Bay Ridge

The Coop: Toddler-Friendly Cafe Opens in Bay Ridge

The Coop in Bay Ridge goes beyond high chairs and French fries to deliver a truly kid-friendly cafe that families adore. This cozy cafe has a bar-like vibe and friendly staff, delectable food and drinks, and plenty of space to sit back and relax. What really sets it apart from other cafes, though, is the kid-friendly play area in the back. The Coop welcomes parents to relax and dine while their children play in a safe and fun space—all within arm's reach. Peace for the parents, fun and games for the kids.

NYC Maternity Stores: Where to Find Pregnancy and Nursing Gear

For pregnant mamas, dressing that bump often means loading up on cheap Target and Old Navy gear. After all, you're only going to wear it for nine months, right? But great maternity wear can make you feel like yourself again—or at least the NYC mama you want to be. We've found nearly a dozen New York City retailers who sell maternity clothes, plus great postpartum gear like nursing bras, breast pumps, pre- and postnatal classes and even adorable bespoke onesies for your tiny human that will soon be covered in spit-up but that you should totally splurge on now! 

So hit the many big box maternity retailers for your everyday T-shirts (you'll find several Motherhood locations in the city and a Pea in the Pod boutique in Macy's), but head to a local New York City retailer for something special or to find something that truly fits. Besides, you'll likely be visiting this store again to try on nursing bras and nothing beats a dedicated, knowledgeable staff and a carefully curated selection of excellent clothing and gear. Several even offer perks like lounge areas and nursing pillows for on-the-go breastfeeding.

Check our NYC Baby and Pregnancy Guide for more tips for expecting and new parents like some of Manhattan's more offbeat baby and me classes.

6 Favorite Brooklyn Prenatal Massage Spots

Pregnancy, for all its blissful reward, takes an undeniable physical toll on a woman’s body. Along with regular prenatal care, a top-notch therapeutic massage can work wonders to relieve muscle aches, reduce swelling and lower stress and anxiety for the mama-to-be. Not to mention growing humans is hard work and opportunities to indulge should never be passed up.

With the aches and pains of pregnancy still vivid in our minds, we rounded up six of our favorite Brooklyn prenatal massage spots. Among our picks, Swedish massage, with its focus on gentle muscle relaxation and boosting blood and lymphatic circulation, is often the prenatal massage therapy of choice, with add-on services available. Check out our NYC Baby Guide for more pre- and postnatal tips and services.

9 Yoga Studios in NYC with Parent-Child Classes

Mommy & Me yoga classes are a weekly date for my son and me. We have been going since he was about two years old and now, more than a year later, we are having as much fun as ever.

I have found that yoga is a great way to bond with your child while also getting a workout. When my son first started taking these classes, he loved being able to show off his downward dog or butterfly pose. Since then, he has gained great strength and flexibility, and even knows how take a deep breath as a means to calm himself—a technique we have used to stave off many a temper tantrum.

If you and your tot are looking to get your om on, here are our picks for Mommy & Me yoga programs in NYC.

Party Balloons in NYC: Where to Buy Balloon Arrangements, Bouquets & Accessories

It wasn't until I recently overheard a group of moms passionately discussing party balloon decorations that I realized what a hot topic it is. A really fabulous themed balloon installation can make a young kids' birthday party seem extra special, and at the end you can give them away as fun favors. Even teens and grown-ups aren't immune to the charms of over-the-top balloon art. Bonus: Unlike flowers, balloon centerpieces won't trigger seasonal allergies (though a sudden pop might scare a tot or two).

While pretty much any old party store carries balloons, if you're looking for something unique or customized (and are willing to pay the price... beautiful balloons don't come cheap), you're going to want to go to the experts. We found eight stores and services in NYC that specialize in balloons for all occasions, from kids' birthday parties to sweet sixteens to bar mitzvahs to weddings.

Free Doughnuts Friday, June 6 and Our Favorite NYC Doughnut Shops

Ever since I learned that a doughnut has less fat and fewer calories than a muffin (as long as they stick to one), my kids have had an easier time convincing me to buy them these treats. And since Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme and a few other treat spots will be handing out FREE doughnuts this Friday, June 6 in honor of National Doughnut Day (no, I am not making that up), I'm sure we'll be indulging in a few.

But while the rest of America may run on Dunkin', in NYC we don't have to settle for mass-produced doughnuts. There are many local spots that serve delicious homemade doughnuts in a variety of exotic flavors. While we'll let the foodies argue about which NYC doughnut shops are truly the best, we've highlighted seven of our favorites. Read on for our picks and the scoop on how to snag your FREE doughnuts on Friday, June 6.

Bay Ridge Places to Play: Owl's Head Park, Shore Road Park & Indoor Play Spaces

We finish up our month-long focus on Bay Ridge, Brooklyn with a roundup my family's favorite places to play in the area, both outdoors and inside. The neighborhood's biggest and best known green spaces, Owl's Head Park and Shore Road Park, both boast incredible views of New York Harbor, old-school playgrounds and thrilling sledding hills. But there are a handful of other cute playgrounds worth checking out, plus some cozy indoor spots to play, including locally owned play space Play Days & Parties. Here are our top places for kids to romp around in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Bay Ridge Family-Friendly Restaurants: Soda Fountains and Eats from Around the World

You're always close to great restaurants when you're in Bay Ridge. It's one of the many reasons we love living here. In fact, there are so many diverse culinary choices, my husband and I have been known to spend the first hour of our date nights strolling up and down Third Avenue before finally settling on a spot, always delicious.

But when we have our four kids in tow, indecisiveness is not an option. They don't want to walk and they want to eat now! Here are my family's top 11 kid-friendly restaurants in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

NYC Restaurants Where Kids Can Make Their Own Food

When you have four kids like I do, eating out can be more of a chore than just staying in and cooking. A "kid-friendly" restaurant isn't going to cut it; we need a place where our brood will be truly engaged. That's why I'm always on the lookout for interactive restaurant experiences so eating out feels like a fun activity, not just another meal.

In the past, we've covered New York City restaurants where kids can play and eateries with family entertainment. But there are also a handful of local restaurants that offer make-your-own-food activities. My family has tried a few of them, and they're worth seeking out. Where else can you encourage your kids to play with their food and mean it?

Favorite Birthday Cake and Cupcake Bakeries in New York City

Whether it’s good old-fashioned angel food or trendy Southern red velvet, birthday cake is still the highlight of any party for kids. These days, however, the definition of “birthday cake” is expanding to also include cupcakes (amazing what one little episode of Sex and the City can do). Cupcakes are a good party choice because they can be cheaper, easier to serve, and more customizable than regular party cakes—the perfect answer when half your guests want chocolate and the other half crave vanilla. Whichever way you go, consider the following places. They’ll make any birthday party a sweet celebration.

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