Feb 10 2014 3:00pm

Love, Brooklyn Style: Top 3 Unconventional Brooklyn Love Stories

Eagle's Heart by Alyssa ColeToday we're joined by author Alyssa Cole, whose Eagle's Heart has just been released. Eagle's Heart pairs Salomeh, a Brooklyn schoolteacher, with Julian, a special agent who's hot (and HOT!) on the trail of an Albanian mafia boss. They're trying to find Salomeh's kidnapped student, and they find some red hot passion along the way. Alyssa is here to talk about love stories set in Brooklyn. Thanks, Alyssa!

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to do a list of the top ten great Brooklyn love stories. “So many movies have been set here, this will be a cake walk,” I thought naively as I began to search. That’s the last thing I remember before waking up curled into the fetal position, the last strains of the Bee Gees’s “Staying Alive” blaring menacingly from my laptop...

Saturday Night Fever is a fun movie about dancing and love at the club, right? Um, wrong. WAY wrong. Most of us have been blinded by the bell bottoms, but that movie is about racial tensions, rape, and suicide. What about Crooklyn, one of my favorite childhood movies? While it definitely showcases the love of a family, the parents often fight and the mother’s death at the end (spoiler alert!) makes it too sad to even type about. Um…Goodfellas? One word (two syllables): KA-REN!! Sophie’s Choice? Let’s not even go there.

If you believe the movies, Brooklyn is a hard place to find love. This actually rings true in my novel, Eagle’s Heart, which focuses on a disgraced Brooklyn teacher who gets caught up with the Albanian mafia while protecting a student, and the hot Albanian FBI agent who protects her. Finding love beneath a hail of bullets is difficult to say the least, but is that reason to give up?

Fuhgeddaboudit. Brooklyn-style love scoffs in the face of hardship, danger, and even common sense. Here are three films that prove it:

1.) Moonstruck. One of the best love stories on film, in my opinion. Perfect acting, perfect dialogue, and hot, sweaty, pre-crazy wig collection Nicolas Cage. Cher stars as widowed Loretta Castorini, about to marry a man she doesn’t love. Loretta’s world is turned upside down when her fiancé, Johnny, takes an out of town trip and asks her to try to smooth things over with his estranged brother while he’s gone. The brother, Ronny is an insane, one-handed baker (which I have to admit are a dime a dozen in Brooklyn). Loretta and Ronny fall madly, table-crashingly, sexing-on-the-kitchen-flooringly in love with other instantly, of course. Loretta is torn between her desire to do things right and the passion Ronny incites in her. The film manages to capture the subtle nuances of the agony and the ecstasy of amore in three succinct lines between Loretta and her mother:

Rose: Do you love him, Loretta?

Loretta Castorini: Aw, ma, I love him awful.

Rose: Oh, God, that's too bad.

Despite having a love that defies ethics, family, and the bounds of reason, Loretta and Ronny still find their happily ever after.

2.) Dog Day Afternoon. Okay, this is an unconventional choice, but I thought it was pretty timely given current discussions of the treatment of transgendered people. The film also focuses on the media circus that controls the narrative of whether a person is seen as a victim, a criminal, or a hero by the public. Al Pacino stars as Sonny Wortzik, a man who has decided to rob a bank as an act of love. He intends to use the haul to pay for his girlfriend Leon’s sex reassignment surgery. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, though, and a hostage situation ensues that pulls Sonny and Leon's love life into the limelight. Their story doesn't have a happily ever after: Sonny goes to prison. But the romantic spirit of his criminal gesture shows that in Brooklyn, we're willing to do anything for love. (Even Meat Loaf had his limit, refusing to do THAT.)

3.) Arsenic and Old Lace. This classic film showcases old school Brooklyn, one where Irish cops walked a beat and innocent old ladies opened up their homes to down on their luck single men. But even back then, times were tough for a couple of love birds. Cary Grant stars as Mortimer Brewster, a theater critic infamous for his sharp tongue and his hatred for the institution of marriage. He falls head over heels in love with Elaine Harper, and they have a whirlwind courtship. Now, while that story would have made for a wonderful film itself, this is a Brooklyn love story we're talking about. Things should be so easy as getting eloped and running off on your honeymoon. Instead, when Mortimer heads home to his tell his beloved aunts about his nuptial bliss, he learns that the poor old dears have been murdering the itinerant men who they take in. There are bodies to hide, police to evade, brothers who think they're Teddy Roosevelt to institutionalize. And that's all before his long lost evil brother shows up sporting a Bela Lugosi makeover. The film is full of madcap hijinks, but love is put on the back burner as Mortimer tries to stop his killer aunts and protect his new wife from his crazy family and his own bad blood. In the end, with most of the family happily institutionalized and his brother in prison, Mortimer finally earns his Brooklyn style happily ever after.

So, what’s your favorite Brooklyn tale?

Learn more or order a copy of Eagle's Heart by Alyssa Cole, out now:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Alyssa Cole is a Brooklyn-based science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie. In addition to writing, she hosts a romance book club and teaches romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy traveling, learning French, and, of course, writing, she can be found curled up in bed with her favorite books, Skyping with her fiancé, and watching cat videos on the Internet.

Visit her online at You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

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Jennifer Proffitt
1. JenniferProffitt
Arsenic and Old Lace is one of my favorite movies--Cary Grant is perfect! Thanks for this great list. Now I'm going to go disappear for a few days while I watch all of these.
Alyssa Cole
2. AlyssaCole
Jenn: Aresenic and Old Lace is so great! I really love Cary, but Peter Lorre is my fave in the film (what can I say, I have eclectic tastes).

Let me know what you think about the other films!
S Tieh
3. infinitieh
As someone who grew up in Brooklyn, it never occurred to me that my hometown lacked romance. But I do like your three choices, with Moonstruck ("Snap out of it!") and Arsenic and Old Lace
("Charge!") being two of my favorite movies of all time.
4. FeliciaD
Have to go with "Moonstruck"! I still watch it frequently! Love Ronnie!
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