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August 2010 Established 1986


SIMPLY SUPER Christie Brinkley at her Hamptons home.

Christie Brinkley Opens Up About Motherhood, Wellness And Making A Difference






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Near the Best NYC Public Schools • Unparalleled Service • Fitness Center • Children's Playroom & Swimming Pool • 24-Hour Doorman • Magnificent Lobbies • Landscaped Gardens • Exciting City Views Spacious Layouts • Building-Wide Water Filtration Systems • On-Site Parking Garage UPPER EAST SIDE 1 Bedrooms from $2,595 2 Bedrooms from $4,795 3 Bedrooms from $6,995

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Applications for 2010-2011 classes and lessons are now being accepted! Early Childhood Music Classes (Infants - 7 Years) Music & Art Preschool Classes Instrument and Voice Lessons for Children and Teens Class Instruction for Beginners Orchestra, Chorus, Chamber Music & Suzuki Playing Classes

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We’ve been at this since 1939 but we’re greener than ever. The Mandell School is proud to announce the opening of its new facilities at 775 and 795 Columbus Avenue. This new 60,000 square foot environmentally friendly facility includes a black box theater, a middle school size gymnasium, an 8,000 square foot terrace, and a Research and Learning Center.

To find out more about The Mandell School please call (212) 222 –2925 today.

Sokol New York 420 East 71st Street • New York, NY 212.861.8206 •

Gymnastics • Rhythmics Tot Gym • Ballet • Basketball Volleyball • Tae Kwon Do • Yoga Classes For Children & Adults Visit our web site, for class schedules & registration information. RegisteR now! Classes Begin September 20, 2010.

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Come see why we’re the global leader in classes for kids

Week of August 9 All 6 Manhattan Locations For reservations, info, call 877-GYM-LEARN or any site Now in our 34th year of giving children the developmental building blocks for success in school and life. We are the best all-in-one program, developing physical, mental, social and artistic growth. • Birth to 5 Years • Curriculum by foremost child development experts • Sensory & Motor Development, Music, Art, Drama, Sports • Affordable Preschool (ages 2 1/2 - 5) • Free Open gyms with class & preschool enrollment • Choose 1 class/wk or unlimited classes

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END OF SUMMER FUN *10 Ideas: Our monthly roundup of family fun in the city (page 62) *Fair Weather: Our favorite festivals in the Northeast (page 64) *Long Island: The best nonbeachy activities, from museums to bookstores to vineyards (page 66)

August 2010 volume 23, issue 12



THE FAMILY The scoop on our upcoming events and contests, plus a searchable classes guide at


THE CAREGIVER CONNECTION Expert advice on how to cultivate a positive relationship with your nanny, au pair, day care or babysitter

COLUMNS 14 EDITOR’S NOTE Savoring summer



36 72




Christie Brinkley on the joys of motherhood, how she stays in shape and some of her favorite causes


A SPECIAL PLACE The Prenatal Yoga Center is a warm, down-to-earth haven— and a valued resource— for moms-to-be and new moms alike

at her seaside home in the Hamptons. Clothes by Ralph Lauren. Photographed by Thaddeus Harden. New York Family | August 2010



A GOOD IDEA From tracking your pregnancy milestones to finding a new play space, our favorite smartphone applications for families

TREATS Our style director’s favorite fall fashions for kids

ON SECOND THOUGHT A mom and her teenage son share memories, secrets and a slice in Greenwich Village


KID CULTURE The best live performances and museum exhibits for families (page 76); plus, an interview with the star of the upcoming movie “Ramona and Beezus”; and a profile of children’s musician Rockin’ With Andy

CORRECTIONS: On page 99 of the neighborhood guide story in the July 2010 issue, the photographer for the Fort Greene family’s photo was omitted; the photo was taken by Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick ( Also in the July 2010 issue, the Yogi Beans kids’ yoga program was accidentally omitted from the birthday resource directory. For more information on Yogi Beans’ parties and other offerings for kids, visit

Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick

THE COVER: Christie Brinkley


Delicious BBQ recipes, tips for making spectacular sandcastles and fun ideas for all-day beachy play

58 38



BACK TO SCHOOL *Admissions: The myths and realities of nursery school and kindergarten admissions in the city (page 548) *Enrichment: Are early enrichment and tutoring programs for 4-year-olds a breakthrough in child development, or a test-driven craze? (page 56) *Homeschooling: City parents decide to homeschool for lots of reasons. Here, two families share their journeys (page 58)

IT’S MY PARTY Birthday fun at Scribble Press, NYC Elite Gymnastics and the Toy Museum of New York

This month’s dream building brings progressive design to Midtown West; plus, three featured dream homes

Family sun care that’s as easy as 1, 2, 3


BUZZWORTHY A foldable baby bathtub perfect for small spaces; the ultimate online shopping experience for kids; the game of LIFE gets a New York twist, and more great ideas for August


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Page 1

We teach language, history, religion and love of Judaism in small classes at convenient times. There’s a joy of discovery and learning in the air at Or Zarua’s Hebrew School. We’re dedicated to that goal— and you can see it in our children’s faces. Agree with our philosophy? Visit or call 212-452-2310 to register.

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BENEFIT COMMITTEE Tony Abrams Mark Birnbaum Dana Brockman Sandra Brant and Ingrid Sischy Ann Ciardullo Cheri Cohen Patti and Harvey Cohen Dr. Gerry Curatola and Georgia Curatola Suzy M. Drasnin Jane and Bob Edelman Kristin Gray Gina and Eric Hadley Stan Herman Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox Lissa Hirsch Sofia and Doug Jacob Denise and Alan Jacobs Susan and Ronald M. Katz Jennifer Gould Keil Patti Kenner Calvin Klein Faith and Jeffrey Kogan Jenny and Trey Laird Orrea Light Julie and Dan Ligorner Laura McEwen Esther Newberg Zev Norotsky Rohan Oza Kim Pape Pavan Pardasani Lori and Marcus Peterzell Annemarie and David Plotkin Candy Pratts Price Eugene Remm Matthew Rowean Shawn Sachs Victor Sadiarini Andrew Saffir and Daniel Benedict Ellen and Chuck Scarborough David I. Schuchman Lisette Sand-Freedman Joy Soodik Lauran and Charlie Walk Dr. Patricia Wexler Brad Zeifman

the Ellen Hermanson Foundation

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JUNIOR CO-CHAIRS Robin Katz Boyarski Ariel Moses Julia Weiskopf JUNIOR COMMITTEE Michal Basha Melissa Baer Gregg Beinin Kelly Brady Alison and Andy Brettschneider David Chines Jamie Dardashtian Julie Frank Katya Gersten Emma Margaret Greenberg Julia Rose Greenberg Will Schifter Greenberg Tara Famiglietti Marcus Klein Allison and Lee Levitan Matt Levine Stephanie Mah Leora Hermanson Moreno Jarret Moses Robyn Rosenblum Harrison Rowen Keren and Noam Shemel Lori Swersky and Jarret Kerman Brooke Weingarten Matt White Michele Zipper

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southampton Hospital’s Ellen Hermanson Breast Center & Ellen’s Well


Drinks • Dancing • Bites Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Absolut Vodka O.N.E. Coconut Water S. Pellegrino Acqua Panna Shadow PR Lists in formation

For tickets and information please contact lBs productions Linda B. Shapiro • 631-329-5480 • Robin Katz Boyarski • 917-608-2490 • Natalia Saavedra • 631-835-7247 •

EDITOR AND CO-PUBLISHER Eric Messinger emessinger @ ART DIRECTOR Mitchell Hoffman mhoffman @ DEPUTY EDITOR Katie Main kmain @ STYLE DIRECTOR Joy Sherwood jsherwood @ DEPUTY ART DIRECTOR Jessica Balaschak jbalaschak@ PRODUCTION MANAGER Mark Stinson mstinson @ DEPUTY PRODUCTION MANAGER Heather Mulcahey hmulcahey @ PHOTO EDITOR Andrew Schwartz aschwartz@ SENIOR EDITOR Darcy Newell CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Daniel S. Burnstein, Suzanne Cohen, Heidi Green, Thaddeus Harden, Jennifer Lee, Josh Lehrer, Sarah Merians CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Janet Allon, Heather Chaet, Beata Cherepakhina, Noelia de la Cruz, Alessandra Hickson, Michelle Levine, Jennifer Maslowski, Leah Ramella, Lisa Rogal, Molly O’Meara Sheehan, Molly Tracy, Erika Thormahlen, Ashley Troost 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 @ CIRCULATION John Baxter jbaxter @ Joe Bendik jbendik@ 1

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MANHATTAN MEDIA PRESIDENT/CEO Tom Allon tallon @ CFO/COO Joanne Harras jharras @ Harry’s Shoes For Kids 2315 Broadway (between 83rd and 84th St.), New York, NY Tip Top Kids 149 W 72nd St., New York, NY Orva Shoes 155 E 86th St., New York, NY Paragon Sports 867 Broadway (at 18th St.), New York, NY Lester’s of New York 1534 2nd Ave. (at 80th St.), New York, NY


New York Family | August 2010

FOUNDING PUBLISHER Barbara Witt MARKETING DIRECTOR Tom Kelly tkelly @ 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. © 2008 Manhattan Media, LLC | 79 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10016 | t: 212.268.8600 | f: 212.268.0577

ng oor kids usi rmance fo r active outd er fo p r lt ea u w ad ot g We build fo ars designin s are ye n + ig 5 2 es d om kids’ shoe principles fr kids’ ap ‘n’ Land g Le tin r fit u O — r. ile footwea and versat their feet. mfortable, protecting secure, co ile h w s le ty e after time. es tim lif , d ily ze p gi ap ener and land h ap le em Watch th









August 2010 Established 1986

SIMPLY SUPER zine, there’s always a debate over Christie Brinkley Opens Up About whether to look forward to fall or Motherhood, Wellness And Making A enjoy summer while it lasts. We Difference ‘Uptown Girl.’ I think always split the difference—with you’d like it.” subject matter ranging from If my enthusiasm sandcastle building to nursery school seems positively tweenish and culturadmissions—but I grew up a block ally dated, rest assured that Christie from Brighton Beach and a mile from herself doesn’t live in the same time Coney Island and my sentimental warp. A mom, an activist, a propoheart always wants to savor every bit nent of healthy living and a gracious of summer for as long as possible. host, Christie welcomed us to her So here’s what I suggest: when home in the Hamptons, posed for us you’re relaxing in your beach chairs, with verve and whimsy, and shared check out the stories on skin care, freely of her passions and interests. A phone apps and barbecue recipes. long-time Hamptons resident, she’s a Save the important stuff on school class act who follows her heart, which admissions and child care for a night makes the thrill of having her on our at home. But before you get all worked cover something much greater: an up, flip over to our list of big summer honor. festivals and contemplate a road trip. I hope you enjoy catching up with Maybe we’ll see each other. Christie, and when looking at the photos of her at the beach and amid Have A Happy August, the hedges, I hope you’ll think of ERIC MESSINGER good times and summer. In planning an August issue of a family maga-

Savoring Summer My last letter to my 10-year-old daughter, now in her second year at sleepaway camp, rambled through some patches of family news (the big item was about running into her beloved kindergarten teacher who will be teaching her again in the fifth grade this fall) until I indulged myself with a detour into a little work news I was especially pleased about. “Have you ever heard of Christie Brinkley?” I asked Elena, explaining that Christie was one of the most famous models ever and that she agreed to be our cover profile for the August issue of New York Family. “Ask your counselor about her,” I suggested, before adding another tidbit that I hoped might win her interest if I hadn’t already. “She was once married to a rock star named Billy Joel (ask your counselor about him too), who wrote a great song about her called


Christie Brinkley at her Hamptons home.

cover TK

SOCCER CLASSES FOR KIDS ENROLL NOW FOR THE FALL (Enroll by August 25th for 10% off)

Ages 2 and up Beginner and Advanced classes Private groups Birthday parties



New York Family | August 2010


call 917.703.0409

Manhattan Brooklyn Riverdale FairďŹ eld County CT Metro NJ Hudson Valley

Elaine Tross has found a new home at Halstead Property, let her ďŹ nd you one too! SPRAWLING HOME MINT CONDITION U'CUV'ZENWUKXG True 3BR/ 3Bth w/sep laundry rm & storage area. Top of the line renov, ideal for entertaining. 35FT dining & living area, open kit features high-end appls. MBR has a ďŹ nish of a wainscoted wall, & an en-suite windowed spa designed bath. Renov lobby, DM, live-in super & PS290. Pet friendly & copurchases ok. $1.55M. 9GD

ELAINE TROSS Executive Vice President Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker t: 212.381.3322 c: 917.748.4043 *CNUVGCF2TQRGTV[..%We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. We encourage and support an afďŹ rmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.

Welcome to the Family Prizes




Carnival For A Cure We’re glad to be a media sponsor for a wonderful family event this summer—the Max Cure Foundation’s 2nd Annual Roar For a Cure Carnival, which will take place in East Hampton on August 21st. Founded by NYC dad David Plotkin after his son, Max, was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma, The Max Cure Foundation benefits pediatric cancer causes at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and elsewhere. The Roar For a Cure Carnival will include musical performances from kid-favorite artists, inflatables, games, food, raffles, a climbing wall and more. We hope you’ll share this memorable day with us and with your children. For more information, see our interview with Plotkin on page 50, and visit




Follow Us On Twitter: New York Family is now on Twitter! Check in throughout the day for great family events, special giveaways, news items, and more tips on family life in the city. Go to

PLAYMOBIL’s Furnished School Building puts an educational twist on the traditional dollhouse. Sporting a red schoolhouse roof, a blackboard, a school bell and multiple classrooms, the set is the perfect way to get kids excited about kicking off a new school year. We have one to give away! To win, write to us at newyorkfamily@, putting “PLAYMOBIL School Building” in the subject line, by August 23.

Class It Up At Don’t get us wrong—we’re very proud of the magazine you’re holding in your hands, but we hope you’ll also log on to our website,, to get the complete NYF experience. While we only debuted a few months ago, a trip to newyorkfamily. com can help keep you up-to-date on parenting news and shopping deals, inspire adventures for the upcoming weekend and beyond, and even help you plan tonight’s dinner with a deliciously simple new recipe. This month we’re unveiling our newly revamped online classes directory, a place for parents to search for and find the best kids classes for their family, from cooking to gymnastics to foreign language. Search by venue, neighborhood or the type of class you’re looking for, or peruse the entire list to familiarize yourself with the offerings.


New York Family | August 2010

Your Kids Will "Flip" For Our Gym

Gymtime is the savvy parent's resource for recreational and educational activities for children ages 6 months to 18 years old. We offer:  MOMMY & ME CLASSES  RECREATIONAL GYMNASTICS  COMPETITIVE TEAM GYMNASTICS  SPORTS & FITNESS  TAE KWON DO  COOKING, ART & MUSIC CLASSES  COMBO CLASSES  BIRTHDAY PARTIES

1520 York Avenue, New York, NY 10028 • 212.861.7732

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




A Fantastically Amazing School Adventure

by Ralph Lauren Childrenswear



Back-to-school shopping just got easier with the debut of Ralph Lauren’s Children’s Virtual

QT H E B E S T B O O K S FOR THE BEACH Somewhere along the line, “beach reads” got a bad rap as being frivolous books to skim while lounging shoreside—but they don’t have to be! Check out Laurie Fabiano’s debut novel “Eliza-

ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE FOR KIDS Storybook. Narrated by Harry Connick Jr., the

storybook follows the eight members of “The RL Gang.” Families will love following the gang’s adventures while checking out new pieces—simply click on a character to purchase an item. What’s more, 15% of the first month’s proceeds will benefit the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a program dedicated to the education of young New Orleans musicians. The Storybook launches on August 18, for ages 2-8; and

beth Street,” a story of a young Italian


woman who immigrates to NYC, loses

Sometimes all it takes is a New York angle to rein-

her husband in an accident and must

vigorate a classic game, which is why we love the

navigate the city on her own. If you’re

new New York Life Insurance version of the revered

in the market for memoirs, Lisa Kogan’s

board game, LIFE. The original game’s challenges of

“Someone Will Be With You Shortly:

reaching major life milestones are still present, but this

Notes from a Perfectly Imperfect Life”

time players navigate around popular NYC landmarks

relates adventures of single motherhood

like the Empire State Building and The Statue of Liberty.

with wit and poignancy. Finally, Emily

Besides serving as a tribute to the Big Apple, the game teaches

Giffin’s recent release, “Heart of the

kids about city culture (plus finance and savings) in an interactive way.

