Jody Mercier

Jody Mercier

Jody Mercier's picture

When asked to illustrate her career goal as a first grader, Jody drew a picture of a mom with one kid on each hip and another clinging to her leg. All these years later, that is her reality, raising three kids in this crazy city. Since her dream job only pays in hugs and kisses, she has spent her professional career as an editor at, and, and also freelanced for

Latest posts by Jody Mercier

Inexpensive Birthday Party Room Rentals for NYC Kids

Few suburban comforts make me jealous, but the ability to host a home birthday party is one. Fear not: There are inexpensive party rooms available to rent in NYC; you just have to know where to look.

Keep in mind, buying an all-inclusive package can get pricey, especially if you want to invite your child's entire class. These spots all require DIY inventiveness, but you'll be rewarded with a special day that won't (totally) break the budget. If these prices still don't work for you, consider downsizing the guest list and doing at home with these 5 Party Ideas for Small Spaces, or this apartment party cheat sheet. Read on for inspiration and where to find a party spot near you, or check out our party directory for more local venues and entertainers.

Top New Amusement Parks and Rides Opening This Summer

The summer family vacation season is right around the corner, so it's never too early to start dreaming of your escape. Amusement parks, of course, are always top of mind for the kids come summer, so we've trekked up and down the eastern seaboard (virtually, anyway) to find the coolest new theme park attractions set to open this spring and summer.

There's a brand-new thrill ride at Six Flags New England, a pint-sized coaster at Sesame Place, a whole new Toy Story Land in Orlando, and Thomas Town opens near Pittsburgh with plenty of locomotive fun. Read on for more than a dozen new top attractions we're looking forward to checking out at amusement parks spanning from Massachusetts to Florida this summer.

Register for Free Swimming Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. Spring swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, March 12, 2018 at noon through Monday, March 19, 2018 at 11:59pm.

The spring swim lessons will take place Monday, March 26, 2018 through Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kid swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those specifically in Brooklyn and in Queens.

New Water Playground Coming to Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Good news for Queens families and anyone who visits the borough's biggest greenspace: Flushing Meadows Corona Park is getting a seriously face-lift that includes new water play areas for kids to cool down on a hot summer day. 

As part of a master plan developed by the Parks Department, the three fountains built for the 1939 and 1964 World's Fair are getting a major update, including spray jets and a mist garden. The revamp plans also include fresh landscaping and more places to relax around the park.

Where Nursing Moms Can Find Private Lactation Rooms in NYC

Raising kids in New York City isn't for the faint of heart. City parents have plenty of worries to contend with that our suburban counterparts don't, from car seats in cabs to finding the right stroller for your lifestyle, and how, exactly, to navigate the subway with a baby in tow.

But one thing city mamas shouldn't have to worry about is where to feed their babies, specifically where to breastfeed or pump when you're on the go. While state law protects a mother's right to breastfeed in public, saying "a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be," not all mothers are particularly comfortable baring it all, and certainly pumping isn't easy on a city bench. When mama's not comfortable, neither is baby.

To help ease the stress of breastfeeding or pumping on-the-go, we've rounded up some private or semi-private spots for you to feed your wee one while you're out-and-about checking things off our NYC baby bucket list.

Low-Cost Summer Camp Lottery from NYC Parks Opens March 1

Summer is on the horizon and that means parents are scurrying to finalize summer camp placements. While we've got plenty of options in our Summer Camp Guide and Directory, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better full-summer deal than that offered by the New York City Parks Department, which is set to open it's low-cost camp lottery on March 1.

Read on for more details on this option that's budget friendly for mom and dad, yet full of over-the-top-fun for kids.

Court 16 Opens Kid-Friendly Tennis Spot in Long Island City

When it comes to family-friendly amenities, Long Island City is experiencing a boom. From inventive play spaces to sprawling parks and cool tot spots, there's plenty to see and do, including a brand-new tennis facility, Court 16.

Four years after opening its flagship location in Gowanus, Brooklyn, Court 16 has opened a new indoor tennis complex geared toward the kids who are rapidly taking over this neighborhood's sidewalks. With nine tennis courts of varying kid-friendly sizes, there's something for tennis players of all ages at this new spot.

Indoor Play Spots for NYC Toddlers with Weekend Hours

Indoor play spots are essential for NYC families with young children (and limited square feet) as temperatures begin a steady decline into winter.

Unfortunately, so many of the city's indoor play spots are limited to weekday hours. That's great for caregivers Monday through Friday, but mom and dad are left out in the cold, scrambling to fill up those chilly fall, rainy spring or snowy winter weekends with their preschoolers in other ways.

Luckily, we've uncovered nearly two dozen fantastic play spaces that get it, and are keeping weekend, drop-in play hours for kids, no membership required. All include playthings sized just right for the little ones, including for babies in many instances. They are stroller-friendly and equipped with changing stations, making them no-fuss options for the toddler squad.