July 21, 2002

It's shallow, it's often sentimental and fully of girly stereotypes and antiquated romantic ideals, and Carrie's homilies and puns are just inexcusable -- but yeah, I guess I have to count myself as a Sex and the City fan. For a show about people I'm supposed to hate, I'm finding myself madly in love with all four principals, particularly Samantha, who leaves no question in my mind about what the word "ravishing" actually means. But I'm a little less interested in the "sex" part (it's not quite the original topic for a prime-time TV show) than I am in the title's final three words, "and the City." Because the show just loves its city SO FUCKING MUCH, and I grin like a cheshire when someone else gets as goopy about New York as I tend to get. I got pretty dreamy looking at the subway poster for the season premiere -- an impeccably-dressed Sarah Jessica Parker, in her fabulous whirlwind universe, stooping over a sidewalk hot-dog cart, her white-gloved hand dipping into her purse while the vendor checks her out. That's New York!

And speaking of the amazingly dichotomous nature of New York, I walked through Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill today -- it's a tiny residential enclave buried deep between the warehouses of DUMBO and the housing projects around York Street. It used to be a Navy village (due to its proximity to the Brooklyn Navy Yard), and was said to be home to several brothels in the 19th century. It's kind of a non-neighborhood at present -- the only commerce I could see was a barber shop. Mainly row houses and old brownstones, clustered together on a small patch of land, an interesting anomaly that only residents and New York historians know about (seriously, ask people in Brooklyn Heights about Vinegar Hill, and 80 percent will probably say "Vinegar Huh?").

And those people would be very surprised to walk through the area and stumble upon the greatest anomaly of all: a glorious white mansion that looks as if it belongs in Bel Air -- on a hill, separated by a tall iron gate and a winding pathway inside, where several luxury cars are parked. The mansion, I found out, used to belong to Admiral Perry. I don't know who owns it now. In true New York style, it's situated directly across (not more than 15 feet from the gate) from the ConEd plant (I think). And you walk down a block or two and you've got your typical warehouses, stockyards, and maintenance facilities! God bless this town.