TV portrays idealized New York City


Annie Cohen, Deputy Opinion Editor

NYU received a record  number of applications for the class of 2019, totaling over 60,000. Location plays a large role for students applying to New York City campuses. To many, including myself, New York City is a glorious, almost mythical place where a person can do or be anything, ignoring any possible limitations. While this idea, perpetuated through portrayals of the city in books, movies, television and music, is true to an extent, New York City does come with certain strings attached.

Considering the way New York City is depicted on television, it comes as no surprise that many people have an aggrandized view of the city. For example, the fourth season of the critically acclaimed HBO series “Girls” premiered earlier this month. The New York City-based comedy chronicles the experiences of friends in their mid-20s. It is a phenomenal show; however, a certain aspect of “Girls” does not ring true. As far as finances go, it would be relatively impossible for the main characters to afford their city lifestyles. A recent estimation  made it clear that without outside assistance, the characters would not be able to pay their expenses. While this is a far cry from the women of “Sex and the City,” whose characters constantly splurge on designer shoes and fancy meals, it is still not entirely realistic and may be giving impressionable young people the wrong idea about New York City. In contrast, shows like “Broad City” depict a version of New York City more in line with reality. Abbi and Ilana, the two central characters, work menial jobs and are often strapped for cash. The show blends the wonder of living in New York City with its more negative aspects, making it an authentic show.

Even living as an NYU student is an experience unlike that of most New Yorkers. Almost all NYU dorm rooms are in beautiful, secure buildings with lovely views. I enjoy every part of living in one now, and I am always aware of how lucky I am to get to experience New York in such a way. As many people are quick to remind me, it will not always be this luxurious. Should I choose to move into an New York City apartment, either during college or post-graduation, a room like my current one will be vastly out of my price range. In all likelihood, my NYU dorm room is very well the nicest place I might ever live in the city.

It’s important to remember the struggles and sacrifices that come with living in New York City. The romanticized version of New York still exists, but perhaps it is time to start envisioning post-grad life in the real world — which would be much easier if television did, too.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Jan. 29 print edition. Email Annie Cohen at [email protected].