About Jessica Tiare Bowen

Jessica Tiare Bowen

Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.

Latest Posts by Jessica Tiare Bowen

A Top Ten List of New York City Films

April 12, 2014 by  


 I am offering an admittedly highly subjective list for my “Filmed in the Big Apple Top Ten Movie List” from the female pov, and the biased opinions of a born and bred New Yorker – we’re all like that i.e. overly opinionated!  I am opting for the gentler, kinder movie NYC tempered by the double “X” factor. Yes, there are a few mean streets here but there’s also the yellow brick road.

The only criteria for my selections is that NYC work as great backdrop and setting, yet assumes such importance that our great city becomes an essential character in the film.

By the way, the last time I did a “Top 10” movie list, I had 117 selections.  So make certain your Netflix account is in good standing, you’re gonna need it! Enjoy my self indulgent anecdotal commentary – my personal version of pop up video.


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Who doesn’t love a fairy tale? Starring the gossamer Amy Adams, and a gorgeous Patrick Dempsey, this film solidified her cinematic future. A star was born.  Adored the charming romp thru the eastern side of Central Park, especially literary walk and Belvedere Terrace for the production number “How Do You Know?” But all the NYC backdrops, especially the Times Square neon and billboards, are essential to this fabulous fluff of a flick.  I remember when they were in NYC filming this feather of a story – it was the dead of winter! Brrrrrr.


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Directed by the great mystery movie maker, Alfred Hitchcock.  Starring the iconic Jimmy Stewart and that regally beautiful blonde, Grace Kelly. This is a terrific thriller and debunks the myth that NYC’s citizens don’t know their neighbors….and if they don’t, this movie proves that they SHOULD!  The view from the rear window in this film is EXACTLY like the one I have from my home. Many Manhattan apt. dwellers who live on the side streets can make the same statement. You never know what you’re gonna witness outside your window, be warned.


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

With the legendary funny man, Peter Sellers, and the always interesting Angela Lansbury.  But the real standouts are the two clever, precocious 12 year old private school BFFs  on that crucial cusp of adolescence. Girl pals who make the streets and avenues of NYC their personal back yard.  Great views of NYC landmarks such as the UN and my beloved East River Walk (which I wrote about previously in UYC) and of everyday Manhattan neighborhoods. Who says you can’t raise kids safely in a big city?  Growing up in a city like New York is an education in itself. A must see, bittersweet  adventurous tale of that necessary, life altering transition from innocence to experience.


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Woody Allen is to NYC as Charles Dickens is to London … inseparable.  Set throughout Manhattan – the Carlyle, the Metropolitan Opera House, uptown, the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, CBGB’s, the Broadway Theater District,  Pageant Bar & Grill, the Chrysler Building…. he covers it all. But the real star of the film, especially to New York’s apartment dwellers, became the sprawling, fabulous, seemingly endless apartment where several keys scenes are played out.

We all drooled over the dining room (who in NYC has a dining room?) the 12 foot ceilings with crown molding, endless book shelves,  a grand piano in the enormous living room, a center hallway – the sheer good taste of it all…the green eyed monster came out in all of us. Allegedly this was Mia Farrow’s real apartment (she plays Hannah) left to her by her legendary actress mother, Maureen O’Sullivan, who actually plays her Mother in this film.

I so miss the legendary Tower Records on Broadway and 68th Street, a logical neighbor for Lincoln Center.( Woody spots one of the sisters in Tower browsing their incredible jazz selection.) A great place to browse, listen, meet up – as a music major, I spent HOURS there.  My friends met their future spouses there (as does Woody in this film). A legendary selection of music.


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Our favorite gal pals continue their cable tv love affair (not to mention their love lives) with NYC on the silver screen.  The main 42nd Street branch of the NYPL will NEVER be the same. (I spent many a weekend in their 3rd Floor main reading room while in Graduate School) The grand entrance, flanked by those majestic lions (aptly named “Patience and Fortitude”) and grand marble staircase soured into a sad exit for our beloved Carrie, faster the a New York minute.

And again, we salivated over SJP’s and Big’s Upper Fifth Avenue apartment, not to mention Charlotte’s Park Avenue digs and Miranda’s Brooklyn brownstone. These glam gals defined NYC for an entire generation.  I ran into their tv shoots several times during the years they were filming their show in and about NYC.  Always a thrill to see these women “on the job.”


