Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island's Music and Play Station: Where Kids Groove

I'll never knock a good play space. Give my kids a ball pit, some climbing structures, foam blocks, and a clean area (maybe that's just for me)...and we're there. There are definitely neighborhoods overflowing with them—you could easily do a Brooklyn play space crawl, spending most of your time in Park Slope—so that's why I was excited to hear about a new one popping up on Roosevelt Island, the arts-and-movement-centered The Music & Play Station. The owners, Owen and Bridget Johnston, were gracious enough to give me the lowdown on the new space and what parents and kids can expect when they visit. Read on for more info.

Free NYC Halloween Parades for Kids

Everyone loves a parade, which means we're all absolutely smitten with Halloween parades. While families with older kids may dare to take in the iconic Village Halloween Parade on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, it can be pretty scary—it's always insanely crowded, loud, and many of the costumes are risque, gory, or in poor taste. If your children aren't up for that big Hallow-baloo, there are plenty of smaller, kid-friendly NYC neighborhood parades, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, including the Ragamuffin Parade in Bay Ridge, the mega Jackson Heights parade, the famed Park Slope march, and a G-rated Village parade for little ones.

We've rounded up community-driven Halloween processions for families to watch or march in, most of which are FREE. If you don't live in a great trick-or-treating area, these parades are a wonderful way to hunt for candy in another neighborhood. Find even more seasonal happenings in our Halloween Fun Guide.

Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer: Hundreds of Them!

New York City will screen hundreds of FREE outdoor movies this summer, many of them just for kids and families. The popular Movies Under the Stars series, which debuted with screenings in parks and at playgrounds in all five boroughs last year, returns along with many of our favorite annual series. 

A few outdoor movie series, such as RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even grown-up series, such as those in Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, include a family-friendly screening or two. Movies usually begin between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early: The well-known series fill up fast. Sometimes there is even pre-movie entertainment.

So grab your calendars and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. Find more seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

Roosevelt Island: What to Do with Kids After Taking the Tram

New York is a city of islands. Many of them, like Governors Island, City Island, Randall's Island, and even the infamous Rikers Island, get lots of attention; however, low-key Roosevelt Island manages to slip under the radar. It’s time to get cozy with this narrow, 2-mile long sliver of land in the East River nestled between Manhattan and Queens.

The Roosevelt Island Tram is a familiar site for many New Yorkers and the aerial ride alone is great fun for kids, but what about when you disembark on the isle? Over 11,000 people call this peaceful community home. The vibe is urban, but there are open spaces perfect for rambling. Self-contained, it has its own school, newspaper, and library. My family and I found plenty of cool things to keep us entertained and we've pulled together our top picks for things to do on the isle. 

5 Great Places to See Fall Leaves in NYC

Signs of fall's arrival are all around us as the leaves in New York City's parks and along tree-lined streets start to turn. This is the time of year when many families plan a day trip upstate or to New Jersey to gaze at gorgeous red, orange and yellow foliage. But you don't need to leave NYC to take in some stunning autumn sights. In addition to major green spaces like Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Staten Island's Greenbelt and Van Cortlandt Park, there are some wonderful off the beaten path city spots where you can enjoy colorful panoramic views that deliver the full splendor of fall.

For this guest post, we turned to local parents Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert, who regularly blog about their excursions at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Kids Outdoors New York City. Kids Outdoors is a FREE online community for families filled with ideas on alfresco activities in the NYC area and expert advice on how to get started.

Indoor Tennis for NYC Kids: 10 Programs with Youth Lessons & Family Play

Summer feels like the height of tennis season: FREE outdoor lessons abound, and watching tournaments like Wimbledon and the US Open always inspires my family to hit the court. Then, just as we're getting back into the (literal) swing of things, the cold weather comes—but there's no need to put away our rackets. NYC is home to many indoor facilities that offer high-quality tennis lessons for kids year-round. A few even offer family game play!

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

Best New York City Views: 11 Spots to See and Photograph NYC

Visitors come to New York City from the world over to eat our pizza, feel our energy and marvel at our spectacular views. But even for us locals, NYC is an awe-inspiring sight (we just need to remember to slow down and take it in every once in a while).

While tourists routinely flock to the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock to literally look down on the city, there are less well known vantage points that also offer incredible views of NYC, including parks, promenades, museums and a tram. So grab your camera and get ready to fall in love with New York City for the first time—or all over again.

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