Reel Estate

Most of HBO Max’s ‘Sex and the City’ reboot is unbelievable—except the NYC real estate

By Kelly Kreth | January 3, 2022 - 1:30PM 

Carrie kept her studio at 245 East 73rd St. as a pied-à-terre—where she returns after Big's sudden death.

Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

There are so many truly unbelievable details in the “Sex and the City” reboot airing on HBO Max this month—so much so that one might find it hard to watch “And Just Like That” without hurling their own stilettos at the screen. One could say this reboot is more Ugg than Manolo.

Where to begin? Let’s start with Samantha—who is missing from this remix. Who would really believe she would ditch her lifelong friends simply because Carrie no longer needed a publicist? 

Or that the remaining trio seem to have been plopped into the present with no awareness of what has happened in the last 20 or so years? Miranda, an astute attorney who has lived in Brooklyn for years no longer knows how to talk to people of color, even though she had a relationship with a black doctor years before? Carrie—a renowned sex columnist—seems baffled by both the concepts of masturbation—and, err, podcasts? 


[Editor's note: When a movie or TV show is set in New York City—and if the people making it are savvy—real estate becomes part of the story itself. In Reel Estate, Brick Underground reality checks the NYC real estate depicted on screen.]


Even the outfits seem a bit off. If you were hoping the fashion would be killer, sadly (Spoiler alert!) only the Peloton is! Makes sense that it has its own special room outside the couple’s spa-like bathroom. 

Not to mention: It’s insane that after Big has a heart attack while riding his beloved Peloton, Carrie doesn’t try to call 911 or start CPR when she finds him in her bathroom with the shower running. She merely holds him, saying his name over and over for what seems like far too long. Sure people go into shock, but this was over-the-top unbelievable. It would be understandable if viewers thought this was the start of a true crime show—perhaps the second season of “Only Murders in the Building.” [Big's sudden death comes just as actor Chris Noth has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault. Season two may be on hold as a result.]

However, after watching the first four episodes, it is clear one thing is believable: the real estate! 

The very first episode fawns over the trappings of luxury real estate features like fancy backsplashes and flamboyant wall coverings. These are things renters have to forgo and having both are a major flex. Also, most monied folks want apartments with big closet energy! Clearly Carrie has gotten adjusted to living a more luxurious NYC lifestyle than in her early “Sex and the City” days as a renter. Big even jokes with Carrie that she no longer has to keep her sweaters in the stove. She famously decided to forgo an engagement ring for a custom closet—where she still greets her shoes with: “Hello, lovers.” 

In spite of her new digs, she held onto her 245 East 73rd St. studio as a pied-à-terre. She tells Stanford, who is fighting with his husband, that he can stay there until the squabble blows over. (That tracks with NYC real estate rules: Because she owns the unit, there would be no problem with her using it sporadically unless she was in a very strict co-op that would consider this a sublet.) 

Charlotte continues to live in her preppily decorated pad at 930 Park Ave. on the Upper East Side. Miranda still resides in lived-in looking townhouse somewhere in a tony area of Brooklyn. 

All this makes sense with their socio-economic status. 

Carrie and Big originally lived in a penthouse apartment at 1010 Fifth Ave. on the Upper East Side, and the TV show featured the building at that address. But in the second movie Carrie discloses they sold it and moved to a lower floor in the same building, however that movie used the exterior of 1030 Fifth Ave. 

In the reboot we see that they now live in the same area: 1150 Fifth Ave. and on the 12th floor. Same huge closets, spa-like bathroom, and splashy customization. 

It all rings completely true and believable, right down to the nosy neighbor who peeks into the hallway when she hears Carrie having a loud discussion with a friend after the funeral. Mo’ money, mo’ nosey neighbors. 

The real estate drama heats up in the fourth episode when a new character is introduced: Enter Seema (played by Sarita Choudhury) a hotshot real estate broker. 

She looks the part. Designer clothes, high heels, statement jewelry! One could easily imagine her being a top-producing agent at Corcoran, Elliman, or Brown Harris Stevens. In TV land anything is possible; she could even be on Million Dollar Listing NY. (Move over Fredrik and Ryan!) 

After Big’s unexpected death, Carrie takes to sleeping at her old place. The memories are just too much. 

So she decides to sell her luxury pad. Carrie enlists Seema to sell her marital home and she seems well qualified, rolling up in a car with her own driver. Anyone who has watched a high-end real estate show knows top brokers have their own chauffeurs. 

Seema is sensitive, but only to an extent. She tells Carrie what any actual NYC real estate agent would: This place with its flamboyant fabric-covered walls is way too extra.

“People have to picture themselves in the home,” she coos. She gives Carrie a crash course in staging and the necessity of returning the place to a white box. Actually, in this case, a beige one. Carrie balks and asks if they can just leave the place intact and hope for a buyer who gets her aesthetic, but Seema put the kibosh on that idea. In the matter of days, anything remotely personal is removed. “Buyers are not that complex. They are like dogs—with money,” Seema quips, getting the last word. 

And just like that the apartment becomes a beige wonderland. 

Well, except the Peloton that Carrie disposed of just after Big's death, returns. Apparently even the Peloton was a spot-on status symbol and fit perfectly as part of the décor of a luxury home. 

Seema and Carrie hit some open houses. While the price of Carrie’s apartment is not mentioned, one can assume she is looking for a multi-million-dollar place. (In a shock to Carrie, Big left his ex-wife Natasha $1 million.) So the loft-life space Carrie visits also rings true. It even makes sense there is a motorcycle in the center of the apartment. (Fun fact: I once visited an $18,000,000 penthouse in a Midtown Trump building that had one in the game room! And Comedy Central’s “The Other Two” had an episode in season one featuring an apartment with a motorcycle in the bathroom!) 

When Seema carelessly breaks a picture frame that features Carrie and Big, she seems almost unapologetic at first, saying, “This is why you don’t leave your stuff in the apartment when selling.” Agents are notorious for wanting their clients (and their clients’ stuff) out of the way. 

At a dinner party that Charlotte attends, there is also obligatory real estate-related chatter. After discussing a pricey art collection, the conversation circles back to property. One guest says that the art is more expensive than her first house. Another guest quips, “Real estate isn’t as costly in the Carolinas.” Rich folks in NYC love to diss other places in the U.S., particularly the south. 

At the end of the fourth episode. Carrie returns to her original little studio, Big’s ashes tucked into a Barneys bag (Barneys perhaps was a far sadder NYC death!) and deposits him on a shelf in her closet with her shoes. At least he’s not placed in her oven. It makes far more sense for her to greet all her most beloved things with a “Hello, lovers,” now that her literal lover is on the shelf with her shoes. 

One can surmise the rest of the season will involve more real estate. Where will Carrie end up living? Will she buy some splashy downtown place? Deal with bidding wars? Co-op board interviews? Or decide to stay in her original, tiny place in a nod to the original series? 

One thing is for sure, in a series about NYC, people come and go, but an obsession with real estate is forever. 

 

Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

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