Midtown East

Big Holiday News! Toys R Us (Briefly) Returns To Times Square

If you're still lamenting the fact that Toys "R" Us left a giant Ferris-wheel-sized hole in Times Square for the past two years, you can get excited again because...it's returning! Well, at least for the holiday season. The big-box toy brand is opening a 35,000-square-foot, three-floor location at 42nd street and Broadway, beginning Saturday, August 26 at 9am, and running through the holiday season. (I guess "just in time for the holidays" means different things to different people.)

The three-story pop-up shop is full of new and classic buys for the little ones on your holiday list, but it's offering more than just a shopping trip.

Indoor Swimming Pools in NYC That Offer Day Passes

There are plenty of FREE swimming pools in NYC for kids during the summer months, but if you're looking for year-round options, or less crowded waters, the options are a bit limited. We've rounded up the best bets, from private pools offering day passes, to off-the-beaten-path community spots. All are kid friendly and welcome families for swimming and other water fun.

Read on for where to get swimming in NYC now, and don't forget to check out how to score FREE swim lessons in the city, too.

Summer Streets Brings New Water Park and Epic Slide to NYC

Citi Summer Streets, easily one of our favorite NYC seasonal festivals, returns for its 10th anniversary of car-free Saturdays on August 5. This year it's debuting something totally new, and yes, a little whacky near Central Park: an inflatable water park from LG with a dishwasher theme. Expect "massive slides in the shape of cutlery," hanging glide rails that lead to the pool, and a "3rd rack" section.

The annual Summer Streets event gives New Yorkers three consecutive August Saturdays of car-free fun to enjoy a seven-mile stretch of city streets from the Upper East Side to the Brooklyn Bridge. VitaCoco will bring back its epic water slide in lower Manhattan, and the always-popular zip line—rising 30 feet above the urban landscape and spanning a distance of 165 feet—returns as well for 2017.

Most all of the interactive stations like the dishwasher water park (will there be soap bubbles??) are 100% FREE but some require advance registration. Read on for all the details for this ultimate summer street fest.

Times Square with Kids: What To Do Beyond The Usual Tourist Spots

New Yorkers often dismiss Times Square as too crowded, touristy, and overpriced, but if you look a little closer, there is plenty of kid fun to be found around this NYC hub—even for the most jaded urban dwellers.

We're not talking about expensive tourist attractions such as Madame Tussauds, the Hard Rock Cafe, and Ripley's Believe It Or Not. Instead, we've got the scoop on 15 cool, reasonably inexpensive things to do with kids near Times Square whether you're killing time before a Broadway show, entertaining out-of-towners, or just find yourself in this NYC neighborhood.

Visiting NYC with kids? Check out more top attractions in our Vistors Guide for Families.

NYC Playgrounds with Shade: Shady Park Benches and Equipment

While kids can always cool off in NYC's many sprinklers, we parents are stuck baking in the sun all day during the heat of the city's summer as we supervise outdoor play. It's a problem our readers know too well—each summer we get requests for recommendations of shady spots to play.

Although we know of a couple playgrounds that offer exceptional amounts of shade—Hippo Playground in Riverside Park and Discovery Playground in Fort Washington Park come to mind—we decided to ask our readers if they knew of any super-shady playgrounds in New York City. After clarifying that we were talking about shelter from the sun's rays, not sketchy parks, 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.

A Dozen Baby and Me Music Classes Around NYC

Music classes are often the first "mommy and me" experience parents try, so it's no coincidence such classes are offered all over the city. When you're ready to get out and spend some time jamming with other adults and their wee ones, check out one of these 12 baby music classes in Manhattan and beyond.

We also have roundups of parent and child classes in Queens and music classes in Brooklyn. As always, you can find even more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

Learn Spanish: Language Classes for NYC Kids

New York City is full of places where young kids can learn how to habla Español. In fact, Many New York City public schools offer wonderful dual-language Spanish programs, as well as other languages.

But rest assured there are plenty of other options if your child's school doesn't offer a language program. We've rounded up some of our favorite Spanish learning centers for New York City kids. So embrace the diversity of New York City culture, where your kids will certainly get to practice what they learn in the classroom!

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings, and check out our guide to Foreign Language Camps for NYC Kids.

Karate and Tae Kwon Do Classes for NYC Kids

My husband always said he wanted our sons to know they could take a punch and live to tell about it. To that end, martial arts classes were mandatory in our house, not just for self-defense but also to teach them self-control. (After all, enough of the latter can often stop you from needing the former.)

The two most popular martial arts disciplines for kids in New York City seem to be karate and tae kwon do. So we've rounded up some excellent classes in all five boroughs where kids can get kicking.

Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.

Best Family Hotels in New York City with Perks for Kids

As a born and bred New Yorker who is raising children here myself, my out-of-town friends always ask my advice when planning their NYC family vacation. They want to know everything: the best things to do, places to eat, museums to explore and, perhaps most importantly, where to stay.

New York City is, of course, loaded with hotels, many of which are kid-friendly. And while it's nice to have options, there are so many it can feel overwhelming. That's why we've compiled this list of 16 NYC hotels for families based on a combination of personal experience, trusted recommendations from friends and great reputations. Some have pools, others offer gratis strollers, while a number of our choices are located smack next to top kid attractions; some are more budget-friendly and others a splurge.

Our picks aren't all in Midtown Manhattan. We included places to stay with kids in downtown Manhattan, the Upper West Side, and Upper East Side, and even hotels that are in hot neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

Mother's Day Brunch Spots in Manhattan and the Bronx

Mother's Day is fast approaching, which means it's time to start planning that special day for the well-deserving mom or wife in your life. Speaking from experience, all moms really want is a little time off. You could choose breakfast in bed, but why not instead forgo chores altogether and hit one of NYC's many delicious brunch spots?

We've rounded up more than a dozen of scrumptious places throughout Manhattan and the Bronx. Each is by preference, including those looking for a waterfront view or moms who prefer a restaurant with vegetarian options. Pinpoint your special lady's preference, make reservations and get ready to dig in. 

Also check out our Mother's Day brunch suggestions for Brooklyn and Queens. After brunch, head out to one of these 25 great family events happening that Sunday. However you decide to spend the day, Happy Mother's Day from your peers at Mommy Poppins.

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