Tompkins Square Park

tompkins

For us, a typical weekend day includes a subway journey to a different New York neighborhood.  We start with lunch, peruse a few shops, and then spend a couple hours in the local playground, followed by a subway ride home ideally before dark.  Recently we visited the East Village, starting with lunch at B&H (127 Second Ave.), a tiny Kosher restaurant, famous for its grilled cheese on challah bread, which totally lived up to the hype.  We went to John Derian where I got my heart set on a perfectly proportioned loveseat and multiple Jeanette Farrier quilts.  We popped our heads into Trash and Vaudeville on our way to Mr. Throwback, where my husband felt right at home checking out 90s basketball paraphernalia with Beverley Hills Cop playing in the background.  After walking down St. Marks Place, we went to Tompkins Square Park.  Tompkins Square Park has a rich history and was the highlight of our adventure, offering public zones for basketball, ping pong, skate boarding, and a dog run.  There is also a large enclosed playground, with plenty of space for kids to run and climb, as well as benches for the weary adults.  It’s always a nice opportunity to chat with other parents and to watch my toddler navigate a new social situation and make new friends.

ALSO IN THE AREA:

vanieroskat'z deliliquiteria
Veniero’s PasticceriaKatz’s DelicatessenLiquiteria — It’s clean-up time everybody!

Caramel Baby & Child

shop
Caramel_NYC-Store

Left to her own devices, my toddler would leave the apartment looking like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. For the holidays, I decided to treat myself to coordinated outfits (of my choosing!) for my two little girls. Fortunately for me, Caramel Baby & Child (1244 Madison Ave) is a short walk across the park to the Upper East Side – and their only retail storefront in North America.  Caramel Baby & Child offers a lovely range of clothing and shoes, with a sophisticated color pallet and silhouettes that are at once modern and nostalgic.  Visiting the shop offers the chance to see the looks pulled together, along with coats, socks and shoes.  The shop also offers carefully curated gifts, accessories, and cards.  While you’re north of 86th, there are several children’s shops worth a peak including Bonpoint (1269 Madison Ave), Jacadi (1242 Madison Ave), babycottons (1236 Madison Ave), Naturino (1184 Madison Avenue) and crewcuts (1190 Madison Ave).

ALSO IN THE AREA:

central park zoofrenchhorse and buggy ride
Central Park ZooObaibiHorse & Buggy ride

New York Historical Society

New York historical society exterior
madeline

The New York Historical Society is a surprisingly awesome place to visit with kids.  There’s less mania than the big museums, and we’ve had great luck with their special exhibits, which cater to adults and children alike.  This winter we visited their annual train exhibit as well as Silicon City: Computer History Made in New York and Superheros in Gotham.  The Silicon City exhibit tells the story of New York’s role in the digital revolution, including typewriters and rotary phones for the kids to play with, which made me feel very old!  The Superhero exhibit walked us through the birth of several comic book superheroes – Spider Man, Bat Man, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Super Man, Iron Man – displaying original costumes and running movie reels, not to mention the Batmobile in the lobby.  Last year, we checked out Madeline in New York, exhibiting Ludwig Bemelmans’ original drawings from all six Madeline books as well as his drawings of the Ritz Hotel in New York where he lived.  The Madeline books are in heavy rotation in our household, so this was a thrilling afternoon!  There is also a Children’s History Museum in the lower level, including a cozy library containing stories about the history of New York City.  (Toddlers would enjoy the free story time on Sundays starting at 11:30 am.)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

nyc museumsmakemeaning
Things to do on a beautiful sunny day. NYC museums!Make Meaning — Art Space for Kids, young and old

Acorn Toy Shop

 

Acorn Toy Shop

Acorn Toys (323 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn) is a treasure.  The shop ladies were so utterly gracious as my 3-year-old exclaimed repeatedly, “I want it all!  Let’s take it all!”  I had to agree with her.  This little gem has the loveliest selection of toys, clothing, and decor, special enough to be passed down through generations.  It’s hard to imagine how so many delightful toys are neatly arranged in such a cozy space.

