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OPEN THINKING | ON A NEW SCHOOL OF THOUGHT

CAN PHYSICAL EDUCATION BE A CATALYST IN THE CLASSROOM? By Jennifer Inniss Athletics and Physical Education Director, Avenues

When many of us were in school, physical education was simply “gym.” Leading educators today see it as so much more — because there is much to be gained when a dialog is established between teachers in physical education and those in academics. Students who lack confidence in the classroom can often gain that confidence by becoming leaders in a physical education program. Find out more about Jennifer Inniss’ thoughts on the role of physical education at www.avenues.org/inniss. You’ll find articles, videos, interviews and details on parent information events hosted by the leadership team of Avenues: The World School. Avenues is opening this fall in Chelsea. It will be the first of 20 campuses in major cities, educating children ages three to 18 with a global perspective.

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Sara, Lily and Aaron are part of one, big happy family.

Be a part of their childhood adventures— experience the family’s day-to-day, moving stories that have been newly incorporated into a fun and exciting book series. Check out all 9 books on Amazon. com – Parents and children alike can share in the beauty of the brilliantly-rendered illustrations, and reading the book together, side-by-side, will create new opportunities for discussion and communication among family members. If you would like to meet Sara Lily and Aaron in real life and follow along their latest adventures check them out on YouTube.

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Scooter SPRING 2012

VOL 1, NO. 2

Downtime

Pacifier

ACTIVITIES, ENTERTAINMENT, ESSAYS

19 GALLERY GIRL

A tour of the Downtown art scene with a onetime baby blogger, age 8.

81 A VERY GAGA WORKOUT A high-energy sport fi nds young enthusiasts on the Upper East Side.

24 THE HAPPIEST HOUR

Parent-friendly bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan, by Una LaMarche.

82 SPRING EVENTS

29 TOGETHERNESS IN THE KITCHEN Kids love cooking. It’s even better when they actually help, says John Donohue. 30 WHEN THE BABY FALLS

Call the doctor, visit the ER? Abe Sauer fi nds online advice just adds confusion.

32 DOWNTOWN DJ VS.

BROOKLYN MOM Grownup playlists kids can groove to.

33 WALDORF MEMORIES

As a child, Jennifer Wright found her slice of heaven in a hotel lobby.

84 GET FRENCH!

The French Institute Alliance Française offers sophisticated fun.

95

Features 34 8 DAYS A WEEK

From Monday to Monday, spring brings new style for busy kids. STYLED BY ERIN MARSZ AND IOANNA PSAROUDAKIS, AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY JODI JONES.

42 HOT TO TOT

The season’s best family home décor and gear, BY ALEXA STEVENSON

Teach your kids the delights of growing and eating healthy food.

86 WILL THEY GOOGLE ME? Your fellow parents will fi nd your web trail, laments Karol Markowicz.

87 BORN YESTERDAY

This winter’s births include two lucky Maxwells, born the same week.

theater scene isn’t just for kids.

88 REVIEWS OF MY SON’S TV SHOWS Chris Mohney dissects the shows that hold his 3-year-old spellbound.

53 FULL HOUSE

90 BOOK IT

48 CENTER STAGE

ALIZAH SALARIO reports that New York’s groundbreaking children’s

34

85 SUSTAINABLE WEEKEND

JENNIFER WRIGHT explores the Gramercy home of writer Tom Dolby,

e-publisher Drew Frist and their twin girls. PHOTOS BY LOREN WOHL.

NYC Schools 60 HIGH SCHOOL ADMISSIONS

“Public” doesn’t mean your kid is going. DANIELLE MOWERY on how to increase the odds.

62 THE RIGHT PRIVATE SCHOOL

TAMARA LOOMIS on the ins and outs of preparing a small child –

and yourself – for unprecedented scrutiny.

65 ASK THE EXPERTS

Sage advice from people who’ve seen it all, interviewed

The season’s best kids’ literature.

93 DRAG AND CLICK

Alizah Salario wonders whether the kids’ e-book craze is a win or loss.

95 SITES WE LOVE

A new child-themed art site fulfi lls the vision of French-Brooklynite moms.

96 PARTY TIME

This past winter’s busy social scene.

114 SOPHIE TELLS ALL!

A beloved giraffe lets loose about life as a suddenly trendy teething toy.

67 MIDDLE SCHOOL ADMISSIONS GAUNTLET

KRISTIN IVERSEN winces as her 10-year-old is thrown to the tender

mercies of admissions committees at his top public school choices.

69 BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOL

Notable New Yorkers tell CORYNNE STEINDLER about the educational institutions that launched their path to success.

71 UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOL AWARDS A sampling of the city’s most distinctive schools. 10

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42

TOP: BENOIT PAILLEY; LEFT: JODI JONES

BY STELLA PSAROUDAKIS

SPRING 2012

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Scooter Editor in Chief Peter Feld

Art Director

Deputy Editor

Scott Dvorin

Benjamin-Émile Le Hay

Fashion Director

Community Editor

Erin Marsz

Home Editor

Alexa Stevenson

Fashion

Fashion Photography Director

Jodi Jones

Deputy Fashion Director

Ioanna Psaroudakis

Fashion Photographer’s Assistant Adam Rodriguez

Hair and Makeup Stylist Emily Long

Contributors

Dana Bethune Molly Dengler John Donahue Chris Gash Rachel Graham Drew Grant Ted Gushue Kristin Iversen Brionna Jimerson Molly Jong-Fast Una LaMarche Tamara Loomis Karol Markowicz Chris Mohney Danielle Mowery Sophie Neale Alizah Salario Abe Sauer RYAN SNOOK Corynne Steindler KATHRYN Tucker

Photo Editor

Peter Lettre

Copy Editor

Stella Psaroudakis

Arts Editor

Jennifer Wright

Publisher

Robyn Reiss

VP Sales and Marketing David Gursky

Classified Advertising Director Ken Newman

VP Circulation Kratos Vos

Circulation

Alexandra Enderle Peter Parris Carlos Rodriguez Danielle Mowery

Sales

Barbara Ginsburg-Shapiro Betty Lederman David Bendayan John Turck Michele Morgan Mitchell Bedell Paul Kornblueh Spencer Sharp Steven Schoenfarber Jonathan Klein Stephen Goldberg David Wolff

Advertising Coordination Katherine Despagni

Production

Production Director

Matthew Grace

Mark Stinson

Interns

Lisa Medchill

Sarah Khuwaja Jennifer Maas

Contributing Photographers

Michael Ewing Christian Pielow Ben Weitzenkorn Loren Wohl

Advertising Production Website Design Bao-Tran Hyunh

Special Thanks to:

BradFisherTown Brucennial 2012 John Gordon Gauld April Hunt Billy Morrissette 7Eleven Gallery

OBSERVER MEDIA GROUP

Publisher Editorial Director President Executive V.P. Senior V.P., Associate Publisher Editorial Manager Senior Director of Integrated Marketing Marketing Manager Scooter Magazine Observer Media Group 321 W. 44 St., 6th floor New York, NY 10036 (212) 755-2400

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JARED KUSHNER ELIZABETH SPIERS CHRISTOPHER BARNES BARRY LEWIS Jamie forrest Michael Woodsmall Deborah Estevez-Vanderlinder Zarah Burstein Email: scooter@observer.com Website: ScooterNY.com Twitter: @NYOScooter Facebook: Scooter Magazine Distribution: dmowery@observer.com

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Scooter from the editor New York City requires sacrifice, but offers the reward of a childhood like nowhere else. Our kids stand out for their street smarts and their only-in–New York fashion (see “8 Days A Week,” p. 34). Only in New York could the impos- Editorial conference for "Baby's Blog" with Sophie at the Conde sibly lucky twins Violet and First Nast cafeteria, 2006. Julia Dolby-Frist approach their “terrible twos” in the Gramercy wonderland created by their literary fathers, Drew Frist and Tom Dolby (“Full House,” p. 53). One of the most unique aspects of a New York childhood is school. Public or private, a NYC education is different than being schooled anywhere else. This issue features a special section (beginning p. 59) on the city’s most amazing schools, with expert advice on the heart-stopping experience of school admissions, and our Unique New York School Awards (p. 71), named for our favorite childhood tongue twister. Parents fret about school admissions for many reasons. Last year, one mom infamously filed a class action suit against her Upper East Side preschool for wrecking her 4-year-old’s chances of getting into Harvard. “The school proved not to be a school at all, but just one big playroom,” the complaint alleged. (Spoiler alert: That kid’s got bigger problems.) But the real value of a school comes down to the teachers. I was lucky to be taught English at Riverdale by Jane Bendetson, who died in Maine last October at 82. Mrs. B. was an antiwar and feminist crusader, a stickler for composition, a lover of literature from the Bible to Virginia Woolf, and a cult figure in the best sense. Students clustered around her desk during free period, bantering about books, politics and the harshness of the Yale faculty. She’d previously taught at Dalton, where she was just as revered—at least by her students. After retiring she wrote wry and moving essays for The New York Times Magazine. According to Riverdale’s alumni magazine Quad, Mrs. Bendetson re-taught herself to speak after a stroke 10 years ago—and then started a group at the Maine Medical Center to help others recover from aphasia. Without her, I wouldn’t be able to write or edit. That’s what the choice of a school can mean to a child. This issue brings the return pleasure of working with Sophie Neale, one of the first bloggers I ever hired back in 2006, when at age 3 she wrote “Baby’s First Blog” (“blob,” she called it then) for the much-missed Cookie magazine where I was online editor. Sophie’s efforts caught the eye of Time’s James Poniewozik, who proposed she be signed to a book deal to write about growing up in public. While not yet ready to pen her memoirs, Sophie (now 8) takes us on a tour of Lower Manhattan art galleries as only a child can (p. 19). Her mom, Tamara Loomis—also an ex-Cookie blogger—offers up private school admissions tips on p. 65. If you enjoy this issue please “like” Scooter Magazine on Facebook. Our Web site is ScooterNY.com, and be sure to follow @NYOScooter on Twitter. In coming months we’ll be seeking nominations for our 20 Under 10 Awards this fall, so please send your suggestions for notable New Yorkers under 10 who excel in scholastics, athletics, community involvement or performing arts to scooter@observer.com.

14

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top: Tamar a Loomis; Left: The Riverdalian

Raising children in

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Illustrator Ryan Snook (p. 30) lives in Toronto with his wife Beth and dog Scooter. (We like the name.) Snook is part of the illustration collective Illo Confidential. His work, which can be seen at his site ryansnook.com, includes comics and picture books as well as commercial and children’s illustrations.

Ioanna and Stella Psaroudakis both come to us by way of our fashion director, Erin Marsz. Stella, who once performed with Erin in the indie Brooklyn band sensation Tralala, coordinated expert input for our school section (p. 59) as Scooter’s community editor. As our deputy fashion director, Ioanna helped Erin style “8 Days A Week,” our preview of NYC kids’ spring 2012 styles (p. 34).

