Katz’s Delicatessen

Katz’s Delicatessen is a classic New York fixture and happens to be one of the few dining institutions to have survived the massive gentrification of the East Village. The sprawling cafeteria-like space is filled with nostalgia and serves up hand-cut fries, mile high pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs with all the fixins’. It is an easy place to bring a child as the service is quick and there is ample seating. Katz’s still uses the same “ticket” system that they used when they opened back in the day… there are several meal stations to go to pick up your food and you pay on your way out. (Image from Flickr.)
Nearby Playgrounds: 1st Street Park (1st Avenue and 1st Street) and Tompkins Square Park (8th Street and Avenue A)<

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The best of Soho’s children’s boutiques

Soho has exploded over the last ten years into THE major shopping hub of the city, and while the chain stores have taken over the area, the smaller boutiques are still holding strong and hiding out on the side streets. The neighborhood happens to be a haven of small and beautiful boutiques for children – all within walking distance from one another. Here are a few of my favorite haunts:

1.)Les Petits Chapelais –This bright and cheery little store feels like you are stepping off the streets of NYC directly into Paris (where the original store is). The tiny space carries a wonderful selection of cool French designs and trends towards more eccentric and funky looks for young kids. As always, the French know fashion, so you are bound to find something unique and stylish in here. They also carry a large selection of Petit Bateau basics. Located at 86 Thompson Street, NYC 10013.

2.)Bundle NYC – This is the store where I found one of my new favorite brands, Neige. Bundle is a wonderful little shop for newborn/toddler clothing and carries a well edited selection of comfy basics for kids like Ella Moss, Tea Collection and Egg by Susan Lazar. Also worth noting is that they also have a decent sized selection of shoes. Located at 128 Thompson Street, NYC 10012. (more…)

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The Highline

You can’t help but LOVE New York City if you take an early evening stroll on The Highline. Not only is the people-watching fantastic but the whole experience will just make you feel cool. The Highline was the old elevated subway system in NYC and after years of sitting dilapidated and unused it has been transformed into an uber-chic above-ground promenade. The park itself snakes up 10th Avenue and not only offers amazing city views but also tons of places to sit and relax. Although there is not a playground up there they do offer programs for children and have just launched “Wild Wednesdays” which offer free programs for kids ages 5 and up (be sure to check out the stuff for Adults as well). And as if it couldn’t get any better, New York’s coolest bars and restaurants line the streets underneath. I would highly recommend Sunday brunch or drinks at the Standard Grill which sits just at the starting point of the park. It would also be a great date spot fyi!

(image from Flickr)

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The Limelight Marketplace

In the 1980s, early ’90s, The Limelight was perhaps the most popular nightclub in New York City. Known for its wild parties, weekly drug busts, and all around freakiness, the club closed its doors long ago but the space itself has recently been transformed and re-opened as a…gasp…mini-mall.

The old cathedral space is now The Limelight Marketplace and it is filled with a variety of cute, higher-end food and fashion stalls. New York has never done the “indoor mall” thing well — and most have failed miserably — but this one is actually kind of nice. I especially liked the mini food court which felt a bit like a shrunken down poor man’s Harrods – there are a few delicious bake shops, a fromagerie and a beautiful outdoor farmers market. There were also a few child-oriented stalls: Hunter Boots for toddlers, Silly Souls which makes ironic onesies for newborns like this, and a cute little children’s gift basket service called BookSmart. Overall it is unique, if cramped, but definitely worth a visit. I actually hope this one lasts.

Image from flickr (more…)

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High Tea at the Crosby Hotel

Recently, I paid a visit to the new and super swank Crosby Hotel for High Tea with a friend. The Crosby is part of the Firmdale group of hotels in London so you now their tea service is the real deal. The large and inviting dining space has lots of little areas to sit and although it was raining the day we went, I did notice there was a beautiful outdoor space with tables so I plan on going back. We had our kids with us and they were incredibly welcoming and accommodating. For around $30 they offer a large selection of freshly brewed teas along with a tower of finger foods ranging from delicious tea sandwiches — to warm scones with jam — to mini-cupcakes. In a city where everyone is always rushing around it’s nice to stop and take an afternoon break. I know I am always starving around 3pm so this lifestyle suits me just fine. (more…)

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Pearl River MartArt classes for wee onesThe best of Soho’s children’s boutiques

Pearl River Mart

One of my very favorite things to do in NYC is to take a stroll around Chinatown. The experience is transporting on many levels and it offers the closest thing that NYC has to an “open air” market. From the fish markets to the exotic fruit and vegetable stands you will see stuff that will both entice and, quite frankly, might even scare you a little. I have been known to stand and gawk outside of the fish markets because I am just so amazed at the sight of live fish, crabs and even turtles flailing around. You don’t see that stuff in your ordinary state-side supermarket.