Matter,” is a touching story about mar-

For ages 9 and up. $22;

riage, fidelity and two mothers who find themselves inextricably linked.

QG Y M T I M E R H Y T H M & GLUES IS GROWING! Kids will flip for the soon-to-be expanded space at Gymtime Rhythm & Glues, a beloved Upper East Side facility for


kids’ classes for 20 years. This September, Gymtime will debut a new 5,000 square feet of facilities above its current location for educational, recreational and competitive team gymnastics, so kids of all ages can take advantage of the new space. The new level will include two state-of-the-art gyms, preschool classrooms, a rock climbing wall and much more. The new facilities will also provide classes for tweens and

teens, and new programs will accommodate gymnasts up to 18 years of age. For more information, visit

Q B AT H T I M E ’ S A S N A P


Roomy kitchens and bathrooms are hard to come by in the city, which is why we like Puj’s sleek folding bath tub for infants. Created by a husband-and-wife team (both product designers and parents of three), Puj’s tub is an easy solution to uncomfortable and stressful baby bath time. The flat tub stores easily on a wall hook—when it’s time to get wet, just unfold the tub’s soft panels (made from non-slip, PVC-free and BPAfree material) and voila, your baby can enjoy a bath from a comfortable cradled seat. The tub fits in most standard sinks and can accommodate babies up to six months. $39.99;


New York Family | August 2010

Your Kids Will "Flip" For Our Gym

Gymtime is the savvy parent's resource for recreational and educational activities for children ages 6 months to 18 years old. We offer:  MOMMY & ME CLASSES  RECREATIONAL GYMNASTICS  COMPETITIVE TEAM GYMNASTICS  SPORTS & FITNESS  TAE KWON DO  COOKING, ART & MUSIC CLASSES  COMBO CLASSES  BIRTHDAY PARTIES

1520 York Avenue, New York, NY 10028 • 212.861.7732

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

The New Modern-Classic On The Upper West Side




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Saturday, September 11th 11 am-2:30 pm Fun and games for the whole family and two special shows:


Mad Science Up, Up and Away at 11:30 am


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Come to MAGIC’s Fall Open House to hear all about what’s new this Fall!

Moey’s Music Party at 1:00 pm

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Meet our dedicated teachers, tour our facility and don’t forget to enter to WIN a FREE 17-week class this fall. Call us today at 212.737.2989 or visit us at Under the red canopy at 510 East 74th Street (off York Avenue) New York 212.737.2989


NYFamily Aug Half V.indd 1 Partials_0810.indd 8

7/11/2010 12:06:03 PM 7/22/10 4:59 PM

FAMILY Health & Wellness icnics at the park, sandcastles on the beach and Marco Polo in the pool. Sure, it’s summertime and “the livin’ is easy.” But we bet Gershwin never had to navigate changing SPF guidelines or confusing sunscreen ingredients, let alone attempt to slather lotion on a wiggling 5-year-old. We chatted with some NYC dermatologists to get the skinny on summer in the sun. The result? Sun care that’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.


SHOT GLASS. Not to mix afternoon cocktails, but to use as a measurement when applying sunscreen. When they do tests on sunscreens in the laboratories, “one application is equal to a full shot glass of lotion,” says Dr. Jody Alpert Levine, director of dermatology at Plastic Surgery & Dermatology of NYC, PLLC, which serves families in Manhattan. “People just don’t use enough.” HOURS. When outside, reapply every two hours or after swimming. “One of the main things people don’t do is reapply,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist with a private practice on the Upper East Side and an assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She adds that it’s important to reapply after swimming even if your sunscreen is waterproof. “When you towel yourself off after swimming, you are rubbing off your sunscreen,” Dr. Jaliman says.

Simplify Your Family’s Summer Skin Care Routine With These Expert Tips By Heather Chaet

STEPS TO TAKE AFTER GETTING A SUNBURN. First, take an anti-inflammatory like aspirin or ibuprofen. “With a burn, the blood vessels are damaged and this helps decrease the inflammation,” says Dr. Jaliman. Second, use a cold compress to soothe the area. Soak a towel or washcloth in a mixture of part skim milk and part cold water, and leave it on the area for about 15 minutes twice a day. Finally, use a mild over-thecounter cortisone cream to ease the pain. Dr. Levine recommends creams or lotions with aloe or green tea serum that also may aid in healing the affected area. Remember, if any sort of blistering occurs, you have second-degree burn. Don’t try to treat that yourself; see a doctor to be sure it gets proper attention and doesn’t get infected. (OR FORE!). Often the last person in the family to use sunscreen, Dad may be exposing a bit more skin on top than he is used to, and it’s important to protect that balding head. Dr. Jaliman suggests using a powdered sunscreen, which is translucent, water-resistant and non-oily—great for anyone working up a sweat on the golf course or tennis court.

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY e think of sunglasses and we automatically think fashion accessory (also daily disguise for lack of sleep and not enough coffee). But Dr. Eliot Grossman, O.D., vice-president of EyeCare at LensCrafters, points out they should be thought of first as sun protection, especially for kiddos. “Eighty percent of all UV damage in our eyes occurs before the age of 18,” he says. “Sunglasses are the best and basically only way to shield eyes against UV rays.” Here are five tips to keep your kids’ eyes protected all year round.


1. “Kids will wear glasses they like and that are comfortable,” he says. The fit is


New York Family | August 2010

key, so be sure to pick shades that don’t fall off or press on their ears. “Get ones that can be adjusted to fit your child.” 2. “Get polycarbonate lenses for kids,” Dr. Grossman suggests. Not only are they lightweight, they are shatterproof— safe from the sun and safe if they break or fall off. 3. If you or your kids are active outside, get polarized lenses. Whether it’s boating, golfing, skiing or biking, no matter if it’s summer or winter—these types of lenses are essential, reducing glare and enhancing contrast. 4. Caps or wide-brimmed hats are okay, but they don’t do the whole job. “Hats are a great addition, but no

FINGERS ON YOUR HANDS. Dr. Levine says the back of your hands is one of the main areas we miss when applying sunscreen, and recommends using a stick sunscreen, which doesn’t come off as easily. It’s especially great for kids, who often use the back of their hands to rub their eyes and face. OTHER PLACES WE MISS MOST WHEN APPLYING SUNSCREEN: LIPS, ANKLES, TIPS OF EARS, AROUND THE EYES, THE EYELIDS AND THE PART IN YOUR HAIR. “These are all places where I see some of the worst sunburns,” says Dr. Jaliman. In addition to using sunscreen, she suggests wearing a wide-brimmed hat with a high SPF and sunglasses (see “For Your Eyes Only” for more info on shades). DAYS A WEEK. Dr. Levine says that sunscreen should be part of your daily routine. “Wash your face, brush your teeth, put on your moisturizer, apply your sunscreen,” she says. Even in the wintertime and even if you aren’t going outside, UVA rays—the kind that lead

substitute for glasses,” Dr. Grossman says. 5. Everyone in the family should be getting eye exams every year, especially once a child is in school. “An exam is as much about the health of your eyes as it is about checking if you need a prescription for glasses,” he says. What about those $5 pairs (complete with a princess or dinosaur motif)? “As long as they shield 99 percent of UVA/ UVB rays,” Dr. Grossman says. “If it doesn’t say it on the tag or sticker, then they probably aren’t.” One way to be sure is to get the glasses tested. Every LensCrafters store has a machine that tests the amount of UVA/UVB rays a pair of glasses blocks. The kicker: the testing is free. “Just walk in and we’ll test them for you.” —H.C.


to skin cancer—are everywhere. Though you may not get burned, those rays come through windows in offices, cars and your home and can cause serious skin damage. —OR RATHER, WHAT YOU “ATE.” Did you know what you had for a snack may help boost your body’s natural defenses against sun damage? “The sun causes oxidation to occur to the skin and the tissue,” says Dr. Levine. So, as the name implies, antioxidants help fight the oxidation. She tells her patients to eat colorful fruits and veggies—all kinds of berries, grapes, orange and red peppers—and encourages them to drink green tea or pomegranate juice, both rich in antioxidants, to help protect skin against sun damage. MONTHS. Not talking about the stork, but skin damage. “Hard to believe, but even though the pain and redness of a sunburn may subside after a few days, the damage to the blood vessels lasts about nine months,” says Dr. Jaliman. MONTHS. Everybody should have a mole checked once a year by a dermatologist; if you have a family history of skin cancer or very fair skin, you may need it twice a year. If a mole is bleeding or itchy, if the borders change and become irregular, or if the color of the mole changes, you need to get checked—all are warning signs that should not be ignored. “When in doubt, get it checked,” Dr. Jaliman says. If your child has a large mole or birthmark, she suggests keeping your own annual photo documentation of it, just in case you change doctors. MINUTES. How long it takes for most sunscreens to start to work. “Be sure to apply chemical sunscreens (the kind often found in stores) 20-30 minutes before going outside…not while you are already at the beach or the park,” advises Dr. Levine.

This year, the minimum SPF was raised to 30 from 15. Dr. Levine explains using a sunscreen with a SPF 30 means “you are able to stay out in the sun 30 times longer than you would without sunscreen before getting burned,” if, of course, you use the


New York Family | August 2010


Our Favorite Summer Sun Care Products For The Whole Family

2 4 3 1. Episencial’s Fun Summer Skincare Value Kit

Episencial, an organic skin care line made with fruit extracts and other natural ingredients, has a great sunscreen kit for kids—it includes a vitaminboosting sunscreen, protective face balm and a soothing cream, plus an art projected inspired by the beloved book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” $19.95,

2. Bobbi Brown’s Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15

Protect your lips and put on a swipe of shine with these new moisturizing lipsticks. Cocoa and Shea butters, Jojoba, Apricot Kernel and Avocado oils keep lips moisturized; Peptides, Vitamin C and Paracress

6 stimulate collagen production; and SPF 15 helps prevent sun damage. $22;

3. Philosophy’s Hope Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 30

Don’t let this daily moisturizer’s lightweight formula fool you—it also provides broad-spectrum sun protection, helps skin maintain its natural moisture, and protects against environmental damage and aging. $45;

4. So Cozy’s Protective Conditioning Mist with Sunscreen Protect your child’s scalp and delicate hair from sun damage with this yummy, coconut-smelling conditioning spray. The paraben-free leave-in conditioner works on both

wet and dry hair and also prevents flyaways and frizz. $6;

5. L’Oreal Paris EverPure UV Protect Spray

Keep your locks looking lustrous with this lightweight, non-sticky spray with UV filters. Infused with rosemary and mint, the spray leaves color-treated hair healthy, shiny and protected from fading. $8.99; lorealparis. com

6. Essie’s NonYellowing Top Coat

Protect your nail and preserve your new manicure with Essie’s Non-Yellowing Top Coat. It protects polish from harmful natural UVA and UVB rays and keeps color from fading in the summer sun. $8;

proper amount of sunscreen. The bottom line? “The higher, the better,” Dr. Levine says, “I don’t use anything less than 45.” Dr. Jaliman agrees: “When heading to the beach, I tell my patients to wear a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 60.” Is it ultimate protection? Lotions with an SPF of 100 have hit the shelves, but don’t be fooled. “An SPF of 100 doesn’t mean you are blocking 100 percent of harmful rays,” Dr. Jaliman says. “Nothing is 100 percent protection.”

RAPHAEL KELLMAN, M.D. Autism can be treated Autism is an epidemic of toxicity and secondary dysfunction in a number of systems in the body. It can be defeated by reversing the toxicity and treating the dysfunction bio-medically with natural compounds and medicines. Dr. Kellman a graduate of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, an internist and a pioneer in holistic medicine. He specializes in holistic medicine and in the treatment of autism, ASD and developmental disorders.

Come Play Yoga at Karma Kids Yoga!

We let the dogs out.

He uses the Defeat Autism Now! approach. Author of “Gut Reactions” and “Matrix Healing”.

LOCATIONS: Manhattan Office 150 East 55th Street, 6th floor New York, NY 10022

Yoga for Babies Toddlers, Kids, Teens, Families NEW CircusYoga Prenatal Yoga Free Story Time Yoga Yoga Birthday Parties Special Events Teacher Training

Bring the zen home with our new CD, Come Play Yoga! available at and, selected tracks on iTunes.

Karma Kids Yoga | 104 West 14th Street, NYC | | (646)638-1444

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Dr. Kellman’s innovative approach to holistic medicine and his groundbreaking discovery of the Thyroid-Autism connection based on the TRH stimulation test has changed the lives of hundreds of children. Guided by advanced metabolic, hormonal and immunological testing, he skillfully uses the most effective natural compounds along with prescription medicines when needed.

Hartsdale Office 141 South Central Park Ave, Suite 305 Hartsdale, NY 10530

212-717-1118 •

7/22/10 5:00 PM



Endless Summer Delicious Family Barbecues, Out-Of-The-Box Beach Activities And Spectacular Sandcastles

Have A Ball At The Beach By Sharla Feldscher n the summer months, there’s nothing kids love more than a day at the beach. And while it’s hard to imagine them getting tired of the surf, sand and endless sun, sometimes you need a bit of extra inspiration to turn a day of lounging in the sun into an awesome adventure. Sharla Feldscher, author and blogger of the KIDFUN activity series, shares a few new ideas for beachy fun.


SQUIRT AWAY! The best part of being at the beach is that getting wet is the plan! Bring a basting tube or a spray bottle (the kind you can buy at the dollar store), fill it with water and let your child start spraying everything in sight— even you! It might be perfect for the family member who just doesn’t want to go in the water, but would love to have her arm and legs sprayed down to cool off, and your child will likely take this new job very seriously! Another task kids love? Paint-

ing! Give your kids a bucket of water and a paintbrush and ask them to put a fresh coat of “paint” on the boardwalk railing, a bench, a table and their toys.

BEACH BALL FLIPS You know those cool parachute games? Here’s an easy way to do this at the beach. You just need a few people to play. Take a beach blanket or oversized sheet and hold the sides above the ground. Take a beach ball and toss it on top of the sheet. How long can you keep that beach ball in the air? Count out loud to raise the stakes and keep the game exciting!

TREASURE HUNT Toddlers and young kids love hide-and-seek-inspired games. While sitting on the beach, hide a penny in a designated area of sand. Suddenly, it’s buried treasure, and it’s your child’s job to find it! After they find the penny, let them bury it for you, and take turns until you’re too hot and need to get back in the water.

BEACH BOWLING Take the game of bowling to the great outdoors with an easy and innovative twist. Dig six holes in the sand in a pyramid shape, like the pins in a bowling alley, and smooth the area in front of the holes to make it look like a lane. Then, roll a ball, perhaps the size of a tennis ball, down the lane, trying to get it in a hole. Set up a family bowling tournament for hours of light-hearted competition.

SAND DRAWINGS Nurture your family’s artistic side with a drawing session in the sand. Smooth an area of sand so your kids can draw a picture or a design, and provide “crayons” that might be a small stick, popsicle stick or the flat end of a shovel. Take turns drawing pictures, using beachy objects and elements to inspire you. The sand is also a great canvas for a rousing game of Pictionary. Sharla Feldscher is the author of several books including two “The KIDFUN Activity Books,” published by HarperCollins, and available on She has a public relations firm based in Philadelphia. She blogs at

THREE EASY IDEAS For Creating Spectacular Sandcastles

t may sound complicated, but creating unique sand sculptures with your kids (think seahorses, toothy alligators or an entire school of fish!) is easier than you might think. Mark Mason, the owner of the award-winning sand sculpting group Team Sandtastic, shares some tips for families on how to turn an everyday sandcastle into an extraordinary, one-of-a-kind creation your kids will never forget!


