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Blog Archives - October 2013

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New Saturday Arts and Music Programs at the Brooklyn Historical Society  
The Brooklyn Historic Society is adding two new events to its Fall-Winter roster. Starting on November 2, the society will host two family-friendly events on Saturdays. The first is a monthly sing-a-long with Lloyd H. Miller that will take place on the first Saturday of the month, starting November 2. The event will feature songs, stories, skits, movies and other playful activities to bop your heads to. The theme for November is Feet & Wheels, which encourages families to tour the Brooklyn landscape by walking, running and bike riding.
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Happy Halloween: 5 Parades to Kick-off Today’s Boo-rific Trick-or-Treat Fun  
Happy Halloween! ’Tis the season for candy treats, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin sweets and lots of costume fun. While many parents have been getting in their Halloween enjoyment over the weekend, today is all about the kids. From in-school parties to afterschool, haunted trick-or-treat action, your children’s faces will surely light up with all the superhero, princess and ghoulish activities.

Today, there are several kid friendly parades you can stop by to jumpstart the trick-or-treat fun. And, they are all free!

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Kid-friendly Restaurants and Sweet Treats in East Harlem  
It is easy to find good family friendly eats and sweet treats in Spanish Harlem.  Here are a few of the neighborhood highlights.  Plus, as you walk around the area, you’ll see lots of street vendors selling neighborhood specialties like elote (Mexican-style corn on the cob with crema, cheese, and chile powder), mango with Tajin, tamales, and aquas frescas. You can also still find a few shaved ice carts even though summer is over. Walk down 116th Street between Lexington and 2nd Avenue, where most carts set up, to find a quick snack.  Enjoy!

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Brooklyn Art Classes for Your Mini Michelangelo  
Kids are crafty. They love to build, create, design, and most of all, make a big mess. As parents, we love to see our children’s natural creative abilities flourish. But we don’t enjoy cleaning paint off the ceiling and finding Play-Doh in the flower pots. So before you spend another minute scrubbing your child’s latest Crayola creation off the living room wall, consider enrolling your kids in an art class or two to hone their artistic abilities-- outside of your house.
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Building Your Network Mommy Style  
Meeting other moms can be a daunting challenge for New York City women. Perhaps you’re the first in your circle to have a baby or you’ve recently decided to stay home full-time and are missing your friends from the office. Perhaps you're just emerging from the fog of the newborn days and realizing you feel a bit isolated from hearing your own voice read Goodnight Moon a hundred times each day. Whatever your situation, we’re here to help you get out of the house, make friends, and find encouragement from the amazing women who live in New York City.

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Weekend Family Events - October 26 and October 27  
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, need we say more? OK, candy, candy candy! The fun filled holiday that brings costumes, smiles and sugar highs for all is finally here. This weekend features tons of Halloween events with a dash of Pickle Day, Big Apple Circus Fun and Enchanted Wave Hill magic as well. Enjoy your weekend of Halloween family fun before the actual big day. Here are this weekends pick's.
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Apple Seeds: Part Playground, Part Educational Wonderland  
During the summer months, it’s great to take your kids out to the park for a little recreational fun and outdoor activity. However, as we move into the cooler fall season and subsequent winter in New York, those outdoor playgrounds are just not as appealing. For kids, Apple Seeds in Chelsea offers a hybrid oasis of after school activities and playground fun.
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Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Events in NYC  
In Mexico, the deceased aren’t necessarily mourned – they are celebrated. Each year, from October 31 to November 2, people rejoice in the memory of their departed loved ones with dancing, decorations, music, food, flowers, offerings and altars honoring them. They call this celebratory time Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and it is not at all the bleak and sorrowful affair that its name implies. It is also not synonymous with Halloween, although the two holidays occur around the same time. Dia de los Muertos is a joyful time of commemoration and spirituality for Mexicans as well as many other cultures around the world.
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Five Ways to Get Your Kids Involved in Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month  
Pet owners will unanimously agree that their furry children are just as much a part of the family as their non-furry children. October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month and shelter owners everywhere are urging animal lovers to aid in finding a forever home for one of the countless animals currently in desperate need of adoption. It’s so important to instill a lifetime of love and respect for animals in your own children; you can start by helping them to support this worthy cause. Here are five ways you can get the kids involved in Adopt-A-Shelter Dog Month this October.
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‘PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures’ Takes Over Nintendo World  
What would Halloween be without fiendish ghosts and ghastly ghouls? But have no fear when ghosts go “boo” in the night… Pac-Man is back just in time for some pre-Trick-or-Treat ghost chomping.
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‘Cinderella’ Dances into Lincoln Center for a Five-Day Performance  
Thanks to Disney, almost every family knows the story of Cinderella and her fairy godmother. Of course, there’s also the darker, Cinderella fairy tale as told by the Brothers Grimm. Regardless of which Cinderella tale you subscribe to, you probably haven’t seen Cinderella told through the eyes and mind of dancemaker Christopher Wheeldon.
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The Big Apple Circus Returns with ‘Luminocity’ for New York City Families  
The circus is coming to town. On October 25, the Big Apple Circus returns to NYC with a new show called “Luminocity.”

