The Ladies of ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: A Social Examination

Real Housewives of New York City
From left: Ramona Singer, Jill Zarin, LuAnn de Lesseps, Betheny Frankel and Alex McCord. Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

We've been hearing bits and pieces about this for a couple of months now, but the Daily News has busted the story of Bravo's Real Housewives of New York City wide open. With pretty pictures of the pretty ladies, and quotes from all of them about what the show is going to be like ("We work hard and then we party hard!"), their coverage has succeeded in getting us really amped up about the new show. Since it starts out all the way in March, we plan on doing a little buildup research in the meantime. Maybe, if it turns out to be good, we can try being obsessed with it like we were with Gossip Girl. They'll have to earn it, though, we don't go through two bottles of wine, a box of tissues, and a Klonopin once a week for just any show. And from what we can scrounge up so far, we're not yet sold. Below, what a quick scan of Nexis teaches us about these so-called socialites:

• Fashion entrepreneur Ramona Singer has zero appearances in the gossip columns and only one appearance on Bill Cunningham's page in the Times (though it was in the Hamptons so that surely earns her some points). But she has eight mentions or pictures on newyorksocialdiary.com, which is technically more legit.
Alex McCord, who lives in Cobble Hill and is therefore the only cast member not filming from the Upper East Side, has appeared once on Cunningham's page (from a Metropolitan Opera opening) and only twice on NYSD.

Luann de Lesseps, who is a countess and therefore must kick some sort of ass, makes it to NYSD three times and to the gossip columns only once, in a "Gatecrasher" item where she bursts into song at a fancy dinner.
• Home-furnishing queen Jill Zarin seems to be the most socially prominent: She's appeared once each in "Page Six," Cindy Adams, Bill Cunningham, and "Rush & Molloy." But she's appeared on NYSD a whopping nineteen times, which means she must be somebody. What body, we have no idea.
Bethenny Frankel. Oh, Bethenny Frankel. She is already by far the most notorious cast member. Her coverage, which has been widespread, isn't the desirable kind for a socialite. She was a cast member on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, and, according to "Page Six," was supposed to win before a last-minute snafu (she came in second). She's appeared in the infamous Post column many times, but never in NYSD. Which would give us the subtle clue we need to know that she may be more of a social climber than a social mainstay. But we don't need subtle clues, thankfully: One Post headline on a story about her pre-Apprentice movie career read thusly: "MARTHA'S STEAMY 'AP-PORN-TICE."

The Real Housewives of NYC [NYDN]