SERIOUS SANDCASTLE BUILDERS NEED A WIDE VARIETY OF TOOLS to craft their creations, but luckily, most of what you need is already in your family’s kitchen. Raid your kitchen for tools like spatulas, cake icing spreaders, and melon ballers—stainless steel tools are the best, but any will do. Look for other household items like shovels and brushes. PLAN OUT YOUR SCULPTURE IN ADVANCE AND BRING ALONG SOME ARTWORK to inspire you—you can draw something yourself or cut it out of a magazine. Turtles, alligators and bugs (both VW and Lady) are great ideas for beginners, and allow for group involvement and a lot of creativity. A snowman made of sand is also a fun project to try—you can guarantee your “sandman” will be the only one on the beach!


New York Family | August 2010

MASON’S NIECE, KALI, POSING WITH HER FIFTH BIRTHDAY PRESENT—A ONE-OF-A-KIND SAND SCULPTURE. TRY TO TELL A STORY IN YOUR POSE, LIKE A ONE PANEL COMIC STRIP. For example, if you build an alligator, try to have the alligator doing something instead of just lying on the sand; carve it knitting baby alligator socks for a pile of eggs—that tells a story that you’ll want to remember! Team Sandtastic has been sculpting sand and snow professionally all over the world for 18 years, and currently holds Guinness World Records in sand and snow sculpture and a World Championship title in sand. To learn more about Team Sandtastic and see their incredible sculptures, visit





What’s your EQ?

Are you an energy champ, an energy guzzler or an energy snoozer? To find out, take the Con Edison Energy Quotient Quiz at or at

Ceiling fans can help you save energy: A. in the summer B. in the winter C. in both summer and winter

A. microwaves use less than half the power of traditional ovens B. traditional ovens use less than half the power of microwaves

answer : C

answer: A

What’s the correct way to handle the following safety issues?

A good rule of thumb for air conditioner use is to:

A. report electric power problems online at or by cell phone B. report power problems by calling 1-800-75-CONED C. call 1-800-75-CONED D if you see steam on New York City ity streets D. all of the above

A. open windows and turn off A /C when it’s 70° or cooler outside B. run your A /C for one hour then close windows to trap the cool air C. run your A /C and leave windows closed until cold fall weather returns

answer: A

ans er : D answer

©2010 Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. Ad: Arnell

Which statement is true?





Let’s Get Grilling!

Everyone loves burgers, hotdogs and potato salad, but there are tons of new and inspired recipes for the grill that will be a treat for parents and kids alike. To help you get started, the contributing chefs to our Yummy Delicious family food blog at offered up some of their favorite seasonal recipes, perfect for families. the marinade and coat all of the pieces. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the tofu marinate for up to two hours. 5. Preheat and oil the grill. Grill the tofu for four minutes per side. Garnish the tofu with cilantro and serve.

ingredients again to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Marinade in the fridge for at least one hour. 4. Heat grill and cook chicken over a medium flame for 7-8 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through.

GRILLED SHRIMP SKEWERS Recipe from New York Family’s Style Director Joy Sherwood.

CORN BLACK BEAN MEDLEY Recipe from Jessi Walter, the founder of the NYC kids cooking program Cupcake Kids! Ingredients (Serves 10-12) 1 T olive oil 2 t red wine vinegar juice from 1 & ½ limes ¼ t pepper ½ t salt 1 tomato, large 1 can black beans ½ can corn, rinsed and drained or 1 C fresh ½ C onion, chopped 2 t cilantro, chopped 1 avocado, diced 1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and season with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. 2. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves Four) 2 lbs. colossal shrimp ¼ C olive oil 1 T minced garlic ½ C dried seasoned breadcrumbs 1/4 C fresh parsley 1/3 C Parmesan Bamboo skewers 1. Peel and clean shrimp. 2. Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl and add shrimp to mixture; toss. Let shrimp sit for 30 minutes to baste. 3. Skewer shrimp and grill for two to three minutes for each side. 4. Serve and enjoy.

LEMON ROSEMARY CHICKEN ASIAN BARBECUE GRILLED TOFU Recipe from Jenna Helwig, the founder of, culinary instructor and personal chef. Ingredients: ( Serves 4) 2 14-oz. packages extra firm tofu 2/3 cup Hoisin sauce 1 T honey 1 T soy sauce 1 T chopped cilantro for garnish (optional) 1. Remove the tofu from the packages and dry with paper towels. 2. Slice each block of tofu in half lengthwise. 3. Lay two layers of paper towels on a large cutting board. Place the tofu on the paper towels and cover with two more layers of paper towels. Place plates, or other heavy dishes, on the tofu and let sit for 20 minutes. This will help expel excess water from the tofu. 4. In a large glass or ceramic dish (like Pyrex) stir together the Hoisin sauce, honey, and soy sauce. Transfer the tofu slices to


New York Family | August 2010

Recipe from Kelsey Banfield, the blogger behind the Naptime Chef. Ingredients (Serves 4) 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 3 lemons, halved and juiced (save juice and rind) 6 cloves of garlic (smashed with flat side of knife) 6 whole sprigs of rosemary 1 C olive oil 2 t salt ½ t red pepper (crushed or cayenne works) ½ t cinnamon 1. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Pierce breasts several times with fork tines. Drop chicken into a Ziploc bag. 2. In a separate bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil, salt and spices. Pour on top of chicken and squish chicken around in the Ziploc to make sure chicken is fully coated. 3. Add lemon halves, garlic cloves and rosemary springs to the bag. Squeeze air out and seal. Squish chicken around in all

HONEY BASIL GRILLED PEACHES Recipe from Stacie Billis, the blogger and chef at One Hungry Mama. Ingredients (Serves 8) 1 bunch fresh basil (roughly 2 cups loosely packed) 1 T canola oil (plus more for greasing the grill) 4 T orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed 1 C honey 8 ripe peaches, washed, cut in half & pit removed 1. In a food processor, combine basil, oil, orange juice and honey. Mix until the basil is very finely chopped. 2. Pour marinade over peaches and, if you have time, allow to sit at room temp for 30 minutes or so. If you don’t have the time, skip to the next step. 3. Liberally grease your grill. Place peaches on the grill cut side down. Cook for 7 minutes or so, until they begin to soften and take on nice grill marks. Flip. Grill for another 7 minutes. Peaches should be very soft and beginning to ooze their natural juice. If your peaches weren’t very ripe to begin with, you may need to grill longer. Serve with Orange Honey Ricotta Sauce (see recipe below), yogurt or ice cream. Orange Honey Ricotta Sauce 1 C whole or skim milk ricotta cheese, fresh if possible Juice of 1 orange 1/2 t cinnamon 1 T honey 1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Liberally coat the bottom of a plate with sauce and add Honey Basil Grilled Peaches on top or simply drizzle sauce over the peaches.

For more everyday culinary inspiration from our bloggers, head to

Poppyseed Pre-Nursery Enrich your child’s day with Music, Art, Gym and Play! •Mommy And Me • Pre-school Alternative •Age Appropriate Classes For Babies, Toddlers & 2’s 424 West End Ave. @ 81st | 212.877.7614

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Deb Flashenberg, founder of the Prenatal Yoga Center 30

New York Family | August 2010



How The Prenatal Yoga Center Became A Trusted Resource For Pregnant Moms—Before, During And After Giving Birth the room. A baby shrieks with excitement; Flashenberg compliments the cross-legged tot on her sukhasana pose. The women laugh. Clearly, this is not your typical Manhattan yoga class.“I wanted to make the studio a whole center,” Flashenberg says of her vision for PYC, which began nine years ago as a six-person prenatal class in a closet-sized room. “I wanted it to be a place where the community was as much about the space as the yoga classes.” Today, with a heavily attended roster of pre, post and mommy-andme yoga classes, Flashenberg’s vision has been realized, as the center has become a veritable one-stop-shop resource for new and young families. In addition to yoga, the center offers educational workshops ranging from a comprehensive childbirth guide to finding (and keeping) a good nanny, as well as a new mom support group and breastfeeding circle. Infant massage, children’s music and sign language classes, as well as a new “Tummy Time” for developing infants’ motor

skills and body awareness rounds out the center’s schedule—and that’s just at the 72nd Street location. While the family-friendly Upper West Side has served the center’s growth well, Flashenberg is enthusiastic about the center’s satellite yoga classes around the city, at Cobble Hill’s Easeful Body and Flatiron’s apple seeds, as well as the UES’s Yummy Mummy store. For moms too busy— or far away—to get to any of these classes, PYC’s website features a library of yoga videos for at-home practice. Prenatal Yoga Center’s everexpanding community is born out of Flashenberg’s dedication to shepherding women through the birthing process into motherhood, a passion that grew out of her own search for a yoga practice to which she felt connected. After practicing Bikram-style yoga, Flashenberg grew tired of the method’s systematic feel and, as she puts it, “I wanted to actually be able to talk to the students and honor that all bodies are different.” And what body could be more unique than a pregnant one?

Photos by Andrew Schwartz

et’s face it—walking into a New York City yoga class can be intimidating. We’ve all been there: those crowded, dimly lit rooms packed with lithe, Gumby-like yogis in impossibly complicated poses with impossibly defined triceps. Now consider that same scene while six months pregnant when, ironically, yoga pants are about all you ever want to wear. Fortunately, there is Prenatal Yoga Center, a trusted resource—and down-to-earth haven— for New York City moms. Walking into Prenatal Yoga Center (or PYC, for short) elicits a warm and fuzzy, it’s-nice-to-be-here feeling. Opening the door to the flagship studio’s West 72nd Street location, one is immediately struck by the friendly, uncomplicated atmosphere of this one-room space. Charming, tin ceilings soar high above the wood floors. Cheerful butter-yellow walls and bright, airy windows round out the happy vibe. At a recent post-natal class, founder and studio director Deb Flashenberg beams at the dozen or so new moms, some with cooing infants sprawled before them on blankets, as she encourages introductions around

Trained in prenatal yoga at Seattle Holistic Center, Flashenberg has carefully crafted a practice for the pregnant body based on a variety of methods, including a Vinyasastyle flow she picked up while studying at NYC’s Om Yoga. She’s quick to point out her more conservative approach to the practice when working with pregnant students; she makes sure to assess “the risks versus the benefits” for her students when teaching an asana. Flashenberg tailors classes to students’ needs by beginning each meeting with a check-in during which moms share their aches and pains. Common complaints—from pregnancy’s sciatica and pelvic issues to breastfeeding’s neck and back stiffness—help inform her instruction and sometimes even prompt her to pull out the pelvic bone displayed on the center’s shelf of pregnancy books. “We start a dialogue,” she says, “and there’s definitely a fair amount of anatomy education.” Whether by explaining Kegel exercises or pointing out where the sacroiliac joint is located, Flashenberg helps her students develop a detailed awareness of their bodies. She also strives to make those bodies feel as graceful as possible, despite the challenges that a belly at 32 weeks can pose. Props like foam blocks, blankets and bolsters have helped Flashenberg develop a fluid practice which leaves women, as she puts it, “feeling confident… graceful and coordinated, as opposed to ‘I’m so swollen, I’m so big, where did this belly come from?’” In her quest to educate herself on this unique phase, Flashenberg became both a certified Lamaze coach and doula seven years ago. Having attended over 85 births, she credits those experiences with making a profound impact on her vision for Prenatal Yoga Center. “Every time I go to a birth I learn something new,” she says. “It really has changed my teaching. It’s not just about yoga; it’s really about giving information, giving education and building confidence.” During a typical prenatal class, students learn ways of coping with pain during labor. “From finding confidence, to finding breath, to finding strength, to finding relaxation, our classes aren’t just about asanas—it’s a lot about building into the peak pose of birth,” Flashenberg says. For Flashenberg, the reward is personal. A bulletin board collaged with photos of students’ babies is testament to the center’s impact on women’s lives. “To be able to be there for them at this time in their life is so rewarding,” Flashenberg says, her eyes moist with tears. “To get the stories back—it’s incredible. I would not trade that for anything.” G Prenatal Yoga Center, 251 West 72nd Street,

“It’s not just about yoga; it’s really about giving information, giving education and building confidence.”

Italian Mandarin French Spanish Enriching young minds through the beauty of foreign language.

We’ve Moved! Visit us at 795 Columbus Ave. Between 97th & 98th St. in Mandell School’s new facility at Columbus Square

Hourly Lessons and

Extended Immersion Program Monday - Friday

Call Today! 212.501.8524

August 2010 | New York Family


a gd


From Locating A Nearby Play Space To Inspiring Impromptu Sing-alongs, These Apps Make Family Life Simpler And More Fun egardless of which smartphone you call your own (iPhone, Blackberry, Droid…) there are hundreds of applications made specifically for families—apps that enable parents to track pregnancy milestones, soothe a fussy baby with songs and games, help their toddler learn the alphabet with interactive touch screen puzzles, and more. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites, many of which are compatible on different devices, and some of which are free! Visit your phone server online for downloading information, as well as price and availability updates.



New York Family | August 2010


SMART PARENTS ONLY IN NEW YORK: IKidNY—Navigating the city is easy with this application cre-

ated by a New York City mom. iKidNY’s easy-to-use, GPS-based program helps parents find the closest playgrounds, outdoor and indoor activities, changing tables, subway elevators and kid-friendly restaurants in seconds.

CrossWalk—This app makes finding cross streets a snap; just punch in the address and the cross street will appear in seconds. Also includes an interactive MTA subway map for stress-free commuting. NYCWay—A comprehensive app for New Yorkers, NYCWay features 50 different New York-centric apps in one. It can help you pick a restaurant, peruse art galleries, find an apartment, and locate the nearest coffee shop or movie theater. The app also features live traffic cameras, NYPD’s Most Wanted mug shots, and much more. Blueleo—The BlueleoGuide offers families 6,000 resources

in 15 essential, parent-specific categories like after-school programs, baby and kid stores, kid-friendly restaurants, public and private schools, tutors and more. Parents can also log on to Blueleo’s website to read reviews and share ideas.

Menu Pages—Offers extensive listings of nearby restaurants

(complete with hours, prices and payment methods) and also displays eateries’ complete menus to help you make the right selection.

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FAMILY HEALTH: Sit or Squat—Type in an address and this app will locate the nearest restroom, anywhere in the world! Users rate each bathroom based on cleanliness so you’ll know whether to sit or squat.

iPregnancy—Created by an OB/GYN,

iPregnancy offers guidance to expectant moms and dads through every stage of pregnancy. The application can also calculate your approximate due date, keep track of questions for your doctor, and easily export the baby’s photos to family and friends.

Woomby—Ease a crying baby with

one click. Woomby detects when your child cries, and it plays music, videos and light shows to calm and pacify.

Dental Expert—Created by a popular NYC cosmetic dentist, this wideranging dental health app includes charts that show the eruption of baby teeth and development of adult teeth, information about dental care during pregnancy and solutions to the most common dental problems, like sensitivity and gum swelling.

Super Match Madness—Improve your child’s memory with this animal match game that tests listening skills. The animals make different sounds that attract and keep your child’s attention. Wheels On The Bus—Songs with pianos, cellos and kazoos set the background music of this app, which introduces kids to language and song. Kids can make the wipers move, open the bus door and honk the horn; you can also choose to hear the song sung in English, Spanish, French, Italian and even gibberish!

SAVVY PARENTS: How To Cook Everything—A five-pound

cookbook at your fingertips! Written by New York Times columnist and best-selling chef Mark Bittman, this simple and accessible approach to cooking contains 2,000 simple recipes that your whole family will enjoy. Perks include built-in timers for recipes, customizable shopping lists and meal-planning ideas.

Red Laser—The ultimate accessory for

savvy shoppers, this app lets users scan in a product’s bar code and shows a list of online shopping results to compare prices. Skip the long lines and save tons with this family favorite!

Mint—No need to remember all your Baby Brain—Keeping track of your

newborn baby’s progress can be overwhelming. This app helps simplify the process by logging feedings, nap times, your nursing schedule, diaper changes and more. You can even email the report to your spouse, pediatrician or nanny.

LEARNING AND PLAY: iTot Toddler Flashcards—These

digital flash cards help your child learn basic words, like the names of animals, foods, and household items as well as master the alphabet and numbers. You can teach them French and Spanish words, too. Tres bien!

