A Seven Hour Autumn-Themed Date In NYC


Ah, October. It’s always been my favorite month. What’s not to love? Crisp nights, changing leaves, hat and scarf accessories, caramel apples, cider mills, pumpkin carving, haunted houses, and scary movies all culminating the best holiday of them all, Halloween. Seriously, an excuse to buy a new outfit combined with eating copious amounts of candy? Yes, I raise my pumpkin spiced latte to you, October.

As a relative newbie to NYC, I recently set out to fully embrace all that autumn in New York has to offer on what turned out to be a seven hour date combined with a tour of lower Manhattan.

Stop No. 1: Drinks at a haunted pub. Start the afternoon off right by visiting one of the haunted NYC pubs on Jess’s list.  We chose the off-the-beaten-path Ear Inn, 326 Spring Street, because it’s one of the oldest in the city — serving since 1817 — and perfect for a consultation on all things ghostly over a pint of beer. This easily overlooked venue in west SoHo is definitely not a tourist spot. The décor shows the yellowed edges of the past, complete with dust-covered bottles from who knows what year over the bar. The bartender/owner exudes an unnerving demeanor and confirms that the establishment is haunted. “I didn’t so much see a ghost as felt a ghost,” he said, staring straight at us without blinking for several beats as we nervously shifted in our seats and took long sips from our beers. If you’re “real nice” to him, he’ll supply you with a password to go upstairs and check out the spiritual goings on yourself, so long as no one is staying at the inn.

Stop No. 2: Walking the High Line. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, you have to do it at least once. I couldn’t imagine anything better than leisurely meandering around the urban park on a crisp autumn afternoon, admiring the changing leaves, the architecture, and the view of the river from an elevated height. The Meatpacking District and West Chelsea never looked so good. Plus, it’s free.


Stop No. 3: Dinner at the Breslin. The brainchild of April Bloomfield, a British chef who gained notoriety in the USA with The Spotted Pig in the West Village and The Breslin, 16 West 29th Street, which both have been anointed with the most impressive of honors, a Michelin star. The interior is dark and cozy and appropriately decorated with pumpkins and fall colors, perfect for kicking back and relaxing with a fun seasonal cocktail. My pick was the Headless Horseman, featuring bourbon, pumpkin ale, bitters, pressed Lemon and a spiced rim. It was autumn distilled in a glass. Equally enticing sounding is the Baked Apple Old Fashioned, featuring whisky, applejack, a spiced cider reduction and freshly grated nutmeg. Dinner is also delicious: an extremely generous portion of pork belly with a shatteringly crisp top, faintly anise flavor and perfectly cooked baby Brussels sprouts didn’t disappoint.


Stop No. 4: A haunted house.  At Nightmare New York (107 Suffolk Street on the Lower East Side),  you’re immediately segregated into two groups: those who opt to be branded with red X’s on their foreheads are subjected to being grabbed/manhandled by the actors, which lends to the creepy effect. There’s nothing like having a stranger dressed like a mutilated corpse grab your ponytail and subject you to the “close talker” treatment to give you the willies. Props also must be given to the cloth bag-over-the-head portion, where we were hooded and had to walk blindly single file while clutching a rope to guide us toward the next unknown obstacle. It’s all fun and games until somebody drops the rope though – then the actors might break character and swear a bit.


Stop No. 5: Another haunted house – because one is just not enough. The delicate equilibrium of yin and yang would be all thrown off if we didn’t give the West Village attention as well as the East. Well over 100 people stood in line willing to pay good money in hopes of getting the crap scared out of them at Blood Manor, 163 Varick Street. Depending on how you look at it, the attraction got off to an impressive or horrifying start with a real, live woman suspended in the air and hanging by clamps attached to her skin. Whoa. Blood Manor is indeed the bloodier of the two, with a deranged operating room, a realistically squealing bloody prop pig, and a 3-D glasses portion complete with a disorienting neon light effect.

Neither haunted house will legitimately scare the average skeptical, jaded, and desensitized New Yorker, but in the name of Halloween they’re a good time.


