News: Hurricane Sandy Hits, Houdini Museum Appears in Midtown, a New Bookstore in Park Slope & an Ice Skating Rink in the Bronx

As we write this we're just waking up to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The photos and videos going around are harrowing and humbling. Many of our bloggers, friends and family are without power, or evacuated from their homes. We still have no public transportation, no school and (for most) no work. Today is about assessing the damage and trying, slowly but surely, to resume our normal lives. We hope that your family is safe and that you're able to recover as quickly as possible.

A big part of things going back to normal is returning to our routines. And for us, that's telling you about the great things happening in NYC for kids (yes even now)! Eventually, we'll all be up for getting out and about again. And when that happens, we've got the scoop on some new places to explore, including a mini-museum devoted to famed NYC magician Harry Houdini, an outdoor ice skating rink in the Bronx and a second outpost of one of our favorite Brooklyn bookstores. And while you remain homebound, be sure to check out our list of fun things to do indoors to ward off cabin fever.

Many of New York City's outdoor ice skating rinks are already open for the season (although some may have sustained damage. We're still waiting to hear). We really hope the storm doesn't derail the debut of the Bronx's first outdoor ice skating rink. After a year-long delay, the Van Cortlandt Park Rink is scheduled to open sometime in November. Unfortunately, Brooklyn isn't so lucky. Both of the borough's outdoor rinks that were supposed to open this season—Prospect Park's Wollman Rink and the much-ballyhooed McCarren Park Rink—have been pushed off until fall 2013. If you want to ice skate in Brooklyn, you've got to do it at the two indoor rinks.

We recently found out that the Brooklyn Children's Museum quietly upped its admission price from $7.50 to $9. It's still two bucks cheaper than the Children's Museum of Manhattan and the Children's Museum of the Arts and definitely well worth the fee. However, you can visit BCM for free the third Thursday of every month 4-7pm and the first full weekend of every month 2-5pm.

Dumbo's powerHouse Arena, one of our favorite indie bookstores for kids in NYC, is opening a new location in Park Slope. Originally scheduled to open on November 2, the plans were derailed due to Hurricane Sandy. Stay tuned for updated info! The shop plans to cater to the stroller-filled nabe by selling toys and trinkets for tots on the second floor. Here's hoping the new outpost also hosts great children's author events like the original.

We were sad to hear that popular Upper West Side photo studio PortraitBug has shuttered, but we discovered that the great staff has all moved over to Big Apple Portraits about 20 blocks south. Best of all, just like PortraitBug, Big Apple Portrait doesn't charge a sitting fee.

Talk about a magic trick! The exploits of legendary magician and escape artist Harry Houdini continue to fascinate 86 years after his death, which is why the owner of the Fantasma Magic Shop in Midtown West opened the Houdini Museum of New York last week. Magic-obsessed kids can check out hundreds of artifacts, including trucks and straightjackets, all for FREE.

Calling all young models: Children's boutique Bit'z Kids is looking for tykes ages 1 to 6 for a photo shoot happening at its Upper West Side store next Tuesday, November 7. Consider this opportunity more of a portfolio builder than a big payday: The kids selected get a 10% store coupon and bragging rights. To apply, send a current color photo of your child, available hours and your contact info to