East Village

Ice Cream Shops Near Great Playgrounds in Brooklyn and Manhattan

We're well into playground season now, and New York City parents are steeling themselves to endure hearing the Mister Softee theme playing on a loop until September. While there's nothing wrong with grabbing a cone from your friendly neighborhood ice cream truck, I admit that I prefer play spots that have really fantastic ice cream vendors nearby. Cold and sweet, a few scoops of mint chocolate chip or strawberry (my flavors of choice) make sticking out the sticky New York City weather that much more manageable. And my kids don't mind eating it either.

Here are some of my favorite spots to grab a scoop, plus fun places to play before or after.

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Stay Cool With Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are often stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. They came through with a number of great suggestions.

Please keep in mind that the name of the game here is comfort on a hot summer day; though we have visited plenty of destination playgrounds, with a few exceptions, these shady suggestions tend to be neighborhood standbys and small playgrounds that have plenty of shade, but perhaps not too many bells and whistles.

Mommy and Me Swim Classes in New York City for Babies and Tots

Mommy and me swim classes (or daddy and me) are a wonderful way to spend time with your baby or toddler. Ideally, these lessons should be enjoyable, stress-free, educational, and a good source of exercise for kids and parents.

During the summer, swim lessons offer overheated families the chance to cool off while young kids become comfortable in the water, a skill they'll certainly use a lot in the coming years, what with all the great swimming pools and beaches in NYC. Parent-child swim classes are also offered around the city throughout the fall, winter, and spring, both on weekends and after school.

Most classes for wee ones and their caretakers take place in indoor pools. Except for the free swim lessons offered via lottery by the New York City Parks Department, mommy and me classes invariably cost something. We've rounded up the top parent-child swim programs across the city (and for more options, see our roundups of swimming classes for all ages in Brooklyn and Queens).

Summer Streets Returns This August: Explore Car-Free NYC with Kids

Summer Streets, easily one of our favorite NYC seasonal festivals, returns for its 11th season of car-free Saturdays on August 4.

The annual Summer Streets event gives New Yorkers three consecutive August Saturdays of car-free summer fun, with a seven-mile stretch of city streets from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge closed to cars and open exclusively to pedestrians and bicycles. Sadly, one major change in 2018 is the absence of the giant slide—a big hit of the past few years. But while the slide may not be returning, there is still plenty of fun in store, all aligned with this year's Summer Streets theme, "Finding Joy in Unexpected Moments."

Most of the interactive stations are 100% FREE but some require advance registration. Read on for all the details for this ultimate summer street fest.

Basketball Classes and Lessons for NYC Kids

Baseball may be our national pastime, but drop by any of NYC's parks and it seems like basketball is the local favorite.

In New York City, there are many basketball programs that teach kids the basics in friendly, non-competitive environments. They differ from basketball leagues, which assume players are ready for full-on competition. With these intro-to-basketball classes, kids learn the rules and fundamentals, and work up to one-on-one or small-team play.

Here are 15 basketball programs for kids in NYC, along with info on where to find one-off FREE clinics. You can find more posts about kids' sports classes in our Classes Guide and class directory

Macy's July 4th Fireworks 2018: Where to See Them in NYC

Every year, Macy's annual July 4th fireworks show in New York City is an unforgettable highlight of the summer. On Wednesday, July 4, 2018, fireworks will light up the sky over the East River near Midtown, and this year's show promises to be bigger than ever as it celebrates its 42nd anniversary. In fact, the 2018 show marks the largest display since the Millennial Celebration in 2000.

Spectators should be able to see the fireworks from many neighborhoods in Midtown Manhattan as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens, but if you're hoping to watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks live, it's never too early to start planning your viewing strategy. Tickets for paid viewing options like Fourth of July Fireworks cruises are already on sale and going fast.

Of course, you don't need to spend a penny to see the sparklers, but there are some important things to know before you go. We've got the scoop on how to find the best places to watch, when to go, and what to bring.

And don't forget, there are frequent fireworks shows in NYC during the summer, from Coney Island to Central Park. Read our roundup of where else to see cool displays this summer.

The Best Spring Theater for NYC Kids: 17 Fabulous Shows

The spring is always a great time for family theater, but this season looks particularly exciting. There are page-to-stage adaptations of cool kid lit (The Little Red Fish for toddlers and Seedfolks for tweens); wordless spectacles to captivate all ages (clown show Air Play and underwater spectacle Symphonie Fantastique); and Lincoln Center's Big Umbrella Festival, the first-ever monthlong performance fest for children on the autism spectrum.

While on Broadway it's all Frozen, Harry Potter, and Mean Girls mania, there's no need to shell out big bucks to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience in NYC. Most of the 17 shows we're spotlighting are just $25—or less—per ticket.

40 Things To Do in the East Village with Kids

The East Village is the epitome of the luxury bohemian paradox. High-end condos, trendy eateries, chain stores, and shiny new NYU dorms sit kitty-corner from decrepit tenements, old-world restaurants, punk-rock shops, and community gardens blooming with flowers and sculptures. Although it's certainly not the gritty neighborhood of my youth, you can still find traces of the artsy, old-school East Village if you know where to look.

For the purposes of this post, our boundaries are Broadway to the East River between Houston and 14th Streets. Read on for all the top spots and experiences for kids in this eclectic Manhattan neighborhood, from play spots and excellent eats to funky, only-in-the-East Village destinations.

Top Traditional Summer Camps (with Modern Offerings) for NYC Kids

New York City has always been the best place on Earth to find uh-mazing summer camps, but the options for families looking for that traditional, all around camp experience have only gotten better over the years. Between city camps with tricked-out facilities, and lots of outdoor time, and accessible-by-bus destinations just outside the city, there are plenty of places that deliver those tried-and-true camp activities and then some, combining canoeing, arts and crafts, sports, and swimming with more modern camp curriculums and amenities.

If you'd like to stay within city limits, there are day camps across the five boroughs complete with 75-foot pools and outdoor ball fields, trips to amusement parks and adventure courses, fully-equipped air-conditioned gyms, and fun-filled days at the beach or the park. Meanwhile, if your kiddo is ready to travel, you'll find completely un-plugged media-free nature day camps, lush 27-acre campuses right nearby, lakes with boating and fishing, multiple-day overnight trips to state parks, and of course, that classic sleepaway camp experience.

17 Popular Preschool Summer Camps in NYC

Finding a cool and enriching summer camp that's right for your kid always takes a bit of work. Finding one that's a good fit for your first-time, preschool-age camper can be downright nerve-racking. You want their initial camp experience to be fun, safe, and memorable, but not over-stimulating or overwhelming. With so many high-quality camps for NYC preschoolers, it's hard to figure out which one to choose.

That's why we turned to the experts: our friends at the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey. They've selected a handful of awesome New York City programs that offer preschoolers a well-rounded summer experience filled with games, arts, sports, socializing, and plenty of outdoor time, and we've added more options to it. Best of all, many of these camps grow with your child, taking kids in elementary school and beyond.

Keep in mind, every camp has its own philosophy and program so check out the website, call the director, and, if possible, attend an open house to get all the information you need. Check out our Summer Camp Guide Directory for more ideas, or these Brooklyn and Queens preschooler camps for more outer borough options.

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