I love GIRLS. I write about the show often. I wrote it about it on BlogHer recently and I’ve written about the provocative and daring show here several times, as well. I’m a huge fan, even in light of Hannah’s newly discovered narcissism this season. Last season it was OCD, now she’s full of herself. As a matter of fact, all the characters are and it doesn’t bother me because I know and remember being in my 20s living in NYC and, believe it or not, my life was not that dissimilar. Take as you will from that statement.
I’m such a fan that the show’s marketing team found me on Twitter and sent me a box of Questionable Goods prior to the new season’s premiere.
Recently I was sent a review copy of The Unofficial Girls Guide to New York by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin, (SmartPop; November, 2013), a guide that’s being coined as the definitive guide to the cafes, clubs and neighborhoods featured on the show. This new book takes you deep inside the New York neighborhoods where the characters in GIRLS live and work. There are also recipes for cocktails, burritos, cupcakes, pierogies and other food and drink with a connection to specific scenes in the show.
As a New Yorker and TV/film buff, I’m always interested to go on location around town. I love NYC and I was keen on seeing what locations inspire the production team, as well as Lena Dunham and her story lines. From Hannah’s apartment to Cafe’ Grumpy, home of her favorite coffee, to Lehman Maupin, the art gallery where Marnie spent the first two seasons working, to Fada, where Hannah went to celebrate her new e-book deal, the book takes us through the necessary Girls-inspired parts of Brooklyn, Manhattan and beyond to spots.
The book also covers the waterfront, literally, from the boardwalk at Coney Island to The Edge, (where my best friends live!), an upscale condominium development on the East River. It takes you into Café Carlyle on the Upper East Side (where Hannah and her parents listen to Judy Collins and where I saw Woody Allen perform live last year) to Washington Commons, a neighborhood bar in Prospect Heights, to party hopping in Bushwick. The authors even go beyond the boroughs: from Oberlin College, where Hannah, Elijah, Marnie and Charlie first met to the Montclair Farmer’s market where Marnie once worked.
What the authors couldn’t bring to life, they recreated, like Hannah’s Melty Cheese Pretzels and Brooklyn Pad Thai, another one of her loves. There’s also background information about the parts of the city that they highlight, which could be helpful for newbies or visitors using the book as a tourist guide, hence many of the places are also Girls-inspired but not actually derived from the series. Still, they are hipster by nature and go along with the theme of the book. Sometimes places are merely mentioned in show dialogue, like Dylan’s Candy Bar, and that makes them worth including in the book. The girls are seen dipping their spoons into Tasti D-lite cups, hence their inclusion.
Unfortunately, the GIRLS-inspired NYC is not my NYC. I left over ten years ago and relocated to the suburbs. Part of me feels like I’m reading this book with a streak of jealousy raging through me thinking about what I’m missing in NYC. The other part feels happy to have this book handy for my future trips in so I can live and go out like a true hipster. That’s why I like this book – I like the combination of a travel guide with snippets about my favorite show. Granted, there are no images of the show in the book, so it is truly more of a travel guide for the hip traveler. It’s on sale now for $19.95 – Google it and you will find it online. Buy the book on Amazon or win a copy here!
To win, just comment below and let me know your favorite character on GIRLS and why. You can get additional entries by doing one of or more of the following:
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Winner will be selected randomly. This giveaway will end on Wednesday, February 12th at noon EST. Winner swill be posted here, on the Culture Mom Facebook page and via email and will have 24 hours to accept their prize.
Disclosure: I was not compensated to write this post, however I received a copy of the book.