As most people living in Manhattan know, the Sex and the City movie, slated for a May release, is now filming on our streets. I had seen the pictures in Us Weekly, and heard the various narratives: for instance, that fake scenes were being filmed in order to disguise the real plot twists. Yesterday, even the New York Times got in on the SATC action; Melena Ryzik penned a piece about the massive crowds accompanying each shoot. Ms. Ryzik related a charming anecdote about the confusion of Kristin Davis (Charlotte); a paparazzo told her to move and she did so, even though she was in the middle of a scene. Ms. Davis found herself asking, "Now why did I do that?" She did it because fans are omnipresent at these shoots and the crowds can boggle the mind.
The presence of the shoot in my life was minimal, until yesterday, when it made a cameo appearance. James and I were walking to dinner at Yama, a sushi place near us on 17th Street. We were heading East on 17th and saw the Panavision trucks, the klieg lights, etc. There’s always a movie or Law & Order filming in NY, so I didn’t look twice.
Fast forward about twenty minutes. We’re waiting in the restaurant, in what amounts to a glass-enclosed human cage in this tiny Japanese joint. Our total wait was almost an hour, sigh, but the beginning of it made infinitely worse by a clutch of double-daters. The alpha girl in the group, we’ll call her Mimi, looked like she was trying to emulate Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada. Prada Juniorette had on a cape and stiletto knee-high boots and was carrying a large expensive (though possibly knock-off) luxury handbag. She had bangs and big eyes and hurtled past James and me on the stairs to the restaurant, where we were waiting, exclaiming to her friends about us: “If they would just make way for me on the stairs, I wouldn’t be tripping all over myself.” I felt like saying, “No, if you weren’t wearing four-inch stiletto boots you wouldn’t be tripping all over yourself.”
Once inside, Mimi draped her arm over the shoulders of the compact man putting names on a list for tables. She purred, “Anything you can do for us? Pleeeeeaaase???” Mind you, this wasn’t Bungalow 8. Rather we were waiting online for tuna rolls in a neighborhood restaurant. Those tacky tactics were NOT going to work.
So I guess outside became inhospitable to Mimi and her crew, at which point they pushed themselves past everyone waiting online and parked themselves in front of the sushi bar to wait, blocking the comings and goings of the staff. One of the boys, we’ll call him Eric, kept saying very loudly, “Sarah Jessica Parker.” Eric kept saying, “If we tell them Sarah Jessica Parker is outside shooting the movie, everyone will want to see her and leave the restaurant!” His ploy to secure a table was laughably juvenile. Didn’t he know we were jaded New Yorkers? The last time I can recall putting on a costume and purring to a bouncer, I was in high school.
In the event, I was happy to note I wasn’t the only one recoiling from this crew. The folks next to me said they wouldn’t accept a seat next to the bunch. A woman with long blonde hair and a green suede trench coat and I kept rolling our eyes at each other. Mind you, in Grand Central Station, or the Times Square subway station, I don't care who acts in what manner. If you want to go barefoot, grow dreadlocks, and bang on a guitar as though it were a drum, be my guest (though you might want to note your competition, as there is already a busker doing just that on 40th Street underground). But this restaurant is TINY and smells strongly of tempura grease. Noise and bluster just make the experience that much more unpleasant.
As it happens, James and I were the lucky ones to secure a table next to Mimi and Eric et.al. James, my hero, refused it. The folks next to us refused it as well. Of course solidarity was then formed among us. Soon after we settled in at the sushi bar and that was that, Eric and Mimi forgotten.
Until James and I stepped outside after dinner and Eric’s shouts of “SJP” were remembered. A scene was rolling inside a nearby boite. J and I watched the monitors and when the director yelled cut, we got a fabulous glimpse of no less than Carrie and Mr. Big. Chris Noth, though I love him on screen, I had already seen in action in real life in a cigar bar about three years back. Don’t ask me what I was doing there, but suffice it to say that Mr. Noth and his gumbah crew impressed me as being loud and crude. But SJP: her hair was long, a glittering black shawl enveloped her, and she was wearing black patent boots. She looked adorable. As James and I strolled away, content from our meal and our brush with the stars, yellow gingko leaves fluttered in the breeze. It seemed like a New York moment.