New York City

Digital Photo Books: Great Ideas for Teacher and Father's Day Gifts, Yearbooks and Children's Artwork

June mainly means two things to many parents: Father's Day and the end of the school year. And that means gifts for teachers and dad and sometimes yearbooks and, ugh, what to do with all the priceless artwork that comes home from your child's classroom. Whew. It's a lot.

One thing that won't make your life easier (we're not going to lie to you), but may make it nicer is digital photo book services that let you make great gifts and memory books from your photos, children's artworks or writing. The great thing about photo books is they slide neatly onto a shelf, meaning those piles of artwork and great memories can be easily accessed and shared without creating clutter, something teachers appreciate as much as you do.

Here are some places to make great books including a place you can do it right here in person in NYC. And we've got discount codes too!

 

Scribble Press: Fun Bookmaking Store for Kids

Sadly, Scribble Press closed its doors on Father's Day 2013. You can now enjoy bookmaking Scribble Press-style at the Upper West Side Make Meaning. Have you been to Scribble Press yet?  It is a brand spanking new drop in creative arts space that just opened on the Upper East Side. What makes Scribble Press so different from the many other drop in art places is that this is the only one in the city where kids can make a book from start to finish which is then professionally bound and printed on site.  The books are beautiful and would make a terrific gift for Father's Day. (My photo doesn't do the finished product any justice.)

The possibilities for creativity are endless at Scribble Press - read on to find out more:

Destination Playground: Central Park's Billy Johnson Playground

There are hundreds of public playgrounds in NYC and if you spend as much time as I do at yours, the same one can get old quick. Checking out fabulous playgrounds in other neighborhoods can be a great stop off on any excursion to a different part of the city, or it can be a terrific outing in and of itself. We've got the goods on the destination playgrounds all over New York City that are subway-worthy and worth the schlep and we will be bringing them to you all summer.

Crafty Gift Ideas for Father's Day In New York City

A reader recently wrote in to ask where they could make clay hand-prints of their child for Father's Day. She had tried those kits, but said they were a disaster for her. We thought doing it yourself was a great idea and wanted to share our answer with everyone. 

While there are plenty of paint your own pottery studios all over the city, at most of them you all the pieces are pre-made so you can't make a unique item like a hand print. And most clay studios don't let you just drop in for a day to work if you aren't taking classes there already. But we have scoped out a few pottery places in NYC where you and the kids can just drop in to make a hand print or another nice present for Dad out of clay.

6 BBQ Restaurants in NYC for Father's Day or Any Time

Dads and barbecue go together like smoke and fire, but backyard deprived urban dads can't always enjoy the pleasure of grilling themselves. What to do?  I say, dine out and let someone else do the cooking this Father’s Day. Dad can indulge in some perfectly smoked meat and mouthwatering sides at one of the great barbecue joints our city has to offer. Good barbecue used to be found only in the Southern states, but over the past decade quite a few bona fide BBQ restaurants have opened up north of the Mason Dixon line in NYC.

Read on for our favorite NYC BBQ restaurants for a carnivorous Father's Day:

Toddling the Upper West Side: 10 Spots in 10 Blocks For You and Your Toddler in the West 60's

Ah toddlers, so full of energy and always on the go, much like our beloved NYC!  I've been getting a unique new view of my neighborhood on the Upper West Side through a toddler's eyes with my one-and-a-half-year-old.  It's a very child-friendly area from Columbus Circle at 59th Street Columbus all the way up to 100th Street.   You're sandwiched between two amazing parks, but there are loads of other places to explore as well.  So we're taking you and your toddler on a tour of the Upper West Side, 10 fun-filled blocks at a time. There will be lots of child-friendly play spaces and food options,  and a little something for the adults to enjoy along the way too.  In this first part of the series we tackle the West 60's. Here we go! 

 

Don’t Miss the Temporary Toy Theater Museum and Festival

You might have heard that there’s a cool Toy Theater Festival in town until June 13th, but betcha didn’t know about the terrific and virtually un-advertised Temporary Toy Theater Museum that accompanies the festival or, better yet, that it’s totally free to see and well worth taking the kids!

New York Transit Museum's Summer Nostalgia Train Rides

[UPDATED: May 27, 2013] I'm sure I'm not the only one who has visited the New York Transit Museum and wished for a chance to ride on one of the old trains or buses on display. It would really be something to go back to an era when New Yorkers rode the tiny rattan seats on the BMT or held onto the leather straps of the IRT as the subways noisily bumped and jostled their way through the tubes.

Well time travel isn’t possible, but you can hop on some of New York City’s old trains and buses when the Transit Museum pulls out some of its vintage fleet for three special, all-day summer excursions. The trips each have different destinations and sound like a lot of fun. In fact they're filling up fast! If you have a little train fan in your house, don't miss this.

Preschool Co-Op: How to Start an At-Home, Parent-Led Program

One of the urban legends spread to NYC parents is that you have to sign your children up for preschool while they're still in the womb. This isn't true. In fact, preschool is optional and there are lots of options out there from full day preschools to half day, preschool alternatives and enriching and nurturing day cares.

Our family decided to do something completely different and join some friends as part of a parent-led preschool co-op with our 2-year-old. I recently met with other moms who've done it before to hear their experience and tips on making it a success. 

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