Stop No. 6: A scary movie. Back to our apartment to chow on caramel corn and cling to each other as J-Law (aka Jennifer Lawrence) navigates the terror of suburbia by screaming her head off in House at the End of the Street. Next weekend it’s Hocus Pocus.

How would you spend your quintessential autumn day?  Share below!


By: Sarah Henry of Written in Chocolate




UsedYorkCity Inspiration #7



^^Best date night ever? Panna II, for sure^^

1. This list of why you should move to NYC from every state.  Love Mississippi.  And Texas. (via Thrillist)

2. Anyone else a childhood lover of everything Sesame Street? Check out this free exhibit, and even enjoy photo booth fun with your fave puppets! (via Glenwood NYC)

3. Along with our fave NYC songs by artists like Frank Sinatra and JayZ, we can now add Taylor Swift to the list with her “Welcome To New York” hit…the line “everyone here was someone else before” ring true? (via Refinery29)

4. Where to find your perfect Halloween costume, right here in NYC. (via AMNewYork)

5. Trying to tackle learning a new language as an adult is tough, so I appreciated this guy’s integrated approach. (via Time)

What’s been inspiring you this week? Share below!







10 Ways To Get In The Halloween Spirit In NYC


With Halloween right around the corner, you may or may not have had time to take a day trip to Long Island or Jersey, pick a pumpkin, come back to your tiny (yet cozy!) apartment and make a big ol’ mess carving it.  And dare I bring up trying to Trick or Treat with your kiddos around your neighborhood apartment building?  We get it…there’s some things in NYC that just aren’t quite as easy as living in the burbs.  But in the spirit of, well, getting in the Halloween spirit, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite things to do this time of year!  Trust us, you’ll be feeling festive in no time…with or without pumpkin guts all over your studio apartment!



1. Go crazy at a candy store.  NYC is no stranger to sweet shops, and we rounded up 5 of our favorites right here.  Bonus for candy corn, black licorice, and those sugary gummy orange slices!


2. Take a ghost tour and learn about Manhattan’s most scandalous tales.  Led by the most passionate ghost gurus you’ll ever meet, these creepy tours meet at dusk and take you through the East Village’s dark, dark past.

3. Visit a haunted house.  With NYC’s surplus of talented actors and actresses who haven’t quite made their Broadway debut, a haunted house in the city promises to hold some of the very best (and creepiest!) talent!

4. Drink a pint at a NYC haunted pub.  There’s something enticing about knowing that the souls of NYC’s past are lurking right behind you as you sip your pumpkin ale, right?

5. Dress up your four legged friend for the cutest costume parade, ever!

6. …or dress yourself up for the NYC Halloween Parade, a legendary event that’s the largest of its kind in the nation.  Oh heyyy, NYC!  Grand Marshall this year is Whoppi Goldberg, woo hoo!

7. Sleep No More.  Alright, I know I’m ALWAYS telling you guys about a “must do” that is simply THE BEST EVER, right?  (Kinda the point of the website?!)  But promise, this is definitely an event you should add to that list, and no better time than Halloween.  This interactive piece of performance art/theater combines Shakespeare’s MacBeth with a wild and crazy trip through floors of the McKittrick Hotel…we’re talking bodies in bathtubs, secret lairs, haunting music…oh, and you’ll be masked the entire time.  It’s unforgettable.


8. Go to the Haunted Pumpkin Garden.  Because the Boogie-Down Bronx knows scary!


9. Pumpkin pick right here in NYC!  Okay, let’s not kid ourselves and pretend this is quite the same as leaving the city (the pumpkins are already picked for you, but you do get to pick one out!), but while you’re at it you’ll have a lovely day at the Queens County Farm!


10. Watch a free screening of the greatest Halloween movie, ever.  Because we all agree that It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is the best, yes?;-)  And we LOVE when we can give Staten Island a little love on the blog, too!

We’d love to know…how are you getting in the Halloween spirit this year?  Share below!


By: Jessica Tiare Bowen//Photo Credit: 1


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




What Makes You #NYTough?








