Raven Snook

Raven Snook

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Raven is a writer, editor, performer and mom, who was born and bred in NYC, just like her husband, her mother and now, her daughter. As a writer, she's contributed articles to New York Magazine, Time Out New York, The Village Voice, the New York Post, TV Guide, Better Homes and Gardens, iVillage, AOL TV and Moviefone, Parents.com, and worked as an in-house editor for ParentsConnect.com and TimeOutKids.com. As a performer, she's appeared on many downtown stages (sometimes even for pay!), a couple of obscure films and TV shows, and The Maury Povich Show as a female drag queen. She's also the founder of Hot Mama Burlesque, the world's only all-moms burlesque show. After being the NYC editor from March 2011-March 2015, she is now happy to just be a blogger as she pursues additional writing opportunities.

Latest posts by Raven Snook

Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: December GoList

Santa isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice. Our carefully curated December GoList is packed with the absolute best things to do with kids in NYC throughout the month. Our top picks include FREE holiday gatherings such as the 20th annual Central Park Holiday Lighting by the Harlem Meer and the quirky Unsilent Night musical procession in Greenwich Village; seasonal concerts by Laurie Berkner and Grammy-winning kindie rocker Dan Zanes; and cool cultural offerings such as the Whitney Museum's Dreamlands Family Day and the exuberant Mother Africa circus at the New Victory Theater.

It's also worth rereading our November GoList since many of those festive picks continue through December, including the Dyker Lights holiday displays, Macy's Santaland, and the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show—and various Nutcracker performances around the city.

As always, keep checking our Event Calendar and Holiday Guide for the most up-to-date celebrations, including tree lightingsSanta sightings, and totally FREE holiday events for NYC kids.

Dyker Lights: This Brooklyn Nabe Comes Alive with Holiday Spirit

For years I had been hearing about the awesome Christmas displays in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. I'd seen plenty of videos and photos online. But once I saw those jaw-dropping sights in person, I knew visiting "Dyker Lights" would become a family holiday tradition.

Living in upper Manhattan, Dyker Heights is a serious schlep. It's really not doable via public transportation, especially at night with kids in tow. One year I hitched a ride with a neighbor, but the following I decided to play tourist and go on A Slice of Brooklyn's Christmas Lights guided bus tour. Even though my daughter and I saw many of the same houses, our visits were quite different. If you're considering taking the kids to Dyker Heights this holiday season but are wondering about the best way to go, here's how the two experiences compare.

Moana: A New Disney Princess for Our Multicultural World

The heroine of Disney's new animated feature Moana may be the daughter of her Polynesian tribe's chief, but don't go calling her a princess. When her partner in adventure, the demigod Maui, snarkily insists that, "If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess,” Moana challenges his preconceived notion—as she does throughout the movie. Yes, from a marketing point of view, she's the latest in a long line of Disney royalty. Yet her character defies and redefines that role. She's a powerful, self-possessed young woman of color who battles climate change and doesn't need a man to save her. In fact, there's zero romance in this film; it's not even mentioned. Instead, she spends most of the flick bickering and bonding with Maui, who acts as a kind of goofy, surrogate big brother on their mission to save Moana's imperiled island homeland.

But while the film's feminist and multicultural elements make Moana feel decidedly 21st century, story-wise it follows the studio's tried-and-true formula of a princess—make that future chieftain—on a dangerous (but inevitably successful) quest. Just how scary is it? We've got the scoop, plus whether it's worth splurging to see her escapades in 3D.

Best Holiday Shows for NYC Kids: Rudolph, Dickens, Charlie Brown

'Tis the season to get the gang all dressed up to see some holiday shows. While there are plenty of spectacles to splurge on beyond the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and all those Nutcrackers, if you've got young children you may not want to blow all of your bucks on theater tickets. 

That's why our roundup includes a range of productions, from inexpensive, low-key offerings perfect for fidgety preschoolers, to extravaganzas that are worth the investment. Bonus: We've got the scoop on how to save money to a few of the higher-priced offerings.

From live stage adaptations of holiday classics such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to tot-friendly puppet shows and jaw-dropping circus skills, here are our top 14 holiday shows for NYC families.

12 Must-Do Holiday Events Around NYC in 2016 for Kids

There may be a week of Kwanzaa, eight nights of Hanukkah, and 12 days of Christmas, but as the festive displays popping up all over town attest, the holiday season really lasts from mid-November through New Year's Eve. That's almost two months jam-packed with a certain parade, tree and candle lightings, train shows, department store windows, eye-popping spectacles, and Nutcrackers.

Of course, not all holiday activities are created equal. That's why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season, regardless of what you celebrate. From splurge-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to annual favorites worth revisiting to a few fabulous FREE options, here are 12 super-outstanding events where you can give your kid the best gift of all: happy family memories.

Must-See Family Musicals Bound for Broadway Include Willy Wonka

By the end of the year, five of our top 10 Broadway shows for kids will have closed, including longtime favorite Matilda. But the good news is, the family shows must go on!

This spring, a pair of highly anticipated new musicals based on beloved children's properties are heading to NYC: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, inspired by both Roald Dahl's iconic book and the classic 1971 flick; and Anastasia, based on the 1997 animated movie about a Russian orphan who may be royalty. Although performances for both productions don't start until March, tickets already are on sale and make for amazing experiential holiday gifts the whole family can enjoy (even you, mom and dad).

We've got the scoop on these two kid-centric tuners and why they should make your 2017 bucket list.

Cirque du Soleil's New Circus Act Flies Into NYC with Kurios

Cirque du Soleil returned to Randall’s Island for the first time in six years this fall, bringing with it a brand-new steampunk-themed show, Kurios, that’s brimming with the physics-defying performances that first catapulted the troupe to fame.

While the Canadian troupe's last show on the isle, Ovo, was fantastic, Cirque has certainly had plenty of misses over the years, especially with its attempts to branch into new terrain (see Broadway's Paramour), but also because after 35 shows–and plenty of imitators—it all started to feel a bit redundant for avid fans.

I couldn’t help wondering as I made the trek over to Randall’s with my tween-age daughter, would this new spectacle recapture some of that old magic? Read on for the scoop on this new kooky show in town, and how to save money on tickets.

Guide to Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead for NYC Kids

Halloween isn't the only spooky holiday to celebrate in October. Day of the Dead—or Día de los Muertos as it's known in Spanish—is observed by many Latino cultures and is especially popular in Mexico.

Day of the Dead officially takes place on November 1 and 2 to coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. However, NYC events are spread throughout October and early November and most of them are FREE. While it's not a Halloween event, it occurs around the same time and features many of the same trappings like skulls and parades. Revelers honor friends and family members who have died by building altars and adorning them with colorful paper flowers, grinning skeletons and candles. It's a joyful way to remember the deceased without freaking kids out. We've rounded up half a dozen Day of the Dead events where NYC kids and families can celebrate the holiday.

You can find more fall activities in our Fall Fun Guide and check out the Halloween Guide for all the best happenings in NYC this month.

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