New York City

Things to do 4th of July Weekend in New York City, Festivals, Fireworks and Fun: July 3 - July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July! The highlight this weekend no matter where you are is of course - fireworks. In New York City there is the huge annual fireworks spectacular courtesy of Macy’s and if you plan on taking it in make sure to read our post on where to get the best view of the show.  We also have the scoop on the best fireworks displays on Long Island and in New Jersey.  

If you are staying in town this weekend, don’t fret, you don’t need a backyard or beach house to have a lot of fun, there are festive, patriotic and Americana events going on all around town. Dan Zanes is performing a concert in Battery Park where the audience can join in on the big brass parade finale (bring your own horn!) There are fireworks and live music from the Staten Island Philharmonic on Staten Island and an ecologically correct sand castle contest in Coney Island. While you are out on Coney Island don’t forget to check out the other annual 4th of July event – the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

This is also the first weekend of July which means many area museums are offering free admissions and special programming during select times. And for many of us it is a three day weekend so you may be looking for something to do on Monday, check out our Summer Fun Guide or  100 Free Things to do this Summer for some awesome ideas. 


Happy 4th of July!  Have a great one.

Lego Store in Rockefeller Center: Must-See New York City Megastore

Until I visited the new Lego Store that opened up in Rockefeller Center last week I never realized just how much New York City needed a store devoted to tiny plastic building bricks. This colorful showpiece of a store has so much to offer brick building kids and their parents, much more than just shopping! It is a total Lego experience from the Lego brick masterpieces throughout the store to the unique products for sale plus occasional events. So get ready for Lego fever!

Toddling the Upper West Side: 10 Spots in 10 Blocks for you and your toddler in the West 70's

We love exploring neighborhoods with our toddler.  It gives you a whole new view of NYC. My 1-and-a-half-year-old and I have been exploring every square inch from Columbus Circle up to 100th Street, coming up with itineraries in 10-block stretches for parents and toddlers. We recenly posted about 10 toddler-friendly spots in the West 60s and this week we've dug up 10 cool finds in the West 70's.

Find out what to do, where to eat and how to have fun on the Upper West Side with your tyke in tow:

Summer Solstice Celebrations and Make Music New York City 2010

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. Also called Midsummer, (as in Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night's Eve), the summer solstice has been celebrated around the world since neolithic times with traditions that are now a mix of Pagan and Christian rituals.

When I was a kid there used to be a Summer Solstice Celebration in Riverside Park that we attended every year which involved staying up all night long making music. It was one of the quirky, artsy things that I was lucky to experience growing up in NYC.

Today there are slightly less out there ways to celebrate the Solstice that still capture the sense of freedom, revelry, and hapenstance of those magical celebrations and truly are only in NYC events and are the types of cool events that your children will remember for the rest of their lives.

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:


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