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Such an intelligent, involving, intriguing plot – the perfect metaphor for NYC itself. Robert Redford plays a CIA low level think tank “brain” (code name: condor) who analyzes data and ideas for possible conspiracy theories. (Remember, this was pre 9/11 – where the criticism became “a failure of imagination”…how prescient). Sure enough, he comes too close to the truth and the story takes off. You will see our government in a totally different light after this exciting, absorbing film.

I remember when they were filming on the streets of Manhattan, very exciting seeing Redford literally on the run!  The Lexington Avenue “Luncheonette” and East 77th St. elegant townhouse which served as this film’s catalyst, still stand, as well as the entire Upper West side Broadway run where Redford’s character literally ran for his life.  The Times Square recruiting station also still stands.

Gotta mention the legendary Max Von Sydow as a chilling “hit man” and a smart Faye Dunaway as an initially unwilling accomplice.  Love a good conspiracy theory!


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

NYC couldn’t be more beautiful in the Fall, and this film takes total advantage of this season.  If you have not seen this film – which centers around that eternal question  “Can men and women be friends without sex getting in the way?” then run, don’t walk to see an adorable Meg Ryan and a witty, smarty pants Billy Crystal. You have all seen the famous scene at Katz’s deli i.e. “I’ll have what she’s having.” This “hit the nail on the head” love story travels to Giant’s Stadium, the Puck Building, the Washington Square Arch down in the heart of Greenwich Village, Central Park’s ideal ladies luncheon locale i.e. the Central Park Boat House….each scene contributes to this insightful love story that could only happen in NYC.


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Only a New Yorker such as John Patrick Shanley (born in the Bronx) could write such an off center, off beat love story. With lines like “Snap out of it!” and “Ma, I love him awful”… well, reality bites back!  Cher scored her Oscar in this film, but it was her NY spot on accent, highlighted by the Brooklyn Heights streets and glorious promenade that captured out hearts. The scenes both outside and inside the glorious red velvet Metropolitan Opera House take your breath away. Every other time I pass the infamous Lincoln Center Fountain, I spot someone posing like Cher in “Moonstruck” for a selfie.  I urge you all to one day go inside this major opera house, they offer a fab back stage tour.


Photo Credit: https://www.movieposter.com

Another Woody Allen masterpiece. A work of epic proportion and way ahead of itself in the relationship area.  Both Woody and Diane Keaton (her quirky, cool look launched a fashion trend) have never been better.  You laugh, you cry, you relate. As expected, Woody’s love affair with NY continues, he takes us thru Coney Island in Brooklyn, his beloved Beekman Movie Theater on the Upper East Side, the beautifully filmed streets of New York invite you for a admirable stroll where everything is possible.

And if you can’t get it here….well, you don’t need it!  Our beloved “Thalia” movie theater (the ultimate art house for film buffs and due to its late night/early morning programming, the perfect symbol of the city that never sleeps) is lovingly acknowledged in a memorable scene. It closed way back when. I cut my young cinematic teeth there on those deep, existential Ingmar Bergman stoic stories and Fellini double headers. Those were the days.


By: Joanne Theodorou




5 Top Mobile Apps for Getting Around New York City

April 11, 2014 by  


Besides my Metrocard, the only other thing I never ever leave home without is my trusty iPhone.  Any other New Yorkers out there relate? I’ve only had this amazing piece of technology for about a year, and it’s insane to think how I navigated my way around the city before!  (Blackberry, you’ll always have a place in my heart.)  Here are the top 5 NYC-centric apps that are, quite simply, priceless.

1. Seamless

Heading home from a long day at work?  Sure, you could wait until arriving home to log onto the desktop and place an order for your go-to Thai…OR, you could open up this handy dandy app on your phone, order and pay for it en route, and have it delivered by the time you walk in your building.  Amazing?  I think yes.

2. HopStop

In pre-iPhone days, I would email myself directions from HopStop, like, all the time.  Now life on public transportation just got a million times easier, cause you can search for door to door directions virtually anywhere!  Or if you’re feeling super lazy, you can even get an estimate on how much cab fare would be.



3. Uber

Speaking of cab fare…you know those times right around cab shift-change time when there are absolutely NO cabs in all of Manhattan?  And of course it’s thunder storming like crazy?  That, my friends, is where Uber comes in.  The app will send a black car (or SUV if you have a big pickup) directly to where you are, charge your credit card (tip included!), and drop you off at your destination.  Granted, it’s a bit more pricey than yellow cabs, but during a blizzard, it just can’t be beat.



