About Jessica Tiare Bowen

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

New York City’s Conservatory Garden in the Springtime

April 19, 2015 by  

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I really dig the idea of anything in NYC being labeled “Quiet Zone.”  I mean, you can probably count the zones on one hand–libraries, churches, a late-night subway ride above 125th street–so I was quite pleased to see that Central Park has its own little 6 acre quiet zone too, The Conservatory Garden!

On Easter weekend the hubs and I took a rainy day stroll up the east side of Central Park until we reached the entrance to the garden at 105th street and 5th avenue.  It was exceptionally quiet that day, because along with the quiet zone rule, we were also the only people in the garden!  A whole Italian, French, and English garden combo, set right here in NYC, all to ourselves!

As you can see, we probably didn’t pick the best time to make the trek–after the long winter virtually nothing was in bloom, and April showers were in full force.  I’d imagine a bit later in the season it will be stunning though, and the perfect place to escape with a spring read.  Oh, and unexpected bonus: the public restrooms are shockingly clean!;-)

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Where do you go when you need a little quiet time?  Share below!

Celebrating 100 Years of Music Legend Frank Sinatra

April 11, 2015 by  

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Frank Sinatra called New York “our town.” Combine that pure city love, soulful voice, and the bluest of blue eyes, and you have yourself THE American icon, who can be celebrated in New York City.  The NYPL for the Performing Arts is commemorating the Frank Sinatra Centennial with a beautifully curated free exhibit through September 4th, showcasing 100 years of Frankie’s legacy.

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The exhibit has never-before-seen photos, family mementos, artwork, outfits, video interviews, and of course, music galore.  You’ll learn a host of new things (Frankie was a painter! Frankie was a film star! Frankie was the original “The Voice”!)

I particularly liked the interactive nature of the exhibit–there was one station where you could actually mix Frankie’s music yourself, a large jukebox where you could choose any and every Sinatra song ever made to play throughout the room, a huge wall filled with TV’s showing Sinatra in concert, and my personal favorite–a karaoke-like booth where you can record your voice singing New York, New York along with Sinatra’s.  Swoon!

In addition to the exhibit, you can also stroll the streets of NYC and Hoboken, NJ, (Frankie’s birth place), checking out all his favorite haunts with this free walking tour.  I, for one, can’t wait to check out Patsy’s for some of that legendary Italian food he loved!

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unnamed-23In celebration of the centennial, there’s a host of free public programs also celebrating Ol’ Blue Eyes, from films to concerts to sing-a-longs, New York is paying tribute to the one who made popular our very own theme song, New York, New York. And for that, we thank you, Frankie.

 

New York & The Gotham Comedy Night Club

April 4, 2015 by  

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Fans of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series will be aware that, unlike its two predecessors, The Dark Knight Rises was filmed in New York City in addition to having scenes shot in locations as varied as India, Italy, and the UK. But what can Bat-crazed visitors to New York get up to when they’ve seen the locations where the Dark Knight rose? Here are some ideas to get you started.

New York is full of fantastic casinos, so take the opportunity to visit them and play some games. One of the most famous is the Resorts World Casino on Rockaway Boulevard. You can enjoy everything from slots to roulette, and the casino has over 2,200 machines to choose from. Take your friends for dinner, drinks, and some games for a truly memorable night.

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Choose between the Times Square and Fifth Avenue casino floors.

If you haven’t packed a suit however, you can always stay in your hotel room, logon at Mr Smith Casino and play The Dark Knight Rises online. Order some drinks and food, kick back and have some late night fun, Gotham style.

Have a few drinks and a lot of laughs.

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Not only does it have a perfect name, the Gotham Comedy Club is a legendary venue that has hosted some true comedy greats. It was initially formed in 1996 and located on West 22nd Street before a 2006 move to West 23rd. Superstars like Louis C.K., Nick Cannon, and Dave Chappelle perform at the club, and it has hosted TV and movie cameras more than once. If you recognize the interior from your TV, it could be because Live at Gotham is shot here by Comedy Central. Cult hit Curb Your Enthusiasm started out here: its pilot was filmed in the club.

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There are a few rooms to choose from, including the Vintage Lounge and the Metropolitan Room, so book a table today and enjoy a night of luxury and laughter. The Joker would be proud!

Whatever you do in New York, it’s sure to be memorable, so make the most of it!

Contributed by Miia Karttunen

Introducing Pet Friendly Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s Maryland

April 1, 2015 by  

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When narrowing down choices for a laid back, drivable, not-too-far-from-NYC-where-we-can-also-bring-our-dog getaway, I was thrilled when the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michael’s, Maryland popped up.  It’s the same gorgeous spot where the movie Wedding Crashers was shot!

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The inn is pet friendly, and incredibly friendly to your pets!  (Pet parents will automatically know the importance here!)  While once upon a time I was able to sneak my sweet chihuahua in just about anywhere, in his older age he’s become much more, shall we say, vocal.  If I were to leave him in a strange room for more than a few minutes, his chirping (the cute little noise he makes when he barks, but sounds much more like a chirp!) begins.  Impossible to hide.  Which makes finding properties where we can bring him along, comfortably, a bit of a challenge.