Acorn’s selection is mindful of quality and sustainability, with many lines sourced locally.  There is a tactile quality to the displays, with few toys in packages, available for little hands to explore.  Oddly I wasn’t afraid that my rambunctious toddler would break anything as the shop is thoughtfully arranged, with colorful wooden block sets and handmade puppets within her grasp and delicate felt mobiles safely hanging from the ceiling.

What a treat to browse several clothing lines in one place, including popcorn stitch cardigans by Misha & Puff, pinafores by Soor Ploom, and baby alpaca hats and booties by Oeuf.  I also made a few discoveries, including a vast selection mobiles, linen rompers by Red Creek, cars from Playforever.  Acorn also offers a selection of children’s storybooks, fairy and folk tales, as well as make-believe supplies (masks, princess costs, tents, wooden swords, fairy wings, ironing boards, wooden kitchen supplies and even a wooden cash register!).

If can’t make up your mind while you’re in the shop, take a peak at the website, which is maintained with the complete selection.

ALSO IN THE AREA:

williamsburg_thumbnyc museumspomme blankets
WilliamsburgThings to do on a beautiful sunny day. NYC museums!Pomme

MilkMade Ice Cream

TASTING FLIGHT
MilkMade ice cream flavors

 

One might think it a bit silly to trek from our home in the Upper West Side to Brooklyn for ice cream in the middle of winter but after drooling over MilkMade Ice Cream’s tumblr feed for months, it was time to give it a try in real life.  The journey was worth it and surely won’t be our last. MilkMade is a subscription-based ice creamery with two unique flavors introduced and delivered monthly to its members.  Each of the ingredients has a story, and you can follow along as new flavors are developed.

This spring, MilkMade opened its Brooklyn Tasting Room (204 Sackett Street, Brooklyn).  Located in beautiful Cobble Hill, the space is simply adorned with the focus on the ‘scream.  The scoopista generously encouraged us to taste multiple flavors before making a selection.

The flavors were unique, intense, and delicious.  I decided on the #106 Dark N Stormy, a refreshing combination of fresh ginger and rum.  My toddler had the #48 PB N Jupiter, salted peanut butter ice cream with a grape jelly swirl.  My husband had the #22 Scare-Amel Apple, a caramelized apple ice cream.  In his words, “That’s the best I’ve ever had” … and he’s had a lot.

ps Next time, I’m going for it and ordering the tasting flight, consisting of 5-mini scoops to try, micro-brewery style.  Because, why not?

ALSO IN THE AREA:

williamsburg_thumbnew york transit museumnyc museums
WilliamsburgNew York Transit MuseumThings to do on a beautiful sunny day. NYC museums!

Whitney Museum of American Art

Whitney Museum 1

We recently took our children to the new Whitney Museum of American Art and we were truly impressed. After spending 50 years in the Upper East Side, the Whitney Museum has recently moved to its new location in the cool and cosmopolitan Meatpacking District. The magnificent new building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, is located between the High Line and the Hudson River.
With scenic views of the city and stunning views of the Hudson, the new space offers an increased collection of contemporary art and scheduled programming.

WM3

WMM4FINAL

Art museums can be intimidating for families, but the new Whitney is a very family-friendly place featuring a new dedicated space for education, the Laurie M.Tisch Education Center, where visitors can enrich their experiences at the Museum enjoying activities and hands-on learning experiences. The Museum also offers a wide variety of programmes for families and children of all ages (family tours, multimedia guides for kids, sensory-friendly guided tours for kids on the autism spectrum, art-making workshops and other special events). They even offer Stroller Tours for families with babies up to 18 months, where ¨crying babies are welcomed! (an excellent initiative for new parents).

WMM5FINAL

WMM7FINAL

WMM8FINAL

Check out its website, which contains very useful information to make the most of your visit (social narratives, tips, suggestions and guides for teachers, and activities based on the museum´s collection). And, if you can’t visit the museum, you can also check the Whitney´s collection online. Over 21,000 works are available to the public, an incredible tool for parents and teachers!.

WMM10FINAL

WMM9FINAL

From the outdoor gallery terraces, its excellent collection, great exhibits and innovative children programmes, the new Whitney Museum offers unique opportunities to expose children to art from a very young age and to inspire creative thinking.

If you would like to grab something to eat after your visit, check out the Gansevoort Market or the Chelsea Market, you won´t be disappointed, and don´t forget to go for a stroll on the marvelous High Line!

