The poet Robert Lowell wrote of his hospitalization at Payne Whitney, Marilyn Monroe was hospitalized there in early 1961, and Mary McCarthy based her book, The Group, on her inpatient experience.
I ordered a copy of The Group as soon as I read this to see what McCarthy had to say about the Payne Whitney, and the book has just arrived.
Meanwhile I looked up McCarthy to learn more about her, and Wikipedia included an entry on The Group.
And that's where I read this:
The Group, 1963, is the best-known novel by American writer Mary McCarthy. It made New York Times Best Seller list in 1963 and remained there for almost two years.
The novel caused such a scandal that it was banned in Australia.
When an editor suggested to Candace Bushnell that she write "the modern-day version of The Group", she wrote Sex and the City, a collection of revealing essays that became the popular TV series and film. As Bushnell summarizes: "The Group reminds us that not much has really changed". Except that today, most of these topics are not as taboo.Wow. Just weird.
Newsweek: Mary McCarthy’s ‘The Group’ Was the Original ‘Sex and the City’