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We were chuffed to find out the inn only has you pay $100 pet fee (for the entire stay!), and also treats your pooch like royalty.  I’m talking doggie cookies, bathroom bags, water at your front door, and so many hugs and kisses and scratches throughout the day.  They even had a doggy menu you could order from!  And our own little fenced-in backyard for Gills to romp around!  I’m pretty sure Gillman thought this was a spa vacation just for him.

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Besides not having to stress about the comfort of our 14 year old chihuahua (which was huge, as you pet parents will agree), the inn offers lots of other goodies for a relaxing retreat: the essentials, such as a spa, seasonal outdoor pool, delicious restaurant, casual pub, and fitness center, along with nice bonuses such as gorgeous gardens, waterside location, and both complimentary bikes and boat docking.

The town of St. Michael’s is quaint and walkable, full of just enough cafes, boutiques, and antique stores to fill an afternoon stroll.  All this in under a 4 hour drive from NYC.  Kinda perfect, eh?

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My favorite part?  Sitting by the roaring fireplace in the lobby, playing board games and drinking wine–the ultimate rest and recharge. With little man on my lap, of course.

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Have you been on any pet-friendly getaways lately?  Share below!

New Jersey Family Winter Adventure: Tubing In Mountain Creek

March 28, 2015 by  

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Let’s talk openly for a minute: what is your thing that you just don’t enjoy, that you feel like most everyone in the world is totally into?  My mom absolutely detests graduation ceremonies (too bad she had 4 kids!), my husband practically breaks out in hives if I suggest going to an Irish pub, and my girlfriend Michelle hates any and all sweets (seriously, who hates sweets?!)

And me?  My thing is skiing.  Now–I’ve tried skiing a handful of times over my life, and as much as I think I should like it (it’s a lifetime hobby! such good exercise! great for winter getaways!), none of these reasons are enough to convince me that I do, and at 32, I have accepted that I don’t never will–and that’s totally okay.

Besides being all self-accepting, it’s also okay because there’s an alternative winter “sport” that I do enjoy: tubing!  So when the fam got together last weekend for a quickie day trip to the mountain, I hiked up my boots and got ready to tube!  Here’s a little video.  You guys proud of my ability to multi-task?;-)

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While it may be too late in the season to enjoy much slope time/tubing this year, make sure to clear some weekends for the 2015/2016 season!

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Mountain Creek, New Jersey, is an hour north of NYC, easily accessible by car, or also Snow Buses right from New York City.

15 Free New York City Guided Tours Worth Knowing About…

March 3, 2015 by  

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Whenever I travel to a new city I always, always make sure to schedule a tour.  Tours help you see the city through a local’s perspective, allow you to ask questions from a tried-and-true resident, take you to places you’d probably never venture yourself, and feed you with fun facts.

Here’s our roundup of tours that you can take in NYC, whether you’re a tourist or local:

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1. Tours By Foot | “Offering pay-what-you-wish New York walking tours as well as food, bike and bus tours. We provide a platform for licensed, local, freelance tour guides to lead tours at no upfront costs, so that you may enjoy an interesting New York sightseeing tour for whatever price you like, even free. You get to determine what a tour was worth, if anything, after the tour, thus ensuring that your tour guide must strive to give his or her best on every tour.”

2. Free Historic Neighborhood Tour of the Lower East Side | “Every Sunday, April through December at 11 a.m., meet in front of Katz’s Delicatessen (corner of East Houston and Ludlow Street) for a comprehensive historic tour. Free and open to the public. Take a historical three-hour journey through the Lower East Side and explore some of the rich history tracing the arrival of immigrants to modern times.”

3. Village Alliance | “The Village Alliance sponsors free walking tours every Saturday from June through September, highlighting the unique, bizarre and beautiful bohemia we call Greenwich Village.  During cold weather months, or if you are not able to make the Saturday tours, stop by the Village Alliance office at 8 East 8th Street to pick up a free, self-guided walking tour map (M-F, 10a-6p).”

4. Battery Park City Parks Conservancy | “Garden Tours, Birding Tours and Public Art Tours.”

5. Big Apple Greeter | “Meet a real New Yorker and discover the real magic of New York City’s many culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods.”

6. Central Park Conservancy Tours | “Learn the story of the Park’s history, design, and ecology and get an insider’s look at the world’s greatest urban park with the people who take care of it. Welcome Tours are free and offer and introduction to some of the Park’s most well-known highlights.”

7. Grand Central Partnership | “The Grand Central Partnership offers a free, weekly, no-reservations-required, award-winning walking tour of the Grand Central neighborhood, that provides a survey of many of the architecturally and historically significant sights – among them the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, itself and Pershing Square.”

8. Chelsea Brewing Company | “If you want to have a unique memorable time with a group of people, small or large, take a brewery tour of Manhattan’s only active brewery.”

9. Federal Reserve Bank of New York | “Learn about the role of the New York Fed and the wider Federal Reserve System in setting monetary policy, promoting financial stability, and serving communities to advance economic growth.”