Born in the Soviet Union and raised deep in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz (p. 86) writes about politics for WNYC and culture for the New York Post opinion page. She’s also newly an entrepreneur, as co-owner of a blowout and nail bar, Fix Beauty Bar, opening in late April on the Upper East Side.  She lives in Manhattan with her husband and 2-year old daughter.  

Una La Marche (p. 24 and p. 112), a columnist for The Observer, blogs at her site The Sassy Curmudgeon as well as The Huffington Post and Nick Mom, and is an editor at Aiming Low. Una’s talents aren’t limited to the page (print and web): she’ll be performing in the first “Listen To Your Mother” show at the JCC Manhattan on May 6.

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spring 2012

3.16.12 • Scooter NY Observer • 1/2 pg horizontal • 7.125 x 4.625 • Issue: 3.20.12

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The mother of a 13-year-old son, Danielle Mowery recently started her own nonprofit, Building Dyslexia Awareness (buildingdyslexiaawareness.org). A former copywriter at publications from Nickelodeon to The New Yorker, Danielle, who interviewed admissions experts and profiled schools for our special section (p. 60), manages circulation for Scooter as part of her day job. (So contact her at dmowery@observer.com if your location wants to distribute us.)

After three years reporting for the New York Post’s Page Six column, freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast Corynne Steindler went on to contribute to media outlets including New York Weddings, NBC, In Touch Weekly, Gourmet, and the New York Press. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. She helped profile New York’s unique schools (p. 71), and talked to notable New Yorkers’ school memories (p. 69).

Alizah Salario, who reported for us on origami class (p. 74) and e-books (p. 91) is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in publications including The Daily Beast, Ms., Huffington Post and Playbill. A Columbia journalism grad and 2010 journalism fellow at the Poetry Foundation, she’s now working on her first book.

Rachel Graham, who covered New York’s new kids’ theater (p. 48) is a writer and Pittsburgh native who lives in Queens. Trained in dramatic writing at NYU, Rachel has written for New York Family and Babble.com, as well as scripts for preschool television programs, fashion and screenwriting blogs, and the occasional grocery list. She gets to teach and play with kids as a tutor and substitute teacher.

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We follow our 8-year-old critic on a tour of New York’s contemporary art scene. by Benjamin-Émile Le Hay Photography by Christian Pielow

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Sophie explored hundreds of alternative and outlandish pieces at this art collective’s Brucennial exhibition, timed to coincide with the Whitney Biennial. This year’s show, curated by Vito Schnabel, encompasses over 300 works by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring— along with up-and-coming talents.

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Don’t be fooled by Z Behl’s fantastical life-sized sculptures rendered in oil paint and Day-Glo in her show “Battle for Lagniappe.” What appears to be a dreamland adventure has plenty of adult humor peppered throughout. The artist, known for her work on music videos and set designs, has filled the newly opened 7Eleven Gallery with an underwater world that completely transforms the gallery. Sophie loved exploring the comical flying creatures, a besieged pirate ship, mer-creatures and sea monsters.

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DOWNTIME

MANHATTAN MOMS PLAN A NIGHT OUT (the email trail) 9:41 AM I am in :) Let’s think of a fun locale … The Dutch is good fun; T. has good luck with getting in there! Open to all :) Sent from my iPhone 9:58 AM which one? 19th or boqueria local? 10:49 AM As of now i think both work for me. 12:24 PM So how does 1/17 work for everyone? Lemme know! xo 12:53 PM

1/17 works. Dutch is good or I really like Boqueria too! Have you all been? Spanish Tapas but not like the other tapas place. These are small plates LOL. Really like the venue … Im good for 19th and either place works for me!

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B

EFORE I GOT PREGNANT, I suppose I would have said babies probably didn’t belong in

bars. For one thing, they are terrible at holding their liquor. And they almost never tip. But since most of the crying I’d seen at my local watering holes was limited to twentysomething women after one too many Jägerbombs, I wasn’t overly concerned with the burp-cloth set. Then I had my son, Sam. I had planned to spend, oh, I don’t know, the first year or so just gazing at him beatifically while visitors brought me gifts of frankincense and myrrh and maybe a nice bottle of Sancerre. But gazing—more bleary-eyed than beatific, though still satisfying!— only took up so much time, and by the fourth or fifth week I was in dire need of a social calendar. Preferably one that involved a little booze. Before Sam, a friend and I had a standing happy hour date at Five Points on Great Jones Street. So when she suggested that I meet her there for a quick glass of wine one evening, I leapt at the chance to ditch my yoga pants and handle a bottle larger than four ounces. “You do realize I’m bringing the baby with me,” I said. “Of course!” she replied giddily. “I get to be the aunt who takes him to his first bar.” And so we went. And, yes, there were awkward moments. I had to nurse Sam beneath a glorified apron (less discreet than it could be, thanks to its frat-boy joke of a name, “The Hooter Hider”) while perched on a stool and holding a Champagne flute. Once the restaurant started filling up I did get some quizzical glances, calling to mind Reese Witherspoon’s line from Sweet Home Alabama, “Look at you, you have a baby … in a bar!” But Sam was charming and composed, and the wait staff loved him. I had a lovely time. Alas, happy hour for the masses falls squarely during the prime bedtime stretch for small children. And many bars—certainly those that attract a rowdier crowd than Five Points—aren’t such great places for babies, no matter how liberal your parenting style. But across the East River in Brooklyn, new moms and dads who want to get out of the house to drink a beer while little Langston plays with his feet have some options. Far from an excuse to get hammered in the middle of the day, these happy hours are basically play groups where moms gab, babies play and a cocktail might be nursed (no pun intended) over the course of a few hours.

3:27 PM If 1/18 doesn’t work I could do the week of 1/23 … Sent from my iPhone 4:11 PM

I could do the 18th but i thought it was out for someone. 4:24 PM I could do the 18th. Who can’t? Also, I must commend the folks who haven’t responded to this mail trail yet. Either A) they have work to do or B) they have finally figured out that chiming in at the end of the trail makes much more sense than responding to all the in-between messages. Whatever the case may be, BRAVA to you ladies! 7:00 PM So 18th? Should I throw out the 21st to Fu#k things up? LOL!!! Sent from my iPhone 7:04 PM We need to hear back from silent ‘slackers.’ 18th seems to work for Kelly, Marcy, you & Melanie. Not ideal for me, but I think I can handle :) 7:08 I’m dizzy! Sent from my iPhone

(Cont’d p. 26)

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SPRING 2012

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DOWNTIME

bar’s rules. These include not allowing children to touch or climb on anything outside of the designated play space. But the frequent Facebook updates (“C’mon down for some warm, dry fun!”) on the bar’s Stutengarten Brooklyn page are much friendlier.

Der Schwarze Kölner 710 FULTON STREET, FORT GREENE 347-841-4495 TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS, AND SOME WEDNESDAYS DEPENDING ON THE WEATHER, 2:30–5 P.M. (FOLLOW STUTENGARTEN BROOKLYN ON FACEBOOK FOR UPDATES.)

As many as three afternoons each week, the staff at this Fort Greene German beer hall clears away the communal-style tables and benches and puts down rubber play mats, delineating two spaces: one for non-mobile babies and another for toddlers. No drink specials per se, but $6 will get you a half liter of a nice, nutty Hefeweissbier off the extensive beer menu. A limited selection of wine is also available, as are non-alcoholic beverages and soft pretzels with mustard. There’s a $5 minimum, and it’s cash only. The vibe is laid-back. By necessity, everyone sits on the floor or on chairs lining the bar’s perimeter. Moms are free to spread out blankets and toys. But the lithe, severe-looking young wait staff are sticklers for health code violations, and insist that all diapers be dealt with on the changing table, located somewhat head-scratchingly in the men’s room. (A few dads do regularly attend what the neighborhood calls “Babies and Beer.”) Parents must even sign a waiver promising to adhere to the

61 Local

61 BERGEN STREET, COBBLE HILL 347-763-6624 MOM-SPONSORED MEET-UPS THURSDAYS AND FRIDAYS AT 11 A.M. INTERACTIVE MUSIC SHOW MIL’S TRILLS EVERY SECOND FRIDAY OF THE MONTH, 3:30–4:30 P.M.

BoCoCa moms flock to this cozy pub for the tons of stroller space and gourmet snacks, including Oslo Coffee, Bien Cuit pastries and Scratchbread, along with a beer, wine and lunch service that starts at 11 a.m. The bar doesn’t host a formal Mommy and Me play group, so no mats or toys. But one Friday every month musician Amelia Robinson—aka Mil’s Trills—entertains an often-packed house of parents and tots with her specialty, whimsical ukulele tunes. And owner Kris de la Torre is happy to have the Bugaboo business. “The mom’s group is a really important cross-section of the neighborhood for 61 Local,” she says. “We’re happy to be such a regular host.”

Uncle Barry’s

58 FIFTH AVENUE, PARK SLOPE 718-622-4980 AND

The Bearded Lady

686A WASHINGTON AVENUE, PROSPECT HEIGHTS 469-232-7333 MOM-SPONSORED MEET-UPS, 4:30–6 P.M. WEDNESDAYS, ALTERNATING BETWEEN SPOTS

Uncle Barry’s—a roomy, dimly lit, exposed-brick watering hole with

18 beers on tap—opened its doors on Brooklyn’s upper Fifth Avenue last November. Park Slope mothers and their youngest children wasted no time in organizing a biweekly gathering to take advantage of the 1–7 p.m. daily happy hour, offering $2 off every drink on the menu. Sure, the Mortal Kombat 2 arcade game in the back isn’t exactly Baby Einstein—and there are “definitely no changing tables,” according to co-owner Josh Ellis. But Bjorn-free patrons coexist peacefully with the breeders. On alternate Wednesdays, the moms take their business to the Bearded Lady, a colorfully retro cocktail bar in Prospect Heights that offers a happy hour ever weekday until 8 p.m. with $4 beers on tap, $1 off other drinks and tasty sandwiches. BYO changing pad.

Putnam’s Pub & Cooker

419 MYRTLE AVENUE, CLINTON HILL 347-227-8976 FRIDAYS, 3–5 P.M.

Last fall, a faction of a dozen or so Der Schwarze Kölner regulars broke off to form a new mom/ baby happy hour at this unassuming Clinton Hill saloon. There’s nothing special beyond standard midday drink discounts, and no setup for kids, but Putnam’s is a large space with room for strollers—the staff is accommodating, and it’s empty enough at 3 p.m. that moms have plenty of room to spread out and relax. “They have food, which helps if you had to rock the baby through lunchtime instead of eating,” adds one devotee. S

YOU HAVE A BABY ... IN A BAR?

