About Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.
Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.
She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
Latest Posts by Jessica Tiare Bowen
Ever so rarely in this darling city of ours do you hit the restaurant trinity: amazing food, fabulous vibe, and top-notch service. One? All over the place. Two? No problem. But three out of three? That’s a rarity I’m certainly willing to sing about.
Last night I had the true pleasure to dine in a place that excelled in all three areas, plus introduced a lovely urban Mediterranean concept that is quite brilliant and will sure to be making a splash in the restaurant industry, the West Village’s Melibea. Chef Alex Urena creates dishes that are inspired by countries touching the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Morocco and Turkey. Put a NYC urban twist on things, and you have exquisitely presented dishes that are fresh and savory on the tastebuds, and aesthetically pleasing on the eyes. Wouldn’t you agree?
I also applaud that the produce is sourced locally right here in NYC from local farmer’s markets. In chatting with the bartender, I found that whatever is fresh and good that day at the market is what inspires the evening’s menu.
Chef Alex states, “I’m honored to lead the kitchen at Melibea and I’m excited to take our guests on a culinary tour of the Mediterranean. My approach is honest and consistent cooking that entertains the palate with bold flavors. I think our new menu will engage our guests’ intellects as well.”
WHERE: Melibea2 Bank Street New York, New York
You could say I stumbled on Crispo as an accident. Charged with making dinner reservations for a group of 6, I booked at a nearby restaurant that was just. too. loud. Like, we’re talking the kind of walk-in, cover the ears, scream “ya wanna get outta here??”
I was a bit worried that it would be hard to find a table for 6 during prime time on a Thursday night, but thankfully I remembered reading good things about this Italian gem, and they were kind enough to squeeze a few tables together for us in our own little room between the front dining room and the back garden. Immediate points for hospitality (and rustic-cuteness!)
And then there was the food…
While there’s certainly no shortage of Italian restaurants in this city, Crispo delivers on authentic, fresh, and plate-licking good. Here’s a few foodie-porn shots of the dishes we devoured:
My personal highlights of the meal were the ricotta stuffed zucchini flowers as an app, and black truffle ricotta ravioli (sounds like a lot of ricotta, I know, but totally meshes so well together!)…oh, and another highlight? That we didn’t have to scream all night. That was pretty awesome, too.
WHERE: Crispo 240 West 14th Street New York, New York
If you go: Sit in the back garden (open year round!), and order the black truffle ricotta ravioli.
I’ve spent quite my share of time at the theater this season, and am so excited to share with you five shows that you should positively, without a doubt, no questions asked, get to Broadway to see this season! Whether you leave the theater high-kicking and singing at the top of your lungs, or a ball of emotions, the important thing is they all make you feel…a lot. And isn’t that what theater is all about?
Ever since I saw the Disney movie version as a kid, ohh, about 573 times, I always wished and hoped for the day it would come to the stage…there was just no way this wouldn’t be a complete hit! Sure enough, it’s come to the Great White Way with a bang!
Newsies is set in NYC at the turn of the 20th century, and tells the tale of newsboys who dream of a better life away from the rough and tumble streets. The dream gets set in motion when publishing power horses Hearst and Pulitzer raise the price of newspapers at the newsboys’ expense. The boys go on strike, and the show is set into motion.
You’ll love this if: If you saw the movie and loved it, go, go, GO! Even if you missed out on being a film groupie (it was kind of a cult in the early 90′s!), you’ll love this if you’re a fan of stunning choreography, fantastic dancers, and catchy songs with a Brooklyn twang. Plus, it definitely goes without saying that this is one that’s fun for the whole family.
A Time To Kill
An emotional courtroom drama, this play is based off of John Grisham’s popular novel that many of you probably gobbled up during beach reading a few summers back. Set in the deep south, an idealistic lawyer defends a black man after he takes the law into his own hands following an awful crime committed against his young daughter.
There will be goosebumps. There will be tears. But as an audience member, you truly feel part of the jury, and are rooting for the vote to swing your way.
You’ll love this if: You are a Law & Order fan, you love a good Grisham novel, and you appreciate a drama that leaves you talking long after the curtains have closed.
Leaping lizards, this one’s a must! Also set in NYC, circa 1930ish, this is the classic tale of little orphan Annie ending up going from the orphanage with crazy Miss Hannigan to the lap of luxury with Depression-era billionaire Oliver Warbucks. Not to play favorites, but this is definitely one of mine.
You’ll love this if: You appreciate a feel-good musical, with recognizable songs such as “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life”. The costumes and set are top-notch, too, my friends.