8 Planets—Preschool and elementary grade students learn all about the solar system with this out-of-this-world app. While kids memorize the names of planets and absorb fun facts, parents can keep track of their progress with the 8 Planets report card. 34

New York Family | August 2010

spending habits with this personal finance application, which allows users to add in transactions while shopping in stores, provides budget info, and shows where money has been spent throughout the month.

Intuition—Known as Mom’s Personal Assistant, this application will help busy moms simplify their life! Capture to-do’s, groceries, tasks, and wish lists easily, keep in touch with family and friends via Facebook, Twitter or email, and save money with the best deals and offers near you. Silent Bodyguard—While we hope you’ll never actually have to use this application, it’s a necessity for staying safe in the city. If you find yourself in danger, a few discreet taps on this app will send a silent alarm indicating that you need help, as well as your current location, to your emergency contacts by text message and email every sixty seconds. —Noelia de la Cruz, Teresa Tobat, Ashley Troost

Enroll now for Academic Year 2010/11 Online registration available

Young Dancers (ages 2-6) Technique Classes (ages 6-18) Pre-Professional Program (ages 7-18) Training the dancers of tomorrow

– Ballet & Theater Dance Focus

Ballet • Jazz • Hip Hip • Horton Based Modern Technique • Tap • Theater Dance • Partnering • Repertory 212-874-3678 • •

a division of STEPS ON BROADWAY Training and supporting dancers for over 30 years Carol Paumgarten, Founder/Artistic Director • Diane Grumet, Co-Artistic Director 2121 BROADWAY @74 ST., NY, NY 10023 • PH: 212 874-2410 •

photos: P. Goode, R. O’Connor, E. Patino


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1 Sienna May hosts a party at NYC Elite Gymnastics to celebrate her 5th birthday. 1. Sienna and her


guests climb to the top. 2. The birthday girl’s cute cake with a mermaid theme. 3. Sienna has a ball in the ball pit. 4. Mom and Dad celebrate the day’s success with a hug.

Photos by Heidi Green (

4 2


Anick McClellan hosts a party at The Toy Museum to celebrate her 1st birthday. 1. Anick and her guests take in the museum’s displays. 2. The birthday girl tastes one of her cupcakes. 3. Anick shares a smile with Mom and Dad.

Isabella Stern and Chiara Lanara host a party at Scribble Press to celebrate their 8th birthdays. 1. Chiara and Isabella

Photos by Andrew Schwartz

pose with their artwork. 2. The birthday girls blow out their candles. 3. Isabella’s brother Sebastian shows off his sketch.


Photos by Heidi Green (



New York Family | August 2010





Our Favorite Fall Fashions for


Styled By Joy Sherwood Photography By Suzanne Cohen


Alexis is wearing Ralph Lauren (; shoes by Naturino (


New York Family | August 2010

< Left to right: Thomas is wearing Gymboree (; boots by Timberland ( Aaron is wearing Ralph Lauren (; shoes by Merrell ( Alexis is wearing Papo dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Anjo (; boots by Garvalin (


Samuel is wearing Papo dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Anjo (; shoes by Naturino (

August 2010 | New York Family





< Left to right: Alexis is wearing Marie Chantal (; boots by Garvalin ( Aaron is wearing Kicokids (; shoes by Merrell (


Aaron is wearing denim shirt by Gymboree (; brown checked Oxford by Papo dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Anjo (; pants by Kicokids (; shoes by Naturino (

Credits Shot on location at Early Learning Foundations Preschool at Gymtime Rhythm & Glues ( Hair by Angelina Jane hairstyles for Carousel Cuts ( Suzanne Cohen/


New York Family | August 2010

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BEAUTY Though She’s Still Supermodel Gorgeous, These Days Christie Brinkley Has Become A Different Kind Of Icon—A Devoted Mom And Committed Activist



t’s a rare privilege to watch Christie Brinkley step in front of a camera. Flashing her signature smile, she twists, turns and tosses her golden hair, each pose more interesting than the next. In fact, after three decades of modeling, she looks genuinely happy in her work, and she makes it look natural. But it’s a greater privilege to sit and talk with her. Perched on a couch in her sunny sitting room, the 56-year-old supermodel, activist, artist, business owner and mom of three gazes out at the boats passing through Sag Harbor Bay and opens up about the things that matter to her—things like her tireless charitable work; her love for the place where she lives; her resilience in the face of personal hardship; and her three children, Alexa (24), Jack (15) and Sailor (12), of whom she is clearly proud (“He was our doctor’s earliest walker!” she says, beaming, when Jack arrives home from sports camp). And although I met her just moments ago, Christie is warm, good-natured and engaging, which makes our conversation feel so, well, natural. You are supporting several charitable events in the Hamptons this summer. In particular, you are co-chairing the annual benefit for the Ellen Hermanson Foundation. Tell me about your connection to the foundation. From Manhattan to Montauk, we have some of the highest breast cancer rates in the nation. I find that alarming, and I’ve known people who have gone through it. Many years ago, [the organization’s founder] Julie Ratner called me up and told me about her sister Ellen, and about how she didn’t want her sister to have died in vain—she wanted to turn it into something that would help other women. And boy, has

she ever succeeded. Last year, they opened the first comprehensive breast center at Southampton Hospital. They treat the whole family there, because when a woman gets breast cancer, the whole family goes through it. To have that resource way out here on the East End is a real comfort. You’re also involved in the Max Cure Foundation’s Roar For A Cure Carnival benefit—happening on the same day! I think it’s so smart that these two cancer organizations are pooling their resources. The Max Cure Foundation is a case of a family facing probably the worst thing

Photography by THADDEUS HARDEN

August 2010 | New York Family


a family can face: being told your child has cancer. I can’t think of anything worse. And they right away said, “How can we help other families going through this?”

me. Now they’re like, not so interested in it anymore. But I still get them to come out and harvest before dinner, to get some fresh tomatoes and fresh lettuces. I do all organic.

You’re involved in many different causes—in particular, you’re a dedicated environmentalist. Yes, and right now I feel like the BP oil crisis is such a nightmare. I live in a beautiful place where I get to enjoy the outdoors with my children—we really benefit from all the water sports—and I feel so lucky but I feel so passionate about trying to stop the leak, clean up, alert people to the fact that there are other energy sources. As horrifying as the BP spill is, this is happening all over the world, and we cannot allow this to happen to our oceans. We have to be really proactive right now. On my Facebook page I’m posting petitions and including links to organizations that can help you reduce your dependence on oil and use less water. I mean, look at me, my grass is brown and I’m proud—I think brown is the new green lawn!

Do you like to cook, too? I do. I love when I have fresh Swiss chard from the garden or making zucchini blossoms. Basically everything starts with olive oil and garlic, and I just toss whatever it is in there, put it over a little bit of pasta and that’s it. Or if Jack and I catch some fish, we’ll cook that up. You’re a longtime vegetarian. Are there any foods you just can’t bring yourself to give up? I’m a lacto-icthio vegetarian, which means I do eat certain fish, like salmon and halibut, but no big fish. And I do have dairy, because life’s too short—you gotta have cheese.

Of course I have to ask how you manage to stay in such great shape! What is your approach to exercise? I really do use my Total Gym! I also like to do active things—I like to You’re also known for your devotion to your three get out and run down the beach or ride a bike or ski. But I children. What are they up to these days? What do you love find that jumping on the Total Gym for just 15 minutes and about being their mother? The most amazing thing about going through the motions reminds me of the same kind of being a parent is just seeing the world through the eyes of benefit that you get from yoga—a total-body lengthening your kids; it’s like being able to see the world through difand strengthening. I keep mine in front of the TV and so ferent prisms. My daughter Alexa is in the music industry I turn on “The Today Show” and do it. And I love going to now—she’s going to be putting out the yoga class here, but if I can’t make it, I’ve got my yoga On my an album in September. Being her mat so I’ll roll it out and I’ll just go through some sun Facebook page salutations, and it just makes me feel so much better. mother, she’s literally made my I’m including links life a musical. My son Jack is an athlete, and it’s so much fun to go I’ve heard you talk before about your commitment to organizations snowboarding or skiing with him, to taking care of your skin—specifically, I’ve heard that can help and we love to go fishing and we say you’re a committed exfoliator. Any other skin you reduce your you love to explore. Long Island has care or beauty tips you swear by? I have to do what I dependence on oil can to protect what’s left of my skin after growing up as the most beautiful coastline of any and use less water. a surfer girl in Malibu. But the fact of the matter is I’m place I know, and we go in and I mean, look at one of those people that if I go out for five minutes, I out of all the little inlets and coves. My daughter Sailor is an amazme, my grass is get tan. But I do at least try not to—I put my sunblocks ing filmmaker and is very funny, brown and I’m on. And I still am a firm believer in exfoliating. I came and she keeps me laughing with that because I read an article when I was, I don’t proud—I think upon her imitations and her funny bits. know, 14, that said that men always look younger than brown is the new women because they shave. My kids are constantly changing green lawn! and their interests are so wide and varied. I love saying, “Okay, what You’ve enjoyed immense professional success, but are they into now?” you’ve also experienced quite a lot of personal hardship. Yet you’re known for your enduring optimism. You’ve made your home in the Hamptons for years Where does that come from? I think I was raised that way. now—you raised your kids here and your parents recently I always think of my mom as eternally smiling—she just moved here from the West Coast. What do you love about has a beautiful smile and a beautiful attitude. My parents living here? I think it starts with the water. I grew up in have been going through a lot of health issues lately, which has been really difficult. But my mom goes through it all Malibu, and I love Malibu, but it’s pretty much a straight with a smile, and I really do think that smiles are healing. I coastline. And here there is so much to explore, I just love always say to my kids, “If you’re feeling down, put the outer it, to me it’s like a storybook. To see trees growing near the corners of your mouth up,” because just doing that releases water—to this day I get so excited over that, I think it’s so hormones that are uplifting. I think you should try to just beautiful. I also love gardening, and this is a great place to stop and count your blessings, no matter what’s going on, garden. When my kids were little, my garden was the best and I always start with my three: Alexa, Jack and Sailor. b place for conversations; they were always out there with


New York Family | August 2010


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Christie’s Causes: A Family Carnival, A Dream Night Out, A Special Run A longtime Hamptonite, Christie Brinkley is supporting several charitable events on the East End of Long Island this month—two of which are happening on the same day (August 21). Together, they make for an afternoon of family fun followed by a dream night out for parents. The 2nd Annual Roar For A Cure Carnival will benefit the Max Cure Foundation, which raises money for rare pediatric cancer research and treatment. The cocktail party HEAT will benefit the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, which raises money for breast cancer support. HEAT will also kick off the annual Ellen’s Run, taking place the following morning. We caught up with the organizations’ founders to find out more about their history, mission and what we can expect from this year’s fetes.

THE MAX CURE FOUNDATION: A Q&A With Founder David Plotkin The Max Cure Foundation supports pediatric cancer causes. Why this cause? In 2007 we learned our fouryear-old son Max had a rare pediatric cancer never before seen by Memorial Sloan-Kettering. We wanted to create a foundation filled with hope and inspiring people. What are the goals of the foundation? Most of the funds raised go to The Max Cure Fund at MSKCC to underwrite a one-of-its-kind cell therapy lab for research, alternative treatments and finding cures. This year’s event also benefits Katy’s Courage Fund, for a Sag Harbor family whose daughter has a rare liver cancer, and Dr. Oren Becher’s Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund in memory of Lily Taubin, the five-year-old daughter of friends Greg and Felicia, who lost her battle with cancer last year. Tell us about your upcoming event. August 21st is our 2nd Annual Roar For A Cure Carnival. A lot of charity events are evening galas, but we wanted to include the kids. There will be live music by well-known artists


New York Family | August 2010

like Camp Rock star Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Stephen Jerzak and Burnham. There will be inflatables, games, great food catered by Jimmy Gutentag of In Thyme Catered Events, great people. Christie Brinkley spent a lot of time at last year’s carnival. It was clear that she was there as a mother and friend—not a supermodel. Max even said she looked like his mommy. How is Max doing now? Today he’s in remission but the journey continues. He goes for monthly scans; we pray that the cancer won’t come back. He’s a hero to all of us. When we shaved Max’s head, his younger brother, Alexander, said “me too.” He kept us all going. No matter how bad the side effects were, he was always smiling. Is that why the foundation’s motto is “Be Brave”? It was inspired by a stuffed lion that Max would carry to the hospital with him. Max would hold onto the lion through his treatments, and would sleep with him at night. He said it gave him courage. The foundation uses the character of his lion to represent hope, strength and bravery. For more info, visit

THE ELLEN HERMANSON FOUNDATION: A Q&A With Founder Julie Ratner What inspired the Ellen Hermanson Foundation? My sister, Ellen, died of breast cancer in 1995. She was a warrior, right to the end, an advocate and spokeswoman for people with breast cancer. I knew from Ellen that living with a life-threatening disease is hugely anxiety provoking. It creates a kind of tyranny. Our mission is to raise money for breast cancer patient psycho-social support, pain management and educational outreach. How did the foundation begin? It was a fluke! A close friend said, “You’re a runner. Breast cancer’s a huge issue on the East End [of Long Island]. Why don’t you start a run in memory of your sister?” Memorial Day weekend

1996, I gathered some friends and we planned the first Ellen’s Run. [Eventually] we became a not-for-profit. What is Ellen’s Run? It’s a 5K. [August 22nd] is our 15th annual run. It’s a carnival atmosphere; however, it’s also very poignant. We’ve had women come the day after a mastectomy in a wheelchair. When someone signs that shirt that says “I’m running in honor of” or “in memory of,” it’s an emotional moment. You also have an evening event on August 21 called HEAT. Tell us about that. It’s a cocktail party and auction at this gorgeous home in Bridgehampton. It’s really festive: there’s music, there are beautiful people. There are four concert tickets and a meet and greet with Lady Gaga [up for bid along with other items] through Speaking of beautiful people, Christie Brinkley is a HEAT co-chair. She’s been wonderful. It gives us a sense of pride that she aligns her name with us. It’s a vote of confidence. For more info, visit —Lisa Rogal

The 2nd Annual Roar For A Cure Family Day Carnival Saturday, August 21, 2-6 p.m. The East Hampton Indoor Tennis Club, 175 Daniels Hole Road, East Hampton To purchase tickets, visit

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Is It Really Easier To Get Into Harvard Than An NYC Nursery School?

NOT REALLY. But It’s Helpful To Know The Myths And Realities of The Admissions Processes For Nursery Programs As Well As For Public And Private Schools BY MOLLY O’MEARA SHEEHAN

August 2010 | New York Family



ith 1.4 million schoolaged children, New York City has the nation’s biggest public school system, the densest concentration of private schools, and admissions competition for the under-5 set so intense that it has inspired satirical novels and critically-acclaimed documentaries—while bewildering and frustrating countless parents. Each year, rumors and misinformation about the availability of spots and what it takes to get into certain schools only make matters worse. To help guide you through the city’s various admissions processes, here is an overview of recent trends in admissions for nursery school and both public and private kindergarten, along with answers to common questions and helpful resources. (Regarding admissions testing, parents should also refer to our story on early enrichment and tutoring on page 56.)

