Manhattan porn: myth versus reality


From the flight over onwards, I’ve been religiously watching both series of the New York legal drama, Suits. And I love it. Despite being filmed in Toronto, it totally glamourizes living and working in New York. The combination of shots of the city’s architecture and the stylish outfits of the actors almost make you long to live their lives. The series ‘sells’ a New York lifestyle in the same way as Friends, Sex and the City and Mad Men. Look at the amazing life you could be living in Manhattan, everyone! And therein lies the problem.

The vast majority of New Yorkers don’t – and can’t – live lives like the characters in these Manhattan lifestyle porn shows. I realise that this sounds like I’m stating the obvious, but bear with me. What I’m discovering is that New York constantly reminds you of the glamorous life you could be living, if only you had a high-flying job, lots of money, the figure to carry off stylish outfits and a great group of amazing friends. Here is the reality:

  • The friendly gym manager I met today was forced to move out to Jersey City (or “Jersey Shitty” as he put it) because Manhattan is too damn expensive;
  • The actress I met in a bar last week has to scratch a living doing “anything but porn” and by waiting tables;
  • The qualified cardiologist from Dubai who took me from the airport has to work long hours driving a taxi just to make ends meet while he studies over here.

I’m not saying these people are unhappy – they certainly didn’t seem it. But they were all working hard to ‘make it’ in New York. And I feel it myself already. This is definitely a city of the haves and have-nots. Or rather, should I say, the haven’t got it yets…

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