The sweetest fairytale we all know and love, complete with princes and fairy godmothers AND glass slippers…not to mention a host of romantic Rodgers & Hammerstein songs you’ll love to hum along to!
You’ll love this if: You are a girl between the ages of 5 and 105, or a guy that wants to make his favorite girl really, really happy!
A Night With Janis Joplin
Okay, I’ll be honest: before heading to the theater I wasn’t prepared to love this show. I mean, I didn’t know any Joplin songs (gasp! I know!), nor did I particularly love that time period.
This show was A.MA.ZING. The music was soulful in the kind of way that just creeps into your bones, so good I went home and instantly made Pandora stations out of the songs. The plot doesn’t really focus on her untimely death or anything that would make it too depressing, rather those things and people that inspired her throughout her life.
You’ll love this if: Obviously, if you love Janis. But if you’re into the blues, rock history, and a show with a lot of soul, you’ll definitely appreciate it. Maybe not the best show for young kids.
Much like the rest of us, I had never heard of a ‘Ponzi scheme’ until I heard it applied to Bernie Madoff in the news. Thanks to the solo play “Charles Ponzi – A Dollar and a Scheme” written and performed by Alessio Bordoni I learned that AKA Charles Ponzi was originally Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi. Coincidentally, Charles Ponzi and playwright Alessio are Italian immigrants to America. What better venue to be enlightened with the latter pursuing his dream as an actor and not in pursuit of greed.
The play is part of the United Solo Theatre Festival, now in it’s 4th year and the world’s largest featuring solo performances. This year spans 120 productions from 6 continents and 23 countries. By solo I mean single performer. One might think of a monologue but the festival roams the range from comedic to musical among the productions.
Within 70 minutes Alessio squishes seamlessly Ponzi’s character throughout most of his life and transitions into others, narrowing down the few short months of which I now know to be a Ponzi scheme.
Of course, such a festival requires volumes of people behind the scenes to make it happen at all. One of which is Alessio’s American born wife India Evans, an artist, whom appropriately collages and captures Ponzi’s glee of greed.
What I enjoyed most about the festival is being reminded that theatre is accessible and can be affordable. Not often is it financially permissive/possible for an average New Yorker or tourist on a budget to see a large Broadway production. There is still hope for us all. Consider Frank Sinatra’s “New York New York” – ‘If you can make it here you can make it anywhere.’
Charles Ponzi’s scheme ran out of Boston. The United Solo festival is in NYC and taking place at 410 West 42nd Street in Manhattan through November 23rd. Performances also run in many other cities and countries across the globe, so be sure to check the schedule.
I encourage everybody to get out and reap the rewards of the talent that just might live next door.
This is a guest post written by Anne Edris.
One of my New York City bucket list items got checked off recently was to take a stroll inside Gramercy Park. While I can say with much certainty that there’s no fountains of youth, chocolate filled ponds, or other such exciting features one might expect to find in a locked park in an elite hood, it was still exciting to finally be able to take a peak around.
As the only truly private park in Manhattan, Gramercy Park can be accessed only by key holders. These elite few either rent or own property directly on Gramercy Park (as in, have windows that overlook the park itself), or are members of good standing at the National Arts Club, the Players Club, the Brotherhood Synagogue, or Calvary-St. George’s Church. If none of these apply to you, there is another route in…you can splurge on a stay at Gramercy Park Hotel, and be escorted in and out of the park by hotel staff.
My entry point was a friend who is a member of the National Arts Club. You have to go inside the club to leave your card in exchange for the key…here are a few fun photos I snapped of the Club:
The park has been fenced in since the mid 1830′s, and locked since 1844. The keys are manufactured especially for the Gramercy Park shareholders, and is said to be virtually impossible to duplicate. On top of that, the locks are changed annually, and new keys distributed. If a key gets lost, the holder must pay $1,000 for a replacement, and if it’s lost twice, the replacement fee doubles. Yowzers.
So who lives here now, with special access to this beloved park? A few names you may recognize are Jimmy Fallon, Karl Lagerfeld, Julia Roberts, Uma Thurman, and Rufus Wainwright.
“The Drowsy Chaperone” has been interestingly defined by such tags as “a musical within a comedy”…”a show within a show”…or my favorite “I went to visit a friend and a musical broke out in his living room.” Don’t you just love when that happens?! View this show yourself and hear what the aptly named “Man in Chair” has to say… he’s got quite a story to tell.
Then take advantage of this affordable opportunity to figuratively and literally catch two shows for the price of one in the form of “The Drowsy Chaperone” running on West 46th Street for approximately two weeks this November.
