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JUNE 2011



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Chef Marcus Samuelsson

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The Food & Wine Event in The Hamptons

SATURDAY, JULY 16TH, 2011 Sayre Park Tickets available at VIP Reception 6:30–7:30 P.M. | General Admission 7:30–10:00 P.M. Must be 21+ to attend For additional information, call 646-442-1646



1770 House Almond Babette’s Beachhouse Beacon The BoatHouse Blue Parrot Cittanuova Deli Counter Fine Foods & Catering Dylan’s Candy Bar East Hampton Point Estia’s Little Kitchen Fresno The Frisky Oyster Georgica The Grill at Pantigo Gulf Coast Kitchen Gurney’s Pasticceria and Beach Bakery Jamesport Manor Inn La Plage Love Lane Kitchen

LT Burger Luce & Hawkins Montauk Lake Club Mosaic Muse Restaurant Nick & Toni’s Noah’s Oasis Old Mill Inn Race Lane Rugosa Sarabeth’s Savanna’s Scrimshaw Serafina East Hampton Southampton Social Club Southfork Kitchen Starr Boggs Stone Creek Inn Townline BBQ Turtle Crossing Tutto Il Giorno Vine Street Café

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard Bedell Cellars Channing Daughters Comtesse Therese Duck Walk Gramercy Vineyards Jamesport Vineyards Long Island Meadery Long Island Merlot Alliance One Woman Vineyards Palmer Vineyards Pindar Raphael Scarola Vineyards Sherwood House Suhru Wines Wölffer Estate Vineyard

Local Purveyors The Blue Duck Bakery Café Hampton Coffee Company LiV Long Island’s Original Vodka

Featuring: Dylan Lauren of Dylan’s Candy Bar, Sarabeth Levine of Sarabeth’s and Gourmet Author Silvia Lehrer

$225 VIP/$150 General Admission This event will benefit East End food pantries through the Have a Heart Community Trust!

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the oldest independent school in Brooklyn, is a college preparatory day school providing coeducational programs from Preschool through Grade 12. A culturally diverse body of approximately 130 full time and 15 part time teachers comprise the Packer faculty. The student/faculty ratio is 1:7 in the Upper School. Its 998 students represent all five boroughs of New York City and parts of New Jersey. The Packer campus contains over 65 classrooms, two libraries, two gymnasiums, a fitness center, a theater, a dance studio and a dining commons, in addition to its timeless Gothic Revival Chapel.

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Grounded in rich traditions while embracing the future, Packer balances the value of scholarship and intellect with the importance of meaningful and sustained relationships. We are committed to the development of an educational environment that best prepares students to become contributing members of a multicultural and interconnected society. This goal is supported through admissions efforts, attention to diverse learning styles, multicultural curriculum and behavior that demonstrates respect for the individual. We guide our students to develop talents, pursue aspirations, and become empathetic, responsible, globally-minded women and men.

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June 2011


28 FEATURES 50 | They’ve GoTTa have iT No Film Talk. No Knicks Gossip. Just An Open Conversation With Spike And Tonya Lee About Parenting And Family. 55 | dads We Love 56 | Chef Michael Anthony On Eating Local And Helping Kids Discover The Culinary World 57 | As Executive Director Of Big Brothers Big Sisters (NYC), Hector Batista Connects Urban Youth With Positive, Dedicated Role Models 58 | In KidDictionary Local Dad Eric Ruhalter Finds Truth And Humor In Making Up New Words For Old Parenting Tricks 59 | American Idol Contestant And Queens Father Michael Lynche (aka “Big Mike”) Finds A Musical Muse In His Daughter 60 | Bronx Pediatrician David Appel Runs The Largest School Health Program In The Nation While Writing His Own Prescription For Family Fun 62 | Event Planner And Philanthropist Arthur Backal Produces Dream Occasions For Families 64 | From His Front Row Perch,


New York Family | June 2011

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Sports Writer Ian O’Connor Has Uncovered Some Of Life’s Biggest Lessons

evitable Summer “Brain Drain” With Books, Business And Worldly Babble

66 | summer spLash 2011 Outdoor adventures, summer supplies, kids swimsuits, travel ideas beyond the city, and a tip sheet for fun in the sun on Long Island • The Great Urban Outdoors • Sunshine Essentials • Bathing Beauties • Pack Your Bags (And The Kids!) • Kidding Around On Long Island

38 | a speciaL pLace With Crafts For Every Kind Of Kid, The Craft Studio Is One Of The City’s Premiere Family Spots For Art And Imagination

colUmnS 16 | ediTor’s noTe Big Steps And Little Ones 22 | joy of shoppinG Father’s Day Finds For The Great Outdoors 28 | sTarTinG ouT When New Parents Struggle To Help Their Baby Sleep, A Qualified Sleep Consultant Can Make All The Difference 32 | neW parenT musT-haves Leading parenting experts, buyers and bloggers share this month’s ‘must-have’ products for new and expectant parents 36 | GroWinG up How To Battle Your Kid’s In-

40 | a Good idea With GoodieWords, NYC Dad Adam Gittlin Taps Into Preschool Curiosity With Digital Magic 44 | acTiviTy of The monTh Some Of The City’s Best Young Swimmers Talk About Their Passion For The Pool And Their Choice Stroke 48 | house caLLs Always At The Forefront Of Family Furniture, DwellStudio Founder Christiane Lemieux Reveals Her “Undecorating” Philosophy On The Homefront 82 | The LasT Word In An Excerpt From His New Memoir, One NYC Dad Finds A Way To Bond With His Daughter

32 at 20 | buzzWorThy From Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook to a bottle of water that your kids will actually think is cool, five of early summer’s best items for the family 24 | iT’s my parTy Birthday celebrations at the 92nd Street Y, Gym Time Rhythm and Glues and Yorkville Creperie 26 | fab fêTes The 4th Annual Women in Industry Luncheon to support Kids in Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.), the National Center for Learning Disabilities Annual Benefit Dinner, Family Party & Travel Fest, and the Missing Tail Hunt at Dylan’s Candy Bar 76 | Ten ideas Our monthly round-up of family fun in the city 78 | cuLTure for kids June’s best exhibits and performances for families

dEpARTmEnTS 18 | WeLcome To The famiLy The New Parents Expo, two great giveaways and what’s happening

The cover: Hair and makeup by Kim Baker for Glama-Zon Beauty using Mac products. Photography by Thaddeus Harden (

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F e at u r i n g o v e r 2 0 0 l i v e F r o g s !

Now Open • Tickets at Open Daily | Central Park West at 79th St. | 212-769-5100 Frogs: A Chorus of Colors is presented with appreciation to Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland

editor And co-publisher Eric Messinger emessinger @ senior editor Whitney Casser wcasser @ AssociAte editor Kat Harrison kharrison @ Art director George W. Widmer gwidmer @ style director Joy Sherwood jsherwood @ production MAnAGer Mark Stinson mstinson deputy production MAnAGers Heather Mulcahey hmulcahey @ Jessica Balaschak jbalaschak@ photo editor Andrew Schwartz aschwartz@ contributinG photoGrAphers Suzanne Cohen, Billy Farrell Agency, Heidi Green, Thaddeus Harden, Sarah Merians contributinG Writers Paula Balzer, Leah Black, Kristina Cappucilli, Heather Chaet, Kelly Farrell, Robin Saks Frankel Jenna Helwig, Alessandra Hickson Angela Johnson, Chandni Rathod, Maria Riley, Erika Thormahlen, Christeen Vilbrun

In TheaTers June 10 New York Family v.2.pdf



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R EL –

E I ’S

Group publisher Alex Schweitzer 212-284-9735, aschweitzer @ publisher John Hurley 212-268-3086, jhurley @


AssociAte publisher Mary Ann Oklesson maoklesson senior Account MAnAGer Gina Waldman gwaldman @ AssistAnt to the publisher Marissa Broxmeyer mbroxmeyer @ circulAtion Joe Bendik jbendik@ AdvertisinG coordinAtor Jennie Valenti jvalenti @ business MAnAGer Shawn Scott sscott@


3.5” X 4.688” PARENTING MAGAZINE - 4 COLOR JUNE ISSUE • Merrell air cushion

Accounts MAnAGer Kathy Pollyea kpollyea @

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Manhattan Media president/ceo Tom Allon tallon @



cFo/coo Joanne Harras jharras @ FoundinG publisher Barbara Witt director oF interActive MArketinG And diGitAl strAteGy Jay Gissen jgissen

Harry’s Shoes For Kids 2315 Broadway (between 83rd and 84th St) Tip Top Kids 149 W 72nd Street Orva Shoes 155 E 86th Street


New York Family | June 2011

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Paragon Sports 867 Broadway (at 18th St) Lester’s of New York 1534 2nd Avenue (at 80th St)

© 2011 Wolverine Outdoors, Inc.

Web production director Lesley Seigel lseigel @ events MAnAGer Stephanie Musso smusso @ new york Family is a division of Manhattan Media, publishers of Avenue magazine, our town, West side spirit, new york press, Mitzvah Magazine, the capitol, city hall, city Arts, chelsea clinton news, the Westsider and the blackboard Awards. © 2011 Manhattan Media, llc | 79 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor, new york, ny 10016 | t: 212.268.8600 | f: 212.268.0577

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WATER PRO Z-RAP As a kid, every day brings new adventure. That’s why versatility is key to everything Merrell does. Take our Water Pro Z-Rap water shoe for Kids. Built with a breathable mesh upper, micro-mesh drainage ports and a Z-Rap closure for one tug easy entry, this puddle proof navigator is readyto leap and land. So wherever your kids want to go, Merrell shoes for kids will take them there. Find out how at

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Big Steps And Little Ones Let’s start here: Spike and Tonya President even if he were a Boston CeltLee’s new children’s book, Giant Steps ics fan. To Change The World, is terrific. It’s There’s much more in the issue about nurturing your dreams and being I want to recommend as well, even a good citizen of the world—and in the if most of it is of the “Little Steps To deceptively simple manner of a chilChange Your Month” variety. Our andren’s book’s structures and rhythms, nual “Dads We Love” celebration is a it offers great snippets of inspiration, reflection of the many faces of modern allowing parents to chat with their chil- fatherhood. The feature includes a dren about everyone from Jean-Michel doctor who runs the largest schoolBasquiat to Albert Einstein. based system of health clinics in the The book—which also has fantastic whole country! Another local dad who artwork—inspired a dream of my own: makes up funny words and definitions to approach the Lees to see if they would for the little daily doings of family life. be on our cover. Surprisingly, they said And last, but certainly not smallest, yes, and I want to thank them again for Big Mike, the American Idol contestant going on this little adventure and speak- from 2010 who learned the news of his ing with us about their family life. For newborn with the rest of America. the historical record, I did ask Spike one With summer upon is, we have a basketball-related question (after the wonderful story on theme vacations, interview): I wondered if he had any un- plus stories on local fun, bathing suits ease about supporting President Obama for kids, and summer essentials like the because he’s a Chicago Bulls fan. Spike 5/14/11 right water gun and sunscreen. One shoofly_summer_2011_#CBCC05.pdf 10:50:06 AM said that he would have voted for the more summer essential: the article on

keeping “brain drain” at bay offers helpful strategies, and tips for finding educational toys for all ages. Home design fans should head right to the “House Calls” profile of DwellStudio founder Christiane Lemieux. (Is it possible not to love DwellStudio?) Arts and Crafts fans should do the same for the profile of Craft Studio and its owner Lindsey Johnson. (Ditto the love.) And everyone should sample the poignant slice of life from NYC dad Keith Dixon’s new family memoir (with recipes), Cooking for Gracie. And when you’re done with all of it, let the summer brain drain (for adults) begin! Eric MESSiNgEr EdiTOr










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Welcome to the Family UPCOMING EVENTS OUr GraNd FaMIly-FrIENdly MEGa-ShOw Welcoming new and expectant parents from the New York metropolitan area and beyond, the New Parents Expo this fall is slated to be the single biggest consumer event for parents in the nation this year! The weekend event will help parents discover many of the best products for maternity, baby and toddler from national and local companies, and will offer an inspiring menu of lectures, seminars and demonstrations from experts in the world of family and parenting. The show includes a speaker series, a stroller test drive track, a mother’s lounge, a fashion runway and much more! The event will be held October 15 and 16 at Pier 92. To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit (For more details, see page 33.)

CENTral Park CarNIVal NIGhT FOr kIdS: wEdNESday, JUNE 8 A night in Central Park can be magical for children. Add to that a carnival and a special charity event and you’ve got something for the whole city to enjoy. This year’s Central Park Carnival Night For Kids is a fun-filled evening with amusement park rides, games, magicians, delicious BBQ, face painting and much more—and all proceeds benefit the Coalition for the Homeless’ Youth Service Programs, including Camp Homeward Bound and Bound for Success. For more information, please contact Maria Fregoso at or call 212.776.2119. For tickets, visit

ON ThE wEB yOU’ll dEVOUr ThIS BlOG If you’ve been following our Yummy Delicious blog, you’d know how to make a special-for-springtime Mac & Cheese, brownies-to-go (i.e. baked in little jars), healthy candy (orange peel), uber-fresh marinara sauce (with short-cuts), and a carrot recipe that kids devour (think chips), among many other delicious food stuffs for the whole family. With tons of recipes, kitchen ideas, news bits, and restaurant tips, Yummy Delicious serves up tasty morsels on a daily basis! To follow Yummy Delicious, visit and click on the yummy delicious icon and sign up for its newsletter. Got a food tip or story idea yourself? Please write to us at

CONTESTS & GIVEawayS wIN a PrIVaTE aT-hOME PaJaMa ParTy wITh laUrIE BErkNEr Children’s music superstar and Nick Jr. channel favorite Laurie Berkner has a busy summer in store. As part of her band’s upcoming “Party Day” DVD release tour they will be jamming at Town Hall on July 16. To add to the celebration, the Queen of Kid Rock has offered the most unbelievable giveaway. One lucky New York Family reader will win a home visit from Laurie in the early evening during which she’ll sing a few of her beloved songs. The winning family will also receive a four-pack for the Town Hall concert. To enter, send us an email explaining why you’d like to win: and put “Laurie Berkner” in the subject line. Be sure to include your contact info, including address. deadline is July 10.

Photo by Todd Owyoung


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OUTdOOr ChEF IN ThE BIG CITy Backyard barbecues and camp outstyle cookouts have typically been next to impossible to host in the city—until now. Fuego’s new portable gas grill comes to the rescue. With two buttons—one to fold and lock the grill’s legs in place and another to get it fired up—this grill is sleek and slim at just 15 pounds. To enter to win a new Fuego, write to us at newyorkfamily@manhattanmedia. com and put “Portable Grill” in the subject line and include your contact information. Deadline to enter is Friday, June 24.

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m gwyneth Cooks

When an Academy Award sits on your shelf, writing a book to keep it company may not be high on your “to do” list. That is, unless you’re Gwyneth Paltrow. The famous actress and mother of two devoted three years to her new cookbook release, My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness. Inspired by her dad, the “master pancake maker,” Paltrow cultivated an appreciation for food and family meals during her childhood which has stuck with her through all of the distractions that Hollywood and movie-making have to offer. Filled with a variety of recipes, personal anecdotes and kitchen tips, this collection offers kitchen wisdom while honoring her father and family.



m ta k e a h i k e

For your next family hike or picnic, why not carry your lunch in style? A new spin on the traditional picnic basket, the Lollypop Flavours Child Picnic Backpack For 4 makes lunch onthe-go a walk in the park. Little ones can carry food for the whole fam while exploring the great outdoors this summer. No more clunky baskets to lug around. Plus, this set is complete with plastic place-settings, cups and napkins. For more information, visit

m shop-n-share

m Drink up!

Hand a kid a bottle of plain drinking water and you’re likely to get a look of utter confusion in return. What’s this? They seem to be asking. If it’s not bright, sparkling, or singing a pop tune, chances are your son or daughter isn’t interested. That’s where kid-friendly WAT-AAH! comes in. Through its commitment to healthy hydration, this bottle of H2O is geared toward children and teens who normally chug calorie-rich sodas or sugary-sweet juices throughout the day. With its colorful labels and sassy mascot, WAT-AAH! is a pure, unadulterated drink that actually appeals to kids. And to up its “cool” factor, the company recently partnered with the “Let’s Move! Flash Workout” campaign featuring Beyoncé, encouraging children to get active, get healthy and drink water. For more information, visit


New York Family | June 2011

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Wondering what to do with all of those old clothes, books and toys your children have outgrown? Storkbrokers offers an online marketplace for parents to sell used baby, children’s and even maternity gear. It’s a great way to recycle things in perfectly good condition. Besides being eco-friendly, we love that there’s a community component as well; parents can get tips from experts and other parents on how to de-clutter and organize their homes. Similar to Storkbrokers, reCrib recently launched its own site for reselling gently used baby and kids gear. With parents of little ones in mind, reCrib offers brand-name cribs, beds, changing tables, dressers, strollers, highchairs, car seats and more. Reclaim some of your space this summer (and make a few bucks while you’re at it). For more information, visit and

m Minor League Fun

Nothing says American summer like a baseball game on a sunny day. The minor league season kicks off this June when you can catch a game, score free gear, and even meet the players. First up: the Brooklyn Cyclones take on the Staten Island Yankees on June 17. Throughout the season, the Cyclones offer fans meet-and-greet Mondays, jersey giveaway Thursdays, and fireworks (courtesy of Coney Island) on Fridays. The SI Yankees hold post-game sleepovers on the field for Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, an Annual Military Appreciation Night, and Wendy’s-sponsored Friends & Family nights. Outside of the city limits, the Newark Bears have already begun their season, with games scheduled for most nights through the first week of September. Also rounding the bases this summer are the Long Island Ducks in their 12th season, with giveaways, a Kids Club and two-day clinics. For more information, visit,, and

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Licensed Preschool Education From Gymtime Gymnastics Rhythm and Glues At Early Learning Foundation our philosophy is based on the belief that children are competent, self-driven learners who benefit most through exploration and their interactions with each other.