4. FreshDirect

Okay, we know New Yorkers like to multitask.  So how about getting all your grocery shopping done while you’re bored to tears in a meeting?  (Not like I have ever, ever done this…)  You can order anything your little heart desires, and have it delivered as early as the next day.  Bonus: once you’re on their mailing list, they frequently send out emails announcing codes for free delivery, which means you really don’t end up spending anymore than you would at Whole Foods…and we all know how crazy THAT line is.

5. Instapost

Want a quick way to tell all your non-New York family and friends that you love and miss them?  Instapost takes your Instagram or camera phone photos, turns them into a postcard, allows you to enter text on the back, and will mail it off to the recipient the very same day!  And the best part is, this sweet surprise only costs $2.49, postage included!




That Very Different Side of New York City

April 7, 2014 by  



I am constantly looking for inspiration in New York City. Some days, the little things that make our life go round inspire me. Others days, I need a little more than the regular everyday things.

The Neighbors

Pawel Althemer’s The Neighbors Exhibit at the New Museum has given me the inspiration to do exactly what I love to do. The Neighbors exhibit was created with the idea that all artists are everyday men and that anyone can create a work of art, all we have to do is dig deeper. In fact, the third floor is dedicated to the audience.

Anyone can come in and incorporate his or her own piece of art to the exhibit. I drew an orange sun in the middle of the floor because I was feeling bright that day. When I spoke to Pawel, he explained to me that he himself is still a student. He says his mentor taught him that we are all students; the primary difference between us is experience but we are all learning while we teach and practice our art. The exhibit is open until April 13th and on that day, the third floor will be broken down and pieces of the artwork will be given to the people, by the people.

Off Broadway Shows

Off Broadway shows are not only easy on your pockets, but they are rich with galvanization. “The Year I Was Gifted” by Monica Bauer at the Stage Left studio is a play about finding your way and your place in the world. The writing is funny and filled with rich style and relatable characters.

This one-woman-show is well executed and well developed with references to great literature. I was inspired to read a few classics and most of all, to find my tribe in this world. I totally recommend this show to all people looking to find their way through this thing we call life. The show is running every Friday now through April 2nd – its the perfect Friday night activity.

The Women of Social Justice

The women of the Xi Alpha Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority Inc. have been celebrating woman’s history month by raising awareness and inspiring our communities to advocate for women’s rights.

The International Woman’s Day Rally held on March 8th brought together women from all over NYC to STAND UP for ALL Women and women’s equality. The Xi Alpha Chapter will bring the month to a close with a panel discussion on Thursday March 27th at Columbia University’s Barnard College.  Join this panel of inspirational women conversing about Women’s Empowerment: A Celebration of Strength and Struggle. Feel free to RSVP with Habiba Braimah at h.braimah@yahoo.com.


I have been converted to a Yogi. Yoga to the People is dedicated to bringing Yoga to all of us with multiple studios around the city at ridiculously affordable prices ($5 a class, anyone?) The staff is super friendly and welcoming, too.

Inspire yourself through the fire sequence. The challenge of each pose – to try and fail and try again – can only prove to you how strong and determined you truly are. I’ve been pushing myself 2 to 3 times per week and I’ve learned good and bad things about myself. Most importantly, I’ve realized that there is no real inspiration other than the one that lies in me.

It’s OK To Talk To Strangers

NYC is home to diverse, interesting, and unique people. You may be sitting next to the city’s best underground designer and you don’t even know it. I challenge you to have a conversation with a complete stranger. A simple smile and an act of kindness can brighten up that person’s day, including yours as well. You may come across a few people who think you’re weird but that’s OK, keep trying until you find some new inspiration!

What has inspired you this week?


Contributed by Denise Pina




New York’s Central Park & Blue Flowers

April 7, 2014 by  



With the trees staying bare just a little bit longer this year, I was extra excited to see blue skies out in full force in Central Park.

“Blue skies?!”  you say.  ”But Jess, I haven’t seen anything but gray, gray, gray since Halloween!”

(Hmm…I can’t argue there…)

But no, the blue skies I’m referring to are actually aluminum clouds, courtesy of the artist Olaf Breuning, who “invites us to experience the stage-like quality of a New York City street with a new sense of wonder and possibility”.  I have to say, of all the outdoor installations I’ve seen at this particular location, this is by far my favorite.

