Ft Greene

New: Blue Marble Ice Cream in Boerum Hill

 

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One of the NYC sites I love to read is NewYorkology. Amy is the one who reminds me to post about things like the Vintage Buses and Trains. Now she's added a sweets columnist to keep her readers abreast of all things sweet and tasty in New York. Um...yum.

Nichelle Stephens, who normally writes for Cupcakes Take the Cake with my friend Rachel, wrote up a new ice cream joint in Boerum Hill called Blue Marble. Blue Marble Ice Cream is organic and made from grass-fed cows from the Hudson Valley. It sounds yummy and the store has wi-fi and a small play area for kids. Who said it was hard to be a locavore!

Snowflake Celebration: Holiday Shopping in Brooklyn (and Queens)

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Blue Ribbon General Store

[THIS POST WAS UPDATED NOV 2008]
By now, we all know the benefits to shopping from small, local retailers rather than big box stores, but the main reason should always be because you find more unique, wonderful things to buy in a more enjoyable shopping experience.

To that end, Dani has brought you some recommendations of great new stores in Brooklyn and Queens to do your Holiday gift shopping this year. And to make sure that buying from Mom and Pop is a great shopping experience Buy in Brooklyn is hosting a Snowflake Celebration the first two Thursdays in December (Thursday, December 4th and 11th) where local Park Slope retailers will offer special discounts, promotions, and in-store refreshments to shoppers. Last year the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music performed concerts, carolers wandered the streets, and snow machines dusted the sidewalks to set the mood. More about that after Dani's recommendations:

Two stores in Brooklyn & one in Queens with great gifts for the holidays will remind you that NY shopping exists outside of Manhattan. While you're there explore a little & enjoys some food & fun.

Go to Brooklyn.... Take the A or C train to the Hoyt/Schermerhorn stop in Brooklyn. Just around the block on the corner of Bond St. & State St. is Blue Ribbon General Store which opened in September. They have tons of great gifts for kids (and adults). Make sure to check out their "grab bag" bins that are filled with all kinds of treats perfect for stuffing those stockings and would be a great resource for kids birthday goody bags as well. Along with clever toys from Eeboo, Crocodile Creek, Toysmith and Melissa and Doug, they carry tons of puzzles, art supplies and books. They also have lots of kids cooking kits that will come in handy on those inside days that we're always talking about.

Grab your bags & head down Atlantic Avenue and make a note to tell Santa about all the fabulous clothing shops that have opened there. You can take a break and grab some delicious falafel on homemade pita bread at Bedouin Tent. They also make fabulous pizzas that are really kid friendly on that same pita. You'll also pass Downtown Atlantic which carries some of the most delicious cupcakes around. Grab a couple to take home!

After you're finished, make your way to Exit 9, 127 Smith Street. This store has a great selection of really original offerings from old fashioned gag gifts to housewares to really stylish fashion accessories. One of my favorites is the old fashioned phone receiver that plugs into your cell allowing you to talk the old fashioned way. This store is perfect for everyone on your list with stuff for older kids, teenagers & adults as well. It's packed with really inventive gift ideas and lots off stuff from a variety of designers & artists. They also have a really cool selection of baby gifts & shower gifts so this place could be a valuable resource year round.

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ToyQube

Queens.... Get in some for some shopping & then grab a bite at one of the great Chinese, Korean, or other southeast Asian restaurants that abound in Flushing. ToyQube & Gallery (Flushing Mall 133-31 39th ave. #F36) is located in Flushing a few blocks from the 7 train. This store carries the best & brightest toys that you'll never see in toys r us. Kid Robot might be a recognizable name to some with older kids, but if you’ve never heard of them they are one of many colorful inventive figurines from Japan, Hong Kong & other faraway places. For those with younger kids they also have Yo Gabba Gabba Dolls.

It’s a store but also a gallery so you can be inspired by the creativeness of these toys that are worlds away from the average toy store counterparts. The store also carries skate accessories, sneakers and lifestyle accessories. Your cool? quotient will definitely grow after visiting this store with the tweens & teens in your life. You might even take home something for yourself.

To get a preview of all the wonderful things you can expect to find for sale at the Snowflake Celebration, check out the Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn Holiday Shopping Guide which shows some of the highlights and diverse finds you'll find while strolling down both Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue in Park Slope.

For a full listing of all the special deals, discounts and offerings of the Snowflake Celebration visit Buy in Brooklyn.

Free Parks Programs Let City Kids Discover the Nature All Around

I think I love being out in nature in the Fall better even than in the summer. The smell of the damp leaves on the ground, the crisp autumn air, it's very relaxing and great being outdoors with the kids at this time of year.

But you don't need to hop in the car to get your walk in the woods. There are woods all around us and the NYC Parks Department has tons of programs to help families enjoy them and teach NYC kids about nature. There are too many in one weekend to even list, but here's the top ones in every borough.

Staten Island: Haunted Hike
Explore the haunted history of Conference House Park, which was once a Native American burial ground. 7PM Friday, Nov 2.

Manhattan:Inwood Park Nature Walk
How would you like a guided nature walk by no less than the chief naturalist of the NYC Parks Department? Spot songbirds and learn about the ecosystems of Manhattan's last natural forest and salt marsh. Sat., Nov. 3. 8-10AM, Inwood Park

Queens: Fall Migration
Help Rangers count raptors as they pass by on their Fall Migration. Raptors are always cool and kids will love that they are helping the Rangers. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 10AM Sat, Nov. 3.

Brooklyn: Backyard Ecology Walk
A kid-friendly introduction to Fort Greene's wildlife will teach NYC kids about the nature that lives right in their own backyards. Sure to open city kids' eyes to the world of nature around them. Sat., Nov. 3, 1PM, Fort Greene Park.

Bronx: Fall Foliage Walk
Enjoy some of the most exquisite fall foliage in the city on a guided walk through an oak, hickory and sweet-gum forest and search for the special 400 year old white oak. Pelham Bay Park, 2 PM. Sunday, Nov. 4.

Want more NYC nature walks?

Check out trails.com. A member fee is required, but it gives you unlimited access to detailed guides for hiking, biking, kayaking and more all over the US. There's tons of guides for NYC and the surrounding areas and even ideas for hikes with kids. You can try it out with their 14 day free trial.

Gorp is free site that has lots of hiking and other outdoor activity ideas around NYC and the country. The information is less detailed than what you'll find on trails.com or in a book, but it's a good starting place.

Best Hikes with Children in the Catskills and Hudson River Valley

is a book that features 51 easy hikes to enjoy with your kids in the area.

 

OpenHouseNewYork Weekend Guide for Kids

If you're planning on staying in the city for the long Columbus Day Weekend, then you've picked a good time to stay home. Besides the Apple Festivals we wrote about yesterday there's another special free festival this weekend with all kinds of unique activities for kids. The openhousenewyork weekend is America's largest architect and design event, opening 350 doors to off-the-beaten-track locations throughout New York City. And OHNY Kids has special programs designed just for children. You'll find programs that teach kids about sustainable living, discover places you've never heard of, go places rarely open to the public, see artist studios in action and participate in fun activities at one of the many historic sites around NYC. We've picked out some of the highlights for you, but you can see the whole Open House New York program guide online.

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