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Gym Classes Monday Through Friday

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For more information and a full list of classes for your child visit:


of shopping

Personalize Your Vino Winemaker Kit

By The Artful Winemaker Produce 12 Bottles of Wine Create Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet & more $108;

A Hole In One Golf Tie Clip

By Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver 2” Long $100;


Dear st father’s Day finds for the great outdoors

Barbecue Made Easy Element Portable Gas Grill

By Fuego Great for tailgating or small outdoor spaces Weighs 15 lbs., Dishwasher Safe $150;

Sleek Shades Fast Jacket Sunglasses

By Oakley Protects from UVA, UVB, UVC With Removable Lens $220,


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alue n • Best V

ctio pert Instru x E • s ie it acil rld-Class F


The City’s Best Summer Day Camps for Tots to Teens. Camps run June 20 – September 2 • Ages 3 to 17 Years

Summer Sports Camps at

Since 1996, campers have enjoyed world-class athletic facilities, expert and caring instructors, and the most exciting sports curriculum, without ever leaving the city!

15 Camps to Choose from: Golf • Performance Golf • Ice Hockey • Ice Skating Bowling • Sports Academy • Preschool Gymnastics Gymnastics • Preschool Ice Skating • Junior Gymnastics Elite Soccer • Urban Adventure for Teens BlueStreak Sports Training: Basketball • Football New This Summer: Triathlon Camp for Teens



Instant Online Enrollment • Lunch Provided Transportation & After Care Available

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It’s my 2




tanys mayman celebrates her 4th birthday at the 92nd street y.

1. The birthday girl gets creative, thanks to an appearance by Wendy The Pipe Cleaner Lady. 2. Tanys blows out her festive pink candles—

and it’s all smiles from Mom, Dad, and sister Sloane. 3. The Mayman family strikes a pretty party pose. 4.Tanys and friends get playful in the ball pit. Photos by Heidi Green (


3 Billy Pereira celebrated his 2nd birthday at Gym time Rhythm and Glues.

1. Billy takes a big boy bite out of his chocolate-filled birthday cake. 2. The Pereiras blow out the candles together, surrounded by a table of sweets. 3. The birthday boy and friend hug it out amidst the Gym Time mats.


Photos by Heidi Green (


1 Alexander maese celebrates his 1st birthday at yorkville Creperie with musical guest, moey’s music Party.

1. The man of the hour, Alexander, grins from ear-to-ear for the camera. 2. Moey’s Music Party entertains (pom-poms included!) for the party guests. 3. Mom, Dad and Alexander blow out a “Fun to Be One” candle, atop his cooler-than-cool turquoise train cake. Photos by Suzanne Cohen (


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At the 4th Annual Women in Industry Luncheon, 276 supporters of Kids in Distressed situations (K.I.D.s.) honored three extraordinary ladies: elyse Kroll, Chairman & CeO of fashion trade show company eNK International; Liz Lange, founder of Liz Lange Maternity; and Christina Miller, senior Vice-President of Cartoon Network enterprises and turner sports. the event was held June 3, 2010. the 5th annual luncheon will take place June 1, 2011.




1. Emcee for the event Roz Abrams and WIIL Honoree Elyse Kroll. 2. WIIL Honoree Liz Lange. 3. Keynote Speaker Silda Wall Spitzer, K.I.D.S. President Janice Weinman and K.I.D.S. Founder and Luncheon Chair Karen Bromley. Photos by Sarah Merians Photo & Video Company

On April 6, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) raised $2.1 million at its 34th Annual Benefit Dinner. the evening’s theme was Celebrating the Power of Parents. Parent Advocate Award recipients included Paul LeClerc, Juanita James, Dudley Williams, and Mary Q. Pedersen.





1. Newsweek/Daily Beast Editor Tina Brown & NYPL President Paul LeClerc. 2. Dudley Williams, Juanita James and Dudley Williams III. 3. Executive Director of NCLD James Wendorf with Mary Kalikow and Peter Kalikow. 4. Al Roker presented the Anne Ford and Allegra Ford Scholarships. Photos by Billy Farrell Agency New York family organized a family Party & travel fest on April 10, featuring Adventures by Disney, Club Med, Royal Caribbean International and Valerie Wilson travel. the event was held at the family-friendly sports Club/LA in Manhattan.





1. New York Family publisher John Hurley and Kimberly Wilson Wetty. 2. A Club Med representative chats about travel with an attendee. 3. A young cruise enthusiast imagines adventures aboard the Royal Caribbean. 4. Adventures by Disney enthralls a family with its promise: The World is a Magical Place. Photos by Andrew Schwartz

On April 17, Dylan’s Candy Bar and New York family hosted its first annual Missing tail Hunt. the event featured breakfast with Vanilla the Bunny, a make-your-own jelly bean mosaic, and an easter egg hunt through the world’s largest candy store.




1. A guest poses with Vanilla the Bunny. 2. The hunt gets underway as kids visit the downstairs of Dylan’s Candy Bar. 3. A jelly bean mosaic, good enough to eat. Photos by Suzanne Cohen


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Sinl pthe l ss City

When New Parents Struggle to Help their Baby Sleep, A Qualified Professional Can Make All the Difference By Leah Black

I knew I was desperate when I asked my cousin how she got Sula to sleep through the night. Sula is her two-year-old Weimaraner. I was willing to look anywhere for help in getting a good night’s rest for my son and I, even from a dog. Months of sleep deprivation as a new mom will do that to you. It will also result in behavior you never could have envisioned pre-parenthood, like crying hysterically at 4 am, throwing stuffed animals at your husband’s head, and calling 911 because you accidentally locked your baby in the apartment. It all started when my son was a newborn. After the one-week honeymoon phase in which Avi lounged around in a perpetual slumber and my husband and I congratulated ourselves on having a great sleeper, he woke up and seemingly wouldn’t go back down. A typical night involved one of us wearing Avi in a sling, swaying back and forth like a belly dancer, while the other frantically searched the radio for static, which seemed to soothe him. If we did this with all the lights turned off, he’d eventually conk out. So, when I learned about Smooth Parenting—a sleep consulting and parent coaching service in the city that helps your baby sleep through the night—I jumped at the chance to work with the woman behind it, Diana Blanco. On the phone, I told Blanco my story, which I was sure would be one of the worst she’d heard. Though he was five months old by then, Avi was still waking anywhere from 3 to 5 times a night, taking miniscule 40-minute naps, and getting up for the day as early as 4:30 am. Neither he nor I had slept through the night since the day he was born.


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“This seems like a pretty typical situation to me,” she said. “It should be easy to fix.” I hung up the phone feeling relieved—there were other parents out there just like me, and many much worse off— and tried to control my excitement when a week later Blanco came for a visit. Avi resting on my hip, we listened to the click clack of her heels on the stairs as she trekked up to our third floor apartment—the sweet sound of professional help! Blanco was everything she had seemed like on the phone—sweet, smart, and passionate about baby sleep. Certified by the World Coach Institute and a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, she reminded me of a gentler version of the Supernanny. “[As parents], we all know in our heart what to do, but we hear and read so many things about what we are supposed to do that it gets confusing,” she told me when I shared

5/20/11 12:18 PM

Jack L. Mitchell, DDS Orthodontics: Rita V. Taliwal, DMD, MS 305 East 55th St. New York, NY 10022

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between 1st & 2nd Avenues 212-755-3355

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the varying strategies I’d used thus far to help Avi sleep, from crying-it-out to picking him up and putting him down endless times—all of which seemed counterintuitive. To prepare for our session, Blanco had given me a sleep log to fill out. It involved charting Avi’s daily schedule, including when he slept, how he fell asleep, his general moods, when he nursed, and the activities we did. It was tedious, but worth it. Blanco had studied the log with the careful eye of a detective. Settling down on my sofa, she pulled a thick file out from her purse, complete with charts and stats detailing his sleep patterns. It showed I was working too hard to get Avi to sleep, my efforts were not working, and he was getting less sleep than was ideal for his age. Then, Blanco presented me with every parent’s dream: a customized sleep plan. It involved a set schedule— including naps that were spaced close together and a temporary super-early bedtime of 5:45 pm. Blanco does not believe in the cry-it-out method, so instead of putting Avi in his crib and not going back in, we’d return to soothe him at set intervals. It was ambitious: Avi was to take 2 to 3 hours worth of naps a day, and sleep for 11 to 12 hours at night. Could my adorable, terrible sleeper really do that? Blanco was confident. Despite her corporate back-


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ground—she has an MBA from New York University and worked in marketing and strategy for Citigroup before founding Smooth Parenting in 2009—Blanco has always had a knack for working with children and families. Born and raised in Galicia, Spain, she grew up the oldest of 30-plus cousins. One of her first experiences with infant sleep was as a teenager. A family friend asked her to babysit, warning her that their baby was a terrible sleeper. But after one evening in Blanco’s care, the baby slept for 8 hours straight—her longest stretch ever. Blanco’s secret? Doing what was intuitive to her, patting and shushing the baby when she woke, but not picking her up too often or giving her a bottle. When Blanco became a mom herself about two-and-a-half years ago, it was to premature twins, Emma and Alba. She essentially lived in the NICU at New York Presbyterian Hospital for two months, where she found moms in situations similar to her own. She started an informal support group that met in the hospital cafeteria and soon her fellow patients, and the NICU’s doctors and nurses, began spreading the word about her special way of helping others. It was largely that experience that led her to establish Smooth Parenting. Her parenting philosophy, like her approach to baby sleep, is gentle. Parenthood, she says, should be enjoyable—not filled with unnecessary stress. “My goal,” she sums up, “is to teach parents how to be the parents they want to be.” Despite her many success stories, however, I was nervous the afternoon Blanco left our apartment. It wasn’t easy implementing her plan in the following weeks. But after just two days of doing most of what she said, Avi went from waking 4-5 times a night to waking just once, and in the course of two weeks, his naps lengthened to over an hour each. It took a few more months for him to sleep through the night—my own inhibitions got in the way of that. Still, by the time I was ready to make it happen and cut out his last night feed, Blanco was right by my side. “I’ll stay by you until you’re all

getting a good night’s sleep,” she wrote me in an email, offering advice and support along the way. Today, Avi is one year old and a great sleeper—something I never thought I’d be able to say. But the biggest change that Blanco helped us make wasn’t even in Avi’s sleep habits. It was in helping me become more confident as a mom. When I was rocking him to sleep for endless hours and responding to his every cry, I wasn’t giving him a chance to learn to sleep on his own. I didn’t believe he could do it, and at the same time, didn’t think I deserved a good night’s sleep enough to let him try. But today we’re both better off because we’re well-rested. Blanco knows how much a good night’s sleep can change a family, which is why she loves her job. “When you have a client say, ‘It changed us, we have a happier child, a happier family’…I never felt so fulfilled in cooperate America,” she says. For more information, visit

What’s Your Baby’s Ideal Sleep Schedule? To find out your little one’s ideal sleep schedule, simply download Blanco’s self-designed iPhone & iPad App at When you input your baby’s age, desired wake-up time, and other details, the app will generate a customized sleep plan. It features naptimes and feeding schedules and adjusts as your baby grows. Also, be sure to read Blanco’s new book, Smooth Baby Sleep: 5 Simple Steps To Help Your Child Sleep, which is available on starting this month.

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In Our Party Room we dO It all . . .

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From Invitations to Packing Up the Gifts.

• Pottery & Plastercraft Painting • mosaics • Create-a-Cuddly • Beading

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Private Party room!

Walk-ins welcome • Never a charge for time! Upper east side

431 East 73rd St. Bet. York & 1st Ave. 212-717-6635 Upper West side

711 Amsterdam Ave. Corner of 94th St. 212-531-2723

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schedule your free trial today! 212 744 0404

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My Favorite Things Leading Parenting Experts, Buyers And Bloggers Share This Month’s ‘Must- Have’ Products For New And Expectant Parents Tweezerman Baby Nail Scissors With Bear Files “These specially designed scissors feature precise, stainless steel blades and rounded tips for safety. The file is perfect for smoothing nail edges. I have used these tools ever since my daughter was born and still use them two and a-half years later for our girly mani-pedi time. It’s a genius design and I have never nicked her skin. It’s totally fool proof!” ( —Julia Samersova, Planet Awesome Kid ( Shout Color Catcher “Shout Color Catcher can help families, especially new parents, save time and money while simplifying and streamlining the laundry process. It allows you to mix whites and colors in the same wash by adding one of these sheets to trap loose dyes, safeguarding clothes—like little onesies—from color bleeds. Brilliant!” ( —Joy Sherwood, New York Family’s Style Director ( Pull-String Carryall “Pish Posh Mommy Carryalls are a must-have for Type-A women who crave organization tout le temps. Versatile and chic, these printed carryalls—complete with a pull string pouch, a diaper clutch, a fold up diaper pad, a “wet bag” for bathing suits or soiled clothes—can be dropped into my purse, my beach bag or just plopped in the car. Love!” ( —Amy Tara Koch, Bump It Up (


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Boon CURL Baby Shoe Rack “You know those adorable shoes? The expensive ones you just had to buy? Your kid can’t wear them all the time, but your wall can. The Curl Shoe Rack displays their awesome kicks like the little works of art they are.” ( —Natalie Peters-Martin, POSH Baby ( Aden + Anais Swaddle “These blankets are amazing and so useful in every way. Put them on the floor for tummy time or swaddle the little one up nice and snug. They get softer with every wash and they will stand the test of time. With all the fabulous patterns and colors, this is always my go-to gift for new parents.” ( —Jennifer Link, Sweet Pea Baby Planners ( Danzo Hobo Diaper Bag “Danzo Diaper bags are the best way for parents to be super organized while staying stylish. Inside pockets with removable labels let Mom and Dad know where anything is at a glance.” ( —Jenni Smith, Half Pint Citizens ( HoMedics Sound SPA Relaxation Sound Machine “We like the HoMedics Sound Spa to provide the soothing womb-like sounds that lull a baby to sleep. Our babies, now big kids, sleep with one every day and night; we take it everywhere we expect them to sleep.” ( —Heather Gibbs Flett, Publisher of Rookie Moms (TM) (

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The Happiest Baby on the Block and Touchpoints

“My favorite new parent musthaves are two books that were recommended to me by fellow mommy friends. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block was a life saver with our colicky first baby and T. Berry Brazelton’s Touchpoints continues to be one of my favorite parenting books of all time!” ( —Heather Ouida, Kiddybites (

It’s portable so it makes checking on baby in the middle of the night easy. Parents love the warm glow and kids love the fun shape. It stays lit for up to eight hours per charge.” ( —Leah Black, Editor of Born & Bred, New York Family’s new parent blog (

Orbit Baby G2 Stroller

“I’m obsessed with the Orbit Baby G2 stroller. It was a personal style-saver for me and the only stroller I had to have. The seat rotates 360 degrees and detaches to become a car seat or a rocker. Did I mention it’s gorgeous and completely modular? And they just released interchangeable colorpacks (due out in June) that allow you to switch between nine vibrant hues.” ( —Elina Furman, Co-Founder and Publisher of A-List Mom ( Tooli Nightlight/Lamp “This rechargeable Tooli nightlight by OXO is a must for the nursery!

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Bummis Organic Cotton Diapering Kit “I love this Organic Cotton Diapering Kit. It includes 24 reusable diapers and most accessories to make cloth diapering a breeze. It’s good for baby, the environment and wallets!” ( —Joanna McNeilly, Metro Minis ( Sophie The Giraffe “The iconic Sophie the Giraffe is my go-to gift for babies. The all-natural rubber teether has foodbased paint that is safe for a baby to chew, the long neck is easy to grasp and the tiny squeak will delight babies but won’t annoy you. Merci Paris for this wonderful toy!” ( —Rebecca Martin, Producer of New York Family’s New Parents Expo (


The Nation’s Biggest Event For New Parents This Year Calling all new and expectant parents! Coming this fall to Pier 92, our New Parents Expo is expected to be the single biggest event for parents in the nation this year! This megashow will enable parents to discover the best maternity, baby and toddler products from national and local companies, and will offer an inspiring menu of lectures, seminars and demonstrations from experts in the world of family and parenting. You’ll get the lowdown on strollers, car seats, nursery furnishings, safety products, early enrichment programs, infant and toddler toys, high chairs, baby bottles, lactation consultants, child CPR, family apps and countless other new parent essentials and resources. Highlights of the expo will include: A SPEAKER SERIES WITH INFORMATIONAL SEMINARS A STROLLER TEST DRIVE TRACK A MOTHER’S LOUNGE WITH REFRESHMENTS A FASHION RUNWAY SHOW The event will be held October 15 and 16 at Pier 92. Tickets are $35 in advance; $40 the day of the show. To learn more about the New Parents Expo and to purchase tickets, visit, find it on Facebook or follow it on Twitter @ NewParentsExpo.