Not a problem at these proven kid-friendly establishments, according to a survey of city moms. (But here’s a tip: Go before 5 p.m. to avoid potential tsk-tsking from the after-work crowd). MANHATTAN

BROOKLYN

BRASS MONKEY, 55 Little West 12th St., Meatpacking District, 212-675-6686

BLACK MOUNTAIN WINEHOUSE, 415 Union St., Gowanus, 718-522-4340

EAR INN, 326 Spring St., Soho, 212-226-9060

FLOYD, 131 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights, 718-858-5810

FIVE POINTS, 31 Great Jones St., No. 1, NoHo, 212-253-5700 DUKE’S, 99 East 19th St., Gramercy, 212-260-2922

FRANKLIN PARK, 618 Saint Johns Pl., Crown Heights, 718-975-0196

GRAMERCY TAVERN, 42 East 20th St., Gramercy, 212-477-0777

HABANA OUTPOST, 757 Fulton St., #A, Fort Greene, 718-858-9500

ZAMPA, 306 West 13th St., West Village, 212-206-0601

SODA BAR, 629 Vanderbilt Ave., Prospect Heights, 718-230-8393 THE GATE, 321 Fifth Ave., Park Slope, 718-768-4329

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8:03 This slacker (who happened to have a tremendously stressful day with a client that fired her firm) says ok to the 18th. I need several drinks. 8:46 PM Yay to the 18th … Sorry about the client. 8:47 PM THIS JUST IN …

1/18th: Kelly - yes Olivia - yes Melanie - yes (not perfect though) Neila - yes (ditto) Tina - yes Marcy - yes Brice - YES Gretchen - ????? Are we done yet? :) 8:57 PM Wow we almost have a date. Only took 400 emails and 20 hours!!! A world record! 9:14 PM Ladies! Sounds good to me … just pending a baby sitter. G. Sent from my iPhone 9:16 PM Great!! Yay! I feel like we’ve already gone out & got a little tipsy :) N.

[THE DAY AFTER] 9:47 AM Total blast as always. Was up till 1:30. At school at 8

Now at PTA meeting. Dying ;-) 12:20 PM Who are all you people!? It’s all a distant memory … maybe because of the 17 drinks I had!

Soooo fun and I swear, I don’t think I’ll ever eat again (which isn’t such a bad thing). That was delish and a FEAST! I’m still full! Had a hs tour bright and early at 8am. Just got back … exhausted!! xoxo Melanie 1:52 PM Hey all, Just woke up. Can you all just take it down a notch? LOL! Just kidding but it did feel like they were filming extreme home makeover inside my head. Great fun last night ladies! Thank you for including me!! Did I make the cut? Here’s to hoping! xxootina

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maternal patience was about to crumble. I toweled off. Feeling brave and under the influence of endorphins after some exercise, I invited the kids to help me make breakfast. My youngest ran to get her Hello Kitty apron. Her sister pulled a chair over to the kitchen counter. The girls took turns measuring the dry ingredients. We beat the egg whites to glorious peaks. And with their help, I got breakSTAY AT STOVE CHEF fast done just before lunch, which, of course, gave my wife plenty of time to go for a bike ride. When she came back, we had our maple-syrup-fueled moment of family bliss. But KIDS LOVE TO HELP IN THE KITCHEN. BUT HOW MUCH my real dream —elusive BETTER IF THEY CAN ACTUALLY HELP! by John Donohue until recently—is for my girls to reach the point where they can help in the Y WIFE ONCE DESCRIBED COOKING kitchen, instead of slowing me down. WITH KIDS —we have two girls, now 5 One Sunday, not long ago, I was making my version and 7—as harder than trying to shower of frikadeller, Danish meatballs I learned about from with monkeys. I found that particularly Laurie David’s excellent book The Family Dinner. (The funny—because in our house, I do most recipe came from the grandmother of David’s co-auof the cooking. thor—and personal chef—Kirstin Uhrenholdt.) We eat well: I’m prone to dishes like rabbit stew, Green beans were my side dish. linguine alle vongole, red-lentil dhal, rib eye with At the risk of extending dinner preparations wasabi, mushroom risotto and wild salmon. The into Monday morning, I called for my youngest one downside? Choosing between being in the to join me. kitchen or being with my girls. Make “Do you want to wash the rosemary roast potatoes, or draw beans? ” Kids love playing pictures with them? Bolognese with water. I learned or a board game? Soup or a early on to have the stroll in Prospect Park? girls take turns at And if I’m at the stove, the sink, washing there’s someone else to congreens. They could sider. When I’m not minding do it for hours. the children, my wife is. I spend She ran over immedimany more hours typing at a midately, and we were well on town desk than with my rapidly our way to the cleanest green growing daughters. My wife’s a new media entrepre- beans in the tristate area. neur, and thanks to her schedule, she already spends I whipped up the meatballs. Then it was time to more time taking care of them than I do. trim the beans. I didn’t want her to leave, so I gave So I resolved to bring the children into the kitchen her a knife and showed her how to trim the ends off with me. My wife is happy for a break. I get a mo- the beans. Not quite 5—old enough to start learning ment with the girls. And then we all gather for a some knife skills, I think. I gave her a small but sharp happy little Leave It to Beaver moment around the steak knife. We went over some basics: blade versus dinner table. handle, and I kept an eye on her to keep her focused, Or that’s the theory. But a recipe that normally lest she poke herself in the eye or gouge my arm takes 10 minutes will occupy half an hour with kids while gesturing wildly to make an important point. involved. Measuring a cup of flour will take five min- She was good about that. And she loved cutting off utes, wiping up spills not included. the ends of the beans. I used to think that only the insane would try to Her sister saw the fun and wanted to join in. The cook with kids. But sometimes the crazy choice is the green beans were under control, but I had another best choice. interesting task for her. The frikadeller were ready to One Saturday morning, I returned from a run in be fried, and I had her stand with me and flip them the park to find my two girls chanting “Pfannkuchen! in the pan. Pfannkuchen! Pfannkuchen!” Their mother had taught I let her hold the spatula by herself. She only burned them how to say “pancake” in German. But now, herself once. S through the shower door, I could hear her trying John Donohue is the author of Man with a Pan: Culinary vainly to contain them. Adventures of Fathers Who Cook for Their Families. He blogs By her tone, I could tell that the Maginot Line of about cooking at StayAtStoveDad.com.

FRIKADELLER

adapted from The Family Dinner by Laurie David, with recipes by Kirstin Uhrenholdt

Togetherness With A Chance of Meatballs

FOTOLIA (2)

M

INGREDIENTS

⅔ cup cold water ½ cup homemade, unseasoned breadcrumbs (or a little more, depending) 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley 1 small onion, minced 2 lbs ground turkey 1 In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the turkey. Stir well until mixed together. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, until the breadcrumbs absorb the liquid. 2 Add the ground turkey to the bowl and mix well. 3 Heat oven to 350 degrees. 4 Oil a baking sheet and set it nearby. 5 Heat a large frying pan with some oil for frying. 6 Using a spoon and/or your hands, make small balls out of the mixture and place the mixture in the frying pan. Flatten the balls so they are no longer round, and are more oblong than circular. 7 Fry on one side until brown, and then flip. 8 When brown on both sides (more or less), remove the meatballs from the frying pan and slide them on the baking sheet. 9 Repeat until all the mixture is used up and you have a baking sheet full of meatballs. 10 Bake the meatballs in the oven for 20 minutes.

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When the Baby Falls ONLINE HEAD-BUMP ADVICE MAY BE HA ZARDOUS TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH by Abe Sauer

M

Y 10-MONTH-OLD DAUGHTER’S

head hitting the floor was not something I saw. I heard it. The room was pitch black when she slipped off the bed’s edge—which to her might as well have been the edge of the world. The flat clunk of skin-padded bone against rock was unmistakable in the room’s weehour silence. That was a head hitting a floor. A little head. A big, hard floor. Then the crying started. Say all the elitist things you want, but few owners of shag-carpeted bedrooms have ever

‘Broke his crown’ is just a poetic way to say ‘intracranial epidural hematoma.’ found themselves online at 3 a.m. Googling the term “baby fall head hit call should hospital take?” My girl continued screaming as I inspected the wound. No bleeding, thank goodness, but . . . was that . . . a dent? Yes, there was a clear dent in her forehead, not unlike the kind that deters the purchase of a can of fruit. My daughter’s dent was a crater. A real moon feature. On close inspection, the dent featured an impression of the four-way tile seam she had hit. Apparently, a dented head is “okay.” As one family physician later told me, “babies are born dent-able.” But some potential symptoms of a baby’s 30

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bone. When a skull smashes into something, such as a creamy, travertine Capadocia walnut-tumbled six-by-six floor tile, it comes to an abrupt and violent halt. Ever curious, the brain continues on its path to see what the holdup is, slamming into the now-stopped skull. Did you know that once the brain strikes the skull—coup injury—it may bounce back and strike another side of the skull, causing a separate countercoup injury? Well, you do now. More trivia: Mortality after a fall more than doubles at 15 feet. For a fall from less than five feet, such as from a bed, mortality is just 0.5 percent. My girl’s screams, quickly joined by sympathetic yelps from the dog, were by far the best signal her injury was not life threatening. If the fallen are immediately quiet—or still screaming after 20 minutes or more—that’s when worrying should really be done. After weeks spent researching online and talking to doctors, what I’ve learned is: vomiting, lots of blood, loss of consciousness, a seizure, fall from a height of five feet or more, or swelling beyond the size of a silver dollar are all signs it’s time to go see a doctor. Also, if you’re unsure, go see a doctor. When I fi nally did get my daughter snoozing again, I was haunted by the Internet’s horror stories about head-injured babies who never woke up. After all that screaming and drama, the poor child was so worn out that all she wanted to do was sleep it off. But for every 30 minutes, until the morning, she had to respond to a curious poke in the ribs from the very same guy who let her fall on her head in the first place. A week later the blackand-blue bruise, after turning a putrid shade of brown in its fi nal days, finally cleared away. Her forehead again unblemished, the only lasting injury was my own sense of guilt—and an inability to ever forget that sound. S

