Talk About Money, Or Not To Talk About Money

Is being rich in NYC the same as being rich in SoCal? And is there a way for a New Yorker to answer this question with a "hell no," without automatically making him sound like he doth protest too much? Based on the evidence in the Wall Street Journal's Speakeasy story about NYC Prep, Bravo's forthcoming reality show about private school kids in the city (though, as critics have pointed out, one of the subjects goes to Styuvesant and the other attends private school on Long Island), not so much.

The Speakeasy story quotes myriad private schoolers, current and former, who all insist that NYC Prep misses the point, because it portrays the high school experience in New York City as though it were like Laguna Beach on the Upper East Side, or The Real Brats of New York City, when, in reality—you know, real reality, not "reality" TV—it's all old money restraint, not new money crass.

Says one source, "The show misses the whole point of the East Coast attitude towards money, which is that you don't show it, you don't talk about it." A Collegiate alum claims that "the hilarious part of high school was that yes, we'd be in these incredible gorgeous apartments with millions of dollars worth of art, but we'd be sitting around drinking 40s." Another says that "the most surprising thing about going to the homes of my classmates from the most old-money New York families was always that we would lie around in pajamas watching movies, albeit in this huge house. What was off-putting was that the fact that we were in a mansion wasn't discussed." In other words: Real New Yorkers don't talk about money, they just enjoy it.

So then what to make of these reality TV participants, housewives and high school students, who sure like to talk about money and sure are New Yorkers? Are they outliers? Harbingers of some trashier, fake tanned future? Maybe they've just been misidentified. They're not well bred, well behaved, Ivy bound prep-schoolers. They just part of another New York species—the shameless, fame-seeking misfit.

That helps explain why PC, one of the stars of NYC Prep and a student at Dwight—and exhibiting a lack of self-awareness befitting a high schooler—told a radio station that he and his reality TV compatriots are the opposite of the "trashy pieces of sh-t" on Bravo's other shows. Right, kid. Just remember to tell yourself that when you're posing next to Jill Zarin on a red carpet in a few weeks.

Real NYC Prepsters Scorn New Bravo Reality Show [WSJ/Speakeasy]
Previously: A Greek Tragedy for the Peterson Family [Cityfile]