NURSERY SCHOOL The good news: If you apply to enough private preschools—and your list goes beyond the most competitive schools—you are likely to get in somewhere. (This is not the case with public pre-K, which is only offered to 4-yearolds, and has recently seen an increase in applications.) Gina Malin of the Parents League, a nonprofit group supported by independent schools and member families, advises parents to contact “10 schools to get eight applications,” but adds that “this isn’t a hard and fast number.” If you have twins or live in a family-heavy neighborhood like the Upper East Side, you should probably add a few more schools to the list. As you are forming your list, it’s especially important to contact the schools (or visit their websites) and note their systems for giving out applications (i.e. website, phone call or lottery). Get out your calendar: many schools only give out applications on the day after Labor Day (and the most popular ones often run out by midday), while other schools offer applications more freely in the course of the fall. Take note of the minimum age of entry at schools that interest you, as well as the age at which the school has the


New York Family | August 2010

most openings. Manhattan has more programs that start closer to or at age 3 than those that start at age 2, but the number of schools offering classes for 2-year-olds has expanded greatly in recent years. Some schools that start at age 2 may take most of their students at that age, whereas other schools with 2-year-old programs might have a greater share of their students starting at age 3. If you do not receive any preschool acceptances or if you have moved to the city too late to apply, you can call the Parents League to find schools with openings. Executive director Kathy Shea says the number of parents who are rejected from all the preschools they apply to is “not huge” and “they pretty much get placed somewhere.” Looking ahead? Parents may have an unfounded fear that only the “right” preschool will guarantee entry to a good private kindergarten. Wendy Levey, founder and director of Epiphany Community Nursery School, says that on the contrary, “ongoing schools are trying to take children from a variety of programs,” an assertion backed by private schools reports. At the same time, if parents applying to nursery school think they are likely to be applying to private school in a few years, they should inquire about a nursery school’s track record for placing children in private school to ensure that it’s a school with experience in ex-missions and has positive relationships with a lot of private schools.

COMMON QUESTIONS: WHEN TO START THINKING ABOUT IT: Parents must apply a full calendar year before their child would attend, so it’s wise to start looking in the spring and the summer to be ready to get applications in the fall, advises Roxana Reid of Smart City Kids, an experienced admissions consultancy. Again, you want to make sure you know whether a school you’re interested in gives out its applications on the day after Labor Day. WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION: Victoria Goldman’s “The Manhattan Directory of Private Nursery Schools” profiles some 150 preschools, describes the different types of instruction, and suggests questions for parents to ask themselves and ask schools. Parents can join the Parents League (parentsleague. org) for $195 to have an advisor like Gina Malin walk them through the process, get a guide to the city’s nursery schools, and sign up for admissions workshops. Also, New York Family regularly sponsors admissions seminars featuring groups of experienced school directors.

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in district kindergartens increased by 10 percent to 3,582, and those eligible for (but not guaranteed) spots in citywide programs jumped by a third to 1,788, perhaps as a result of increased test preparation. Unfortunately, families do not learn whether their children will be offered gifted spots until June, after most private schools want down payments on tuition. Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said in late June that the city may consider a different test for the 2012-13 school year that could yield earlier results and address other concerns about the present system’s fairness. A growing body of research suggests that test results at age four are not reliable predictors of future academic success, but so far at least there is no indication that the city may hold off G & T testing until a later grade.

This year, an unprecedented number of elementary schools have wait lists for neighborhood children ready for kindergarten. “The enrollments have been booming, particularly in Manhattan below 96th Street,” says Clara Hemphill, senior editor at the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School, the founder of, and author of several guides to New York City public schools. New residential construction in some neighborhoods has brought more families with young children into some areas that already had overcrowded schools. This means parents can no longer take their neighborhood school for granted, and should identify the school for which they are zoned and learn its admissions procedure well in advance. The good news is the city’s Department of Education has started to open new schools to alleviate overcrowding. Pamela Wheaton, Director of, praises new schools such as PS 276 (in Battery Park City), PS 397 (also lower Manhattan) and the re-opened PS 151 (Upper East Side) as “fabulous” places with talented principals and For now, the system incorporates two tests: the Otisgood facilities. Lenon School Ability Test (OLSAT), which counts for Wheaton says, “There’s a slight chance that in a few 75% of the total score, and the Bracken School Readiness overcrowded zones, you might get locked out of your Assessment (BSRA), covering 25%. The OLSAT is designed neighborhood school, but the chances that you will be put to measure verbal, quantitative and figural reasoning skills into another good school are also pretty good.” She adds, that are most closely related to scholastic achievement, “I think parents worry needlessly....The fact is that with a along with a child’s thinking skills (abstract thinking and few exceptions most of the schools in District 2 [below 96th reasoning). The BSRA is designed to assess a child’s concept Street on the East Side, below 59th Street on the West Side, knowledge and receptive language skills for school readiand Downtown] and District 3 [Upper West Side] in Manness. Or to put it more plainly, it looks at a child’s knowlhattan are great schools.” She also cites District 15 [Park edge of letters, numbers, colors and the like. Slope in Brooklyn] for its large number of good elementary Most of the city’s G & T programs are basically autonoschools. mous classes within neighborhood schools. There is a small Parents interested in public school Gift & Talented (G number of schools devoted exclusively to gifted education & T) programs should pay close attention to the Departthat accept city-wide applications. They include Andersen ment of Education’s website for general information and (PS 334), and NEST+m. To apply for one of the elite cityapplication deadlines. (See page 56 for a discussion of early wide programs, a student has to have scored at least in the enrichment and tutoring.) Wheaton cautions that gifted 97th percentile. The cut-off for the general G & T pool is the programs “really vary from school to school.” She says, “If 90th percentile. you are lucky to have a good neighborhood school, then the Charter schools are another viable option, especially smart kid doesn’t always need a G & T program.” for families with underperforming neighborhood schools. Many children with qualifying scores do not end up in G & T programs because there aren’t programs near enough to their home neighborMandell School, 128 West 95th Street, 212-222-2925, hood, or there aren’t spots available Speyer Legacy School, 211 West 61st Street, 212-581-4000, in the particular programs they want. Blue School, 432 Lafayette, Mezzanine, 646-602-7066, Although the number of children tested The Goddard School, 124 West 24th Street, 800-GODDARD, for this coming school year decreased Bilingual Buds, 180 Riverside Blvd., 212-787-8088, 16 percent from the previous year to World Class Learning Group, 12,454, those qualifying for gifted spots

“I think parents worry needlessly... The fact is that most of the schools in District 2 and District 3 in Manhattan are great schools.”

A Few Of The City’s New And Notable Private Schools


New York Family | August 2010

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Since the city’s first charter school opened in 1999, their ranks have grown from 10 in 2000 to some 125 in 2010, and a recent state law will allow tthe numbers to expand further. As entry to charter schools is by lottery, parents can increase their chances by applying to as many as possible.

COMMON QUESTIONS: WHEN TO START THINKING ABOUT IT: A child who will turn 5 by December 31 is eligible for public kindergarten in September of that year. Children born in the fall can go to public school a year before they could start at most private schools. You should identify your neighborhood school a year before your child would enter, go on school tours in the fall, and early in the fall make sure you learn the deadlines for applications, gifted testing, and charter school lotteries. WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION: Parents can find their zoned school and other options on the city’s Department of Education website ( Clara Hemphill’s New York City’s Best Public Elementary Schools profiles some 200 schools. reviews hundreds more schools, gives updates on school policies, and invites parents’ comments.

PRIVATE KINDERGARTEN Bottom line: Though fewer children have been taking the exam given by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) for private kindergarten entrance, the economic downturn does not seem to have significantly reduced applications to New York City private schools. Indeed, one sign of the continued demand for private education is the number of new schools that are opening in the city (see sidebar on new schools on page 20). Antoinette DeLuca, ERB’s executive director for early childhood admissions assessments, said she could not release the number of children taking the kindergarten test at the request of Independent School Admission Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY), the consortium of private schools that hires ERB to do the testing. However, an ISAAGNY report provided to us by another party shows that 2,867 children took the test for entrance into kindergarten in 2010, down nearly 9 percent from 3,113 at the peak two years ago. But given that not all test takers end up applying to private school, and that at least 2,400 private kindergarten

A Few NYC Admissions Consultants Education First, Manhattan Edge, New York Admissions, PEAS (Private Education Advisory Service), Smart City Kids, School Search NYC,


New York Family | August 2010

spots exist, the demand does not outstrip supply by nearly as great a margin as it does for gifted public kindergarten programs. The author of “The Manhattan Family Guide To Private Schools and Selective Public Schools,” as well as an admissions consultant with Education First, Victoria Goldman has studied admissions trends for more than two decades and maintains that if the private school data was more accessible, “You would be relieved to know there was a seat for everyone that was tested. It just may not be the one that parents have their heart set on.” Although ISAAGNY strongly discourages parents from coaching their children for the ERB exam, the widespread availability of practice materials this year made many parents feel pressured to prepare their 4-year-olds, and made several schools question the use of the test. Gabriella Rowe, head of the Mandell School, a longtime popular Upper West Side preschool that in recent years has expanded to include a primary school up to grade 8, even decided to forego the ERB. She says: “It added another wrinkle to an already complicated process and made more confusion for parents.” If you believe a particular school would be a great fit for your child, you should broach the topic with your preschool director, who often is your main point of contact to the private school beyond your application and school interviews. Some parents worry that a preschool director’s goals may not be completely in sync with their own (since the director has to worry about placing all of her interested families and not just yours). But that concern is misplaced: if a private school expresses interest in a child, any honest school director is going to cultivate that interest, not sabotage it.

COMMON QUESTIONS: WHEN TO START THINKING ABOUT IT: Most private schools say they want kindergarteners to turn 5 by September 1, but unofficially, many of them have late spring cut off dates. Parents should start to research schools in the winter and spring, so they can go on some school tours in the spring, fill out their applications over the summer, and have them in by the end of September. (Stated application deadlines are in the late-fall to early-winter range, but many schools receive all the applications they can handle by the end of September and then stop accepting them.) Admissions consultant Roxana Reid of Smart City Kids stresses that “getting started early is important,” and advises parents to begin by “reflecting on what really matters to them.” WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION: Victoria Goldman’s “The Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools and Selective Public Schools” profiles 63 independent schools that offer elementary instruction, and lists consultants who help families through the admissions process. School websites typically provide an overview of the school’s philosophy and academic and extracurricular offerings. In addition to nursery school admissions, the Parents League also advises parents on applying to private schools. n

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Is Early Enrichment A Breakthrough In Child Development, Or A Test-Driven Craze? By Alessandra Hickson





efore children are old enough to attend their first day of kindergarten, more and more are attending early enrichment and tutoring programs. This is part of a broader trend toward introducing so-called brain-boosting activities to childhood at younger ages, be it at nursery schools stressing early academics or in homes in which parents have been influenced by books like David Perlmutter’s “Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten: Raise IQ By Up To 30 Points And Turn On Your Child’s Smart Genes.” Not surprisingly, the trend has been seized by some parents hoping to give their kids an edge on IQ tests and other exams used for school admissions in public and private schools. To clarify the trend in early enrichment and the related issues parents should be thinking about, we spoke with local child development experts as well as people who run enrichment and tutoring companies.


New York Family | August 2010

Most parents don’t need to be convinced of the benefits of music and art classes for young children, but are less clear about what is meant by early enrichment as it pertains to the life of the mind. What do these sorts of programs offer? The directors of the enrichment centers and tutoring companies we

spoke with emphasized a similar overall theme: their programs offer fun, engaging work that unlocks a child’s natural ability and builds upon it. “We want to make children better life-long learners,” says Diane Sutowski, director of Kumon of Battery Park City. Kumon does this with flexible math and reading exercises in 20-minute sessions, and their pre-K students learn to identify letters, numbers and sounds. EBL Coaching, a multi-sensory tutoring program on the Upper East Side, works both with children with normal academic challenges as well as with children with particular learning needs. “We specialize in providing one-on-one and group tutoring that is individualized for each child, from pre-K on up,” says Dr. Emily Levy, director and founder of EBL, who meets with each child herself to match them with a specialist and a specific researched-based, multi-sensory plan. What does it mean to “tutor” a 4-year-old? “When children come to us, it’s often their first introduction to formal learning,” says Bige Doruk, CEO and founder of Bright City Kids NYC,

“Testing For Kindergarten” Offers Everyday Strategies For Preparing Young Kids For Placement Exams


aren Quinn, a local school admissions expert who has been featured on programs like ABC’s “20/20” and “The View” and in “The New York Times,” has a new book of simple strategies to help young children succeed on standardized tests. Whether your child is preparing for a public school “G & T” test or a private school admissions exam, the guide, “Testing For Kindergarten,” helps take some of the stress and guesswork out of the process by offering everyday strategies for enhancing your child’s learning experience, like making the most of before-bed reading and tips to strengthen your child’s memory. Quinn also throws in fun activities to help develop your child’s abilities in what she describes as the seven key areas needed for academic success. An NYC mom of two and one of the original founders of Smart City Kids, Quinn is best known as the author of “The Ivy Chronicles,” which took a satirical view of school admissions. This time, she’s not playing around! For more information, visit —Beata Cherepakhina

where the goal is to “give kids basic analytic skills that they need to master learning” through sessions with a professional tutor. During a typical one-hour session, children are encouraged to be flexible in their approach to problem-solving. “We teach them to approach the problem so they don’t get frustrated,” Doruk says. “We want them to be comfortable, and to build their confidence.” Another local tutoring company working primarily with young children, Manhattan Edge, offers 40-45 minute sessions for learning logic, playing memory games, and tackling mental challenges. The sessions help children organize their thinking and develop their learning abilities. “We teach them to block out distractions, focus and concentrate,” says Harley Evans, president of Manhattan Edge. “We want children to enjoy learning and become better students than they might otherwise.” Is there a downside to early learning? Michael Leone, a Kumon instructor, says in his experience early enrichment is invariably going to help as long as it’s aligned with a child’s readiness and ability. EBL’s Levy agrees: “Any student can benefit from enhancement, but it has to be the right approach for that child.” The organization that sets the guidelines for the admissions process for local private schools ( says that private test prep is against their rules as it pertains to preparation for the exam administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB). But if children are learning to improve their thinking skills, is there anything ethically wrong with being tutored (as long as the students aren’t being exposed to specific questions from the test)? “There’s no cheating going on,” says Evans, stating that at Manhattan Edge they “just help the child become familiar with the skills needed to succeed, such as working memory and delaying gratification.” The former head of the local ERB office, Sharon

Tutoring And Enrichment Centers In NYC Bright City Kids NYC, 54 Pine Street, 917–539–4575, Club Z! Locations vary, 866-448-8867, EBL Coaching, 17 East 89th Street, Suite 1D, 212-249-0147, Kumon Center, Various locations, 877-586-6673, Launch Math, 173 West 81st Street, Lower Level (between 81st and Amsterdam), 949-528-6240, Manhattan Edge, 44 Wall Street, 4th Floor, 1-888-407-8688, Mathnasium, 1597 York Avenue, 212-828-6284, The Princeton Review, 594 Broadway, Suite 502, 646-613-9500,

Spotnitz, Ph.D., draws the boundaries this way: “It’s one thing to cultivate a love of learning and develop learning skills; another to pursue a test-taking advantage to get a better score.” Plus, she says, tutoring that’s test-focused creates an ethical dilemma because it makes the job of assessing natural ability very difficult, hampering schools from ascertaining whether a child would be a good fit for them. The territory of early enrichment— whether or not there’s a testrelated goal in mind—does seem like a potential minefield of undue parental pressure, no? “Parents who set the success bar at the highest level can ironically be the most detrimental,” says Bronwyn Charlton, Ph.D. and co-founder of Seedlings Group, local developmental psychologists who advise parents on best practices related to child development. More particularly, Charlton advises parents to be wary of encouraging achievement by “taking all the fun out of learning.” Are early enrichment and early tutoring programs providing anything that parents can’t do themselves? The directors from EBL, Manhattan Edge, Kumon and Bright City Kids NYC share the general thought that while there are some parents who could teach their programs if they’ve done years of research and have lots of time, for the majority of parents, it’s easier and more effective to use an enrichment center or a tutor. “Kids can usually talk their parents out of

doing the hard stuff,” says Evans, an NYC father of two. Doruk, a downtown mother of three, agrees: “I’m a parent, but teaching [my kids] is another thing.” However, Spotnitz and Charlton disagree. “Parents are the best teachers,” says Spotnitz, adding, “nothing is as enriching as reading stories together, solving a puzzle together or taking out crayons and coloring together.” Charlton adds, “It is best to leave ‘enrichment’ to quality preschools and quality parent/caregiver child interactions.” Charlton advises parents to teach skills like focus and attention through fun games like “I Spy” and musical chairs. Sorting games and nature walks help kids classify, and learning flexibility with rule changes helps them multitask. “We have so many teachable opportunities as parents and so many ways of making learning fun,” says Charlton. “We just need to seize the moments and to be confident that in doing so, real learning will take place.” Can one really draw conclusions about a child’s academic potential when they are only 3 or 4 or 5? Apparently not. One of the unfortunate ironies of the use of IQ-like tests in NYC is that even many of the test-makers themselves agree that, with very young children, the tests are not reliable predictors of future academic success or success in life. For more on this topic, interested parents can check out the related-chapter in last year’s provocative bestseller, “Nuture Shock: New Thinking About Children.” G August 2010 | New York Family


Still Under The Radar For Most Local Parents, Homeschooling Is On The Rise In NYC--And Interested Families Have Formed A Vibrant Support Network

Sandra Leong at home with her sons, Brennan-Pierson, 5, and Julian-Alexandre, 3.