ILLUSTRATIONS BY RYAN SNOOK

DOWNTIME

ny

HE ALTH

head injury are very much not okay. And it’s not always that easy to suss them out. For instance, you are supposed to call your doctor if your child shows “confused thinking.” While my 10-month-old did not yet speak, her 2-year-old sister does—and just that morning told me she was going to “put on her alligator house poop.” Had she hit her head when I wasn’t looking? Under head injuries, the Seattle Children’s Hospital’s “Should Your Child See a Doctor?” Web page recommends you “Call Your Doctor Now” if “You think your child has a serious injury.” So, basically, if frantic Googling has brought you to this page, call your doctor now. I pondered what to tell my wife, searching obsessively under “baby falls.” Because adult human beings are horrible creatures, YouTube boasts a robust library of baby falling videos. One stomach-churner, titled “Crib Escape FAIL,” shows a toddler fall headfi rst from a crib, down and out of frame onto the floor. The audience is invited to use its imagination—just like in Psycho. It turns out football and hockey players have nothing on being a 3-year-old. The leading cause of unintentional injury for children is falls. And for very young children, head injuries from falls cause the majority of deaths and severe injury. One-third of all fall-related emergency room visits are from children. As a parent, falls concern me far more than other threats that just cannot seem to hold my terror. (Such as, say, “bottle tooth.”) There are walker falls, high-chair falls, window falls, rocking-horse falls, crib falls, jumper falls, sofa falls, stool falls, Bumbo falls, changing-table falls, bathtub falls, slide falls, stroller falls, bicycle falls, swing falls, running falls, everyday pedestrian face-plants and, of course, bed falls. It’s no accident that some of the most popular nursery rhymes deal with falls. “Broke his crown” is just a poetic way to say “intracranial epidural hematoma.” While a child’s brain is like a sponge, his or her skull is unyielding, more like bone. In fact, exactly like

SPRING 2012

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Untitled-6 1

3/20/12 12:37:45 PM


DANA BE THUNE WITH DAUG HTER DYLA N, AG E 3, BROOKLYN

“Dylan and I abso lutely love to dance and sing! So much so—she is the youn gest member of the children ’s choir at church. In the even ing after school, we crank up the music (sorry, neighbors), grab the hairbrushes and let loose in the middle of the living room floor. We ha ve a lot of fun and it is a great way to make sure she is tire d at bedtime.”

, DJ , TE D GUSHUE , 23 ION SQUARE UN T, LIS NA UR JO

ppy mix of “I tried to find a ha , classic ng new and interesti round -a all or ss, and timele n’t be odd uld wo It . tile rsa ve se at a to hear any of the in a family or e, ng lou y trend , all differfun living room. All !” ng sti ere int ent, all

1. “Baby,” Justin Bie ber 2. “Last Friday Nigh t,” Katy Perry 3. “Party Rock An them,” LMFAO 4. “Beat It,” Michae l Jackson 5. “Moves Like Jag ger,” Maroon 5 ft. Ch ristina Aguilera 6. “Whip My Hair,” Willow Smith 7. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” Whitney Houston 8. “Rolling in the De ep,” Adele 9. “On the Floor,” Jennifer Lopez ft. Pit bull 10. “Love You Like a Love Song,” Selena Gomez & the Scene

on Indian 1. “Polish Girl,” Ne Harris ,” Rihanna ft. Calvin ve 2. “We Found Lo Y Moi 3. “New Beat,” Toro ou 4. “Odessa,” Carib ,” Poolside on 5. “Harvest Mo M83 6. “Midnight City,” The The 7. “This Is the Day,” an Hayes ,” Mark Farina ft. Se 8. “Dream Machine ill,” Cut Copy 9. “Time Stands St va,” Mr. Flash 10. “Dirty Bossa No

LEFT: PATRICK MCMULL AN

DOWNTIME

DJ vs. Mom Playlists

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SPRING 2012

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Rainbow jewels. A bouquet the size of a small planet. Eternal parties. Heaven. Sold. It was a really easy mistake to make. I don’t think I figured out that we were not actually dead until the next morning. That night I was allowed to jump up and down on all the beds in the suite (not permitted at home, on the grounds that it was unladylike) and eat ice cream for dinner (also not allowed, on the grounds that this would simply be too much fun, presumably). The next day I stood by the flower arrangement, searching for analogies to convey its wonder to my nanny. “Like The Jungle Book!” “Like the secret garden!” “Like … good flowers.” She paid no attention until I wondered aloud whether the flowers would ever change, on account of us being in heaven. If they weren’t going to, that was fi ne. I could be fi ne with that. She gently explained life, heaven and the Waldorf. I was not at all keen on having to be a person again. Back to that playground realpolitik, all those snacks of applesauce, half-understood disciplinary visits to the preschool principal’s office … It’s enough to make anyone sit in the middle of a room and scream. Adults are so apt to think of children as harmless bit players in life’s dramas that they forget that to other children they are center stage, and extremely dangerous. Childhood is really the part of your life when you most need room-service-delivered ice cream for dinner, and also, frankly, a Scotch, although you don’t realize that until later. But then I thought about how the smell of those Waldorf flow-

Waldorf Memories For One Girl, a Hotel Lobby Was Heaven on Earth by Jennifer Wright

T

HE HAPPIEST I EVER WAS when I was a child was at the

TOP: GETT Y; CARTOON BY JOHN DONAHUE

Waldorf-Astoria. Now, I don’t think a hotel is supposed to be the happiest place in anyone’s childhood. Unless you are the heroine in a Kay Thompson story, in which case I wandered into the wrong hotel. I think I should be able to fudge my happiest childhood memory a bit, and say that I was happiest at F.A.O. Schwartz or in Central Park— though I don’t recall spending much time at either of those places. But I can go back to the first time I walked into the Waldorf. I was 4, accompanying my parents, who were in New York for the Canadian Society Ball. (We lived in Chicago.) As soon as we walked into the lobby my nanny said, “Well, this is heaven.” Because I was 4, I took her literally. I was sitting on a chair by the H. Stern jewelry shop, and there was a necklace in the window that was a rainbow of gemstones. In the lobby was a flower arrangement I still remember as the largest and most perfect I have ever seen. Someone mentioned that there was never a night when there was not a party in the ballroom.

“He’s a good kid, but I just wish he’d act his age.”

ers mingled with the perfume my nanny always wore, and how nice that seemed. And soon I was whisked off to some nearby plaza—it might have been Central Park, but probably not—to run around with pigeons. I was fi ne again. We went to the Waldorf once a year for the next few years. “This is heaven,” I would tell my nanny, jokingly. Approximately 700 times, I think. After that my nanny went away. Because we live on earth, not in heaven, those things happen. Nannies go away, flower arrangements change. She left behind a box of her clothing, stored in our basement. It smelled like her perfume. And then the smell faded away. Those things happen. It’s silly, but whenever I visit the Waldorf, I half expect the flower arrangements to smell just that way. Not that I stay at the Waldorf. When I’m walking through the neighborhood I use its bathroom as most people use Starbucks. But H. Stern is gone now. The flower arrangements are not what they were. It’s no longer the early ’90s. Here on earth, life is ephemeral. (Overall, it’s still a pretty O.K. lobby.) There isn’t much about being a child I would repeat. (Applesauce! Playground fights! Abject confusion! No Scotch!) But 20 years later, I don’t expect anything will ever make me as happy as room service ice cream at the Waldorf did then. And who knows? Perhaps, when you finally check out of that hotel called life, you wake up the next morning a child at the Waldorf. Then you jump on all the beds and feel once again certain that good things can last forever. S Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright on Twitter) is editor in chief of TheGloss.com.

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1 2 45 3 678

Days a Week With the sun shining a bit longer every day and the weather warming up, spring is upon us. As April showers bring us May flowers, there are many opportunities to wear all the bright, fun colors and lighter fabrications of spring! As our time fills up with all the activities the season has to offer, there are still many ways for children and parents to remain effortlessly fashionable and fancy-free. Photography by Jodi Jones Styling By Erin Marsz with Ioanna Psaroudakis Hair and makeup Emily Long

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Fashion

Monday morning off to school … Milu: Bonpoint red dress ($310), Stella McCartney Bee raincoat ($197), gray tights (stylist’s own), sunglasses (model’s own), Hunter silver rain boots ($60), Kate Spade “New Bond Street Florence” handbag ($448). Cole: Ralph Lauren Langley sport coat ($125), J. Crew gingham bow tie ($22.50), boy’s dress shirt ($45) available at Lester’s, Volcom khakis ($45) and Hunter boots ($75) both available at Lester’s.

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Hooked-wool animal portrait rug ($78) available at Garnet Hill online.

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fashion

Tuesday there is work to do... Above

right

Milu: Pale Cloud Cayleigh silk blouse ($157) available at pale-cloud.com, Bonpoint pink trousers ($150), Toms shoes ($29) available at Lester’s. Cole: Lacoste polo ($40), gray v-neck sweater ($45) available at Lester’s, board shorts (model’s own), Ugg boat shoes ($50) available at Lester’s.

Milu: Appaman elephant T-shirt ($36), Lacoste pink sweater ($98), Ralph Lauren cotton knit shorts ($39.50), Lacoste gray leggings ($35), Giox light-up sneakers ($60) available at Lester’s. Cole: Appaman lifeguard hoodie ($47), Appaman midnight track suit pants ($64), Reebox sneakers ($60) available at Lester’s.

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spring 2011

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Wednesday we just have a ball ‌

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Thursday brings music study hall …

Above

Milu: Bonpoint denim jumper ($280) available at bonpoint.com, Stella McCartney Jessie cardigan ($112), navy velcro shoes ($38) available at Lester’s, J. Crew gingham bow tie ($22.50). Cole: Bonpoint trousers ($205), Bonpoint button-down shirt ($160), gray cardigan (stylist’s own), Naturinos ($69) available at Lester’s.

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spring 2011

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Fashion

Friday night we watch movies and laugh … Milu: Pale Cloud Desiree blouse in light sand ($110) available from pale-cloud.com, Stella McCartney Dipsy jeans ($86), J. Crew girl’s glitter suspenders ($24.50), Cienta glitter flats ($38) available at Lester’s. Cole: Appaman superhero T-shirt ($36), navy cardigan (model’s own), Lacoste tan trousers ($75), Naturinos ($69) available at Lester’s. Jackie: Round cap sleeve knit dress ($68) with Zinni by Garnet Hill yoga cardigan ($98) all available at Garnet Hill online, Kate Spade pin (pricing available upon request from Kate Spade), Vince Camuto patent flats ($79) available at Lester’s. Elementary sleeping bags with ponies (behind Milu) and rockets (behind Cole) available at Garnet Hill online ($98), Christen Maxwell pillows ($150 each) available at christenmaxwell. com, Mets plush tiger toy ($44) available at Lester’s.

