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Lena Dunham: Tampa? That's a punchline, not a destination

Lena Dunham: The idea of moving from The Big Apple to The Big Guava does not appeal.

Times files (2010)

Lena Dunham: The idea of moving from The Big Apple to The Big Guava does not appeal.



Virtually every day, Mayor Bob Buckhorn gives a speech somewhere about the importance of making Tampa more appealing to innovative young professionals — "the best and the brightest," he says.

But when Lena Dunham, the creator and star of HBO's Girls, mentioned Tampa in a political speech this week, it was clear that she and the mayor are not on the same page.

As reported on, Dunham's larger point was about New York, and how middle class New Yorkers are the backbone of the city but are getting priced out of it:

Recent college graduates, she said, are "struggling to find jobs and pay the rent and if they struggle for too long, they're leaving New York" for other cities, "even Tampa."

She added: "we can't have our generation's Patti Smith moving to Tampa. That's going to seriously f--- our s--- up."

Told of Dunham's comments, Buckhorn laughed.

Then he owned up to not knowing who Lena Dunham is. "I'm limited largely ... to what a 7-year-old and 12-year-old think," said the 55-year-old father of two girls. (To his credit, Buckhorn did recognize Patti Smith's name.)

And then he said, no hard feelings.

"I would be happy to invite Patti Smith and/or Lena Dunham to Tampa any time they want to come," he said Wednesday. And "I'd be happy to steal New York's best and brightest."

"I had my sights set on Charlotte and Austin and Raleigh. I'll be happy to elevate them."


Separately, Jenni Maier jumped to Tampa's defense on

Tampa is not the worst place you can possibly be in the world. I’m from there. And while I no longer live there, I’m very confident that there are far more undesirable cities for artists to be exiled. You know places where the airports don’t have monorails. Yeah you read that right, we monorail to our planes there. Sure we have our stupid “Tampa socialite” and sure we have more strip clubs than strippers, but goddamit we voted for Obama in the last election. Despite what Lena and her (literally) poor friends may think, Tampa is not a slur. And the only thing worse than her thinking it is, is the fact that I’m now driven to defend it.


[Last modified: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 7:08pm]


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