Washington Square Park

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Nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village (‘the Village,’ to New Yorkers), and marking the southern end of Fifth Avenue is Washington Square Park.  With its recognizable arch and and large central fountain, the park has a storied history, and has evolved since its first use a public burial ground to a vibrant community space that constantly hums with activity. Whether as a diversion or a destination in its own right, the park provides a perfect window to the microcosm that is New York life, along with a number of opportunities for play and exploration.

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Major restoration and renovation work on the park concluded not long ago and introduced a fantastic new play space to the park’s southwest corner. Undulating mounds covered in artificial turf are topped and crossed by a web-like climbing structure and a long stretch of monkey bars. Older children test their stamina swinging across the gully spanned by the monkey bars while toddlers climb over and under the web, and roll down the little hills. When we were last there even infants joined in the fun, delighting in crawling over the rolling turf. The park includes two other play spaces, including one scaled for toddlers.

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Beyond the playgrounds, we love watching dogs big and small race and play in the dog run and listening to the myriad of musicians who use the park as their own personal stage. On hot summer days the fountain becomes a giant wading pool, and I can’t wait for summer visits to splash and people watch, soaking up the beauty of this city.

Tip: Make sure to check out Washington Mews, a block north of the park. Now privately-owned by New York University, whose buildings ring all four sides of the park, the quaint cobblestone lane is lined by former carriage houses used by the owners of the gracious homes on the north side of the park. It makes for a lovely and quiet place to stroll in the middle of a busy neighborhood.

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Whitney Museum of American Art

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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.

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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).

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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!.

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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

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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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Belly Dance Maternity

nom_pic1Seems like everyone I know is having a baby all of a sudden. Funny how it always happens in waves.

With “three being the new two” and “twins being the new singleton” in NYC, the maternity business is booming! When I was pregnant I was determined to remain somewhat stylish (well with the roots growing in and the adult onset acne, the least I could do was wear a semi-decent outfit.) One of my very favorite brands to discover along the way was Nom de Naissance, which is based out of LA and is carried at my very favorite maternity store in NYC, Belly Dance Maternity. This adorable West Village shop carries a well edited selection of labels like Splendid, Diane Von Furstenburg and Ripe with the premise being that you can still dress like you did before you got prego. Two other amazing stores that I discovered along the way were Cappucine in Tribeca which does not have an on-line website but is definitely worth the visit. The owner carries both maternity wear and adorable regular clothes in larger sizes (and the owner is French so you know it’s cool). The other place that I found was Bump in Brooklyn which opened after I had the girls but it looks ultra, ultra swank. For the gals that are not into “Pea in a Pod” and “Liz Lange” – these stores are for you.

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Doodle Doo’s

bonykids080310_4_560This adorable little West Village shop is a perfect place to go for kid’s haircuts – especially the very first one when most kids have the potential to totally flip out. Courtney wrote a post some time ago about a place called Tantrum which we visited during our stay in London and absolutely loved! Doodle Doo’s is its New York equivalent. The staff is beyond nice and when we went last week my daughters left not only with adorable new chic hairdos but also with a barrette, some sparkle hairspray and a lollipop. The premise is simple… place kid in car or boat seat… insert princess video… bribe with future delivery of treat… snip away. It just makes the whole experience a win win. They also have a wonderful selection of toys and children’s clothing for parents to browse while you wait and if you are up for it, it’s a block away from New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery.

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The Shoe Garden

shoe gardenMy husband cringes every time he sees a tiny empty shoebox in the trash, knowing full well that I have just purchased something with a shelf life of approximately two months…. But heck – I ask you – is there anything cuter than a toddler shoe? I discovered The Shoe Garden a few years ago and it is still my go-to place for adorable and affordable children’s footwear. They have an amazing selection of high quality and stylish shoes for kids of all ages with a large selection of hard-to-find European brands. Like moth to flame I need to walk into the store every time I am in the neighborhood, and I usually leave with a tiny box in hand, but like I said, is there anything cuter than a toddler shoe?

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