It's Saturday afternoon in Manhattan, and Patricia Callahan, 75, having driven four hours from Boston, is joining 56 other tourists on a white bus that will take them on a three-hour quest for sex—as in Sex and the City
. "I love them, the dirty girls," says Callahan with a laugh, referring to Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte, the love-crossed heroines of the HBO series.
That's the response Georgette Blau was counting on last October, when she began leading excursions to the stores and clubs that form the show's glitzy backdrop. Accessorized with a pink feather boa, Blau, 27, takes clients to Jimmy Choo, where the TV friends buy their stilettos; Tao Asian Bistro, where Carrie dined with Samantha and her lesbian lover; and Magnolia Bakery, the quartet's cupcake source. Asked about the tour on the Today
show, Sex star Cynthia Nixon said, "I think we've arrived."
As has Blau, the younger of two children raised in Norwalk, Conn., by Emery, 72, a shoe designer for Capezio, and homemaker Vera, 61. A 1996 graduate of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Blau interned at Saturday Night Live
and later wrote and edited for The Complete Idiot's Guide
books. In October 1998, realizing that a building in her Manhattan neighborhood was the same one shown on The Jeffersons
, the '70s sitcom, Blau came up with the idea for On Location Tours. Her seed money: $13,000, most of it for advertising, came from her credit cards.
Blau's other tours include locations for Friends (the building where Monica, Joey and Chandler live) and The Sopranos
(a stop at the Lodi, N.J., bar that doubles as the Bada Bing strip club). The $30 Sex tour, however, has turned out to be her most popular, often requiring reservations 10 days in advance.
Still, says Blau, who is dating David Mandler, 28, a professor at Touro College in Brooklyn, some male passengers find the trip wanting. "The Sex tour," she says, "doesn't include sex."
Diane Herbst in New York City
- Diane Herbst.