When School Is At



raditionally, the end of summer signals back to school for kids. For an increasing number of city families, though, “back to school” has nothing to do with returning to a school building. For them, the entire city is a classroom, and their parents are the teachers. What? Homeschooling in New York City? Is that even legal? As a matter of fact, it is legal, flourishing and has its own office within the NYC Department of Education (see sidebar). What’s more, there is a vibrant community of homeschooling families in the city, and although they decided to homeschool for different reasons,


New York Family | August 2010

they nevertheless support each other by sharing information and resources. Homeschool pioneer Laurie Block Spigel, author of the book “Education Uncensored,” runs the website Spigel homeschooled her two sons, now successful young adults, ages 19 and 25. With their homemade high school transcripts, the boys were accepted to their first-choice colleges with scholarships. Through her website, Spigel helps parents take advantage of all the city has to offer when it comes to homeschooling. “It’s ‘world schooling’—you’re not at home, you’re exploring and experiencing,” she says. “And what better place to do this than in New York City?

We have an educational and cultural candy store right outside our door.” Jane Ray, an East Village mom, decided to try homeschooling as “a last resort.” Ray’s son, Simon, had attended Montessori preschool and started at a public school kindergarten, which turned out to be a “disaster,” she says. “Simon was diagnosed at a very young age with ADD,” she explains. “He is also exceptionally gifted. These twice exceptional children fall through the cracks.” Ray pulled Simon out of public school in the middle of first grade. They tried a small private school north of the city, which wasn’t a good fit, either. They were waitlisted for three different gifted programs; they went on interviews for private schools. “His needs were just not being met, so I decided to give homeschooling a go.” Simon has now been homeschooled for first, second and third grades, and he will start at a private school this fall. After the “breather” that homeschool provided, Ray says, Simon feels ready to head back to a traditional school environment. Sandra Leong, a native New Yorker who attended private schools, approached homeschooling a bit more intentionally. Her 5-year-old son, Brennan-Pierson Wang, had also been enrolled in a Montessori program when he was about 2-and-a-half, but he dropped out halfway through the second year. “I felt like we were paying a lot for not so much; it seemed more like daycare,” says Leong, who lives in the Financial District. “The more I read and the more information I gathered, the more I believed

Photo by Andrew Schwartz

By Michelle Levine

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homeschooling was the right path for us.â&#x20AC;? Leongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 3-year-old son, Julian-Alexandre, has been exclusively homeschooled. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My husband was not on the boat at first, but he saw the development,â&#x20AC;? Leong b says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s amazing how much children absorb if you give them the chance.â&#x20AC;? For Spigel, homeschooling puts the joy of learning back in education. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our schools are becoming all about fear: kids terrified of tests, teachers imprisoned by a test-driven curriculum. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a quality learning environment,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Getting Aâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in school is not about learning, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about pleasing

Resources For Homeschoolers In NYC Thinking about homeschooling? Here are some helpful resources for city families: The Central OfďŹ ce of Home Schooling, NYC Department of Education, 333 Seventh Avenue, 7th Floor, 917-339-1748,, HomeSchooling/default.htm NYC Department of Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Services, Home School NYC, New York City Home Education Alliance, New York State Loving Education At Home, City Schooling,

the teacher. Is that who we want our children to be? Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t we want them at some point to change the world and not just say â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;yesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and be blindly obedient? Where is the enthusiasm?â&#x20AC;? Ray and Leong agree. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This individualized focus is the way every kid should be taught,â&#x20AC;? Ray says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Kids have so much capacity to learn; adults hold them back,â&#x20AC;? says Leong. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Let the child blossom, and they tell you what they need.â&#x20AC;? Is it too much empowerment, though, letting the kids run the show? Spigel doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think so. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Child-led learning is inquiry-based and interdisciplinary, but there is still structure,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have a plan, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m willing to throw it out. There is creative expression and creative freedom, but I still said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time for math.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Ray concurs, saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;With a filmmaker father and an actress mother, there is a lot of creativity in educating Simon. I hired tutors for a few hours a week for more rigorous math and science, for example, but Simon loves to read a lot and we studied Latin when he read Harry Potter, and he wrote poetry in Latin. He loves martial arts and was able to study it in a way he never could have going to a school.â&#x20AC;? Ultimately, says Spigel, â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no one-size-fits-all.â&#x20AC;? Just the way no two schools are the same, no two homeschooling families are the same. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that you can change if your kid changes, you can adjust how much structure you need, you adapt as you see fit,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You create a curriculum based on the interests of the child. Kids are encouraged to become experts in what they love.â&#x20AC;? n

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Great Ideas for August

[All Ages] New York Classical Theatre presents a familyfriendly, interactive production of Shakespeare’s classic “Much Ado About Nothing” in Central Park. The play moves around the park during the performance, and has been known to use trees, benches and even audience members as scenery! Families can catch an open rehearsal (August 3 and 4), see a formal performance (Tuesday-Sunday, August 5-29) or participate in a Family Workshop (August 21, 22, 28 and 29) to help kids explore the meaning of the play. All performances are free; suggested donation for the workshop is $10 per participant. Check online for show times and specific locations;

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catchy hooks and fairytale charm—takes the stage at the park’s annual free concert series for kids. After the show, families can indulge in some tasty snacks and participate in craft projects for purchase. Proceeds from the Carroll Park concerts benefit the Friends of Carroll Park. 4 p.m; free. President Street and Smith Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

August 5, 12

BROADWAY BOUND [All Ages] Liven up lunchtime and capture the sights and sounds of Broadway without the price of the


[Ages 6-12] Roll up your sleeves and enjoy playing in the he dirt with your little one at the Morris-Jumell Mansion’s Family Gardening Workshop! Children will learn to plant herbs and flowers at the Colonial Garden in Roger Morris Park, and will leave with their very own keepsake garden journal. 11 a.m.; free (advance registration required). 65 Jumel Terrace, 212-923-8008,

August 4


New York Family | August 2010

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[All Ages] Head to Carroll Park as Grammy-nominated musician Uncle Rock—aka Robert Burke Warren, a dad rocker who blends folk tunes with

August 19

MUPPET MAYHEM [Ages 6+] Experience “The Muppets Take Manhattan”— right here in Manhattan—as the River-to-River Festival’s Broadway2Battery program screens the classic flick on the Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street. Follow along as Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang fulfill their dream of performing their musical, “Manhattan Melodies,” on the Great White Way! 8 p.m., free (tickets are required and will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis). Elevated Acre, 55 Water Street, 212-963-7029,

August 28


2nd6th th t with theater ith Broadway in Bryant Park. Enjoy a picnic at The Lawn at Bryant Park as casts from various Broadway shows serenade you with Tony award-winning hits. 12:30-1:30 p.m.; free. Bryant Park, Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, 212-768-4242,

from Electric Company’s Dominic Colón. 4 p.m.; free with suggested donation of $3. Prospect Park Bandshell, Prospect Park West at 9th Street, Brooklyn, 718-855-7882,

August 7

August 8



[All Ages]

[All Ages]

Immerse your family in American history during the free Civil War Weekend at Governor’s Island. Living historians lead family-focused, handson activities to introduce kids to the men and women of the Governor’s Island Garrison in 1863. Learning activities will include walking tours, musical performances, weapon demonstrations and more. Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun 10 am-4 pm; Free. Governor’s Island, 10 South Street,

Staten Island’s Historic Richmond Town—a living history village and museum complex comprised of over 30 buildings and sites from the late 17th to the early 20th century—hosts a day-long community event full of educational fun for history buffs of all ages. Families can see demonstrations of open hearth cooking, blacksmithing and spinning, tour the town’s numerous exhibits and explore New York City’s oldest farm. Kids can get in on the action and try their hand at quill pen writing and oldfashioned games. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For more info, visit

August 7


The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center kicks off the U.S. Open with the 2010 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, where kids can channel their inner Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams and get up close and personal with some of their favorite tennis players. Families can enjoy interactive games, tennis clinics, face painting, celebrity sightings, musical performances and more. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; tickets on sale now at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Queens,

Sign up for New York Family’s popular weekly e-newsletter with tips on activities, shopping, and parenting at For more great listings,

see, the online cityguide for parents.

[All Ages] This year Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors summer event will celebrate its 40th season, boasting dozens of free musical and dance performances on the Lincoln Center plazas through August 15. On August 7, kids will love the Out of Doors Family Day—featuring a lively performance from the Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls, the world premiere of “Puppet Pageant: Pride and Prejudice and New York Real Estate,” a whimsical tale inspired by Jane Austen’s novel, and a parade led by new-wave marching band Asphalt Orchestra. Willie Mae Rock Camp concert; 2 p.m., Puppet Pageant; 4 p.m., Asphalt Orchestra, 6 p.m. All events are free. Hearst Plaza/Barclays Capital Grove, 10 Lincoln Center nter Plaza,

August 8


SUMMER CELEBRATION The Celebrate Brooklyn! summer concert series in Prospect Park presents The Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert, a celebration honoring the author-illustrator. The concert will feature performances by Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could and Elizabeth Mitchell, and a reading

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August 2010 | New York Family



Weather Late Summer Festivals Your Family Will Love By Noelia de la Cruz

Warren County Farmers Fair (August 1-7) Billed as “kid-friendly, family-friendly, wallet-friendly,” this annual county fair features food, arts and crafts, demolition derbies, equestrianism, antique cars and even its own hot air balloon festival! Don’t forget to stop by the “Kids’ Corral,” where little ones can meet farm animals, go on a scavenger hunt, see clowns and participate in a pie eating or hay baling contest! Phillipsburg, NJ,

Maine Lobster Festival Atlantic City Air Show (August 25)

More than 1,000 volunteers work year-round to exceed the previous festival’s success, and 2010 is no exception. Don’t fill up on the all-you-can-eat pancakes, because you’ll want to save some room for the 20,000 pounds of lobster available for sampling. A parade, arts and crafts, cooking contests, and kids’ events ensure that the five-day event is chock-full of variety. Rockland, ME,

Witness the heart-stopping solo routines, formation flying, and aerobatic maneuvers of military and civilian pilots over the Atlantic City Boardwalk. This year’s “Thunder Over The Boardwalk” show will be headlined by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, the Brazilian Smoke Squadron and more. Atlantic City, NJ,

Musikfest (August 6-15)

New York State Fair (August 26-September 6)

From blues, jazz and pop to rock, classical and country, this festival features a diverse lineup of musicians and bands—appealing to all musical tastes. Popular entertainers such as Norah Jones, Selena Gomez and the Counting Crows will make appearances. Bethlehem, PA,

Each year, the New York State Fair descends on Syracuse with enough performances, exhibits, animals and thrill rides to satisfy the whole family. A puppet parade and petting zoo are perfect for the little ones, while educational history presentations will teach older kids about the Iroquois Indians and maple syrup-making. Don’t forget to see the sculptures made from butter and cheese! Syracuse, NY,

Maine Lobster Festival (August 4-8)

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in NY (August 7-8) Celebrate the fifth month of the lunar calendar at this annual sporting event and cultural festival, where visitors can enjoy traditional Chinese food while watching Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake transform into a racetrack for over 120 dragon boats! Queens, NY,

Hosted by the Margret and H.A. Rey Center and blending art, science and literature, this festival enables families to embark on a three-day adventure with every child’s favorite monkey. Enjoy a banana pancake breakfast, meet Curious George and the Man With The Yellow Hat, witness rocket launches and planetarium shows, hike one of the pristine nature trails, hear live music and take part in an eco-art project! Waterville Valley, NH,

Dutchess County Fair (August 24-29) The mother of all county fairs, this much-loved festival showcases the best in area agriculture, arts and crafts, food and entertainment and draws over half a million visitors to the bucolic Dutchess County Fairgrounds each year. Don’t forget to take the kids to hear the Melody Singing Veggies! Rhinebeck, NY,


New York Family | August 2010

This free three-day festival on the Bangor Waterfront celebrates American and international music with traditional performances, arts and crafts demonstrations, a children’s area and a marketplace with handcrafted items and an array of foods offering visitors a “Taste of Maine.” Bangor, ME,

Downtown Plymouth Waterfront Festival (August 28) Take part in the popular Ducky Dash or go for a swim in the New England Aquarium’s Traveling Tide Pool at this year’s Plymouth Waterfront Festival. Stroll the arts and crafts show featuring over 100 local artisans, and enjoy two stages of live entertainment—not to mention a carnival complete with giant bouncy house! Plymouth, MA,


Curious George Cottage Family Festival (August 13-15)

American Folk Festival (August 27-29)

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LONG ISLAND It’s The Perfect Summer Getaway— And The Fun’s Not Just At The Beach! By Aisha Gawad and Amanda Orenstein ummer on Long Island means more than just sand and sea. Kids can star in their own theater productions, learn how to ride a horse, and even hit up kids’ day at a local vineyard. Whether you’re visiting for just a day or a few weeks, here are 10 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-turnedmuseum. 1395 Planting Fields Road, Oyster Bay, 516-922-9200,

your family having fun at the beach to their website and, if chosen, receive a $25 gift certificate to the restaurant. Bay Pavilion at Tobay Beach, 1 Ocean Parkway, Massapequa, 516-826-1610,

Learn About The History Of Flight. Cradle of

Aviation, a museum devoted to Long Island’s contribution to air travel, is a place where children and adults can explore and even climb through 75 planes and spacecraft. Jets and skydivers are suspended from the museum’s atrium, and kids can experience the sensations of flight and space exploration at the museum’s IMAX theater. Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City, 516572-4111,

Go On A Pony Ride. Just outside of East Hampton in the village of Amagansett, Stony Hill Stables is a picturesque equestrian facility that offers horse and pony riding lessons for children as young as 4. For longer stays, children under 7 can attend the summer “Pony Camp,” a three-day-per-week program that teaches the basics of riding and horsemanship. Camp sessions run through the end of August. 268 Town Lane, Amagansett, 631267-3202,

Take The Kids Vineyard Hopping.

Think wineries are just for adults? Think again—the Island’s famed North Fork wine country has several family-friendly vineyards that cater to adults and children. We especially love Palmer Vineyards, which holds family events throughout the year. Aquebogue, Long Island, 631-722-9463,

Get Your Thrills In Bayville.

Thrill seekers will love Bayville Adventure Park, which offers everything from miniature golf to bumper cars to rock climbing. Each park section also has its own theme, such as Blizzard Bay’s skating adventure and the Jungle Tree Top Adventure ropes course. When hunger hits, head over to the Shipwreck Tavern for a meal or Beaches & Cream for sundaes. 8 Bayville Avenue, Bayville, 516-624-743,

See What’s Going On At CMEE. There’s always lots to do at the

Children’s Museum of the East End. Children can make noise in “The Musical Forest,” get creative in the “Drop-In Art Studio,” and scoop ice cream at the soda fountain. Throughout the summer, the museum hosts “Twirligig Tuesdays,” where families are invited to bring a picnic dinner and enjoy kid-friendly performances—this month’s lineup includes Princess Katie and Racer Steve (August 3), Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could (August 10), Liz Joyce and Friends from Goat On A Boat (August 17) and The Silly Dilly Band (August 24). 367 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, 631-5378250,

Hit Up A Seafood Shack.

