Harlem

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.

5 Magical Halloween Events for NYC Families

I can't believe how many Halloween events there are in this city. There is cool-sounding stuff to do for Halloween with kids in every corner of the city from now until the 31st. Little neighborhood events can be the best ones, so definitely keep an eye out for what's going on in your hood (and let us know).

I've picked out just five events that each take a different spin on celebrating the holiday, aren't too commercialized, and hopefully bring that Halloween magic that will give you and your family great Halloween memories.

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail
Just as the sun is setting, children launch their lit Jack o' Lanterns out into the Harlem Meer and watch as the flotilla of jack o' Lanterns float across the water. Starting at 4PM there will also be mask-making workshop, lawn games, a costume parade, and costume contest. FREE. When: Saturday, October 28th, 4-7PM

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Ghouls and Ghords
At Ghouls and Gourds kids learn about plants as they engage in freakishly fun activities. In addition to the great big costume parade, carnivorous plant feedings with BBG's very own "Morticia Adams," giant ten-foot-tall puppets, a flying flea circus, mysterious music, and other eerie oddities. Music from Maracatu NY and the rockin' tunes of Audra Rox. Sounds cool.
When: Sunday, October 28 from noon to 6.

Scared Silly: Halloween in Prospect Park
A weekend of Halloween family fun in Prospect Park. There'll be the Haunted Carousel, Scary Stories from the past and period Halloween crafts at Lefferts Historic House, Creepy Crawly Critter Fest at the Audubon Center, Boo at the Zoo, and the Halloween Haunted Walk (Saturday only) and carnival. All free except for carousel and Zoo admission. When: October 27 – 28

Halloweekend
Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall will be the site of a weekend full of family fun and events, but the highlight is sure to be the award-winning giant puppets of Ralph Lee. These puppets are just amazing and there's nothing like seeing them up close. It's sure to be some Halloween magic you and your children will remember for years to come. When: October 27-28

Di­a de los Muertos
Not eactly Halloween, but I thought it would be interesting to add a slightly different cultural perspective on this Holiday. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is the Mexican version of our All Saints Day or Halloween. At this Family festival, families are invited to explore the ancient roots and contemporary DГѓВ­a de los Muertos customs through bilingual educator-led altar discussions, artist-led workshops, storytelling, live music and dance performances, and food workshops that teach about ofrendas (offerings) and the traditional foods involved in the celebration. Free, but registration required. When: Saturday, November 3, 12:00 pm - 3:30 pm

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