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Saturday lunch we just relax … Milu: Pale Cloud Alice silk dress ($118), Bonpoint mustard cardigan ($155), Lacoste gray leggings ($35), Aster burgundy shoes ($74) available at Lester’s. Cole: Lacoste green pants ($75), Ugg boat shoes ($50) available at Lester’s, Appaman mud T-shirt ($36), blue cardigan (stylist’s own). Jackie: Pima pleated-detail knit top ($48) available at Garnet Hill, Kate Spade “Janis” skirt ($368), Signature ballet flats ($98) available at Garnet Hill, Pound Jewelry Lilith necklace ($195) available at poundjewelry.com. 40

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SPRING 2011

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FASHION

Sunday is Monopoly and Shark Attack … Milu: Stella McCartney Suzy dress ($92), Lacoste gray leggings ($35), Kate Spade hair pin (retail available from KS upon request), Pound Jewelry necklace ($145) available at poundjewelry.com, Cienta shoes ($38) available at Lester’s. Cole: Volcom trousers ($45), Harvard T-shirt ($19), Ugg boat shoes ($50) all available at Lester’s. Gray cardigan (stylist’s own). Jackie: Crocheted cover-up ($88) available at Garnet Hill online, Splendid gray tank ($44) from Lester’s, J Brand jeans ($150) available at Lester’s, Vince Camuto patent flats ($79) available at Lester’s.

With Monday just arounndd, the be t we star it up all e v o r again

They are all enjoying games on an Eileen Fisher rug ($318) available at Garnet Hill online, with Christen Maxwell pillows ($150) available at christenmaxwell.com.

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SCOOTERNY.COM

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NURSERYWORKS PUTS A TWIST ON THE CLASSIC ROCKING CHAIR WITH THE VETRO ROCKER. WITH MODERN CIRCULAR ACRYLIC LEGS, THIS ROCKER WILL LOOK GREAT IN THE NURSERY AND BEYOND. $1,750, LAYLAGRACE.COM

BRING A TOUCH OF MODERN GLAM TO THE NURSERY WITH BLOOM’S ALMA MINI CRIB. DESIGNED FOR URBAN SPACES, THIS CRIB FOLDS FOR EASY STORAGE. $340, BLOOMBABY.COM OR GIGGLE, 1033 LEXINGTON AVENUE, GIGGLE.COM

Hot Tot to

STURDY AND STAIN-PROOF, DASH & ALBERT’S INDOOR/OUTDOOR RUGS ARE STILL SOFT UNDERFOOT. THEIR NEW CATAMARAN STRIPE ADDS A GRAPHIC PUNCH TO CHILDREN’S ROOMS. FROM $38, DASHANDALBERT.COM

From nurseries to playrooms, the best in this season’s home décor and gear for babies and kids.

JONATHAN ADLER’S CHEERFUL CHIC MEETS SKIP HOP’S PRACTICALITY WITH THESE BRIGHT NEW DIAPER BAGS. $80, JONATHANADLER.COM

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CREDIT TK

by Alexa Stevenson

SPRING 2012

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HAND-BLOCKED BUG PRINTS ADD A PUNCH OF COLOR TO A GENDER-NEUTRAL NURSERY. PRINTS, $250, DERMONDPETERSON.COM

t

THE ICONIC EGG CHAIR GETS A MINI MAKEOVER WITH THE ADORABLE YOLK CHAIR AVAILABLE IN SEVERAL BRIGHT SHADES. $585, LITTLENEST.COM

CREDIT TK

THE FUNKY ANNA LEAH FLOOR LAMP, DESIGNED BY AMANDA NISBET FOR THE URBAN ELECTRIC COMPANY, WILL BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION IN ANY ROOM. FROM $2,445, URBANELECTRICCO.COM

AN URBAN- OR CAR-THEMED KID’S ROOM IS COMPLETE WITH DWELLSTUDIO’S SKYLINE BEDDING, WHICH COMES IN CRIB BEDDING UP TO FULL SIZE. FROM $32, DWELLSTUDIO.COM

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HOT TO TOT

SHARON MONTROSE

WHO CAN RESIST THESE DELIGHTFUL BABY ANIMALS PHOTOGRAPHED BY SHARON MONTROSE? GROUP A BUNCH TOGETHER OVER A CRIB OR CHOOSE AN EXTRA-LARGE PRINT TO MAKE A MODERN BUT SQUEAL-INDUCING STATEMENT. FROM $25, THEANIMALPRINTSHOP.COM

WITH A COMPACT FOOTPRINT, OEUF’S SLEEK NEW PERCH BUNK BED LEAVES PLENTY OF ROOM FOR PLAY. BONUS: THE BED IS MADE FOR CHILDREN’S EVER-EVOLVING NEEDS AND EASILY SEPARATES INTO A LOFT BED OR A STANDALONE TWIN. $1,490, MINI JAKE, 78 NORTH NINTH STREET, BROOKLYN, MINIJAKE.COM

PERK UP THE FLOOR WITH THIS WHIMSICAL INTERPRETATION OF A CONGREGATION OF BIRDS ON A HANDMADE WOOL FLOCK RUG. AVAILABLE THROUGH THE STEPHANIE ODEGARD COLLECTION, $330 PER SQUARE FOOT, ODEGARDINC.COM

BROOKLYN-BASED DESIGNER KATIE DEEDY’S NOM DE PLUM WALLPAPER LINE IS INSPIRED BY CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES AND CHILDREN’S BOOKS. THE “CHRISTOPHER” PATTERN DEPICTS A MAGICAL FOREST AND COMES IN THREE COLORWAYS. $180 PER ROLL, GROWHOUSEGROW.COM

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SIX SHELVES STORE AND ORGANIZE OVER 100 BOOKS AND TRINKETS ON THIS GLOSSY GREEN TREE BOOKSHELF. NURSERYWORKS TREE BOOKSHELF, $850, LAYLAGRACE.COM

SPRING 2012

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DUPLEX OFF FIFTH AVE: This 12-into-10 room Rosario Candela duplex is located close to Central Park. A tasteful & traditional renovation offers gracious rooms with an open staircase, 4 bedrooms, 4½ baths, state-ofthe-art kitchen. $5,900,000. WEB: NYO0018002

LEANN M. WALDRON 212.606.7775 | leann.waldron@sothebyshomes.com KIMBERLY MEARDON 212.606.7652 | kimberly.meardon@sothebyshomes.com EAST SIDE MANHATTAN BROKERAGE I sothebyshomes.com/nyc 38 EAST 61ST STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10065 Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc., is Owned and Operated by NRT LLC.

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HOT TO TOT

LACQUERED IN CINNABAR RED, BUNNY WILLIAM’S BEELINE HOME OHM MIRROR, IN A FUNKY, FLUID SHAPE, IS A PERFECT FOCAL POINT IN A SOPHISTICATED NURSERY. PRICE ON REQUEST, 212-935-5930, BUNNYWILLIAMS.COM

ADD A TOUCH OF WHIMSY TO YOUR WINDOWS OR UPHOLSTERED PIECES WITH SCHUMACHER’S AVIARY FABRIC, A REPRODUCTION OF A WALL COVERING DESIGNED BY NEW YORKER CARTOONIST SAUL STEINBERG FOR DECORATORS WALK IN THE ’50S. AVAILABLE THROUGH THE TRADE, FSCHUMACHER.COM

MELDING THE SHAPE OF A CHAIR WITH THE COMFY POUF OF A BEANBAG, GARNET HILL’S MEDIA BEANBAG CHAIR IS PERFECT FOR CHILDREN. MONOGRAMMING ON THE WASHABLE SLIPCOVERS IS AVAILABLE. $99 TO $105, GARNETHILL. COM

BLOOM INTRODUCES A SLIM, FULL-SIZE, ALL-TERRAIN FOLDING STROLLER WITH THE BRAND-NEW ZEN. IT MAY BE SIMPLE TO SCHLEP AND TO STORE, BUT WHAT WE LOVE ARE THE COLOR STORIES IT COMES IN: CYAN AND MAGENTA AS WELL AS SILVER AND MIDNIGHT BLACK. AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER ON BLOOMBABY.COM

ARTIST CHRISTIAN JACKSON RE-IMAGINES CLASSIC FAIRY TALES WITH HIS DELIGHTFUL AND SUPERMINIMALIST STORY POSTERS. $48, OEUFNYC.COM

DO TRY THIS AT HOME! ● The most important new trend is HIPSTER HERITAGE , which combines elements of American design, like braided rugs and timeless favorites such as the Jenny Lind crib, with furnishings and accessories that are scoped out at flea markets (or at least appear to be).

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OEUF’S CUDDLY APPLE PILLOWS ARE INSPIRED BY— WHAT ELSE?—THE BIGGEST APPLE OF THEM ALL, NEW YORK CITY. $68, OEUFNYC.COM

DWELLSTUDIO’S CHRISTIANE LEMIEUX ON THIS SEASON’S BEST TRENDS & TIPS IN KIDS’ DÉCOR

● Hot for spring is EUROPEAN MINIMALISM . Nurseries with

clean lines and tones of whites and grays accentuated with dusty colors are great for rooms that babies can grow into. ● BOLD COLORS (think Kelly

green and bright orange) are big this year. An easy way to create this graphic modern trend is with circle decals in bright colors on

the wall, shelves with cutout circles and a mirror. Finish it off with furniture with lines and a bold rug. ● Remember to THINK LONG TERM for the nursery. The nurs-

ery is a nursery for such a short amount of time. Think about what you will want when the baby is a toddler, and make lasting decorating decisions.

● Don’t forget about THE CEILING! There is so much you

can do with the ceiling to add interest. Why not add a stripe or use wallpaper? Christiane Lemieux is founder of DwellStudio and a mother of two. This May, DwellStudio will open its flagship store in Soho at 77 Wooster Street. dwellstudio.com

SPRING 2012

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1725 YORK AVENUE: 2,300± sq ft with open river and city views with balcony. Bring your architect to combine these 2 beautiful apartments to create 4 bedrooms, office/laundry room, and 3½ baths. Broker owner. $1,900,000. WEB: NYO0017972

PHYLLIS GALLAWAY, Senior Vice President, Associate Broker 212.606.7678 | phyllis.gallaway@sothebyshomes.com EAST SIDE MANHATTAN BROKERAGE I sothebyshomes.com/nyc 38 EAST 61ST STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10065 Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc., is Owned and Operated by NRT LLC.