June 2011 | New York Family


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The Baby Expo of All Baby Expos! October 15th & 16th At Pier 92 The largest and most family-friendly consumer event in the United States this year is expected to attract thousands of new and expectant parents from the New York Metropolitan Area.

* Hundreds of Top Brands and Services for New Parents * Superstar Speaker Series * Fashion Runway Shows * Stroller Test Drive Track * National and Local Press Shop, Learn, and Explore with: Asphalt Green, Britax, Buy Buy Baby, Carnegie Hall, Episencial, Little Pim, Mabel’s Labels, MAM Baby, Plum Organics, Prince Lionheart, Skip Hop, Snugli, Viacord, Wooly Boo, and more...

For tickets and more info: Visit

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Call Rebecca Martin 212 284 9732

Presented by

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Now eNrolliNg for fAll!

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SummeRtIme & tHe LeaRNING’S eaSy

How to Battle your Kid’s Inevitable Summer “Brain Drain” With Books, Business and Worldly Babble

By Maria Riley As the school days wind down and summer rears its lazy head, parents and teachers struggle to find creative ways to combat summer learning loss, or “brain drain,” drawing a thin line in the sand between sunstroke fun and intuitive instruction. “The data shows that nearly every student in this country experiences summer slowdown,” says Matthew Boulay, Interim CEO of the National Summer Learning Association and the co-editor of Summer Learning: Research, Policies, and Programs. “It’s more severe in math but it still happens in reading.” Creative Classroom According to researchers, children spend two or more months playing catch up at the beginning of each school year. And keeping young minds active throughout the entire year, especially in comprehension, proves to be a key factor in overall student success. “Summer is really the time when you can innovate,” Boulay says. It’s more about creative learning, rather than more of the same. Since parents deserve a muchneeded break during the summer too (we see you nodding), it’s important to make learning engaging throughout the warm weather months, leaving the stress and deadlines far behind for both parties. It can be as easy as having your child read up on anticipated vacation spots, play word and math games, or oversee an entrepreneurial adventure. Think of it as a treasure hunt—á la Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter or The Goonies— discovering buried treasure of enticed learning in the simplest of places. What’s old is NeW agaiN Smaller children gravitate towards the familiar. Finding activities that morph into


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bigger and more mature versions of themselves guarantee a child’s long-term devotion. In as little as ten minutes, parents can teach a child an important lesson in reading, science, social studies, spelling or math. Try turning a morning breakfast routine of eating Cheerios (or sugar cereal of choice) into a spelling lesson. Kids can create letters and words out of multigrain loops before devouring their bowl. Challenge your little ones to build three, four, and five-letter words like d-a-y, h-e-a-t and l-e-a-r-n. And if you’re craving something sweet: “You can teach fractions with a Hershey’s bar,” suggests Dr. Judy Blankenship Cheatham, Vice President of Literary Services for Reading is Fundamental, the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States. “I did—of course, I kept eating up my teaching materials.” sCreeN time Children between the ages of 3 and 5 crave learning new concepts. If your little ones haven’t started using a computer, it’s a good time to make the introduction. Many programs are available for free online, like or, and provide toddlers with basic computer skills while they learn numbers, colors and beginner’s phonics. “I think there’s good screen time and there’s bad screen time,” Boulay acknowledges, “You want to limit the bad but encourage the good.” Parents should use discretion in setting appropriate limits—if you see your child browsing YouTube for the latest Lady Gaga video or checking out “Jersey Shore” episodes, suggest they go outside instead for some Vitamin D. It’s the better option. stop, drop aNd read Then there are books—the reigning king of summer stimulation (and heck, all-year-round) for all ages. For the

younger set, we like Me…Jane, written and illustrated by Patrick Goodall. Its softly drawn pages bring naturalist Jane Goodall to literary life. “The goal for the parent is to teach some type of literacy every day,” says Dr. Cheatham. For the middle range, we suggest Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, the series’ fifth go-round for comical relief. “Do something every day,” says Cheatham, warning that everyone becomes “rusty” when skills become dormant. travelogue Whether near or far, exploration provides an excellent opportunity for 6-8 year olds to help plan and document family visits, day trips and vacations. Use a globe or map to locate areas you’ll be exploring during the summer months. Have children create (and more importantly, be responsible for) photo journals and scrapbooks with pictures, captions, souvenirs and mementos. This project, like so many others recommended by educational experts, grows along with your child, from scrapbook creation to PowerPoint presentations. Instead of battling one another over the top vacation spot, each family member can build their own presentation, including tourism links, pictures, videos, and reviews, culminating in a preview night where everyone presents and ultimately votes on the winning trip. A teacher for more than three decades, Cheatham knows firsthand the importance of continued learning during summer months and encourages parents to keep it simple, exploring opportunities in their own houses, neighborhoods or cities. “One of the greatest gifts we can give to children,” Cheatham says, “is to talk about the world around us.” Build-a-BusiNess As children age, the willingness to

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engage in any form of learning over the summer diminishes. You remember what it was like—too young to hang out with the teenagers but way too cool for the kids table. Inspiring this group involves out-of-the-box propositions. So why not promote the next young entrepreneur? Some of the more popular and easier businesses include walking dogs, helping with groceries, tutoring younger kids, babysitting, or watering plants and checking mail for traveling neighbors. Invest in your child’s business venture with time, a bit of money, and most importantly, by imparting your own work experience. Guide your tween in marketing skills, lending a hand with making business cards, flyers, t-shirts, a company name and/or logo. This is a prime opportunity for enhancing math skills and teaching financial responsibility. “Reading at night is a part of our daily routine where as nobody is practicing math over the summer,” says Boulay. Open a savings account at your local bank branch, introducing your mini-mogul to the staff, and set a certain time each week for making deposits. Together you can use the online banking site for checking balances and savings dividends. Summer learning occurs naturally if parents and children welcome the break from a productive perspective. Concentrate on reconnecting with your children and rediscover the wonderment of youth. Feed the brain, don’t drain it.

Brain Games

Smart Summer Toys For All Ages By: Lisa Fielding and Stefanie Katz-Rothman, Co-Founders of GIFT HERO 3-5 Years Great States Jr. by International Playthings, $20: A playful introduction to the 50 states. Pre-readers can also engage by matching the objects on the cards to the pictures on the board.

Summer Fun in the City at 74th St. MAGIC Summer Days Camp ... for children 2½ to 6 years old Week-long theme based adventures Only a 2 week non-consecutive minimum Half-Day and Full-Day options available

Summer MAGIC Classes ...for children 6 months to 8 years old Energy-packed classes in music, art, cooking and gymnastics Semester begins June 20th

5-8 Years Flip to Win Hangman by Melissa & Doug, $13: A twist on the classic word game. Letters are attached with elastic bands, and there’s a selfstoring dry erase marker and eraser—ideal for summer travel (and long car rides!). 8-Tweens Snap Circuits Jr. by Elenco, $32: Build working projects such as AM radios and doorbells. All parts are mounted on plastic modules and easily snap together, no tools required.

Available online at or visit GIFT HERO at the Citibabes boutique, 52 Mercer Street.

Pick a program or try them both! Register online or call 212.737.2989 today! ible g, x e l F dulin e m sch aximu Under the redth canopy m un! at 510 East 74 Street (off York Avenue) f New York 212.737.2989

June 2011 | New York Family NYFamilyJune-Half-V-CampClasses2011.indd 1

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Regis t Toda er y!


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Where creative Kids are

Owner, Lindsey Johnson

With crafts For every Kind Of Kid, the craft studio is One Of the city’s premiere Family spots For art and imagination

The phrase “arts & crafts” evokes a smorgasbord of childhood nostalgia: finger paints bursting with color, scissors and scrap paper, tiny clay figurines, glitter pens, buttonup smocks with sleeves rolled to the elbows. Now, add to that an eclectic and funky mix of paint splatter, creative juices and disco balls in a space that rivals any warehouse party venue. The result (and I would bet my glue gun on it) is every child’s dream: The Craft Studio. With its high ceilings, warm ambiance, and cool tunes pumping, The Craft Studio is an inspiring and energetic space tucked into the Upper East Side where creativity roams free. Owner Lindsey Johnson has a commitment and love for the studio that’s infectious. She’s the cool, hip aunt—the one you always want to come over and whisk you away to a magical world of arts & crafts. Only this time, it’s real. Crafty from a young age, Johnson admits to falling in love with the studio when she first started working there as a college freshman. “I developed a really good relationship with the former owner, Barbara Dansker,” she explains. “She started this from nothing, one of the first of its kind, back in the early 90s when this neighborhood wasn’t as family-oriented.” Johnson took over three years ago when Dansker decided to stop working. “Before I graduated, I told her I’d like to start a workshop program,” she recalls, “and Barbara said to me, ‘Actually, I want to retire, but I want to see [The Craft Studio] live on and I don’t want to sell it to just anybody.’” Taking over a business straight out of college? It sounds intimidating, almost impossible, to most young adults. So


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how’d Johnson do it? She did what comes naturally to her; she got creative. “We made a deal where for two years, Barbara worked a little, I worked a lot, and she taught me the business,” Johnson describes. “Parents ask me to tell their kids my story because if you put your mind to it, even if you don’t have the resources, you can make anything happen.” But kids seem less interested in potential entrepreneurial pursuits and more interested in what the studio has to offer. And can you blame them? The 16-year-old establishment is a veritable hot spot for birthday parties, seasonal workshops and walk-in crafts. With terra cotta pots, wooden key chains, hand puppets, superhero costumes, mosaics, and silk scarves aplenty, the studio has something for every kind of project and for every kind of kid. “We customize games. We customize playlists. We have a lot of girls and boys that have had parties with us for years, so we are always thinking of new projects,” Johnson says. “If there is something here that we don’t offer, we’ll make it happen.” In addition to rows of work benches, shelves of crafts, and pockets of party space, the studio offers its own mini toy store, with unique finds off the beaten path. It’s ultrahandy for parents in need of last-minute gifts. The possibilities seem limitless. But, like any great undertaking, Johnson doesn’t do it alone. “I have a great staff,” she gushes. “I try and hire people who are passionate about the place. They’re dancers and artists and they bring that creative vibe to work.” A bright and energetic staff is vital at a place like The Craft Studio, where new ideas are always being hatched and

Photos Andrew Schwartz

A family enjoying arts & crafts BY HeAtHer CHAet

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kids are looking for fresh inspiration. What’s more is that there’s no sitting fee, making it perfect for after school play dates, rainy afternoons, or family weekend retreats. “You can stay as long as you want,” Johnson assures us. That kind of carefree, laid-back approach to art is perhaps what’s most special about The Craft Studio. While it boasts all the proper tools, devices and methods for making a masterpiece, the studio encourages experimentation and simply having fun with friends and family while spending quality time together in a creative environment. “Kids are happy to spend time with their parents. It doesn’t matter how it turns out,” insists Johnson. “Are they going to remember their project five years down the line? No, but they will remember getting their hands dirty with their moms and dads or aunts or uncles.” And soon enough, parents and their friends may have their own space for conceiving and creating art, without their little ones around. Johnson has hopes for a craft studio for adults, with some fun twists. “A place where you could take a sewing class, do scrap-booking but with cool vintagey paper, and maybe have cocktails,” she says. Cheers to that. For more information on The Craft Studio, visit

» UPPER WEST SIDE FOR SALE 45 West 67th Street, 15 ABC

Crafty TIPS

DIY Inspiration For At-Home Projects Most parents have one crafty thing that they can pull out of their back pocket for rainy day entertainment. But what happens when your go-to craft has been done one too many times? Lindsey Johnson, owner of The Craft Studio, has some helpful tips for crafting at home.

How do I get my not-so-artsy kid into art?

Start small and appeal to what they are already into. Have a sporty guy who doesn’t like art? When you’re heading to a Yankees game, buy a plain T-shirt and fabric markers and encourage him to make a rally shirt to take or wear. The first step is making the effort to change it up.

What to I do when we are stuck at home on a bad weather day and don’t have any paints in the house?

When Johnson was a little kid, she would take wrapping paper and a cardboard box and make a collage. It was enough for an afternoon of fun. Open your junk drawer. Grab buttons or pieces of fabric, some glue and go to town.

What do you do with 10 girls at a sleepover?

Grab plain boxer shorts from Modell’s, some fabric paint, ribbons and glue. Then have a ball making cute customized shorts.

What is your favorite crafty thing to give as a gift right now?

A blank canvas: you can do anything with it. They make great gifts for teachers and grandparents. There is something relaxing about painting them, and it always turns out beautiful.

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3,000 sq ft / 5 Bedroom / 3.5 Bathroom / WEB# 32943 Three units have been combined to create the perfect five bedroom home for a buyer looking to be in the heart of the Upper West Side. No detail has been left behind. Central Park and Lincoln Center views and landscaped 1120 sq ft terrace make this the right home for any family. For more information:

RYAN SERHANT Mobile: 646.957.2462 | RyanS@ SILVETTE JULIAN Mobile: 917.846.3942 | SilvetteJ@



©2011 Nest Seekers International. All rights reserved. Nest Seekers International is a Real Estate broker. All material presented is herein is intended for informational purposes only and has been compiled from sources deemed reliable. Though information is believed to be correct, it is presented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice.

June 2011 | New York Family


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a good


photo by Jonathan Pozniak

Word Play With GoodieWords, NyC dad adam Gittlin Taps into Preschool Curiosity With digital Magic By Alessandra Hickson

When it comes to teaching a toddler new vocabulary, most parents rely on games, flashcards, board books and their own know-how. But sometimes that’s not enough. Sure, teaching a three year old the meaning of “hand” is simple. Now, dig a little deeper, and try explaining what a fingerprint is. Not so easy, right? Last April, Adam Gittlin discovered this while putting his then two-and-a-half year-old son to bed. The lights were low; his son enjoyed milk while dad sang, but stopped sipping to query, “What’s a fingerprint?” And Gittlin had no idea how to illustrate the concept. “It was the kind of thing that we take for granted as adults,” says Gittlin. As his son quickly entered what he describes as a “what is this-what is that-what is everything” phase, Gittlin found more and more words his son didn’t understand, like “sweat” and “seed.” “I couldn’t in a real, concise way, explain what these more difficult words and concepts were.” Prior to the app, Gittlin had played around with the idea of making a children’s book and a formula to explain words to preschool children. But that changed during a business trip last April when Gittlin was introduced to the iPad. Suddenly, everything clicked and the idea for the GoodieWords App manifested. GoodieWords is an initially free application for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It combines narratives, music, sound effects, animation, games and characters to teach preschoolers and toddlers the meanings of words. The first download comes with three words (fingerprint, rainbow and balance) and three activities for your child. After that, an additional “GoodiePack” with new words like “shadow” and “electricity” is $1.99. “The beauty of this technology – whereas a book stops [with the definition] – is that you can then have that definition or explanation transform into an interactive activity that further explains how that word lives in our real world,” elaborates Gittlin. The app is all about multisensory learning. And to be sure that the educational epicenter was pitch perfect, Gittlin wrangled a team of top consultants: Brigid Barron, an Associate Professor of Education at Stanford University, and


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GoodieWords Founder Adam Gittlin

Michael Petillo, first grade teacher and learning consultant at The Dalton School in New York City for the last decade. Combined with the digital creative agency Commercial Pop, The GoodieWorld team has so far developed their hit application and four additional GoodiePacks for GoodieWords, all with different activities to engage children. Rather than simply showing a fingerprint, GoodieWords allows users to draw shapes with colorful fingerprints on their iPad while characters explain that no two people share the same print. In “balance,” a favorite of Gittlin’s son, children have to balance ice cream scoops by tilting their Apple product of choice. And the commitment is paying off. GoodieWords was nominated for a Webby Award for the Tablet Games category, a huge honor in the tech world. In the weeks ahead, more GoodieWords will be available. New products like GoodieShapes and GoodieLetters, both in development, are due out in a few months. The team is also in talks to license out the rights in other languages. Looking at the product two-fold, Gittlin recognizes that GoodieWords isn’t just a lesson in vocabulary, but it further teaches kids how to use high-tech gadgets that they’ll encounter down the road. But at home, books are still “a big priority” with Gittlin’s son, who he describes as “very verbal.” The Gittlin family loves their Upper West Side neighborhood. Treks through Riverside and Central Park or a visit to The Museum of Natural History on a rainy day are favorite New York excursions. “I just think the cultural aspect of New York City makes it worthwhile,” says Gittlin. In his opinion, New York kids have the advantage and “become a little bit worldlier, a little bit earlier on.”

It is his belief in challenging children early on, however simple, which propels GoodieWorld towards developing new engaging material. As Gittlin says, “I’m not really interested in games, I’m interested in learning made fun.” For more information on GoodieWords, visit

5/20/11 5:56 PM

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5/23/11 5:05 PM

Activity of the Month



Some Of The City’s Best Young Swimmers Talk About Their Passion For The Pool And Their Choice Stroke

I placed 7th overall [in the 11 and 12-year-old category] in the 200-yard freestyle at the YMCA New York State Swimming Championships in March. When you win a race it feels really good that you’ve accomplished something and that you’ve actually won. For more information on the West Side YMCA Piranhas, visit

Glen Pesola, 12 years old, West side yMCa Piranhas How did you first start swimming? My mom enrolled my older brother in swimming and she thought that I would be good at it too. Did you choose to swim freestyle or did you discover you were good at it first? I kind of choose the stroke when I realized it was my favorite and I swam really well at it. My older brother also liked it so that made me like it too. What are the challenges of the freestyle stroke? What does it take to be good? I think a lot of arm muscles to pull and also a lot of kicking so that you go really fast. How do you prepare for a meet? We usually do practice for diving and practicing the stroke that you’re going to be doing and we do timing. We practice three times a week for an hour and a-half. Is everyone very competitive or does the team joke around a lot? Older kids are really competitive and they try to be fast and better than someone else. It makes me more competitive because I want to be the best. What are you most proud of with regard to your swimming accomplishments?