And then there is the shopping… although not technically in Chinatown-proper anymore, one of my very favorite places is Pearl River Mart which is essentially a gigantic Chinese department store. There are tons of amazing things inside – housewares, silk fabrics, rows and rows of ornate dishes, brocade jewelry boxes, exotic foods and incredible paper goods. I love picking up gifts here for my kids and for friends alike. They have these amazing streamers (pictured) and lanterns that I nab for birthday parties or even just adding a little flair to a room.

(Image from Flickr) (more…)

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The Eloise Store at the Plaza

The Eloise Store, located in the iconic Plaza Hotel, is devoted entirely to the storybook character Eloise — a precocious little six-year-old who grew up in the hotel. The store is tucked in the back of what is essentially a ghost-town of uber-luxury boutiques. The pristine pink and black space is inviting and there are several areas for young children to role-play, including a little stage with dress-up clothing, a huge tea party room (which will eventually serve food) and a comfy media space with bean-bag chairs to watch Eloise on a big screen. The store is just starting to host birthday parties in the spring which I am sure will be a huge hit and possibly the main draw of the space. If you are an Eloise fan, you will adore the nostalgia of it and as expected, there are a ton of themed items to purchase (note: there was screaming and tears when we left). I think it’s a perfect place to take a young lady for a special day out (think 4yr-7rs). Little girls will love it.

Eloise Store At the Plaza
Lower Lobby of the Plaza Hotel, 59th and 5th Ave

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Clementine Consignment Shop — For Kids

I was thrilled when I found the Flying Squirrel consignment shop in Williamsburg a few months back as I thought it was such a great idea. How many of us have clothes that our children have outgrown or never even graced their bodies that are still in perfect condition? I think I can just safely assume, all of us. Just recently I discovered Clementine Consignment, a store tucked somewhat obscurely underground just west of Washington Square Park. ‘This sweet little clothing shop caters to newborn – 4yrs (as well as a room full of gently used maternity wear) with the birth-2yr section being especially nice and stocked with adorable outfits from the likes of Tea, Bonpoint, and Cacharel .  All of the clothes were in mint condition and a available at a fraction of their original cost.  (more…)

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Sweet William

When I buy for my kids, I usually go on-line to the Gap and such for the basics….but for the special items I always head to Brooklyn to the smaller, boutique-type children’s stores. Sweet William, in Williamsburg, is a beautiful little space with a very well edited selection of adorable, stylish clothing. Not to mention really lovely toys, accessories and furniture — all displayed in the most enticing of ways. I love places that carry lines that you can’t find elsewhere and offer something special – hard to find brands like Talc and Makie. I also think it’s a top pick for getting unique newborn gifts.

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PommeNew York Transit MuseumThings to do on a beautiful sunny day. NYC museums!

Things to do on a beautiful sunny day. NYC museums!

So recently I had a really terrible idea. It was pouring horizontal rain, freezing cold AND the schools were all closed for spring break… and for some reason, I decided it would be a truly excellent idea to take one of my girls to the Planetarium at the Natural History Museum. The good news was that I got our tickets the night before on-line (which you should ALWAYS do if available) … the bad news is that I spent the morning in a complete state of nature with what seemed like all of human kind. Uggh!

Despite the human jigsaw puzzle, we had a great time but the whole experience served as a gentle reminder that a rainy day visit to a museum is really not such a great idea after all as chances are that every single other human being alive has the same idea. Here are some of my favorite museums in the city… (more…)

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Billy’s Bakery. Diagnosis…Delicious

The cupcake competition in New York has swelled to epic proportions and it seems like there are cupcake pop-up shops everywhere all of a sudden. I am not sure why, as a society, we have become so obsessed with this portable baked good but who’s complaining? I am totally psyched to be able to get my hands on one in a moments notice.