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theater

Center Stage The New Victory delights children while inspiring the adult theater world. by Rachel Graham

Traces, now playing in Union Square , is a unique blend of circus, street art and dance, creating an emotional portrait of young people leaving their mark on the world. The show was hailed by Time Out New York and Time as one of the top 10 theater pieces of 2011. But one audience segment was already familiar with Traces: kids who saw it years ago at the New Victory Theater, the first theater in New York City dedicated to youth and families. The New Victory got its start as one of seven theaters revived by the New 42nd Street, the nonprofit created to revitalize Times Square in the mid-1990’s. The organization took a dilapidated, shuttered theater with a risqué past (it was once a burlesque club) and renovated it to create something that New York didn’t have: a children’s theater presenting works from around the globe. There were no children’s theaters in New York then. Though children love it, parents tolerate it and producers may even make money from it, children’s theater is often dismissed as cutesy, condescending and shallow. While there’s more respect for the artistic side of children’s theater

in Europe and Australia, professionals everywhere struggle to prove its legitimacy. But in recent years, noteworthy professionals from the adult theater world have crossed over into children’s theater, while exciting genres like new circus and physical theater are spreading and becoming popular. Such works, increasingly offered at spaces like BAM and Lincoln Center, aren’t designed for children or adults in particu48

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lar—they appeal to any age group. But the New Victory was one of the first theaters to bring these genres to New York. Everything that the New Victory stages originates with the programming department, a team of four who scour the world for the highest-quality children’s theater. Mary Rose Lloyd, the programming director, annually confronts the challenge of creating a season of shows that appeal to audiences ranging

from preschoolers to teens. Some New Victory shows are age-specific, but most have universal elements that appeal to adults too. Much of the planning, says Lloyd, is a happy accident: “It’s amazing to me . . . there’s some sort of thread from each show to the next, but it’s not something that’s prescribed. It’s about works that we love and we know children and adults are going to love.” With its global range, the New Victory acts as a bridge between the U.S. and the rest of the world, particularly Europe, where children’s theater is quite different from ours. “Children’s theater in the U.S. is creating seasons of work that don’t tour,” Lloyd explains. “So we’re always looking for ways to help regional theaters think that they can tour. Being in New York is a national platform for them.” A number of regional theaters have presented work at the New Victory, and four have won regional Tonys, including the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, the first children’s theater ever to do so. But in European children’s theater, “there is an understood touring element. Most don’t necessarily have their own theater to present work. They just create it and use a touring network. They have it down!” Lloyd laughs. This creates smaller, more intimate shows that are easy to move without sacrificing production values. The New Victory encourages these companies to look for ways to scale up and create bigger, national work to fit the New Victory’s stage. The New Victory has hosted Scottish and Danish festivals featuring multiple works from each country. While Lloyd travels, the rest of the staff reviews video submissions. They avoid saccharine fare. “Work for young audiences doesn’t have to be fuzzy bunny suits and simple language,” insists Lloyd. “There are opportunities for artists to create work that speaks to different ages in different ways. You can have

Heidrun Lohr

The Book of Everything.

spring 2012

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152 E 94TH ST: This gracious 7-room apartment is in a prewar Carnegie Hill building on a tree-line townhouse street. Large living room and dining room with unobstructed city views and terraces. 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. $2,795,000. WEB: NYO0017859

EVA J. MOHR, Senior Vice President, Associate Broker 212.606.7736 | eva.mohr@sothebyshomes.com | www.evamohr.com EAST SIDE MANHATTAN BROKERAGE I sothebyshomes.com/nyc 38 EAST 61ST STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10065 Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc., is Owned and Operated by NRT LLC.

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theater

LUCKY DUCK..

More takes theatergoers into a haunted-houselike theater as Macbeth is performed. No one had seen anything like it—except the kids who saw the New Victory’s 2009 production of Hansel and Gretel, in which the audience trailed the main characters through the theater to the witch’s house, past a memorable tableau featuring a forest of doll heads. The New Victory’s Carrie Dubois marvels that White, a much-lauded New Victory show, “won all sort of awards, yet it was specifically created for 3-year-olds.” With no doubt, audiences and professionals alike now look at children’s theater as a respectable artistic endeavor, making the New Victory programmers’ job a little easier. This season’s shows feature work from writers and producers with robust credentials. In March, Lucky Duck, described as a “fun, Glee-esque”

Daytime Moon Creations Among New York City’s many acting programs for kids, one nonprofit is gaining attention for its impressive work and inspiring message. Launched in 2010, Daytime Moon Creations is a recreational theater program for children with special needs. Founded by Angelica Conway and Jenna Gabriel, two NYU grads with experience in special education and theater, the program

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Ahhh HA! will run March 30 through April 14. The Book of Everything will run April 20 through 29. Purchase tickets at newvictory.org

sitioning into the workforce. Acting classes, based on standard theater instruction, are adjusted to the students’ abilities.

has grown rapidly, expanding tenfold over the last year. Daytime Moon offers both extracurricular and in-school classes, as well as internships for college students studying the field and jobs for young adults with special needs tran-

“We provide a structure for them where they will feel comfortable,” Gabriel says. “We tell our students their schedules, so they know what to expect, and we check in with their feelings.” Classes focus on the experience more than results, helping students to better adjust to changes in their environment and transfer these skills to the academic realm. Each class culminates in an

original show. For younger ages, a playwright will work with children to write a play based on their characters and story. The older kids write their own play. Last year, Daytime Moon’s first class performed its final play in the heart of the theater district. Gabriel says the inclusion of people with special needs in the theater community is growing, slowly but surely. “Why shouldn’t we be embracing their differences and welcoming them into a community that is about expression and difference?” -RG

top: Robert Schraeder; Bottom: Ani Tomasik

an adult and a child in the same show and both have something interesting to talk about.” Traces, for example, was produced by 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts de la Main in their native Montreal) with no particular age group in mind. Lloyd already knew them, having attemped earlier to bring one of their productions to the New Victory. The company pitched Traces as a younger-feeling show, perfect for the New Victory’s young but discerning audience. It ran in the spring of 2008, thrilling children with its circus-like acrobatics and moving adults with its powerful underpinning of young people trying to make a mark on their surroundings. The New Victory’s penchant for the cutting edge provides interesting points of overlap with the adult theater world. For example, the popular immersive theater experience Sleep No

musical from the veteran Broadway team of Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls, Side Show), Bill Russell (Side Show) and Jeffrey Hatcher (Tuesdays with Morrie) played to a target audience of 4-to-8-year-olds. For ages 10 and up, there’s The Book of Everything, about an imaginative boy growing up in Australia. It’s directed by Neil Armfield, known for his work with Geoffrey Rush on Exit the King and Diary of a Madman. Rounded out by Ahhh HA!, a show combining acrobatics, comedy and live Afro-Hebrew music, this spring brings a New Victory mini-season with all sorts of crossovers into the adult theater world. In fact, defining the precise target age for any given show can be a tricky matter. Laura Kaplow-Goldman, the New Victory’s public relations director, notes that art is subjective and children mature differently. “What one 5-year-old loves, another might be afraid of.” Lloyd agrees, and isn’t too concerned about the occasional Facebook or Twitter complaint from someone who’s been offended. “As long as it makes them feel passionately one way or the other, that for me is what art is all about,” she adds. “The work is of a certain quality. It’s saying something interesting, and whether you disagree with what it’s saying or how it’s being said, that’s completely subjective.” “Kids are such an avant-garde audience. Their imaginations are limitless,” Lloyd says. “You don’t have to dumb it down for them.” S

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The Art Farm In The City

brating e l e C

10 Ye

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Find a spark that ignites your child’s creativity! 419 East 91st Street • 212.410.3117 • TheArtFarms.org

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boys who raise girls

The living room features a large painting by artist Bo Joseph. Lamps are vintage, from Aero. Sofa by Dune. Bronze etagere is vintage 1970s, bought at auction.

Full House

Tom Dolby and Drew Frist, a literary pair, create an enchanting Gramercy Park home for two adorable toddlers. By Jennifer Wright Photography By Loren Wohl t’s 6:30 in the evening in the Dolby-Frist house-

hold, and twins Violet and Julia are getting ready for bed. In their matching blue-and-green pajamas, toddling next to their matching cribs, the girls seem uncharacteristically poised for 16 months—at least until Drew Frist explains that their crayons had recently been switched for Etch A Sketches. (“They wouldn’t stop trying to eat the crayons.”) More positively, Tom Dolby remarks that the girls are at a stage where they seem to really enjoy putting their toys away, which perhaps accounts for the room’s neatness. The bedroom’s whimsy and sophistication speak to the creative drive of the girls’ two dads. The intricate papier-mâché animal heads and

collection of books are a nod to the family’s literary inclinations and taste for travel. The group only recently returned from visiting Tom’s family in Germany. Tom proudly notes how incredibly well the girls held up—even over the long European dinners. When not busy caring for their daughters, traveling, or decorating their new Gramercy Park apartment, Tom and Drew are immersed in the world of writing and technology. Tom is author of the popular Secret Society series of books, something of a cross between Gossip Girl and A Secret History targeted toward a young adult audience. He was also a co-editor of the anthology that inspired the popular Sundance show Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. And he’s branching into pictures—his screenplay is being turned into a film called Last Weekend.

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clockwise from top left: Black and white lithograph by Hugo Guinness, from John Derian. Mid-century abstract painting on fireplace from eBay. Chinese vases, 1920s, from Cafiero Select. Nesting side tables from Gustavo Olivieri Antiques. Chairs are French, 1920s, bought at auction. Vintage Indian screen from the estate of Tony Duquette; Woody, the family’s rescue dog, from Save a Yorkie Rescue. Club chairs from ABC Home. Lamp from High Street Market; Brass and burl wood console is by Paul Evans, 1970s, bought at auction. Giant chess set in window from the Palm Beach Antique & Design Center; The family personalized the kitchen by painting its walls a deep blue-green and adding artwork and a Biedermeier mirror.

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boys who raise girls

Vintage French 1960s dining room table and chairs from Old Town Crossing, Southampton, reupholstered in indoor/ outdoor fabric from Perennials. Vintage stone and brass tusks from the Palm Beach Antique & Design Center.

Tom will co-direct with Tom Williams; filming is slated to begin this summer in California. Drew is the founder of Electric Type, a platform for “innovative, imaginative, independent and interactive digital books.” The company’s first offering was The Jungle Book, illustrated by Nigel Bu­chanan. While Violet and Julia are still a bit young, Drew thinks they’ll enjoy it in a few years, perhaps with their animal heads still beaming down on them as they thrill to Mowgli’s adventures at bedtime. Currently, Tom and Drew are excited to be collaborating on another book, likely geared toward adults, about teen boys in Michigan who inhabit an entirely different world from the privileged Manhattan life of Tom’s Secret Society series. They laugh about background research that entails spending an inordinate amount of time on the Michigan DMV’s Web site, trying to figure out how driving restrictions and permits have changed since they were teenagers. Given Manhattan’s dating trends and Drew’s tech savvy, it’s not surprising that the couple met through social media. The romance began on Friendster, when Drew sent Tom a smiley face. Drew recalls, “Internet dating had long been established, but it was still new to me, so I felt like sending a smiley face was a very appropriate thing to do. I didn’t know it was so passive!” (For the uninitiated, the social media “smile” or “poke” is the equivalent of looking at someone in a bar and

then looking away as quickly as possible.) While not exactly the bold move he thought, the approach had a happy outcome. Just two years later, in 2008, the couple became engaged at the Tuileries Garden in Paris. Drew had secretly brought a ring with him. Having heard security might be searching visitors, he was anxious he’d have to propose right in front of the guards. That doubtless would have added excitement, but fortunately his plan went ahead uninterrupted. “It ended up being a super-romantic day,” says Drew. “Since it was May Day, everyone was carrying lilies of the valley, and it felt like the whole city was in love.” Tom’s mother was quick to celebrate, immediately informing the men that they could be married in California. But that November, California voters passed a ban on same-sex marriages. So the couple moved their wedding plans to Connecticut. “We’re still waiting on California,” Tom notes—and, for that matter, Indiana, Drew’s home state. The girls arrived soon after. The couple always knew that they wanted to have children—though they never expected twins­—and used a surrogate based in California. Her location meant a good deal of flying back and forth. As they were doing so, they put the time to good use; like all expectant parents they read baby books and considered names, looking for ones that sounded somewhat classic and that fit well together. Violet and Julia must have been anxious to meet their dads.

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Kids don’t need all the toys they’re given. They’re happy with about five toys. top: The vintage yellow Indian panel came from the estate of Tony Duquette. The papier-mâché animal heads are from John Derian. Cribs and changing table from Ikea. Bookshelf by West Elm. Orange canvas storage boxes from The Land of Nod; Left: Drew and the girls stack animal boxes in the playroom; Bottom: Tom and Drew found this vintage 1940s bench on eBay. They had it painted yellow and recovered it in Les Toiles du Soleil indoor/outdoor fabric.

“The girls came about a month early,” said Drew, “so we had to speed up all our plans and get out there for the birth.” Now everyone is happily settled in Manhattan. The new apartment provides more room for child-rearing than their original West Village digs, as well as a bit of history: Their residence is a historic prewar condominium facing Gramercy Park. But while New York, unlike California, may embrace same-sex marriage, not every individual does. Tom and Drew hope that the world is evolving in a way that means that the girls will never see their family as anything but normal. “Having the girls, we thought we’d be given strange looks or asked questions,” confides Tom. “If we are, it’s because they’re twins. It’s become one of these things where I think people don’t question. People don’t question children and their legitimacy, and there’s something really lovely about that . . . I think the world is changing. It’s changing slowly, but still changing.” “For the girls, I hope that they feel the same way we do, that it never crosses their mind that we are any different from a traditional family,” continues Tom. “It’s only rarely that someone asks and I think, ‘Oh, yeah, I guess we’re a little different.’ I think the girls will grow up with this seeming very normal, and having a very strong sense of family, they wouldn’t even understand why that question was being asked.” But the issues that accompany nontraditional families are hardly the couple’s only challenge. The dilemma of how to fit everything into the day plagues every parent, of course, as does the struggle to maintain an adult identity—which includes keeping toys out of the gorgeously furnished living room. “We like having adult spaces. We like, if someone comes over, not having all these toys around that we have to throw into a bin. The girls 56

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BOYS WHO RAISE GIRLS

THE FAMILY TAKES A STROLL IN GRAMERCY PARK.

know they can come in here, but they have to understand that they have to be careful.” Which doesn’t stop them from occasionally trying to eat the chess pieces. Tom reports the two dads work really hard to hold the girls to a “no licking the furniture” rule. “Kids fit into your life, not the other way around,” asserts Tom, “We’ve been here longer, and we have rules.” To keep their apartment as adult as possible—especially important as both Drew and Tom work from home—they embrace a minimalist approach regarding the children’s trappings. “Kids don’t need all the toys they’re given. They’re happy with about five toys. If you have more than that, that’s icing on the cake,” remarks Tom. We counted. There were more than five—but none spilling over distractingly into any spaces. The couple plans ultimately to move to larger quarters in Park Slope, anticipating the need for more room as Violet and Julia get older. Not locked into Mommy and Me–style parenting groups, they enjoy taking advantage of Gramercy Park, which gives the twins a safe, confi ned area in which to run about, and regular jaunts to the Union Square playground. They are trying to teach the girls about foreign cultures. They’ve picked up some Spanish words, and a bit of German from Tom’s family. Tom and Drew enjoy hosting international cuisine nights, so Violet and Julia already display sophisticated palates—they’ll never be the kind of people who want to order only plain chicken. (But the two acknowledge it might have been a bit early to start the girls on sushi.) The parents hope to maintain their low-key, loving and practical approach to child rearing during the inevitable ordeal of selecting

schools. Tom and Drew say they strive to avoid becoming obsessive, a precarious task considering the competitive nature of school admissions in New York. Tom frets that as the girls get older, the pair could turn into “the worst helicopter parents.” Tom looks back fondly at his own boarding school days, but worries that being determined to get the twins into a specific school— and even worse, the danger that the girls might feel that they’ve let their parents down if they don’t get in—is a lot of pressure to put on a toddler. That pressure can be even more intense with twins involved, Drew points out, concerned about the consequences if one girl makes it into a school and the other doesn’t. But if one twin is selected at a school, and the other girl fits better somewhere else, they’ll be more than happy to make the trip across town. For Drew and Tom, these concerns easily give way to the simple joys of having two healthy, lively little girls. Yes, there are unique challenges to raising twins—making sure there’s two of everything—but there are advantages, too. Drew fi nds a huge relief in having a “control group” anytime something goes wrong. When Violet gets sick—a situation that can provoke panic in any fi rst-time parent—they can look at Julia, realize that she’s fi ne, and reassure themselves that they’re not accidentally killing the girls. Not, admittedly, that there seems any possibility of that, but it doesn’t hurt to be on the safe side. You never know what crayon ingestion can do to someone. “Have twins, that’s my advice,” remarks Tom—though he still sometimes marvels that he’s a father to two children. But just then, Violet and Julia look so adorable in their matching pajamas that his enthusiasm is easy to understand. S

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SCHOOL DAYS! GETTING INTO PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL ........................P. 60 PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE ................................................P. 61 PRIVATE SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: HOW TO NAVIGATE ....P. 63 THE EXPERTS WEIGH IN ...........................................P. 65

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IF YOUR CHILD IS LEARNING DISABLED ....................P. 66 THE MIDDLE SCHOOL ADMISSIONS GAUNTLET ...........P. 67 NOTED NEW YORKERS REMEMBER THEIR SCHOOL .....P. 69 THE UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOL AWARDS .................P. 71

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School ADMISSIONS

Getting into

Public High School by Danielle Mowery

You decided to take advantage of one of the city’s many excellent public schools, skipping private school admissions headaches and tuition bills. So kick back and relax, right? Not if you’ve got a seventh-grader … Start Early.

Play to your child’s strengths and interests. If your daughter is a soccer fanatic but also plays violin and sings and dances because she’s been doing it so long you won’t let her stop … then please, don’t condemn her to four years of being surrounded by LaGuardia classmates passionate about the interests that annoy her. In other words, put your kid where his or her strengths will be an asset, not a distraction. That goes for learning style and personality, too. Not every scholar belongs at Bard—it’s too intense for many. Not every musician can thrive at Murrow if she feels overwhelmed by the school size. And not every 14-year-old is ready to commute to 60

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Bronx Science, no matter how fabulous. “As kids get older, definitely pick your battles! What parents want is often, at this age, very, very different than what their kids want,” Szuflita notes. “But as long as your child is focused on good criteria, it’s really good to go with their instincts.”

Figure out the application requirements. Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and the other specialized high schools require the SHSAT. Others, like LaGuardia, audition their applicants. All require registration. Some require attending a tour, or signing up (early!) for an interview. Some ask for portfolio sub-

missions that will not be returned. Make life easier—know what each school requires and be prepared!

Create a portfolio. “But my kid isn’t interested in any of those arty schools.” Doesn’t matter. Many schools, both public and private, want to see a portfolio of work. Plus, it’s a good excuse to gather your child’s best papers, showcase his interests and, as an added benefit, create a little snapshot of time. “Public middle schools are very aware of portfolios, and are already tracking students and keeping their work,” explains Szuflita. Adds Aronow, “But moving from private to public, parents and students have to be handling the process more. Start to really pay

gett y

Seriously. There are a lot of amazing public high schools, but not every hyped-up option is a good choice for your kid. Narrow your list now, giving you time to focus on the best fits. Many schools offer spring tours— go on them! “Parents really need to start wrapping their minds around this by the end of seventh grade,” says Brooklyn-based consultant Joyce Szuflita. “Start touring early, and you can return in the fall for a second visit. Schools become known quantities—and it’s a calmer process.” Manhattan-based Robin Aronow adds, “In the fall, it’s such a short period of time to fit in the tours and do the research. Everyone is working and busy!” So how do you really get the school’s vibe? Talk to other parents. Chat with the parent coordinator. Go on extra tours. Check out the kids coming and going. And do the commute! Be realistic about what your child’s daily life will be.

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Public or Private? New York City public schools may have a bad rap for overcrowding, limited resources and poor performance, but the fact is that there are many excellent choices—and the selection is growing. Many schools also have brand-new facilities and equipment. Says one Upper East Side mom who is looking at both the private and public school options for her soon-to-be kindergartener: “I was so impressed by what I saw at the private schools, but then I went to our local public school and they had exactly the same thing.”

ben WEITZENKORN

According to Robin Aronow of School Search NYC, some public school options worth taking a look at include P.S. 6, 183, 290, 158 (in a big old building that scares parents, but has excellent test scores) and 59 (moving into a beautiful new building in September) on the Upper East Side; P.S. 40 and 116 in Gramercy Park; P.S. 3 and 41 in Greenwich Village; P.S. 89, 234, 276 and 397 in Tribeca; and P.S. 9 (just switched from Gifted and Talented to general education), 87, 199 and 333 on the Upper West Side. Newer schools with good reps or high expectations include P.S. 151, 267, 527, 343 and 452. For more info on these and other public schools, check out The Observer’s school rankings (special insert to this issue) and visit InsideSchools.org.

attention to this as seventh grade begins.” Art submissions are their own separate world. If you have questions, check the school’s Web site or call and ask. Figure out both the portfolios and auditions now and give your young artist time to prepare.