New York Family | June 2011

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Zoe ChaMberlin, 11 years old, aPex sWiM Club How did you first get started swimming? When I was little I started at a place called SwimJim and from there I started taking more swimming lessons at the Riverdale Y and I was on their swim team. I was always winning races in the swim meets and I was getting a little bored and I needed something more challenging, so my parents signed me up for Apex. What are the challenges of this stroke? What does it take to be good? I think that you have to have a lot of strength in your legs and arms because you’re pulling really hard with your arms and your legs are moving you across the pool and you have to have a lot of force in your body. How do you prepare for a meet or race? I have to eat a good breakfast with a lot of protein and carbs to get my energy level up and I drink Vitamin Water and I eat fruit. Basically, for me, that’s all I really need. Why do you like swimming with Apex? (continued on page 44)

5/20/11 12:10 PM

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5/23/11 5:07 PM

Activity of the Month (continued from page 42) I’m challenged a lot more and I really like my coach and my teammates are really supportive and I’m supportive of them too. What are you most proud of with regard to your swimming accomplishments? I’m most proud of making it to the Zone team because it’s only my second year swimming competitively and to make it to the fastest people in metro. I was really proud and I couldn’t believe that I actually did it and finished in the top 8. I made it to the Junior Olympics too–last year and this year, too. Has being on the team introduced you to a new group of friends? At first I didn’t know anybody and I was really nervous to meet new people because I’m usually shy around people I know. But then after a few practices, when I got to know them, I started making new friends. For more information on the Apex Swim Club, visit

Yeah, I want to get into it in college and in high school because I feel that I’m doing a good job now so I’d want to continue it. For more information on the LaGuardia Twisters, visit

aleC KahN, 11 YeaRS old, 92Nd ST. Y FlYiNG dolPhiNS

TiNa RodRiGuez, 12 YeaRS old, laGuaRdia TwiSTeRS How did you first get started swimming? When I was little my dad was a swim instructor so he got me into swimming. Did you choose to swim backstroke or did you discover you were good at it first? I like the stroke itself and my coaches say I’m really good at it. I made finals at the Junior Olympics in March in backstroke. What are the challenges of this stroke? What does it take to be good? I think that the hardest part is that you’re on you’re back and you’re not as physically aware of where you are in the pool, and also that the water gets in your face a lot. How do you prepare for a meet or race? I practice four days a week. I usually like to eat fruit and Power Bars before my race. I stretch a lot so my muscles loosen up. Why do you like swimming with the Twisters? The coaches are really supportive and they make sure that you’re comfortable in the water and the other team members are really nice. They help you when you need it. Do you think you’ll continue swimming as you grow up?


New York Family | June 2011

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What do you enjoy most about swimming? I just like being in the water. It’s not about it being a sport. What are the challenges of the butterfly stroke? What does it take to be good? I think it’s one of the harder strokes. I think you need really good endurance. But to sprint you just need to be really strong. How do you prepare for a meet? The day before I swim, I always eat pasta. Right before I swim I warm myself up by wearing sweatpants and sweatshirts and drinking a lot of Gatorade, Vitamin Water and water. I usually don’t eat too much right before my race. Why do you like swimming with 92nd St. Y Flying Dolphins? I like having a team and having them cheer you on. I like being in relays. Is everyone very competitive or does the team joke around a lot? Everyone is friendly but everybody has competitors on other teams. But they’re still friendly with those competitors. What are you most proud of with regard to your swimming accomplishments? I’ve gotten second place twice, high-point award trophies. And I’ve gotten a lot of first place medals and ribbons. For more information on the 92nd St. Y Flying Dolphins, visit

Swim ClaSSeS if you’re looking to enroll your child in a swim class, here are some trusted programs around the city. 92nd St. Y: aqua Skills: asphalt Green: imagine School of Swimming: New York Sports Club: Physique: SwimJim: Take me To The water: Your local YmCa:

5/20/11 12:11 PM

Swimming in The CiTy Vadim Shoyket Of Physique Swimming Offers Some Advice For Parents Of Swimmers Of All Ages

when should children stArt to consider competitive swimming? When choosing whether or not competitive swimming is the right path for your swimmer, there are two factors to consider: endurance and technique. A swimmer will also need to have knowledge of both freestyle and backstroke before joining a swim team. how do most children bAlAnce swimming with school And other Activities? One of the benefits of joining

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a swim team is that it forces children to develop excellent time management skills. The best advice I can give a parent to help a child manage a sport and school is to work with your child to create and maintain a schedule (and be sure to schedule in a bit of free time).

Training the dancers of tomorrow

whAt is your Advice for pArents who Are considering enrolling their child on A swim teAm? Be supportive and avoid pushing your child. Children will remember their swim team experiences for the rest of their lives, so it’s important to make these memories good ones. last words: Swim teams come in all shapes and sizes. Some require more time and are more challenging. Other teams are more relaxed. Remember, you don’t have to pick the first team you try. You can shop around until you find the right fit.

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At whAt Age should boys And girls leArn how to swim? When it comes to learning to swim, earlier is better. I recommend beginning swimming lessons as early as six months. Infants can learn the fundamentals: holding their breath, gliding, floating and kicking.


5/20/11 12:17 PM

Activity of the Month


Griffin at the Eric Namesnik Michigan Grand Prix


Griffin Schumacher, A Teenage Swimming Phenom From New York City, Dives Deep Into his Sport And Future As A Scholar-Athlete By Kelly Farrell

For 18-year-old Griffin Schumacher, the past five years have been a true test of endurance. A senior at Riverdale Country School, he will be Harvard-bound in the fall after spending the last few years training as a championship swimmer at the Upper East Side’s Asphalt Green swim club. Attempting to balance the demands of a training schedule and elite swimming races with SATs, homework assignments and tests, didn’t come easily but, as Schumacher found, it’s all worth it for the thrill of the race. Tell me about how you started swimming. How did you make it to where you are today?

I started swimming for my school team in seventh grade and then in eighth grade my coach offered me a spot on the varsity team which was a pretty big deal for an eighth grader. And then in ninth grade I swam fast in a league championship meet so my coach encouraged me to join the club team at Asphalt Green.

What keeps you going, what makes it all worth it?

I’m really competitive and I love racing. I get to go against kids that can challenge me every day. Swimming is all about self-improvement and always trying to better myself especially because it often comes down to a tenth of a second or a hundredth of a second. What’s it like competing on Asphalt Green’s AGUA team?

Well, I started in my sophomore year and I swim there anywhere between six and ten times a week. Normally we have big competitions after each competition at the end of each season and then we have small meets as well. Looking back over your career as a swimmer, what has been your proudest moment or your biggest accomplishment?

What do you find most challenging about swimming?

My junior year in March I qualified for Olympic trials for 50 freestyle, then that summer I was a finalist in Junior Nationals for two events, those were both big moments for me.

I’d say being consistent and having to swim every day, sometimes twice a day, is most challenging. Even when you feel sick or you have a lot of work you still need to be there giving it your all.

You’re headed for Harvard next year! When did you find out about your acceptance and what was that moment like?


New York Family | June 2011

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It was a long process to apply and waiting to get accepted and it was really, really stressful. I was in school with my friends when I found out, my phone rang and I took the call. I never really expected or realized that I might have a chance to get in so it was just huge and incredible. I had no idea what to say, I was speechless. Did you have trouble balancing your responsibilities as a scholar-athlete? Did you have to give up a lot of normal teenage life?

It’s definitely challenging and I’ve pulled more than a few all-nighters, it’s really all about finding any second you can to study for a test, whether it’s driving to practice or on the bus coming home. As far as my social life, my team has Saturday and Sunday morning practices so I have to be home pretty early on weekends. It’s a sacrifice but it’s worth it, I love swimming and practicing every day and seeing friends. What would your advice be to an aspiring young swimmer?

I would say time management is key, and to get enough sleep because sleep has been a tough thing for me to get enough of. For more information on Asphalt Green, visit

5/20/11 12:17 PM

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5/19/11 1:27 PM


Patterns of change always at the Forefront Of Family Furniture, Dwellstudio Founder christiane lemieux reveals her “Undecorating” Philosophy On the homefront


New York Family | June 2011

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By Erika Thormahlen

Barely past the trikes and scooters parked in the travertine entryway to her Soho loft, Christiane Lemieux pauses under an antique pendant lantern that once swung from Toronto’s City Hall. “This is all going to be changed,” she announces. Meaning tomorrow when contractors arrive to redesign some of her family’s living space. It’s the first clue Lemieux, founder and creative director of modern home décor brand DwellStudio, gives into her design dabbling spirit. “It’s never done,” she says of her home, not with a sigh, but, rather, a spark. “You tinker and tweak as your style changes. It’s an evolving thing.” Like a moving target, Lemieux evokes a sense of constant motion when describing her wanderlust work and lifestyle–evolution, process, progress –all befitting of a Canadian ex-pat, wife, mother, and designer with a roving eye for inspiration. After graduating from Parson’s School of Design and a two-year stint in the fashion and home design industries, Lemieux launched DwellStudio in 2000, focusing strictly on textiles because, as she admits, they were the easiest product a one-woman brand could ship. Today, Lemieux’s initial vision of contemporary fabrics with clean, graphic prints has become the cornerstone of her family-run company. From nursery furniture to diaper bags, from duvet covers to headboards, her home furnishings and accessories team has achieved its own signature mid-century modern style. Lemieux often refers to DwellStudio’s philosophy as “a natural progression,” giving clients the tools they need to be their own decorator, their own designer, with a focus on personality, trends and quality-for-value. And, as a parent and design consumer herself, Lemieux applies the same thinking to her own living space. A tour around her family’s three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath apartment reflects her evolving tastes and even her personal travels. A 14-foot mahogany dining table from Paris’s Clignancourt flea market; wheat-colored silk carpets made in Tibet; a coffee table found at Brimfield, Massachusetts’s enduring outdoor antique show; a sparkling, fairytale-like chandelier rescued from an old movie theater in New Jersey. If Lemieux had started out her career cautious about shipping, that notion has evolved, too: “Show me a container and I’ll put some stuff in it,” she grins, as she glides across rough-hewn oak floors handpicked from Amsterdam. “[The floors are] old, heavy, and already dinged up, so they have personality,” she explains, adding it’s a lived-in quality that makes them the perfect surface for scooter races between her three-year-old son, William, and five-year-old daughter, Isabelle. No far-flung bazaar or dusty auction, how-

Reprinted from the book Undecorate by Christiane Lemieux. Copyright © 2011 by Christiane Lemieux. Photographs copyright © 2011 by Melanie Acevedo. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.


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ever, has played as much a part in the apartment’s look and feel as her family. Although, Lemieux likes to joke that her design approach has been more an attempt “to slowly undo those little mistakes” she and her husband made in an initial gut-renovation five years ago. Pregnant with Isabelle at the time, Lemieux laments that she “literally had no idea” when it came to considering kid-friendly features in home design. Case in point: linen wallpaper, a perfect canvas for smudgy little fingers and the occasional crayon mural. Luckily, the wall coverings are being replaced imminently. Another work-in-progress ready for completion? A space off the main living area which Lemieux and her husband once considered for a gym, then an office and now, a play and computer room for the kids. “I’m glad we didn’t build out this room until now because now we can actually build it out effectively,” she says with resolve. Other changes on the makeover list abound: Isabelle’s cotton-candy hued bedroom walls are no longer part of the master plan. “Her favorite color is red because pink is for babies,” explains Lemieux. Should we expect crimson walls? Not quite. “I think we’re going to pick something more versatile,” she laughs, though it’s clear this mom takes the request seriously. “When kids get older they need downtime,” she says, “So it’s really about giving them a space that’s more personal.” Like her daughter, Lemieux sees an opportunity to personalize the master bedroom, too. To complement a sleek shelving system by mid-century Danish designer, Hans Wegner, the vintage furniture buff is excited to design the other half of the room in her self-described “modern luxe” style. A more minimalist Serge Mouille fixture will replace a teardrop chandelier, and her DwellStudio upholstered headboard – while she still loves it – is getting an update. “I like clean lines but I like luxurious detail,” Lemieux says, evident in the spacious master bath lined in creamy Carrara marble. With all of this redecorating underway, it’s not surprising that Lemieux has even reconceptualized the word into something more appropriate for her design philosophy: undecorate. In fact, she wrote a book about it. Published last

March, Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design (Clarkson Potter) seeks to showcase a trend Lemieux spotted in her own life and work. The book features 20 different homes around the country each with their own take on intuitive and flexible décor. “All of our customers, all of the bloggers we interact with, everybody in that kind of online, design sphere is constantly tweaking their space,” she says, Isabelle’s bedroom looking around. “My home is a perfect example of that.” And Lemieux applies the same fluid thinking to her family life. As a working mom, she manages to fit in travel (this year the family has already jetted to Mexico, Canada, Miami and several other U.S. cities), trips to the Children’s Museum, activities with Citibabes and meals at Chicca on Spring Street—the only place her son likes to eat. “Give yourself a break,” she encourages fellow parents, “You’re probably doing the best job you can, especially in New York.” Last stop on the tour is William’s bedroom. Just in time, the three-year-old rushes in from preschool ready to talk dinosaurs. As Lemieux points to a framed polka dot print over his bed, William interrupts: “But I don’t like that picture,” says the budding interior decorator. “What do you want instead?” Lemieux queries. “A dinosaur painting. Not that one,” he says pointing at the picture in question. “That one’s kind of baby.” Lemieux nods with all the seriousness of a DwellStudio design meeting. Let the undecorating begin.

Christiane Lemieux’s Five Must-Have Products For The Kids Room Dots Multi Mobile, by frazier & wing for DwellStudio, is a modern twist on a classic nursery staple. It comes in a range of fabulous colors for pattern coordination and a streamlined presentation. Tree Multi Large Rug combines comfy and cool in the softest, sturdiest of floor coverings. This woodlandinspired design is suitable for both boys and girls, and made from 100% handtufted New Zealand wool.

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The City Stamp Set is a timeless gift for any kids room—cherished by children of all ages. This set features a cityscape motif for young artists to replicate on their medium of choice. Includes 6-7 stamps, 2 ink pads, 5 pencils, all in a charming pine box for easy storage. The Savoy Glider, in a fabulously mod “dotscape” pattern, is cozy enough for the nursery but stylish enough for

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ot a HAVE IT


By Eric Messinger

Meeting Spike and Tonya Lee at their home on the East Side, I had a few modest goals. I didn’t want to be the 10,000th interviewer who tried (and failed) to ingratiate himself with Spike by making small talk about the Knicks. (Truth be told, I interviewed Spike once before, about 12 years ago, for The New York Times Magazine, and I’m sure I probably did try to talk about the Knicks at the time.) Nor did I want to talk that much about his filmmaking career, since I probably wasn’t going to bring any new insights to that awesome body of work. The fresh opportunity, I thought, was to talk to Spike and Tonya as parents of two children, Satchel, 16 and Jackson,


New York Family | June 2011

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13, and to politely steer the conversation towards Tonya since her background and voice are less familiar. The good news is they seemed to be on the same page!

Giant Steps To Change The World—what a great idea for a children’s book. How did it all come about? Tonya: The editor I worked with on our other children’s books had been talking to me about trying to do something around historical figures. I love history and I loved the idea of making history interesting and relevant to kids. To give people a sense of the book and your thinking, would

each of you talk about one figure in it of special meaning or importance to you? Spike: Jean-Michel Basquiat was one. The point being that here is this kid from Brooklyn who went on to become this amazing painter. Paint your own portrait, don’t be limited. Tonya: For me, it was Dr. Ben Carson [one of the great innovators in pediatric neurosurgery], somebody who I just revere. First of all, he has saved so many lives. He also has a very inspiring personal story. As a young kid, teachers basically told him he was stupid, but he dug down deep and fulfilled his dream of being a doctor. There are a lot of families today who are very grateful he did not listen to some of his teachers.

Photo Thaddeus Harden

No Film Talk. No Knicks Gossip. Just An Open Conversation With Spike And Tonya Lee About Parenting And Family.