When “The Drowsy Chaperone” ran some 7 years ago on Broadway, the buzz seemed to center on the performance of Sutton Foster. And yes, her talents are endless, but in this instance, the performers were the icing on the cake. It was the fundamental materials — the book, musical score and lyrics — which made some amazing performances possible. And indeed this show captured many of the major Tony and Drama Desk awards in 2006 …. it was just that good.
“The Drowsy Chaperone” is on my personal top ten list of must see musicals; it defines the genre, and who knows when it will come around again. Don’t miss this opportunity.
This production is entirely funded, produced and performed by the strictly altruistic Blue Hill Troupe; an organization devoted some 90 years now to fundraising thru theater. The true beauty of a show presented by The Blue Hill Troupe is that their goal is not only to present reasonably priced quality entertainment, but to raise funds for a worthy charity, chosen annually. “Quality Services for the Autism Community” also knows as QSAC represents this year’s beneficiary. BHT’s performance preference usually lies with a work by Gilbert and Sullivan, presented in the glow of the spring season – the delightful “Ruddigore” is slated for April 2014 – but they are now also offering an annual fall show in addition to their spring G&S selection. However let the buyer beware…. the quality, talent and professionalism of BHT’s productions rival any show you may catch in the various and varied venues in our beloved New York City. You will be mightily impressed by the talent at play here.
And so in keeping with the “two for one theme,” by purchasing a ticket to “The Drowsy Chaperone” you will not only catch a jewel of a show, but make a welcome contribution to an important cause.
Performances of “The Drowsy Chaperone” are slated for:
Nov. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9 at 8 PM
Nov. 2, 9 at 2 PM
Nov. 3 at 3 PM
To further add to a genuine theater experience – at no additional charge – children are invited, at both matinee performances, to share in the magic of theater with a backstage tour of the show. Reservations are limited, so reserve this tour upon purchasing a ticket.
Ticket prices are $29.50, $39.50 and $49.50 and can be purchased online thru Ovationtix. Or call 866-811-4111. There is a $4.00 service fee for online/phone reservations.
Contributed by Joanne Theodorou
I enjoy going to see off-Broadway productions. The intimacy felt during a small theatre company’s performance is unparalleled. You become part of the show; this time was no different.
I left my apartment in Queens, hopped on the subway towards Manhattan, and upon walking into the East 4th Street Theatre (located on East 4th St. btwn Bowery & 2nd Ave) I was transported to 1918 Georgia at the beginning of the Spanish Flu outbreak courtesy of the Flying Carpet Theatre Company. I say transported because at the door to the 60 seat venue was a cast member, Dr. Claudia Hill (Susan Louise O’Connor), handing out surgical masks and directing everyone to wear it during the show to prevent the spread of the flu.
The Medicine Showdown, which was inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s classic “Enemy of the People,” takes you on the same sort of ride. A doctor in a small town must convince the authorities to act on behalf of the people’s health while risking the town’s economic health.
Unlike the play it was inspired by, The Medicine Showdown is fun! There is music; there is singing — opening number is Camptown Races – and there is dancing. Tap dancing the likes of which I haven’t seen performed live in quite some time. This treat comes courtesy of Legs Benedict (seriously, is that not the perfect moniker for a dancer?!) played by the show’s choreographer, Khalid Hill. You have the comedic musings of Tiny Two Bits (John Wright); the mysticism of Chief Tuk Tuk (Timothy Reynolds) and the eloquently neologistical ways of Dr. Arthur Eggerton (Jay Roderick).
Bottom line: A must see. Also, when you hear the good Dr. Eggerton go on and on…you’ll pick up what I put down.
WHERE: East 4th Street Theatre83 East 4th Street New York, NY WHEN: Runs through October 27th, 2013 TICKETS: $20, may be purchased here
Contributed by Orlando Manuel
I met a friend for coffee on Greenwich Street this weekend (and as all of us New Yorkers know, anything on Greenwich Street is positively adorable, anyway), so expectations were high. Stepping into Kaffe 1668 is like being in the Restoration Hardware showroom (ahem, my favorite furniture store, ever.) Ginormous wooden tables and buckets of lavender aside, their coffee is really, really good.
Maybe it’s something with the way they individually brew each cup (but if you’re in a hurry and don’t have the 10+ minutes the coffee can take to make, you can just order their daily drip). Maybe it’s the super low-lighting, and twinkling candle light. Or maybe it’s their delicious honey granola + yogurt. But whatever it is, this Tribeca spot is now a staple on my coffee shop circuit, totally worth the trek below 14th Street (which means a lot coming from a Midtowner). Kudos, Kaffe 1688.
p.s. There’s two locations on Greenwich Street, I went to the one between Beach and Hubert Streets.