Long Island City

Favorite Family Restaurants in Queens

As a proud Queens native, I'm always looking for new ways to encourage others (including my own family) to explore my home borough. And since it's famous for being culturally diverse, a do-it-yourself food tour is a great way to get a taste of all the different neighborhoods.

Queens boasts some of the best kid-friendly restaurants in New York City—and I'm not just saying that because I was raised here. You can introduce your children to a wide variety of authentic cuisine at reasonable prices, and the portions are so big you always end up with leftovers to take home. Plus there are off-the-beaten path gems that have incredible kid appeal, like coffee house Waltz-Astoria and its family concerts and old New York soda fountains Eddie's Sweet Shop and Jahn's.

I thought about all of the places I've eaten in Queens over the years and came up with my personal list of the top ten restaurants, bakeries and ice cream parlors that are all worth schlepping the kids to, even if you live in another borough. See if your favorites made the cut and feel free to share your additions in the comments as I know there are many, many more.

All Aboard! Train Museums, Miniature Train Shows and Train Rides for NYC Kids

My father-in-law is a model train lover and my kids have inherited his enthusiasm. My oldest was still in diapers when his Grandpa first took him to the annual Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, and it didn't take him long to learn that in New York City area, you can be a railfan (yes, that's actually a word) year-round. We've rounded up our favorite places to take aspiring engineers in or near NYC.

Best NYC Kids' Concerts for Spring 2012: 13 Live Family Music Shows

Last week we told you about 13 wonderful kids' shows playing in NYC this spring. Today we're sharing the best kids' bands rocking out on city stages this season.

My four-year-old daughter and I love seeing live concerts, and some of our favorite family bands are playing over the next few months, like the Deedle Deedle Dees and Alastair Moock. I'm especially excited to introduce my kid to a few groups she hasn't heard yet, like Bing Bang Boom and the Bari Koral Family Rock Band, at the annual Kindiefest concert. Here are 13 NYC kids' concerts to put in your calendar, including FREE shows from Hot Peas N' Butter, Elizabeth Mitchell and The Rockdoves.

Dig for Gold and Perfect Your Forward Flip at PS1 This Weekend

Take a beautiful, and very deep, brick room and fill it, wall-to-wall, with a thick layer of soft, colorful yarn and thread waste and what do you get? A most unusual, and thoroughly fun, bouncy space where running, jumping, flipping through the air, turning summersaults, and of course, digging for treasure, are simply irresistible--and not just for kids. My five-year-old son wanted to stay all day. So did my husband.

You may be surprised to find that this fun is not in a play space or a children's museum, but at MoMA PS1, the contemporary art museum in Long Island City. Read on to find out more about this and some other exhibits at MoMA PS1 that will make checking it out in the exhibit's last weekend worth the trip.

Best NYC Kids' Concerts for Fall 2011: 14 Rockin' Live Music Shows

While it's true that the season of free outdoor kids' concerts is over, there's plenty of music to look forward to this autumn. That's why we're kicking off our fall culture preview with a roundup of awesome New York City family rock concerts, featuring some of our favorite local kids' bands.

In addition to picking the best bets from well known kids' concert series like 92YTribeca's Bring Your Own Kid, we did the research and found a bunch of cheap and even free live shows. Out of the 14 we're highlighting, three are $10 or under per person and five are absolutely free! 

With big names like Grammy winner Dan Zanes, Princess Katie & Racer Steve and Gustafer Yellowgold playing, we're looking to these shows as much as our kids are. So get ready to move and groove at the best kids' rock concerts in NYC.

East River Ferry: 20 Fun Things to Do With NYC Kids Along the Route

For a long time, New York City seemed to forget that it was made up of islands. But over the past few years, we've been remedying this situation by reclaiming our waterfronts with riverside parks, and creating new opportunities to get out on the water, whether for transportation or pleasure.

The newest addition to NYC's waterfront culture is the East River Ferry, operated by NY Waterway. With stops in Midtown, Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Dumbo, the Financial District and Governors Island (and Atlantic Avenue and Red Hook on summer Fridays), the East River Ferry is a great way to visit lots of fun spots for a full day out with the kids.

With an all-day pass ($12 for anyone over age 5), you can hop on and off the ferry at any of the stops throughout the day, so you can hit different attractions in multiple boroughs. My family and I tried it, and we discovered 20 great things to do with kids along the East River Ferry route.

Summer Reading 2011 for NYC Kids Kicks Off June 9 With Free Celebrations

This is the time of year when parents start worrying about how much their kids will forget over the summer. As the mom of a kindergartner who's starting to read on his own, I want to make sure that he continues to leaf  through—and more importantly, love—books. That's why I'm signing him up for Summer Reading.

On Thursday, June 9, New York City’s three public library systems launch the 2011 edition of this wonderful annual program. Since all public school students have that day off, they can attend one of many free kick-off celebrations and sign up for the program, which tracks kids' consumption of books, music, DVDs and video games.

Read on (or better yet, have your kids do it) for the info on Thursday's fetes, and how your children can get in on this summer-long tradition.

Five Artsy Indoor Places for Tots in New York City

Say what you will about winter, it’s the ideal time for indoor art projects and encouraging creativity. But many art classes and drop-in studios are directed toward older kids, and may offer projects that are too complicated to hold your little one's interest. Here's a round-up of some of the best options for the under five set. So when your stir-crazy toddler has had it with your nubby crayons and crusty water colors, feel thankful that you live in a city where so many fun places offer outlets for the artsy tot. Here are five great options for those antsy days.

Shopping at NYC's Fantastic Ethnic Markets with Your Kids

While regular grocery shopping can be a major chore with children along, checking out ethnic markets with your kids is truly great fun and packs a whollup in entertainment value. It’s always a super sensory experience tantalizing tots and teens alike with new smells (often heavenly), sights, colors and tastes too. From breathtaking beauties on dessert stands to radishes that look like trolls to ookie-gookie innards that belong in Ripley’s refrigerator and give your kiddos a bonus dose of weird anatomy, it’s all there to ogle and enjoy. Plus there is always unusual and frequently funny packaging to spice things up.  And all that tempting new food may expand a puny palate or two.  You can spend as little or as much as you wish and still have a grand ol’ time. Keep reading to find out our top picks for maximum fun at ethnic markets here in NYC!

Cool Off at the Warm Up: Live Music, Wading Pools and Fun for the Whole Family at MOMA's P.S.1

It’s true that art museums don’t instantly come to mind when you think of outdoor water works where kids can splash around and cool off on a steamy summer day, but PS1’s unique “Warm Up” Saturdays do just that.  Their interactive courtyard exhibit entitled Pole Dance (fear not, there’s nothing “Bada Bing” or remotely suggestive about it), offers a wading pool filled with giant pastel colored exercise balls and nets to throw them in, a refreshing sprinkler-like water mister to stand under, a sandbox the size of a swimming pool (with some fun purple climbing structures), cushy hammocks for swinging in, more balls and nets for all-around exercise, and, of course, poles which you’re supposed to shimmy up or swing on to create weird whooshing sounds. Sound like a blast?! Read on to find out more!

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