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Your first two children’s books— Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please are adorable, and you’ve spoken in past interviews about how the books were inspired, in part, by your own experiences as parents. Your kids are a little older now—how are the teenage years going? Tonya: The teenage years are definitely an interesting time. But our kids are great, they even still like to come and cuddle now and then, walk hand in hand down the street, all that stuff. What are some of the joys and challenges of being their parents right now? At 16, what’s Satchel like? Tonya: Satchel is intense and complicated, and she’s growing from being a girl to being a young woman. It’s a real transition time for her, and a joy to see and watch. Helping guide her through can be a scary thing sometimes, but it’s great. Spike: She doesn’t listen to me though. Tonya: She might not want to accept it, but she listens. What I find with Satchel is that it’s always interesting to kind of let her come to me. With kids sometimes if you go direct, you don’t get much. But when she’s ready to come to me, she gives a lot. I’m very honest with her about a lot of things in life. At the end of the day, I think that she knows that we have her back no matter what—and that means everything. How about Jackson? Spike: He’s a sensitive, sensitive soul. He doesn’t like injustice. In the world, he wants everything to be fair and square and on the up. Tonya: Yeah, he hates a cheater. He is artistic and creative too. Both of them are. Satchel likes to sing, dance and play the guitar, write. She likes to write screenplays. Jackson is our family photographer. He’s a great photographer. He likes to paint too. But he also likes to look things up and may even want to be a doctor. Who knows? Do you two have any set rules around spending family time

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gether? I’m curious what the demands of filmmaking mean for family life. Spike: You just try to make it work. It’s hard because a lot of times you want to be home but you can’t. From your experience, how does celebrity impact family life? Tonya: I say this knocking on wood, but I don’t really know that it has impacted us that much. It’s just part of who we are, and I think we’ve been good about keeping ourselves protected. Even doing this interview is a little weird and intrusive to me because we don’t really talk about the kids all that much in a public way. But all in, other than the fact that they have met some amazing people and have such a critical eye on certain things, I don’t know that there’s been a big impact in a negative way. Spike: It’s the biggest when we’re outside. Just walking around, or eating and having people come up to us. But it hasn’t been bad. Tonya: You know, when we’re with the kids we just kind of go into our zone. We’re really kind of normal. Even with Spike, when people do come up in the streets, if it’s intrusive, he’ll let people know, “Hey, I’m with my family.” And people respect that. I love that idea of being in your zone as a family. We all have our family zone, with its love, quirks, dynamics and challenges. Spike, when you think about your journey as a father, what comes to mind? Spike: All the stuff that you didn’t want to do as a kid that your father tells you to do? You end up telling your kids the same thing. Always works like that. You try to tell them, look I did this already, so just do it this way—but they never listen. And they’re going to end up doing the same thing with their children. It’s just keeps going. By the way, how did you two originally meet? Tonya: I was practicing law in D.C.

at the time, and we met at the Congressional Black Caucus’s gala dinner. Did he have a really bad pick-up line? Tonya: He did a jig, actually! And I told him I was available. Tonya, is it fair to say that you made the choice to be more of the home anchor? Tonya: That’s definitely fair. I’ve always been an ambitious person. It was not an easy transition for me to think of myself of being a stay-athome mom. I always thought that I would always be out there—and am, I’ve been able to figure out how to balance it a bit—but the day-to-day family stuff falls on me and that’s okay. I have grown to really appreciate the opportunity to be here with my kids and really be able to raise them, protect them and guide them when Spike can’t be here. I’ve grown to like to cook too. I didn’t at first, but now I feel like it’s such a privilege to be able to cook for my kids as much as I can. I hear you’re also dedicated volunteer at their schools—and the president of the PTA at Jackson’s school. Did you ever think you’d be a PTA mom? Tonya: Yeah, it’s a little strange. But he has really flourished there, and I wanted to be involved in the school. It’s not as active a social school as some are—which is fine. It’s an extra load, but I’m happy to do it June 2011 | New York Family


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school kids about making healthy lifestyle choices for the sake of their children, even way before they think about having them… We now have over 1,000 kids in colleges across the country and we’re building as we go.

You also volunteer on a national scale as part of the federal government’s “A Healthy Baby Begins With You” initiative. What’s that all about? Tonya: It’s been ongoing since 2007. It’s an infant mortality awareness campaign. It started out with me just traveling around the country. I’m working with the Office of Minority Health and we’d link up with a local health agency and we would put on a big health fair and I would come and talk to women about making healthy lifestyle choices so their risks of infant mortality could be reduced. The second year we came up with a program that we call our Preconception Peer Educators, where we went out to college students and asked them to talk to their peers and high school and middle


New York Family | June 2011

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Spike, when I interviewed you about 12 years ago, you had just moved into Manhattan from Brooklyn, your kids were very young, and you expressed some concern about them attending private schools where there weren’t that many black children and the values and manners were, let’s say, kind of snobby. Spike: When you go the private school route, you’re never gonna get the diversity that really reflects all of New York City. That’s something you know going in. Tonya: The fact of the matter is the way we educate in this country is messed up. Even going to the private schools, there’s no perfect place. Spike: Here’s the dirty secret about private schools. They never tell you that in addition to the tuition you have to have tutors. I never knew that. There might have been a general statement, but you don’t find out ‘till you’re in. And these tuitions! They’re the same price as college tuition at some colleges. Tonya: It’s true, but there’s still no question that private schools have incredible resources, and you’re getting the best of what’s out there. Tonya, I think we can assume that many of our readers are familiar with Spike’s bio. So I wanted to highlight that you too have the creative gene. You were the Executive Producer of an award-winning documentary called “I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education.” And you also co-wrote a

novel, Gotham Diaries. Is there a common thread linking your creative work? Tonya: There is a community of affluent African Americans in the city. They exist, I know them personally. But I don’t see them on television, I don’t see them regularly in any form of the media—movies or television. And they exist outside of Manhattan; they’re all around this country. For me, doing Gotham Diaries was about showing that these people do exist. In terms of family, that was why we wrote Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please. There aren’t that many books out there that feature kids of color and just a day in their life. When we had kids and we were looking around . . . I mean, I think it’s a crime that to this day there isn’t more representation of young black children in TV and in the movies. We need to be able to see ourselves as we really are. What’s your personal background? Tonya: I’m sort of a gypsy. I was born in Yonkers and then we moved to Jersey when I was two and we lived in Montclair. We later moved to Wisconsin ‘till my junior year of high school, and then we moved to St. Louis, where I graduated from high school. In New Jersey, I was going to public school. When I first moved to Milwaukee I started in public school but it was a racist horrible place so my parents put me into private school until high school. I chose to go back to public school for high school because I wanted to be around black kids. Given how itinerant your childhood was, do you now doubly enjoy the stability of raising your children in one place? Tonya: To be honest, I’m a little restless. We’ve been in this house longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere else. Which in some ways is really wonderful and great, but I’m plotting my next move. After the kids leave the house . . . I’m ready to go! Spike, are you ready? Spike: I’m not living in Long Island. That’s for sure. No disrespect. And no New Jersey!

5/20/11 1:17 PM



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Mobile: 646.957.2462|RyanS@ 415 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10017 | ©2011 Nest Seekers International. All rights reserved. Nest Seekers International is a Real Estate broker. All material presented is herein is intended for informational purposes only and has been compiled from sources deemed reliable. Though information is believed to be correct, it is presented subject to errors, omissions, changes or withdrawal without notice.


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5/19/11 1:31 PM

dAdS we loVe

From An AmericAn idol To A SelF-ProclAimed lexiconnoiSSeur, meeT ThiS YeAr’S GrouP oF noTAble new York dAdS

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June 2011 | New York Family


5/20/11 2:05 PM




&FA HO OD Chef Michael Anthony On Eating Local And Helping Kids Discover The Culinary World BY ChaNdNi Rathod

It’s undeniable: Michael Anthony has an appetite for life. Aside from being Executive Chef at New York City’s beloved Gramercy Tavern restaurant, Anthony is also a father to three growing girls, a volunteer working with local schools to teach children about healthy eating, and a philanthropist with organizations like City Harvest. Talk about a robust palette! After graduating from Indiana University with degrees in business, French and Japanese, Anthony trotted the globe and honed his passion for cooking in Japan. In 1991, he attended culinary school in France and went on to work at renowned restaurants, including Jacques Cagna in Paris and Daniel in Manhattan. Today, his role at Gramercy Tavern—a neighborhood favorite for over 17 years—allows him a personal approach with his menus, reflecting the importance of eating locallygrown and sustainable foods. What’s more, Anthony and his staff volunteer with city schools like P.S. 41 and Dalton to teach young eaters about where their food comes from and to help them discover the culinary sphere. “We’re able to play a role in teaching kids to observe their surroundings in a finer detail,” Anthony notes. “The goal is to nurture this sense of observation and fascination with the physical world around them.” But being a busy chef, father, philanthropist and community educator of course means making sacrifices. “While most families are spending hours together in the evening, that’s when a chef is busiest,” says Anthony. “I’ve had to learn over the years how to become a very good manager and that means being realistic about my schedule…and being fair to make sure I’m nurturing each part of my life.” True to form, Anthony is growing little foodies of his


New York Family | June 2011

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Chef Anthony with his wife and three daughters

own at home. His daughters Gabrielle, 12, Colette, 9, and Adeline, 16 months, are all very interested in being mini chefs. Anthony has taught them to distinguish between different knives and tools in the kitchen, as well as how to pick out food at a local green market. Which begs the question, how does this dad get his kids to eat their veggies? “That’s the way we already eat,” Anthony says. “We’re not asking our kids to do anything that we don’t already do. It’s very difficult to teach a kid piano if you are not a music lover. The same thing is true of eating.” And when it comes to family life in the big city, Anthony is always ready to bite off a big piece of the action. “It’s one of the most stimulating cities in the world and there is constant excitement and discovery. We have access to the delicious foods. We have access to ideas and people that come from around the world.”

5/23/11 9:02 AM



Hector Batista with son Gian and daughter Katrina

As Executive Director Of Big Brothers Big Sisters (NYC), Hector Batista Connects Urban Youth With Positive, Dedicated Role Models By Angela Johnson

In New York City, the issues children face can be as diverse as the population itself. But Hector Batista recognizes that the need for positive adult role models is universal – transcending age, gender, education, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. As the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, the Brooklyn-native and father of two leads an organization dedicated to providing caring mentors to over 3,000 city children each year. When Batista was growing up, his parents imparted the desire to help others, which led him to a successful career in nonprofit leadership, holding positions with The Way to Work—a youth workforce development program—and The American Cancer Society before taking on his current role. “I’ve always felt a duty to serve and to be someone who can make the world a little bit better,” he says. “I think I get the most satisfaction in the work I do now, because everyday I get out there, I’m making a difference in a young person’s life.” While he was fortunate enough to have grown up in a supportive, two-parent household, Batista recognizes that many NYC children do not share his experience and he wants Big Brothers Big Sisters to help fill that void. The organization’s targeted volunteer and mentoring programs are aimed at young people facing societal challenges such as being new immigrants, teen mothers or having incarcerated parents. Children are paired in one-on-one relationships with adults who can give them the guidance and support they need to beat the odds. In his role, Batista hopes to increase the number of

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children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters and to continue to respond to their specific needs. He would also like to boost the number of male volunteers, particularly in the Bronx and Queens. After all, it’s not just doctors, lawyers and experienced professionals who can be mentors. “What makes a good mentor is someone who is reliable, who can expose [the mentee] to different things,” Batista explains. He’s not as concerned about what’s on a person’s resume as much as their commitment to the BBBS relationship. And he encourages anyone who wants to make a difference in a child’s life to consider volunteering. “Some of the mistakes you made or lessons you’ve learned in life can be used to help someone else,” Batista says. In fact, most “Bigs”—as the mentors are affectionately called—find they get as much or more out of the relationship than their mentee. Though he’s charged with enriching the lives of kids all over the city, Batista prioritizes his own children—Gian, his 20-year-old son and Katrina, his 16-year-old daughter. “I went to all of their activities growing up,” Batista recalls. “I really wanted to be involved in their lives.” And for the past 10 years, he’s cleared his calendar for a standing Thursday night dinner date with his daughter. “I have a job I love and two wonderful kids,” he says. “I think I’m blessed.” To learn more about how you can get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, visit June 2011 | New York Family


5/23/11 9:04 AM

THERE’S A WORD FOR THAT Kara, Maya, Jaxen, Crosby and Eric Ruhalter By Paula Balzer

Has your kid ever had a really bad case of “whyahrhea”? Is your littlest one a “stocktease”? And how can you explain your most recent “clandes-dine” behavior? These are not trick questions. But if you find that your vocabulary is lacking, simply refer to the latest volume of New Jersey dad Eric Ruhalter’s The KidDictionary: A Book Of Words Parents Need But Don’t Have. A self-proclaimed word-loving “Lexiconnoisseur,” Ruhalter has written a go-to guide for defining our children’s most indescribable behavior. In it, you’ll find that “whyahrhea” is an inquisitive toddler’s chain of rapidfire questions; a “stocktease” is a child who lets you buy large quantities of their favorite food and then suddenly decides that they don’t like it anymore; and “clandes-dine” is hiding from one’s child while eating a cookie so they don’t ask for one too. “As soon as I started having kids it became apparent that there weren’t words to describe what they were doing… Parenthood needed a whole new language,” Ruhalter, a producer at AMC, explains. Life with his wife, Kara, his twelve-year-old son, Jaxen, and nine-year-old twins, Maya and Crosby, is easier and more amusing when Ruhalter makes up words to describe those crazy situations that kids get themselves into. What began as a fun blog post of made-up words to poke fun at parenting soon blossomed into a full-fledged book, complete with pronunciation keys and descriptive flourish. Naturally, raising three kids has provided him with plenty of material to build new and creative rhetoric. “There was a lot of ‘garboflaging’ in our house,” Ruhalter explains, admitting to the act of hiding kid artwork underneath piles of garbage. “For awhile we had some ‘phantomolition,’” he continues, “which is when something gets broken, but nobody did it.” As any parent knows, having children around the house can often mean that your sense of humor goes out the window. But Ruhalter declares that The KidDictionary is a nice antidote to the mundane side of parenting. “Humor is therapeutic,” he says. “I’ve gotten emails from moms who have said that their kids have done something


New York Family | June 2011

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In KidDictionary Local Dad Eric Ruhalter Finds Truth And Humor In Making Up New Words For Old Parenting Tricks that would have really upset, angered or frustrated them and they remembered a word from the book and they just laughed instead. I was really proud of that.” And while you might think that a family like the Ruhalters spends their weekends completing The New York Times crossword puzzle together, their extracurricular activities are more typical of a tight-knit, local family: “We’re spending most of our free time at some little league field or soccer field.” Ruhalter has a word for activities like that: research.

POP QUIZ! To add to your growing lexicon, here are some more words to describe some classic kid behavior. DRINKLE (DRING-kuhl) n: The liquid burst emitted from the little straw when a toddler grips his juice box too tightly. KINSULTATION (KINN-suhl-TAY-shun) v : To ask Mom for permission to do something because Dad said “no.” Or vice versa. MONOPOLOOZE (mo-NAH-puh-looz) v: To strategically lose a board game against an unsportsmanlike child. SUBTATTLE (SUB-tah-tuhl) v: When a child reprimands a sibling in a loud voice with the primary goal of alerting Mom and Dad. WISHJACK (WISH-jack) v: To blow out the candles on another child’s birthday cake.

