Alina Adams - NYC Writer
Alina was born in the former Soviet Union, spent her teen years in San Francisco, and came to New York City to work for ABC Daytime and ABC Sports. She spent her pre-marriage/pre-kid years as a figure-skating researcher and producer for the U.S. and World Championships, the 1998 Olympics in Nagano and various professional shows.
After learning that international travel and resentful toddlers don’t mix, she switched to PGP Productions and its soap operas As the World Turns and Guiding Light, where she wrote New York Times best-selling tie-in books and developed interactive properties like AnotherWorldToday.com.
The birth of her third child (and the process of enrolling her two older kids into NYC schools—a full-time job in itself!) convinced Alina that she was not, in fact, Superwoman, and prompted her to leave TV and turn to writing books, including romance novels (Counterpoint: An Interactive Family Saga, When a Man Loves a Woman), figure-skating mysteries (Murder on Ice, On Thin Ice) and nonfiction (Soap Opera 451: A Time Capsule of Daytime Drama’s Greatest Moments).
In addition to contributing to Mommy Poppins, Alina blogs for Jewish parenting site Kveller.com and is in the process of turning her previously published backlist into enhanced e-books with multimedia features like audio, video and more. Follow her exhaustive and exhausting efforts to become a Mommy Media Mogul (is that a thing? If it isn’t, it really should be) at AlinaAdams.com and on Google+
Latest posts by Alina
Having just gone through the college application process with my oldest son, I am more aware than ever that schools aren't just looking for good grades, great SAT scores, an outstanding essay, and a list of after-school activities, they also want to see some hands-on, real-world experience, preferably with a leadership component. That's where a summer internship can make your average, high-achieving, New York City teen really stand out from the rest of the equally high-achieving pack.
Fortunately, because not all kids have the same interests, NYC summer internships come in a variety of flavors, paid and unpaid, regular and intermittent, educational and creative, with some also offering school and volunteer credit. The main thing summer internships in NYC tend to have in common is that the due dates to apply are usually before most teens have started thinking about their summer—or their college—plans.
To make sure your teens don’t miss out on any opportunities (and you don’t end up with an angsty child-shaped sloth on your couch for three months), check out our roundup on great internships and summer programs for teens in NYC—listed in order of application deadline.
With two adults and three kids in my family's typically small NYC apartment, the holiday season stresses me out. Not because of all the things I need to do, but because of all the extra "stuff" that I know is about to flood our home. That's why this is my favorite time of year to donate my kids' gently (or sometimes never!) used clothes, toys, books, and other items so we can free up some space, support worthy charities, and get the whole family in a giving mindset.
We've gathered details on several organizations where you can donate quality used items during the holidays and beyond. Be sure to contact the charities directly to confirm what they accept and how best to drop off. In Brooklyn? We recently rounded up charities in the borough that accept children's items.
Chances are you're not even thinking about Thanksgiving yet. After all, we still have Halloween to get through! But as anyone in the NYC hotel industry will tell you, families looking to book a hotel where they can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Midtown Manhattan do so up to a year ahead of time! For a room with a view of Snoopy, Spidey, Hello Kitty, and their other inflatable pals, you've really got to plan in advance.
It's not just NYC tourists who splurge on hotels for the Thanksgiving parade, either. Over the past few years, we've had many New Yorkers write in asking which hotels looked out on the Macy's Parade route (it sure beats watching from the street). While most of these hotels still have availability at the time of this writing, call right away as they'll most likely sell out soon. And if you do get shut out, it's worth checking closer to Thanksgiving since there are sometimes last-minute cancelations.
For a budget-saving alternative, catch a prime viewing spot the night before the parade as the giant balloons are inflated on the Upper West Side.
In the era of rent-out-the-whole-museum and hire-a-marching-band kid birthday party, it's nice to find a freebie.
Of course, there are plenty of at-home, DIY ways to celebrate your child's birthday for FREE, from mirror notes to playing hooky. But it's also the one time of year that you can take advantage of all those corporate birthday clubs that promise to make your kid's big day even more special with fun freebies like complimentary gifts, food, and other deals.
We've rounded up a mix of local spots, with a lot of national chain restaurants and play spots thrown in, which all offer birthday goodies. Some are specific to kids, though some you can snag, too, and most will require some sort of email-list sign up.
Find more fun for their big day (maybe even a marching band) in our Birthday Party Guide and Directory for NYC families.
In our increasingly tech-driven world, knowing how to code is an invaluable skill. But kids who code don't really look at it that way—they just think it's lots of fun to design video games, create websites, and make robots move. Take my 10-year-old: He first caught the coding bug in second grade after attending a demo led by RoboFun where he learned about the wonders of Scratch, an easy-to-use programming language specifically aimed at children ages 8 to 16. Ever since, he's continued to learn how to code at home thanks to FREE educational websites like Scratch's official site at MIT and CodeAcademy.
Even though he can work on his own, I'm a big believer in kids learning from other kids (not to mention the benefits of socializing with peers and getting him out of my hair for a few hours). So I recently researched coding classes for children in New York City to locate a program or two that would work for him. What I found were 11 high-quality classes and camps for kids who have an itch to try Scratch or another computer programming language. You can find even more tech fun for kids in our Geek Guide and more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.
Baseball may be America's official pastime but a recent study claims football is actually our favorite sport—and not just during Super Bowl season either. But while grown-ups may love watching or playing football, they're often less enthusiastic when it comes to their kids doing it, for risk of concussions and other head injuries.
Fortunately, New York City is home to a number of football programs for NYC kids, including non-contact options like flag and touch football, where tackling isn't part of the game. And even if your kids do opt for traditional American tackle football, these leagues make safety a priority, and generally children aren't allowed to pile on until they're past the peewee stage.
So get out that pigskin: Here are seven football programs where New York City kids can get their game on.
Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.
New York City is full of places where young kids can learn how to habla Español. In fact, Many New York City public schools offer wonderful dual-language Spanish programs, as well as other languages.
But rest assured there are plenty of other options if your child's school doesn't offer a language program. We've rounded up some of our favorite Spanish learning centers for New York City kids. So embrace the diversity of New York City culture, where your kids will certainly get to practice what they learn in the classroom!
Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings, and check out our guide to Foreign Language Camps for NYC Kids.
My husband always said he wanted our sons to know they could take a punch and live to tell about it. To that end, martial arts classes were mandatory in our house, not just for self-defense but also to teach them self-control. (After all, enough of the latter can often stop you from needing the former.)
The two most popular martial arts disciplines for kids in New York City seem to be karate and tae kwon do. So we've rounded up some excellent classes in all five boroughs where kids can get kicking.
Find more NYC classes in our Classes Guide and Directory Listings.