There’s plenty of great seafood stops on Long Island—we love Singleton’s Seafood Shack for its fresh crabs and ocean view. Shrimp and clams are also on the menu, and for landlubbers, chicken sandwiches and burgers are available. Submit a photo of


New York Family | August 2010

Princess Katie & Racer Steve at CMEE

Stock Up On Children’s Books. Book Revue, a

family-owned, independent bookstore in Huntington, features a kids section with delightful children’s books, not to mention colorful murals, fanciful sculptures, and a sturdy fire engine. Every Tuesday at 11 a.m. is “Toddler Time,” an opportunity for little ones to make crafts, listen to stories, sing and dance. 313 New York Avenue, Huntington, 631-271-1442,

Catch A Show In Westhampton Beach. A haven

for theater, music, dance and film, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center offers several youth and family-themed events during summer. On tap for August is “Pinkalicious The Musical” (August 22). There are also dance classes and studio art sessions available. 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach, 631-288-1500, v

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1-877-LADY TIX (877-523-9849)

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Connecting With Your

Caregiver Good Child Care Begins With A Positive Relationship Between Parents And The People Minding Their Child

THE NANNY (OR AU PAIR) CONNECTION By Alessandra Hickson When a nanny or au pair first joins a family, the relationship a parent shares with them is often difficult to navigate. Suddenly, another person is helping raise your child, and it can take time to establish a set of rules and understandings for this new role. For advice on making the nannyparent bond as strong as possible, we spoke with Doug Kozinn, cofounder of Absolute Best Care; Ruth Ferry, program director of Au Pair in America; and Tasha Blaine, author of “Just Like Family: Inside the Lives of Nannies, the Parents They Work for, and the Children They Love.” • Decide what kind of person you are looking for. Before hiring anyone, parents should consider the qualities in a caregiver that are most important to them. Everyone wants someone who is responsible


New York Family | August 2010

and nurturing, but what else are you looking for? An independent person who will schedule play dates? Someone who will follow your lead? Or somewhere in between? “You have to be very clear about what your own expectations are,” says Ferry. It’s also important to understand the value of qualifications and experience. “A professional, crystal-clear work record is so important,” says Kozinn. “It ensures that your children will be well taken care of.” And finally, don’t forget about chemistry. “Sometimes parents hear great recommendations about a nanny, but don’t get a great personal vibe and hire them anyway,” Blaine says. Instead, parents need to “make sure it feels right from the get-go. It should be organic.” • Nail everything down on paper. “As in any relationship, if key matters are discussed early on, they’ll be easy to handle later,” says Kozinn. To that end, experts like Kozinn recommend drawing up a work agreement at the beginning of the job to clarify work schedules, rates, overtime, sick days, holidays, even food requirements for your child. This is especially important if your nanny or au pair is living with you. “It’s more like an arranged marriage—it’s a partnership,” says Blaine. • Keep communicating. “This person is partnering with you in the growth of your child,” says Ferry, so it’s important to regularly check in with each other to chat about the child and week’s activities, and anything else of importance. However, these discussions shouldn’t be one-sided. “You want someone who makes it feel like a conversation rather than a Q&A,” says Blaine. • Give positive feedback. “Make sure when they do something great that you say, ‘Thank you, you did a great job, my child and I are grateful to have you,’” says Blaine. This ensures a balance in the relationship for when you need to give negative feedback, and lets them know that you value and appreciate them.

THE DAYCARE CONNECTION By Noelia de la Cruz A good daycare center not only tends to your children’s basic needs, but engages them in a way that parents would themselves, and thus plays an essential and positive role in a child’s development. But because a daycare center is a place of work, a parent can’t have the kind of oversight and control they can with a nanny who they employ. However, there are still many ways parents can establish good and trusting relationships with their daycare providers. Barbara

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CAREGIVER RESOURCES IN NYC Robinson, executive director and founder of Manhattan daycare and development center House of Little People, offers some important tips. • Attend An Orientation. “A good orientation makes a better relationship with the parent and daycare,” Robinson says. The first thing to do is review the facility, evaluate the equipment and make sure it’s appropriate for your child. A good daycare will provide a tour and carefully explain its daily procedures. Note the adult-to-child ratio, as well as the experience and background of the supervisors. Still, remember to consider these professionals beyond their education, and try to judge if they seem nurturing and responsible. • Participate. A good daycare center provides frequent activities for not only children to get actively involved in, but parents as well. “For our cultural month, parents from different cultures will bring in food or something to share that explains who they are and where they’re from,” Robinson says. Also, parents should attend field trips whenever possible. She also urges parents to keep in regular contact with other parents to share experiences and learn from each other. “We try to set the scene for parents to exchange ideas,” Robinson says. • Communicate. Daycare centers should keep a parent frequently updated on their child’s progress via regular reports, whether through email, phone or in person at pick-up or drop-off. And it goes both ways—parents should share information with the staff about their child that they may want or need to know. “Seek an open-book policy,” Robinson says, meaning a staff will appreciate and address your concerns and suggestions. • Trust The Daycare You’ve Chosen. Trust is essential to any kind of relationship, but none more so than with those caring for your child. The fact is, you can’t know everything that transpires during your child’s day, so once you’ve chosen a daycare, relax and trust your instincts.

THE BABYSITTER CONNECTION By Alessandra Hickson Although babysitters don’t live with families and their commitment typically isn’t as long or regular as a nanny’s, babysitters are still an enormous help to parents, and at their best, bring warmth and fun into the home when parents can’t be there. Melody Rubie, founder and president of Smart Start Sitters, shares her perspective on building a good relationship with a babysitter. • Pick a good one—and the right one for your family. Babysitters aren’t all the same. Some are better with older kids, some with infants and toddlers. Some babysitters are CPR certified, though most aren’t. Whatever their qualifications may be, it’s important to find someone who can meet your family’s particular needs, which, according to Rubie, should be done through “reading references, having background checks and interviews.” • Have a meet-and-greet. Consider it a job interview. Take one hour to sit down with the would-be babysitter, ask and answer questions, show them your home, and best of all, see how they interact with your child. “With the child there, you can see the chemistry,” says Rubie. • Talk it out. “Be clear and very detailed with what you like,” says Rubie. That means telling the babysitter when bedtime is, what snacks are allowed and when you’ll be home. By discussing these things early on, you and your babysitter can avoid future conflicts. • Appreciate your babysitter. Being a babysitter isn’t all fun and games. If they’re doing a great job with your child, it’s important that you show some appreciation. “Show [your appreciation] financially, too,” says Rubie, who advises parents to know the going rate and pay appropriately. Likewise, respect their time—if you’re going to be late, call. “Babysitters have a life too,” says Rubie. • Trust your babysitter. “If you feel like there’s no one else who can take care of your child other than you, that means you’ve given up your whole life,” says Rubie. “Take a step back, pick a really good sitter and let go a little. It’s probably time.” g


New York Family | August 2010

BABYSITTERS Baby Sitters’ Guild, 60 East 42nd Street, Suite 912, 212-682-0227, Barnard Babysitting Service, 49 Claremont Avenue, Second Floor of Elliot Hall, 212-8542035, Columbia University, East Campus Building, Lower Level, 212-854-5494, employers (potential employers can post under job listings) Marymount College of Fordham University, 718-817-4350, (potential employers can post under job listings) NYU, 133 East 13th Street, Second Floor, 212998-4730, (potential employers can post under job listings) Pinch Sitters, 212-260-6005, Sensible Sitters, 334 East 94th Street, Suite 3A, 646-485-5121, Sitter City, 888-211-9749, Smart Start Sitters, 207 West 106th Street, Suite 1D, 917-208-0790,

DAY CARE CENTERS Bright Minds Day Care and Nursery School, 212-920-1014, House of Little People, 129 East 90th Street, 212-860-8116, River School, 75 West End Avenue, 212-7078300, Star America, 780 Eighth Avenue, 212-2624896, Tutor Time, 776 Sixth Avenue, 212-683-5020, Wee Care, 451 East 83rd Street, 212-472-4481,

AU PAIRS, BABY NURSES AND NANNIES Absolute Best Care, 274 Madison Ave, Suite 503, 212-481-5705, Au Pair in America, 800-928-7247, Au Pair USA, 161 Sixth Avenue, 1-800-Au-Pairs, Best Domestic Placement Services, 10 East 39th Street, Suite 1108, 212-683-3060, Caring Baby Nurses, 646-373-1200, Craigslist Message Board, 1st Choice Nanny, 706 Avenue U, Brooklyn, 718-375-1686, Golden Touch Employment Agency, 45 West 34th Street, Suite 607, 212-643-0500 Immanuel Agency Inc., 500 West 37th Street, InterExchange/Au Pair USA, 161 Sixth Avenue, 212-924-0446, 212-924-0446 Irish Echo, 4 East 47th Street, Sixth Floor, 212686-1266, London Agency, 767 Lexington Avenue, Room 603, 212-755-5064 Nanny’s USA, Various locations, 212-234-1959, New York Nanny Center Inc., 250 West 57th Street, 212-265-3354, Pavilion Agency, 15 East 40th Street, Suite 400, 212-889-6609, Philippino Placement Agency Inc., 5 West 48th Street, Fifth Floor, 212-398-3799 TeacherCare, 212-808-5273, Urban Baby Message Board,

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Dream Homes This Month’s Featured Building Brings Progressive, Family-Friendly Design to Midtown West THE DILLON


pen to residents since early summer, the Midtown West luxury condo and townhouse building The Dillon is already garnering praise for its high-class amenities, urban design and four distinct residence types: flats, duplexes, penthouse duplexes and 3-story townhouses. Developed by Louis Greco (a father of three who specializes in emerging neighborhoods) of SDS Procida Development Group, The Dillon is regarded as an architecturally significant addition to Manhattan, and won a design award from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects mid-construction in 2007. The building was developed “from the inside out,” says Greco, so living space was a priority from the start. While studios, one and two-bedroom spaces are available, almost 40 percent of The Dillon’s spaces are larger apartments with three or more bed-

rooms and two or more baths, including three-to-five-bedroom duplexes and penthouse duplexes with private rooftop gardens. Individual triplex townhouses are also available, each with street entry, parking and a private backyard. Plus, in each apartment are top-of-the-line appliances and custom cabinetry, white quartz kitchen countertops, master bathrooms with marble flooring and spacious closets. When it comes to family-friendly amenities, The Dillon boasts a children’s playroom and a bike and stroller storage room. “There’s also a lounge that can be used for birthday parties and other family events, with a catering kitchen that opens to its own backyard,” says Elaine Diratz, managing director at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is overseeing the marketing and sales of the building. Lush gardens, a cutting edge fitness center, a 24-hour doorman and onsite resident manager complete The Dillon’s extensive amenities for a luxuriously well-rounded, secure and family-friendly living space. The Dillon’s Midtown West address also means it’s only steps away from some of the city’s best attractions for families. To the north is Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, FAO Schwarz, Rockefeller Center, Columbus Circle and Central Park. East is the American Folk Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the SONY Wonder Technology Lab. To the south is Midtown West School (PS 212), an array of diverse restaurants and the theater district. —Lora Heller

Address: 425 West 53rd Street | Prices: 1-bedrooms start at $740,000; 2-bedrooms start at $975,000; 3-bedroom duplexes start at $2,130,000; penthouse duplexes start at $2,355,000; townhouses start at $3,165,000| Developer: Louis Greco | Architect: Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Sales Office: 212-586-5300 | Website:


New York Family | August 2010


253 West 73rd Street

310 East 53rd Street

174 Clermont Avenue, 1A

This Upper West Side Pre-War condominium is as architecturally significant as it is beautiful. A part of the iconic Level Club, a staple of the New York skyline since the 1920s, the condo boasts 15-foot ceilings, glossy hardwood floors and two large arch windows looking out over its picturesque neighborhood. The home also features two master bedroom suites, each with its own private staircase and en-suite bath with whirlpool tub—plus two more rooms on the main level. What is more, the building’s grand two-story lobby is decorated in Byzantine and Romanesque styles and features marble floors as well as the building’s original chandelier, light fixtures and rough stucco walls.

Perfect for family living, this spacious and lightfilled condo in Midtown East features floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound terrace. Parents will love the master bedroom suite with two custombuilt closets (including an oversized walk-in) and a 13-foot bathroom complete with a marble spa, a double sink marble vanity and a frameless glassenclosed shower. The apartment also boasts two more bathrooms, a second bedroom suite and a spacious third room that could be used as a bedroom or family room. The kitchen features Carrera marble countertops, a 36 inch Sub-Zero refrigerator, a fourprogram dishwasher and Italian glass cabinets. This luxury condominium, with no board approval, also features a doorman and attended lobby, as well as an on-site health club, valet and laundry room, in addition to in-unit washers and dryers.

This sleek and airy Fort Greene triplex features a high-end glass and stainless steel European kitchen, and heated floors and imported Italian tiles in the two main bathrooms. Spacious dining and living rooms along with private recreation and storage rooms ensure plenty of space to play, and residents enjoy a private garden in addition to a shared rooftop garden above with spectacular views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines. The apartment’s cool, airy feel is accentuated by ebonized bamboo flooring, sleek lines and floor-to-ceiling windows which allow for plenty of natural light and double-height ceilings in the living/dining area. This home is close to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Fort Greene Park and plenty of cafes and restaurants.

Asking Price: $2,495,000 | Maint/CC: $1,857 Agent: Lawrence Schier, 212-875-2969, Corcoran 7 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

Asking Price: $2,795,000 Maint/CC: $2,191 Agent: Elaine Clayman, 212-650-4839, Brown Harris Stevens 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

Asking Price: $1,250,000 | Maint/CC: $444.46 Agent: Shelley Wasserman, 718-613-2042, Halstead Brooklyn, LLC 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

These were the prices as of August 22...

August 2010 | New York Family


Culture Guide for Kids



Symphony Space

This theatre features fun plays for kids of all ages, many of which are adapted ed from children’s books and other literature. On August 13-15, catch the interactive show “Eco-Flowers For Kids,” where a real flower farmer will teach audiences about sustainable flower farming. 52 White Street, 212-226-4085,

This month, Symphony Space screens a classic kidfriendly flick almost every Saturday! Wax on, wax off with “The Karate Kid” on August 14; find true love with “The Princess Bride” on August 21; and cut a rug (or an ice sculpture) with “Edward Scissorhands” on August 28. Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, 212-932-3228, —Noelia de la Cruz

PUPPETWORKS This not-for-profit marionette theater features shows for children based on literature and folk and international fairy tales. Playing in August is “Jack & the Beanstalk” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” 338 Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-965-3391,

SWEDISH COTTAGE MARIONETTE THEATRE Housed in a model of a Scandinavian schoolhouse built in 1876, this Central Park theater is one of the only public marionette theater companies remaining in the country. Through August 29, catch the funny fairy tale mashup k att 79th “Three.” West side of Central Park Street, 212-988-9093,




In August, Symphony Space’s Summer Blockbuster film series screens family classics “The Karate Kid,” “The Princess Bride” and “Edward Scissorhands” (see sidebar). Plus, literary teens can sign up for the Thalia Kids Book Club Camp, a one-week session where kids can interact with authors, take part in book discussions and go on field trips around the city. 2537 Broadway, 212-864-5400,


TADA! YOUTH THEATER TADA! Youth Theater is a non-profit, awardwinning theater that produces original familyfriendly musicals—all performed by kids ages 8-18. Through August 4, families can catch the summer show, “Magic Pot: Three Tales from China.” 15 West 28th Street, 212-2521619,

THEATREWORKS USA This traveling theater for kids brings shows like “Click, Clack, Moo,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “If You Give A Pig A Pancake And Other Story Books,” and more to theaters in Flushing and the Bronx. For locations, dates and show information, call 212-647-1100 or visit

VITAL CHILDREN’S THEATRE Vital Children’s Theatre aims to provide children with an educational theater experience, and productions include interactive workshops. On Saturdays and Sundays, families can catch the popular show “Pinkalicious The Musical” at the Bleecker Street Theater. 2162 Broadway at 76th Street, 4th Floor, 212-579-0528,


New York Family | August 2010

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 212239-6200 or visit New World Stages Theatre, 340 West 50th 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.

MARY POPPINS 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.


WICKED The Wicked Witch of the West finally commands the spotlight. For tickets, call 212-307-4100 or visit Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st Street.

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.