Location:
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014

ALSO IN THE AREA:

clementineshoe-garden-148x300nom_pic11
Clementine Consignment Shop — For KidsThe Shoe GardenBelly Dance Maternity

Sweet William opens in Manhattan!

One of my very favorite children’s shops from Brooklyn recently opened in Nolita last month — dangerously close to where I live (uh oh). I have always admired Sweet William as it is a store that gets it just right. The space is adorable and the clothes are incredibly well edited, wearable and unique. I assure you, you will want it all. I am especially drawn to the store as a great source for newborn gifts — the teeny tiny outfits from the likes of Ketiketa and Tuss are criminal they are so cute. This is definitely a shop to visit.

ALSO IN THE AREA:

mcnally jackson
McNally Jackson Bookstore

Make Meaning — Art Space for Kids, young and old

Paint-a-pot… step aside.  I think your days are numbered. Make Meaning recently opened its doors on the Upper West Side and they are definitely on to something!  The gigantic, walk-in creativity center offers a place where parents and their kids can sit together and work side by side on a variety of creative projects — all age appropriate and stuff that you will actually use!

The space currently offers six experiences: soap crafting, candle-making, ceramics, glass, jewelry and paper and they are open to 11pm on some nights!  Not only is it a perfect retreat when it’s too cold or crummy to be outside but what mother doesn’t need some downtime to just zone out and create something for themselves once in a while?

I love the look of the Soapsphere! Kids can choose the color and fragrance of their soap and then throw in a toy surprise for bath-time fun!  And they serve cupcakes!

ALSO IN THE AREA:

madelinenyc museums
New York Historical SocietyThings to do on a beautiful sunny day. NYC museums!

Purl Soho

This winter I plan to channel some old-world “know-how” into my life and finally learn how to sew and knit… properly.   As a city-kid, “knitting” was never something that hit my radar until recently but I would really love to tap into to this creative zone and learn to make fun things for the kids and for the home.  I have always loved the look of Purl Soho with its walls chock full of colorful yarns, beautiful fabrics and cute-as-a-button trims but I always felt intimidated by my dire lack of craftiness.   The store recently moved to a new huge space on Broome Street and they are now offering classes (yippie!) so I am definitely jumping on board.  If you don’t have a chance to visit the store… do check out their website which is enticing and inspiring.

Also check out this adorable little make-your-own Alphabet Block kit for babies…would be a nice gift for a friend.

ALSO IN THE AREA:

kisan-300x199scholasticpearl river mart
KISAN Concept StoreFavorite children’s bookstore — Scholastic StorePearl River Mart

Top of the Rock

If you are looking for that take-your-breath-away New York City view,  Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center is really as good as it gets.  With three levels of wrap-around walking terraces set atop one of the most spectaular Art Deco buildings in the world — it really is a must visit if you are in town, and I found it an especially easy place to take children (kids under five are free!)  After a recent visit  I also thought it was a far superior option to the Empire State Building (which I have heard is kind of a run down mess inside).  It’s kind of nice to have a photo OF the Empire State Building in the background with a view that is equally as nice in a less cramped and hectic setting. One of my favorite parts of the whole visit was the ride in the elevator… that alone was worth the trip (I won’t ruin the surprise as to why but it was way cool!)  And as if it couldn’t get any better… it’s right next door to Rockefeller center where there are tons of places to eat afterwards with kids.  If you are going to do the NYC tourist thing – I say by all means, this is a must for the photo books and kids will dig it.

Area: Midtown Manhattan

(Image from Pure Contemporary)

McNally Jackson Bookstore

I am all about supporting the underdog in this city and the McNally-Jackson Bookstore in Nolita is my very favorite bookstore. Not only is it great for my own browsing but I happen to think they have an incredible children’s book section. You won’t find any junky Dora or Elmo themed reads here and they carry a large selection of titles from abroad. In fact, this is the place we found one of our all time faves from the U.K. (The Runaway Dinner). I always feel smarter just being in the place and the staff is ultra cool to boot (they always have great book suggestions if you are in need of something new to read.) There is also a small café to sit and read a magazine and it’s a nice pit-stop to bring a child to pick out new books. (more…)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

sweet william
Sweet William opens in Manhattan!

