Lexi Featherston, Predicting New York City’s Demise Since 2004

New York City has been dying a slow death for a long time. Circa what year, exactly, depends on who you ask. For some, the end came after the eighties. For others, it was the end of the nineties. It’s all very arbitrary in most cases. Some might even argue that the early and mid-00s saw its own heyday, what with the Misshapes DJing throughout downtown. However, at this point in time, it really can’t be argued that NYC is suffering some undeniable changes for the worse.

NYC's Danceteria in the 1980s
NYC’s Danceteria in the 1980s

This gradual yet marked shift of NYC toward something resembling a major Midwestern town was perhaps most succinctly put by one-time appearing character Lexi Featherston (Kristen Johnston) in Sex and the City, one of the entities that many like to point a finger at when signaling the oversaturation and, therefore, the slow collapse of the city that once used to offput pussies and now welcomes them with open arms. At a party thrown by Vogue editor Enid Frick (Candace Bergen), former and continued party girl legend Lexi Featherston–now merely seen as an aging lush–rants, “This used to be the most exciting city in the world, and now it’s nothing but smoking near a fucking open window… I’m so bored, I could die.” And then, of course, she falls out the window.

Asking Carrie for a light
Asking Carrie for a light

While some might view Lexi as more of a cautionary tale about not turning into what Michael Patrick King called “a Frankenstein monster created from all our years living in New York,” she is, when you think about it, more of a prophet. Speaking on what New York seemed to her then, it’s lameness has only become more pronounced since the episode was aired in February of 2004.

Limelight in the 1990s, one of the last times New York was raw
Limelight in the 1990s, one of the last times New York was raw

And if Lexi’s unintentional suicide was enough to shake Carrie Bradshaw out of her rose-colored glasses regarding the magicality of the city, then you know Lexi must have had a strong presence in her conviction about New York’s tumble. Sure, one might argue that “the city” has shifted to Brooklyn in terms of what’s chic, but the death of Manhattan, with its barrage of chains and eradication of affordability, signals the overall expiration of New York as a whole, whether Brooklyn is supposed to serve as a pale substitute or not.

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