FOR TWEENS IN THE HEIGHTS This salsa- and Latin pop-infused musical is a portrait of life in Washington Heights. For tickets, call 212-307-4100 or visit ticketmaster. com. Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 West 46th Street.

THE 39 STEPS A fast-paced, high-energy murder mystery blending elements of Alfred Hitchcock, a spy novel, and even Monty Python. For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 West 44th Street.

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.

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA The longest-running show in Broadway history delivers mystery, love and heartbreak. For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit telecharge. com. Majestic Theatre, 247 West 44th Street.

WEST SIDE STORY The timeless story of star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, caught in the rivalry between teenage gangs in 1950s New York returns to Broadway. For tickets, call 212-307-4100 or visit Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway.

Tonight belongs to...

Broadwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most haunting love story. or (212) 239-6200 MAJESTIC THEATRE, 247 West 44TH Street


Culture Guide for Kids




The AMNH’s exhaustive collections span human culture, the natural world, and the universe. Get up close and personal with lizards and snakes (through September 2), go back in time and travel an ancient silk road (through August 15) and take part in hands-on activities in the Discovery Room (ongoing). Central Park West at 79th Street, 212-769-5100,

Centered on the World War II aircraft carrier Intrepid, the museum features a range of interactive exhibits. From August 24-26, soar off to Air Force Week, where Air Force memorabilia and displays will line Intrepid’s Pier. Pier 86, 12th Avenue and 46th Street, 877-957-SHIP,


The Jewish Museum features a permanent collection of more than 28,000 objects— paintings, sculpture, artifacts and more— relating to Jewish heritage and history. On Art Adventure Mondays, kids ages 4-7 and their adults can explore the galleries guided by exciting themes (through August 16). 109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, 212-423-3200,

This museum offers arts-based educational exhibits and programs in a variety of subjects. Drop by to see Martha Madigan’s “Summer Snow,” an exhibit highlighting the Hawaiian tradition of making sand people to celebrate Christmas. And don’t miss “City Splash,” CMOM’s new interactive water play exhibit (see sidebar)! 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1234,

GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM The museum offers family-oriented tours and drop-in workshops every Sunday, and families can drop by anytime to explore the museum’s exhibitions using a free activity pack. 1071 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street, 212-423-3500,


METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART The Met’s friendly, interactive programs help children grow an appreciation for the treasures inside this world-renowned museum. Check out the Picasso exhibition (through August 15) and take a rooftop tour of the site-specific installation Big Bambu! 1000 Fifth Avenue, 212-535-7710,

Children’s Museum of Manhattan

NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM Dedicated to the history of urban transportation, this museum caters to children. On August 21, take a trip aboard a 1940’s vintage bus to Rockaway Park and enjoy a sunny day at the beach! Corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, 718-694-1600,

EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO One of the city’s leading Latino cultural institutions, the museum recently reopened after extensive renovations. On August 5, families can enjoy Sweet Electra, a free music event that fuses reggae with acid cabaret, deep house and jazz elements. 1230 Fifth Avenue, 212-831-7272,

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART MoMA aims to make its collections accessible to scholars and young children alike. Since 1971, museum goers have enjoyed Summergarden, a music festival held in the museum’s famous Sculpture Garden. This year families can drop by for jazz music from The Juilliard School and Jazz at Lincoln Center on alternating Sundays in August. 11 West 53rd Street, 212-708-9400,

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK Explores the history, present and future of the five boroughs. On August 28, families can enjoy a Japanese Taiko Drum performance by Taikoza, a percussion group incorporating barrel-like drums, shakuhachi, bamboo flutes, and the 13-stringed Koto. 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, 212-534-1672,

NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCE The Hall features the largest collection of handson science exhibits in New York City, and holds a variety of family programs every weekend. On weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., kids can learn about climate change and how they can help in honor of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary this year. 111th Street, Queens, 718-6990005,

RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! Kids will be amazed at the eccentricities inside this famous “odditorium,” which features 25 themed galleries displaying everything from a six-legged cow to books made from spider webs. 234 West 42nd Street, 212-398-3133,

RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART Home to an extensive collection of art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions, the Rubin offers programs and events for families throughout the year—August’s theme is “Moving Through Art.” Plus, during Family Art Making workshops on Saturdays from 2 to 3 p.m., families explore paintings and sculptures in order to inspire their own works of art. 150 West 17th Street, 212-620-5000,

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART Prepare to get wet at “City Splash,” CMOM’s summer exhibit that’s all about water! Kids can explore the properties of H2O by setting small boats asail down a stream, experimenting with sinking objects, painting with water and more. Runs through mid-October at CMOM’s Sussman Environmental Center, 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1223, —Noelia de la Cruz


New York Family | August 2010

The world-renowned Whitney houses a spectacular collection of 20th century American art. Their popular ongoing family programs include Stroller Tours (ages 0-18), Whitney Wees (ages 4-5), Family Fun Art Workshops and Tours At Two (ages 6-10), and Artist’s Choice Workshops and the new studio class Art School (ages 8-12). 945 Madison Avenue, 1-800-WHITNEY,

Directed by Fernand Rainville Based on an Original Script by Richard Blackburn



Plan Early, SavE Big!

Wintuk returns for its finAL seAson: noVeMBer 17 - JAnuArY 2 Limited time offer: SavE 30% on tickets, plus free popcorn and soda. expires August 31! ™



Visit and use code KDBF.

Offer valid on select performances through December 9, 2010. Offer valid on front/center orchestra seats only. 8 ticket limit per order. Service charges apply to phone and Internet orders. Offer subject to availability and not valid on previously purchased tickets. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Offer expires August 31, 2010. Cirque du Soleil and Wintuk are trademarks owned by Cirque du Soleil and used under license. © 2010 MSG Entertainment, a division of Madison Square Garden, L.P. All rights reserved.

“Absolutely Magical!” - Time Out New York Kids

Photos: Aaron Epstein

A LIVE glow-in-the-dark musical adventure!

Partials_0810.indd 13

A magical, musical, one-of-a-kind, interactive, undersea adventure for kids of all ages! It’s jam-packed with original music ranging from swing to R&B to Big Band and it’s a blast from the first big splash to the last wave goodbye.

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7/22/10 5:08 PM

Newcomer Joey King Talks About Playing One Of The Most Beloved (If Noisy And Clumsy) Little Sisters In Literature BY ASHLEY TROOST

oey King has appeared in countless commercials, done voiceovers for “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears A Who,” and has acted in television shows like “CSI,” “Entourage,” and “The Suite Life.” Did we mention she just turned 10? Currently, the star can be seen playing lovable troublemaker Ramona Quimby in the new movie “Ramona and Beezus”—the screen adaptation of Beverly Cleary’s beloved novels—in which she shares the screen with actors Ginnifer Goodwin, John Corbett and Selena Gomez. Here, the pint-sized starlette shares what is was like to play Ramona.


How did you first get into show business? My mom put me in it when I was four and I just loved it. My first

job was a Life Cereal commercial and I still eat that stuff! Have you read any of the Ramona books?I only read one and after I found out I got the part, I read all of them and I loved them! Are you similar to Ramona yourself? In some ways, like we both have a big imagination and big personality.

be alone at night and that’s how I am with my own room, so I just think of that in my life, and it kinda works out.

You made a lot of messes in the movie; what was your favorite messy scene to film? The scene where I got to play with fire. I know this sounds bad, but I was having a great time playing with fire.

Which scene was the most fun to shoot? The water fight scene was for sure the most fun to shoot! I had the best time doing that scene because they were throwing buckets of water at people. After the first take I said, “I didn’t even get that wet, throw buckets at me!”

It seems like Ramona loves anything to do with art. What is your favorite subject in school? I’m homeschooled and I like art as well, but if I had to pick a subject, I really like Spanish. Even though I’m not that good at it, I like it! When Ramona finally got her own room, she was scared of monsters— you were really believable acting so scared. How did you make yourself frightened? Well Ramona is scared to

Plus, This Month’s Highlights In Books, Music And DVDs BOOKS

Read to Tiger Written by S.J. Fore and Illustrated by R.W. Alley Children ages 3-5 will fall in love with this goofy and enthusiastic tiger, whose karate kicks, loud gum chomping and train whistles don’t give his young friend the chance to read in peace. (Available now, MUSIC

The Disney Reggae Club Various Artists This CD reinvigorates your family’s favorite Disney tunes, from “Under the Sea” to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”


New York Family | August 2010





Culture Guide for Kids


How did it feel to crack the egg on your head in the lunch scene? Hilarious and kinda fun! I cracked more than seven eggs on my head. I took a nice, long shower that day. When Ramona auditioned for the peanut butter commercial and fell into the sandwich, it was really funny. Has anything like that ever happened to you during a real audition? I think once I was supposed to be dancing and I fell over on my butt. I was like, “Oh, I’m sorry!” It was pretty funny.

Recorded by some of the best musicians in reggae—like Ziggy Marley and Matisyahu—it’s filled with mellow, islandinspired songs for the whole family. (Available now,

Did you do your own stunts? My stunt double did most of them, like when I fell through the ceiling and fell in the mud. I did the fun ones, like flying through the air.


You have several siblings yourself. What was it like to squabble with Selena Gomez as your on-screen big sister? She’s great—I had the best time with her! She’s so sweet and it was so much fun. We would laugh after the fight scenes because we’re not really like that. Z

Diary of A Wimpy Kid Taking Jeff Kinney’s popular web and book series to the big screen, the movie chronicles the tribulations of Greg Heffley, a young boy who has to face entering middle school with a seriously dorky—but very lovable—best friend. (Available August 3, —Noelia de la Cruz and Ally Hickson


REGISTER NOW! To reserve a space in the class or for more info, please call:

Heather Baird 212-691-5919



Partials_0810.indd 8

7/22/10 5:17 PM

In the Spotlight



With His Playful Musical Style And Cozy, Comfortable Approach, It’s No Wonder Kids (And Parents) Love Rockin’ With Andy By Noelia de la Cruz


ust a couple of years ago, Andrew Baum would never have imagined himself spending his days making music for children and their families. Today, he can’t imagine doing anything else. Baum, known to his pint-sized fans as Andy—as in Rockin’ With Andy—travels throughout New York City and the tri-state area with his guitar, bringing friends and families together through fun, lighthearted music at playgroups and birthday parties. Music has long been a part of Baum’s life (he learned to play guitar and piano as a teenager), but he spent 16 years at a corporate job before deciding to pursue music full-time. In fact, he recalls, “One of the things I tried was singing for kids, and I was really just not good at it. I couldn’t exactly figure out why.” Yet after recording his debut album for adults, “Release,” and attending sessions with a vocal coach, Baum discovered that the key to performing for children was to sing for his audiences rather than for himself. “One day [my vocal coach] made a reference to the two types of performers in the world. One says, ‘Hey audience, how am I doing?’,


New York Family | August 2010

and the other says ‘Hey audience, how are you doing?’ That really hit home for me.” From then on, singing for kids became much easier. “I really started to love not only what I was doing but kids in general,” he says. With a repertoire comprising classics like “The Wheels on the Bus,” “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and the “ABC’s,” Baum sings songs his infant/toddler audience is familiar with, while taking care to treat them with respect. “I think the fundamental mistake is to think if you sing a song, regardless of what song it is, in a very high-pitched, childish—not childlike—way, that kids are going to like it more and I don’t think that’s true,” Baum says. He admires Sesame Street songwriters, he adds, for their smart lyrics and strong melodies that entertain kids without being condescending. Baum is also mindful of parents and caregivers, noting what he considers to be the inaccurate perception that “kids music is annoying and something adults have to put up with.” To entertain adults but not compromise children’s attention, Baum incorporates oldies with simple melodies. He might start with “You Are My Sunshine,” and transition into “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” Crossover songs like “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles please both toddler and adult audiences, he says. Baum also often brings props for the kids to play with as they listen— shakers, drums, scarves and puppets keep restless little ones engaged and enable them to participate in music-making. “It’s something new for them and it gives the moms something to do with the kids,” he says. In addition to the full schedule he keeps as Rockin’ With Andy, Baum performs as part of a ‘70s cover band, plays piano at cocktail parties and writes songs. Though he hasn’t yet recorded a children’s album, he says it’s in his future. Yet at the same time, he prefers not to look too far ahead, opting instead to focus on his present goal of creating an intimate environment where children and families can enjoy music together. Ultimately, Baum says, “It’s about trying to remove myself from the equation as much as possible and let the people I play for be comfortable and happy.” b

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It Takes The Village A Mother And Her Adolescent Son Share Memories, Insecurities And Pizza On The Streets Of Greenwich Village BY ONA GRITZ


ow, you can really see how much thinner your right leg is when you wear tights,” my son, Ethan, says. I have cerebral palsy, a disability that affects only one side of my body. As a result, I walk with a limp and the musculature in my legs is uneven. And Ethan’s right. In the outfit I have on— short skirt, slouchy boots—it’s pretty obvious. On the left, you can fit two fingers in the gap between my calf and the boot’s loose leather. On the right, you can slide in a whole hand. I know he didn’t mean to be critical, but I suddenly feel like I’m the thirteen-yearold in the room, the one carrying the heavy funhouse mirror that magnifies my faults. We’re about to head for Greenwich Village—land of ex-boyfriends and you-never- know-who-you-might-see. I should change, I think. I glance at Ethan, who looks great. Tall and lean in his white jeans and black jacket. But I can tell from the way he’s frowning into the hall mirror that he’s battling his own distorted reflection. And I remember it’s my job to model rejecting that rejection. “Extra storage,” I say, shoving my hand in the baggier boot. “In case we buy something.” ~ When I was Ethan’s age, I took the long subway ride from Queens to Greenwich Village whenever I could. I’d meet my friend Deb in front of The Waverly and we’d wander the narrow streets, browsing in bookstores and Indian clothing shops and fantasizing about the brownstone we’d live in when we were famous writers. What I loved about the Village was that I was


New York Family | August 2010

okay with myself there. The people around us seemed comfortable with who they were. No cookie cutter Farrah Fawcetts crowded Bleeker Street the way they did the halls of my high school. No one I passed seemed to care if my hair feathered correctly, if I wore brand name sneakers, or if I had an awkward walk. In Greenwich Village I saw a man in a skirt and another who wore colorful snakes as though they were scarves. And so it was in Greenwich Village that it first occurred to me that a limp could be seen as an interesting uniqueness, like a well-placed beauty mark or tattoo.

What I loved about the Village was that I was okay with myself there. The people around us seemed comfortable with who they were. ~ It no longer seems so unusual to me to be in a place where people are accepted, oddities and all. Maybe it’s because high school is 30 years behind me. But even the teens I know seem to embrace individuality in a way I didn’t experience growing up. Nonetheless, living with one, I’m painfully aware that self-consciousness and angst are alive and well in adolescents. The thirteen-year-old I once was would be surprised to know that a kid like Ethan—handsome, popular, athletic—

can get down on himself. It might even buoy her up to know it. But I’m his mother, not his peer, so when he aches I ache along with him. Even while those hormones wreak their havoc, I’m proud to say Ethan has stayed close to me. Not that he comes home and immediately opens up about what’s on his mind, but I’ve learned ways to create the space for it to happen. Often, I take him to the Village. I’m not exactly sure what Greenwich Village means to Ethan, but I can actually see his body relax when we get off the train. We wander those same streets I loved as a teenager and I point out my personal landmarks. We head to Washington Square Park where Ethan plays a game with a gruff-looking guy at one of the chess tables. Afterward, we stop to listen to an A capella doo-wop group sing “Under the Boardwalk.” “I’m getting hungry,” he says, so we walk to John’s Pizza where the dark wooden booths have graffiti scratched in them like old school desks. It’s there, between bites of our half mushroom/half olive pie, that my beautiful boy tells me what he sees in that mean-spirited mirror. I can’t talk him out of his perceptions, but I cross my uneven legs in their baggy boots and I listen. And I let him know I know how he feels. G Ona Gr itz w r ites a monthly column about motherhood and disability at Literar y Mama. She is also a prize-w inning poet a n d t h e a u t h o r o f t w o c h i l d r e n’s books. Her essays have been published in numerous anthologies and journals.

New York Family August 1, 2010  
New York Family August 1, 2010  

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