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Cultural Capital

The ‘Real Housewives of New York’ Are Real, Hungry

Sandwich shop blues and New York Post exposés on this week's RHONY.

RHONY cast member Ubah Hassan thinks about a sandwich.
(Cindy Ord/Bravo)

Bad news, loyal readers: The second episode of the RHONY reboot, where the women visit Erin Lichy's second home in the Hamptons, did not really do it for me. I know that not every 43-minute installment of a show about rich women bickering and going to restaurants is going to be the world's most gripping spectacle, but I'm beginning to worry about the level of drama these women are going to be able to conjure up. 

For a little more context, I just finished watching Season 10 of the original RHONY—that's the one where Luann de Lesseps gets arrested in Palm Beach, slips out of her handcuffs, and then tells the officer who re-cuffs her, "I'll kill you." In that season, the girls fought and accused each other of being alcoholics and narcissists and perpetrators of ageism and blamed their cruelty toward one another on going cold turkey on antidepressants. It is amazing television. I know that like Rome, a decade's worth of deep-seated enmity can't be built in a day, but by the time S14 E2 ended with Jenna Lyons quietly fuming over what Jessel Taank said about the lingerie Lyons had given her to try on ("triangular," "Christmas tree"-esque), I was folding my laundry, eyes away from my laptop screen. 

Still, the new season of RHONY doesn't have to be riveting to be real. If we want to get really meta with it, a more tightly wound, image-conscious cast is possibly the best and most accurate reflection of the city today—a less grimy, more consumer-friendly place to live than it used to be. Sigh! 

Most authentic NYC moment: Beloved local sandwich shop isn't open when you get there

Housewife Ubah Hassan is hot on going to one specific place as soon as she and the rest of the cast roll into Sag Harbor, caviar spread provided by host Erin Lichy be damned! The specific eatery, which Ubah calls the "Bergdorf of grocery stores," is Provisions Natural Foods Market & Organic Cafe, which Goop noted has a "old-school health store vibe." Getting tunnel vision about eating at a random cafe is kind of classic New Yorker behavior—and the twist that Provisions has closed for the day by the time Ubah and co. make it there is especially poignant post-COVID. I felt her pain, if not her desire for a breakfast burrito with bean sprouts in it for some reason.

Most authentic NYC moment (honorable mention): Jenna talks about getting outed by the New York Post

When the cast goes to dinner and the conversation turns to sex and dating, Jenna Lyons opens up about a New York Post article that revealed she was dating a woman—just a few weeks after the relationship started. This is obviously disgusting editorial conduct—and also weirdly real that at a table occupied by five New Yorkers who are successful in their fields of choice, at least one of them has had their privacy invaded in a major way by the Post.

Least authentic NYC moment: Jitney erasure

There was not even a whisper of the Hampton Jitney on this weird, off-season girls trip to Sag Harbor! And, yeah, I get it—they're rich, it's the off season, Uber exists now, whatever. But to not pay even a moment of lip service to this famous, stupid bus that's been shuttling New Yorkers to and from the Hamptons for 49 years? It made me a little sad, especially when I saw that former Housewife Sonja Morgan's trip on the Jitney made it to the "In popular culture" section of the bus service's Wikipedia page.

Here's to hoping next week's episode of RHONY gets marginally more exciting than the city in the dog days of summer.

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