and the premise for the legendary Plaza Hotel.
The charismatic Stephanie was our tour guide, and a fun witty one, I might add! An actress herself, as all the other tour guides are required to be, I thoroughly enjoyed her comments. The tour came with a series of clips, out of which I am ashamed to admit I knew 99% of them.
The tour’s starting point – at the Pulitzer Fountain right across the Plaza – is where Big and Natasha had their engagement party. For SATC fans out there, you may remember this is where Carrie said her farewells to Big, quoting Barbara Streisand’s famous ”your girl’s lovely, Hubbell,” from the Way We Were.
Just across the street is where the opening scene of Sex and the City 2 took place, where the four women are seen entering the sophisticated Bergdorf Goodman department store. Three years ago, in the same spot, I stumbled upon Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis, filming said scene, amidst a sea of crazed fans; I was happy to live in NY and experience that. Further down, continuing on Fifth Avenue, we looked out the window to see Tiffany & Co where Trey suggested he bought the most beautiful engagement ring for Charlotte. She excitedly repeated what Tray had initially said when asked if they should marry: ”alrighty.”
The bus also drove by the splendid New York Public Library, where Carrie was supposed to marry Mr Big in the first movie, but never did. The side street was where the scene of Carrie hitting her runaway groom with her wedding bouquet took place.
We did not stop for any of the above; as you may imagine, parking a large tour bus on Fifth Avenue is never an option.
The first stop was The Pleasure Chest, a sex shop. My first thought was why are we stopping here out of all the stunning locations? That was until the theme of “Sex” and the City rang a bell. Of course! Needless to say the shop was loaded with SATC books, fun cards, and you know, other things. This is where Charlotte got her pleasure ”Rabbit” vibrator in Season 1.
The next stop was at the amazing Budakkan restaurant in the Meatpacking District, where Carrie and Big’s rehearsal dinner took place. I had previously heard about the venue, but had not seen it yet; I was thrilled to walk around and admire the stunning décor, generous space and splendid chandeliers draping from atop.
We then proceeded with a leisurely 30–minute stroll through the charming West Village on Bleecker Street, the highlight being the famous Magnolia Bakery and its out-of-this-world cupcakes. We also went into a few boutiques, some of us taking advantage of the tour discounts on stores such as Michael Kors and Fresh.
When we hopped back on the bus, we partook of a holy cupcake, courtesy of On Location Tours! Carrie or no Carrie, if you have not tried a Magnolia Bakery cupcake while in NY, you haven’t experienced NY, period. You will recognize it from the long lines, from people staring through the windows, and from its countless positive reviews. This is where Carrie first told Miranda of her new crush, Aidan.
Last stop, and my second favorite after Budakkan, was Steve and Aidan’s old bar, Onieal’s in Little Italy, which went by the name Scout in the TV series. Here we had some well-deserved cosmopolitans, just as the four girls did so many times. Apart from spilling half of it on my pants, it was delicious. I also loved the décor.
From Lower Manhattan, the bus started its journey towards midtown, where we would eventually stop at a souvenir shop at NBC.
As the evening settled in, the tourists went back to their respective hotels, storing in their journals the “Sex and the City” dream, and I went back home, still in NY, a bit closer to being Carrie.
Thank you On Location Tours for such a fun afternoon, and Imperator Travel for the opportunity to share my experience.
Starting point at Plaza Hotel
SATC On Location Tours
Sex and the City clips on the bus
On Location Tours Bus
First stop – Pleasure Chest
Rehearsal – Dinner Room
Outside Magnolia Bakery in West Village
The divine cupcakes
Staring at the cupcakes
Through the Magnolia Bakery window
On Location Tours – West Village
The end – at the New York Public Library