cultural capital

‘Ugly Betty’: Changing Lives, One Block at a Time

There’s a kind of heartwarming moment toward the end of today’s Times story about how tax breaks have caused a lot of television shows to film in New York this year. (And then there’s the part where they inform us about the fact that a Gossip Girl producer lives in Carroll Gardens; we’re outside her house right now.) On the show, Betty’s family lives on a leafy block in Jackson Heights, in an aqua-green house belonging to Francois Guerrier, a Haitian émigré and 40-year resident of the area. Initially, when the producers approached Guerrier about filming the house, he was suspicious. “Living in New York,” Guerrier told the Times, “you become very apprehensive about dealing with people ringing your door at nine o’clock in the morning.” But he eventually came around:

In recent months, as “Ugly Betty” has moved its operations to New York, he said, he has been impressed by the efforts of producers to cultivate good relations in the area — a block party given by the show in July in front of Mr. Guerrier’s home was attended by Ms. Ferrera and covered on the local news — and he speaks proudly of the values that he says “Ugly Betty” represents.

“It shows you the development of someone who is, what we used to consider in college, maybe a nerd,” Mr. Guerrier said, “who maybe didn’t come from a lot of money, but is able to cut a niche in a very competitive establishment. That transcends cultural lines.”

It’s just like the show, isn’t it? That Betty really does bring everyone together.

Tax Credits Bring More TV Shows to New York City [NYT]

‘Ugly Betty’: Changing Lives, One Block at a Time