Starting in 1977, the Big Apple Circus has been a staple of youth and family entertainment in the city. Although the show totes a new theme every year, kids can still look forward to the same high-flying excitement. When I think back on my childhood, I can still remember the energy I felt from sitting in the arena for the first time with wide-eyed enthusiasm.

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Get in the Spirit: Halloween Haunted Houses in New York City for Kids  
There is something terrifyingly terrific about being spooked on Halloween. Kids who normally hide from monsters under the bed are suddenly hoping to be chased by zombies, startled by ghosts, or spotted by creatures who creep in the night. Costumes, pumpkins, and trick-or-treating may be fun, but Halloween is just not complete without a trip to a haunted house. Here’s a list of thrilling haunted houses around New York City where your little witches and goblins will be just the right amount of spooked this Halloween.
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Tackling Big Parenting Decisions: Choosing a Pediatrician  
Choosing a pediatrician – especially in a city as big as ours – can be a decision that is fraught with anxiety. Experts recommend you select one before your little one makes his or her debut in the world, so while you’re washing onesies and researching baby monitors, many parents find themselves poring over reviews, querying friends, and trying to imagine the kind of doctor they will want to care for a child they have yet to meet.
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First Visits: The American Museum of Natural History  
The American Museum of Natural History is – hands down – the best museum for kids in New York City, and one of the two or three best natural history museums in the country. But, its immense and diverse collections, along with the stream of families and tourists crowding its halls, can be daunting. Here is a plan for a two-to-three hour visit, part of a series of short museum guides for your child and you.
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Weekend Family Events - October 19 and October 20  
I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts!  Spooky times are nearly upon us and there are plenty of events that are sure to treat not trick your families this weekend.  Baby Loves Disco, the family dance party, is having their Halloween Ball, The Conference house in Staten Island is hosting their Halloween Extravaganza and El Museo del Bario pays homage to Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s beloved 3,000 year-old tradition that remembers friends and family members who have passed away. So if your streams don't cross and you don't think about marshmallows you should be just fine! Here are this weekend's picks.
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Comedy Classes for Kids  
Performance art classes are important tools used by parents and educators in crafting well-rounded children. These classes teach them to open their minds to the experiences of others and to expand the scope of their imagination, whether it be through dance, dramatic theater, or music. One very underrated art form is comedy. Comedy is the one art form that we all seem to (unknowingly) agree on. There are classes to train children to be better comedians either through improv or stand-up, but these classes aren't just for kids who wish to pursue a career in entertainment. These classes also help to build confidence through being better public speakers and so are beneficial for all children.  Here are five Manhattan based comedy training programs that are perfect for kids.

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Exploring Prospect Park in Brooklyn  
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: some people think that Prospect Park is superior to Central Park. Designed by the same team of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, the parks share similarities, but some landscape architects consider Central Park to be the duo’s practice park and Prospect Park their true vision realized. But you don’t actually have to choose sides in the debate. Just enjoy the fact that there is yet another amazing green space in New York City for you and your kids to enjoy.
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Celebrations: Planning your Child’s First Birthday Party on the Upper West Side  
Planning your child’s first birthday should be simple. After all, he or she probably won’t remember it and at this young age, a party is much more for the adult guests than the little tots. However, a first birthday is a huge milestone – especially if it’s your first child’s first birthday – and it’s a day that deserves to be celebrated. Plus, parents owe it to themselves to take a moment to say “wow – we made it through the first year!” Hopefully the sleepless nights are behind you and you’re feeling a bit more confident about all that parenting entails so we say go for it!
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Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Brooklyn  
There are many reasons to eat out with children.  Perhaps you believe that cooking every night is bad for the soul, or boring, or just too tiring.  And don’t underestimate the importance of giving your children an early start when it comes to learning good table manners.  Fortunately, if you live in Brooklyn with children, you’ll find the borough is home to many kid-friendly eating establishments. Whether they offer crayons, warm smiles, yummy kid-approved menus, or just a festive, colorful atmosphere that will distract the kids long enough for you to enjoy your first relaxing meal out in months, these restaurants deserve some special consideration.