Chelsea Piers

Chelsea Piers

A huge three-pier complex on the West Side Highway, Chelsea Piers is New York’s answer to suburban living. The sprawling sporting and entertainment paradise has it all – a multi-story golf driving range, swimming pool, world-class gym, Olympic sized skating rink, bowling alley, sun deck, skate park, a kids ball pit, a playground and a spa to mention just a few…ok…breathe. Although it’s not all that easy to get to, there are plenty of taxis waiting outside to get you home again and I would suggest just taking a taxi there for your sanity (subway stop is a few LONG blocks away). Check out the website for more information – they have tons of stuff going on year round for kids: summer camps, birthday parties and sports and dance classes galore.  This summer they also have an old-fashioned carousel set up which is always a good time.  I haven’t been in a while but I seem to recall that they also have a Brewery on-site which is always a bonus.

CONTACT DETAILS:

Chelsea Piers
62 Chelsea Piers
New York, NY 10011
(212) 336-6666

ALSO IN THE AREA:

popburgerchelseamkt_1-231x300limelight marketplace
Pop BurgerChelsea MarketThe Limelight Marketplace

Veniero’s Pasticceria

Without fail… every year since birth, my entire family has celebrated their birthday with a cake from Veniero’s. There simply is no substitute, and frankly, a birthday just isn’t a birthday without one. The old-school Italian Pasticceria has been around since the beginning of time and is a wonderful place to bring your kids for an afternoon treat. There are cases filled with freshly made Cannoli’s, Eclairs, Fruit Tarts and my personal favorite, THE RAINBOW COOKIE. Quite possibly as addictive as heroin, and Veniero’s has the best ones on the planet.

There is a large space in the back to sit down and enjoy them with a cappuccino and they are open late on the weekends so it’s a great place to bring kids for an after dinner treat. Try to hit it at off hours and NEVER during the holidays as it is crowded. By the way — I got this image off of one of my favorite NY Food Oriented Websites “The Smitten Kitchen” which has the recipe. And luckily once the guilt sets in… Liquiteria is just down the street!! (more…)

ALSO IN THE AREA:

vaselkaliquiteriakat'z deli
Veselka — Ukranian 27/7Liquiteria — It’s clean-up time everybody!Katz’s Delicatessen

Veselka — Ukranian 27/7

One of the greatest things about New York City is the ability to source any type food you desire at a moment’s notice — even at 3am. Veselka has been around since I was a kid and I am happy that it is still going strong. This long-standing East Village eatery is open 24-7 and serves up hearty platters of delicious Ukrainian Pierogi, Sweet and Savory Blintzes and hearty vegetable soups. If you are looking for something a bit lighter they have a HUGE menu that serves up all the traditional diner favorites like scrambled eggs, pancakes, salads and sandwiches. Its a perfect little spot for a quick easy breakfast or lunch with kids. It also sits on the corner of one of my favorite blocks in New York…9th street between 1st and 2nd Avenue which is home to a bunch of small boutique shops, including a sweet little toy shop called Dinasour Hill. (Image from Flickr)

Nearby Playground: Tompkins Square Park

ALSO IN THE AREA:

liquiterianewmuseum_kaufmantompkins
Liquiteria — It’s clean-up time everybody!Art, food and a place to sitTompkins Square Park

The Union Square Farmer’s Market

The Union Square Farmers Market is the largest and most popular open-air food market in New York City. While there are farmers markets throughout the entire city the one at Union Square operates year round, four days a week, and is really is at its peak in the summer and fall. A visit is a real New York experience that couples the city’s obsession with food, with top notch people watching. In addition to numerous stands displaying heaps of fresh fruits and veggies you can find daily caught seafood, eggs, hand-made cheeses, baked goods and beautiful flowers — all sourced from local farms and for the most part, organic. The market is certainly THE most reasonable place to shop for food in the city and it is a wonderful place to take a child to explore. The people who work the stands are always up for a chat about what they are selling and are thrilled to introduce new things that you don’t see in your average American supermarket. I am starving just thinking about it. (Image from Flickr)

Also worth noting is that one of the city’s newest and most modern playgrounds (called “The Evelyn”) just opened so when you are done surfing the food stands there is a place to climb and play. (more…)

Older Posts »