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UES Not Only the Priciest, But Also the Snobbiest, Comedian Finds

By Amy Zimmer | October 22, 2012 7:45am

MANHATTAN — The Upper East Side has the priciest ZIP code in the U.S. — but is the neighborhood long associated with uptown wealth also the snobbiest?

The answer was a resounding "yes" for comedian Arden Myrin of MadTV, who visited neighborhoods across Manhattan and Brooklyn for her 13-part series “Take Me Home” — a real estate show where she asks random people on the street to bring her to their apartments for a peek at their décor.

The Upper East Side, which includes two other ZIP codes that made Forbes’ top 10 list of wealthiest enclaves, was the only neighborhood of more than a dozen where no one allowed her inside their apartments.

“Brooklyn, the East Village, Harlem, the Upper West Side — basically everybody but the Upper East Side took me home,” Myrin said.

She knew it was a tall order. Her producers on the show — featured on web channel SPACEStv, which is dedicated to home decorating  — wanted her to get access to a “Classic Seven” overlooking Central Park, she said.

She spent three hours on an August afternoon around Madison Avenue in the East 90s — arguably when many residents were at their summer homes in the Hamptons or elsewhere — before giving up and heading to Harlem.

"I could pretty much get someone to take me home in eight minutes or less,” she said of her other experiences. “I know when I’m licked. People looked at you like you’re asking them to give bars of gold or their first born. There was general feeling of disdain.”

Farther uptown, she found a “gorgeous family who immediately took me home in two seconds.”

Myrin didn’t blame Upper East Siders for rejecting her entreaties. If she had a multimillion-dollar apartment with a rolling ladder inside a library, she probably wouldn’t want a sweaty crew of nearly 20 people bursting in either, she admitted. 

Plus, it might have ruffled residents’ relationships with their co-op boards, Myrin thought.

"They probably would have to put flowers out, make it clean, run it by the co-op,” she said. “You have to pick your battles with co-ops."

Myrin, who lives in the West Village, spent a summer as an intern on "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" living in the 10065 ZIP code that topped Forbes’ list.

But her sublet on East 60th Street, across from the entrance to the 59th Street Bridge, was a dump, she said. (The Forbes list only included single-family homes and condos in their calculations, not rentals or co-ops.)

Myrin believes if the crew had gone east of Lexington Avenue, she would have found willing participants instead of the icy reception she got near Central Park.

“I went to boarding school with tons of kids from the area, so I know those families,” Myrin said of the enclaves near the park. 

“It’s unbelievable there are people left in America who legitimately don’t want to be on TV. They want to be in the papers only when they’re born, married and die.”