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
Hey New Yorkers or those who may be in the Big Apple on Halloween. Since it’s around the corner, here are some fun things to do in the city.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?
- Dress up your four legged friend for the cutest costume parade, ever!
- 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!
- 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.
Halloween is nearly here, the time for all things haunted and ghostly! We’re delighted to welcome NYC’s resident ghost guru, Gordon Linzner, who shared a round-up of haunted pubs perfect for kicking back with a pumpkin ale this month (or anytime!), in the company of past New York souls. Goosebumps, anyone?
Ear Inn 326 Spring Street
Built as a private home in 1817, became a saloon in 1890. Haunted in particular by Mickey, a sailor who was killed by a car just outside the bar. He likes to pinch the bottoms of female patrons and staff, drain cell phone batteries, and sometimes play with fire.
Landmark Tavern 626 11th Avenue
Opened in 1868, it is haunted by several ghosts, most notably a Confederate veteran who was stabbed in a fight and crawled upstairs to die in a bathtub. The tub remains in the upstairs bathroom. An Irish immigrant girl who died of cholera wanders the third floor. This was a favorite location of the actor George Raft, who some patrons have also claimed to see.
The White Horse 567 Hudson Street
A favorite tavern of the poet Dylan Thomas, who allegedly drank himself to death there in 1952. Morning staff will often find his favorite table tilted at an angle, the way he liked when he was writing, despite having been neatly straightened the night before.
Waverly Inn 16 Bank Street
Several ghosts call this home, but one in particular seems to favor the former smoking room here, occasionally rearranging furniture and lighting the fireplace. In 1997 a fire damaged every room in the restaurant – except the smoking room!
One If By Land Two if by Sea 17 Barrow Street
Aaron Burr and his daughter Theodosia are among the spirits haunting this restaurant, on the site of a carriage house that once belonged to Burr, often spotted on the second floor. Since Theodosia’s earrings were taken by a pirate just before she walked the plank, her spirit seems to have an affinity for such jewelry, often tugging on female patrons’ ears.
KGB Bar 85 East 4th Street
Once home to a speakeasy run by Lucky Luciano, whose spirit has been seen on the lower floor. A headless ghost is thought to be that of a rapist who was decapitated by his victim in the 1920’s, and the mirror on the 2nd floor, near the bar’s entrance, has sometimes reflected a demonic face with red glowing eyes.
Lovecraft Bar 50 Avenue B
The murals were painstaking painted over months in the first half of 2014 by Benjamin Enzfelder who, working one night into the early morning hours, started a conversation with one of the owners, he presumed, who’d dropped by – only to find no one there when he turned around. After a couple more of these visits he decided to no longer do his art when there was no one else in the building.
Library Bar 425 Lafayette Street
Originally this building housed the Astor Library, and head librarian Joseph Green Cogswell encountered the spirit of businessman Austin Sands three nights, finally discouraging the tight-fisted Sands by insisting the ghost pay him overtime.
MacDougal Ale House 120 MacDougal Street
Strange noises and cold spots reported by the staff when they’re closing up.
Ghost Bar 132A Eldridge Street
Got its name from accounts of a ghostly appareitiion seen in front of the building when it was first built.
Photo Credit: ScrapbookofTruth.net.
I love cute names and Podunk totally wins all the points for cute names and its adorable in person, too. Located in the East Village of New York City, it’s not your traditional high tea you’d expect at a more uptown location. Instead, you’re greeted with whimsy, character, and eclectic charm…all the elements you’d hope to find at a downtown tea house.
With mismatched chairs and tea pots, shelves stuffed with books and nicknacks, and the cheerful owner who greets her customers at their tables, it’s more than afternoon tea in NYC…it’s more like afternoon tea in your childhood home. (Or maybe just the home we sometimes associate with the childhood of our imaginations, even if it didn’t actually exist quite like that, you know what I mean?)
The menu is just as eclectic as the decor, offering many variations to suit your palate. I opted for the Blunt and Savory, which included mini-tea pies, savory filled scones, cheddar biscuits, focaccia and goats cheese, and of course tea. My tea dates went with the sweeter option (think sweet scones and cakes) and gobbled them up just as fast. The food definitely wins for being the tastiest of any tea joint I’ve tried in NYC…each piece really packed a punch of flavor, rather than the bland so-so scones we grow too accustomed to at hotels. Oh, and another bonus? Priced between $17 and $35 for the entire setting, it’s about half the price of Uptown afternoon teas, too.
Man, I love cute teas, don’t you?
Insider’s Tip: Despite being a restaurant, this place unfortunately has no bathroom (I didn’t even know that was legal?) So go before you go. Or walk down the street to Bareburger and use their WC, the hostess is super friendly. Also, the teahouse is quite small, so making a rezzie will only work in your favor, promise.