This contest has officially ended. A huge New York thank you to all who participated, and congrats to our winner, Scott! Stay tuned for more exciting UsedYorkCity.com giveaways!

I recently joined forces with some of my favorite household brands (Bounty, Crest, Dawn, Febreeze, Head & Shoulders, Secret, and Tide…ever heard of em?;-) to promote their #NYTough campaign…even when everyday struggles in the city add up, New Yorkers are tough enough to handle it all.  Hells yeah, we are!

The campaign highlights those uniquely New York situations, and the role these brands play in providing solutions.  I came up with a few ways they’ve helped my NYC existence.  And yes, all true stories.  Can anyone relate?

Moving into a studio apartment with the last tenant’s grime smeared everywhere (thank you, Craigslist) is tough.  Bounty is tougher.

Eating a handful of garlic knots for lunch before a meeting is tough…for all parties involved.  Crest is tougher.

Living without a dishwasher is tough…VERY tough.  Dawn is tougher.

Having my apartment share air vents with a Chinese restaurant/massage parlor is tough.  Febreze is tougher.

Wearing the iconic NYC “all black everything” during winter is tough.  Head & Shoulders is tougher.

Lugging a laundry bag taller than me 4 blocks to the nearest laundromat (during 99 degree summer days!) is tough.  Secret is tougher.

Getting pooped on by a pigeon during a date in Central Park is lucky tough. Tide Pods are tougher.


Alrighty folks, so now the fun part!  We’re doing a huge giveaway of all these delicious products.  Each product pack (value: $57/each) will include:

§ One (1) Crest Complete Whitening with Scope
§ One (1) Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant
§ One (1) Bounty paper towels
§ One (1) Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo
§ One (1) Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Conditioner
§ One (1) Tide Pods
§ One (1) Febreze Heavy Duty
§ One (1) Dawn Platinum Power Clean

To win, all you have to do is:

1. Leave a comment below saying what makes you #NYTough.  (And no, you don’t have to be living in NYC to win!)  

2. For a bonus entry, share on Twitter with the hashtag #NYTough.

We’ll be notifying winners Friday, October 24th via email, and also announcing via this post!  Best of luck to all you #NYTough’s out there, we’re so excited to read your comments!;-)


By: Jessica Tiare Bowen





Inner Voices + Giveaway


This contest has officially ended. A huge New York thank you to all who participated, and congrats to our winner, Betsy! Stay tuned for more exciting UsedYorkCity.com giveaways!

Happy Friday, readers!  Super stoked to be bringing you a giveaway today of some theater tickets!  Read on for all the details:


Join Premieres for the 2014 edition of INNER VOICES, A Music Theater Double Bill featuring two new music theater jewels by Charlayne Woodard & Kirsten Childs (GRACE) and Mark Campbell & Marisa Michelson (THE OTHER ROOM). With each piece being uniquely different from the other, these dramatic musical monologues blend into a rare and intimate evening of storytelling.

GRACE (by Woodard & Childs and starring Andrea Frierson)

Brilliant, arrogant, award-winning novelist Grace Monroe faces the most devastating challenge of her life, forcing her to reassess her past, present and future. GRACE is a haunting, soulful tale.

THE OTHER ROOM (by Campbell & Michelson and starring Phoebe Strole)

Lena reflects on her profound love for her friend Steve when he becomes seriously ill. THE OTHER ROOM is a moving, often humorous celebration of the power of friendship and political engagement during the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York.


Here’s how to enter:

1. Subscribe to Used York City, getting the best picks of NYC delivered straight to your inbox. (Don’t forget to respond to the verification message you are sent via email. Former subscribers are automatically entered!)

2. For a bonus entry, tag your favorite NYC moment of the week on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #UsedYorkCity


The contest will run until Sunday, October 19th, at which time a winner will be randomly chosen and announced on this post and via Twitter, and the winner will be notified directly by the email address that they subscribed with! Best of luck to all our readers!

p.s. if you don’t win the tickets, here’s a code for $5 off ticket prices: IVRR20.  Just enter at checkout!

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen