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established 1986 MAY 2014



Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly Macdonald On Her Low-Key Approach To Fame & Family



Join Us At The NEW YORK

BABY SHOW MAY 17-18 Details on page 10



Ultimate Guide

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With Kids

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‘S Featuring:

THE LARGEST ANNUAL CONSUMER SHOW for new and expectant parents

May 17th & 18th, 2014 Pier 92, New York City For more information and to purchase tickets visit:


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Ti cke ts on Sa le NOW ! Single $20 Family $30

TOP BRANDS • NEW PRODUCTS Meet Rosie Pope and other Expert Speakers Shop the top brands for new and expectant parents See new product launches not yet available in stores Try the hottest strollers on the Stroller Test Track Relax in the Mom’s Lounge Attend a New Dads Boot Camp hosted by NYC Dads Group Sing along with local musicians and have fun with the family!


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Nurture Your Child’s Unique Personality at the JCC Fall Registration for classes for children begins: May 11 for members and May 14 for nonmembers. Classes start in September. See class listings at or call 646.505.5708 for info.

FOR THE ENERGETIC ONE who loves to move, jump, and run: Infants + Young Children • Sports + Tumbling • Swim • Ballet at the J! • Little Man Dance Jam

After School • Fencing • Gymnastics + Sports • Hip Hop • Tae Kwon Do • Swim


who loves to get messy, explore, and sing: Infants + Young Children • Lil’ Explorers • My Art Studio • Kookin’ Kids • Little Maestros

After School • Clay Sculpture + Pottery • Fabric Arts Studio • Science • Theater

FOR YOUR SOCIAL BUTTERFLY Infants + Young Children • My Little Clubhouse • 2s Together • Shabbat Club • Baby Play @ the J • Tummy Time

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After School • Clubhouse • Chess • Yoga

Photo: Nancy Adler

who loves playing with friends:

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pg.80 pg.26

pg.54 pg.16 pg.12

FEATURES 54 | Time Of Her Life “Boardwalk Empire” star Kelly Macdonald on her low-key approach to fame and family 60 | Summer Learnin’ Part II of our guide to the best summer classes and camps in and around the city for kids 69 | Moms We Love In honor of Mother’s Day this month, we caught up with seven extraordinary local moms about life, work, and raising a family

FAMILY FUN GUIDE 12 | 10 Great Events For May “Dear Albert Einstein” by Making Books Sing, New Victory’s Baby Rave, Mother’s Day chamber music, and more 16 | Flower-Gazing For Fams Our guide to the best spots in the city to spot May flowers


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32 | Education A neighborhood guide to the city’s nursery schools

79 | Travel Our editor takes his family on a journey to visit our neighbors to the North

44 | Activity of the Month Swing into spring with local golf and tennis programs


48 | A Good Idea What you need to know as you look to hire a childcare provider

8 | Editor’s Note A teachable moment 10 | Events & Offers Get all the scoop on the New York Baby Show—coming up this month on May 17-18! 20 | Scoop An online registry resource, a kids’ collection from a hip fashion label, summer fun at Coney Island, and more 22 | It’s My Party Birthday celebrations at 74th St. MAGIC, Gymboree, and Eloise at the Plaza 24 | Lysst Inspired gifts for Mother’s Day 26 | Starting Out Our guide to the best car seats of 2014

52 | Wellness Catching up with the authors—and local moms—of The 52 Weeks 80 | The Last Word When her young daughter starts to doubt her hair (and herself) the author makes a bold beauty statement Cover Photo by Ali Smith Photography Location: Little Missionary’s Day Nursery On Kelly Macdonald: (on cover) Alice and Olivia dusty sage silk tank dress; De Beers gold-and-diamond stud earrings; flowers by Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies—; (above right) Laundry by Shelli Segal scalloped lace dress.

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MAY 2014 Editor and co-publisher Eric Messinger emessinger@ senior Editor Bridget Moriarity bmoriarity@ associate Editor Mia Weber mweber@ Art Director George W. Widmer gwidmer@ ADVERTISING DESIGNER Rachael Tucker

Contributing PhotographerS Heidi Green, Michael Jurick, Sarah Merians, Andrew Schwartz Contributing Writers Leah Black, Emanuelle Block, Emily Murphy, Iman Saad, Jodi Silberstein, Kristin Tablang Publisher John Hurley For Information On The Baby Show 212.268.3086, jhurley@ Associate Publisher Mary Ann Oklesson maoklesson @ Special Projects Director Alex Schweitzer aschweitzer@ SALES ASSISTANT Erik Bliss ebliss@ Circulation Aaron Pollard apollard @ Business Manager Shawn Scott sscott@ Accounts Manager Kathy Pollyea kpollyea @

Manhattan Media Chairman of the board Richard Burns Chief executive officer Joanne Harras Direcetor of digital Dennis Rodriguez

New York Family is a division of Manhattan Media, publishers of AVENUE magazine, and The Blackboard Awards.

Š 2014 Manhattan Media, LLC | 72 Madison Avenue, 11th Floor New York, NY 10016 | t: 212.268.8600 | f: 212.268.0577


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CALL (866)647-1198 N O - F E E N Y C R E N TA L S

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A Teachable


A neighbor of mine, whose child is entering Kindergarten, recently approached me to learn about my children’s experiences in public school, with my older child, almost 14, having attended a number of G & T programs, and my younger child finishing up grade 4 at our zoned neighborhood school. I would hope that my advice not only reflects my own experiences but a kind of aggregate wisdom I’ve accumulated as a journalist listening to educators and parents. But who knows? I’m sure I’m most revealing when I speak from the heart. So, for those of you grappling with your own school choices, I’d like to share a few of my impressions (so far). Is a G & T education dramatically superior to that of a good neighborhood school? No. Of course, there are benefits, but a well-run local school with high standards and differentiated reading and math groups in the classrooms meets the needs of lots of smart kids all the time.

Is the culture of “teaching to the test” as pervasive as parents are saying? My impression is yes, and part of the problem is it also bleeds into family time. As educators wrestle with how best to teach to Common Core knowledge, I Welcoming spring on set with our May cover-mom, Kelly Macdonald hope they keep in mind that parents are feeling compelled to spend a lot of time helping with homework and providing tutoring—not merely because of test scores but because the class work is racing past their kids.

Photo by Ali Smith Photography

editor’s note

Is private school education worth the price? I can tell you this: Most parents I know with children in private school are deeply satisfied with it, even those for whom it creates a lot of financial stress. And now onto the May issue! There are many stories I’m proud of this month but they will have to speak for themselves! Have A Happy May! Eric Messinger Editor,

Gymtime Gymnastics Team Tryouts Friday May 9 or Friday May 16 5:00-7:00pm Ages: 5+ All Levels Welcome Sign-up by calling 212-861-7732

1520 York Avenue, New York, NY 10028 • 212.861.7732

For more information visit:



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Enjoy Your City Summer on our Country Farm! Summer Camp! Ages 3 - 8 years • June, July & August Our eco-friendly facility offers a full and half day camp experience for children that includes these exciting activities: Animal Care, Cooking, Crazy Science, Art Projects, Music, Outdoor Play, Soccer and Swimming. Weekly Themes like Growing in the Garden, Under the Big Top, Blast-off to Space, Safari Adventure and Barnyard Fun keep imaginations working. Children get hands on experience learning about and caring for live animals in our award winning petting zoo. It’s time for them to coo with the birds and hop with the bunnies. Register by week or for the whole summer! 2, 3 & 5 days per week

Art Farm in the City


The Art Farm In The City • 419 East 91st St • 212.410.3117 •

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events & offers

THE NEW YORK BABY SHOW IS HERE! Join us at the New York Baby Show! The family-friendly event for expectant and new parents (and their babies and toddlers) from the Tri-State area and beyond will take place on the weekend of May 17-18, at Pier 92 in Manhattan. Explore a mix of top products and services for maternity, baby, and toddler, along with an inspiring menu of speakers and demonstrations from highly regarded and beloved experts in the world of parenting and pregnancy—including a key note address (with an audience Q & A) with maternity designer and parenting guru Rosie Pope.

A few highlights: • Top Brands Over 100 of the top maternity, baby, and toddler brands from all over the world. • Speakers A variety of expert speakers providing information and answering questions on key aspects of pregnancy and parenthood, from birthing to babywearing, from co-parenting to nursery school admissions. • Stroller Test Track The expanded track simulates real world obstacles including gravel, grass, bumps, gates, cobblestone, street grates, and more, allowing you to test out the numerous brands at the show! • Trial Classes Enjoy one of the many baby and parenting classes at the show, from sing-a-longs to baby soccer. • Entertainment & Face Painters Lots of popular local children’s singers will be on hand to lead mini-concerts; and our star face painters will make any toddler feel special.

Photos by Sofia Lynn

• Dads’ Lounge Offering a welcoming lounge with information and support to dads, moms, and everyone. • Moms’ Lounge An oasis away from the busy show floor to relax, feed, and change your baby. • Play Area Take a break and have some fun with the toys provided.


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For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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Photo by Richard Termine


Photo by Vandamm Studio © Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library For The Performing Arts

family fun



Great Events for May Clockwise from left to right: Children’s Museum of Manhattan, The New York Theatre Ballet, Le Vent Du Nord at Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concerts

By Emily Murphy

MR. EINSTEIN GOES TO JUNIOR HIGH MAY 3-18 [Ages 8 and up] Making Books Sing is putting on a heartwarming show called “Dear Albert Einstein.” Set in 1954, the production follows a middle school math student with a creative mind and an imaginary Einstein to help navigate the social struggles of junior high. Filled with rock ‘n’ roll, swing and classical music, this performance is a wonderful journey of self-acceptance! From $25; 10:30am, 2pm, and 7pm. 311 West 43rd Street, 646-250-1178,

MEOW! MAY 3-25 [Ages 3 and up] Join a cunning cat in his quest for greatness at “Puss in Boots.” One of Galli


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Theater’s most fun and interactive performances, the fan favorite emphasizes audience participation so your little ones can help in a journey to turn Puss’ owner, a miller’s son, into an extraordinary Prince. Children $15, Adults $20; Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. 347 West 36th Street, 212-731-0668,

TINY DANCERS MAY 7-18 [Ages 4 months to 4 years] Tots can dance the night away at the innovative Baby Rave, a club-like party designed specifically for toddlers! Hosted by New Victory Theater, the bumping boogie night will feature a kidfriendly DJ, entrancing video projections, and funky lights. Don’t miss out on fun treats like parachutes, inflatables, and other sensory objects that create an unbeatable party atmosphere!

$15; 10:30am and 1pm. 229 West 42nd Street, 646-223-3010,

FOR KIDS, BY KIDS MAY 9-JUNE 18 [All Ages] Get a dose of art at the Guggenheim’s “A Year with Children 2014” exhibition. The showing features student work (whose creators range from second to sixth grade) from the museum’s artist-in-residence program, Learning Through Art. The highlighted pieces represent 11 of New York City’s public elementary schools and will be on display in Annex Level Three of the museum. Free with admission; museum hours. 1071 5th Avenue, 212-423-3500, continued on page 14

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Inwood Country Club

A Family Oasis 30 minutes from Manhattan 10 minutes from JFK Come and see how other families in your neighborhood are spending their summer! Oceanfront Beach Club


World Class Golf Tennis-10 Har tru Courts State of the Art Fitness Center Extensive Children’s Programs

Great Social Activities for the Entire Family

The Alternative to The Hamptons

Contact Heidi today and set up a tour of our Facilities 516.239.2800 ext 186 INWOOD COUNTRY CLUB

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50 Peppe Drive, Inwood, NY

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10 Great Events

family fun continued from page 12

A CENTENNIAL GARDEN MAY 10-SEPTEMBER 21 [All ages] The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is hosting “100 Years and Growing” in celebration of their Children’s Garden’s 100th anniversary! The special exhibition includes a wonderful series of events like family nature walks, kids’ discovery stations, Children’s Garden inside tours, and even an all-ages family day with musical performances, crafts, games, and gardening! Various prices; various times. 150 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, 718-623-7241,

New Victory Theater’s Baby Rave Photo by Bertrand Guay

MAY 10 & 11 [Ages 2 and up] The New York Theatre Ballet brings the perfect pair of performances to families with “Carnival of the Animals” and “Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding.” This double whammy first focuses on Queen Diana, her shaggy lion, and other peaceful animals who encounter a pair of lost children; then shifts to the fairytale nuptials of Sleeping Beauty. Children $35, Adults $40; 11am, 1pm, and 3:30pm. 55 East 59th Street, 212-355-6160,

Courtesy of Young at Art


The Big Apple Circus

Park, the special spring show has something for everyone. Kiddos will love clown Rob Torres and the animal acts presented by Jenny Vidbel, while parents and older ones can marvel at teenage juggler Ty Tojo, Russian acrobats, and circus legend Daniel Cyr on the free ladder, among many others! From $20; Various times. 96-22 Union Turnpike, Queens, 212-268-2500,

SONGS FOR MOM MAY 11 [Age 6 and up] Celebrate Mother’s Day in a way that kids will love too! The Chamber Music Society is presenting a production of “Inspector Pulse’s Mother,” a fun play that follows a Private Ear in his mission to write a song fit for his mom. Explore what makes music say “I love you” and don’t miss the instrumental petting zoo in the lobby before the show! From $10; 2pm. 1941 Broadway, 212-875-5788,

THAT’S ALL FOLK! MAY 18 [All ages] For a special blend of musical styling, check out Le Vent Du Nord, one of Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concerts. This high-energy folk band incorporates a specific mix of FrenchCanadian and Celtic dance music, traditional tunes, and original songs into their show, which features vocals, guitar, fiddle, button accordion, and hurdy-gurdy. Free; 3pm. 466 Grand Street, 212-247-7800,

Galli Theater’s “Puss in Boots”

ALL THAT JAZZ MAY 23-OCTOBER 19 [All ages] Little music fans will love “Jazzed! The Changing Beat at 125th Street,” a unique exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Partnered with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, the new show explores key figures and attributes of the genre’s history, including the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s famous stair dance, and Duke Ellington and his renowned orchestra. Don’t miss weekly programs where tots can make their own tap shoes, record covers, and even learn the Lindy Hop! Free with admission; museum hours. 212 West 83rd Street, 212-721-1223,

MAY 18-JUNE 15 [All ages] Come one, come all to an amazing variety of acts at the Big Apple Circus in Queens! Located in Cunningham


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For more event picks for families, check out our Family Calendar at

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MAY 9 – 18




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family fun


Now That April’s Showers Have Passed, May’s Flowers Are Ready For Your Little Ones To Spot By Emanuelle Block Spring has sprung, bringing the first glimpse of colorful blooms after a long, grey winter. Grab the kids and head outdoors to one of the many idyllic places to see beautiful springtime sproutings right in the five boroughs— and don’t forget your camera, because you’ll have the perfect backdrop for family photos!

Manhattan: The High Line Gansevoort Street to West 30th Street Where to spot flowers: The High Line was built on an historic rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. The entire length of the High Line has landscaped seasonal plantings. Must-see May flowers: Allium (a family of blooming ornamental onions) and shooting star (dodecatheon meadia). All blooming plants are listed on the free monthly online High Line Bloom List which can be downloaded at planting.   Family fun: Summer family activities include stargazing (Tuesdays at dusk), lawn-time for little ones (Thursday mornings in


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Photo by Antonio M. Rosario; Courtesy of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

FlowerGazing For Fams

Children’s Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

July and August), and Arty Hours (Saturdays in July and August), which are drop-in hands-on kids art workshops at the 23rd Street lawn. Hidden treasure: The water feature on the Diller-von Furstenberg Sundeck on the High Line between West 14th and West 15th Streets is a great place to dip your toes to cool off during the hot summer months, and the 23rd Street Lawn (between West 22nd and West 23rd Streets) is the perfect place for a family picnic. Both open in late May.

BROOKLYN: Brooklyn Botanic Garden 150 Eastern Parkway Where to spot flowers: The 52-acre gardens are in the heart of Brooklyn. Bluebell Wood (centrally located near the Plant Family Collection), Osborne Garden, Native Flora Garden, and Cranford Rose Garden (all on the garden’s north end) have the best May blooms. Must-see May flowers: Bluebells (in Bluebell Wood), pink azaleas (in Osborne Garden), lilacs (surrounding the Cranford Rose Garden), wisteria (throughout the gardens), peonies (along Cherry Walk on the Cherry Esplanade at the south end of

the Cranford Rose Garden), wildflowers (in the Native Flora Garden and the Children’s Garden), roses (in the Cranford Rose Garden). Family fun: The Children’s Garden is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Expect family nature adventure walks (Saturdays in May), kids discovery stations (daily), and midsummer magical plant walks (Wednesdays in July and August). The family “Sproutfest” will be held on June 7 (12-4pm) at the Cherry Esplanade. With live music and games, Sproutfest is the 100th year celebration for BBG’s Children’s Garden, and is free with garden admission. Hidden treasure: See the historic Children’s Garden on a special “insider” behind-the-scenes tour (at Sproutfest on June 7, and various times May-October).

BRONX: New York Botanical Garden 2900 Southern Blvd Where to spot flowers: With waves of flowers across its 250 historic acres, NYBG is one of the nation’s premier urban gardens. Near the Thain Family Forest (NYC’s largest continued on page 18

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remaining tract of native forest), is the newly opened Native Plant Garden, with thousands of seasonal wildflowers, ferns and grasses—and a dramatic water feature centerpiece. Must-see May flowers: The Azalea Garden hillside (mid-park on the eastern side) has 3,000 azaleas and rhododendrons—blooming in pink, white, coral, and magenta. Family fun: Kids can get their hands dirty preparing the garden, planting flower and vegetable seeds, composting, and digging for worms in the fresh soil in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden located on the northern end. And young visitors can explore nature, go on a scavenger hunt, and learn about pollinators at the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden on the southern end. Hidden treasure: The “All-Garden Pass” grants visitors access to the Rock Garden on the western side, with thousands of colorful flowering plants (primroses, hellebores, peonies, daphnes) and a peaceful stream, pond, and water cascade.

Green Thumb Families The Horticultural Society Of New York (AKA The Hort) Grows A New Generation Of Gardeners

By Emanuelle Block For several decades, the Horticultural Society of New York has helped build gardens in public and private schools, enriching the curriculum and exposing school kids to the wonderful world of gardening and growing fresh vegetables. The Hort has also introduced a new family circle membership. The membership is ideal for parents who want to take gardening to the next level for their kids and family. Membership perks include special admission to the Green Bean Bash family benefit party, a speaker luncheon (last year’s topic was how to “green” your household), special excursions (this year is a behind-the-scenes tour of the Queens County Farm), plus admission to other events and programs with families in mind. “By starting the family membership we have continued to develop interesting programming for all ages,” says George Pisegna, the Hort’s deputy director and chief of horticulture. “We try to teach our families about gardening and sustainable living. Our projects are fun, educational—and the kids love them.” For more information, visit

QUEENS: Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main Street Where to spot flowers: With hundreds of plant and flower species, the 39-acre gardens evolved from the “gardens on parade” exhibit showcased at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Must-see May flowers: Columbine (in the Woodland and throughout the gardens), bleeding hearts (in the Woodland), lily of the valley (in the Fragrance Walk on the southeastern edge), lilacs (in the Fragrance Walk), and flowering eastern redbud trees (throughout the gardens). Family fun: Mother’s Day fun and a plant sale are scheduled for May 11, while the World’s Fair Train Show takes place May 24-26. Later on, children’s peat pot planting is set for June 15 and July 13, while summer solstice/Festival de las Flores is scheduled for June 22. Hidden treasure: Peek in the Bee Garden next to the Wedding Garden on the eastern side (the bees are very active in spring and summer!), and the Crab Apple orchard in the middle of the gardens which is


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New York Botanical Garden

in full blossom in May. And you might even see or hear a migrating Warbler bird in the Woodland in the southeastern section near the corner of Main Street and Peck Avenue.

STATEN ISLAND: Snug Harbor Botanical Garden 1000 Richmond Terrace Where to spot flowers: The Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical garden features a traditional Chinese scholar’s garden and a Tuscan garden based on an 18th-century Italian villa. Must-see May flowers: The Chinese tree peony blooms in early-May, and the bearded iris blooms in late May. Family fun: All ages can visit “Fluid,” an exhibi-

tion that explores the theme of water through different disciplines, displayed in the galleries (May 3 to December 14 in Building C, Main Hall) and interactive public art sculptures (May 3 to September 7). Hidden treasure: Designed like an 18th century Qing Dynasty garden, the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, on Snug Harbor’s western side, illustrates life in ancient China, with unique rockery resembling the mountains that inspired the poetry and paintings of Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist monks and scholars. There are pavilions, a bamboo forest path, waterfalls, and a koi pond.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For an expanded version of this story with 5 more garden sites, head to

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Summer Days Camp 2014 th at 74 St.


Flexible scheduling, maximum fun... ...all with an educational twist!

Summer Days Camp for children 2.5 - 6 years old begins June 2nd. Week-long theme based adventures filled with fun activities and plenty of outdoor play. Only a 2 week minimum required... Half day and full day options available.

Register online or call 212.737.2989 today! Under the red canopy at 510 East 74th St. (off York Avenue) New York

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SUMMER FUN Thunderbolt Rollercoaster Thrill seekers are about to experience a brand new, modern version of the Thunderbolt—Coney Island’s famous wooden roller coaster that dished out thrills and chills for over 50 years, from 1925 to the early 1980’s—due to open at Coney Island’s Luna Park amusement area this Memorial Day. The new coaster will be all steel, will reach speeds of 55 miles per hour, and rise 125 feet above the ground. The two-minute ride features a 90-degree vertical drop, a 100-ft loop, a zerogravity roll, and more. So, brace yourselves, hold on to your hats, and prepare for summer fun!

PLAYGROUND Central Park’s East 110th Street Playground The East 110th Street Playground in Central Park was just renovated, and it is back with a vengeance! Highlighting an innovative design, the spot boasts four circular spaces connected by a wooden walkway. Each circle has its own theme: One holds cooling water areas perfect for the warmer months, while another features an elaborate, wooden play structure. Kiddos who love to fly through the air will cherish both to-and-fro and tire swings located in the other two circles. The destination also got a landscaping makeover, and now sports a low, stone wall perimeter, a new grassy lawn, and climbing boulders.

BABY Cricket’s Circle When Manhattan mom Rachel Blumenthal—a former PR maven at YSL turned jewelry designer and entrepreneur—felt overwhelmed by the sea of baby products available to her during her first pregnancy, she created Cricket’s Circle, an online social network designed to help moms recommend products for each other’s baby registries. First, take a lifestyle quiz to determine your style and needs and help you tailor your list with products curated by real moms. Then log in with Facebook to see what products your friends are recommending and adding to their own lists.

FASHION DSquared2 Kid Fashion-forward brothers and Parson’s School of Design alums Dean and Dan Caten have dropped their first ever children’s collection. That’s right, the fashionable DSquared2 twins have been tinkering away at a fantastic line of clothes for both boys and girls with newborn (3-24 months) and junior (4-14 years) options. The diverse pieces range from girls’ organza dresses in a “Princess” theme to stylish denim lace shorts for “Bad Girls.” Boys can also think chic with choices like a rockin’ “Bad Boys” leather jacket. Kitschy, campinspired pieces (think merit badge details and sturdy rubber boots), for boys and girls, round out the whimsical—and very wearable—collection.


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BOOK Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle As a sequel to the charming Better Nate than Never that featured a 13-year-old boy following his dreams from Pittsburgh to Broadway, Five, Six, Seven, Nate!, written by former Broadway dancer Tim Federle, has the character Nate Foster starting his rehearsals for “E.T.: The Broadway Musical.” The sequel to the original story—a tale about the importance of following your dreams and ignoring the bullies—is funny and heartwarming. Kids will love reading the book as they follow Nate all the way to his big break in the Big Apple.

For more tips on local resources for families, check out

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Elle Beauchamp celebrates her 2nd birthday at 74th St. MAGIC. 1. Elle is the belle of the ball pit at her party. 2. The gang’s all here! Sesame Street’s finest made appearances on Elle’s cupcakes. 3. The birthday girl gathers ‘round with mom and dad as she prepares to blow out her candles. Photos courtesy of the Beauchamp family




Robin Braka celebrates her 6th birthday at Eloise at the Plaza. 1. Robin is all smiles and ready to enjoy her perfectly pink cake! 2. Robin and her friends raid Eloise’s closet for a super-fun fashion show. 3. The Braka sibs couldn’t be cuter as they celebrate Robin’s day. Photos by Heidi Green Photography (




Harper Cohen celebrates her 1st birthday at Gymboree. 1. Harper has a ball celebrating her birthday! 2. The Cohen fam gets together to help Harper make a wish. 3. There’s nothing like hands-on playtime to make for a super-fun party! Photos by Suzanne Cohen Photography (


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By Lysst Stern

Your Mama Inspired Gifts For Mother’s Day Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the mom in your life who does it all (or to splurge a little on yourself!).There’s no better way to do so than with a beautiful surprise that makes her feel as special as she is.

1. Coming up roses: The new ultra-feminine Roses de Chloe fragrance will surely bloom into any mom’s must-have perfume. Packaged in a rosy bottle tied with a pink ribbon, this fresh eau de toilette is enhanced with notes of bergamot, magnolia, white musk, and amber. $95-$120, 2. Posh pajamas: Comfy, cozy, and chic! Give her PJ wardrobe a stylish update with Bedhead’s eye-catching “Pink Royalty” pajamas. This soft, stretch jersey set is just perfect for cuddling up on the couch for a family movie night and relaxing at home. $140, 3. Home sweet home: Hostess-happy moms will adore this mirrored tray from interior designer extraordinaire Nate Berkus. Part of Nate’s high-style home collection for Target, this graphic tray will add a dose of style and sophistication to any occasion. $34.99,



3 4

4. Mum’s the word: Smythson’s “I Love My Mum” notebook sums up the message of Mother’s Day perfectly! The ultimate marriage of fashion and function—with its fuchsia hue, lambskin cover, and gilt-edged pages—this notebook is sure to make grocery lists and activity schedules seems a lot more glamorous. $60, 5. Oh-‘Zoe’ glam: No celebrity mom is chicer than Rachel Zoe! In her new book Living in Style: Inspiration and Advice for Everyday Glamour, the stylist-turned-reality star-turned-fashion designer dishes out advice on adding style to every aspect of life (including a how-to on designing a chic nursery). $28, 6. In the bag: She’ll travel in serious style with Sonia Kashuk’s rose-print cosmetic case. This fun bag is the perfect size to hold beauty products for a quick weekend trip or a longer vacation. And to keep things organized, it comes with removable clear plastic pouches. $29.99,


7. Tote-ally chic: Running around the Big Apple with the kids requires a sturdy and fashion-forward tote. Kenneth Cole’s metallic style is absolutely perfect: It’s comfortable to carry, large enough to fit all daily essentials (plus items for the kids), made of durable leather, and it exudes effortless urban cool! $198,


8. Jazzy gems: Dannijo’s Swarovski crystalencrusted “Mika” earrings are the epitome of gorgeous glam and are sure to add some serious sparkle to any night out on the town or festive occasion. What mom wouldn’t love that? $445,

7 8


New York Family | May 2014

LYSST_0514.indd 24

Lyss Stern is an NYC mom, founder of DivaLysscious Moms and, and coauthor of If You Give A Mom A Martini…100 Ways To Find 10 Blissful Minutes For Yourself.

4/18/14 4:56 PM

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starting out

CAR(SEAT)TALK Our Guide To The Best Car Seats of 2014 Car seats aren’t what they used to be. Today, they come with a bevy of features all designed to better protect your child on the road. Here’s a look at a variety of models at many different price points. Enjoy!

1 2 3






8 9 26

New York Family | May 2014

STARTINGOUT_0514.indd 26


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1. Britax ADVOCATE: Built for easy installation with rear- and forward-facing capabilities, the ADVOCATE is one of the recently refreshed convertible car seats from Britax, which feature a variety of updates such as new fashions and a new maximum seated shoulder height label. The base features advanced SafeCell Technology designed to better protect a child during a crash. $379.99, 2. Baby Trend Inertia Infant Car Seat: The safest car seat is the properly installed car seat. The Inertia Infant Car Seat, designed for infants up to 32 lbs and 30 inches, is as easy as click, buckle, and go. As added safety reassurance for parents, the Inertia also rotates upright when hit with crash forces, to better distribute the impact and keep your infant safe. $179.99, 3. Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat: The NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat features a Zip & Wash tailored and padded knit seat—it’s durable, breathable, and machine-washable, plus, it zips out for easy cleaning. The model accommodates children weighing in at 5-40 lbs in the rear-facing position; and children 22-65 lbs in the forward-facing position. Among its key features are the ComfortFlex harness management system, which is padded and has a flex-out design that keeps the harness up and out of the way for easy in and out, and the FitAbility adjustable support, which offers a six-position headrest with an integrated harness adjustment for growing children. $329, 4. Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat: This model provides revolutionary safety for your child with its forward-facing REACT safety system (Rapid Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology), an extended rearfacing limit (up to 50 lbs), and side impact head protection. It installs in seconds with its rigid-LATCH system and uses GreenGuard Select Certified fabrics and materials free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. $449.99, 5. Combi Shuttle Infant Car Seat: The Shuttle Infant Car Seat is lightweight, travel-friendly, and engineered for safety, with 360 degrees of protection provided by its anti-rebound bar and patented side protection materials. Accommodating infants weighing in at 3-35 lbs in the rear-facing position, the

STARTINGOUT_0514.indd 27

15 car seat also features an adjustable head restraint, an easy-to-remove and washable cover, and a large canopy. $199.99, 6. Cosco Lite ‘n Comfy Elite Infant Car Seat: The lightest infant car seat in the country, this model, when rear-facing, can accommodate children of 4-22 lbs and up to 29 inches. The car seat offers all the features you expect—a five-point harness with center front adjustment and side impact protection, among them. $69.99, 7. CYBEX Aton Q: The Aton Q has a seat that grows with your baby—just pull a tab on the Headrest and the seat adjusts to the size of the child, from 4-35 lbs and up to 30 inches tall. Aton Q has a Load Leg for stability of seat, increasing child’s safety. With the Aton Q you can use the easy European installation method, which is convenient and safe when traveling in taxis and rental cars; there’s no need to bring the base. $349.95, 8. Diono Rainier Convertible Car Seat: Diono is the only car seat brand that offers convertible plus booster seats with a full steel frame making them one of the safest car seats available today. The New Diono Rainier is the ultimate in car seat safety with reinforced deeper side walls providing enhanced side impact protection. $359, 9. Evenflo Platinum Symphony DLX All-in-One Car Seat: Evenflo’s new Platinum Protection Series car seats feature NASA-developed Outlast Performance Fabrics, which are temperature-regulating to keep babies and toddlers comfortable during both hot and cold weather. The car seat also features Buckle Pockets so moms can tuck the buckle tongues away making it easier to get their children in and out of the seat and prevent hot buckle burns. $249.99, 10. Graco Head Wise 70 Convertible Car Seat: The Head Wise 70 Convertible Car Seat specially positions side impact protection to ensure your child is safe at every stage of growth, from 4-70 lbs. The rear- and forward-facing car seat also features multiple buckle, headrest, and reclining positions. $199.99, continued on page 28 May 2014 | New York Family


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continued from page 27



17 11. JJ Cole Collections Newport Car Seat: Tested against the highest safety standards, the Newport Car Seat’s quick and easy adjustments will have new parents safely on the road in no time. For use with children from 5-35 lbs, this infant car seat by JJ Cole Collections features a no re-thread easy-adjust harness, easy-off pads that are machine washable, advanced side impact technology, and stylish color swap canopies (canopies sold separately). $200, 12. Lilly Gold Sit’n’Stroll: The Sit’n’Stroll is both a rearfacing car seat for children up to 30 lbs and a forwardfacing model for children up to 40 lbs. The model is also an FAA Certified Flight seat and can be used as a child safety seat on aircraft, or as a dining booster chair during mealtime. With the push of a lever, the model transforms into a stroller. $329.99, 13. Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat: The Mico AP infant car seat is the lightest infant car seat in its class and features an ergonomic handle for extra comfort while carrying. The Mico AP features advanced Air Protect Side Impact Technology. This patented Air Protect cushion system protects around your baby’s head, where it’s needed most. The comfortable premium fabrics and padded five-point harness covers keep baby secure and cozy during the ride, and the included Cozi-Dozi head insert is perfect for the extra support needed by infants. $199.99, 14. Orbit Baby G3 Infant Car Seat + Car Seat Base: Orbit Baby’s G3 Infant Car Seat offers state-of-the-art safety features and side-impact protection for your baby, as well as a parent-friendly design that allows you to dock and rotate on the Car Seat Base, Stroller Base, and Rocker Base. The G3 Car Seat Base makes your car seat installation simple, safe, and secure and offers 360-degree protection for all Orbit Baby car seats in the car. $440, 15. Peg-Perégo Primo Viaggio 4-35: Peg-Perégo’s newest rear facing infant car seat for babies 4-35 lbs and up to 32 inches tall, the Primo Viaggio 4-35


New York Family | May 2014

STARTINGOUT_0514.indd 28

19 takes the Peg Perégo experience in child restraint systems to a new and improved level of safety and design. Equipped with an all-new modern look and an innovative base with the “Right Tight System,” the Primo Viaggio 4-35 is the perfect infant car seat for keeping baby safe and comfortable. $279.99, 16. RECARO Performance RIDE Convertible Car Seat: The RECARO Performance RIDE Convertible Car Seat is designed with racing-inspired, full body side impact protection. It accommodates children from 5-40 lbs in the rear-facing position and from 20-65 lbs in the forward-facing position. It features cloud comfort memory foam, CoolMesh ventilation, luxurious, temperature balancing fabrics, and HERO harness technology. $299, 17. Safety 1st Advance 65 Air Protect + Convertible Car Seat: Designed for children between 5-65 lbs, this car seat features Air Protect+ advanced side impact protection and a steel-reinforced metal frame for extra stability. Belt paths and installation labels are color-coded. $189.99, 18. Summer Infant The Prodigy Infant Car Seat: The Prodigy Infant Car Seat features one-of-a-kind SmartScreen technology guiding parents through a simple three-step car seat base installation process— just click, level, and tighten. When the seat is installed correctly, a green smiley face appears. The unique Belt Tightening System allows for an easy and secure installation and the innovative SafeGuard 1-Adjust harness system ensures a perfect fit as your baby grows. $219.99, 19. The First Years True Fit IAlert Convertible Car Seat: To help you stay in the loop, the True Fit IAlert Convertible Car Seat notifies parents on their smartphones if the child is left alone in the car or gets out of the seat while the car is moving. It also reminds parents to check that their child is buckled, monitors the car’s temperature, and helps parents install the seat in the correct position. $399.99,

4/18/14 5:02 PM


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new york family partner

Planting The Roots To The Future

JEarnshaw photos

The Alexander Robertson School Introduces A New Pre-K, A Growing Kindergarten, And The City’s Only STEM Curriculum Produced By The Smithsonian Science Education Center

Students in the classroom at ARS

As legendary NYC Educator, Irwin Shlachter, takes over at the venerable Alexander Robertson School (ARS) near Central Park on the Upper West Side, he is introducing plans to open up a new Pre-K class and an expanded Kindergarten program for the 2014-2015 school year. But the availability of more spots at ARS isn’t the only good news for parents still looking for a highly-regarded and nurturing school for their child. Equally impressive is Shlachter’s move to infuse ARS with STEM-based and age-appropriate learning, beginning as early as nursery and Kindergarten. STEM education, science literacy, computer science, pre-engineering—in preschool, really? How’s an interested parent to judge whether a school touting its STEM expertise can really engage young children in fun and compelling ways, launching them toward a future

ADVERTORIAL_ARS_0514.indd 30

in which they’ll be comfortable with—and hopefully excited by—the rapidly evolving wonders of science, technology, engineering and math? “Look to the curriculum,” Shlachter, who is known to many Upper West Side families as the Head of the Rodeph Shalom School for over two decades and to downtown Manhattanites as the leader of the former Claremont Prep, advises. “Ask the school leaders how they settled upon their science and pre-math program and how it is integrated into the curriculum as a whole.” ARS can boast that it is the first school in New York State to be selected by the Smithsonian Science Education Center to teach its Science and Technology Concepts curriculum. This seamless Pre-K through grade 5 curriculum helps children cultivate “scientific habits of the mind,”

4/18/14 11:07 AM

new york family partner as Shlachter puts it. “The students use problem-solving methods just as real scientists would,” he explains. “It leads them through steps of discovery and inquiry, proving that asking the right question can be as important as having the right answer. And this way of thinking isn’t used solely for science- and math-based subjects—it informs the way they learn in all subject areas.” Indeed, the great challenge in English Language Arts is teaching young students how to be analytical readers and then bring that same thoughtful mindset to their writing. But it’s no surprise that students who benefit from STEMbased learning are usually quite proficient in reading and writing as well. Their all-around success, in fact, dispels the common myth that a child is either a science and math kid or an English and arts kid. Why can’t all children be both, especially early on in their educations? Unfortunately, most schools—private and public—still don’t do a good job of exposing children to science and technology learning at a young age. And that, more than anything else, explains the low percentage of American kids pursuing careers in science and technology, even though that’s where many of the best jobs are. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves! The educators at ARS know that the foundation of a great education begins at the beginning. And one of the key reasons Shlachter favors the Smithsonian’s Science and Technology Concepts curriculum is that, in his view, it does “a really good job of building from one grade level to the next in smart and meaningful ways—as well as across disciplines.” He also likes that it’s created by people who really understand the material, and know how to make it interesting to children. “It’s not enough that a science program is written by educators,” Shlachter says. “They need to be scientists too.” At the Smithsonian Science Education Center, of course they are. The Center is the only educational unit of the entire Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum and research complex, including 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. The Science and Technologies Concepts curriculum draws upon the expertise of scientists working in areas as varied as Air and Space, Arts and Industry, and even the National Portrait Gallery. But as keen as Shlachter is about introducing STEM to his new school, and introducing STEM’s benefits to prospective families, he also knows ARS is the kind of school whose benefits are evident to any parent (or child) who simply walks in the front door and tours the school. Though ARS is opening a new Pre-K for 3s and 4s, and expanding the size of its Kindergarten for the fall, it will still always be a “a small school by design,” with all the appeal of a school where the teacher-student ratio is low, and the faculty takes a deep interest in the success and well-being of every student. As Shlachter explains, a K-5 school like ARS isn’t as in vogue right now with parents who prefer to send their children to independent schools that go all the way from Kindergarten to grade 12. But schools like ARS remain very popular with parents who like the idea of beginning their child’s education in a nurturing co-educational environment with strong academics that goes up to

ADVERTORIAL_ARS_0514.indd 31

STEM in action at ARS

grade 5, and then making a change to a new academic environment when they understand their child’s needs much better—and when, frankly, many children are ready for a change of school. “At our school, students get to be little kids for a lot longer without the pressure of having to live-up to how older children behave,” Shlachter says. “Everything about this institution is geared towards where they are now not where they’ll be going on to college.” Originally, ARS was founded in 1789 by the Scots Presbyterian Church to educate the children of farmers and “common folk” so that they could become active and engaged citizens. It’s now run as a nondenominational school where education, empowerment, and ethics go hand in hand, and where parents and children of all ethnicities, family configurations, and religious traditions are welcome. While the school’s new STEM-based curriculum will help ARS students become more analytical in their thinking, the school’s old ways of raising good friends and citizens will always be just as vital to their experience. Parents interested in learning more about ARS, including its new nursery school and expanding Kindergarten, should visit or contact the admissions office at 212-663-2844 or

4/18/14 11:07 AM




York Avenue Preschool

A Neighborhood Guide To The City’s Best Nursery Schools Edited by Emily Murphy If you’re interested in applying to a private nursery school in the city, then chances are you’ve heard some anxiety-provoking rumors and reports about the admissions process. And, yes, there is competition for spots based primarily on supply and demand, but the important fact to latch on to, from the start of your search, is that the vast majority of interested families find spots at nursery schools that they like—as long as they do their homework. New York Family can be the start of your homework. We’ve compiled an annotated


New York Family | May 2014


directory of nursery school programs in the city—and it’s a big list! Here in the May issue, we’re presenting a generous sampler of great schools to get you started on your search—with a complete list of options offered online at Schools are divided in two categories—nursery schools that serve children up to ages 5-6 but have no other academic affiliation; and nursery schools that are affiliated with private “on-going” schools, where children in the nursery school move on to Kindergarten and beyond. Additionally, within each category the schools are categorized by neighborhood. Please note: When you visit us online, there will be several admissions-related stories that we recommend that you read first, before you begin studying the schools themselves. These

stories will help you establish a timeline and a general orientation towards the process of applying to nursery school. Needless to say, it’s better to be informed about the process than overwhelmed and misinformed. It’s helpful to keep in mind that there are a lot of good options out there—and the vast majority of nursery schools are just warm and inviting places that take very good care of children (if a particular school doesn’t seem like that to you, then move on). Finally, if you’re applying in the fall of 2014 for the fall of 2015, now’s an ideal time to start doing your research. Chelsea: CHELSEA DAY SCHOOL Ages 2-4 319 5th Avenue, 2nd Floor Philosophy: Play-based Religious Affiliation: None

continued on page 34

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continued from page 32 EXPLORE + DISCOVER EARLY LEARNING CENTER Ages 0.3-1.11 444 2nd Avenue Philosophy: Reggio Emilia Religious Affiliation: None Noteworthy: “This summer we will be raising the bar and advocating for infants and toddlers by hosting The Creative Brain Institute, where well known scholars join our staff to learn about brain development, baby health, respectful communication, and doing music and art with very young children. We will be shaping the concept of infant toddler teacher as a highly skilled professional, offering the finest care and education for our youngest citizens of the city.”


British International Schools


Noteworthy: “Arts Alive is an afterschool

By helping them access their innate creativity

224 West 30th Street, Suite 302

program offered Monday through Thursday

and expression, we believe children will

Philosophy: Eclectic

from 3–4:30pm [for Chelsea Day students].

become intrinsically motivated to learn and

Religious Affiliation: None

Children will have a snack and play time

more fully engaged in life.”

Noteworthy: “Our rooftop playground

along with the afternoon’s activity. Some

features a jungle gym, play house and recently added garden! Now, not only can our students

activities offered include play-acting, art and nature, creative movement, and cooking.”


East Village:

build and refine their gross motor skills while enjoying fresh air, but they can also learn how 14TH STREET Y PRESCHOOL

to grow plants and vegetables!”

Ages 2.4-5

344 East 14th Street

Midtown East:


Philosophy: Eclectic


Religious Affiliation: None

Ages 2-4

Noteworthy: “Our preschool has the


93 St. Mark’s Place

distinction of being housed at the 14th Street


Philosophy: ART (Accept, Reflect, Teach)

Y in New York City’s East Village. As such,

Ages 0.6-5

Religious Affiliation: None

children have access to things that only a

224 East 47th Street

Noteworthy: “By 2001 we had eight

great community center can provide, like

Philosophy: Play-based

children, forcing us to rent out the upper

swim time in our pool, play in our gymnasium

Religious Affiliation: None

floors for income. We began a big growth

and on our rooftop playground, and very

Noteworthy: “Located in a historic building

spurt in 2001 and this year our dream

importantly, art inspired by The 14th Street

one block from the United Nations, the

has come true—we have now reclaimed

Y’s resident arts program, LABA.”

Vanderbilt YMCA Early Childhood Program

our entire building for school use. This

guides children to develop the cross-

September, we will be doubling our capacity

cultural understanding they will need to

and we will have 100 children in the nursery.”


thrive in the 21st century. In addition to


academic skills, children are immersed in

Ages 2-5

live music, art, and Bilingual Birdies-taught

130 East 16th Street

foreign languages.”

Philosophy: Reggio Emilia

Financial District: THE BLUE SCHOOL

Religious Affiliation: None

Ages 2-4

Noteworthy: “In 2003 we transformed a

241 Water Street

multi-purpose space into an arts studio that

Philosophy: Inquiry-based

offers children many possibilities for creative


Religious Affiliation: None

expression. Children meet in small groups

Ages 2-4

Noteworthy: “We believe that creative

to have weekly yoga and music classes. The

133 East 29th Street

expression is a basic human need. We are

studio’s primary use is for the visual arts.” 

School philosophy: Play-based

dedicated to connecting children with their

Religious Affiliation: Jewish

ability to create and to express themselves.


New York Family | May 2014


Murray Hill:

Noteworthy: “This community minded

4/21/14 5:52 PM

What About Public Pre-K? Tuitions at some NYC private nursery schools can range between $15,000-30,000 per year. For that reason, many families opt for public school Pre-K programs, which are free but only offered the year before kindergarten. Also, until now, the city hasn’t automatically guaranteed families Pre-K spots. (The available spots have been distributed through local school or district lotteries.) If the city introduces “Universal Pre-K” this fall, then any interested families will be guaranteed a spot. 

confidence, and academic talents of even

Noteworthy: “One strength of the All Souls

our youngest children.”

School is its community. Teachers and

children work together to create classroom communities. Parents, the administration, and

Upper East Side—60s:

with events that bring us together as classes THE EPISCOPAL SCHOOL

and a whole school. The active Parents

Ages 2.5-5

Association sponsors activities for the whole

35 East 69th Street

family as well as just for parents. Children, and

Philosophy: Play-based

their parents, can make friends for life here!”

Religious affiliation: Judeo-Christian

(nonsectarian) Noteworthy: “At Chapel, Bible stories are


told to reinforce the children’s awareness of


the Judeo-Christian heritage and traditional

Ages 2.6-5.6

values. Sharing, honesty, responsibility,

50 East 87th Street

concern for the feelings of others, and

School Philosophy: Play-based

respecting differences are all subjects for

Religious Affiliation: Jewish

Chapel discussions.”

Noteworthy: “The staff consists of teachers

trained in Early Childhood Education. In addition to the three teachers in each

preschool has also fostered lasting friendships among many of the parents.

teachers work to create a school community

Upper East Side—70s:

class, music and movement specialists, an occupational therapist, a speech

Parents who have sent their children to Aleph Bet NY will proudly tell you that they


and language consultant and a school

felt like their child received first class care

Ages 2-5

psychologist support the program.”

and attention! The director is very involved

510 East 74th Street

and extremely approachable. The teachers

Philosophy: Child-centered

are professional, experienced, attentive, and

Religious Affiliation: None


available even after school hours.”

Noteworthy: “This fall, ECNS will be

Ages 2-4

introducing a pre-nursery program for

1520 York Avenue


those little ones that are ready for a gentle

Philosophy: Academic

classroom experience but are too young to

Religious Affiliation: None

make the 2’s cut-off… Since for most children

Noteworthy: “A cross-collaboration


this will be a first-time separation experience,

of specialties such as Sign Language,

Ages 2.4-4

a gradual separation protocol will be followed.

French, art, music, library, gym, yoga and

146 Duane Street

Additionally, to ensure a smooth transition,

movement, and cooking are integrated into

Philosophy: Child-centered

each class will have a low teacher-child ratio.”

the daily experience.”

Religious affiliation: Jewish

Curriculum connects children’s natural curiosity


Upper East Side—90s:

to interactive experiences with professional

Ages 2.6-6

artists. The curriculum provides guided inquiry

117 East 74th Street


and first hand exposure to professional art and

Philosophy: Montessori

Ages 2.6-5

artists across varying media within the visual

Religious Affiliation: Episcopal

1395 Lexington Avenue

and performing arts. Children think critically,

Noteworthy: “REDS has a beautiful playground

Philosophy: Hands-on

imagine, exercise curiosity, respect varying

with brightly colored structures designed

Religious Affiliation: Jewish:

points of view and find ways to express

specifically for the ages of our children and

Noteworthy: “We are committed to building

themselves and their ideas.”

a safe surface on which to run. This space

a strong sense of community between

provides daily opportunities for children to

parents, teachers and children. We firmly

develop physical coordination especially

believe that communication between parents


upper body strength and spatial awareness. In

and the school is essential in fostering young

Ages 2-6

addition, the playground fosters a special time

children’s growth. Celebrating Shabbat and

53 Beach Street & 2 Gold Street (both

for social interaction and imaginative play.”

the Jewish holidays teaches children the joy

campuses offer preschool)

of Jewish culture and heritage.”

Noteworthy: “The JCP Arts Appreciation

Philosophy: Montessori Religious affiliation: None

Upper East Side—80s:

Noteworthy: “In addition to our traditional


Montessori curriculum, MSM students


Ages 3-5

participate in second language, performing

Ages 2.6-5

62 East 92nd Street

arts, music, yoga, and visual art study

1157 Lexington Avenue

Philosophy: Play-based

programs. First-time visitors to MSM

School Philosophy: Eclectic

are impressed with the self-discipline,

Religious Affiliation: None


continued on page 36

May 2014 | New York Family


4/18/14 12:44 PM

continued from page 35 Religious Affiliation: Judeo-Christian

Upper West Side—80s:

Religious Affiliation: None Noteworthy: “Our Parent Education

Noteworthy: “Cooking is a satisfying experience for children and provides a


curriculum offers a series of workshops for

vehicle for teaching math, science, language,

Ages 2-5

Morningside Families throughout the year.

social studies, and more, all with a delicious

128 West 80th Street

Through these workshops, parents will have

opportunity to enjoy the results of their labor

Philosophy: Play-based

opportunities to gain a deeper understanding

as a shared snack or meal.”

Religious Affiliation: None

of the developmental processes, milestones,

Noteworthy: “Through American Sign

and needs of their children. The workshops will

Language, the students at Brownstone

be a forum for learning, exchanging ideas, and

acquire a second language!”

an opportunity to further build relationships

with the other Morningside Families.”

Upper West Side—60s: THE DAY SCHOOL AT CHRIST & ST.



Ages 2-4

Ages 2-4

122 West 69th Street

606 Columbus Avenue

Philosophy: Inquiry-based

Philosophy: Emergent

Religious Affiliation: Episcopal

Religious Affiliation: None

Ages 0.3-5.5

Noteworthy: “Chapel is led by the parish

Noteworthy: “Recognizing that play is the work

230 West 13th Street & 40 Worth Street

clergy and is held weekly in the side chapel

of children, we provide them with materials

Philosophy: Emergent

of the church. Chapel services focus on the

to explore such as sand, water, clay, paint, and

Religious Affiliation: None

unique worth and beauty of each child as

blocks. Explorations with concrete and open-

Noteworthy: “Programs include weekly

a creation of a loving, empowering God, as

ended materials encourage children to think,

specialists in French, Chinese, music, dance,

well as the ethical and moral values that flow

to plan, to question, to problem solve, and to

and yoga. Chelsea Childhood Center for

from that belief. Diversity and inclusiveness,

recreate—thereby making sense of their world.”

the Arts will offer early childhood parent-

hallmarks of our Episcopal tradition, are part

child classes in Creative Art, Cooking &

of Chapel services and an appreciation of other faith traditions is fostered.”


Nutrition, Dance & Movement, Language, and

Upper West Side—90s:

Preschool/Separation Preparedness, plus parent workshops and forums, guided gallery


tours and special events focusing on Art in


Ages 2-5

Chelsea and Preschool Arts Programs.”


2495 Broadway, 2nd Floor

Ages 2.5-5

Philosophy: Play-based

5 West 63rd Street

Religious Affiliation: None


Philosophy: Play-based

Noteworthy: “From infant to toddler to

Ages 2.5-6

Religious Affiliation: None

preschool and beyond, our teachers maintain

40 Sutton Street & 37 East 63rd Street

Noteworthy: “Children and parents enjoy

constant collaboration and communication

Philosophy: Creative

recreational and educational opportunities

with parents in order to prepare each child

Religious Affiliation: None

throughout the YMCA, including use of one of

for social and academic success… Our Infant

Noteworthy: “Developed in our London

the two pools, which are kept at a temperature

Program guides your baby’s early experiences

school, the Early Reading and Writing

comfortable for children; and gym, music and

toward a lifelong love of learning.”

Program is now in use with our American

science classes. The children play outdoors on

children. Our students enjoy the finest

the rooftop playground or in Central Park.”

teaching of London and New York.”

Upper West Side—100s:

Upper West Side—70s:



Ages 0.5-4

Ages 2-5


610 West 112th Street

330 East 45th Street, 120 West 76th Street, &


Philosophy: Bank Street

345 East 86th Street

Ages 2-5

Religious Affiliation: None.

Philosophy: Play-based

334 Amsterdam Avenue

Noteworthy: “The Family Center Home

Religious Affiliation: None

Philosophy: Progressive

and Community-Based Program brings

Noteworthy: “We welcome children who

Religious Affiliation: Jewish

special education and therapeutic services

speak little or no English at home and believe

Noteworthy: “Daily reflections, journey

to children in the most appropriate, least

that English speaking children benefit as they

binders, small booklets, visual narrations

restrictive, natural environment. This can

observe and help their peers learn English.”

on the walls, and videos provide windows

be the home, particularly for very young

into the world of the children at school. This

children, or a general education setting.”

documentation helps teachers, parents and

children understand and deepen the learning at school, as we think collaboratively about


children’s learning.”

Ages 2-5

251 West 100th Street Philosophy: Montessori


New York Family | May 2014


Independent Nursery Schools In Schools With Ongoing Affiliations continued on page 38

4/18/14 12:45 PM

PLaY With a PurPose anD heLP create Your chiLD’s success

is Your chiLD Having trouble focusing? Impulsive, distractible, or nervous in situations? Having difficulty with motor skills? Struggling to understand or finish school work? Extra sensitive to touch, crowds, or sounds? Having trouble with social interactions? Dana−Lee WechsLer anD associates 401 east 86th st. suite #1B nY, nY 10028

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continued from page 36 THE CAEDMON SCHOOL

science lab, music/dance studio, and the

Ages 2.8-11

Early Childhood gymnasium.”

416 East 80th Street

Philosophy: Montessori

Epiphany Community Nursery School

Religious Affiliation: Lay Catholic


Noteworthy: “Nothing could be more exciting

Ages 2-14

than teaching readers how to crack the

103 West 96th Street (plus additional

code! The reading instruction at Caedmon is


multi-faceted. Using both the leveled reading

Philosophy: Play-based

system of Fountas and Pinnell and the multi-

Religious Affiliation: None

sensory techniques of Orton-Gillingham,

Noteworthy: “Our curriculum focuses on

we empower our readers by providing

semi-monthly themes with related activities

interesting stories, knowledge of phonics

such as art projects, songs and special

rules, and attainable goals.”

events. Our goal is to provide a well-rounded,

experiential environment for your child that enriches their emotional, physical, and



intellectual development.”

3 West 95th Street

Ages 2-10

Philosophy: Academic

324 West 15th Street

Religious Affiliation: None

Philosophy: Inquiry-based


Noteworthy: “Our small size also enables us

Religious Affiliation: None


to be nimble and creative in our curricular

Noteworthy: “Students have a chance to

Ages 2-14

offerings. ARS is the first school in New

discover, practice and revisit concepts

347 East 55th Street

York City to adopt the Smithsonian Science

both as novices during their first year in

Philosophy: Montessori

Education Center’s Science and Technology

a classroom and as mentors during their

Religious Affiliation: None

Concepts curriculum. Our Pre-Kindergarten

second. Younger students are inspired

Noteworthy: “Most modern research sug-

students will be immersed in this seamless

to take intellectual risks as they observe

gests that people have a far greater ability

Pre-K through 5th Grade curriculum that

their older classmates and understand

to learn foreign languages during the first six

encourages critical thinking and ‘scientific

what comes next. Older students develop

years of life. We take advantage of this and

habits of the mind.’”

confidence as they are challenged to

introduce children to French and Spanish.”

support their younger peers by sharing

their knowledge in clear and concise ways.” AVENUES: THE WORLD SCHOOL


Ages 3-15 259 10th Avenue


125 East 85th Street

Philosophy: Academic


Philosophy: Play-based

Religious Affiliation: None


Religious Affiliation: Jewish

Noteworthy: “Beginning in nursery school,

Ages 2-5

Noteworthy: “The holidays are a significant

children will spend 50 percent of their day

291 Central Park West

part of our curriculum and each one sets

in either Mandarin or Spanish immersion.

Philosophy: Academic

the stage for a great variety of learning

They will continue the language immersion

Religious Affiliation: None

opportunities. For example, at Chanukah,

through the Lower School with the goal of

Noteworthy: “Science, Technology, Engineer-

students fry latkes and make scientific


ing, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) will come

discoveries related to oil. During Purim, the

alive for Dwight’s youngest students in a newly

children write their own plays, learn about

designed science lab and art studio. The ex-

shapes, and investigate the science of sound


panded space will house the most innovative

using ra’ashanim.”


resources and additional offerings within the

Ages 3-14

warm, welcoming environment that Dwight’s

20 Waterside Plaza

Early Childhood Division is known for.”


Philosophy: Inquiry-based

PRESCHOOL Ages 2.6-5

Religious Affiliation: None Noteworthy: “We maintain print rich,


325 Park Avenue

stimulating classroom environments which

Ages 4-18

Philosophy: Child-centered

nurture the creative and enthusiastic nature of

86 4th Avenue

Religious Affiliation: Episcopal

our children. Come and see what our students

Philosophy: Play-based

Noteworthy: “Once a year, the school focuses

have created—Pirate World, Rapunzel’s Tower,

Religious Affiliation: Episcopal

on a week-long International Studies theme

The Pizza Pizza Restaurant—and you’ll find

Noteworthy: “Junior Kindergarten

including music, food, art, and dancing from

out how our inquiry based curriculum leads to

and Kindergarten children have many

other countries and culture. This culminates

well-rounded children with a love of life-long

opportunities to share experiences with the

in a school wide International Day celebration


entire school community. They eat lunch

on the Friday of that week, ending with an

in the dining room and attend regularly

international feast for all!”

scheduled classes in the library, art room,


New York Family | May 2014


4/18/14 12:45 PM

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immersion school for children An independent school at the forefront of immersion education.

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Reading comprehension & writing Multi-sensory math Phonics instruction & reading fluency State test preparation Study & organizational skills Orton Gillingham instruction Specialized programs for students with dyslexia, ADD and learning disabilities Home tutoring available in NYC, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Westchester and New Jersey Our Director Dr. Levy personally performs all assessments

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new york family partner

Ask the Admissions Expert Beginning Your Public School Search By Hélène Côté, School Consultant and Research Associate with School Search Solutions, a division of the School Choice Group All NYC parents—whether they’re ultimately interested in private school or public school for their children— should understand their public school options. Here’s an overview.

to admit students through a random lottery usually conducted in April. ENROLLING IN SCHOOLS OUTSIDE YOUR DISTRICT: Entry in a high performing school may be available by lottery.



ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Your child is guaranteed a seat in a public school, typically the one for which your address is zoned. If you know your school district, use its website. Or, call 311 and give your address. Also, use the NYC Department of Education’s School Search tool.

Your Child: What are your child’s unique needs and what qualities in a school will meet these? Does your child like work best alone or in groups? Does your child need structure or hands-on experience? Location: How will your child get to and from school? 

MIDDLE SCHOOL: The DOE Website ( lists every district by borough and links to directories outlining each district’s process. HIGH SCHOOL: Students can attend a zoned high school or one elsewhere in the city, including career and technical education schools, charter or specialized schools. Students must apply. Schools may require applications, testing, or audition.

STEP 2. EXPLORE VARIOUS OPTIONS Gifted & Talented Schools: There are a handful of un-zoned G & T schools that welcome students from all boroughs; there are many more programs that are zoned within their district. Education Department testing is available for all current NYC residents starting in pre-K. Magnet schools: Students from throughout the district may attend. Some districts have specific criteria; others use the program to achieve integration. Magnets usually have a theme, like performing arts or math and science. They teach the prescribed curriculum but embed the theme within. CHARTER SCHOOLS: These are run outside the local school district system, so do not list them on your District application. Visit the New York City Charter School Center ( for more info and to begin a search; and contact schools directly for application procedures. By law, each charter is required


Start & End Times: What time does school begin and let out? Afterschool: Do you need before/after care?

STEP 4. BE OPEN MINDED Consider a broad range of schools and programs. Don’t assume that popular schools are “better.” Define a “good” school as one that’s right for your family. Look beyond test scores. They are just one indicator of school quality.

STEP 5. VISIT SCHOOLS Tour Schools: Attend open houses and school events, October through January.

Important Online Resources: NYC DOE ( gov); NYC District and School websites (visit gov, and use Google); NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (; Advocates For Children Of New York (;; If you have any other Ask the Admissions Expert questions or have questions regarding school placement in New York City, please contact us at

4/18/14 4:29 PM


Claire Groome Warburg Realty Licensed Salesperson What distinguishes you from others in your field? What expertise and experience do you bring to the table? I have been taught over my 12-year career that real estate is a relationship business disguised as a transactional business. Taking that to heart, I take the time to get to know my clients, to understand their needs, and help them make the best choices. Today, most of my business is from referrals, which I am so proud of.  I also think it helps that I live where I work. My sons attend Buckley on the Upper East Side and, as a handson mom, I know the city inside and out—from the best sports teams and activities to the store for the hard-tofind item. I love being the go-to source for my clients.   What are the qualities you possess that contribute to your success in the real estate industry? I keep real estate real—I’m honest with my clients and strive to keep the experience as fun and stress-free as possible.   What’s the most exciting part of your job? What keeps you going every day? It’s exciting to truly love what you do. While I work seven days a week, I don’t work the traditional 9am to 5pm hours that many do, allowing me the flexibility to spend time with my kids. People love to talk about real estate whether they’re looking to buy or not—it’s always new, always changing. I love that my job can create connections with people.  I’m very goal-oriented. Last year was an incredible year for me with the successful marketing and sale of a trophy Park Avenue property for which I received a company-wide recognition award. I have set a high bar for myself this year, but I know I can jump over it!   Tell us about some of the new and exciting listings and projects you’re currently representing. I have been really busy in the building that I live in, 444 East 86th Street, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. I have lived there for a long time—


my insider’s perspective helps me price properties appropriately and showcase the building and area to interested buyers. I am also very excited about my exclusive coming on at 168 East 74th Street. It is a classic 7 room home with great bones in a very desirable building for $3.1 million.   How do you spend your free time? I live a very active life. I love to take my kids to new places within the city and beyond. Also as a native Canadian, I like to go back to Canada and visit with my children.


654 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10065 O: 212-439-4524 M: 212-464-8269 E: W:

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activity of the month

Swing Time Our Favorite City Golf & Tennis Programs Offer Country Club Cool In The Heart Of The Concrete Jungle Edited by Mia Weber Whether your child is swinging into spring with a golf club or with a tennis racquet, one thing is for sure, there’s no need to look to greener pastures (or courts or links, for that matter) to find awesome local golf and tennis programs offering a fun, modern take on two decidedly classic sporting activities. TENNIS Through Advantage Tennis Clubs (which includes several NYC locations) kids 8-18 can participate in recreational and tournament junior tennis, tailored to their ages and skill level. Bumblebee Tennis offers a range of programs from toddlers up to tweens, at locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Catering to all ages and levels, Bumblebee’s indoor and outdoor tennis programs are offered year-round and include a variety of leagues.

Kate Tempesta’s Urban Golf Academy

summer program for ages 7 and up (which includes introductions to activities that complement tennis, like yoga and surfing), Teen Tennis for ages 13-18, Quickstart for ages 4-8, and junior tennis for ages 4-7. Future Stars’ tennis programs (which includes a variety of skill levels) for ages 6-16 are helmed by a team of professionals who are carefully chosen to ensure each camper’s safety, skill development, and enjoyment. The Jeff Nerenberg Tennis Academy features year-round indoor and outdoor instruction for kids ages 7-18, and offers full family clinics, a travel team, and summer clinics grouped by age.

The Central Park Tennis Center features 26 clay courts and a host of lesson options and programs. Programs run through November and feature private and group lessons, afterschool programs for ages 4-7 and 8-15, and a series of summer camps.

The Manhattan Tennis Academy at the Midtown Tennis Club is the only year-round, multi-court provider of tennis instruction in New York City. From the QuickStart Tennis Program for beginners to the Competitive Training Program for advanced players preparing for high-end match play, the Academy offers participants top-notch instruction at a great location.

Chelsea Piers’ Little Aces tennis program, for kids ages 5-6, is a fun class that teaches children basic tennis skills, including movement, balance, and hand-eye coordination. Players are introduced to the scoring system and, in some cases, can begin to play tournament tennis.

NFCH Sports-Tennis for Kids features small, individually focused indoor tennis classes for kids ages 3-9 at four convenient locations in Manhattan on both the Upper East and West Sides. Classes are grouped by age and skill level.

Easthampton Indoor Tennis offers a variety of junior tennis programs, including the Davis Cup

continued on page 46


New York Family | May 2014

ACTIVITYoftheMONTH_0514.indd 44

4/18/14 11:18 AM

Summer tennis and more! Just a tram or F-train ride away at All City Junior Tennis Camp. If your son or daughter loves tennis, here’s a fantastic summer camp  experience!  Located at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, camp offers  action-packed days of fun. There’s even transportation available.   Most important, kids ages 6 to 17 will look forward to each day for: Tennis  • New York City’s oldest, most established junior program • Instruction for beginners to tournament level players • 12 HarTru courts PLUS • Swimming • Field sports • Anacks and lunch • Attentive, knowledgeable staff It’s all waiting for your camper at All City Junior Tennis Camp at Roosevelt Island, an oasis in the East River. Spots are going fast – so contact us today!

Come to our Open House! May 17, 4-6PM Call now for your appointment. 212.935.0250

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continued from page 44

Free For All The beauty of New York City is that there’s always something for everyone—regardless of schedule or budget. Check some great golf and tennis programs that offer free options for summer fun. The New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) offers the free Community Tennis Program to all city youths ages 5-18. Featuring seven independent facilities around New York and a cadre of seasoned instructors, the Community Tennis Program is a terrific opportunity for kids seeking additional instruction on their game. The CityParks Foundation offers tennis programs for kids aged 5-16 across 36 city parks in all five boroughs. From beginner lessons to tournaments and advanced leagues, CityParks Tennis has an outlet for anyone, from the everyday neophyte to the seasoned pro. Aspiring golfers aged 6-17 can take advantage of free golf lessons, from CityParks Golf, presented by the Rene Lacoste Foundation, held in public parks and courses throughout the five boroughs. Kids can also try out for the CityPark Intermediate Program and Junior Golf Academy.

The Riverside Clay Tennis Association (RCTA) features a number of clay courts in Riverside Park. In addition to offering summer lessons for kids ages 3-14, the RCTA partners with Riverside Park Conservancy to provide children ages 4-8 with a tennis camp experience at the 102nd Street Playground on newly installed mini-courts and children 8-16 at the RCTA red clay courts. SPORTIME Randall’s Island features a number of programs for youth and adults—including their trademarked JUNIOR TENNIS KINETICS programs— and is home to the esteemed John McEnroe Tennis Academy. With 160,000 square feet of court space and facilities, SPORTIME is the NYC area’s largest tennis facility. Tennis Innovators offers indoor programs delivering all aspects of tennis with an innovative and fun approach. Players will develop hand-eye coordination and technique during interactive classes. The 10 & Under Tennis Academies are designed to encourage play and a love for the sport for players of any level and age. The Yorkville Youth Athletic Association (partnered with The Sutton East Tennis Club) offers affordable programs for kids in grades 1-8. The spring tennis season lasts through June, and promises instruction from some of the best tennis pros in town. & GOLF Available at a number of NYC locations (including Chelsea Piers) in addition to locations and chapters


New York Family | May 2014

ACTIVITYoftheMONTH_0514.indd 46

Tennis Innovators

nationwide, The First Tee introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to young golfers. The program teaches kids integrity, respect, and perseverance through the game of golf. In addition to learning fundamentals of the golf swing and the game, The First Tee’s character education and life skills programs help young people prepare for academic and life success as well. Future Stars’ summer golf program caters to the abilities and needs of each child, and is available for kids entering grades 3-10. Young golfers are taught the fundamentals of a solid golf swing, including proper grip, body alignment, and posture. Advanced players can work with instructors to develop a consistent repeating motion and to learn mental strategies to apply to the game of golf. Safety, rules of the game, etiquette, and mental strategy are also incorporated into the program. Located in a 2,000-square-ft indoor training center, The Golf Academy at Chelsea Piers allows kids to perfect their game with after school lessons from golf pros. The facility also offers the only multi-tiered, year-round outdoor driving range in Manhattan. Kate Tempesta’s Urban Golf Academy (KTUGA) helps kids ages 4 and up learn proper technique, etiquette, and skill in both indoor and outdoor golf settings. The curriculum combines a mixture of putting, driving, pitching and chipping to help children learn four basic shots using age-appropriate methods. Randall’s Island Golf Center offers individual and group lessons taught by PGA golf professionals and features over 80 heated and covered tees, a grass tee area, putting green and 36-hole miniature golf course. A Junior Golf Clinic is offered on weekend mornings, and kids can sign up for the Kelley Brooke Golf Camp to learn basic golf skills via miniature golf. For more summer sports listings, visit

4/18/14 11:18 AM



at SUNY Purchase College weekly sessions

Since 1980

Boys & Girls

Ages 4 - 16

daily swimming

Tennis • Soccer • Lacrosse • Softball • Baseball • Magic Field Hockey • Volleyball • Basketball • Football Multi-Sports • Cheerleading • Academic • Diving Swim • Circus Arts • Rising Stars • Horseback Riding DOOR TO DOOR TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE


SUMMER CAMPS & CLASSES Outdoor June Camp for 4 - 8 year olds Indoor Camp 2.5 - 4 year olds @ Temple Israel (E. 75th St.) Indoor Camp July/Aug. for 4-6 year olds @ All Souls (80th & Lex)


Classes for Ages 12 months - 4 years



4/21/14 3:10 PM

a good idea

Finding A Great Nanny Tips On The Most Important Hire You’ll Ever Make By Amy Reynolds

When Jess Bernstein, a public relations professional and mother of 10-month-old Ella, began her search for a nanny, she thought the process would be relatively simple and straightforward. But, as is often the case when making such a personal decision, the search ended up being far more complicated. “I interviewed ten [nannies] and the most stressful part was meeting people I would never leave my child with,” she says. “One woman told me she had a cold, but would I mind if she held the baby? Another walked straight into my apartment toward the couch and didn’t take off her shoes or wash her hands. Experienced nannies know that is Caretaker 101 when it comes to infants.” Finding the right person is rarely easy, but with preparation, you’re more likely to find someone who is right for your family. So we’ve outlined a four-step plan to get you on the path to meeting the best nanny for your needs.

1. Assess Your Family’s Needs Before starting your search, you need to know exactly what your family requires in terms of logistics and arrangements. What’s your schedule like? Maybe you need a nanny to arrive bright and early every morning or someone who’s available on Saturdays only. Do your kids have special needs? If your child has allergies, for example, you’ll need a nanny who’s experienced with using an EpiPen; if your child has Asperger’s syndrome, you’ll want a nanny who’s patient and encourages social interaction.


New York Family | May 2014

GOODIDEA_0514.indd 48

“The first step a parent should take is understanding their overall needs,” says Douglas Kozinn, president of Absolute Best Care Nanny Agency. “This clarity will greatly enhance your interviewing process.” Beyond your familial and logistical needs, you should start honing in on the personal qualities in a nanny that are important to you. Do you want a younger person with a lot of energy—or an older person with a lot of experience? Do you want someone who is a parent themselves? And, if so, does it matter whether the nanny is still raising her own children and may have days where she has childcare issues herself? Some parents like nannies who are proactive and independently minded; others prefer someone who they can comfortably micromanage and who follows strict orders. Another question to ask yourself is whether you want a nanny or an au pair. For space and privacy reasons, in the city, it’s more common for parents who can afford it to hire full-time nannies than live-in au pairs, though some parents have such demanding work schedules that a live-in is pretty much essential. There’s also the issue of citizenship. The nanny market is full of workers who are U.S. citizens or have green cards, and also many who are here illegally, so you’ll want to make sure you check a person’s status. Lindsay Bell, president of Lucky Lil’ Darlings, recommends using a nanny with citizenship, because continued on page 50

4/18/14 5:20 PM


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continued from page 48

NYC Childcare Services NANNIES & BABYSITTERS Barnard Babysitting College Nannies & Tutors Metropolitan Sitters Mommybites More Than A Nanny Nannies4hire Nannies of New York The New York Nanny Center Sensible Sitters Sittercity UrbanSitter

AU PAIRS Au Pair in America Au Pair Care EurAupair Great Aupair

CHILDCARE Bright Horizons The Goddard School The House of Little People The Learning Experience Preschool of America Preschool of the Arts Tutor Time The Upper West Side Playgroup

ALL CATEGORIES Absolute Best Care Lucky Lil’ Darlings Penelope’s People


New York Family | May 2014

GOODIDEA_0514.indd 50

they are easier to background check and tend to be more flexible with hours than an au pair or a nanny with a green card. “In my experience, I have found that nannies are generally more experienced,” she adds. “However, au pairs are generally more costeffective and [often] bring a multicultural education for your children to the table.” While you should consider all of these factors at the start of the process, your opinions may evolve depending upon whom you meet. But the bottom line is that you shouldn’t settle for anyone who doesn’t seem like a loving and responsible person.

2. Start The Search For Your Nanny There are numerous private placement agencies that specialize in matching you with a nanny based on your specific needs. (See sidebar at left for agency listings.) The other option is to do the search yourself, which typically involves a mix of checking listings on various websites and asking friends and their nannies for recommendations. Most agencies promise the benefit of serious background checks. A trusted friend’s recommendation is also worth a lot, although you might find that your friend’s needs are different from your own, so a nanny who is so wellsuited to another family might not be the right fit for yours. And, of course, you should still do your own interviewing and reference checks. Greg Solometo of Nannies of New York makes the case for both search methods. “If a family finds a nanny through word of mouth, just make sure you get a good understanding of their background,” he says. “[Alternatively], using an agency relieves some of the pressure off of the family.” Bell of Lucky Lil’ Darlings believes that placement services can be especially reassuring if you’re a first-time mom. “Childcare services have done this thousands of times and will help guide you along the way,” she says. “Having a guide throughout the process alleviates stress, too, as you’ll always have someone to turn to with questions.”

3. Screen Potential Candidates Whether you get a nanny reference from a service or find one through your own research, it’s a good idea to do some screening yourself. The first step in this process is to check the potential employee’s work history. You’ll want specific start and end dates, family names, addresses, and duties—the equivalent of a resume. Kozinn from Absolute Best Care Nanny Agency says to be cautious of “mysterious gaps” in work history, as they may be an indication that the candidate isn’t very reliable or isn’t telling you something important. Most parents won’t have the energy or resources to check education records, driving records, criminal history, citizenship, and health. If those details are important to you, it’ll probably be more realistic to use a search agency or ask the candidate for the information.

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You’ll need to decide whether you’re going to meet all potential candidates in person or first screen them over the phone. A phone conversation can save you a lot of time and stress, helping you to eliminate candidates who you wouldn’t seriously consider. And while the most important references you ultimately can get are from other families who have worked with the candidate previously, Bell suggests making those calls after the interview, so you won’t be influenced by someone else’s opinion before having the chance to form your own first.

4. INTERVIEW YOUR TOP CHOICES Once you have your search narrowed down to ten or fewer candidates, you’ll want to conduct in-person interviews. It’s a good idea to have your children in the room with you to see how the potential nanny interacts with them. Sometimes you’ll know within two minutes that someone isn’t the right fit for your family, but be courteous and proceed with the interview for at least ten minutes. Throughout the interview, paying attention to small details, like body language, is key. But you also need to listen attentively to the answers. And remember, the more specific your questions, the more revealing her answers will be, so be prepared—visit for our 20 suggested questions. You’ll also want to add questions that are specific to each candidate. For example, if a nanny has experience working with twins, ask her about it! You’ll probably know when a nanny is the right fit. “She was warm, smiled a lot, and was just a lovely person,” says Bernstein of the nanny she eventually hired. “And it didn’t take long for my daughter to warm up to her.” If you’re a parent who’s returning to work, it’s a good idea to have the nanny start a couple of weeks before you go back to the office, to make a slow and steady transition. This way, your nanny will be able to ask questions, you’ll become more comfortable with her watching your child, and, most importantly, your child will become increasingly comfortable with her. In order to make sure that the person you’ve hired is working out as intended, some people like to use nanny cams. Another reliable way of checking up on her is to ask a friend to keep an eye out for your child and nanny at the park to observe how they’re doing. As with any big decision, it’s important to start the search early. This way, you won’t feel stressed or like you’re running out of time. Trust your instincts and don’t settle for a not-right nanny just because you’re feeling frustrated or rushed. “We live in New York City. There are many, many nannies,” says Bernstein. “Even though it’s a long process and it might take a little while and it can be frustrating, finding that right person is worth it.”


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Unstuck On A Quest To Shake Up The Routines of Motherhood and Middle Age, Two Local Moms Write A Popular Blueprint For Everyone

Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin

By Emanuelle Block Approaching 40-something and friends for over a decade, Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin both felt stuck. Soon realizing that their complaining achieved nothing, they decided to do something about it. The plan was to try one new thing every week for a year. They began to blog about it on Challenging themselves with new experiences was so motivating, and the feedback was so resoundingly positive, that the blog evolved into a book. The 52 Weeks is an inspiring blueprint for getting going again in your life. With wit and practical advice about how to take the first steps, Amster-Young and Godwin explain that we can grow, learn, and achieve at any age or any stage—and get unstuck. What is The 52 Weeks about? In the title, you describe your journey as two women on a quest to get unstuck. What do you mean by that? Karen Amster-Young: The book is about getting going again in life. People get caught up in patterns and routines of daily life, and they don’t even realize it, but sometimes they start to feel stuck doing the same things day in and day out. How do you break that up? We’ve tried to help people find ways to shake it up, to try new things, face fears and really get out there. How did the project begin? Where were you in your own lives when you came up with the idea? Were you friends? PG: We met over ten years ago when our children were in preschool together. In recent years, we found ourselves grumbling that we felt stuck. Then we looked at each other and said “stop complaining!”


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We didn’t want to hear ourselves complain anymore, and we didn’t want others to have to listen to us complain. We wanted to be proactive, so we thought about what we could do in our lives rather than groan and whine. We knew we had much to be thankful for. But our lives were transitioning—job changes and our children were getting older. KAY: We started to make a list of things we wanted to do. You can live in New York City or any city, but stop exploring it because you get caught up in routine. We created a “52 List”—scheduling something new to do each week for one year. Of course, each person’s “52 List” is different. PG: Someone once said: “If you’re bored, you’re boring,” and that resonated with us. It was time to do something. And we hit the ground running. You started the project as a blog. How was it transitioning from blog to book? PG: We decided to blog about our list-of-52-thingsto-do because we wanted to be accountable to ourselves and to others, so that we would follow through with our plans. KAY: The reaction was positive. We knew we were on to something, and we got some media attention. And then the light bulb went on—we wanted to put the information out as a book. PG: We’d been blogging for several months, so our stories were out there already. But if we were going to develop it into a book, we wanted to round up some expert contributors—and we did. For whom is the book written? PG: We are 40-something moms. But in reality, anyone (at any age or stage) can get stuck and want

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to get unstuck. In the book we give lists of activities in different categories to pique interest and give ideas, no matter what stage of life. It is very user-friendly. How has the project affected your own lives? Have you personally applied the 52-week principle? KAY: It’s not an instant transformational howto book. As life cycles, you might get unstuck and then stuck again. We’re “works in progress.” The blog and the book helped jumpstart our lives. Doing nothing is not going to help you go a mile or even an inch. You’ve got to make a move, and this is a fun way to do it.

first time was fascinating. Test-driving a Maserati was exhilarating. Another week it was the simple task of trying to be more kind and patient with family members. PG: Rock climbing, dance lessons, an African art class… It didn’t matter what we did—it’s the act of doing something that is transformative. It has a ripple effect. How’s your friendship? PG: We are yin and yang! KAY: We’re very different—but we’ve gotten so much satisfaction from having completed a project like this with a friend. PG: We did many of our own 52 things separately, but we provided an important support system for each other. What’s next? PG: We’re thinking about expanding the idea into workshops. The feedback has been so positive. It’s very inspiring. If we can help other people in this way—it’s a really great feeling.

What was most memorable on your 52 List? KAY: Some experiences were exciting, adrenalineinducing. But others were more personal and made us look inward. Going to a Kabbalah class for the



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Between Her Co-Starring Role On “Boardwalk Empire,” And Her Cozy Family Life In The East Village, Actress Kelly Macdonald Is Loving Her New York Years By Eric Messinger

Just about everything I want to share with you about my impressions of Kelly Macdonald is captured in an exchange I had with her about Emma Thompson’s opinions of her. The actresses first worked with each other in “Nanny McPhee,” and later in “Brave.” “She’s one of my favorite people in the world,” Thompson told an interviewer during a promotional segment about “Brave,” which I unearthed and shared with Macdonald. “I love her because she’s an exquisite human being but also a wonderful actor. Because there’s nothing actressy about her. Nothing precious. Very clean and clear and loving and strong. And original. Rather eccentric in a way.” “‘Rather eccentric’?” Macdonald cuts in. “Oh, yeah.” I continue with Thompson’s final thought: “I like very much that she doesn’t conform to anything in particular. She’s just a remarkable woman and therefore she’s just the perfect choice for this very remarkable girl [Princess Merida].” Macdonald’s interpretation of Thompson’s tribute? “She was clearly drunk.” And as for Thompson’s assessment that she’s “not actressy?” “Yeah, I don’t know how to do that,” Macdonald confirms. “I admire it in a way, but I can’t be that person. I don’t walk in the room and have all eyes on me—or want that.” But what of her riveting movie debut as a sassy, sexual, and wiser-than-her-years teenager in “Trainspotting” back in 1996? “I know,” Macdonald acknowledges with a laugh. “I played against type.” She’s not kidding. Macdonald may well be the most lowprofile high-profile actress in the world with memorable roles, not only in “Nanny McPhee,” “Brave,” and “Trainspotting,” but also in the Oscar darlings “Gosford Park” and “No Country For Old Men.” And for the past four years she has co-starred in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” as the resourceful but embattled Margaret, the wife-in-name-only to Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson, the gangster-fixer running Atlantic City in the 20s. A native of Scotland, Macdonald moved to New York a few years ago for her “Boardwalk Empire” role, and now lives in the East Village with her rocker husband, Travis bassist Dougie Payne, and her two boys, 6-year-old Freddie and 16-month-old Theodore. And though “Boardwalk Empire” will be airing its final season come this fall, Macdonald may well stay in the city for a while.


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On Kelly Macdonald: Free People Angel Lace Dress in Green Tea; her own jewelry.

Photos by Ali Smith Photography. Hair by Matthew Monzon. Makeup by Cyndie Boehm. Styled by Monica Cotto. Flowers by Jamali Floral & Garden Supplies. Location: Little Missionary’s Day Nursery.

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ou were mostly in movies before “Boardwalk Empire.” Is having an on-going job on TV a bit of a slog or is it kind of nice to have a regular gig? It’s been amazing actually. Just the fact that the show is so good, of course, and being able to work with such good people. But also that it coincided for me with raising a young family. It’s been like the perfect five-year journey.   Do you have a regular schedule? Well, I don’t know if it’s the same with all TV shows, but the schedule changes quite a lot. So they keep you on your toes. But I also know that it means that I am going to be in New York for the majority of the year, so that makes me happy.   I feel like your character Margaret has been created with a distinct feminist sensibility. She’s so smart and capable, and yet she repeatedly faces horrible choices between maintaining her personal dignity and making things better for herself and her family. The deck always seems stacked against her. She’s ahead of her time, but she’s also a poor woman, basically single, trying to survive and provide for her family. She’s been through a bit of turmoil, so I’m sure this year won’t be any different. Are you anything like her? I would say she’s much smarter than me. She’s quite savvy.  I want to ask you about another of your characters, who also faced quite a bit of societal push back along the way: Princess Merida! Strong and Scottish! I could imagine a movie executive shouting: “Get me that girl from ‘Trainspotting!’” You must have been at the top of their wish list. No, there was someone else they had been working with. I think I was the last person cast. Did you enjoy playing a Disney princess? I was never a girly-girl. I never dressed up as a princess. I used to dress up as Calamity Jane. I wasn’t a tomboy, but I certainly wasn’t a girly-girl. So to be a princess as an adult was kind of funny to me but also amazing. I love the fact that she’s not your typical princess, that she breaks the mold slightly.   Have you watched the movie with your oldest? Freddie’s seen it a few times. He finds it very funny. It came up when we were at a birthday party in Glasgow. There was a children’s entertainer—a pirate—who was making these balloon swords and he brought up Merida. And Freddie was in awe. He turned around and made eye contact with me in a way that was like: “That’s you, mama!” But nothing was said. I was just another mom in the background. The entertainer didn’t know it.   What’s Freddie’s perspective on having a mom who’s an actress and a dad who’s a rocker? His dad’s much cooler than I am, but he’s starting to


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have questions about what I’m doing, because he knows it’s not always the same thing…and actually he still asks me about Steve [Buscemi]. He’s been visiting me at work since he was a baby so he’s met Steve, but he only knows him as Silly Steve. Steve’s a great guy and he’s very into kids, so even though Freddie has only met him a handful of times he still talks about him as Silly Steve, or sometimes when I’m going work he’ll say: “Are you going to see Silly Steve?” And Steve calls him “Funny Freddie.”   Do you feel like being a mom has influenced your acting in any interesting ways? I think it’s made me a better actress. I feel like I’m more secure in my life and that helps me with work. I used to be a bit nervous about working. This goes back to when I started. I hadn’t gone to drama school so I never learned techniques or anything like that so when I started I would be a kind of uptight, twisted, anxious mess, and I did that for years. So, now, not feeling like that has been kind of brilliant. continued on page 58

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KELLY’S CAUSE—Helping Little Missionary’s Day Nursery Grow By Mia Weber Founded by Sara Curry in 1896 as a refuge for children spending their days on the streets while their parents worked, Little Missionary’s Day Nursery—or “Little Mish”—is an authentic piece of Lower East Side history and a veritable institution of early childhood education. Housed in a historic brownstone on St. Mark’s Place, today Little Mish—which offers programs for ages 2-4—prides itself not only on carrying on Sara Curry’s tradition of compassion, but also on its unique emphasis on emotional education. “It’s a very special school because of the nurturing and warm emotional philosophy,” says Eileen Johnson, Little Mish’s executive director. She also adds that the school takes learning beyond the standard nursery curriculum by incorporating structured enrichment activities—think music, dance, art, and cooking—into each child’s day. A spirit of community involvement is what’s behind a recently-launched fundraising campaign to expand the daycare to the upper floors of the school’s building. “We’d been renting out the upper floors for many years and we’ve gotten ourselves to a point where we can take over the upper floors and convert them to classrooms,” Johnson says. Currently, Little Mish hopes to raise $200,000 by September (they’ve already raised $50,000), to upgrade the building’s fire alarm, plumbing, and electrical systems, as well as to renovate the fire escape and the interiors of the building. To help meet their goals, Little Mish is calling on all interested parents and community members to check out their website’s donation page and their Indiegogo campaign online to contribute whatever they can in order to help bring their vision to fruition! Additionally, Little Mish is hosting their 10th annual Sara Curry Awards Ceremony and silent auction on May 10 at the Manny Cantor Center—MC’ed by “House of Cards” co-star Michael Kelly and featuring comedy by Jim Gaffigan, both Little Mish parents—to aid their fundraising efforts. Join them for a night of food, drinks, prizes, comedy, music, and dancing for a great cause! &

sleep! Sometimes I wonder if I’m going to be able to relax ever again. I’m curious how raising kids in New York has compared with your expectations about what it would be like? My husband was much more concerned about the move than me. But after being in NYC for just a short while, we realized that it’s a great place for kids. There is so much to do, so much for them to get involved in…and we don’t even do that much of it and we love it. I like Freddie to have time to just sort of goof around. He has swimming classes but not much else. We spend a lot of time in Tompkins Square Park. Do you have a favorite kind of date night, I mean without the kids? If I have a regret, it’s that we didn’t come here before we had children. My husband wanted to. But I always thought my work life would take me places, and I wanted to just go with that. I didn’t want to move somewhere without a work reason. We’ve never been overly social—we’re generally in the house by 6pm— and that’s where we stay [laughs]. Occasionally, I’ll get the van back from the studio late at night and I can see everyone out in the neighborhood, and I think I’m too old now anyway [more laughs]. I know that Freddie’s former nursery school—Little Missionary’s Day Nursery—has been a very important part of your life here, too. When we moved to New York, we knew only a few people. But one friend who had kids and lived in the neighborhood told us about many places we should know about. He told us about the school, and we were lucky enough to get a spot…and now feel like we’re part of the community, and Little Mish (see sidebar at left) had a lot to do with that. When we wander about the neighborhood more often than not the people we run into have kids at the nursery school.

It’s like I know what the real important thing is in my life. My family comes first. For a while, possibly, it was my work life, and now I have this other life that supersedes it—and that’s quite reassuring.

Once “Boardwalk Empire” ends, do you think you will ever pack up shop and move back to Scotland full-time? I have no idea, but I think it’s kind of amazing that we’ve been able to live here and my son had his first day of school here, and we’ll always remember his time skating down St. Mark’s Place to go to nursery. New York is such a big part of my life now, I hope I can make it work for a long time.

What are some of your biggest joys and biggest challenges as a parent right now? The joy [is that] I love that I have this whole family, that I wake up every morning and it’s like: “Here we are.” And the kids are funny; they’re hilarious to be around, especially the baby. He has such a big personality. My older son is much more placid and sweet. My younger son is a ball of energy, he doesn’t stop. As far as challenges go, I can do with more

One final movie star question. You’ve had some really great roles. Are there one or two roles that you’re most proud of? Every few years it seems like a job comes up and I cannot believe how I even got in the room with the director. The film “Gosford Park” felt like a turning point for me… And the next one is probably the film “No Country For Old Men.” And “Boardwalk Empire,” of course!

continued from page 56


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Summer Learnin’ Our Guide To Warm Weather Fun And Enrichment In And Around The City For Kids (Part II) 60

New York Family | May 2014


Corbin’s Crusaders

Edited by Jana Beauchamp, Alissa Katz, Emily Murphy, and Jodi Silberstein


t’s not too late to sign your little one up for awesome and unique summer enrichment opportunities. Part II of our guide to city summer programs provides an inside look into the best seasonal camps and classes in and around New York City so you can begin designing the perfect season for your children. For even more summer fun, visit us online at for Part I and plenty of additional urban activity options.

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groups spend their summer putting together a performance project or play. The Summer Youth Arts Program (ages 5-8) teaches youngsters to form their own theater company, participate in acting classes, creative writing, music, and art. In the Young Creators Workshop (ages 9-11), children create costumes and sets, perform shows, and learn how to prepare monologues and scene work. For the older students, the Summer Young Actors Workshop allows students to work on short film development, improv, and scene study.

Bank Street

The 14th Street Y is teaming up with programming partners Amas Musical Theatre, MCC Theater, and the Red Fern Theatre Company to create a Teen Theater Summer Institute. From July 7-18, students entering grades 6-12 can learn from musical theater, acting, and theater for social justice experts. Classes will include physical theater, script analysis, and training for high school theater auditions. The program will conclude with a student performance in their Off Broadway Theater for family and friends. At 92Y’s Camp Yomi (ages 5-12), campers experience a blend of artistic, athletic, and educational activities. There are also fun, hands-on science and history activities with Liberty Science Center and Children’s Museum of Manhattan experts! Other offerings include: swimming, zip-line, climbing wall, ceramics, digital photography, robotics, and gaga. Sports are taught by Super Soccer Stars, Baseball Center NYC, Yoga Stars, and top equestrian and golf professionals. Yomi Seniors (ages 10-12) choose electives and go on an end-of-summer overnight trip. All ages, from toddlers to tweens, will enjoy the diverse summer programs Adults & Children in Trust has to offer. ACT engages children with sociallyenriching activities including sports and games, outdoor art, field trips, theater workshops, camping trips, picnics, and more. Summer camp at The Art Farm In The City is all about the petting zoo, animal science classes, field trips, and more. For ages 3-8, the program combines animal care/nature, the arts, and sports with offerings like cooking, swimming, soccer, science experiments, and outdoor playground time. Themes change on a weekly basis and campers can register by week. Early drop-off and extended care are also available. Kids and teens in the Atlantic Acting School theater


Summer at Avenues: The World School will offer pre-k through twelfth grade students a fun and educational curriculum focusing on the arts, science, digital animation, Chinese, video game design, and athletics. Additionally, the one-week Global Adventure Day Camp gives kids in grades pre-K-5 the opportunity to play and grow in activities ranging from music and dance to cooking and crafts. For nine weeks over the summer, Brooklyn-based Aviator Sports and Events Center provides kids with a plethora of exciting activities to partake in. Programs are tailored to suit your child’s interests, abilities, and age, offering plenty of adventures for campers ages 3-13. Offerings include swimming, gymnastics, rock climbing, arts and crafts, ice skating, dance, theater, and team-building sports. Summer sessions at Ballet Academy East are available for children of all ages from 18 months to 19 years. Classes for younger dancers include a variety of different activities that work as an introduction into the many different styles of dance. Kids ages 4-14 can learn, discover, and simply have fun at Bank Street Summer Camp. The program uses the city’s vast resources to create a diverse group of offerings such as Spanish immersion, exploring nature, swimming, musical theater, cooking, science, film writing and directing, chess, scavenger hunts, sports, and other games. Beth Sholom Day Camp, which is located in Roslyn Heights, NY, lets kids ages 3-14 try new things, build friendships, and discover their passions. Activities include sports, swimming, arts and crafts, music, and more! This summer program also keeps campers entertained with weekly special events with themes like Olympics and Carnival. Plus, this summer, Beth Sholom will offer before and after care! Parents that need morning supervision for their kids before the camp day begins, and/or supervision in the afternoon, can take advantage of this program. continued on page 62

May 2014 | New York Family


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Photo: David Plakke Media

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New York Family | May 2014


Book Nook NYC makes reading a cultural and enjoyable experience for little ones with their Summer Journey around the World camp. Each week, children ages 2-5 will “travel” around the world by reading stories from different culturally-rich nations, creating authentic art, listening to native music, and sampling international cuisines. Teachers introduce foreign languages through counting and vocabulary exercises, and also provide campers with passports and props to get the full effect. The music, dance, and theater programs at the Boys and Girls Harbor Conservatory combine classical arts training with the culture of Harlem. The Conservatory is an essential part of the Harbor’s education philosophy, using the arts to enhance the educational experience. Located just 19 miles outside of the city on a 25acre campus in Nassau County, Buckley Country Day Camp offers kids eight weeks of fun in the sun. Whether your child is into swimming, baseball, LEGOs, gymnastics, science, woodworking, cupcake decorating, or outdoor adventures, there is truly something for everyone. Buckley provides doorto-door transportation, lunch, snack, t-shirt, camp photos, and towel service for ages 18 months to 15 years. The Caedmon School’s Discovery Camp takes full advantage of the fun and educational sights and scenes that New York City has to offer. With five camp groups for ages 2-12 and specific, ageappropriate field trips, the five boroughs become an exploratory playground for curious kids. Children will get to experience NYC icons like the Empire State Building and Coney Island, as well as the Liberty Science Center and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! For ten weeks over the summer, Camp Applause gives children entering kindergarten through grade 11 a chance to hone their skills and get in touch with their theatrical side. Taught by professional actors, Camp Applause offers classes such as singing, acting, dance, costume and set design, and improv, as well as theater games and appearances by Broadway stars. Everything at Camp Ramaquois revolves around one word: Fun! Located in Pomona, NY, Ramaquois strives for a safe, unique environment that forges friendships and leadership opportunities. With seven activity periods each day ranging from graphic design to hockey, campers get a chance to learn new skills as well as brush up on old ones. The water activities program boasts a 5-acre lake equipped with a water trampoline, as well as eight pools, and over 60 Red Cross-certified lifeguards. Camp Yomawha is situated at the picturesque Henry

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Kauffman Campgrounds in Washington Heights, and gives children the opportunity to experience the joys of nature without even leaving New York City. Campers will enjoy boating on the lake, playing on the adventure course, multi-purpose sports court and athletic fields, hiking, and performing on stage. Camp Yomawha is for children who have completed kindergarten through grade 10. For active adventures including go-karts, zip-lines, waterslides, rock climbing, ropes courses, and gaga, kids ages 4-14 can sign up for Corbin’s Crusaders. In addition to their unique offerings, the summer camp hosts more traditional sports like baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, lacrosse, golf, and swimming. Located on a 10-acre property in New City, New York—about 25 minutes from Manhattan—Corbin’s includes door-to-door counselor-monitored bus service and a mostly year-round staff of seasoned professionals. Summer Science Camp at the Corlears School, designed for children ages 3-10, celebrates the science of nature during their three two-week sessions. Campers explore animal and plant habitats, learn about composting, watch birds in Central Park, and engage in science-related art and music. Kids also get free-play time outside. Dalton offers campers several different options for kids of all ages including an expansive day camp filled with music, art, sports, and theme days as well as an exhilarating Sports Camp, and Tiger Camp for campers ages 6-11. Campers will also get to participate in age-appropriate field trips. Flexibility is honored at Dalton, as both full and half-day programs are available as well as pro-rating. Family-owned and operated for over 50 years, Deer Mountain Day Camp sits on 25 acres in Rockland County and surrounds a spring-fed lake. Ageappropriate programs are available to campers ages 3-15 and include crafting, scuba diving, mountain biking, Rock Band, and everything in between. Older campers have the option to attend several exciting day and overnight trips. Discovery Programs has three age-appropriate camps for children 2-10. Campers ages 2-3 enjoy art, gym, movement, and sprinkler and rooftop play along with songs, stories, and games. Ages 3-4 enjoy similar activities, with the addition of science and cooking. Campers 5-10 engage in performing arts including theater, dance, music, gymnastics, and art. Both Junior (grades K-3) and Senior (grades 4-8) day camps are offered through Manhattan’s Downtown Day Camps program. Activities are tailored to age groups and interests. With an array of art, aquatic, and athletic programs as well as electives and field continued on page 64


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At the French Institute Alliance Francais’ new Summer Day Camp programs, kids of all ages will be able to explore everything the French culture has to offer and improve their language skills. The programs include à petits pas for ages 1–4; à petits pas Mini Summer Fun: Les petits explorateurs for ages 3-4; Summer Fun in French: Les explorateurs for ages 5–10; Immersion for Teens for ages 11–17; and French Cultural Fun & Discoveries for ages 11–14.

Atlantic Acting School

trips, campers are immersed, engaged, and energized while they learn and play. Drake Bennett Summer School provides kids with the fundamental skills needed to prepare them for the new school year. The 20-day sessions during July and August include classes such as multisensory literacy, multisensory math, science lab, drama, art, and sports. A hot vegetarian lunch is provided in addition to five daily recess periods and chess and puzzle time. Different tracks are offered for students’ naturally varying levels of ability. If you’re looking for a great half-day camp, East Side Tae Kwon Do is offering specialty programs like Ninja, Far East Movement, Samurai, and Forms Unleashed, for ages 5 and older. Little ones will learn safe fighting techniques and physical movement in addition to Eastern arts such as calligraphy, origami, and Zen gardening. Educational Alliance Preschool has a summer session for children ages 2-5 that introduces little ones to studio arts such as photography, sculpting, and painting; creative movement such as yoga, gymnastics, and martial arts; culinary arts; sensory exploration; music; and outdoor play. Whether your child is an athlete, artist, or amateur scientist, ESF Camps has a camp for everyone! ESF Camps at Riverdale offers several different, speciallytargeted experiences for kids ages 4-15 including Adventure Camp, Tennis Camp, and Technology Camp. Each program focuses on particular activities and goals, with tons of activities from swimming, break-dancing, and circus class to robotics and songwriting. Fieldston Outdoors gives kids entering kindergarten through grade 7 a wide range of activities to choose from—art, swimming, yoga, music, and more. For the child that loves the outdoors, this environmentally-focused day camp is a perfect fit.


New York Family | May 2014


For up to three days a week in July and August, Gymboree Play & Music will run Bubble Camp for children ages 3-5. This summer’s theme is Global Kids, which means that little ones will explore how children in different parts of the world learn and play. From literature and pre-writing to numbers and scientific exploration, the program’s offerings will help kids master the concepts needed for successful school-age learning. Serving kids 3-15 years old, Hampton Country Day Camp operates in East Hampton and offers campers just about any activity you can think of: Swimming, performing and creative arts, sports, dance, and much more. The staff brings their energy as well as their activity expertise, making it an environment where kids can thrive doing what they love. Hamptons Music Sessions is a premiere summer day camp in East Hampton for kids in grades K-12 offering classes in piano, strings, winds, guitar, voice, and composition and songwriting. Students will have the creative freedom to create their own original pieces. Handwork Studio offers kids 3-16 creative, educational ways to learn the tradition of needle arts and machine sewing from the likes of professional artists, instructors, and skilled teachers. The camp’s New York locations are at Friends Seminary in Manhattan and Brooklyn Craft Company in Greenpoint. The half-day summer camp program at Jodi’s Gym offers flexible scheduling for ages 3-5. Children spend the morning learning the fundamentals of gymnastics while also enjoying music, art, story time, games, and lunch. From air castle bouncy time to parachute play to freeze dance, kids will develop motor skills and confidence throughout the summer. A Tiny Dancers Camp is also available. Budding artists ages 4.5 and up will keep their creative juices flowing all summer long at Kids At Art. Offerings for summer fun include half-day, fullday, and week-long workshops. The choice is yours! continued on page 66

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Our preschool through teenage summer programs are specially designed to

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Come meet us at our next INFO SESSION! Central Park • May 14 at 6:30pm • 795 Columbus Downtown • May 30 at 6:00pm • 285 Delancey To RSVP call or visit us today • 718.596.4900


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Kids At Work has a gentle separation program for ages 2.3-3.5 years that will take place Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from June through the end of August. Little ones are never required to sit during art sessions, which also include handson science and sensory projects. Once a week, campers will take part in soccer and yoga activities with partners Super Soccer Stars and Karma Kids Yoga. Plus, weekly trips to the playground and other outdoor adventures round out the interactive fun. Marymount Summer is a five-week-long day camp offering programs for children ages 3.5-14. Going on 20 years of summer fun, the camp offers different camps for different ages. Young Explorers Camp is offered to children in first grade, Cabaret to those entering kindergarten and first grade, World Cultures Camp for ages 3.5-5, Drama Camp and Science and Technology Camp for children in grades 2-7, Innovation Design and Media Camp for grades 7-9, a new Sports Camp for those in third through sixth, and afternoon programs for children 7-14. National Academy School of Fine Art At the Upper East Sides’s National Academy School of Fine Art, children ages 6-16 will be given the opportunity to sharpen their imagination, creativity, and drawing and painting skills through summer classes and camps. Portfolio prep guidance will also be provided. Located in Rockland County, Nature Place offers unique activities like Earth art, farming, and archery, among several others. They take swimming very seriously, too, by having colored wristbands to differentiate swimmers of different abilities, and using the buddy system. The first six weeks are open to children 4-16, and the last two are open to children 6-12. The Neil Klatskin Day Camp at the Kaplen JCC in Tenafly, NJ, offers programs at different levels depending on your child’s age and required needs. The camp prides itself on strengthening your child’s Jewish identity, and hosts young Israeli adults to join the staff each summer. New Country Day Camp offers activities from cooking, martial arts, and arts and crafts to pioneering, sports, or science and technology. Though it’s a traditionally Jewish day camp, any child entering kindergarten through sixth grade from all backgrounds is encouraged to participate. The camp provides bus transportation from North Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan to its Staten Island grounds. This summer’s campers at the New York Historical Society will explore Civil War photography and the lives of the people in the 1860s. Session one is offered for kids entering grades 4-5 and session two is offered for kids entering grades 6-8.


New York Family | May 2014


Notre Dame School’s summer camp program offers a variety of specialized courses suited specially for girls in middle and high school. It’s a four-week program that meets four days a week, and girls can register for morning, afternoon, or full-day sessions. The camp provides young girls with the opportunity for instructors to guide them through their preferred interests, be it sports, English, Math, web design, science, and the New York City experience. Summer Day Camp at NY Kids Club is an exciting journey in time travel from prehistoric dinosaurs to the Wild West! Children 2.5-6 years old will participate in thematic activities including gymnastics, creative movement, karate, science, cooking, art, and yoga. Robofun is available to kids entering kindergarten through sixth grade with options for full and half days. The courses are open to all children at different levels, depending on grade level. They include LEGO robotics, video design, and stop motion, and parents get to see their children’s work of genius every Friday! Rodeph Shalom offers summer fun for the littlest adventurers—those entering a Threes program, pre-K, or Kindergarten. The Reform Jewish school offers a rooftop playground, two indoor play spaces, three heated pools with certified swim instructors, daily art projects, and much more. Royal Athletic Swimming School is dedicated to providing the highest level of swimming instruction, helping swimmers develop essential aquatic skills, and helping students up their athletic prowess—all while building confidence in a fun environment. Beginner, intermediate, advanced-1, advanced-skill, and team levels are all offered. For four decades, Southampton Summer Day Camp has provided recreational and cultural activities for campers ages 3-14. The Bucks County, PA, grounds include heating swimming pools, a riding corral, a zip-line, sports areas, and more, including an infirmary and dining facilities. Transportation is provided, or parents can drive their kids during regular camp hours and receive a rebate for each camper. Located just 25 miles north of the George Washington Bridge in Ringwood, NJ, Spring Lake Day Camp has natural beauty close to the city. With a 5-acre spring-fed lake, tall pines, athletic facilities, and a state-of-the-art heated pool complex, Spring Lake offers campers ages 4-15 awesome waterslides, amazing zip-lines, and climbing walls. Other activities include archery, boating, Go-Karts, discovery science, recording studio, fishing, fitness, golf, martial arts, horseback riding, photography, and ropes courses.

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Offering John McEnroe tennis academy coaches and directors along with 20 courts, SPORTIME Randall’s Island hosts a premier tennis camp for kids ages 5-15. The venue also has a sports camp with activities like basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, flag football, kickball, softball, Pilates, yoga, and even a slip-and-slide. Campers entering grades K-5 will enjoy a variety of indoor and outdoor play opportunities through creative arts, chess, yoga, and athletic games at Summer Clubhouse Camp on the Upper East Side. Campers also receive pool time with the camp’s very own SwimJim, and take field trips on Thursdays. SummerDay and Trevor Day School is a five-week program for ages 3-6. Located on the Upper East Side, the day camp uses its rooftop playgrounds as well as playgrounds in Central Park for trips, free play, and group activities. Super Soccer Stars is offering a wealth of programs this summer celebrating the World Cup, including outdoor flexible drop-in classes, weekly sessions, indoor mini camps for ages 2.5-5, Fun in the Sun Camp for children ages 3-5, and Kick It! Day Camp for kids ages 6-12.

exercise for young minds. Held at Reebok Sports Club/NY, this camp offers computer and technology courses that incorporate art, design, and programming for ages 3-12. Upper Valley Day Camp provides summer programs in July and August. Children 2-6 learn through active play and exploration at the camp’s state of the art Green Facility. Camp includes field trips to museums, learning how to ride a tricycle, puppet shows, and a climbing wall. The Summer Enrichment Program at Winston Preparatory School provides students with the opportunity to participate in programs aimed to enhance academic skills. Students are enrolled in four academic courses each day. The summer staff consists of reading specialists, special education instructors, and speech and language pathologists from Winston’s full-time faculty. The summer program is unique in that it gives parents a chance to create an academic program specifically matched to their child’s needs.


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May 2014 | New York Family


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In Honoring Seven Exemplary Local Moms, We Celebrate The Many Ways To Have A Positive Impact On The World Of Children & Family Making Music & Inspiring A Generation Of Kids To “Let It Go” KRISTEN ANDERSON-LOPEZ, Oscar-Winning Lyricist By Lani Serota Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s Hollywood dream day started with a classic mom moment. The night before she and her husband, Robert Lopez, won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Let it Go,” the epic anthem from “Frozen,” she woke up at 3am with one pressing thought: She had forgotten to sign her daughter, Katie, up for softball. She went online to finish the registration—Katie was waitlisted—and then couldn’t fall back asleep. There’s an irony here that just about any mom can appreciate: For Anderson-Lopez, who is the lyricist in a wife-and-husband songwriting team, a personal struggle that informs “Let It Go” is the idea of letting oneself be a “Good Enough Mom,” as opposed to treating motherhood as a “competitive sport.” Instead of aiming for motherly perfection in all things, Anderson-Lopez is uncompromising about compromises. “[It’s okay to] give them organic carrots and chicken nuggets,” she says about her endearingly imperfect strategy on whipping up dinner for her kids. “We can all let it go and give each other a break.” Despite her sleeplessness, Anderson-Lopez would have an Oscars to remember. Indirectly, she and her husband were connected to the night’s most glorious gaffe—when John Travolta came on stage to introduce Broadway songstress Idina Menzel, who was to perform “Let It Go,” and inadvertently

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Kristen Anderson-Lopez hangs out at home in Brooklyn with her Oscar. Photo by Ali Smith Photography

re-named the singer “Adele Dazim.” But when it was their own turn at the podium, the musical couple couldn’t have been more articulate or charming. Vibrating with joy, they took turns and poured their hearts into an acceptance speech filled with gracious thanks and playful rhymes like: “John Lasseter, happy Oscars to you! Let’s do ‘Frozen 2!’” For Lopez, a noted composer who counts among his credits the music for “Avenue Q” and “The Book of Mormon,” the Oscar had the added perk of making him, at 39, the youngest EGOT winner in history. That is, he’s one of 12 people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award. For Anderson-Lopez, the Oscar was the high-point (so far) of a career that has blended acting, music, and—most-recently—lyricwriting. In fact, she originally met Lopez at a forum for writers in musical theater, where he showcased early versions of “Avenue Q” tunes. They married in 2003, and took the struggling-to-successful artist’s trajectory from their salad days in Astoria, to Manhattan where they had their first child, and then to Brooklyn when preschool applications loomed. No surprise, their home in Park Slope is anchored by a baby grand piano in the living room, and Anderson-Lopez likes to joke that her daughters, 9-year-old Katie and 4-year-old Annie, could both “match pitch before they could speak.” When not having impromptu dance parties or singing around the piano, the family loves their weekend outings to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Prospect Park Zoo, and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Though it’s not all fun and games—while being immersed in “Frozen” since 2012, the couple was also continued on page 70 May 2014 | New York Family 69

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dealing with ailing parents and a home renovation. So how do they manage to integrate work and life? In part by giving each other time and space as needed— and sometimes not. Anderson-Lopez notes that she and her husband always seem to have one big fight before a big creative leap. “[It’s] to cleanse the palate and get rid of all the power dynamics,” she explains. Much as “Frozen” explores the sometimes-dark side of sisterhood, while still acknowledging its power, Anderson-Lopez notes that “it’s magical” when her daughters get along, but, moment-to-moment, that’s hardly a given. Anderson-Lopez’s younger daughter, Annie, will sometimes kick at the door when her older sister Katie doesn’t want to play. “To Annie, Katie really does have super-powers,” Anderson-Lopez says. However, Katie herself sometimes feels like her younger sister has “cuteness power,” as it is Annie whom everyone coos over and wants to hear sing “Let It Go.” Sibling rivalries aside, Katie and Annie both happily travelled to Los Angeles for Oscar weekend, and stayed up to watch their parents’ big win. The best part? During mom and dad’s acceptance speech, the girls were treated to a reward of their own. “This song is inspired by our love for you,” Anderson-Lopez spoke out to her daughters at the end of the acceptance speech. “And the hope that you never let fear and shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are. Thank you! We love you!”

Battling For Child Welfare MICHELE CORTESE, Deputy Director At The Center For Family Representation By Jodi Silberstein When a young bipolar woman in her late teens went into labor with her first child, the hospital doctors mistakenly gave her medications that counteracted with her bipolar medication leading to serious cardiac problems. After a long, complicated, painful, and exhausting birth, this young woman said: “I can’t take care of my son right now.” Although she meant she could not take care of him at that very moment, exhausted and drugged, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) interpreted this statement as one of neglect because of this young woman’s mental illness and lack of means. The young woman’s son was taken away from her. She then went to family court where she was introduced to a team from the Center for Family Representation (CFR). The team included an attorney and a social worker. With their help, she was able to quickly get her son out of foster care and back into her arms. This team was made possible in part by Michele Cortese. Cortese began her work as a lawyer in the late


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80s representing teenagers charged with crimes. As years passed, Cortese decided that she wanted to get more to the core of the issue and work with younger children. She then began representing children in foster care, and, in 2002, her friend Susan Jacobs was given a grant to begin building CFR—an agency that would serve families differently than they had been served in the past—and asked Cortese to join her. Together, these women raised this company from the ground up. What started with three employees and a $250,000 budget has turned into 96 employees with a budget of $8 million. The young woman with bipolar disorder is one of the first of CFR’s many success stories. Even with a caseload of about 1,000 new families a year, CFR still manages to operate with notable efficiency. “We consistently get kids out of foster care much more quickly than the rest of the state and the rest of the city,” Cortese says. These results benefit taxpayers tremendously, she explains, because, while it typically costs about $29,000 a year to keep one child in foster care, it costs only $6,400 for CFR to work through one case no matter how long it takes. While building the foundations of CFR, Cortese was also busy raising two children of her own: Madeline, age 23, and David, age 19. How has working in child protection services for 22 years affected her parenting? “This job has made me really put a premium on having dinner with my kids,” Cortese says. As much as Cortese and her husband, Joe, who also works in child services, loved the city, they ultimately decided to raise their children in the suburbs. “I found that the commute was like this nice bookend where I could really shift gears and let go of whatever I needed to let go of to be focused,” she says, adding that the nature of her work helps keep her focus on her own family. “Being in child welfare is a good one, because you tend to meet people who really value family. I have worked all sorts of combinations of part-time since my Michele Cortese and her family.

daughter was born. It’s enabled me to be much more available to my kids.” Being available to her children is another example continued on page 72

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of a small thing not everyone can take for granted. “Our advocacy focuses on making sure that families can spend quality time together even if separated by foster care. For example, sometimes, we’ll have to get a court order so that a parent can go watch their child sing in the chorus. If you are that child singing, you want to know that your parent is there watching,” Cortese says. To learn more about the Center for Family Representation, visit

Setting The Tone For Modern Parents DANA POINTS, Editor-In-Chief Of Parents Magazine & American Baby By Sarah Torretta Klock

Parents/Shannon Greer

Dana Points claims to be one of those people who needs eight hours of sleep a night. Frankly, it’s difficult to see how she can possibly manage it. Between overseeing the entire editorial and creative process of one of the country’s most important parenting media resources, parenting her own two young sons, Leo and Eli, and still finding time to

Dana Points with her family.

catch up on the Times and the stack of New Yorker magazines piled up by her bedside table, Points’ days are never slow and never boring. Maybe she manages it all because she foregoes Facebook as a general rule. But more likely, it’s because of the singular focus she brings to each aspect of her day. As the editor-in-chief of Parents magazine and American Baby and content director for the Meredith Parents Network, Points has an overwhelming list of items to tackle each day, on top of being a parent herself. “I think it starts when you become a mom,” she says. “You just have this laser focus on the fact that you need to leave to go home to your children at a certain point, and in the meantime you have to be hugely productive.” It’s clear she brings the same kind of attention to all aspects of her life. She wears a Jawbone bracelet which tracks her daily sleep activity, the number of


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steps walked, and time spent idle versus active. “It’s like one of those bracelets they give prisoners to keep them within a certain distance of the house,” she jokes. “But it’s very motivating!” As the steward of the 87-year-old brand that is Parents magazine, Points uses her motivation to deliver a meaningful issue each month—something she takes very seriously. “I get to do something that is creative and meaningful, with a great team of people, for the absolute best reason out there, which is helping people raise healthy, happy kids,” she says. And while she is not afraid to take a stand on hotbutton issues like child vaccinations and gun control, Points is equally proud to serve a multi-platform environment, like Parents’ website, where bloggers, editors, contributors, writers, and readers have often differing points of view and are allowed to speak freely. “In a digital environment, you have a whole community weighing in on the topics at hand, and you have to let the conversation happen publicly and in real time, but at the end of the day, you must also know what you stand for and why,” she says. Points has little trouble relating to the concerns of her readers because, as a parent, they are her concerns as well. She’s a modern mom trying to figure out how to embrace technology and encourage its healthy use in her sons. “My oldest child, Leo, is 12. He has a smartphone, and he’s on some social platforms. Already I can see the temptation to let how many people are following you be the barometer of your happiness, or constantly be distracted, or feel the need to check your feed,” she says. “We really are fighting that in my house. I’m not a luddite. I love technology, actually; it plays such a valuable role in everyone’s life. But I also think that you have to be the master of your technology and not the opposite.” Points often finds herself back in unfamiliar territory as Leo and his younger brother, 9-year-old Eli, move into new developmental stages. “I may be the editor of Parents magazine, but I have to study up on raising a preadolescent just like everybody else,” she says. “The tween years, heading into adolescence, is a period similar to the toddler years where you just thought you had things finally figured out and then: ‘Whoa!’ Every fresh developmental stage of my kids’ lives is all new to me.” The speed at which each new stage comes and goes is something Points knows all too well, so she makes a conscious effort to enjoy her children in the moment. Thus, her no-Facebook choice. “When I’m with my kids, I want to be with my kids. I don’t want to be constantly checking my feed or tweeting,” she explains. Plus, she is committed to breakfast each morning with all five members of the family, reading a book at night with Eli (they are currently working through Brother from a Box by Evan Kuhlman), observing Shabbat, and regular movie nights where the family inevitably argues over whether they’ll watch “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” for the 4,000th

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time. These are things that matter. When she was 3, Points was burned in a hot water accident. She underwent a skin graft and was left with visible scarring. “I grew up with princesses and Barbies, and I played with them and loved them,” she shares. “Growing up in this culture with a visible imperfection—going out in a bathing suit, picking out a dress for the prom—forces you to pick a lane: You can either let it mess you up, or you decide that you will go out and be who you are.” It’s pretty evident which lane Points picked for herself at a young age. She’s been striding down it, full force, ever since. To read more from Parents magazine, visit

Scoring A Home Run For Kids’ Wellness SHARLEE JETER, President Of The Turn 2 Foundation By Iman Saad Coming from Kalamazoo, MI, to New York City, Sharlee Jeter—sister of beloved Yankee, Derek Jeter— has definitely had to readjust to her bustling new life with her 2-year-old son, Jalen. When she’s not rooting for her brother at Yankee Stadium, Jeter spends a lot of time working as the president of the Turn 2 Foundation, an organization started by her famous brother during his rookie year in 1996 to, as their mission states, “motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol.” Sharlee Jeter with her son, Jalen.

