May 11, 2008
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New York's the star as 'Sex and the City' hits the big screen

May 11, 2008

NEW YORK, May 10, 2008 (AFP) - Sipping on a cosmopolitan in the Meatpacking district, tripping through the streets laden with boxes from Soho boutiques: New York is as much the star of "Sex and the City" as its actresses, offering the chance to live just like Carrie and her pals.

Photo : Ray Tamarra/AFP

Since the hugely popular 1998-2004 series spilled onto television screens worldwide, New York has become the city of dreams for millions of women who identify with journalist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), the chronicler of city life; art dealer Charlotte (Kristin Davis), who converted for love to Judaism; Miranda the lawyer and single mother (Cynthia Nixon); and Samantha the man-eater (Kim Catrall).

And the city will be back in the limelight starting Monday, when the film version, starring the same quartet of smart, emancipated, fashion-and-love-fixated New York women premieres in London.

As in the TV series, the title comes from the name of Carrie's weekly column for the fictional "New York Star," on the pleasures and conundrums of single life in the Big Apple.

For this she, and the series, draws heavily on Carrie's and her friends' own love lives, recounted in cocktail-spiked discussions in trendy Manhattan bars and restaurants and anguished late-night phone calls.

The series made the four actresses global stars; it also made New York a cult-like figure especially among women.

Numerous New York travel agencies, like On Location Tours, offer tours to visit the sites featured in "SATC."

The "Sex and the City package" offers a tour to some 40 places, like the Pastis resaurant on 9th Ave. where Carrie had a romantic rendezvous, and Tiffany's on 5th Ave., where Charlotte and beau Harry Goldenblatt got her engagement ring.

It costs just 50 dollars for a tour by bus; by limousine, the price tops 100 dollars.

On the weekends a dozen such tours are scheduled, starting at all times from 10 am to 4 pm.

And for the New York launch of the film on May 30, the tours go up to 130 dollars, but the price includes a ticket to the film and a party afterwards -- Cosmos and other cocktails not included.

In a sign of how popular "Sex and the City" is, most of the tickets have already been snapped up.

Hotels aren't missing out, either. Le Muse Hotel offers a "SATC" weekend starting at 475 dollars a night.

For 2,000 dollars a night (for two!) the Mandarin Oriental offers a suite with a view of the Hudson River and a voucher for 200 dollars to be used at Henri Bendel, one of fashionista Carrie's favorite boutiques.

Indeed, New York boutiques are raking it in from SATC's success as well.

Thanks to the series' stylist Patricia Field, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin shoes have become almost household names, and more than a few New Yorkers have been persuaded to part with 600 dollars for a pair of 10-centimeter (four inch) stilleto heels of the type worn by Carrie and her pals.

"Love, labels and Manolos" was the headline this week of an article in New York's Metro weekly, like every other publication playing up "Sex and the City's powerful influence ahead of the movie's release.

Such articles promise that the show's revival on the big screen will score the dream of New York into the hearts of hundreds of a new generation of women.by Paola Messana

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