Blue skies, smiling at me.  Nothing but blue skies, do I see. ~Irving Berlin

Sitting at the South East corner of Central Park (circa 60th and 5th Avenue), this cheerful exhibit is on display until August 24th, and I have no doubt it will be even more lovely with Central Park blooms in the background.

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What piece of art has brought a smile to your face as of late?  Share below!



Ready to Watch the Top 10 New York City Movies?

April 2, 2014 by  



My love for The Big Apple goes back to my early memories as a little boy and talks with my father. He told me of the most magical city in the world that existed a very long ways from our home in California. It had the tallest buildings in the world that looked like regal giants. It was a city where all of your dreams could come true. That was his New York City.

It quickly became mine too as Dad would sit at the side of my bed and instead of reading a book to me or with me he would tell me stories. The true life recap of his memories as a little boy following the New York Yankees in the 1920′s and 30′s. The most beautiful stadium ever being The House That Ruth Built. And that crown jewel lay in amongst more treasures than could be mentioned from Times Square and the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty. My love and infatuation was forever born and remains steadfast to this day.

I have never been to New York City. I will someday. All of my life I have frequently visited it vicariously through movies. When Jess asked me if I would like to do a Top 10 New York City Movie post my jaw dropped. I was stunned beyond belief yet thrilled and honored past my wildest dreams. It took me quite a while to put it together because I wanted to write it from a very unique perspective. A writing technique I learned a long time ago was to write a story to one person. Well, I wrote this one to the citizens of New York City. No pressure there, huh?

These are my Top 10 New York City Movies of all time. I’ve included trivia questions for each along with the starring actors. My brief synopsis is the unique part in that I describe how I see your city in each specific movie. I included what things I want to see or go do or eat at from specific places that were included in each movie. Then I proposed a question at the end of each so that both myself and anyone visiting your beautiful city can take away and learn from them!

Well, here goes…please enjoy!

10 The French Connection (1971)

Question - To learn about the characters and get into their roles who did Roy Scheider and Gene Hackman go on patrol with for a month?

I always had hoped to eat at Ratner’s on the Lower East Side where Bugsy Siegel used to dine but I heard it closed down some ten years ago.  To explore Bushwick and Harlem on foot and eat in long time family eateries. Yet for me the biggest memory of the film was the famous car chase. I would so hope the city would have a real-life fan car ride at speed from the Bay 50th Street Station, under the West End Line and climaxing at Stillwell Avenue and 86th Street. Is the elevated train still in use today and have many of you been to that intersection?

Answer - The real life Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso (both also had cameos) who made the bust. Hackman became disgusted at the sights he saw during this patrol. In one incident he had to help restrain a suspect in the squad car and later worried that he would be sued for impersonating a policeman.

Gene Hackman - Det. Jimmy ‘Popeye’ Doyle
Fernando Rey - Alain Charnier
Roy Scheider - Det. Buddy ‘Cloudy’ Russo
Eddie Egan - Walt Simonson
Sonny Grosso - Bill Klein
Director William Friedkin

9 Once Upon A Time In America (1984)

Question -  To prepare for his role as Noodles who did Robert De Niro request a private meeting with?

Of course, I am going to give a shout out to New York City’s actor poster boy; De Niro. McSorley’s Old Ale House by Saint Mark’s Square would be a must visit and hopefully sit on a bar stool where Abe Lincoln or John Lennon once sat and had a pint. Then I would head over and have a sit on a park bench to admire the Manhattan Bridge at dusk. Is it as romantic as it looks?

Answer - Crime boss Meyer Lansky who denied the request.

Robert De Niro – David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson
James Woods -  Maximilian ‘Max’ Bercovicz
Elizabeth McGovern -  Deborah Gelly
Joe Pesci  -  Frankie Manoldi
Burt Young -  Joe
Tuesday Weld -  Carol
Treat Williams  -  James Conway O’Donnell
Danny Aiello -  Police Chief Vincent Aiello
Richard Bright -  Chicken Joe
William Forsythe - Philip ‘Cockeye’ Stein
Jennifer Connelly - young Deborah Gelly

8 Ghostbusters (1984)

Question - Most of the scenes with the Ghostbusters racing around the city and driving in the Ectomobile were done on the first day and without permits. What happens when someone who looks like a possible security guard approaches the vehicle with Dan Aykroyd behind the wheel?