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Picture Time in Staten Island: Photographer Roundup  
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then most parents I know could fill a whole library with photos of their children. These days we are able to easily take quick snapshots with just the touch of a cell phone button—a concept that still seems foreign to many of our old-fashioned parents and grandparents. But while cell phone cameras are convenient and will suffice for spontaneously capturing cute, sweet, or funny moments, the pictures that we’ll most likely hand out to family members, and proudly display on the profiles of our favorite social media sites are often those we’ve left to the professionals.
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Galli Theater Presents Little Red Riding Hood  
Tucked away on West 36th Street inside the National Comedy Theater, the Galli Theater lets kids be kids. I arrived on Sunday afternoon just before curtain time for their new production of Little Red Riding Hood. Much to my surprise, and delight, kids weren’t being told to behave themselves and mind their manners as they are in so many other places. They were encouraged to participate, to call out answers, and to interact with the characters on stage as much as they’d like. From warning Little Red Riding Hood about the Wolf to dancing along with the characters when called up on stage, this simple show made me laugh and clap with gusto.
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Weekend Family Events - Columbus Day Weekend  
This weekend features plenty of events to keep the whole family busy and helps us forget or enjoy (whichever way you choose to look at it!) all about the extra day of entertaining that has to be done. There are Harvest Festivals, Pumpkin Festivals and Halloween events. As well as the annual Little Red Lighthouse Festival helping us cherish and take pride in the New York shoreline. And of course there's the Columbus Day Parade reminding us all about coming to America and forging new traditions.  So, go forth and enjoy making some new traditions with your family on this long holiday weekend. Here are this weekend's picks.
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Getting to Randall’s Island on Two Wheels  
Randall’s Island is more than the connection point between Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens for the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (better known to New Yorkers as the Triborough Bridge). The island has been developed into a large public park with dozens of soccer and softball fields, a golf center and tennis academy, and the site of Icahn Stadium. At one point in the distant past, there were two sister islands, Randall’s and Wards, but they were combined by landfill long ago – we’ll call this “Randall’s Island” throughout, but you’ll see names with both islands during your ride.
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Preschool in New York City: Getting Help with Getting In  
There are many things about life in New York City that are radically different when compared to other parts of the country. Whether it’s Fresh Direct delivering groceries to your door with just 12 hours’ notice or the ability to use your oven as storage due to inventions like Seamless, no doubt your friends around the country have both marveled at and frowned upon all that it means to live in this great city with a family.
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Classic Toyland Adventures at FAO Schwarz  
Tucked away behind Apple’s 5th Avenue Cube Store sits the last great bastion of timeless childhood fun. No, I’m not speaking about Toys ‘R Us, the retail amusement park and playground in Times Square, but rather FAO Schwarz.
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The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia New York Comic Con Tour  
New York Comic Con is almost here. It’s a pre-Halloween festival for some, where you and your family can cosplay (costume play) in your favorite genre outfits. It’s also a time to meet the creators and talents behind some of your favorite TV shows, movies and books.
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Five Dino-mite Places Your Little Dinosaur Fan Will Love  
If you have a child who is really into dinosaurs, then you know how quickly it can go from just a phase to a complete and total dinosaur obsession. By the time my own little guy turned three, he had at least ten T-Rex shirts, about 50 dinosaur action figures, two remote-controlled dinosaur robots (that he kept in bed with him at night), a whole shelf full of dinosaur-themed books, dinosaur bed sheets and wall posters, and you can probably guess what he was for Halloween that year.
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Maternity Stores in Brooklyn  
Brooklyn’s streets are brimming with young families and newborns in slings. Given the borough’s abundance of trendsetters, it comes as no surprise that some of the most fashion-forward maternity boutiques can be found here. Sprinkle in a good number of affordable shops that sell tunics, basic black dresses, and all the essentials you’ll need to ease your way from the first trimester to birth, and you’ve just described Brooklyn’s wonderful selection of maternity shops. Here are a few of the best:
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Where to Donate Children’s Clothes in Staten Island  
When my kids were babies, they grew out of clothes so fast that there were some things they never even got the chance to wear. It blows my mind thinking of all the money I’ve spent on children’s clothes that were barely worn for a season or two. Between the stuff I purchased on my own and gifts received for birthdays, holidays, and baby showers, my attic is bursting at the seams with box after box of clothes my kids can no longer wear. There are less fortunate people out there who need these clothes more than my attic floor does. It’s time to do a little donating.
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Join the Pokemon Celebration at Nintendo World  
It seems like only yesterday when I first heard my nephew cry out, “Pikachu, I choose you!” I had no idea what he was talking about, nor could I figure out exactly what language he was speaking. I could only ask, “Pikachu? What’s a Pikachu?”
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Weekend Family Events - October 5 and October 6  
Halloween is right around the corner. There are some fun family events to celebrate the holiday such as the opening weekend of Boo at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo, and The New York Botanical Garden's Haunted Pumpkin Garden.  Get the kids prepped for Halloween with the ultimate dress up parade, the Ragamuffin Parade in Brooklyn.  At least the costume cost is absorbed by two wears instead of one! There are also plenty of Fall festivals including the Read NYC Community festival and the hot and spicy Chile Pepper Festival!  Enjoy the fall fun, here are this weekend's picks.

