Astoria

NYC Kids' Eyeglasses: Where to Find Children's Eyewear in New York City

[UPDATED: December 1, 2012]

Shopping for kids' eyeglasses isn't like shopping for clothes or shoes. With prescription glasses, the fit and the style have to be perfect—after all, your child will be wearing them every day. So while there are many excellent eyewear stores in New York City, it's best to go to one that has experience fitting glasses for kids, especially since your child may not realize if a prescription is slightly off or if the frames are pinching the nose. It's also important to find a shop with an onsite optometrist and a wide selection of children's eyeglasses so your kid can find a pair that makes him feel comfortable, confident and even cool.

We contacted a number of well regarded local pediatric ophthalmology offices and asked where they send their clients for kids' glasses in NYC.

NYC Museum Design Studios: Six Hands-on Spots Where Kids Can Get Creative

Lately we've noticed a really cool culture trend: A number of New York City museums have opened up hands-on design studios where kids can play, tinker and create using a wide range of materials and their imaginations. (Sure beats just looking at art.) The Museum of Modern Art debuted its Material Lab back in 2011, and since then the New York Hall of Science, Cooper-Hewitt, the Children's Museum of Manhattan and the Museum of the Moving Image have followed suit. And of course the granddaddy of them all—the Children's Museum of the Arts, which is like one massive design studio—moved into its new state-of-the-art space last fall.

While families can drop in to CMA anytime for all kinds of creative fun, some of these other design studios are only open for specific events. We've got the scoop on when you can visit these six spots and what kinds of hands-on fun you'll find.

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.

Best of New York City for Kids 2011: Our Favorite New NYC Spots

Happy New Year! New Year's is always a special time for Mommy Poppins because I started the site as a New Year's resolution five years ago (happy fifth birthday, MP!), and I wrote our popular list of 100 Things to Do in NYC with Kids the following New Year's. (Apparently I'm highly motivated by New Year's, who knew?). Unfortunately, I don't have anything that exciting up my sleeve today, but couldn't let January 1 go by without acknowledging some of the amazing new destinations we wrote about in 2011.

As we all know, NYC is constantly evolving with new attractions opening (and closing) all the time. While the pace of new kid biz openings seems to have slowed from its heyday a few years ago, there are still incredible places popping up in New York City. If you follow the site religiously, you will know about all of these, but for those of you who may have missed one or two of the approximately 500 posts we wrote this year, here's a rundown of our favorite new NYC attractions for families that opened in 2011.

Free Holiday Fun: Celebrate the New Season with Make Music Winter

At this time of year, it's very easy to get caught up in spending a lot of money on gifts for family and friends, or high-priced holiday events. But really, you don't have to part with a penny to enjoy the holidays in NYC. We've been telling you about all kinds of free fun like going to see Christmas trees and giant menorahs, or taking a family stroll past all of the department store windows. Now we have a brand-new no-cost celebration to add to our must-experience list: Make Music Winter.

Every year, Make Music sponsors more than 1,000 complimentary outdoor concerts on the first day of summer throughout NYC. For the first time, the organization will sponsor 12 free music parades to mark the start of winter on Wednesday, December 21. Families can watch or sometimes even join these processions as they travel throughout a dozen NYC neighborhoods. It sounds like a wonderful variation on traditional Christmas caroling that combines three of our favorite things: creativity, community and no-cost entertainment.

Muppet Mania: 8 Ways to Get Your Muppet On in NYC

Even if you lead a media-challenged life (and if you did, you wouldn't be on this website), you probably know that the new Muppets movie is coming out next week. I can't remember the last time I was so psyched about seeing a film—and not just because I happen to like dressing up as Miss Piggy (yes, that's me in the pic). The Muppets is one of the few family flicks coming out this holiday season that I'm as excited to see as my daughter. (Alvin and the Chipmunks 3... not so much.)

Ever since they came to international fame on Sesame Street, New York City has been the unofficial home of the Muppets. Not only does the iconic PBS series film here in Queens at Astoria Kaufman Studios, its urban set was clearly inspired by the Big Apple, so it's not surprising that we love celebrating the Muppets in this town.

Here are eight fun ways families can get their Muppet on in NYC, besides going to the new movie.

Great Prenatal Yoga Studios in New York City

Pregnancy is a strange and beautiful time. You get to grow an entire new human PLUS experience such joys as nausea, back pain, varicose veins, and more. Luckily, prenatal yoga can help with the various discomforts of pregnancy. It’s also a lovely way to commune with your growing child (and belly), prepare yourself for labor, and meet other expecting mamas. Here are six great prenatal yoga studios around the city.

Summer Solstice Celebrations and Make Music New York City 2010

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Also called Midsummer, (as in Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night's Eve), the summer solstice has been celebrated around the world since neolithic times with traditions that are now a mix of Pagan and Christian rituals.

When I was a kid there used to be a Summer Solstice Celebration in Riverside Park that we attended every year which involved staying up all night long making music. It was one of the quirky, artsy things that I was lucky to experience growing up in NYC.

Today there are slightly less out there ways to celebrate the Solstice that still capture the sense of freedom, revelry, and hapenstance of those magical celebrations and truly are only in NYC events and are the types of cool events that your children will remember for the rest of their lives.

NYC Easter Parades 2010: Fancy Easter Bonnets and Greek Orthodox Celebrations

What the Village Halloween Parade is to Downtown, the Easter Fancy Hat parade is to Uptown; a chance to get dressed up and take to the streets in your quirkiest, home-made Easter bonnet. Not so much a parade, people mill about looking for the best bonnets, occasionally breaking into a waltz, swing dance or even song. It's as close as you're going to get to stepping into a classic movie.

Find out about this and other Easter Parades:

30 Favorite Places to Have Fun Indoors in New York City

[UPDATED: JANUARY 7, 2013]

We recently asked readers to recommend some of their favorite places for families in New York City. This week we'll be posting some round-ups that include your favorite places and ours. We've already posted 20 favorite family-friendly restaurants and now we're sharing 30 fun spots for indoor play when the weather is too cold, hot or rainy. Make this your to-do list for the winter and you're guaranteed to keep busy and entertained, no matter how brutal the weather gets.

Got a favorite place that didn't make the list? Please add it to the comments below—we'd love to hear additional suggestions!

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