Having young kids, I have sampled pretty much all of the major places in town and I am picking a landslide winner (drum roll). I really do love Billy’s Bakery the best because their cupcakes not only TASTE but LOOK home-made. They do not try too hard to be what they are not and they certainly don’t give you the attitude like some of the others. They come in pretty old-fashioned colors and strike the perfect balance with a generous heap of creamy icing supported by moist and sweet cake. (more…)

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Hudson River Park

hudson river parkOftentimes, it is very easy to forget that Manhattan is actually an island — surrounded by beautiful open water views and wide promenades to stroll and cycle. I have lived here my whole life and I still do a double-take when I catch a glimpse of a boat going by or see more then a few trees in a cluster. Hudson River Park is a long expanse along the base of New York City that is getting more developed and exciting with each passing year. Starting at Chambers street and walking down to the tip of the island is a long and scenic esplanade lined with playgrounds and open lawns for picnics, people watching, and feeling a bit like you are NOT in New York City. For the kids, check out Rockefeller Playground which offers something for all ages as well as the secluded Tear Drop Park with its hidden sprinkler grottoes and giant slide into a sand pit. Also be sure to poke into the World Financial Center for a scoop of gelato or a burger from the famous PJ Clarks. At the very base is Wagner Park that has amazing views of the Statue of Liberty and on summer weekends they almost always have something going on for young kids.

(Photo from Flickr)

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Kaffe 1668 — The new Tribeca fix

So the very loud, stay-at-home dad that I have written about before is truly a deep and bottomless well of good information. He has been talking up this coffee place that just opened in the neighborhood saying we were all complete and total fools if we ever went anywhere else for our morning fix. As a rule of thumb I try to avoid Starbucks, if I can, to support the smaller cafés in the city (of which there might be exactly three left). Don’t get me wrong, I like Starbucks and all, but I really feel like a total loser when they make me call their small a “tall” and their large a “venti”… pisses me off every. single. time.

So the other day I made the journey over to Kaffe 1668 and seriously… stay-at-home dad was right! Kaffee makes truly amazing coffee. Each individual cup is single brewed and is presented almost like a work of art. The people there take such pride in each cup that you almost feel bad about drinking it. It is also a nice place to sit and grab a small bite as they have the most delicious little sandwhiches and pastries – all which look like they were made with the same amount of love as the coffee. Right now there is only one in the city but I sure hope more open up soon! FYI: for Tribeca peeps it’s a great pit stop before or after Soul Cycle.

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Landmarc

landmarcWhile most of us can agree that eating out with small children usually causes nothing but indigestion, I do like to get out from time to time to give us all a break. That being said, when we do venture out, I am VERY particular about finding places that are both adult and kid friendly. Landmarc has an excellent family vibe and is a place where you don’t have to worry about eating with children – they totally get it. They have two locations, one in Tribeca and one in the Time Warner Center and they offer a very nice kids menu that is not simply chicken fingers and french fries. The best part – the desserts…. mini ice cream cones and even cotton candy! Also worth noting parents, is that they have a high quality and very inexpensive wine selection. They don’t mark-up their wines and basically serve them at cost, so have a glass or two!  you deserve it….

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KISAN Concept Store

KISAN Concept Store is a nifty little place, just off the beaten path in Soho. The store is a collective of all things stylish and beautifully made offering nearly everything from interesting coffee table books and gadgets — to chic clothing/shoes — to handbags and jewelery — to stunning, mouth-agape children’s clothing. The owners literally comb the world over to find the lines they carry and it is the kind of stuff you won’t see anywhere else and can’t get anywhere else. The back of the store is wholly dedicated to higher-end children’s clothing as well as a small selection of internationally themed toys and books. They happen to carry one of my favorite European brands, Caramel Baby and Child (and ps: they just started selling on-line and will ship to the US).

I ain’t gonna lie – this is Soho and it ain’t cheap, but everything in this store is really special and it is a fabulous place to pick up unique gifts. If you are in need of a special outfit for a young boy or girl this is a great place to look.

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