Long Island City

Peek Inside the New Hunters Point Library in Long Island City

The highly-anticipated Hunters Point Library in Long Island City is now open to the public, with a lovely waterfront location, a sunny children's section, a packed calendar of family programming, and that delicious "new library smell." (Just kidding. Sort of...)  

An estimated 15 years in the making, the $41.5 million Queens architectural marvel is now welcoming visitors of all ages. So if you’re looking for an indoor adventure and the allure of your local library has worn off, here's a peek inside NYC's newest literary jewel box.

Long Island City Preschool Guide

Long Island City boasts a surprisingly robust cohort of preschools, checking just about every box a family might need. But figuring out what boxes you want to check and which schools in your neighborhood match those boxes...well, it's not always easy. If you're feeling overwhelmed in your preschool search—or if you just want to make sure you haven't missed any great options—look no further. We've rounded up the nabe's most popular preschool options and categorized them to give you a leg up on the process.

A quick overview of the preschool categories below: Year-round preschools are just what they sound like—they're up and running all year long and often offer longer coverage hours for working parents. A "traditional" preschool follows the NYC public school calendar and runs from September to June, with a curriculum that reflects that school's unique educational mission. Co-op preschools require parents to commit some of their own time to school administration, management, and/or activities. Reggio Emilia and Montessori preschools offer a curriculum focused on child-directed learning. Home-based preschools are run out of a home-like environment, rather than a school, and tend to have small classes and an intimate approach. Religious schools offer a religious component, as you might expect. And some preschools are a combination of these types—a co-op Montessori, for example.

Got it? You've got this. Now all you have to do is set up visiting dates, apply, and cross your fingers...Good luck!

The Best Playgrounds in Queens

Although every pocket and corner of Queens has a neighborhood playground, we’ve taken the time to scout the cream of the crop for NYC kids. Whether you're visiting from another borough or just want to explore a new-to-you-neighborhood, here are 11 of our favorite romping spots in Queens, from Astoria to the Rockaways. These parks offer clean, safe equipment with innovative and fun details that go beyond the jungle gyms of the past, like rope spider webskid-sized Ferris wheels, and super cool sprinklers

Looking to make more of a splash? Check out our roundup of the top water playgrounds in Queens or find more playgrounds across the five boroughs in our NYC Parks & Playgrounds guide.

5 Kid-Friendly Urban Farms Right Here in New York City

Times—and the food industry—have changed from when I was a kid. In the 1980s, everything we ate came from the freezer section, cans, and boxes. Microwaves were hot kitchen appliances. I didn't even know what an unpicked strawberry looked like or what type of plant blueberries grew on. Trees, maybe? Now, knowing where your food comes from, understanding sustainability, and eating local are all hot topics that parents are passionate about. New York City offers plenty of farmers' markets, gardens, and parks to get close to nature. But did you know there are plenty of farms, too?

We've compiled a list of open-to-the-public farms within NYC that all deserve a visit. Each one has a special and interesting hook. Make sure to check seasonal hours/days-of-operation before you travel. 

If you really want that full country vibe, you can always head out to the nearby farms of Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester for pick-your-own apples, tractor rides, and petting zoos.

13 Coolest Places in NYC to Take Photos of Your Kids

Not to brag, but New York City is pretty darn photogenic. The glittering buildings, the amazing public art, the bright blue rivers, the buzzing neighborhood streets...It might just be the coolest family photo studio on Earth. No wonder you can hardly turn a corner in this town without running into a movie shoot.

Whether you're looking for the perfect backdrop for a family photo or just looking to take your Instagram game up a notch, we've rounded up a list of the best spots in the city to take pics of your kids (way beyond the classic "waving in front of the Statue of Liberty"...not that there's anything wrong with that). But of course, it's not just about getting that perfect shot—it's about having a perfect NYC memory, too. Each of these spots is also a great family destination in its own right, with playgrounds, parks, and museums to explore.

Be sure to follow Mommy Poppins on Instagram for more cool places to discover in NYC with your kids, with or without your camera.

NYC Playgrounds With Shade: Play It Cool at These Shady Parks in NYC

Need to find a playground with shade for a hot summer day in NYC? These shady playgrounds in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens offer a break from the sun, but no shortage of fun.

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, there's no reason for us parents to get stuck baking in the heat. A few NYC playgrounds are known to offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—but we asked 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. But if you're looking for a cool place to play this summer, one of these spots should do the trick.

7 NYC Ferry Rides With Kid-Friendly Stops to Explore

Ferry rides are a great way to see NYC from a new point of view—and cruising on the water is so much more exciting for jaded city kids than taking the boring old subway. The NYC ferry system makes it easy and fun to hop on a boat for a day trip to a not-so-distant shore.

While we're big fans of all the family activities you can enjoy on Governors Island, and riding the FREE Staten Island Ferry is on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in this town, there are lots more ferries departing NYC docks all around town. Here are some of our favorite NYC ferry rides to popular places where there are plenty of things to do and see with the kiddos.

Gymnastics Classes for NYC Kids: 17 Spots for Little Olympians

Whether your kids were inspired by the stunning flips, turns, and acrobatics of the Final Five or you just need a safe place for them to get the wiggles out without disturbing your downstairs neighbor, gymnastics provides a great introduction to sports. Often called the "mother of all sports" for its conditioning qualities and focus on strength, balance, and flexibility, gymnastics gives kids an early fitness foundation.

My daughter doesn't care about any of that, of course. She just wants to tumble, jump, and dance, which is how the sport came into our lives. From the traditional artistic disciplines made famous by NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage to the lesser-known rhythmic gymnastics, in which gymnasts use props like ribbons, balls, and hoops while performing acrobatic moves to music, we've got the lowdown on where to find gymnastics classes in NYC. Bear in mind, many of these classes run on a school-year calendar, meaning fall is the peak time to register.

You may also want to check out our NYC Classes Guide or peruse our Directory Listings for more classes.

9 NYC Batting Cages That Hit It Outta the Park

For my family, no season is as sacred as the spring and summer baseball season, with its hours spent watching the game and playing Little League at our local ball fields. My son, who is serious about baseball, is always itching to get some real reps in, but there's only so much that can be tackled within the four walls of a cramped New York City apartment.

Luckily, the city has a slew of batting-cage options. Some even include private instruction and facilities where players can work on their fielding skills. Batter up!

45 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Long Island City, Queens

About 15 years ago, a friend told me Long Island City and Hunter’s Point were the up and coming places to be. At the time, the area seemed too industrial to be the next hot spot, but the subsequent years have proved my friend right. Who would have thought former warehouses would be renovated to become restaurants and boutiques and LIC would be full of young families, eager to enjoy the amazing waterfront parks and amenities? Apparently, not me.

The change is evident. Glass-enclosed condos have remade the shoreline skyline and new amenities seemingly pop up daily. There's so much to see and do in this family-friendly neighborhood. Here's our list of 45 fun things to do in Long Island City with kids. Now, go forth and explore!

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