For more words, fun videos and a look inside The KidDictionary, visit

5/23/11 9:05 AM

I’ve GOT the MusIC

In Me

Michael Lynche with wife Christa and daughter Laila Rose

By Chandni Rathod

Slush and sleet aside, there’s some serious sentiment surrounding a New York winter. Over five years ago, Michael Lynche and his wife Christa stood near Bryant Park - taken aback by the Manhattan snow globe. With music in the air, skaters on the rink and a steady stream of shoppers buzzing by—they both knew this is where they needed to be. Within the year, they left their Florida home for a New York beginning. Thanks to a little show called American Idol, Michael Lynche went from being a virtual nobody to a singing somebody. As the charismatic crooner known as “Big Mike,” this Queens resident became the fourth place finalist on Idol’s unforgettable ninth season. And while we still recall Lynche’s soulful take on “Eleanor Rigby,” his most memorable moment on the show was a telephone call signaling fatherhood: Christa had gone into labor and given birth to his now 15-month-old daughter Laila Rose. Due to the circumstances of the show, Lynche finally saw his little girl when she was nine days old. Today, she is walking, talking and, when nobody is looking, throwing things in the toilet. “She just so vigilant and watching everything you do. She makes you want to set a good example and be a better person than you actually you are.” Nowadays, Lynche and his family are on the road quite a bit. After Idol, Lynche accelerated his career with the season nine tour and several singing gigs in NYC. But despite the long hours, he tries to bring the whole family along for the ride. Christa and Laila Rose often sit backstage in the green room while Lynche performs. “Every time I sing, Laila Rose

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perks up and gets really happy and starts making a lot of noise,” reminisces Lynche. “Music is such a big part of my life that it has to be a big part of her life too.” The musical bug bit Lynche at an early age too. He received his first guitar at the age of three and began performing at his church, where he took to tunes by mimicking the parish’s guitar player. “He was a BB King type and a great blues performer,” says Lynche. Lynche found his voice after participating in musical theater in his middle and high schools, both centered on performing arts. Currently, his primary focus is on recording for his new album, which is set to release later this year. He is also working on a wholesome reality show that follows him and his family’s post-Idol life. Meanwhile, Lynche enjoys performing for charity events, especially ones rooted in children’s causes, like the Boys and Girls Club of America. “Anything that has to do with the kids I have a soft spot for.” Perhaps you’ll run into Lynche when he’s in town. The family lives along the water in Long Island City. “We debated whether we should move back to St. Petersburg [Florida] to give our daughter the same kind of life we had growing up,” explains Lynche. “But I think there is just so much more opportunity here.” The Lynches are part of a Long Island Moms and Dads group and never tire of connecting with people on the playground. “That kind of community and culture is outstanding,” says Lynche. “They (kids) basically become fearless and if you raise them the right way in New York, they get introduced to anything and everything.” June 2011 | New York Family

Kim Fox Photography

American Idol Contestant And Queens Father Michael Lynche (aka “Big Mike”) Finds A Musical Muse In His Daughter


5/23/11 9:08 AM

Dr. David Appel, Emily, Ele, and Jonathan


Bronx Pediatrician David Appel Runs The Largest School Health Program In The Nation While Writing His Own Prescription For Family Fun By Christeen Vilbrun

Wearing a white lab coat and carrying a stethoscope is not really what being a doctor is all about. At least not for Doctor David Appel. As a pediatrician and the Director of Montefiore Medical Center’s School Health Program, Dr. Appel does so much more than seeing patients and writing prescriptions. This father of two and full-time doctor leads an organization that gives more than 20,000 Bronx children the healthcare they need through clinics at 18 of the borough’s elementary, middle and high schools. It’s the largest program of its kind in the country, at a time when many youth rely on public health initiatives. “The program was very welcomed by the schools,” Appel notes. “The kids loved us, the parents trusted us, and the schools depended on us once we were there to handle a lot of the urgent medical and emotional crises.” Besides primary care, preventive and treatment services, the clinics also provide dental, mental health and communitybased assistance. And while Appel is thrilled with the impact his organization has had on the lives of children in underserved communities, he is always thinking one step ahead. “There are always challenges,” he says. “Getting the adequate space for services and funding.” Appel’s reasons for getting involved in the community


New York Family | June 2011

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schools are pure and simple: the kids. His mission is to ensure that children receive exceptional care and develop into independent adults who can live fully satisfying lives. “I think people are realizing the value of having stable, comprehensive services for children that meet their needs, often in neighborhoods where they don’t have anywhere else to turn,” he remarks. But while his work with the school health program is demanding, Appel finds fatherhood to be the greatest test. “It’s a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week job. You have to be available always,” he says. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a good challenge. Raising your kids right,” he insists, “it’s the most important thing you can do.” With him and his wife both juggling career and family, the Appels prioritize shared responsibilities, family meals, time spent outdoors and regular vacations. Camping, hiking, bicycling, even embarrassing his two kids—Jonathan and Emily—with his Spanish-speaking abilities (or lack thereof!) while traveling in Costa Rica is cherished family time. Last year, the twosome made homemade cards and wrote Father’s Day poems. It was the perfect gift for a deserving dad. Appel remembers, “I loved that...It made me feel very appreciated.” For more information on Montefiore Medical Center’s School Health Program, visit

5/23/11 9:13 AM

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5/19/11 1:32 PM

Arthur Backal with his daughter, Amanda, 5

Five-Star Father By Kristina M. Cappuccilli

For more than 25 years, celebrity event planner and hospitality consultant Arthur Backal has dominated Manhattan’s star-studded social industry—a scene notorious for high-end A-listers with even higher expectations. In addition to managing countless venues in New York City, Backal has also participated in the development of posh hotels, restaurants and event spaces on an international scale. But despite his lavish professional life, or perhaps because of it, Backal’s wife and children take center stage. “It’s important to have my family life be a part of the culture of my company,” Backal explains. “Family is of the utmost importance.” Through his planning and production company, State of the Art Enterprises, Backal has remained one of New York’s most accomplished and talented food and beverage professionals. From working with Leona Helmsley at The Palace and Donald Trump at The Plaza, to various projects at The St. Regis, The Waldorf-Astoria, and The Rainbow Room, Backal’s repertoire is filled with prominent people and fivestar venues. To expand his work, he launched The Backal Hospitality Group about four years ago, a branch of his business designed to aid in venue development and management consulting.


New York Family | June 2011

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As if running some of the city’s most elite events and venues isn’t exciting enough, Backal also does philanthropy work around town. He is an active board member of City Harvest, a charity that feeds the hungry while raising awareness and funding. “It’s an important mission for me to be a part of. There are so many people in need and helping to eliminate that problem is very rewarding,” he says. Between remaining innovative in his career and keeping up with the community, Backal has become an expert at time management. While trying to balance a professional and personal life always has its challenges, he actually uses both to benefit one another. “Whether you’re running a business or raising children, you have to have your core values,” Backal notes. “You have to teach your kids the value of respect and learn to lead by example.” With the help of his supportive wife, Liana, he has raised a close-knit, loving family that he is immensely proud of. And with Father’s Day on the horizon, Backal looks forward to celebrating with the people who mean the most to him. “I feel like I’m blessed with a great family life and a great work life. Just being able to spend time with my family will be the perfect gift for me this year.”

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Father Knows sp rts From his Front row perch, sports writer Ian o’Connor has Uncovered some of Life’s Biggest Lessons By Angela Johnson

To say that Ian O’Connor wears a lot of hats is an understatement. He’s a best-selling author, sports columnist for, host of a weekly radio show, as well as a devoted husband and father. From an early age, this New Jersey dad knew that he wanted to have a career in sports. “My childhood ambition was to either be the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys or the shortstop for the New York Yankees,” O’Connor reminisces. But once he realized that his dream might be a long shot, O’Connor decided to choose a more sensible career path. He followed the advice of one of his professors at Marist College, who encouraged him to combine his love for sports with his flair for writing. Enter: sports journalism. After writing stints with both his college newspaper and The Poughkeepsie Journal, Ian O’Connor realized that he had found his calling. Fortunate to have a career he loves, O’Connor believes that New York is the best market to cover. He is fueled by the unwavering energy of New York sports fans. “I still haven’t found an arena I enjoy watching basketball in more than Madison Square Garden,” O’Connor says. His latest book, The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter, is an intimate portrait of one New York sports superstars.


New York Family | June 2011

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Ian O’Connor with wife Tracey and son Kyle

In it, O’Connor praises Jeter for having a gracious presence both on and off the field, avoiding scandals that have plagued athletes of a similar caliber. However, along with that praise, O’Connor explores what he describes as Jeter’s “human flaws,” like his sensitivity to criticism. But he assures his audience: “I think what [readers] will find is a very proud and dignified person who has worn the uniform with more grace than probably any other Yankee since Lou Gehrig.” When he’s not writing, O’Connor enjoys spending time with his son. While he admits that it can be difficult to juggle the demands of his professional life with those of being a husband and father, O’Connor knows that his situation is not unique and tries to make the most of his family time. He enjoys coaching his son’s baseball team as well as bringing him in to New York City to watch the professionals. “Going to games as a fan rather than a journalist is nice. It takes me back to a time when I was a kid. I didn’t have to worry about what column to write or who to interview. I just sat there and absorbed the game,” he says. Along with the excitement on the field, O’Connor notes that sports also teach life lessons like the importance of being resilient and having respect for authority. And while he never donned a Yankee or Cowboys uniform, O’Connor acknowledges that much of his success can be attributed to the lessons he learned from playing high school baseball and football. “I really do think that sports shaped me as a young person and instilled some very important values that I try to adhere to and honor as an adult.”

5/23/11 9:14 AM

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La Scuola d’Italia is a private unique Italian/English bilingual and bicultural school reflecting the best features of the Italian and American education. Knowledge of the Italian/English language is not a pre-requisite for admission to Pre-K through 9th grade. La Scuola d’Italia is chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York and by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Italy. The School is a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools. tel. 212-369-3290 email:

5/19/11 2:34 PM

GOutdoors The

From Bike Rides And Boat Cruises,

Let The Great World Spin For family-friendly rides around the city, visit the website of Bike New York, a local organization for city bikers which has guides to trails and routes (212-870-2080, No worries if you don’t own a bike; these companies offer rentals near kidfriendly riding areas: Bike and Roll rents in Battery Park, South Street Seaport, Pier 84 in Hudson River Park, and Governors Island (212-260-0400,; and Central Park Bike Tours is located on the northwest corner of 58th Street and Seventh Avenue (212-541-8759,

To Sandy Beaches And Pitched Tents, Our Guide To Summer Fresh Air Fun

Beach Bum Jacob Riis Park, Queens This park offers a mile-long stretch of surf kids can swim in, plus ball courts, miniature golf, a boardwalk, playground and more. 718-318-4300, Midland Beach, Staten Island This beach is great for swimming and boasts concession stands, a playground, and the Sea Turtle Fountain (complete with sprinklers). It’s also close to South Beach, which is popular for its boardwalk and fishing pier. 718-987-0709, Sandy Hook, NJ It’s technically outside the city on the tip of the Jersey Shore, but it’s only a 40-minute ferry ride from Wall Street. The beautiful, well-kept park includes seven miles of ocean beaches, salt marshes and hiking trails. Check out Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest surviving lighthouse in the United States, and be sure to bring your Schwinns. Bikers of all ages will love Sandy Hook’s trails, kept pristine by the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 732-872-5970, For ferry info: —Kristin Bankston

Mama Nature Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Encompassing 9,155 acres, the refuge comprises diverse habitats, including salt marsh, fields and woods, water ponds, and an open expanse of bay and islands. Over 325 wild species have been recorded here during the last 25 years! Jamaica Bay, Queens, 718-318-4340, Wave Hill A 28-acre public garden filled with rolling lawns shaded by trees, quiet woodland trails, lotus ponds, flower and herb gardens and a dramatic view of the Hudson River. West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx, 718-549-3200, Alley Pond Environmental Center Rugged forested acreage filled with streams, marshes, and diverse wildlife. Take a casual stroll on the trails or enroll in one of the many family education programs. On June 7, brush up on the basics of bee keeping (now legal in New York City) with a presentation by experienced bee man, Ross Ber. 228-06 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston, Queens, 718-229-4000,


New York Family | June 2011

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Wat r Logged FiShinG Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn A great destination for off-shore fishing, Sheepshead Bay has a fleet of around 50 boats for rent; prices range from $25-50. Steeplechase pier, Coney island If you’d like to keep your feet on land, head to Coney Island, home to a diverse array of fish all year round. If the fish aren’t biting, Nathan’s hot dogs make for a tasty Plan B. PSSSSST! If you and your family are first-time fishers, study up on New York fishing regulations before you hit the shores at


free kayaking adventure (vests and sunscreen included) from one of the Downtown Boathouse’s three locations (Pier 40, Pier 96 and 72nd Street.) Free lessons are provided on Wednesday nights for first-timers. ( Manhattan kayak Company Located on Pier 66, this school offers safe kayak instruction, a wide variety of tours and even off-season storage. Tours vary in level of difficulty and range; prices range from $35-$225. ( The new York kayak Company Another great option for kayak beginners, The New York Kayak Company sells apparel and gear (as well as lessons and tours) at its Pier 40 location. Looking for a challenge? Try a stand-up paddle board class. (

BoaTinG Circle line Sightseeing Hop on The Beast Speedboat Ride for an exciting 30-minute trip through the New York

Happy Campers

The Downtown Boathouse Begin your

Whether it’s your final destination or a fun-filled stop on the way to your vacation venue, camping is a great way to spend uninterrupted time with the family and explore the great outdoors. Here are a few of our favorite campgrounds, all just a few hours from New York City. The Delaware waTer Gap The Delaware Water Gap, located just an hour and a half from the city, offers campers spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains, as well as a wide variety of familyfriendly activities like boating, fishing and hiking. editor’s pick: The Dingmans Campground, located in Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania, offers 133 sites in a variety of settings and with amenities like clean water and electricity. The

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campground has plenty of family packages, and hosts fairs and festivals throughout the summer. ( Bear MounTain STaTe park Located near the Hudson River on the Appalachian Trail, this park features large fields, picnic areas, biking trails and swimming pools. editor’s pick: Black Bear Campground in Orange County, New York, is a pet-friendly family oasis, complete with basketball courts, hayrides and much more. ( The CaTSkillS The Catskill Mountains offer a diverse range of adventures like hiking, horseback riding and rock climbing. For families that crave even more ex-

Harbor. You’ll fly by skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty at a whopping 45 miles per hour! ( new York water Taxi For something a bit more relaxing, New York Water Taxi offers a variety of sightseeing cruises, including the Audubon eco-cruise (a 90-minute flirtation with some of the city’s aviary dwellers) and the hop-on/ hop-off boat. ( Staten island Ferry The ferry’s breezy, 25-minute trip across the harbor will get you great photos of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Lower Manhattan, and it won’t cost you a penny! (

SailinG offshore Sailing School Offshore Sailing offers lessons (a two-hour excursion on the water) and courses (a 3-5 day course to get your sailing certification) from Chelsea Piers. ( hudson river Sloop Clearwater Learn about the Hudson River’s eco-system, enjoy the water, and listen to music on a three-hour public sail. ( - Brittany McNamara

citement, some areas even include safaris, water parks and scenic train rides. editor’s pick: Mongaup Pond, located in Livingston Manor, New York, is a serene campground situated on a 120-acre lake. The remote location, dense forest and lake (perfect for swimming and boating!) are only a few of the area’s attractions. ( koa Kampgrounds of America (KOA) operates campgrounds all over the country (there are 15 sites in New York alone!), and also offers campers a wide variety of housing options, including tent and RV sites, cabins, lodges and luxury condominiums. The site to visit first?, which can not only help you pick a destination for your family, but also provides cookout

recipes, craft projects, games for the road, safety suggestions and much more. - Noelia De La Cruz p.S.: Want to get outside but stay inside the city limits? The Urban Park Rangers host Family Camping nights throughout the summer months at parks in all five boroughs (including Central Park!). It’s a one-night campout (either Friday or Saturday), and they provide you with the tent, the cookout food, and the activities (such as hiking and stargazing)—all for free. BYO sleeping bag! If interested, you must enter an online lottery the Monday prior—the pool closes within 24 hours. Visit June 2011 | New York Family


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SUNSHINE ESSENTIALS Recreation Pleasers From The Park To La Playa By Robin Saks Frankel

Fire Away: Nerf ’s Super Soaker Thunderstorm is a squirt gun gone hi-tech, courtesy of its battery-powered body. Just pull the trigger to fire a stream of water up to 25 feet long. Grown-ups can channel their inner Rambo and kids can bring Street Fighter to life. ($14.99;

I Screen, You Screen: Make sun protection fun (and culturally relevant) with Sunbow Kids Sunscreen. Spongebob goes on yellow and Dora applies pink—both dry clear. Fight the burn, don’t feel it, with SPF 30 and a water-resistant, non-staining formula. ($12.99; Cool Down: Even with sunscreen protecting your skin, too many rays ain’t so pretty. Episencial Soothing Cream is organic, all-natural and free of the bad boys (aka parabens, phthalates and fragrances), so it’s safe for babies and the grown-ups who adore them. Bonus: the bottle design is Eric Carle-inspired. ($10.99; Can You Dig It?: Turn your toddler into an Oceanside excavator with SandoSaurs T-Rex Dinosaur Molds by Think Of It. Ten bone-shaped casts will keep your kid occupied while you work on your dino-mite tan. When summer dwindles down, fill the exoskeleton with plaster, snow or gelatin for year-round discoveries—just be sure to give a thorough rinse between seasons! ($20;


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Pack Rat: Plan a multi-course meal with Picnic Time’s Metro Insulated Basket. The expandable drawstring top means you can pack to the gills with lunch (and then some) for the whole family. Roomy frame collapses for storage—a must-have in miniature Manhattan kitchens. This basket transitions nicely from park to beach to road trip. ($34.95; Spin Me Right Round: Spin art meets sidewalk chalk with Crayola’s new SpiraChalk Blaster. This kid-powered spinning top draws loopde-loops and squiggly lines – a different design each time. Let the rain or hose wash it all away for a new day of creative cool. ($12.99; Need For Speed: Don’t fret when your little one’s scooter loses its allure— there’s some new wheels in town! The Grow With Me 1,2,3, InLine Skates by Fisher-Price lets speed demons roll at a pace parents can handle. Three adjustable stages let your kid go from walking with locked wheels, to forward-only rolling, to full-on freewheeling fun. ($25; Robin Saks Frankel is a freelance writer, editor and social media expert. When she’s not chasing her two toddler boys around the city, she also works as the Content Manager for Big City Moms.

