5 Only-In-NYC Birthday Party Ideas

You don't have to be a hipster parent to not want to have your child's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Do the kids love it? Yes, they do. Is it not exorbitantly expensive? No, it's not? But, you don't pay a gazzilion dollars a month in NYC rent to live in a dresser drawer so that your children can have their birthday parties in a mall. So, Mommy Poppins' elfin detectives have dug up some unique, educational, creative, decidedly New York ideas for kid birthday parties that won't cost a mint.

PS 3 vs. PS 41: Choosing a School for Your Id

Starting in 2014, these schools will be in separate districts. For the most up-to-date information on school districts, call the school you're interested in directly. Families in Greenwich Village are faced with a true embarrassment of riches when it comes to schools. Forced to choose between two of the best public elementary schools in NYC, parents are often left divided and confused. Hang out at any of the downtown preschools around this time of year and you are apt to hear heated debates among parents who have already chosen one school over the other for their kids and will fiercely defend their choice. Choosing a school is one of the toughest problems parents face in NYC and very emotional. The PS3 vs 41 debate is a perfect platform for exploring the approach that parents take to this issue all over NYC, whether looking for public or private schools.

Family Activity: Create Your Own Holiday

How often do you wish you could just slow down and spend a quiet day together with your family? How about creating your own family holiday? You can do anything you want. It could be around a theme, you can exchange gifts, or just hang out together for a day with no distractions.

Won't Someone Think of the Children!

Which of these scary AG doll clones is the real doll?

Which of these scary AG doll clones is the real doll?

Read the story of six year old Etta (via Consumerist), who was coldly turned away by American Girl Place's hair salon because her doll was a Tarjay "fake" and you can't help but feel a little weepy. But, read the comments written in to her mom's blog post about the incident and you can't help but get a little chuckle.

I am insulted that American Girl did this, That's even less class than Macy's has!!!

What do Hipster Parents Sound Like to Kids?

Simon Rich has written a hysterical version of what grown up conversation sounds like to kids in this week's New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs. It made me think about how much I enjoy The New Yorker now and how much I hated it as a kid.

In tribute to Simon Rich's piece, here's how I imagined my parents when reading The New Yorker as a kid:

DAD: This magazine is so great. It has so many words in it.

MOM: Look at the cover. It makes no sense. That's so clever.

DAD: (laughing) And, this cartoon isn't funny. That's the kind of cartoon I like, black and white cartoons that aren't funny.

MOM: I have an idea. Let's pick a movie based on these reviews to take the kids to. They'll love that.

OK. That got my juices flowing, so let's keep going with this.

Top Tier NYC Public Elementary: PS 6

PS 6 is located in the heart of Manhattan's Upper East Side, on 81st Street and
Madison Ave. Many of the families who live in the neighborhood have made a choice to attend PS 6 over some of the the best private schools in NYC, located in the very neighborhood of this school. That choice is due largely to the reputation of a high standard of academics at the school - PS 6 is considered one of the top schools in NYC. It is a zone school - if you live within the zone you are guaranteed a space for your children - the school has not been able to accept children out of the zone for quite some time due to high attendance from within the zone.

The Ultimate Guide to Baby Shopping

I've always wanted to write the ultimate post about what you really need (and don't need) to buy when you have a baby. I was all excited, thinking about how smart and practical I would be. People would admire my sensibility and straightforward advice. I would cut to the chase, disparaging all the silly, useless baby products people tell you you need to register for, but you don't really. It would be great.

But while I was sitting around fantasizing about my great post, I stumbled across the one they've done at Rookie Moms and I realized that it was perfect. They had done it, created The Ultimate Shopping List: What to Register For and Buy, only with out the sanctimonious attitude I intended.

Of course, I could New York it up a little, but I'm too discouraged right now. Maybe when my wounded pride recovers I'll give it a try.

In the meantime, you can take advantage of the Spring Baby Sale at Amazon
or babyuniverse.com now that you know what to buy. No thanks to me.

Top Tier NYC Public Elementary School: PS 150

PS 150, The Tribeca Learning Center, is a small, choice public elementary school located in Tribeca, just two blocks north of PS 234. A choice school means that you do not have to live in a particular catchment to be able to attend. The school is required to give preference to people who live in the surrounding zones, however, and due to increasing popularity of PS 150 it may become much harder for children outside the Downtown Manhattan area to get in.

PS 150 has a reputation for it's small size, excellent test scores, and community of very involved parents. The PTA raises a very large amount of money from The Taste of Tribeca fundraiser, it's auction, and direct appeal from the parents, among other things. The PTA funds pay for many enrichment programs as well as classroom aides for the lower grades to make up for large class sizes. The school is also unique because it has an in-house cook who prepares all the meals which students eat in their classrooms and one of the rare full-day public pre-k programs in NYC.

Top Tier NYC Public Elementary Schools

Public or private. For many middle class parents in NYC this is a hand-wringing, heart-wrenching question. Every parent wants the best education for their child, but the skyrocketing cost of a private school education in New York, not to mention the highly competitive admissions process, has made private school difficult or impossible for so many middle class families.

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