Friends of mine know how much I detest Sex and the City and the loathsome version of New York it celebrates. Among its more repulsive effects: the proliferation of downtown cupcake shops with long lines of midwestern ladies stretching from the Sex and the City tour bus to the shiny glass counters inside, clogging sidewalks, winding around corners. I have nothing against cupcakes, but I do not think you should have to stand in line for them, especially behind people who think that Carrie Bradshaw is someone to emulate.
Thanks to Teri Tynes, author of the always useful and edutaining blog Walking Off the Big Apple, we now know that Sex and the City has somehow managed to go back in time and infect the Village in the early ’80s with an anachronistic love of red velvet and buttery frosting. Writing for Reframe about the Tribeca Film Festival, Teri gives us the down and dirty:
In an early sequence of An Englishman in New York, a film
receiving its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, we
see Quentin Crisp (John Hurt) walking — well, more like floating,
placing one foot in front of another as a ballet dancer on a tightrope,
along MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. The year is 1981. As he
turns and walks west down the charming and colorfully decorated Minetta
Lane, it’s possible to spot a chronological oddity in the background.
In just a glimpse, a relatively new cupcake shop, opened in a small
storefront in 2007 or 2008, appears on the shot of MacDougal. The shop,
a cultural artifact of a later time, specifically Sex and the City, a cupcake-generating TV phenomenon of the straight girl’s sexual revolution, might appear as an anachronism for some viewers.
Teri turns this anachronism into a smart reading of the film — which sounds like a relevant supplement to this week’s lectures in Writing New York. (The rest of Teri’s piece here.) But the idea of the specialty cupcake’s evil empire heading back in time is enough to make me want to make me run screaming downtown to that as-yet ungentrified neighborhood, Tribeca. Surely I’d still be able to afford a loft there …