Harlem

Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Black History Month with NYC Kids

February is Black History Month and like all cultural celebrations, it feels as if every institution in New York City is planning something "special." But is making crafts in honor of Black History Month really going to teach your kids about the rich and complicated legacy of African-Americans? We don't think so.

Since the subject is too important to settle for the typical kids' stuff, we've come up with creative and meaningful ways to experience African-American culture and life in New York City. From gospel church services to kid-friendly jazz concerts, thought-provoking museum programs to performances of traditional folktales, here's how your family can commemorate Black History Month in NYC.

Indoor Swimming Pools in New York City for Families

[UPDATED: JANUARY 21, 2013]

The first time my three-year-old son saw a backyard swimming pool, he was completely befuddled. He thought pools belonged indoors or on glass-enclosed rooftops, not out in the elements in a backyard. Thanks to city living, he had already discovered the pleasures of swimming year round in an indoor pool. New Yorkers are lucky to have many family-friendly pools available with affordable open swim options. Read on for our list of the best public and private indoor pools in New York City. No need to pack up your bathing suit until next summer!

KaBOOM! How This Non-Profit Can Help You Build a Community Playground in NYC

KaBOOM! is a nonprofit with an awesome mission: to create places for kids to play. The national organization—which was founded by Darell Hammond in 1996—helps to erect approximately 200 playgrounds a year, primarily in low-income areas.

This past May, I attended an amazing playground build at East Harlem's 103rd Street Community Garden, which was co-sponsored by KaBOOM!, Disney and the New York Restoration Project. Since it's just one component of the 13,000-square-foot site's overhaul, it won't reopen until this fall. When it does, there will also be basketball courts, picnic tables, barbecue pits and a community garden. 

In addition to facilitating the actual construction, KaBOOM! provides tools and grants to help groups finance and build their own playgrounds. We've got the info on how you can help KaBOOM! construct play spots for others or in your own community.

Free and Cheap Places to Rent Bikes in NYC

My preschooler just scored a scooter for her birthday. Now I know that scooters lead to bikes, which means cycling is just around the corner.

I'm really looking forward to riding with my family—but not to storing all of those bikes. Who has the space for three cycles in a NYC apartment, I ask? Not most of us, which means I'm going to rely on rental spots to keep us on wheels.

I did the research, and here are some great places that rent bikes at reasonable prices—sometimes even for free! Happy Bike Month!

13 Concerts for Kids in New York City: Culture Guide Spring 2011

We recently highlighted 11 great stage shows and 6 cool exhibits for families this spring. Now it's time to tell you about all of the wonderful kids' bands that will be performing this season. Big names include Grammy winner Dan Zanes; legendary folk singer Peter Yarrow; Seattle’s answer to The Beatles, Recess Monkey; David Weinstone and the Music for Aardvarks band and an all-day concert at KindieFest.

So put on your dancing shoes and head to one (or more) of these 13 family-friendly concerts.

16 Things to Do to Celebrate Dr. Seuss' 107th Birthday in New York City

There once was a man who created a cat.  Atop the cat's head was a red and white hat.  He made up an elephant, and a fox that could rhyme and a grouchy green guy who will live for all time.  That man is no longer.  That man isn’t here.  The Doctor named Seuss would be 107 this year.  Blow out some candles, eat green eggs and ham.  His birthday is Wednesday.  Do you have a plan?

In other words, celebrate the 107th birthday of the incomparable Dr. Seuss with these fun family events going on in NYC:

Toys of Yesteryear, Batteries Not Included

As adults we often have a great deal of nostalgia and affection for our favorite childhood toys and such strong sentiment has long kept the antique and vintage toy market alive.  Luckily for our kids, our ongoing cultural fascination with old toys has also prompted museum curators, famed collectors, and even toy manufacturers to create public venues right here in NYC, where cool antique and vintage toys can be displayed, admired and celebrated.  Nearly hidden in plain sight, all of them are worthy destinations for you and your kiddos. Keep reading to find out more!

A Night Out at Amateur Night at the Apollo

Before there was American Idol there was Amateur Night at the Apollo, right here in NYC. So instead of watching Simon Cowell in the judge's seat on TV, all you need is $20 and a ride on the A train to become a judge yourself at Harlem's historic talent competition on 125th Street.

Amateur Night at the Apollo is a highly entertaining show that's actually pretty kid-friendly if you want to plan a family night out, or it's also a fun choice for a kid-free parents night out with friends. Every Wednesday night at 7:30 the Apollo theater becomes a showcase for wanna-be stars. Singers, dancers, comedians, poets and more put on their best acts and the audience decides who the winner is by applauding for their favorites and booing the others off the stage.

Gearing up for Bike Month: Family Bicycling Events in New York City

Every May, New Yorkers celebrate Bike Month. This year, it’s more important than ever: With the recession still in full swing, families are looking for cheaper transportation alternatives. But most importantly, bicycling is a fun and healthy way for kids and parents to spend some quality time together. So with that in mind, we present some of our favorite family friendly bike events for May—and beyond.

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