New York City

Seaport Ice Finally Open


Word spread fast to downtown families about the ice skating rink at the South Street Seaport finally opening up. When we went on Sunday afternoon, it was already comfortably crowded. The rink is fairly small, and the pavilion is not as nice as the one at Bryant Park, but with a predominantly downtown family crowd and no speeding teenagers, it was a great place for kids to ice skate.

Urban Glass Open House: Factory Tour NYC Style

In Pennsylvania you can go to the Crayola Factory Tour and see how crayons are made, but in Brooklyn you can tour the UrbanGlass workshop and see how local artists create beautiful objects out of glass. UrbanGlass regularly holds free open house tours that show visitors the process of creating a handblown glass object. This weekend is a Sketch and Sculpt Open House where they will select a submitted drawing and bring that object to life (The date for submissions has passed, sorry).

You can also take glassblowing workshops and classes at UrbanGlass and even bring your own recycling to turn into something new. The great thing about a glassblowing class is you can create a paperweight or a cup to take home in just one workshop.

Big Apple Circus: Fun under the Big Tent

DSC08598.jpgMy son, Roan, turned five this weekend. He has the misfortune of being born in a season that is ripe with people celebrating things other than his birth. This year I wanted to really make an effort to carve out time just for him, and do special things with him that we probably wouldn’t get around to otherwise. In addition to a few parties, much too much ice cream, bowling, cutting a half day of school to play in the snow and staying up late, I brought out the big gun: The Big Apple Circus.
The Big Apple Circus takes place in Lincoln Center through January 18, 2009. It is an amazingly easy place to get to by subway, which mattered to me on Sunday, because it was mean cold that day. Roan wasn’t really too sure what to expect. I’ve never been to the Big Apple Circus so I didn’t really know how to prepare him. But when we approached the blue Big Top Tent, my eyes lit up like the eight-year-old I truly am. There is something magical about walking into a giant Circus tent in the middle of Lincoln Center.

Dan Zanes Holiday House Party is Hoppin'

Dan Zanes picture.pngThe Holidays are here and with them come the usual offering of parties and get togethers. Last night, we found the time to check out one very cool party: The Dan Zanes Holiday House Party at the New Victory Theater. And, this is one party you shouldn’t miss.

Great Gift Idea: A Night at the Museum Sleepover

200812092319.jpgThis site is dedicated to helping parents find all the amazing, cool, once-in-a-lifetime events that you don't have to spend a fortune to take advantage of, but there are some events that are worth the splurge. A Night at the Museum Sleepover is one of them and would make a terrific Holiday Gift.

The American Museum of Natural History invites families to spend a night exploring the museum after everyone else has gone home and camp out in one of the exhibit halls. My daughter was lucky enough to be invited to do this with a friend who received the sleepover as a gift. What an amazing present! And they had such a great time.

Shopping Locally: Craft Fairs, Sample Sales and Holiday Shopping Events

200812020310.jpgBuying local is the hip new thing, but beyond just being trendy and "supporting local businesses," buying local is important to us because it builds community and sustains what we love most about NYC: its cool, eclectic mix of unique, small shops and walkable city streets.

There are several Holiday shopping events that make shopping locally into fun, outings. Plus we've got a round-up of sample sales.

New Children's Library Center at Main 42nd St Branch


When I was a kid I basically lived at the Jefferson Market Library. We climbed on the bronze oxen sculpture (the things we let kids do in the 70s), watched movies in their little viewing room and worked my way through the books, literally, starting from A. It's a great children's library. But, there are shamefully few great children's libraries in New York City and last year they closed the main children's center at the Donnell Library which was a double shame. But I'm super excited to hear that they are opening a beautiful, new Children's Library Center at the 42nd St. main library. WOW!

How to volunteer with your children in NYC

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We have more up-to-date posts about volunteering with kids in NYC in our Holiday Guide.

Reader, Susan, asked me if I knew of any places for families to volunteer around the Holiday time. Her idea was to get a couple of families together in her neighborhood to all volunteer together. That sounds like a great way to teach children about the importance of helping others and making it a fun community activity at the same time.

There are always so many opportunities around the city--even I find it overwhelming, but there are actually some great resources and websites that make it easy to find a good program to fit your location, child's age and interests to do some holiday giving.

New Free Shuttle To Brooklyn Attractions Makes Them Even More Attractive

Unfortunately due to cutbacks, all of these trolley routes have been discontinued as of 2012. What do the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park and the Prospect Park Zoo all have in common? They're wonderful NYC cultural institutions that you almost feel guilty for not going to more often (or ever). You know they're great, they're just a little...inconvenient.

But now, they all have something else in common too...they're all stops on the brand new FREE Heart of Brooklyn cultural shuttle. The Heart of Brooklyn Culture Shuttle is a free hop-on hop off service running three different programs:


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