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UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL SUMMER DAY CAMP June 27th to July 29th, 2011 www.UNIS.ORG For children 4 to 14 years old Swimming, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Chess, Computer, Arts & Crafts, Hip Hop & Tap Dances, Robotics, Math, English & ESL…

Office of Special Programs 1-212-584-3083 Email: 24-50 FDR Drive (at 25th Street), New York, NY 10010

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Not every kid wants the same kind of camp, and we want happy campers! That’s why Summer at St. Bart’s offers four options that include swim every day:

Tiny Tot’s at St. Bart’s June 6th-August 19th yearswe want 9am happy to 12:30pm Not every kid wants the same kindAgeof 3-4.5 camp, and campers! That’s why St. Bart’s is offering • Artsthatandinclude Craftsswim • Sports in our gym • Dance and Movement • Rooftop play three options every day: th st St. Bart’s Day Camp June 8 June – August St Bart’s Day• Camp 6th-21August 19th Perfect for 3 1⁄2 to 8 year olds: swimming every day, sports, art or science, dance, plus a whole Age 4.5-7 years 9am to 3pm lot more on our rooftop playground! • Arts and Crafts • Sports in our gym • ndDance and Movement • Rooftop play Island Sports Camp • June 22 – August 21st • Fun with Science • Karate • Drama • Extended day options For 7 – 13 year olds who like something a little more sporty. Start the day with science, art, yoga or drama, then jet off forCamp a day of June softball, soccer, The day19th concludes back at Island Sports 27thand–tennis. August St. Bart’s withAge swimming instruction in our trips indooronce pool.a week/private bus 7-13 years • Special Adventure Camp June 22nd –Island August 21stlessons • Soccer •Field Sports• at Roosevelt • Tennis This camp is great for 8 – 13 year olds who aren’t crazy about sports art, science • Softball • Kickball • Ultimate Frisbee • Relay Races • Touch Footballbut• are andintomore… and a little adventure. This camp offers two (2) educational/recreation trips per week in and outside ofAdventure Manhattan. Also includes some sports, yoga, drama and a weekly art/science showcase. Camp June 20th-August 19th TWO educational/recreational Summer at St. Bart’sAge also7-13 offersyears flexible•scheduling, the Breakfast Club, Lunchtrips/week and After Camp program. To register, schedule a family convenience, more and information, contact Eileen Reddy at • Arts and tour Craftsat your • Sports in our orgymreceive • Dance Movement • Yoga (212) 378-0203, or• visit our •website: Drama • Science Summer at St. Bart’s also flexible scheduling, the Breakfast Club, Lunch and After Camp programs. St.offers Bartholomew’s Church Contact Eileen Reddy at 212-378-0203, or Janette Coleman at Park Avenue at 51st Street • • 212.378.0203

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Beauties 3


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1.Ralph Lauren Travelers Swim Shorts Purple Flowers $39.50

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2.Tooby Doo One Piece Horizontal Stripe Pink & Navy $40

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5.Shoshanna Gingham Check Bikini Lavender $75

June 2011 | New York Family


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Pack your Bags (and The Kids!) Photo by Michael Melford, courtesy of Mystic Country, Connecticut

Plan Your summer Vacation By Theme—Who’s Ready For Pie-Infused Paradise? By Jenna Helwig They call it “summer vacation” for a reason. When the kids are out of school and the city is steamy, it’s time to get out of town. Whether you’re a beach buff or a mountain maniac, we’ve found some of America’s most family-friendly vacation spots. So hit the road or hop on a plane, and don’t forget to send us a postcard!

A Shore Thing: Mystic, CT to Misquamicut, RI Just three hours from New York, the strip of seashore from Mystic, Connecticut to Misquamicut, Rhode Island is short on distance (less than 10 miles from top to bottom) but long on fun-filled adventures. Start your trip in Mystic, a former shipbuilding hub founded in 1654. To recapture the days of whalers and tall ships check out Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea. For a different type of water encounter take the fam to the worldfamous Mystic Aquarium, home to New England’s only beluga whales. And while you may be tempted to try Mystic’s pizza, don’t miss the Sea Swirl—a quintessential roadside clam shack. Five minutes up the coast from Mystic is the picture-perfect town of Stonington, Connecticut, a quiet, upscale village ideal for an afternoon stroll and dinner overlooking the water. Finally, hit the beach at Misquamicut, Rhode Island. It’s a kiddie paradise with wide, sandy shores, ice cream galore, and a vintage carousel.

Parks and Explorations: Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Lake, CO A mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, Colorado’s majestic Rocky Mountain National Park offers over 350 miles of hiking trails, five drive-in campgrounds, and over 200 backcountry campsites; plus biking, fishing, and horseback riding. Kids 12 and under can pick up a park activity booklet at one of the visitor centers with wildlife checklists and nature hike scavenger hunts. For families looking for a little civilization amidst the great outdoors, the town of Grand Lake ranks as the perfect home base. The streets are lined with hitching posts


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and other Old West architecture, and the Grand Lake itself offers swimming and kayaking. Tired of all that nature stuff? Speed demons can rent go-karts at the Rocky Hi Speedway and serial shoppers can check out the more than 60 stores on the Grand Lake “boardwalk”. Plus, we hear that the 4th of July boasts the best fireworks in the state.

American Idyll: Annapolis, MD Pop quiz: which U.S. capital is located about four hours south of New York? If you guessed Washington D.C. (and hopefully you did), you’re right. But if you guessed Annapolis, Maryland you’d be correct too. While its time as a national capital was brief (1783-84), Annapolis has never given up its place as a hotspot of American maritime culture. This municipal water-worship is everywhere, from the grandeur of the U.S. Naval Academy to “Ego Alley” where sailors dock their boats (Captain Jack Sparrow-style) for a night on the town. Get the family’s feet moving with a walking tour of the imposing U.S. Naval Academy, established in 1845. Continue your blast to the past just outside the academy’s walls in downtown Annapolis. The picturesque streets are teeming with colonial-era houses, some

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Annapolis, MD of which are museums. Others bear plaques noting the names and professions of their 18th century residents. After your history lesson, learn to sail on the placid Chesapeake Bay, and, finally, pull up to Cantler’s for a waterfront feast of Maryland crabs. Diners eat on picnic tables covered in butcher paper and crack the crabs themselves. If by the end of the trip the kids are begging for more history, remember you’re less than 45 minutes from Washington D.C.!

Wild Things: Catalina Island, CA Real life scenario: your kids are loony for wildlife but you’d rather go to the beach. Plus, hubby won’t consider a vacation that doesn’t include golf. No problem! Catalina Island awaits. Twenty-two miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina Island was a luxury getaway for movie stars during Hollywood’s golden age. Now it’s the perfect West Coast vacation spot. Animal lovers can scout for fish on semi-submersibles, seek out sea lions, snorkel with dolphins, and even take night tours (via glass-bottom boats) to spot eels. When the family needs a break from all things wild, check out the island’s beach, arcades, cafés, shops, water sports, and yes—golf.

(complete with bonfire). A terrific day trip not to be missed is on Island Vibe, a motorized catamaran that will take you to some of the area’s best snorkeling and BBQ. And did you know that Turks & Caicos has Turks & Caicos Islands the third largest barrier reef? Other 4- and 5-star resorts catering to couples, families or spa getaways include the Veranda Hotel, Amanyara, Gansevoort, Parrot Cay and Regent Palms Hotel.” Kimberly Wilson Wetty, co-president of Valerie Wilson Travel (, regularly contributes her family travel tips to New York Family.

5 Quirky East Coast Fairs For Warm Weather Wonder Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival of Boston (June 11-12) Don’t miss the chance to watch Boston’s famed Charles River transform into a racetrack for dragon boats (the 11th). On the 12th, the river’s surrounding area will swell with craft and entertainment stations. Channel your inner Karate Kid, munch on bamboo-blanketed “zongzi” (the traditional Boat Festival treat) and head home with loopy, hand-written calligraphy. Boston, MA,

Pie-Infused Paradise: Upper Peninsula, MI Picture this: the catch of the day, hiking through cool, green forests, savoring slices of homemade fruit pie with berry-stained fingers … nary a GameBoy or iPod in sight. Hello, Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The U.P. is home to 150 waterfalls, over 4,000 lakes and 7 million acres of forest. Getting there is half the adventure! The Mackinac Bridge, one of the world’s longest suspension bridges, measures five miles from shore to shore. Once you’ve made it, kids can discover all the gory details of old-time shipwrecks at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. And no visit would be complete without a ferry ride to Mackinac Island, a historic Victorian-era summer getaway. No cars are allowed on this small island, so travel by bike, foot, in-line skate, or horse-drawn carriage. And it won’t take long to scout out regional delicacies like pasties (meat pies eaten out-of-hand and popularized by Cornish immigrants) and fruit pies made with the region’s justly famous summer bounty. Jenna Helwig is a Brooklyn-based writer and culinary professional who loves to travel and taste local delicacies with her husband and five-year-old daughter. Find her at


Kimberly’s Pick Of The Month Turks & Caicos Islands “On a non-stop flight, The Grace Bay Club is only three hours from New York - making it a boon for parents traveling with small children. This luxury property features a family and adults-only pool. Dining in the Estate area features Krave, aptly named for its gourmet comfort food. Kidstown, the children’s program, boasts kite boarding, golf, kayaking, and cooking with the Executive Chef. But my children loved the no-parents-allowed beach campout

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Fairfield County Irish Festival (June 18-20) There’s much to explore during this three-day celebration of all things Irish—non-stop music, pipe bands, dance, and cultural exhibits galore. A ride tent will delight children of all ages, while dads can spend Father’s Day rooting on an outdoor Irish sporting event. Abundant kid activities. Fairfield County, CT, Whaling City Festival (July 8-10) Kids will love Mark Fanelli’s Traveling Amusement Park and food enthusiasts will be in heaven with a plethora (26 to be exact) of international food vendors. Check out the custom car and truck show or scour the craft and flea market with over 200 vendors. Four stages will be set up for performances. New Bedford, MA, Dutchess County Fair (August 23-28) Visit a turn-of-the-20th century village complete with a working blacksmith shop. If time with nature is what you crave, stroll through the dozens of themed gardens throughout the 162-acre fairgrounds. Complete with a craft tent, wildlife exhibition and carnival—the whole brood will swoon. Rhinebeck, NY, The Great New York State Fair (August 25-September 5) Plan ahead for the state’s largest annual event. Compete in everything from a talent showcase to a flower show, or treat yourself to a concert featuring big name acts like Maroon 5, Journey and Lady Antebellum. Syracuse, NY,

June 2011 | New York Family


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Kidding Around On Long Island

Cradle of Aviation

From Surf Lessons To A Kid-Friendly Vineyard…What’s Not To Love? Reported by Aisha Gawad, Gavriella Mahpour, and Amanda Orenstein

Summer on Long Island means more than just sand and sea. Kids can clown around with circus types, brush up their bookish brows, and even hit a local vineyard (trust us). Whether you’re visiting for a day or a few weeks, here are nine ideas for enjoying kid-friendly fun in the Hamptons and beyond. Plan A Day At The Arboretum. Greenhouses, gardens and woodland paths abound at the Planting Fields Arboretum, a 400-acre historic estate in Oyster Bay that’s also home to a 65-room mansion-turned-museum. 1395 Planting Fields Road, Oyster Bay, 516-922-9200, Take The Kids Vineyard Hopping. Think wineries are just for adults? Think again. The Island’s famed North Fork Wine Country has several vineyards that cater to adults and children. We especially love Palmer Vineyards, which holds family events throughout the year. The Vineyard’s lawn is perfect for picnics. (Well-behaved pets allowed.) Aquebogue, Long Island, 631-722-9463, Hang Loose At Ditch Plains Beach. Ride the waves of early summer freedom at the spot popularly known as “the surfer’s beach,” perfect for beginners and longboarders. Sign your kids up for lessons at one of the many surf schools in Montauk and snap photos for an envy-inducing holiday card as they paddle past the scenic Montauk Point Lighthouse. Ditch Plains Road, Montauk, 631-324-2417, See What’s Going On At CMEE. There’s always something a-buzz at the Children’s Museum of the East End. On Friday June 3rd, the museum will host “Pizza and Pajama Night”, where children can park it for an evening of story time and crafts. The week of June 27th, athletes ages 3-5 can kick it in “Kids in Sports,” a camp centered on basketball, baseball and soccer. “Waffle Day” is Sunday, June 26th. Closed on Tuesdays in June. 367 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, 631-537-8250, Hit Up A BBQ Joint. The grill rules at Turtle Crossing, an authentic Southwestern barbecue restaurant in East Hampton. Nosh on mouthwatering slow-smoked ribs, chicken, and pork or sink your teeth into roasted corn on the cob.


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Kids (10 and under) can enjoy tasty options like Nathan’s hot dogs, cheese quesadillas and grilled shrimp. Leave room for one the Crossing’s homemade desserts—we can’t get enough of the smooth Key Lime Pie. 221 Pantigo Road, East Hampton, 631-324-7166, Read On A Rainy Day. In Westhampton Beach lies Books & Books, a bookstore independently owned and operated by long-time residents. Check out their Kid’s Room for title-lined shelves and activities. On Saturday June 18th, they’ll host author Mark Kurlansky at the Quogue Public Library. He will read from his new children’s book, World Without Fish. Advanced registration required. 130 Main Street, Westhampton Beach, 631-998-3260, Learn About The History Of Flight. Experience the sensations of flight and space exploration at the Cradle of Aviation and traipse beneath the jets and skydivers suspended from the museum’s atrium. Families can explore (and climb) through 75 planes and spacecrafts. On Saturday June 4th, Cradle will host its 3rd Annual Bottle Rocket Competition for children in 3rd-8th grades. For Star Wars fans, the 501st Legion’s Empire City Garrison visits on Saturday June 18th. Take pictures with Stormtroopers and other Galaxy enemies. Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City, 516-572-4111, Go On A Pony Ride. Just outside of East Hampton in the village of Amagansett, rests Stony Hill Stables - a picturesque equestrian facility that offers horse and pony riding lessons for children as young as four. For longer stays, children under seven can attend the summer “Pony Camp,” a three-day-per-week program that teaches the basics of riding and horsemanship. Camp sessions run from the week of June 14th through the week of September 1st. 268 Town Lane, Amagansett, 631-267-3203, Catch A Show In Westhampton Beach. A haven for theater, music, dance and film, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center offers several youth- and familythemed events during summer. At the end of July (29-31), Zoppé, the Italian Family Circus, will come to town. Catch comedic Nino the Clown and the daring feats of acrobats. 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach, 631-288-1500,

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Join in on the family fun at the 2011 Youth & Family Street Fair! On the festival’s last day, watch Washington Square Park be transformed into a science wonderland complete with interactive exhibits, experiments, games, and shows designed to entertain and inspire. Various locations throughout NYC, 212-352-3101,



Carnegie Hall is hosting The McGraw-Hill Companies CarnegieKids, a free concerts series across the boroughs. Each 45-minute session centers on various genres of music. On Saturday, June 4 (2 pm) at Flushing Town Hall, Hot Peas ‘N Butter will take the stage to showcase their kid jams. The group blends elements of traditional Latin and AfroCaribbean music with jazz, folk, and rock styles. As an added treat, for the first 25 participants, Hot Peas ‘N Butter will be on hand for a free pre-concert workshop (1 pm). Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, 718-463-7700 x 222,



JUNE 1-5


Proud parents of emerging Einsteins won’t want to miss out on the World Science Festival. Spotlighting a variety of science programs (from stargazing in Brooklyn Bridge Park to underwater exploration), this five-day celebration of science has a little something for everyone. Learn from the world’s leading scientific minds, renowned artists and influential thinkers in genetics and robotics.

Poets House, a national poetry library and literary center which houses over 50,000 volumes of poetry, Poets House and is home to a lovely Children’s Room, invites children of all ages to join them on Saturday, June 4 (11 am) for a free reading of Sea Tale by Richard Lewis and the Touchtone Center Theatre Ensemble. Sea Tale spins the legend of a wise crab and reveals how the activity of play first began. This one-of-a-kind literary performance will feature dancing and singing. Following the program is a poetry workshop specifically designed for promising young writers. Poets House, 10 River Terrace; 212-431-7920,

of popular 20th century songwriters such as Duke Ellington and George Gershwin, among others. Tickets are $25. Jazz at Lincoln Center, 33 West 60th Street; 212-258-9800;

JUNE 5, 19, & 26

ALL ABOARD! [Ages 3+]

Climb aboard Captain David Sharp’s historical Lehigh Valley No. 79 and experience a whole new level of family entertainment with Showboat Shazzam. Culling professional performers from all around the globe, Showboat Shazzam features only the best in classical circus artistry. Each Sunday will feature an entirely new roster of acts. Kids will dig the waterfront views and the chance to

Museum Mile Festival view original wall-art exhibitions. June showcases Circus Lives—an exhibition of artistic works by circus performers. Tickets are $10 in advance for adults and children and $15 at the door (when available). Shows are at 1 pm and 4 pm. Red Hook, Brooklyn at Conover Street; 718-6244719,



Support the arts (and bring the kids along) for a cultural stroll down Fifth Avenue. Nine of the city’s finest museums will be participating in the annual Museum Mile Festival, where goers can walk between 82nd Street and 105th Street and visit exhibits free of charge. Catch all the works from permanent collections and be among the first to experience new exhibitions. There will be live


JAZZ HANDS [Ages 10+]

Hot Peas ‘N Butter


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Get ready to fall in love with the world of rhythm at the Jazz & Popular Song Family Concert at Lincoln Center. Hosted by singer and scholar Michael Feinstein, this event aims to educate and entertain by bringing the sound and feeling of jazz into people’s lives. At the “I GOT RHYTHM: The Common Roots of Popular Song and Jazz” concert, families will get the chance to explore the common roots

The Dirty Sock Funtime Band music and entertainment featured along the Avenue—as well as kid-oriented outdoor activities at several of the participating museums. Even better, attendees can join street muralist De La Vega and

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World Science Festival


Sing for Hope, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes professional performers to volunteer in hospitals, schools, and communities, will publicly install 88 pianos throughout the five boroughs as part of its Pop-Up Pianos initiative. Painted by professional artists and students from Sing for Hope’s arts outreach programs, the Pop-Up instruments (to be played by you!) will be cared for by “piano buddies” from partner organizations. After the two-week installation, the pianos will be donated to under-resourced schools and hospitals. Public hosts include: Tribeca Park, Times Square, City Hall Park, and the Staten Island ferry terminal. During their New York stay, these pianos will be featured in free, city-wide community concerts and events. On Saturday, July 2, a performance will be held for children at Rubinstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. Parks and Public Places throughout New York City, 212-966-5955,