Ahhh, the summer of 1984 was Ghostbusters and the Ray Parker, Jr. mega-hit of the same name. I want to visit Columbia University but I heard the Tavern on the Green has now closed that I also wanted to see. Next would be 55 Central Park West and then the New York Public Library. I would be channeling my inner Venkman, Ray and Spengler by cruising to Lower Manhattan in Tribeca and visit the Hook and Ladder #8 Firehouse. Have you experienced actually going inside and meeting what are said to be the friendly firemen?

Answer - He took off driving and if you look carefully you can see Aykroyd doing his best road rage impression.

Bill Murray - Dr. Peter Venkman
Dan Aykroyd - Dr. Raymond “Ray” Stantz
Sigourney Weaver - Dana Barrett
Harold Ramis - Dr. Egon Spengler
Ernie Hudson - Winston Zeddemore
Rick Moranis - Louis Tully
Annie Potts - Janine Melnitz
Director Ivan Reitman

7 Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Question - What really happened during filming of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge scene?

I saw this movie with my parents because I refused to stop nagging them until they took me. I came out of it with one mindset – to learn how to disco dance and channel my inner Tony Manero. Grand Union supermarket and Fisherman’s Corner no longer exists. I would make my first stop at Phillips Dance Studio on West 7th Street and Bay Parkway. Next, I would have to stop at White Castle Burger on 92nd Street and 4th Avenue in Brooklyn and Lenny’s Pizza on 1969 86th St in Brooklyn while listening to “Night Fever”. Have any of you been to the bench vista of the Verrazano Bridge located on the Shore Promenade?

Answer - Donna Pescow was not told there was a landing platform a few feet below for Tony, Double-J and Joey. Therefore Donna’s reaction to them falling, and her facial expressions turning from horror and shock to outright anger, were real, and her next line, “YOU FUCKERS!”, was not scripted.

John Travolta – Anthony “Tony” Manero
Karen Lynn Gorney -  Stephanie Mangano
Barry Miller – Bobby C.
Joseph Cali – Joey
Director  John Badham

6 Manhattan (1979)

Question - At the time Director Woody Allen said one of the best director quotes for a representation of any New York City movie. It is the crux of New York City and the entire foundation of my post. What was it?

There was no way I would do a Top 10 New York City Movie post and neglect neither Woody Allen nor the movie Manhattan. At least not with any expectation to arrive in town and leave in one piece. Finally we get to walk through the Upper East Side, West Side and Midtown.  This movie alone would take me a couple of days to fulfill my list! The American Museum of Natural History, Hayden Planetarium, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Staten Island Ferry, the Queensboro Bridge and Park Avenue. Yet again, one I really had looked forward to would have been Elaine’s Restaurant which has now closed. Have you been to either of the museums and did you like them?

Answer - Allen, “I presented a view of the city as I’d like it to be and as it can be today, if you take the trouble to walk on the right streets”.

Woody Allen – Isaac Davis
Diane Keaton – Mary Wilkie
Michael Murphy – Yale Pollack
Mariel Hemingway – Tracy
Meryl Streep – Jill Davis
Director  Woody Allen

5 Mean Streets  (1973)

Question - Who is the lady closing the window in the very last shot of the movie?

Actually a lot of this movie was shot in Los Angeles (I know….boooo…hissss) but it’s De Niro in a New York City classic. He’s your guy and deserves all of the recognition and accolades from the city in my opinion. I had great visions of wanting to at least check out Volpe’s Bar in NoLita but it’s closed. I will have to make up for it with a walk down Mulberry Street and eating some of the best that Little Italy has to offer. I will wind up my tour with stopping by in respect to St Patrick’s Old Cathedral. Do you visit the restaurants in Little Italy often?

Answer - That is Martin Scorsee’s mother, Catherine.

Harvey Keitel as Charlie
Robert De Niro as Johnny Boy
David Proval as Tony
Amy Robinson as Teresa
David Carradine as Drunk
Robert Carradine as Boy With Gun
Martin Scorsese as Henchman
Director Martin Scorsese

4 Wall Street (1987)

Question - There is an added slant to this trivia question for those paying attention to this year’s Academy Award nominations. When Bud Fox enters Gekko’s Office for the first time and the doors close behind him what can you hear?

