Season 13 of The Real Housewives of New York has kicked off with its first Black “wife,” lawyer/TV personality Eboni K. Williams, as well as with the return of Married to the Mob badass, Leah McSweeney. This dynamic duo is about to kick up a notch this show, which has been around since 2008.
While we wait for these two cast members to make RHONY history, (although Leah has gotten off to a good start with her nude tiki torch-as-javelin throwing), let’s not forget the ladies who started it all and created moments that Bravo exec and host Andy Cohen would embrace as “good TV.”
10 Alex Tells Jill Off
The outer-borough housewife spent most of her time on the series pretending (along with her husband Simon) to be a socialite and wealthier, more upper crust, and more successful than she actually was. The more the other ladies — especially Jill Zarin — got to know Alex McCord, the less impressed they became. Rumors swirled that Jill was planting derogatory things in the tabloids about McCord and family.
Alex worked up the nerve to confront Jill and shakily recited, “You are a mean girl and you are in high school, and while you are in high school, I am in Brooklyn, trying to survive in this economy.” Zarin found the whole thing amusing because she didn’t take her castmate at all seriously.
9 Aviva Shows Some Leg
Aviva Drescher sat in a restaurant while the other cast members screamed at her for being a phony. Drescher seemed like an OK person who would otherwise fit in (even though she did accuse Carole Radziwill of not writing her own books), but the other women felt strongly she was rubbing them the wrong way.
The scene reached a crescendo when Heather Thomson stood up and loomed over the blonde to punctuate her accusation that Aviva was a liar, to which Drescher responded, “The only thing that is fake or artificial about me is this,” as she removed her prosthetic leg and slammed it on the table.
8 Sonja’s Insistence That She’s A Morgan
For eight years, Sonja Morgan was married to scion John Adams Morgan. His father was co-founder of Morgan Stanley and his great-grandfather was J.P. Morgan and together, they have a daughter, Quincy.
Even though Sonja let go of her marriage, she seemed to not want to let go of the prestige of her spouse’s name. While in the Berkshires, she noted her shoe line incorporated a slipper with the Morgan family crest, which Dorinda challenged her on. “Your daughter’s a Morgan, not you.” The group also went to a museum that had Morgan family artifacts that someone dared to touch. Back at the house, an inebriated Sonja cry-screamed, “You don’t touch the f*****g Morgan letters.”
7 Carole Called Out Andy At The Reunion
Aside from stealing Luann’s niece’s boyfriend, Adam, who Carole insisted wasn’t seeing anyone when they got together, she managed to keep her time on the show pretty classy. As the widow of Kennedy cousin, Anthony Radziwill, and an award-winning journalist as well as author, it’s hard to understand why she would go on this show in the first place, but she did and ended up becoming BFFs with Bethenny.
But like all the Skinnygirl’s relationships, that friendship fell apart and the two women went head-to-head at the reunion. When host Cohen didn’t want to blame Bethenny and implied that there was enough blame to go around, a disgusted Radziwill snapped: “You’re afraid of her, too?”
6 Dorinda’s Christmas In The Berkshires
Dorinda Medley has a modest apartment in NYC, but her home in upstate New York is quite palatial. Her late husband Richard gifted it to her just because she liked it. Dorinda takes great pride in it and during the holidays decorates to the nines and also loves to entertain. The house is made to host Gatsby-esque parties.
But of course, who she invites makes all the difference. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere, even someone’s home, that the ladies won’t disrespect with their bickering, name-calling, falling down drunk behavior. Unable to take the ingratitude any longer, Medley explained to the women that “I decorated! I cooked! I made it nice,” yet this was the thanks she got.
5 Kelly Put Bethenny In Her Place
These two could just not get along. It was clear that Bethenny, the striver (Skinnygirl was still in its infancy), was intimidated by Kelly Bensimon, who had been married to a very famous fashion photographer, came from wealth, and ran with a high profile crowd way before she became a cast member.
Kelly, it seemed, had enough of Bethenny’s acerbic wit and digs at her expense and met the budding entrepreneur for drinks, which turned into a reading of the riot act by holding one hand above the other and telling Bethenny “This is me, this is you,” just to let Bethenny know she was so beneath Kelly that Kelly didn’t care what she did or said.
4 Everyone Should Have A Hobby
The friendship that was more like sisters ended when Bethenny’s brand was taking off and Jill’s family was as low as it could go. Zarin’s late husband Bobby got cancer, and the flowers Frankel sent while she was on the road promoting her book did not suffice as far as Jill was concerned, because when Bethenny was still down on her luck, Bobby took her in, fed her, and traveled with her, according to Jill.
When Jill made it clear that Bethenny owed them for all they’d done, Bethenny shot back, “Get a hobby.” Jill did just that. Her new hobby was called new friends.
3 Bethenny Got To Tell Kelly Where To Go
It was the vacation forever known as Scary Island. Cast members Bethenny Frankel, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan, and Alex McCord jetted off to St. John in the United States Virgin Islands. Bensimon insisted she was alone with no friends (Lu and Jill had opted out of the trip) and the former model and writer came apart at the seams.
She accused Alex of channeling the devil and said Bethenny had tried to kill her. Bensimon confessed she didn’t want to be there, to which Bethenny Frankel yelled the immortal advice, “Go to sleep. Go to sleep!”
2 It’s Turtle Time
Ramona Singer: the gift that keeps on giving. It’s hard to choose one iconic moment, as the Ramona-coaster and Apologizer as Bethenny nicknamed her, does something pretty memorable (and not in a good way) at least once an episode.
Her first iconic moment, though, was, no doubt, when all the girls went dancing and the free-spirited partier began to dance like no one was watching — even though everyone was. She coined her activity Turtle Time, which she explained meant cutting loose with some Pinot Grigio.
1 Luann Schools ‘Em In Cool
The Countess left classy behind when the ladies went on yet another girls trip. Wife and mother Heather Thomson woke up to find a naked man in the room adjacent to hers, and she and Carole went after Luann and Ramona for their late-night antics, which included bringing strange men back to the house.
When Heather tried to explain to Lu that it was not cool with her to know that she was under the same roof as people who could have done them harm, a clearly hungover and annoyed de Lesseps did her best raspy-voiced, hippie chick rendition of, “Be cool. Don’t be all like … uncool.”
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