JUNE 18-19

SLAM DUNK [Ages 6+]

NBA Nation will come to the South Street Seaport from Saturday, June 18 (11 am-8 pm) through Sunday, June 19 (11 am-4 pm). This free basketball bonanza will include appearances by the Nation’s official ambassador, NBA legend Darryl Dawkins, and other b-ball greats. Fans can show off their skills in a variety of contests including the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown and the Kia Performance Challenge. Hoop clinics will also be held for those looking to brush up on their game. T-Mobile customers are invited to chill at their VIP Skydeck, where they can enjoy refreshments, listen to music and watch all the action. South Street Seaport, Fulton and South Streets, Pier 17, 212-732-7678,


ANIMAL TALES Berenstain Bears At Bronx Zoo’s Animal Tales Extravaganza Pop-Up Pianos

leave their mark on the Mile with a piece of chalk! The festival takes place rain or shine from 6 pm to 9 pm. Kicks off at Neue Galerie New York on 86th Street, 212-606-2296,



Join Madison Square Park for its Mad Sq. Kids Summer Concert Series! Beginning June 14 (10:30-11:30 am), every Tuesday and Thursday, children of all ages can rock out to free concerts in the park. Sure to delight audiences are The Dirty Sock Funtime Band, Robbie K & Friends, David Weinstone and The Music for Aardvarks Band, Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs, and Audra Rox. Kids (and parents) are encouraged to use their outdoor voices when singing along with their favorite bands. Also, be sure to check out the playground afterwards for arts and crafts. Madison Square Park, 23rd Street bet. Madison and 5th Avenues, 212-538-1884,

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[All Ages]

The Bronx Zoo has added a brand new element of creature fun to its calendar, Animal Tales Extravaganza. From author readings (like Kathie Lee Gifford on June 4-5) to playful performances (like the Berenstain Bears on June 18-19)—the whole family is in for a month of furry fun. Too energetic to sit and watch a show? Stop by Dancing Crane, where crafts will be available all day long for children to make their own Animal Tale puppets. If your family likes to participate in more relaxed activities, you can take advantage of the Animal Yoga Sessions that will run at Astor Court each weekend. Little Flower Yoga teaches kids and their parents how to roar like a lion, stretch like a cobra and channel their inner animal spirit. Or, head over to the Asia Plaza to enjoy the interactive physical comedy show “If You Really Love Polar Bears.” Events are free with the price of zoo admission. Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Boulevard, 718-220-5100, To submit an event listing, please email

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June 2011 | New York Family


5/24/11 1:17 PM


World Science Festival


Sing for Hope, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes professional performers to volunteer in hospitals, schools, and communities, will publicly install 88 pianos throughout the five boroughs as part of its Pop-Up Pianos initiative. Painted by professional artists and students from Sing for Hope’s arts outreach programs, the Pop-Up instruments (to be played by you!) will be cared for by “piano buddies” from partner organizations. After the two-week installation, the pianos will be donated to under-resourced schools and hospitals. Public hosts include: Tribeca Park, Times Square, City Hall Park, and the Staten Island ferry terminal. During their New York stay, these pianos will be featured in free, city-wide community concerts and events. On Saturday, July 2, a performance will be held for children at Rubinstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. Parks and Public Places throughout New York City, 212-966-5955,

JUNE 18-19

SLAM DUNK [Ages 6+]

NBA Nation will come to the South Street Seaport from Saturday, June 18 (11 am-8 pm) through Sunday, June 19 (11 am-4 pm). This free basketball bonanza will include appearances by the Nation’s official ambassador, NBA legend Darryl Dawkins, and other b-ball greats. Fans can show off their skills in a variety of contests including the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown and the Kia Performance Challenge. Hoop clinics will also be held for those looking to brush up on their game. T-Mobile customers are invited to chill at their VIP Skydeck, where they can enjoy refreshments, listen to music and watch all the action. South Street Seaport, Fulton and South Streets, Pier 17, 212-7327678,



World Science Festival

[All Ages]

Pop-Up Pianos

leave their mark on the Mile with a piece of chalk! The festival takes place rain or shine from 6 pm to 9 pm. Kicks off at Neue Galerie New York on 86th Street, 212-606-2296,



Join Madison Square Park for its Mad Sq. Kids Summer Concert Series! Beginning June 14 (10:30-11:30 am), every Tuesday and Thursday, children of all ages can rock out to free concerts in the park. Sure to delight audiences are The Dirty Sock Funtime Band, Robbie K & Friends, David Weinstone and The Music for Aardvarks Band, Billy Kelly and the Blah Blah Blahs, and Audra Rox. Kids (and parents) are encouraged to use their outdoor voices when singing along with their favorite bands. Also, be sure to check out the playground afterwards for arts and crafts. Madison Square Park, 23rd Street bet. Madison and 5th Avenues, 212-538-1884,

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This Father’s Day, Prospect Park will offer a slew of free activities for kids and their dads. Children can make their own Father’s Day card out of recycled material at the park’s Audubon Center (1-3 pm). After creating the perfect card, families can stroll over to Lefferts Historic House for a Sing-a-Long with musician Rory Dineen (3 pm). The day wouldn’t be complete without enjoying fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream. Prospect Park, Brooklyn, 718-965-8951,

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June 2011 | New York Family


5/23/11 10:44 AM

sister act


The Supernanny takes to the stage in this hit musical by Disney. For tickets, call 212-3074747 or visit New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 West 42nd Street.

THE lion king

Disney’s blockbuster movie on Broadway is a combination of puppetry, actors, and special effects–a truly magical experience. For tickets, call 212-307-4747 or visit Minskoff Theatre, 200 West 45th Street.

foR AgES 8 AnD uP mAmmA miA!

There’s not much to the simple plot about a woman finding her real father as she prepares to wed, but ABBA’s tunes keep the feet tapping. For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit Winter Garden Theatre, 1634 Broadway.


The community center’s BYOK (Bring Your Own Kid) Sunday music series invites families to enjoy some of the coolest kid-friendly music around. On June 5, jam to original story-songs and enjoy minimalist illustrations in the unique multimedia show “Gustafer Yellowgold”. 200 Hudson Street, 212-601-1000,


Angelina and friends have a special guest coming to visit Camembert Academy, and they are ready to show off their dancing skills. But will Angelina get the starring role she’s striving for? Find out on June 18 or 25. The Union Square Theatre, 100 East 17th Street,

SkiRbAll cEnTER foR THE PERfoRming ARTS

As part of its Big Red Chair Family Series, this NYU-based cultural center invites families to a screening on June 11 of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” a hilarious Oscar Wilde classic filmed in high-definition straight from Broadway. 566 LaGuardia Place, 212-352-3101,


TADA! offers week-long camps with Professional Teaching Artists. Put together mini musicals according to theme. Campers who attend the week of June 13 will whip up plays about the Big Apple, the week of June 20 is all about kooky families, and young thespians will host the ultimate slumber party and food fight the week of June 27. 15 West 28th Street between Broadway and 5th, 212-252-1619,


New York Family | June 2011

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wickED taDa! Youth theater

SHowSToPPERS foR kiDS foR All AgES gAzillion bubblE SHow


Celebrate the tap dancing talent of city youth in the fifth annual “Tap City Youth Concert.” Watch the hard work of the Tap City Youth Ensemble, with dancers aged 5-19, culminate on June 18. Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, 212-864-5400,

You’ll laugh and cheer as Disco queen Deloris transforms a convent’s drab choir into a glamorous singing sensation. For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit The Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway, between West 52nd and 53rd Streets.

Watch and laugh as this kooky, beloved clan sings and dances its way around confusion. For tickets, call 212-575-9200 or visit Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 West 46th Street.

cobblE Hill cinEmAS

The season finale of “Big Movies for Little Kids” hits June 6 with a twist. Screen four-minute films made by up-and-coming New York City students, appropriate for children ages 2-10. 265 Court Street, Brooklyn, 718-596-9113,


The Wicked Witch of the West finally commands the spotlight. For tickets, call 212307-4100 or visit Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st Street.

foR TwEEnS billY EllioT

A funny and heart-warming musical about a boy with a dream and a talent for dance. Based on the film, with a musical score written by Elton John. For tickets, call 212-239-6200, or visit Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street.

cRADlE AnD All

This high-impact show features light effects, lasers and, of course, millions of bubbles, large and small, to create a dazzling production. For tickets, call 212-239-6200. New World Stages Theatre, 340 West 50th Street,

JoHn TARTAgliA’S imAginocEAn A live black light puppet show chronicles the undersea adventures of aquatic friends Tank, Bubbles and Dorsel. For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit New World Stages Theatre, 340 West 50th Street.

Family woes unfold in adjacent Brooklyn Heights apartments as one newlywed couple grapples with their newborn baby and a couple deliberates over marriage. For tickets, visit nycitycenter. org. New York City Center Stage 1, Manhattan Theatre Club, 131 West 55th Street.

THE PHAnTom of THE oPERA The longestrunning show on Broadway history delivers mystery, love and heartbreak. For tickets, call 212239-6200 or visit Majestic Theatre, 247 West 44th Street.

5/23/11 10:46 AM

Broadway’s Longest-Running Musical...EVER. or (212) 239-6200 MAJESTIC THEATRE, 247 West 44TH St.

MUSEUM of tHE city of nEw york

What could capture your child’s imagination better than a display of toys? An ongoing exhibit “On the Move: Transportation Toys from the Permanent Collection” presents models of commonly recognized vehicles once used in our city. 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, 212-534-1672,

nEw york HAll of SciEncE

Kids perform as the Ringmasters of summer learning at the “Circus! Science Under the Big Top” event from June 11 to September 4. Exhibits include “High Wire” and “Clown Alley.” 47-01 111th Street, Queens, 718-699-0005,

nEw york policE MUSEUM

Start your engines on June 11 for the Annual Vintage Police Car Show, a free event. Original and replica cars from famous crime-fighting television series will be on display. 100 Old Slip between Walter Street and South Street, 212-480-3100,

MoMA’s MAteriAl lAb


For a unique summer excursion, visit the “Mystery at the Museum: An Accomplice Adventure.” Visitors uncover a museum path scattered with clues, character involvement and puzzle solving. Saturdays and Sundays through June 26. Central Park West and 79th Street, 212-769-5100,

cHildrEn’S MUSEUM of tHE ArtS

opens June 14, featuring 75 emerging artists, all currently working in New York. 1230 Fifth Avenue, 212-831-7272,

intrEpid SEA, Air & SpAcE MUSEUM

During the month of June, Intrepid offers the Antique Police Car Show and Meet the Pilots Day. After a busy day touring the museum, you can kick off your shoes and enjoy a free movie under the stars. The series includes a June 24 showing of Spiderman. Pier 86, 12th Avenue and 46th Street, 877-957-SHIP,

tHE MEtropolitAn MUSEUM of Art

cHildrEn’S MUSEUM of MAnHAttAn

A beloved children’s classic returns with the opening of the Curious George™: Let’s Get Curious! Exhibit on June 11. Children ages 3-7 participate in “hands-on” science, social studies and math. 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1234,

El MUSEo dEl BArrio

One of the city’s leading Latino cultural institutions, “El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files 2011”


New York Family | June 2011

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Now through October, the museum showcases a colorful exhibit, “Inspiring Spaces: 25 Years of MTA Arts for Transit” with more than 215 projects. Corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, 718-694-1600,

rUBin MUSEUM of Art


Celebrate the 33rd Museum Mile Festival, rain or shine, on Tuesday, June 14 from 6-9pm. Enjoy music while you stroll, including The Quarteto Rodriguez Cuban Jewish All Stars, who will perform outside The Jewish Museum. Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, 212-423-3337,

On June 8, the Third Annual Celebration of Children’s Artwork From CMA’s Public School Partnerships opens with “Public Display.” Mediums include: fine art, sculpture and stop-motion animation. An Opening Reception will be held Saturday, June 11. 182 Lafayette Street, 212-274-0986,

nEw york trAnSit MUSEUM

On Friday, June 10, the Drop-In Drawing series presents “Drawing from the Edge: New Views of Ancient Walls.” Materials provided. For all ages. 1000 Fifth Avenue, 212-535-7710,

“Patterns of Life: The Art of Tibetan Carpets” is filled with playful images of snow lions, tigers, dragons, and Professor Dumbledore’s favorite bird: phoenixes. Kids can get up close (no glass!) with the thousands of individual loops that make up these folk art creations. 150 West 17th Street, 212-620-5000,

wHitnEy MUSEUM of AMEricAn Art

tHE MorgAn liBrAry And MUSEUM

Add The Morgan’s new list-oriented exhibit to your summer to-do’s! Featuring unique lists from Pablo Picasso to H.L. Mencken, visitors get a glimpse into the personal lives of some of the most famous artists through more than 80 lists. 225 Madison Avenue, 212-685-0008,

MUSEUM of ModErn Art

Now through August, MoMA’s Material Lab, free with museum admission, offers children (and adults) an interactive space for imaginative exploration. West 53rd Street, 212-708-9400,

Max Weber, Chinese Restaurant On June 17 (12-1pm) crying babies and parents are encouraged to stroll through the museum for a Stroller Tour of “Breaking Ground: The Whitney’s Founding Collection.” 945 Madison Avenue, 212-570-3600,

5/23/11 10:47 AM

Teen Cabaret

WORKSHOP June 24, 25, 26

Audition required

For ages 12–17 Learn performance & interpretive techniques, explore the lyrics & style of songs, get advice from Broadway & cabaret artists and perform at a NYC cabaret venue! Directed by multi-award winning director Lennie Watts with musical direction by acclaimed accompanist Jeff Cubeta. Auditions: June 11 & 12 Call 212.366.0541 for an appointment Workshop fee: $400

Singers Forum

49 West 24th Street, 4th Floor • 212.366.0541

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Family Discounts Available!

5/18/11 3:56:20 PM



The musical sensation that’s out of this world

“Intergalactic Superstars!” - CBS TV

OVER 20 MILLION YOUTUBE HITS! Family fun for ages 5-105. Westside Theatre 407 West 43rd Street SEE THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON IN ACTION!

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5/19/11 1:41 PM


L ast w o r d

Amazing GracIe

In An Excerpt From His New Memoir, One NYC Dad Finds A Way To Bond With His Daughter In every relationship there comes a moment when you first betray the other person. If you’re lucky, this is also the last time you betray the other person—afterward you sit around the house with your face in your hands, penitent and utterly alone, promising yourself you’ll never do such an awful thing again. Whenever Gracie needs help now, any sort of help with a doll or a book or a toy, I go to her, and she responds by swiftly making it clear that she doesn’t want dad’s help. Who does she want? Mom. If I try and brush this off and help her with the doll or book or toy, finesse the moment by asserting agency as her father, she dissolves into enraged tears, shoves me away, and reaches toward her mother—the instant Jessica touches her, Gracie becomes placid and happy again, and grins with mother-love through the stillfresh tears weighing her lower eyelids. Our five-hour opera should have prepared me for this, but I’m somehow totally unready for the emotions tied up in this development, the sense of rejection that seethes through the simple act1—the first time this happens I’m so shattered that I allow Jessica to take over, then stand alone in our darkened bedroom for ten minutes to collect myself. I’ve been spurned by one of the most important women in my life, and somehow I’m unable to employ the plain sense I so badly need. Kids do this sort of thing, right? Don’t they? This is a completely normal turn of events—but the emotions involved


New York Family | June 2011

On Second Thought_0611.indd 82

cloud my perspective. I know what’s going on here. The cause of this widening divide between father and daughter is a logic series that will sound familiar to many working parents, one that renews itself into eternity. It goes something like this: I’m away all day, five days a week, earning the paycheck that pays the rent that houses the family that includes the daughter who does not connect with me because I’m away all day, five days a week, earning the paycheck that pays the rent that houses the family . . .

And so on. This logic is doubly problematic because not only is it self-renewing—it also exerts a sinister power over your most selfish instincts. Example: whenever I carry Gracie in the shower (it’s easier than the bath, and quicker, and more fun, besides) she always responds to that first thundering rush by clinging desperately to my neck. The sensory input is just too overwhelming. There is real fear in that grip—a fear that telegraphs father-love and father-need. She clings to me as long as I keep her under that first rush of the showerhead, usually a second or two, and then I take her back out and she relaxes. The night after Gracie first rejects me, I take her in the shower and hold her under the stream. She clings to me with real fear, with genuine father-love and father-need. And I don’t take her out. We stay there under the noisy rush. She clings to me, and I let it go on as long as I can bear, my face burning with shame and relief. Keith Dixon has been on the staff of the New York Times for seventeen years. He is the author of Cooking for Gracie: The Making of a Parent from Scratch, The Art of Losing and Ghostfires. He lives in New York with his wife, Jessica, and their daughters, Grace and Margot. Visit Keith on the Web at 1 And I confess that this plays to a fear I’ve harbored since Jessica and I first talked about having a baby: “What happens,” I asked her, “if the kid just doesn’t like me?”

5/20/11 3:21 PM



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5/17/11 11:43 AM

New York Family June 1, 2011  
New York Family June 1, 2011  

New York Family is a monthly family lifestyle magazine focused on the interests, needs, and concerns of New York City parents. The print pub...