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




UYC’s Book Club: The Group


Alright guys, I want you to imagine the Sex and the City crew, circa the 1930’s.  Got the visual?  Now pick up a copy of The Group and start reading.  Here’s the brief synopsis from Goodread’s:

Mary McCarthy’s most celebrated novel portrays the lives of eight Vassar graduates, known simply to their classmates as “the group.” An eclectic mix of personalities and upbringings, they meet a week after graduation to watch Kay Strong, the first of the group, be married. After the ceremony, the women begin their adult lives–traveling to Europe, tackling the world of nursing and publishing, and finding love and heartbreak in the streets of New York City. Through the years, some of the friends grow apart and some become more entangled in each other’s affairs, but all vow not to become like their mothers and fathers. It is only when one of them passes away that they all come back together again to mourn the loss of a friend, a confidante, and most importantly, a member of the group.


Discussion time!  I posed three questions below that were discussed at book club (pictured above!), and my responses to each.  If you’ve read the book, please jump into the conversation in the comments below!

1. What character in The Group did you identify with most?

Hmm, can I be really difficult here and say I didn’t really identify with any?  In fact, I found that to be the most frustrating part of reading this book…I really wanted to have a Carrie or Charlotte that I could be like “yes! that’s the book version of me!” to, but just didn’t happen.  I’m not sure if this is because of the generational differences (although, I don’t think so: these women were all pretty evolved for their time), but more likely each character did something that rubbed me the wrong way, making it hard to identify with them.  Norine?  She was messy and was having an affair with her best friend’s husband.  Kay?  She stayed with the cheating, awful husband, who then committed her to a psychiatric ward (and I don’t believe for one second that she didn’t know!)  Helena?  She KNEW the affair was going on and didn’t say a word to anyone!  Ladies, seriously?!

2. What surprised you most about the book?

If I started reading it not knowing it was supposed to be set in the thirties, I truly would have thought that I was reading contemporary fiction written by a Park Slope mom!  There were frank discussions of pre-marital sex and birth control, strong opinions on breast feeding, approaches to mental illness that were quite shocking, affairs left and right, and women running the gamut of what they chose to do with their post-college lives: some holding careers, others being housewives, some traveling, some taking an active political role…the book painted a picture of women being much more evolved in the thirties than I suppose I imagined them to be.  I do wonder if this had anything to do with these women living in Manhattan and being upper-class, though?  Would this have been a much different story if it was about a group of girlfriends living in middle America and being working class during the depression?  I think so.

3. Do you think this book paints an accurate picture of female friendships?

It’s interesting to note that of the group of 8 friends, the only time they are all together post-college is at the beginning of the book for a wedding, and at the end of the book for a funeral (I won’t give any spoilers in case you haven’t read it!)  Other than that, very few kept in touch regularly through the stories of their lives, which is very different than the besties on Sex and the City, right?  But perhaps more realistic?  Living in NYC poses a special kind of challenge in getting together with people, and working around everyone’s crazy schedules.  There’s many people I’ll go 6 months without seeing, who really only live less than a mile away!  So again, do you think this is a New York phenomenon when it comes to maintaining friendships, or do people everywhere just naturally drift apart post-college, and really only come together for those big life events?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book below, and make sure to join us next month for our discussion on The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., which we’ll hold on the blog on Thursday, November 20th. Between now and then feel free to share your thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #UYCBookclub!

By: Jessica Tiare Bowen




UsedYorkCity Inspiration #6



^^It looks like Radio City is getting ready for the holidays…and I don’t mean Halloween!^^

1. The big list of pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and hayrides…all taking place right here in NYC! (via Mommy Poppins)

2. A NYC view that costs $81 million dollars. (via The New York Times)

3. This NYC blogger takes you on a delicious trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar. (via NYC, Style and a Little Cannoli)

4. Sweet subway serenades captured on film. (via Tracy’s New York Life)

5. How to be the perfect girl/guy in NYC.  Would LOVE to hear your comments on this one below!;-) (via Garance Dore)

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