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Blog Archives - August 2013

Fun Family Events Labor Day Weekend 2013  
This weekend marks the weekend of "lasts."  Last weekend to go kayaking, last weekend for the BargeMusic concert series and, of course, the unofficial last weekend of summer.  If you're around for a "staycation" this weekend perhaps hit up that island vacation after all. Governors Island has some unique events happening such as the Unicycle Festival and Fete Paradiso.  Staten Island does too, with the Historic Richmond Town's County Fair. Enjoy your island adventures and the final days of summer. Here are this weekend's picks.
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Klub 4 Kidz: An Indoor Haven for Kids in Williamsburg  
When you live in New York you accept the many extremes that come hand in hand with living in the city: heat advisories in the summer, blizzards in the winter, wind and rain that come and go unpredictably in autumn or springtime. But when you have children and live in New York, you realize the weather is a poor excuse in their minds for why they can’t go out and do something fun. And unless your idea of a cozy time involves you trying to get the family to snuggle up and read books while they whine and protest and attempt to jump off the couch, you’re going to need an alternate bad weather plan.  That’s where Klub 4 Kidz comes in.
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Favorite Playgrounds for Young Kids in Staten Island  
Like the children they are intended for, playgrounds come in all shapes and sizes. Yet not every playground is perfect for every child. For example, the one in my neighborhood has tall, complex play structures, big, twisty slides and tons of wide open running space. It’s a great park for any six to twelve year old. But try taking a very young child to that kind of playground and you will surely find yourself reluctantly (and repeatedly) climbing to the top of the big, twisty slide right behind your child in order to prevent a trip to the emergency room.

It’s taken a bit of trial and error over the years, but I finally know where to take my kids (ages 1 and 5) for a good time at the park. These are some of our favorite spots in Staten Island.

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Great Children's Books About Starting School  
September is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start preparing for a new school year. Whether you have a child entering school for the first time or a returning student wondering what her new teacher will be like, a good story is the perfect way to ease back-to-school anxiety. Here are some selections that your child is sure to enjoy.
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Weekend Family Events August 24 and August 25  
This weekend is filled with festivals and battles.  Perhaps we should combine them and get a battle of the festivals?  Although hopefully the only fighting that will be happening this weekend is the family duking it out to see which events to attend. There are events celebrating the Battle of Brooklyn in the Revolutionary War, The Arthur Ashe Kids Day Festival, or one of the many street festivals happening this weekend as well.  You can also just eat and dance the day away at the BBQ Blues festival. No fighting can be heard with a mouthful of food anyway!  Here are this weekend's picks.

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8 Spots to Take Your Little Princess for Afternoon Tea  
I was recently at The Plaza having afternoon tea with a friend and was delighted to be sitting across from the cutest thing ever: a mommy-and-me date, consisting of a dolled up Manhattan mom and her equally polished little princess. Watching the interactions of the ceremonious tea pouring, from the macaroon tasting to the laughter that passed between the two, I couldn’t help but think I was witnessing a memorable moment in the making, that would surely be talked about for years to come.

The traditional afternoon tea is more than just a way to fill yourself between meals.  It’s a beautiful way to stop the day’s activities, put on something pretty, and enjoy conversation with loved ones over finger sandwiches and cupcakes. As Henry James said, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” Here are some Manhattan spots to take your little princess (or prince!) to turn an afternoon tea into a cherished memory:

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West Side Central Park Playgrounds Roundup  
Central Park is New York City's backyard and one of the top attractions for tourists and locals alike. Many New Yorkers take for granted that we have the greatest urban playground spaces in the country for just about any activity such as: jogging, biking, canoeing, ice skating, picnicking, or just hanging out. Chances are, before you got married and had kids, you probably used Central Park as your own personal playground at one point or another, and if there are so many things for adults to do it stands to reason there must be even more opportunities for children, especially when it comes to playgrounds. Within Central Park’s 778 acres lie 21 playgrounds for kids to roam and get dirty. Here are some of my favorites located on the West Side:
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Back to School Clothing Bargains in Staten Island  
With summer beginning to wind down, parents everywhere are reluctantly warming up their credit cards for back-to-school shopping. I can’t count how many times last year my son came home from his busy day at pre-k sporting fresh grass stains on the back of his pants and grape juice down the front of his shirt. One day he even had finger paint all over a brand new winter jacket (outdoor arts and crafts in the middle of December??). Like a lot of people on a budget, I can’t afford to waste money on expensive children’s clothes that are going to get ruined eventually anyway. So here’s a roundup of places in Staten Island for your children’s back-to-school wardrobes that won’t leave you too broke to afford those lengthy school supply lists come September.
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The New York Public Library's Exhibit: "The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter"  
The New York Public Library’s “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter” offers an in-depth look at the history of children’s books. With its combination of interactive exhibits, stunning artwork, and informative displays, “The ABC of It” provides an engaging and educational experience for the whole family.
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Weekend Family Events August 17 and August 18  
It may be starting to feel like summer is nearing the end, but we think the summer party is still in full swing!  Show summer what you're made of and get out there and play in the sand at the Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest. Smell the roses at the Festival de las Flores. Run, jump and play in the Summer Streets in Manhattan or jump, jive and wail like you're from the 1920's at Governor's Island.  It doesn't matter if the glass is half empty or full, it just matters that you have a cool drink in your hand to refresh yourself from all of the fun activities taking place this weekend!  Here are this weekend's picks.