Turn 2’s early days, Jeter has seen the Foundation grow and expand in amazing ways—it has now raised over $1 million to help kids in New York, Michigan, and Florida. The Foundation also has a series of programs, including tutoring, leadership and mentor programs, that help kids, families and the local community in incredible ways. “We try to provide positive places for kids to go afterschool,” Jeter says. “And we try to provide a place where they can get support on homework and learning important life lessons.” Far from her early role as a volunteer, Jeter now serves as the president of Turn 2, a role that has her handling all of the Foundation’s daily operations, as well as focusing on fundraising and development, managing corporate partnerships, and overseeing all Foundation consultants and acting as a liaison with the Foundation’s board of directors. Working alongside her brother’s marketing team, Jeter is constantly working on increasing fundraising and programming. With Derek’s recent retirement announcement, the Foundation—with Jeter at its helm—faces the task of looking out for the Foundation’s future as its famous founder departs from the public eye, somewhat. The Foundation is, at its heart, a family initiative; Jeter works closely with her brother and the rest of her family to help the Foundation grow. “It is something Derek really wanted to do and something we all wanted to be a part of,” she says. “It added the incentive that we were doing it for each other, with each other.” To learn more about the Turn 2 Foundation, visit

Fusing Fashion & Function With A Healthy Dose Of Brooklyn Cool JENNY COOPER, Head Of Design At crewcuts By Mia Weber

“At a very young age, [Derek’s] idol was Dave Winfield from the Yankees,” Jeter says. “He was the first active player to have his own foundation, so with that being his role model, Derek said if he ever went pro he would to the same thing.” The idea for the Foundation was conceived in the Jeter’s living room in Kalamazoo after a conversation with their father, a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. The focus of the organization is to promote healthy, positive lifestyles for children that can help them avoid the dangers of substance abuse. Starting out as a high school volunteer during

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It’s no secret that little boys aren’t always the most willing participants in the fashion follies of their stylish parents. But then, most little boys don’t have Jenny Cooper, head of design for crewcuts—J.Crew’s adorable kids’ line—for a mom. “My boys won’t go shopping—no way, no how—but I’ll sit down with them on the crewcuts website and say: ‘You need a shirt. Pick one,’” Cooper, whose son Walker is 11 and son Miller (who, according to Cooper, has a flair for incorporating plenty of bright colors into his personal style) is 8, explains of getting her boys to expand their wardrobe. “But I’m not afraid to say: ‘Well, that shirt will go nicely with those pants, so you could wear those two together.’” Cooper, a Brooklynite by way of Canada—who has a background in studio art as well as clothing design—knows a thing or two about putting together continued on page 74 May 2014 | New York Family 73

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Photo courtesy of J.Crew

kid-friendly (and just as importantly, parent-friendly) ensembles. After designing sweaters at J.Crew for seven years, starting in 2000, Cooper found herself creating for the smaller set in 2006. “When we started the crewcuts line, I think [my older son] Walker was 4…so I had an actual sample of a child to play with,” she recalls. “So, that’s how I wound up at crewcuts.”

Jenny Cooper with her sons.

And if the current popularity of the line’s diminutive duds is any indication, it seems that Cooper’s kiddos have proved to be pretty solid inspiration for their style-savvy mama. The crewcuts collection includes plenty of picks that are just as inspired, versatile, and wearable (both dressed up or dressed down) as their adult counterparts, and recently tacked on a baby line as well as notable expansions to its swim line. Of course, it’s not just the chic look that make Cooper’s designs a hit with both kids and parents. “[I know] clothes have to be comfortable and functional… They have to meet both the kids’ demands and the parents’ demands, so I think comfort is huge,” she says. “Because if something’s not comfortable, an adult might say: ‘Oh, but it looks good, so whatever.’ But a child will just take it off and run away and never put it on again—so you’ll have wasted your money.” It’s this form-follows-function philosophy that has inspired many of Cooper’s favorite looks for little ones—like crewcuts’ relaxed slouchy pants (in a pajama twill for boys and linen for girls), surferinspired rash guards, and beachy picks rife with neon splashes and bits of embroidery for spring and summer—and also informed how she approaches navigating as a busy mother in the city. Cooper and her husband, photographer Holger


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Thoss, love making their home in Brooklyn less for the hipster cache and more for the sense of community and array of foodie delights (think Bien Cuit and Smith Canteen, as well as the new Whole Foods on 3rd Avenue—“They’ve got a bar upstairs… It’s the perfect combination of practical and entertainment!”). Not to mention the fact that there’s a schoolyard across the street for their sons to partake in regular games of pickup soccer (Walker and Miller’s sport of choice) and that the family has been able to watch their surroundings grow and evolve over time. “We moved to Brooklyn when the only places to eat were Domino’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. Now we have such a wealth of selection,” Cooper explains. “And we have the Barclay’s Center and BAM and it feels like Brooklyn has grown up around us in a really amazing way. I feel so lucky to live there now.” Given her glowing report about the state of family life in what is becoming the most buzz-worthy borough, it’s easy to see how Cooper is able to use crewcuts’ “easy, but also modern” aesthetic as sort of a mirror for her own family’s style. “I feel very fortunate that I am able to carry my work over into my home life, because being with [my kids]—I can use that experience in my job,” she says. “I think my favorite thing [about designing kids’ clothes]—and it’s very personal—is that I get to make things and I get to put them on my kids and see them, and see them wear them, and see their reactions.” To shop the latest from crewcuts, visit

Looking At Motherhood Through A Fresh Lens ALI SMITH, Photographer Of Momma Love By Jodi Silberstein What defines womanhood? What do women expect from the world today? What does the world expect from women today? Freelance photographer Ali Smith has been on the hunt to answer these questions for most of her career. For her first book of photography, Laws of the Bandit Queens, Smith selected 35 iconic women to photograph and requested that each of them give one “life-law by which she tries to live.” Women featured included Alice Walker, Sandra Bernhard, Mary Karr, and Geraldine Ferraro. As Smith puts it, she was looking to prove that “you could be a woman existing somewhat outside of societal norms and still succeed and do incredible things.” Smith brought this same spirit to her next project, Momma Love: How the Mother Half Lives. Over a 12-year span, Smith captured the stories of different kinds of mothers, all of whom were questioning traditions and paving their own paths through motherhood. Additionally, personal essays accompany Smith’s photos. continued on page 76

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Early on in the project, Smith decided to photograph her subjects, not in the sense of a traditional portrait, but in the raw, chaotic, and vibrantly colorful moments of motherhood that are rarely depicted in photos. In one photo, for example, mother Hannah Bright has a spoonful of dinner in one hand and the back of her daughter’s pajama top in the other to stop the toddler from jumping off her chair at the dinner table. The essay accompanying this picture is equally as colorful and universal. Bright discusses the idea of, “wanting your body back” (and your old life) after having a child. She ends her essay with a message relatable to a majority of mothers. “The problem is that there are so many words you can use to express the challenges—exhaustion, loss of control, time management, lack of support, career compromises—but there really aren’t words that adequately express the joys,” she writes. “I just know that I’ve had more laughs—more genuine, joyful belly laughs—since Lizzie’s been born than I’d had in the previous 36 years of my life.” Ali Smith with her family.

experienced privately,” Smith says. When she began work on this book, Smith had experienced motherhood from the perspective of a stepmother, but had not yet conceived a child herself. “Motherhood seemed like a profoundly important secret society that I wanted to understand more fully before I signed up to join,” Smith explains. About six years into the project, Smith and her husband decided to have a child. Taking what she had learned about motherhood from her own mother, along with insights she’d gleaned from her book’s subjects, Smith envisioned her own ideals about how this child would be raised. This vision included the idea that parental duties should be shared equally between mother and father. Luckily, her husband agreed with these ideals, but like all new parents, there were twists in the path they had not anticipated. “We equally believe that we should be sharing the load 50-50. But even with us on the same page about it, when we first had my son Harper, he was tethered to me. It was my breasts that were leaking. Joshua would get up in the middle of the night and make me a sandwich when I had to breastfeed, but it was still me that had to breastfeed,” Smith says. “There were privileges that came out of this constant closeness, such as forming an incredible bond with my child, but the balance still started to shift in ways we hadn’t expected. For instance, I worked a lot less; my husband worked a lot more. We each had to accept that there were certain things that we hadn’t planned for, but they were going to be that way anyway.” Harper is almost 5 now. After a rocky road to publishing Momma Love, Smith is now enjoying the sweet joys of both being a mother and having a successful career. She often refers back to the wise words of the mothers in her book and says they have helped make her “a kinder, more patient…more satisfied mother.” To learn more about Ali Smith, her books, and her photography services, visit &

Photo by Ian Powell

Celebrating Diversity In The City & In Her Own Family FATIMA SHAMA, Vice President Of Strategic Development & External Affairs At Maimonides Medical Center By Kristin Tablang Bright’s message speaks to something Smith aimed for when she created this book. Of all the diverse paths a woman goes through to get to motherhood, there is one commonality: love. “The depth of love that you can experience as a mother is profound and a lot of the best moments are


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Not many people these days can say they’ve made a meaningful and lasting mark on the world. Even fewer can tell you that they did so alongside a highly revered and powerful figure (say, for instance, former continued on page 78

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Honoring Excellence in Local Education in Public, Private, Charter, and Parochial Schools

Nominate your Teacher for a 2014 Blackboard Award

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Fatima Shama

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg). But Fatima Shama has accomplished both of these feats, and a whole lot more. The daughter of two immigrants (a Brazilian Catholic mother and a Palestinian Muslim father), the Bronx native considers herself quite blessed to have been raised in a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual household (she speaks six languages, most notably Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese). Her diverse ethnic and religious background—coupled with her exposure to NYC’s melting pot—allowed her to grow up amidst a vibrant amalgamation of cultures, helping mold her into an open-minded, highly cultured individual. Along with her love for family and inborn passion for helping others, her unique roots are what inspired her to dedicate her life to community development and improving the lives of people. “I made a decision pretty early on in my life that I love working for people and making a difference in the lives of people, [especially those similar to] me and my own family,” she says. “My professional career has really been in that vein: working for communities.” Shama presently sits as the vice president of strategic development and external affairs at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, though she is likely best known for her achievements as the former commissioner of New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs—a position she commanded for four and a half years, up until quite recently. Previously, she served as the Office’s health literacy and language access coordinator, prior to serving as the administration’s senior education policy advisor. Shama’s tremendous work as commissioner culminated in her spearheading the creation of


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Blueprints for Immigrant Integration, an intricate how-to guide put together to help other cities around the world embrace immigration, and realize the immense positive impact immigrants can have on their communities. To date, over 50 cities worldwide, including Antwerp, Turin, Florence, and Chicago have looked to the open-source set of strategies for stepby-step guidance on how to effectively implement local policies and practices, in order to better serve and enhance the lives of their immigrant populaces. “Many cities across the globe see immigrants as a challenge, so [New Yorkers] had this opportunity to say: ‘No, actually…we see immigrants as a huge asset to our city, and we have been overwhelmingly lucky as a result of their talent and commitment,’” Shama says. The proud mom of three strives to teach her children the importance of working to help others by occasionally involving them in her efforts. “My kids have gone to work with me and done a number of things with me in the past; it’s something I try to do with them, something I want them to be a part of,” she says. “I want them to understand the communities that we live in; how we can serve and help them.” Shama’s altruistic nature has undoubtedly rubbed off on her progeny; following Hurricane Sandy, her sons—ages 3, 6, and 9—happily volunteered alongside their parents, helping hand out water bottles and donating canned goods and clothes to those in need. In addition, the benevolent boys frequently save up money to give away to charitable causes. When asked whether she has ever longed for a daughter to balance out the mix, Shama is quick to say “no.” “I love being queen of the household,” she says with a laugh. “I get a lot of love and attention from my guys!” Despite her busy schedule, Shama always makes a point to spend time with her boys. “The city is our playground,” says the current Manhattanite. “We have access to some of the most amazing parks in the world. I love to take my kids on culinary adventures, whether it’s to try Greek food in Astoria, or to visit the aquarium and then eat at a Russian restaurant [in Brooklyn]. Where else can you do that? It’s really priceless.” To learn more about the Maimonides Medical Center, visit

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Crushing On Canada New York Family’s Editor Ventures To Canada With His Family To Behold The Summertime Sights Of Montreal, Quebec City & The Charlevoix By Eric Messinger For my wife and I—and my two children, Elena and Adam, who are 14 and 10, respectively—the middle of August is the time for our big annual family adventure, in which, hopefully, we get swept up by new surroundings and experiences and even feel a little renewed as a family. Last summer we went north, hop-scotching from Montreal to Quebec City and finally to the Charlevoix. I don’t know why I waited my whole life to visit Canada—and there’s a lot more of the country that I want to explore. But last summer’s trip was so right on I can still recall what we did each day as if we just returned. Indeed, I have a harder time remembering the rest of the year. Montreal To maximize our time in Canada, we decided to fly to Montreal and later rent a car for travelling to Quebec City and beyond. For me, Montreal has the appeal of urban vibrancy and open-mindedness and culture and people who value all that, tempered by a mellower pace of living and a more down-to-earth vibe than NYC. It’s also a very family-friendly city. In truth, I’d recommend a quick jaunt there with kids or, dare I admit, without them. Our highlights included visiting their memorable city garden (which had an astonishing topiary exhibit), and the historical downtown district (which had a history fest with period costumes and food and games). Montreal is loaded with special summer festivals, so be sure to time a trip according to any special events that you might be interested in. Coming from New York, we felt we had to make a special pilgrimage to the legendary St-Viateur Bagel Shop—and if I’m to judge fairly I would say that their lean tasty bagels can contend with the best I’ve ever had in the Big Apple. Foodie families should plan for a dinner at Le Filet. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton, which for all its tasteful opulence, has a welcoming vibe (there were lots of families) and prices that are


The tourists take Montreal

commensurate with the hotel group’s quality but that aren’t for zillionaires only. For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered two more helpful concierges—which is nice when you have a big cool city like Montreal to explore. Quebec City After Montreal, Quebec City felt like the perfect compliment, trading big city excitement for a deep plunge into old-world charm. As much as we liked walking around the old city and playing tourist, we really got into the history of Quebec. Touring the Citadel and seeing the changing of the guards is a must, and Les Musée de La Civilisation has a wonderful permanent exhibit on Quebec from the region’s origins to now. We stayed at the legendary Château Frontenac, a Fairmont hotel, which with its grand towering presence is still Quebec City’s most famous icon. When we were there the hotel was about to let designer David Rockwell give its interiors a bit of a modern makeover, which should be something to behold. The Charlevoix The vast rural expanse to the north of Quebec was the trip’s surprise hit for us. The wise tourism planners up there like to emphasize its agricultural and gastronomic appeals, and we jumped right in with visits to a cheese factory, duck farm, and a bee farm. Please, for me, take your children to meet the beekeeper at Miellerie de Charlevoix—and don those suits! We also went whale watching in the St. Lawrence. Who knew a river could be that long and wide and beautiful? Another must. Maybe our favorite family night on the whole trip was dinner and rock-n-roll at the Maison du Bootlegger. For lodging, we stayed at another Fairmont property, Le Manoir Richelieu, which once upon a time was an old-world summer oasis for the very rich. It’s still grand and lovely…but now it’s accessible to you and me. Enjoy! Oh, Canada! Thank you for all these good memories. May 2014 | New York Family


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the last word

Hair! When Her Young Daughter Started To Doubt Her Hair (And Herself) The Author Made A Bold Beauty Statement Of Her Own

“Mommy! My friend said my hair is not soft. Mommy! My friend said my hair is not straight. Mommy! My friend said my hair is puffy.” My heart unraveled into a thousand fragile strands that day as my daughter told me what her friend had said. She was hurt. Not solely because of what her friend said but more precisely how she said it. A nuance not missed by my intuitive young daughter. I took a deep breath. I chose my words with care. “Your hair is soft,” I told her as we touched it. “Your hair is not straight, but it could be,” I told her as we looked at pictures of all the amazing and stunning ways black girls and women could wear our hair. “Your hair is puffy sometimes and sometimes flat and other times wild and magnificently crazy,” I told her as I tried to make her smile. “We have options little love!” I proclaimed. After all this conversation, after all this focus on the words I chose, I began to realize that my 4-year-old daughter was becoming slightly obsessed with long, silky, straight hair. My 4-year-old daughter, whose mother had a fierce and powerful “Ceasar” in college. My 4-year-old daughter, whose mother rocked the hell out of some box braids back in the day. Though I told her that I loved her hair so very much and so should she. She was not convinced. I could see it in her eyes. Oh the things I can see in her eyes. Eyes that were fixed on my ever-so-fly, short, straight, relaxed, silky, precision cut (done to perfection every six weeks in Brooklyn)—another nuance that could not have gone unnoticed by my ever-watchful little girl. I became fully aware that what I said was less important than what I needed to do.  Hair does not frighten me any more. It used to. I once feared what others would think, what others wouldn’t think. There was a time I feared the way I chose to wear my hair would mean I didn’t love myself enough or loved being black too much. It took years of trying on different hairstyles, before I could


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finally embrace the different versions of myself. Hair can be the outward expression of the fears, hopes, dreams, beauty and love that we, as women, have within us. We get to decide which, depending on the day. As mothers, we get to decide which we pass on to our daughters.  What I did next shocked my girl (and my boy) in a profound way. On a hot Saturday in July, I chose to share my love for her in the loudest way I knew how. I know and understand that there are no silent expressions of love. I cut my hair off. I did it for my daughter, Simone. As she looked at me, eyes wide, with the hint of that smile I adore on her perfect little mouth, I said: “I want hair just like yours.” Forgetting how much I love teeny-weeny afros, I also promised to grow it out just like hers. That was a mistake. I have no patience for things like that anymore. For weeks she would proudly and loudly tell people, “My mommy cut all her hair off because she wants it to be like mine. That’s going to take her a looong time!”   I do know for sure I did something that day, in that moment, to help give her a stronger sense of self. Today she is a 7-year-old girl who gets inspiration from Strawberry Shortcake and has me twist pink and green strands into her two-strand twists. Today she is a 7-year-old girl who will rock her twist out until it is Black Uhuru-locked and tell me when I try to tame it: “Mommy, I don’t care, I love my hair when it’s all wild and crazy!” Today I do know for sure that for right now, in this moment, my girl fearlessly loves the skin and hair she is in, and she is doing so in the loudest ways she can. Verta Ayanna is a Harlem mom, writer, and photographer. Her blog is called love out loud. She shares her passion for stories, memories, and life at

Illustration by OHARA Hale,

By verta ayanna

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New York Family May 2014