10. Austrian Cultural Forum | “The Austrian Cultural Forum provides visitors the opportunity to tour the architectural landmark building in midtown Manhattan.”

11. City Hall + Tweed Courthouse | “Tours of City Hall and Tweed Courthouse are hosted by the Design Commission. One of the oldest continuously used City Halls in the nation that still houses its original governmental functions, New York’s City Hall is considered one of the finest architectural achievements of its period.”

12. New York Public Library | “Docent-led tours are an excellent way to see highlights of The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The Library offers tours of the building as well as exhibitions. Free docent-guided tours for walk-in visitors are available.”

13. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture | “The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of The New York Public Library is generally recognized as the world’s leading research library devoted exclusively to documenting the history and cultural development of peoples of African descent worldwide.”

14. Science, Industry and Business Library Tours | “A free one-hour tour is offered Thursdays at 2 p.m. Meet at the Reception Desk on the Street Level.”

15. St. Patrick’s Cathedral | “Taking a tour of St. Patrick’s is a wonderful opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the architecture, history and spirit of this great Cathedral.”

Times Square for Haru’s Glass Cocktails

January 24, 2015 by  

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Anyone else struggling with this weather just a teensy tiny bit?  Winter in NYC just seems to drag post holidays, and I can personally attest to needing a bit of a pep talk in order to leave the apartment, cause that cold that seeps into your bones is just no fun.

When I heard about Haru’s new staycation in a glass cocktails, my interest was piqued.  I gave myself a bit of cheerleading “come on Jess, just a few more layers, 19 degrees is really not all that awful, think of the Canadians!  they do this every day!”, bundled up, and headed to their Times Square location to test them out.

Cue the sunshine!

Haru’s limited-time cocktails, channeling warm weather and beaches all around, surely do a wonderful job of warming you up from the inside out.

The Cucumber Gimlet is Haru’s twist on the traditional cocktail, and really speaks to New Year’s purity and lightness with a combination of muddled fresh cucumber, lime and cilantro shaken with homemade simple syrup and the 34-times-distilled Purity vodka.

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I’m a gal who enjoys her drinks on the sweeter side, so the Passion Fruit & Lychee Saketini, made with Don Q Pasión rum with nigori sake, lychee purée, homemade simple syrup and pineapple juice, was pure summer in a glass.

unnamed-1Both cocktails are perfectly paired with Haru’s seasonal menu offerings including Chicken Dumplings, Crispy Halibut with Fresh Winter Mix and the Black Forest Roll. The Chicken Dumplings appetizer are pan-fried and accompanied by Haru’s signature dumpling sauce. The Crispy Halibut with Fresh Winter Mix is a Japanese take on fish and chips—minus the chips for a more New Year’s resolution-friendly entrée. Instead, you’ll find a winter salad of snow peas, carrots and jicama lightly tossed with lemon dressing. On the sushi side, the elegant Black Forest Roll includes smoked salmon, black tobiko (caviar), cucumber, freshwater eel and torched cream cheese.

unnamed-4unnamed-3And for you vegetarians, I’d absolutely recommend the green peppers with lime and sea salt as an accompaniment to your bevvys.

All seasonal items are available through the month of March, which is pretty perfect considering it isn’t until April in these parts that we can finally think of shedding our down and wool coats for trenches.  Until then, you’ll find me at Haru’s bar, saketini in hand.

p.s. for those of you not in the NYC area, (or you New Yorkers who can’t seem to pep yourself up to leave the house, no judgement!), we were able to score Haru’s top secret recipe for the saketini I love so much!  Bottoms up, my friends!

Passion Fruit & Lychee Saketini

Ingredients:

1.5 oz.   Don Q Pasión Rum

.5  ea.    Nigori Sake

1   oz.     Lychee Puree

½  oz.     Simple syrup

½  oz.     Pineapple Juice                         

Method:             

*Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.

*Add ice and shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds.              

*Strain into a chilled martini glass.

*Garnish with Lychee fruit.

Charming Ralph’s Coffee in New York’s Midtown

January 17, 2015 by  

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I was checking out post holiday sales on flannel at Ralph Lauren Polo this week when I stumbled upon the most unexpected little coffee shop tucked away on their second floor, Ralph’s Coffee.  Cute, right?!

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Coffee shops (other than Starbucks and super duper expensive hotel cafes) are hard to come by in the central midtown area, so this was a real treat to find.  I grabbed an oatmeal raisin cookie ($3) and a cup of joe ($3), and secured a spot by the window, watching snow flurries and 5th avenue hustle and bustle.  Besides being spacious, Ralph’s also offers free wi-fi and plenty of plugs to charge up your devices.

The inspiration for the cafe, from the inventor of preppy himself, goes as such: “The smell of freshly brewed coffee evokes so many memories for me, mostly of times spent with friends and family, the people I love.  I wanted to develop these coffee blends in that spirit and create a place where people could come together and take a break from their busy days.”  Touche, Mr. Lauren.

Besides, I think we can all agree that coffee trumps flannel any day…at least for the wallet;-)

Have you found any foodie gems in your neighborhood lately?  Share below!

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