Queens

Lester's Summer Camp Store

Lester's offers the latest trends and fashion brands in clothing, shoes and accessories from layette to older teen and those in between. Your shopping experience is made easy with a sales staff that delights in helping our customers find just what they're looking for .

Lester's stores are located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Greenvale, Huntington, and Deal, NJ.

Please call for an appointment with a camp counselor at the Lester's nearest you.

Manhattan-1534 Second Aveue/80St. 212 734-9292 Brooklyn - 1102-1120 Avenue U-718 645 4501 Greenvale, LI - 90 Northern Blvd- 516 626-1161 Huntington,LI - 350 Rte. 110 (next to Barnes & Noble) 631 299-2222

 

For more great camp ideas, check out our Summer Camp Guide!

Celebrate The Romance of Childhood

In between the fish sticks and temper tantrums we sometimes forget about the romance of childhood. Their joy and fascination with incredibly simple things (like my daughter's recent discovery of scotch tape) or those moments when they are so incredibly empathatic that your can feel your heart breaking. Take some time out this Valentines Day to celebrate the beautiful small moments of being a child by introducing your kids to some classics:

The Red Balloon

At just 34 minutes and with almost no dialogue, this is the perfect first movie for any kid while also being a pure joy for adults and what could be more romantic than watching a red balloon waft down the streets of Paris in 1956? The screening at the Alliance Francaise will be followed by an hour of activities and games inspired by The Red Balloon, led by Le Club Th?©??tre, Saturday Feb. 9, tickets for Non-Members $10 / Children under 12 $5. Visit the site for more information.

Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity
Though always crowded and somewhat overpriced, there was nothing I loved more as a kid than going to Serendipity and getting their frozen hot chocolate. The enormous cup is filled with deliciousness and the whole place is a kid wonderland. The wait can be ridiculously long so I suggest making reservations. And, while you are in the neighborhood, take a ride on the Roosevelt Island tram which is a cheap thrill for any kid. For the price of a subway in each direction you get a surprisingly intense ride that lasts 4 minutes!

Surf the Beach
This one is for the adventurers but if you dare, a great way to spend a winter day is to bundle up and head to the beach. There is something really magical about being on a huge empty beach in the winter and it's an amazing place to take photographs (try taking real photographs too, you remember, the ones that require film). The shells and sand are still there and will entertain most kids for hours. With the future of Coney Island up in the air, you might want to hop on the D, N, Q or F train to catch some last glimpses of the beautiful, seedy and outrageously photogenic amusement park. And if you get chilly, you can always head over to the Aquarium which is right off the boardwalk. Or, take the A train to the Rockaways where you may even be able to catch some crazy surfers. This video is proof that they are out there in the middle of freezing February.

Barnes and Noble Storytimes

We recently wrote about the Battery Park City as a nice place to spend a day indoors., with lots of different activities amenities. Well, here's a nice addition to this little outing: there's a big, brand new Barnes & Noble bookstore just about a block away at 270 Greenwich Street (the entrance is actually on Warren).

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.

5 Best Indoor Activities for NYC Kids

Though the weather doesn't seem like it will ever approach the lows that will force you & your brood inside. It's going to happen! Whether you have a newborn, toddler or school-aged child you're going to be faced with long hours inside this winter. After you have watched every video, played every game & read every book in the house you're going to need to venture outside or risk what I'd like to call M.G.S.C. Disorder better known as "Mommy's Going Stir Crazy".

Here are some ideas on where to go for indoor activities in New York that will be fun for parents as well as children.

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.

 

Music for Aardvarks Rocks

 

Last week's post about Little Maestros got a bunch of interesting comments which shows how individual choosing classes for your child can be. Everybody has their particular likes and dislikes, another reason to be thankful we live in NYC where there are so many choices that we can find classes that suit our own tastes. My personal favorite for music classes is Music for Aardvarks. I just love David Weinstone's songs which are fun and groovy for kids and adults. The quirky lyrics and song subjects really relate so well to our lives here as city kids and their grown-ups. Classic songs like the "Taxi" song, "City Kid" and "Subway" celebrate the experiences of growing up in an urban environment, but I also love songs like "Lollipop Doc":

"I said okey dokey you know best 'cuz you're the doc but before I go, I'd like to know, hey, where's my lollipop?"

Outdoor Summer Festivals in Every Borough are Fun for the Whole Family

The great thing about New York City's outdoor festivals is that everyone can enjoy them. If it's kids music, at least the grown ups can enjoy being outdoors on a lovely day or evening, relaxing. And, generally kids will put up with an outdoor concert or performance if they can run around, dance, play and picnic while you enjoy a little grown up entertainment for once.

The following free outdoor festivals are not specifically children's festivals, but they, for the most part, each have at least one kids performance and otherwise offer great performances in great outdoor environments around NYC, making a fun day or evening out with the kids either way.

Celebrate Brooklyn is considered by many to be NYC's best summer festival. Located at the Prospect Park bandshell, Celebrate Brooklyn is a great venue with a diverse range of excellent performances. You'll find music, dance, films and more. We already wrote about the child friendly outdoor movies that are part of Celebrate Brooklyn. Another great kid event at Celebrate Brooklyn will be the Dan Zanes concert on July 22; sure to be packed with toddlers, children and adults alike rocking out to the king of kid rock.

Lower Manhattan's River to River Festival has hundreds of events including dozens of children's and family events. As part of the River to River Festival you'll find children's workshops, story times, fairs, singing and dancing and more. Check out the calendar for the full list of children's events.

Everyone is familiar with Central Park's Summer Stage. Many of the Summer Stage events will be enjoyed by children, but for sure kids will love the Summer Stage Global Family Day on July 15th. Led up by Hip Hop Harry, a Kangol cap bearing big yellow bear described as Barney "if he had lived in the South Bronx in the '80s." Hmmm. Well, there will also be a marionette show of Cinderella Samba, a performance by hip kid rockers, The Sippy Cups, a performance outlining the history of break dancing, and finally, some good 'ol Brooklyn barbecue from The Smoke Joint.

The NY Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks Festival travels to all five boroughs plus Long Island and New Jersey, making classical music from the oldest philharmonic in the United States available to all for free. While there are no children performances, classical music under the stars, followed by fireworks is sure to be enjoyed by the entire family. Or it's a least a good way to sneak a little classical music into your children's repertoire.

The last festival we were planning on featuring was the NYC Fringe Festival which has a series of FringeJR events designed for families. Unfortunately, they have not published their calendar yet and haven't yet replied to our inquiries. We'll keep you posted or you can check the Fringe NYC site.

9 More Free Museum Programs in All 5 Boroughs

Wrapping up our week of free museum family programs, we're sending you off with some frequently overlooked museums that offer free classes for kids and toddlers. We're traveling to all five boroughs for lots of free family fun.

The Queens Museum is home to the NYC panorama and World's Fair memorabilia. They have free family drop-in art classes on Sundays and weekend scavenger hunts. Website is not updated, so check or call for summer schedule.

In addition, in July and August The Queens Museum resumes their Passport Fridays, a dance and music festival that features the culture of a different country every week. Brazil, Columbia, India, Mexico, South Africa and Tunisia will all be celebrated with live music and dancing followed by a film. Free children's art workshops are offered between 6:30 and 8PM.

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