In a way it’s a marvel that NYC Prep is on the air. Many production companies and networks had attempted to produce a show about kids who attend exclusive upper east side prep schools and came up empty. The UES (Upper East Side) is such a small, insular and private community that finding a group of high school kids who would allow a camera crew intimate access into their lives and are also extraordinary and colorful individuals had in the past proven to be an impossible task. So when I heard that two producers who grew up in the heart of Manhattan and attended pristine preparatory schools themselves had put together a cast and gotten the green light from Bravo to begin production, I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it.
I too am a product of a New York City upbringing, but my story is very different from the kids you see on the show. My parents and I immigrated to Manhattan from Latvia in the early 80’s. I arrived in the city without knowing a lick of English and my parents did not have a dime to their name. We lived in a small Washington Heights apartment with friends for the first few years and my Dad (who was a professional drummer in Latvia) got a gig driving a taxicab. I was in complete awe of Manhattan from the moment I set foot on the Island and many years later that feeling has only strengthened.
I always thought of NYC as one big playground where kids from different communities and economic brackets live within blocks of one another and hang out at the same parks and corner stoops. So even though I attended public school, I would encounter private school kids quite often… and I was awestruck by them. I grew up a very shy, insecure and quiet kid and I was always impressed by how confident and well put together the private school kids were. I imagined their lives to be perfect… full of cool friends, fun parties, exotic vacations, weekly shopping trips, and a predestined future running a fortune 500 company… in my mind their lives were a cross between “Dynasty” and “Leave it to Beaver.” With NYC Prep, I was handed the golden ticket… entrée into a world I have seen from the outside since I was a kid, but now I could experience it from the inside… and it did not disappoint.