What’s the cutest tea house you’ve ever been to? Share below!
When we think of spending the day in New York City’s SoHo, the first (and perhaps only) activity that pops into our heads is SHOPPING! And while, yes, it’s totally the truth that SoHo is filled to the brim with any and every store you could possibly imagine–all the way from the top designers to tiny boutiques with budding no-names–there’s more to SoHo than clothes.
Today, we’ve partnered with our friends at TripGo to take you around to all our favorite non-fashion forward stops in SoHo. TripGo is a handy dandy app that connects your calendar with real-time transport suggestions, providing all your door-to-door options for easy breezy comparison. Basically, a New Yorkers best friend. Before heading out for the day, I plugged in my locations (below), plus my travel preferences (subway + walking), and was provided an optimized schedule for my day in SoHo. First stop…breakfast!
While a yogurt bar may sound about as exciting as a bag of rocks, let me promise you, this place is deliciously worthy of a visit every single time I’m in the neighborhood. They have Sweet (toasted coconut + pineapple), Savory (cucumber + olive oil), and Seasonal creations that are hands-down out of this world! Since it’s the start of fall, I opted for the seasonal special of the day, pumpkin + cranberry.
2. The Earth Room
What would you do if given a 3,600 square foot loft space in the prime real estate area of SoHo? I bet 9.5 out of 10 of you sure wouldn’t say “fill it with dirt”…which is exactly what you’ll find at 141 Wooster Street. This free exhibit has been open to the public since 1980…although there are no huge signs or fanfare letting you know the gallery exists. A bit of a hidden gem (or if not gem, at least hidden!;-) You go to the address, press 2B, and wait to be buzzed in. Upon entering the building you’ll smell the room right away (I mean…280,000 pounds of dirt!) Unfortunately, no photos are permitted, so you’ll just have to go and experience this one for yourself!
3. Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
A quick walk down the street will land you at another under-the-radar museum, featuring LGBTQ art and the artists who create it. Also a free museum, you can walk right in and enjoy the art, or check out their calendar for a host of events…film screenings, opening receptions, talk back with artists…lots of greatness going on here.
4. The Mondrian SoHo
When you’ve reached a point in your day when you’re ready to kick those feet up, there’s no better place to go than the Mondrain Hotel in SoHo. From its entrance, you’ll get a glimpse of just how cool this place is. You can sit anywhere on the first floor, grabbing a cup of joe or glass of bubbly if you’re feeling festive. My favorite place to go is on the second floor. Across from the reception desk is a darling outdoor terrace with comfy lounge seating. Perfect place to catch up on emails or call your mom;-)
5. Housing Works Bookstore
It’s no secret I love bookstores (especially this one, which is where we had our wedding reception!) Housing Works sells used books, and the proceeds then go to help the local homeless with HIV/AIDS. Besides being an awesome charity, the two-level store has a vintage feel, tons of seating, and a cafe in the back. Oh, and TONS of special events here, guys! We’re talking author readings, story time and sing-a-longs for kids, free films…you name it!
6. Pearl River Mart
Besides being a place to get inexpensive, adorable gifts, let me tell you the real reason to visit Pearl River Mart. Okay, you know that store Anthropologie (please tell me I’m not the only one obsessed with everything there?! Well, everything BUT their price tags…crazy town!) So here’s the insider’s scoop: a lot of the very same home goods that Anthro sells can be purchased right at Pearl River Mart for a FRACTION of the cost. Seriously, this chihuahua nut bowl was $10 at Anthro, and $5.95 at PRM.
7. The Angelika Film Center
No secret to movie buffs, as this fabulous theater is where to go to see the artsier, more independent films that aren’t at your local AMC.
8. La Esquina
When asked about the best Mexican food in NYC, this place is always first out of my mouth. While the fancy rezzie-only restaurant is downstairs (call ahead, wayyyy ahead, people!), you can grab some of the basic goods at the faster-food joint upstairs. Like these avocado veggie tacos. Oh.Emm.GEE!!!
9. Street Art
And of course, I would be amiss if I didn’t draw your attention to the huge amounts of random street art you’ll be encountering along your SoHo adventure. Here’s a few snaps of some that caught my eye.
While Manhattan may be the main hub many non-New Yorkers think of when they hear NYC, there’s a lot of greatness residing in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and yes, even Staten Island, too. To kick off this new series, I jumped on the D train and headed up to the Boogie Down Bronx to check out the New York Botanical Garden. From the subway, it’s an 8 block walk (or you can jump on the bus if the weather is shoddy.)
