Playing pool isn't just a pastime for hipster barflies. Kids love it, too—just without the copious amounts of alcohol and ironic retro mustaches. In New York City, there are lots of places to play pool besides the backroom at your local watering hole. Like NYC bowling alleys, most NYC pool halls welcome minors during daytime hours as long as they're supervised. But to find the truly kid-friendly billiards spots, we turned to the experts: local parents who've actually been there. Here are five pool halls in Brooklyn and Manhattan endorsed by NYC families.
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.
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If NYC had a Facebook page, its Year in Review would go something like this: debuted three new museums, two cat cafes and one seriously jaw-dropping carousel. And that's not all! Dozens of cool kid attractions opened in New York City in 2015 and we've rounded up the 15 best new destinations to add to your family bucket list.
Read on to see how many you've already visited (they're all over the five boroughs, yes, even the Bronx and Staten Island), and then make an early New Year's resolution to check out the rest of these must-dos over holiday break (or, for seasonal spots, in 2016). Don't forget to post pics on Facebook to make your out-of-town friends Grinch-green with envy.
If one writer is synonymous with the holiday season, it's Charles Dickens. The legendary Victorian author's novella A Christmas Carol and its iconic characters pop up everywhere this time of year, both on stage and on screen.
But rather than do another adaptation of this oft-told tale, New York City Children's Theater cleverly delves into the man behind the story, or rather, the boy.
Based on Deborah Hopkinson's picture book A Boy Called Dickens, Young Charles Dickens is an engaging bio-musical inspired by the 12-year-old Dickens' menial job at a shoe polish factory as he helps his family out of debtors' prison. Readers familiar with his famous books such as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and, of course, A Christmas Carol will recognize many of the people Dickens meets during this dark period in his young life. However, even school-age kids unfamiliar with his work will pick up a lot from this gritty, but heartwarming tale.
January is truly one of my favorite times in NYC. The tourists have all cleared out and everything is on sale, even tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows. Winter brings four major theater ticket promotions that save you a lot more than the usual discount sites. Broadway Week, Kids' Night on Broadway and Off-Broadway Week all offer two-for-one ticket deals to a slew of hit family shows (yes, even The Lion King). Plus, the more under the radar 20at20 lets you snag $20 seats to a bunch of Off-Broadway productions, including the interactive Fuerza Bruta: Wayra, which is great for tweens.
We've got the scoop on how to take advantage of these various deals, along with our picks for the best shows to see with school-age kids, both on Broadway and off.
That Physics Show is an awesome and educational production that has absolutely nothing to do with the holidays, but that doesn't make it any less spectacular. Veteran Rutgers University physics demonstrator David Maiullo doesn't need glitz, glamor or glitter to wow school-age kids with his amazing experiments as he makes balloons burst into flame, soda cans crack and lasers light up the room. Some of the demos are so incredible you may feel like you're watching a magic show. But all of his "tricks" are actually just science, which is the most mind-blowing reveal of all.
Two of Manhattan's most picturesque communities, Greenwich Village and neighboring West Village are filled with historic houses on quaint and crooked tree-lined streets. This former counterculture epicenter is now home to many of New York's priciest restaurants, retail stores and real estate. But there are still plenty of affordable and even FREE attractions for families to discover as they stroll these labyrinthine sister neighborhoods.
Beautifully renovated playgrounds pepper the area, including two in iconic Washington Square Park. Treat spots like cupcakeries and candy shops abound. And while there are no traditional indoor play spaces or kiddie gyms, a family-friendly pool hall, a board game cafe and the Whitney Museum of American Art offer inside amusements when the weather doesn't cooperate. Situated from 14th to Houston Streets between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River, this westernmost area may be cozy, but it's also packed with so many things to do and places to see, families can spend many days exploring the neighborhoods.
For many Force-filled Star Wars fans, just mentioning the sci-fi saga sets their hearts racing at lightspeed. And with the seventh movie in the franchise coming out this December, Star Wars fever is more infectious than ever. So it's no surprise that Discovery Times Square is getting in on the intergalactic mania with its brand-new installation, Star Wars and the Power of Costume. After all, it built its reputation with well-timed exhibitions celebrating Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and other pop-culture phenomena.
But while those other properties are aimed at tweens, Star Wars is beloved by all ages, even toddlers. Which begs the question, does this display, featuring more than 70 authentic handmade costumes and props from all the movies, please even preschool Padawans?
'Tis the season to get the gang all dressed up to see some holiday shows. While there are certainly lots 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 money. 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 like A Charlie Brown Christmas and Elf to tot-friendly puppet shows to offbeat, eye-popping circus and dance, here are our top 16 holiday shows for NYC families.