This was the first feature film to show a character using a cordless portable phone and wow was I digging Gekko talking on his on the beach at sunrise. Finally I get to cruise down to Times Square which is one of the many iconic tourists attractions to me. Then a pan-seared 16 oz Irish Gaelic Steak in a creamy Irish Whiskey and peppercorn sauce with a McCallan’s 18-year-old malt afterwards at PJ Moran’s in Midtown. Wrap it up with some drinks at 21 Club in Manhattan and that would be a very happy night. Are the views from the apartment and townhouse rooms overlooking the city as breathtaking in real life as they are in the movie?

Answer - You can hear a wolf howl.

Michael Douglas – Gordon Gekko
Charlie Sheen – Bud Fox
Daryl Hannah – Darien Taylor
Martin Sheen – Carl Fox
John C. McGinley – Marvin
Terence Stamp – Sir Larry Wildman
James Karen – Lynch
Hal Holbrook – Lou Mannheim
Sean Young – Kate Gekko
James Spader – Roger Barnes
Director Oliver Stone

3 GoodFellas (1990)

Question - Why did Henry give Paulie the reaction he did upon his release from prison?

A couple more new places for me to visit in Astoria and Red Hook. I wanted to go to Maspeth and eat at the Clinton Diner or Salerono’s but they both appear to be closed.  No problem because there is the Hawaii Kai restaurant or a  juicy Jackson Hole burger. I would have to make a quick trip to New Rochelle (sorry, a Dick Van Dyke Show lifetime wish) then back to see the George Washington Bridge and the New York County Courthouse. A wrap for the night would be at the legendary Copa on the East Side. I would drift off pretending I was sitting next to any of Jerry and Lewis, Henry Belafonte, The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Yogi, Mickey and Whitey. That would be a night to remember. Have you been to the Copacabana and was it as it grand as I’ve dreamed it to be?

Answer -Paul Sorvino’s slap across Liotta’s face was completely unscripted and ad-libbed. Hence Liotta’s shock.

Ray Liotta – Henry Hill
Robert De Niro –  Jimmy Conway
Joe Pesci - Tommy DeVito
Lorraine Bracco – Karen Hill
Paul Sorvino – Paul Cicero
Samuel L. Jackson – Parnell “Stacks” Edwards
Catherine Scorsese – Tommy DeVito’s mother
Detective Ed Deacy as  himself
Charles Scorsese – Vinnie
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed McDonald as himself
Director Martin Scorsese

2 The Godfather (1972)

Question - What is the American Film Institutes #2 alltime quote?

I had a front row seat to a real life gangster when Joseph Bonanno and his sons were busted for a huge laundering operation right in my hometown of Lodi, California in the mid-70′s. I had seen both The Godfather and the sequel and my intrigue with New York was further heightened.  I wanted to know what it was like to walk through Little Italy and Prince’s Bay to get the feeling of what it was like to be in the movie. Is there still a lot of thought to the mafia being active in the city today?

Answer - When Michael says, “My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

Marlon Brando – Vito
Al Pacino – Michael Corleone
James Caan - Santino “Sonny” Corleone
Richard S. Castellano - Peter Clemenza
Robert Duvall – Tom Hagen
Diane Keaton – Kay Adams-Corleone
John Cazale - Frederico “Fredo” Corleone
Talia Shire – Constanzia “Connie” Corleone
Abe Vigoda - Salvatore Tessio
Director Francis Ford Coppola

1 Serendipity (2001)

Question - What is the name of the restaurant where Sara and Jonathan have their drink? What is the drink? And what is now unique about that table where they sat at?

Growing up, my life-seen-through-rose-colored-glasses-mother blessed me with my favorite word ever in my life to this day: serendipity. Add that to my all time #1 bucket list city and you have magic. This movie was all that and more as I fantasized over what it would be like to stay at Waldorf-Astoria Hotel or meet the future love of my life on a winter evening stroll at the 5th Avenue skating rink. It doesn’t hurt that my biggest Hollywood crush, Ms Beckinsale, plays the leading lady. Is New York City as magical and romantic as I’ve always believed it to be?

Answer - That is the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate from the restaurant Serendipity 3 and the sitting is now called the Star Table.

John Cusack – Jonathan Trager
Kate Beckinsale – Sara Thomas
Molly Shannon – Eve
Bridget Moynahan – Halley Buchanan
Jeremy Piven - Dean Kansky
John Corbett – Lars Hammond

 This is a guest post written by Mike Volger.


Celebrating St. Patty’s Day in New York City

March 16, 2014 by  



Good beer, Irish whisky, pubs, and lots of green. Yes. We all follow these traditions but what is St. Patrick’s Day really about? The first thing we can all do to find out inner leprechaun here in NYC is to educate ourselves!