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Planning for Fall UWS Programs for Young 2's  
There are many things about living in New York City that make life easier for parents, from Fresh Direct delivering groceries to your door to nearly everything you or your child could want within walking distance.

However, many parents find themselves envying their suburban counterparts when it comes time to enroll their children in preschool, an event that, in many New Yorkers' minds is synonymous with stress, anxiety, and confusion.

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A Visit to the Central Park Zoo  
As we move into autumn, the cooler weather and smaller crowds make it an ideal time to visit the zoo. The Central Park Zoo is a lot smaller than the Bronx Zoo, but that can actually be considered a benefit. The manageable size makes it easy to see all the exhibits, and it’s well-suited to toddlers and younger kids who tire easily and have a shorter attention span. We went on a Sunday, with an infant and a toddler, and were able to see almost all the exhibits in 3 hours. Children under three get in for free, so we only had to pay for the adults. The location is also more convenient for most families, situated near the southeast corner of Central Park on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street.
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'Hansel and Gretel's Halloween Adventure' - A Puppet Show with a Twist in Central Park  
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s hard to not think of the holiday season and all the seasonal TV programming that comes with it. For my family, watching The Sound of Music has always been a staple event. We watch this movie during happy times and sad times. Something about the singing Von Trapp family and their puppet show always brought a smile to our faces. Come on, you can’t tell me you don’t love it when they sing “The Lonely Goatherd”?!
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The Treat House of the Upper West Side  
With all the publicity surrounding the opening of the Treat House on the Upper West Side, home to the latest gourmet snack trend – flavored crispy rice treats – I had to go conduct a taste test for myself…and my child too, of course! I absolutely loved the backstory of how the Treat House was created – two parents in search of a way to help their children raise money for charity at their school by holding a bake sale. We’ve all been there, but I’m more than certain the majority of us resorted to chocolate chip cookies, and probably the ready-to-bake version. And now thanks to two entrepreneurial-foodie parents, and a pastry chef, we have the Treat House, and it really is a treat!
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'Dark Universe' Explores the Secrets of the Final Frontier at AMNH  
Space is the final frontier. At least, that’s what I learned from Captain James. T. Kirk on Star Trek and Jean-Luc Picard in The Next Generation. Thanks to movies like Star Trek into Darkness, kids are once again looking to space with wide eyes of awe and wonder.

But children can’t really learn the true science of space through a fictional movie written by people who aren’t scientists. Thankfully, the American Museum of Natural History is giving us a new exhibit this Fall that does just that. On November 2, the “Dark Universe” exhibit will open to the public at the Hayden Planetarium dome. Kids will learn first hand the true nature of the universe and its ever-expanding story.

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BK is Skate Central: Brooklyn Bridge Park Next up for Skating Rink  
If you frequent Prospect Park as much as I do, then you’ve probably been waiting for what seems like a decade or so for the park’s new skating rinks to open up. Well, hold your breath just a little longer. In December, Prospect Park’s two new skating rinks will finally open up to the public. So, no more seeing those boarded up areas with the “Brought to you by Chase” posters and no rinks to show for it.
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Enjoy the Holiday Season with The Nutcracker Ballet - Tickets Available Now  
October is here. And you know what that means, right?!

It’s time for Halloween, costumes and pumpkins. Next, we’re gobbling up Thanksgiving feasts, always followed by a little Black Friday madness. Then, before you know it, holiday-shopping bonanza is in full steam and you’re decorating your home with all the trimmings. The kids are smiling. Shortly after, you wave goodbye to 2013 and ring in the New Year with the family. Phew.

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Teen Beat: ‘Drawn to New York’ at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art  
If you’ve ever seen the Spy vs. Spy comic strip, then you know the art of Peter Kuper. This illustrator has been featured in Time, The New York Times and MAD.

Artwork from Kuper’s new book “Drawn to New York” is currently being featured at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, located at the Society of Illustrators. His artwork is a wondrous kaleidoscope of storytelling images about New York City. However, some of his cartoons and illustrations do skew to the older crowd.

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Atlantic Antic Delivers a Festive Family Adventure in Brooklyn  
This weekend’s Atlantic Antic was a festive time in Brooklyn, for parents and kids to enjoy a beautiful, sunny Fall weekend. The festivities started on 4th Avenue, just across from the Barclays Center, and extended all the way to Hicks Street.

We started our festival adventure at 4th Avenue, where kids could gather to watch African dance and drumming outside or take a free throw at the Brooklyn Nets bus. The bus was also outfitted with video games so kids could go inside to play NBA 2K13.

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