The garden is a living museum, chock full of so many exotic plants and blooms it’s difficult to believe you’re still in NYC…let alone in the middle of the Bronx! An oasis of green standing at 250 acres, it provides the perfect getaway to wander aimlessly and soak in a ton of Mother Nature. Do note though, that if just the idea of walking that many acres exhausts you, the garden does have a free tram to tote you about from collection to collection.
And of course, if you’re not the wandering type, the garden offers plenty of structured classes, events, and volunteer opportunities. A few that piqued my interest are Jazz Age Evenings (filled with cocktails, concerts, and dance!), iPhone Nature Photography classes, and their annual Antique Garden Furniture Fair. A full list of activities can be found on their calendar.
Here’s a few snaps from my most recent visit…ever the girly girl, I was quite partial to the rose garden. No surprise there, right?
Insider Tip: Grounds admission is free all day on Wednesdays and from 9-10am on Saturdays. However, Wednesdays is also when the school field trips are held (because, free!), so be prepared for lots of elated children running about! Fresh air does wonders for city kids;-)
What’s your favorite Botanical Garden? Share below!
I recently returned from Sarajevo, Bosnia and while it wasn’t the first time I have been there, this time since I went with my hubby and in-laws, all of whom haven’t been back to their motherland in 14 years! Needless to say, this time around was less about visiting museums and historical sites and more about meeting and visiting extended family members and friends. Who knew I was now related to about half of Sarajevo?!
I’ve spoken before about trying to learn the language, and while I’d say my understanding rate is still pretty low, I have certainly mastered the art of hellos and goodbyes, which we’ll consider a small success!
A visit to a Bosnian household is quite a treat. While in America the custom may be (at least in my house), “can I get you anything to drink?”, and when the person responds “no, thanks”, to just leave it at that, this absolutely doesn’t fly in Bosnian hoods (which are referred to as “mahalas”.) Every time we’d visit a house, we were served a huge spread of traditional Bosnian coffee, juice, sparkling and still water, and sweet and savory treats. They wouldn’t take no for an answer, I tell you! And of course it would be considered rudest of rude not to accept. End story: it’s a good thing we came back when we did or we would have been rolled onto the plane!
One of the highlights of the trip was a beautiful dinner arranged by the family where they took my love for the story “The Little Prince” and provided Bosnian versions of the book for all the guests and a Little Prince cake! Completely, completely touched.
Seriously, Sarajevo hospitality just can’t be beat, and I feel really blessed to have such a wonderful culture of people to now call family.
Far back in the day, I loved Ramen Noodles. Not only did I eat them as they were intended them to be eaten, I’d also crunch the noodles up and eat them dry…add a bit of Prego and eat them ala Italiana…even soak them in butter and sprinkle with cinnamon for a delicious makeshift dessert. Palate of a 5 year old, I tell you! But I digress.
Up to this point in my life, I had never had REAL Ramen. When I was in Japan I was scared to try it because it was really hard to communicate “vegetarian” effectively, and I didn’t want to risk ingesting bits of pork (shudder!). So when I saw a veggie option on the menu of Noodle Cafe Zen last weekend, I gave it a go.
They have a great lunch special served with a salad, huge bowl of soup, and a side for about $10. It’s hard to beat that in New York City.
WHERE: Noodle Cafe Zen 31 St. Marks Place New York, New York
As the dog days of summer approach, make the most out of these last bits of sunshine in some of Manhattan’s best green spaces that are perhaps not as well known (or crowded!) as our crown jewel, Central Park.
1. The smallest park in New York City is located in the heart of the Upper West Side.
2. Head uptown to Manhattan’s tippy-top neighborhood of Inwood to Ft. Tryon Park (also home to the Cloisters, Heather Gardens, and a HUGE dog run!)
3. Fancy a 25 foot waterfall in Midtown, anyone?
4. The Highline is a downtown staple, where kids and adults alike can hardly resist a little water play. And stargazing! And movies projected on buildings! And music, constantly! Too much fun, I tell you.
5. A quiet place to sit with your book and organic juice can be found in Nolita’s Elizabeth Street Garden.
6. Battery Park is packed with playgrounds and plenty of picnic spots for you and your littles.
7. The Museum of Modern Art allows visitors to use its sculpture gardens, sans the ticket price. #artwin
8. Hudson River Park is the perfect place for water enthusiasts, because, free kayaking!
9. An acre of green space, elevated. A bit hidden, but every bit worth the visit, especially for its views of the Brooklyn Bridge.
10. The East Village’s Creative Little Garden is a change of pace from Starbucks for freelancers, and also a lovely place to volunteer your time if flowers are your jam.
Do you have a favorite green space in Manhattan or in your city? Share below!