The History

St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish celebration of Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick was actually not an Irish native. He was born in Roman Britain and brought to Ireland as a slave when he was 16-years-old. He later escaped but returned to make his mark on history. The legend goes that Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland and explained the Holy Trinity using the three leaves of the Irish clover, the Shamrock. The celebration has been going strong since the day of Patrick’s death on March 17th, 461.

The Feast

On St. Patrick’s Day all lent prohibitions are lifted including meat and alcohol consumption. The traditional meal of celebration is corned beef and cabbage. The Landmark Tavern on 11th Ave at West 46th Street is known for their traditional Irish style including this traditional dish. On Monday nights, they bring the Irish tunes to you live from 8pm to 11pm.

The Beer

If we don’t know anything else about St. Patrick’s Day, we all know that the beer is immensely important. Mustang Harry’s is known as one of the best sports bars in the city but there is so much more to offer with their motto “good food and good spirits”. The Irish owned and employed bar is filled with think Irish accents and Irish Whiskeys and beers.

The Music

Traditional Irish music is a great portion of the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar on 2nd Ave is the place to be for all traditional Irish music. Each day has a specific theme at Paddy’s and each day has one thing in common: it’s live! Steven Duggan has been dedicated to bringing authentic Irish music to NYC since 1986; even the knotted flooring was transported from an Irish hotel! Paddy’s is a comforting environment for all musicians of all levels. This is the perfect place to find some Irish culture through music and a couple of beers.

The Celebration

The Saint Patrick’s Day parade has been marching down 5th Ave on Saint Patrick’s Day for over 250 years! Run entirely by volunteers, the parade has become a non-profit organization for all New Yorkers to enjoy.  The parade will begin at 11am on 44th street and will continue on to 79th street.  If you cant make it, the parade will be streaming live on the website and on NBC channel 4.  There’s honestly no better way to celebrate!

What are your favorite ways to celebrate St. Patty’s Day?  Share below!


By: Denise Pina



This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.






Warm & Scrumptious Soup To Get Thru a New York Winter

March 8, 2014 by  


When the bone-chilling cold winter weather hits, I’m all about the soups.  The best thing about these huge pots is that you can fix one up on Sunday, and have plenty to nosh off of all week.  Busy New Yorker’s best friend?  I think yes.

Here’s a few favorites that circulate through my kitchen until the frost stops:

 Ginger + Lime Carrot Soup (my very favorite from this list!)

Classic Lentil Soup

Slow Cooker Cheesy Potato Soup

Butternut Bisque

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Another perk: a whole pot of one of these costs about the same to throw together as buying an individual serving from our beloved NYC soup-centric restaurants (Hale and Hearty, I’m talking to you!)  Kudos for saving money and staying warm, NYC!

New York City’s Nina’s Day Spa

February 18, 2014 by  


I’m pretty loyal when it comes to my massages, but in all honesty, trekking down to New York City’s Chinatown in this bone-chilling cold just isn’t happening for me.  A friend recommended Nina’s European Day Spa, centrally located on 35th and 5th, and promised it would live up to my high standards of DEEP-deep tissue.  (I mean, I have a ridiculously tight back under normal circumstances, but the Polar Vortex conditions are magnifying that by a bijillion.  Just saying.)  Anyhow, Jess was impressed.

I started off with a facial, including cleansing, exfoliation, steaming, massage, AND a mask (when in a day spa, eh?), and particularly loved how the esthetician Natalie didn’t try to up-sell at all during the process.  Any other place in the city I have tried has always done this (NO, I don’t want gold flakes rubbed into my face, thank you very much!), and I really feel it takes away from the whole relaxing experience.  I was super pleased that there was none of this involved, along with the fact that I was left in my cozy cocoon to nap under the hot steam for a pleasant amount of time, warding off the chill from outside.

Next, I was off to the massage room!  My high expectations were exceeded by the lovely therapist, Inga.  I knew we’d get along when she started the massage with “Just tell me if I’m going too hard…”  (No!  It’s perfect!)  The combo of the deep tissue, warming oils, hot towels, and strong, strong hands was the absolute best medicine to fight off the Polar Vortex.  Not to mention, I didn’t have to trek all the way downtown to get it.

WHERE: Nina’s European Day Spa
5 West 35th Street
New York, New York  10001


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