Luis Guzman on growing up in NYC, best Puerto Rican food

The “Puerto Ricans in Paris” actor grew up on the Lower East Side.

Between working in Los Angeles and living in Vermont, Luis Guzman isn’t in New York much anymore. But he’ll be here to march in this Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade.

The actor, who moved from Puerto Rico to New York City as an infant, is in town to support his new movie, “Puerto Ricans in Paris.”

The buddy cop comedy stars Guzman and Edgar Garcia as two NYPD detectives recruited to investigate a French designer’s stolen handbag in Paris.

The film, out Friday, reunites the actor with “How to Make It in America” creator Ian Edelman, who directed and co-wrote the screenplay. It also stars Alice Taglioni, Miriam Shor, Rosario Dawson and Rosie Perez.

“ I wanted to do a comedy with some of my friends, and make it a good comedy,” Guzman says. “I’m just really proud of it. We shot this movie in 17 days, in Prague, Paris and New York. This was a total labor of love.”

amNewYork spoke to Guzman about growing up in NYC, his fave Puerto Rican spot and the parade.


What was it like growing up in New York?

I lived on the Lower East Side. I grew up on Delancey and Columbia Street. I went to Seward Park High School. Before that we lived in the West Village in the ’60s. That was a great time to grow up, man, with the hippies and the beatniks. It was a neighborhood, you know, not like now. But back then, when we moved to the Lower East Side, in the late 1960s, early 1970s, the neighborhood looked like a bomb hit it, when the Bowery was full of what we called hobos. At the same time, it was amazing. I used to hang out at the original Nuyorican Poets Cafe … and listen to poetry, that was my thing.


Where do you go for Puerto Rican food when you’re here?

Adela on Avenue C. That is the Puerto Rican spot in the neighborhood to go to. And of course my mom and dad’s kitchen. They’re still in the same [Lower East Side] apartment. But the spot to go to is Adela. There’s nothing elegant about it, but everyone’s passionate about the food.


What do you get when you go?

Man, they have the best rotisserie chicken. People fight for the last piece. And the normal staples — rice and beans, they make a great chicken soup. Have the grilled pork.


Will you be at Sunday’s parade?

My costar Edgar Garcia is going to be in the parade with me. I love the Puerto Rican Day Parade. It’s like carnival time. I kind of go every four or five years. … It takes a lot out of you, that’s why you only go once every four or five years.


What else do you have going on?

I shot a movie called “Nine Eleven,” that should be coming out sometime this fall. I’ve been doing a show called “Roadies” with Cameron Crowe for Showtime. And then the return of “Code Black.”


I saw your “Hamilton” audition on Funny Or Die. Have you seen the musical?

They won’t let me in, I get too emotional. I saw “In the Heights” by the guy, and I cried at the end, every time, because I was so overjoyed that I saw something that correlated to what I grew up with, something that showed my customs. I was so, so proud of that. I saw it six times.

COMING SOON “Puerto Ricans in Paris” is out June 10 in theaters and On Demand and Digital HD

Meredith Deliso