New York City

Old New York Soda Fountain Restaurants

New York has changed a lot in our lifetimes. When I was a kid we really didn't have that many chains stores and restaurants in Manhattan. I used to see ads for Red Lobster and Beefsteak Charlie's on TV and pine for the suburbs. Now, of course, I know better and pine for the old neighborhood places. Most of them are long gone, but there are a few places left that have miraculously survived.

You can take your kids to any one of these old-fashioned soda fountains and it's like stepping into a time travel machine. Each of these kid-friendly restaurants is a great place to stop by for ice cream drinks and desserts and is a window into a long-gone NYC. Experience old New York at an old-fashioned soda fountain. Isn't history yummy?

New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical has not one, but two gardens designed especially for kids. Both the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden and the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden provide supervised, hands-on activities to introduce children to the science of horticulture. Perhaps the best part about a trip to NYBG is that it’s a truly perfect family outing any time of the year. For those long, cold winter weekends, the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden provides a warm, cozy indoor space for kids’ activities, and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is always a balmy, tropical temperature. During the summer, the acres and acres of lush, green grass provides the perfect setting for kids to run around and explore. A must-see exhibition for all families is the Holiday Train Show, which takes place each December/January and features tons of NYC landmarks recreated entirely out of plants and natural materials. If you’re looking to visit NYBG on a budget, plan on going on any Wednesday of the year when a “grounds only” pass is free. Please note, NYBG is closed each Monday throughout the year, except holidays. Click here to check out our past coverage of the Train Show.

St Patrick's Day Parade, Events and Activities for NYC Kids 2009

Even though the St Patrick's Day Parade is NYC's biggest and most popular parade, it's never appealed to me much. Maybe it was the years of working in Mid-Town and seeing the streets littered with plastic beer cups at lunchtime that turned me off. Or the blaring bag pipes and drunken college students might have soured me on it as a kid-friendly event.

But St Patrick's Day is still a great excuse to celebrate Irish culture with some cool events and activities where kids can earn Irish dance steps and music, learn the Irish mother tongue and hunt for leprechauns. Check out some cool St Patrick's Day events and learn about an alternative St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Kids Swimming Lessons in New York City

So, you’ve decided it’s time for the kids to venture off land and into the pool. After taking a look at our post on how to choose the right swimming lessons for your child, you might be wondering where to go and what this adventure is going to cost. Luckily, as with most things here in the city that never sleeps, there are swim lessons that can fit into any budget (including free) and swimming classes for kids at every level. Read on to find out all the options for kids swimming classes in New York City from Mommy and Me swimming lessons to group and private swim instruction.  

5 Free Fun Indoor Activities for Kids in New York City

Last month I wrote about play spaces where you can drop in and pay for play, but how about places where you can drop in and not pay? There are still some great places that welcome you to play for free and we've rounded up 5 good ones below. Of course, you should also check out our list of free times at NYC museums so you don't miss out on things like pay what you wish Thursdays at the Children's Museum of the Arts.

Where to play for free indoors with NYC kids:

How to Choose and Use a Baby Carrier in New York City

babywearing.gifAurea emailed me with a question about where to find help with baby wearing lessons. There is no way to underestimate the importance of finding the right carrier for you and your baby. You are going to be holding your infant (and toddler) a lot more than you might have ever guessed pre-pregnancy. The wrong carrier can be anything from annoying to down-right painful—and you want to enjoy have baby close to you, not find it a pain.

Choosing the right carrier for mom and dad (who may need his own if he is not the same size) is really important and worth investing a little time, thought and consideration into. You will need to consider the style of carrier (wrap, sling, bjorn, pack) that you are comfortable using and wearing as well as sizing, comfort and perhaps fashion.

There are a couple different routes to go when looking for help choosing and learning how to use your baby carrier. I've rounded up some good choices here:


10 More Free Story Times for Indoor Fun

Sometimes a story time is just the right amount of activity for us when we don't want to commit to a whole involved outing, but we want something to do out of the house. Plus, they are relatively restful and easy for the exhausted grown-ups. We've written about the story times at Barnes & Noble and the New York Public Library, plus some others, but if you're bored of your same old, same old, here are some interesting new-to-you storytimes to check out, many of them in fun places that you'll be able to stretch your story hour into a full day of fun:  

New Building Brainstorm Exhibit at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum

The totally redone Brooklyn Children's Museum is still new enough that we hadn't yet exhausted the current exhibits, but they're staying one step ahead of us by adding a great new exhibit that we really enjoyed, Building Brainstorm. I have always been interested in the fields of architecture and design, and thought this would be a great opportunity to expose my boys to those interests during play.

Located on the second floor, this bi-lingual (Spanish and English—love that!) exhibition continues with the interactive theme found throughout the museum, encouraging and inviting children of all ages to plan, build, and design, with rough materials and soft cloths, plastics and wood. The exhibit is made up of a series of challenges: Shape Search Challenge, Shapes in Building Challenge, Inside Shapes Challenge, Window House Challenge, Floor Plan Challenge, Room Design Challenge, and Brainstorm Challenge.

Cleanest Indoor Play Spaces in New York City

200902161730.jpgDo you check back on posts to read the comments? Sometimes readers add great information there, or ask great questions. Some of my favorites lately were Margaret who asked other readers if they wanted to get a group together for a kids knitting class. Sharon, left a great comment with more ideas of places to eat on the Lower East Side on the Candy Store Itinerary post. Another commenter on our Drop In Play Spaces post asked for recommendations for the cleanest play spaces.

Good question. It seems to be a trade off. Places that don't charge hefty membership fees and are open to the public maybe aren't always quite as pristine. But I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule. Here are some of the indoor play places I've found to be really clean:

Itinerary: Best Candy Stores in New York City for Kids

Picture 60.pngWant a fun outing that your kids will REALLY love? How about a tour of some of the best candy stores in New York City? The Lower East Side is chock full of unique and fun candy stores and you can hit them all in one day for a super treat on Valentines Day or any day you want to be the bestest parent EVER! Find your inner child, turn off that parenting voice and have fun going crazy for candy with your kids, if only for one day.


Subscribe to RSS - New York City