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6 Unique Manhattan Candy Stores to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth  
No matter the age, from toddler to tween to their parents and grandparents, I swear everyone gets a twinkle in their eye when the words “candy shop” are uttered. Manhattan is home to some very special stops along the candy shop circuit beyond just Dylan’s and M & M’s World, ranging from stores featuring all the vintage classics to ones who have treats you probably never knew existed (Shredded Squid Gummies, I’m talking to you!) No matter the mission, a trip to any of these stores is sure to result in a delicious adventure:
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A Visit to the New York Aquarium  
Since Superstorm Sandy devastated Coney Island last autumn, many of the area’s most treasured tourist sites have suffered great losses. At the New York Aquarium, which is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society and has been a strong presence in this community since 1957, five out of seven of its buildings were severely damaged by flooding. Despite these setbacks, the site opened seven months after the natural disaster wreaked havoc, and judging by the crowd that flocked to the aquarium on a random Thursday afternoon in July, you would never suspect it suffered so greatly.
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Riverside Park Playgrounds Roundup  
When you live in New York City it’s hard to imagine raising kids without a yard for them to play in or swing sets for them to fall off. Luckily for those families who make the decision to rear their kids in this asphalt jungle there are a number of places for them to allow children to roam free. One such place is Riverside Park, the narrow waterfront park that runs along the Hudson River and serves as the front yard and personal green space for those New Yorkers lucky enough to live along the “Drive”, and for visitors from all over the city and beyond. Riverside Park runs from West 72nd Street to West 158th Street is home to 14 playgrounds and is a world of fun for adults and kids alike. Each playground is a unique space thoughtfully designed to give your children hours of fun and a lifetime of memories. Some of my favorites include:
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Classic Birthday Parties in Staten Island  
A birthday is a special time for a child, and there is no limit to ways you can make your child’s birthday a memorable one. I recently did a roundup of themed birthday party venues in Staten Island for kids who want to spend their birthday ice skating or paintballing or at the spa or doing whatever else it is that they really love to do. But a party doesn’t need to have a special themed activity to still be enjoyable for all. A party with all of the classic birthday elements—balloons, cake, games, friends and family—is all anyone really needs to make a child’s birthday unforgettable.

I’ve rounded up a bunch of birthday party venues in Staten Island, from private party rooms to indoor amusement parks and everything in between, where the theme for the birthday child is simple: just have fun!

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Weekend Family Events August 10 and August 11  
Hear ye, Hear ye this weekend features a great opportunity to enjoy history at the Civil War Heritage weekend at Govenors Island.  Then jump, jive and wail on the Great Hill in Central Park for some amazing live Jazz performances.  Skate into the 70's, boogie down and get some disco fever in Brooklyn at the Lyceum for a day of skating fun.  Then come all the way back to the 21st century for some video game action as Nintendo World is having a PJ Party filled with fun.  So grab the family, open your history books and jump into this weekend's nostalgic events all over the city.  Here are this weekend's picks.

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Fashion Classes for Kids Roundup  
Some children are born with an innate sense of style. As toddlers, they protest when you dress them in ruffles (which haven’t been in style for, like, years, mom) and when it comes time to get dressed for school, they absolutely insist on being a part of the decision-making process. While all of the above may sound like the stuff of nightmares to a busy parent, here’s the silver lining: New York City and Brooklyn offer a considerable number of fashion and sewing classes for the under-18 set. Channel your child’s creative energy into a design project and unleash his or her inner Valentino or von Furstenberg at one of these great fashion classes:
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A Day at the Bronx Zoo  
I wish I had been able to carve out two days in my family’s schedule this week to visit the Bronx Zoo, instead of just one. With an unbelievable 265 sprawling acres of ground, there is just no possible way to see every animal, exhibit, and attraction during the seven hours between opening and closing at this magnificent zoo in one day. Home to over 4,000 animals and 650 different species, the Bronx Zoo was established over a century ago and continues to enthrall people of all ages with its huge variety of wildlife, animal habitats and opportunities to explore every day.
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UWS and UES Arts & Crafts Studios Roundup  
If you’re like me when your child tells you he wants to pull out the finger-paints and craft sets on a rainy afternoon, you probably cringe a little at the thought of having to clean it up when he loses interest five minutes after he begins. Thankfully there are a number of great arts and crafts studios around the city that don’t care how messy your child gets and lets them create masterpieces to their heart’s desire, and as much as you’re willing to pay! Following are some of my favorites:
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Weekend Family Events August 3 and August 4  

Oh it doesn't matter what you wear, just as long as you are there. So come on every guy, grab a girl, There'll be dancin', they're dancin' in the street. Thanks to Martha & The Vandellas where those classic lyrics come from because this weekend you have your chance to give those iconic lyrics some life.  Its the start of Summer Streets.  The cars are gone and everyone can run jump and play in the streets like we're suburbans! Continuing with the pavement theme, Long Island City has a block party, Astoria has the Park Shore Fest, Staten Island has the St. George Waterfront Festival and the Bronx is celebrating Summer Streets with a festival as well.  So grab your family and hit the streets! Here are this weekends picks.

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Summer Streets 2013  
For kids around the country, August marks the last month of Summer Vacation. It’s a time to get those last days of outdoor enjoyment in before Labor Day hits, signaling the start of the school year. In New York City, Saturdays offer particular fun in August – and not just because of the block parties.

Summer Streets is the city’s annual celebration NYC’s streets. For three consecutive Saturdays, the city opens up seven miles of street for recreation. Parents can take their kids out to play, walk, bike and enjoy city life sans automotive traffic.

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