The TCQ&A: “My Dog Likes to Watch the Birds at Petland”

When she’s not working as an associate producer for a sports network, Jackie Spiegel tweets (@nycdowntowndiva) about life in the Financial District—about the architecture, or the new “pet club” called Fetch, or the fact that the Batmobile is being used in a movie shoot. “I used to have a blog but I didn’t have time to write full articles,” she says. “Twitter is so much easier.”

How long have you lived in the area?
I’m a native Brooklynite who moved to the Financial District in January, 2006, after living out of state for five years.

Which restaurants do you frequent most often?
I was a little sad to see some FiDi mainstays close—like Carmine’s and Andrew’s Coffee Shop (the first place I ate at when I moved to the area). But with that being said, I love heading over to Harry’s Italian, Red at the Seaport, and Haru on Wall Street (love the calamari salad!). There are so many fantastic restaurants down here I can’t wait to try them all!

Which restaurants do you tend to go to for special occasions?
My family loves sushi, so usually it’s off to Haru. But when it’s a friends’ b-day, football Sunday, or a going-away party, we head to Jeremy’s Ale House for cheap beer and good food.

Where do you order in (or get take-out) from? Are there dishes you always order?
I am definitely more of a homebody and love to order in. For Italian it’s always Lisa’s (the meatballs are awesome). Sushi is of course Haru. If I am looking for a cheap burger or diner food (chicken souvlaki with rice), then I order from Pearl Street Diner. My guilty pleasure is a Goodburger milkshake [right]. And now that Five Guys is open, I’ll probably head there for burgers. For deli sandwiches it is Best of New York or Jubilee Marketplace and Mexican is usually Chipotle. After nothing nearby when I first moved downtown, now I never have to go far.

Are there any services (salon, fitness, etc.) that you’re particularly glad are in the neighborhood?
Anything and everything you’d want is available in FiDi. I have my doctor at Downtown Hospital and specialists at NYU–Trinity. Places to exercise are all over whether you want to spend money (Gold’s, Equinox, NYSC) or not (perfect place to jog along the water). Restaurants, fast food, and grocery stores are at your fingertips. And every few blocks is a Starbucks or a Duane Reade. What more could you want?

Which shops do you find it hard to resist popping into when you pass by?
Whenever I’m walking my dog [a shih tzu named Ranger] we usually find ourselves heading into the Salty Paw [left] or Petland. He loves all the attention he gets at the Salty Paw, since it’s where he gets his “hair” done. And he’s obsessed with birds, so he loves to see the birds in the back of Petland.

What was the last non-essential item you bought below Canal?
I bought a ring at a street fair on Water Street. Street fairs are a downtown mainstay!

What’s the area’s best-kept secret?
There’s nightlife down here! For New Year’s, after watching the ball drop, my friend and I headed to Stone Street and it was mobbed, especially Ulysses’. This past week I was out on Front Street and Jeremy’s was packed, Nelson Blue was packed, Stella was packed. This is no longer an area that closes down with the stock market.

Which neighborhood building do you wish you lived in and/or owned?
I have no idea how their inside looks (outside of what you see on TV), but I think it would be cool to live in the New York Stock Exchange or the Federal Reserve.

What’s your favorite part of the area (street, park, whatever)?
I love all the open spaces in FiDi from City Hall Park in the north to Zuccotti Park in the west to Louise Nevelson Plaza (which will hopefully be re-opening soon) in the east and Battery Gardens at the southernmost tip of FiDi and Manhattan.

Your most memorable celebrity sighting?
Nothing will ever compare to seeing President Bill Clinton, a mere few feet away on Liberty Street.

If you could change one thing about the neighborhood, what would it be?
It’s great that more places have opened in the area, from food to grocery stores. I just wish more of them were open past 5 or 6 p.m. A lot of places still cater to the workforce and not residents.

What’s changed around here that you like? That you don’t?
I love anything and everything that FiDi has to offer especially that it has evolved into a residential neighborhood in the last four-plus years. However, I wouldn’t mind if all the construction (away from the WTC site) will finally end.

Why FiDi?
I wasn’t really planning on moving down here, but after living in Connecticut and the D.C. suburbs, I was looking for someplace that was mildly quiet at night. After I found my apartment I fell in love with the area’s sleepy-town, everyone-knows-everyone feel.

Any questions you wish you’d been asked?

Recent TCQ&As:
Bill Sullivan: “We Could Use a Bookstore like Dashwood”
Annika K. Martin: “I’m Intrigued by 135 Hudson”
Glenn Plaskin: “It’s Like Living on a Houseboat”
Shelly Mossey: “Adeline Adeline Is Like a Candy Store for Me”
Ariel Porath: “Who’s Behind ‘Rod Stuart Loves the Hamptons’?”



  1. I can’t believe I forgot to mention Alfanoose! Best Middle Eastern food in the city!!!!

  2. Great Q & A. I never knew FiDi was so interesting