Only apply to schools your child really wants to go to. Do not feel compelled to list 12 public high schools on the DOE form just because you can. What happens if you get choice No. 8? Would your teenager really want to spend four years there? Some schools are really exciting; at some point, you’re sure to think, “Wow, I would have loved to go here!” Valuable insight, perhaps, if you and your child are very similar in tastes and strengths. But not the basis for a decision! When Beacon describes the writing requirements and group projects and your son complains, “Please, Mom, don’t make me apply here! I couldn’t handle all that!”—listen to him. Let him tell you why he feels that way. Maybe it’s something you can talk through. Or maybe he’s just right, and it’s

not the school for him. “It’s better to be at a school you really love than a school your parents might think is the smart choice,” counsels Szuflita. “Often, it makes for a more motivated student. Balance your priorities with your child’s level of enthusiasm and interests.” Similarly, let your children apply to schools even if you’re convinced they won’t get in. If they are excited, go for it! Just let them know that even if the school loves them, they can only accept so many. But do not stand in the way of enthusiasm. If that motivation makes other elements fall in place, then be a smart parent and see it as part of the process. Plus, you really never know …

Enjoy the process. It’s exhausting, it’s stressful and it definitely can be frustrating. But the application process gives you great insight into what motivates your child, what she values in a school and her classmates, and how she handles making a choice. So as you weather the chaos, embrace it as the rare opportunity it is—a chance to get a better perspective on your rapidly evolving teen. S

There are also a number of Gifted and Talented programs scattered throughout the city. Some, such as P.S. 77 Lower Lab School, serve just one district, while others, such as NEST+m and Anderson, are citywide. And, of course, Hunter stands out. -Tamara Loomis

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A few things to know about getting your young scholar into the right NYC kindergarten by Tamara Loomis

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o you thought it was tough to

get a classic-six rent-controlled apartment on Central Park West? For NYC parents, that’s nothing compared to the private school admissions process. Landing a spot in a top-tier kindergarten in the city is as competitive as—if not more than—getting into Harvard. By all measures, it’s just getting worse. Struggling public schools, not enough private schools, parents having more kids, and the 9/11 baby boom have produced the perfect storm, says Suzanne Rheault, founder of Aristotle Circle. “The music stops and not all the kids have a chair.” But the frenzy over kindergarten admissions is, well, simply a frenzy. Once you recognize that there are more than 800 private schools in the city—and a growing

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number of outstanding public schools (see p.60) —you’ll realize that your options are much greater than you first thought. So don’t start packing your bags for the suburbs. Instead, read on for a rundown of the strategies for getting your kid into a NYC private school. What matters most? The three most important components of the kindergarten application are the preschool director’s report, the ERB and the school interview. Let’s take each in turn.

The Preschool Director’s Report A key part of every private school application is the nursery school report written by the teacher and reviewed by the preschool director. This means that the director’s skill at getting students into private school will directly affect your chances. So if you are still choosing a preschool, check into the school’s placement track record. Many preschool directors are surprisingly inept at getting their students placed in the right schools, says one educational consultant. But she assures Scooter that directors at the leading preschools are good at this. “If they weren’t, they get fired.” Clearly, you need to maintain a good relationship with your nursery school. Volunteering to fund-raise and work in the classroom, donating money, joining a committee, attending social functions—all good ideas, says educational consultant (and

former Horace Mann associate director of admissions) Dana Haddad. “You don’t want to be seen as a difficult parent.” Accept that your preferences are not necessarily a priority for the director. A director’s job is to get all of the preschoolers placed in the best schools possible. “They are your brokers,” says Victoria Goldman, author of The Manhattan Family Guide to Private Schools. “They see your kid in a certain kind of school and you need to work with them.” If you don’t, you could find yourself shut out altogether. One parent recalls being pushed by the director to make Riverdale her first choice, though she preferred Ethical Culture. She was smart and didn’t push back and her kid now goes to Riverdale. “What do you think your chances are going against the grain of the nursery school director? None!” Goldman says.

The ERB ERB stands for the Educational Records Bureau, which administers the standardized test used by virtually all New York City private schools. Its ability to predict which 4-yearolds will flourish and which won’t is debatable—even the ERB itself admits it is not an indicator of future performance. But it’s ubiquitous, largely because it’s the only uniform, quantitative measure an admissions director has. “Rejecting a kid based on his or her test score is the easiest way to cull the pile,” Rheault says. The exam is the revised Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI, aptly pronounced “whoopsie”), an I.Q. test designed to explore everything from a child’s vocabulary to his ability to perform fine motor skills and solve math problems. The threshold for most competitive schools is 95, and for some schools as high as 98. And you get one shot—there’s no retaking the ERB, absent extraordinary circumstances.

The School Interview The format for the school interview can involve a play group, a one-on-one with a teacher or a combination. Kids are tested on dozens of areas including fine and gross motor skills, reading readiness, peer interaction and the ability to follow directions, as well as offbeat assessments like how they hold a crayon or

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The application process also includes the parent interview, school tour and parent essay. Standing on their own, none of these means you’re a shoo-in … although if you screw up, they can ruin your chances altogether. Consultants have endless horror stories of parents putting their feet in their mouths. “I had a parent say to the admissions director at Friends Seminary, ‘So what the hell is so friendly about this place?’” Amanda Uhry, the founder of Manhattan Private School Advisors, winces. “Another parent visiting an all-boys school asked the director, ‘Do you still believe in corporeal punishment?’ Goodbye!” So keep it straight, do your research and try to match up what the school cares about with what you care about. And keep the following don’ts in mind: 1. Don’t brag. That goes for you and your child both. The director doesn’t care about the amazing things you’ve done, or the celebrities you know. And while you should portray your child in a positive light—and highlight actual accomplishments—remember that he or she is 4 years old, and the director knows that. Your preschool director can say your kid is No. 1 in the class (whatever that means), but you can’t. 2. Don’t complain, either. It’s the school’s job to find out about any issues your child may have, and they will find out. You don’t need to help them out here. That said, most of the mainstream schools are not set up to handle children with special learning needs (Columbia Prep, Fordham Prep and Trevor Day are exceptions). The good news is that there are a slew of special education schools in the city, such as Steven Gaynor, that work with dyslexic kids (see sidebar, p.66). The bad news is that some are even more selective and more expensive than the mainstream schools. 3.Don’t get personal. “Don’t share where you’ve spent your vacation, or that you have 64

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4. Don’t ask probing questions. Off-limits questions include the size of the school’s endowment, percentage of teachers with advanced degrees, and any controversial publicity the school may have experienced. As much as you may want to chat about sex scandals with the director of Poly Prep, it’s not a good idea.

Should I pay to prep my kid?

The official word is that you are not supposed to prep your kid for the ERB, but these days, everybody does it anyway, says Haddad. And most schools appear to have come around to accepting this as a given. “In the last two years, I’ve never seen an ERB that states, ‘This child has been prepped,’” Haddad says. Suzanne Rheault of Aristotle Circle is the professional most often credited—or vilified—for the widespread practice of prepping for the ERB. She says she’s just leveling the playing field. “Some nursery schools—the feeder schools—did a much better job in preparing kids for the ERB. How is it that at some preschools all the kids scored 95 and above? Somehow they were gaming the system,” Rheault says. With offerings of sample tests, workbooks and professional prep consultants, “we were the first to demystify the ERB test.” Prepping is also becoming more common for other aspect of the admissions process. Consultants offer mock interviews or playgroups for kids, mock interviews for parents, editing services for parent essays and just about everything else you think you may need to get a leg up.

Are the top-tier schools really all that?

By most standards, yes. NYC private schools took five of the top 10 spots in a 2010 list of the 20 best prep schools in Forbes. Trinity captured the No. 1 spot, and Horace Mann, Brearley, Collegiate and Spence came in second, fourth, seventh and ninth, respectively. Two more NYC schools—Chapin and Dalton—took the 11th and 13th spots on the list. And don’t believe the hype about how students at a top-tier NYC school are actually at a disadvantage these days, because colleges are supposedly more focused on geographic diversity. According to Forbes, all the NYC

schools in its list boast acceptance rates into the Ivys, MIT and Stanford of 30 percent or more. Trinity’s acceptance rate is an astonishing 41 percent and Collegiate, at 40 percent, is right behind. But it’s important to think about whether such a rigorous education—and competitive atmosphere—is right for your child and you. Once you’re in, the pressure shifts to staying in. “The parents’ fear of getting counseled out is huge,” says Rheault. “If your kid gets booted out of third grade, what are you going to do?” The result is an “arms race of aca-

Don’t share that you have a driver Waiting. Don’t ASK What they’re wearing, it’s not the oscars. demic tutoring,” she says. And the workload is intense—by high school, students can expect to spend four to five hours a night on homework. These schools are not known as mini-colleges for nothing. “Compared to Horace Mann, Brown [University] was a breeze,” says one graduate of both.

What are some alternatives to the top tier?

Let’s face it—whether you consider five or 15 schools to be top tier, we’re talking about a few hundred students out of the approximately 3,000 kids taking the ERB. (This is an estimate: The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York, which hires the ERB to administer the test, does not make this number public.) But luckily, there are many other schools to choose from, and the difference between the socalled top tier and the others is narrowing, and in many cases, really just a matter of who’s ranking them. Riverdale, Fieldston/Ethical Culture and St. Ann’s in Brooklyn are just a sampling of the schools that are just as competitive as the

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What else is involved?

a driver waiting,” Goldman says. “Don’t ask what they are wearing—it’s not the Academy Awards.”

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whether they can stand on one foot. The interview also helps the schools in their quest to create a balanced classroom. In addition to a balanced boy-girl ratio and range of ages, schools like to have different types of personalities represented in the classroom, Haddad says.

Jo yc e

School ADMISSIONS


School ADMISSIoNS

the eXPertS weigh in Robin Aronow, who consults on private and public school admissions in Manhattan; Joyce Szuflita, whose practice focuses on Brooklyn; and clinical psychologist Shamir Khan, founder of the NYC Private Schools Blog, are here to add a little sanity to an insane time.

on getting starteD …

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Joyce szuflita: Go on the tours, definitely. You want to get a general feeling of the school that is very personal. Pay special attention to the block area, the indoor play space, the children’s artwork and any of the “specials” that the school offers: music, dance, yoga, etc.

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fita

robin aronow: You might get a rooftop playground instead of blocks. With every school there may be a tradeoff, but very rarely is it not a good fit for a child at this age. It is a second home for them, however, and parents will be intimately involved. You need to trust the teachers and administrators in their experience with child development. Joyce szuflita: You can start this in a very relaxed way, a couple years early even. Tour a few schools in the neighborhood. Have those stroller and playground chats. Ask questions at the soccer field, especially of families with older children. Go to a school at pickup time and start the Robin conversations with parents.

A n ro

ow

on Managing eXpeCtations … robin aronow: All the way through, from pre-K on to college, families tend to get a little narrow in their focus. I encourage them that before they disregard any program, they do a little search with just your child in mind. Don’t just go for the most popular schools or the most prestigious. Keep your eyes open for those under-the-radar opportunities. shamir Khan: Parents should try to manage their own anxiety and not transfer it to their child. Parents should try to manage their disappointment in case the child does not get admitted to a particular school. They should try to reassure the child that it was not the child’s fault, and they will find a good fit for the child.

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Joyce szuflita: If you are a parent who only wants your child to go the most best, most elite school, you have to be ready to be disappointed. You might be too narrow and focused in your aspirations. Before you disregard any program, do a little investigating. Some wonderful schools that are flying under the radar might have an easier entry; keep your eyes open for the “unpopular opportunity.”

robin aronow: Plus, having your child go to a less top-tiered school, a school where they might really excel, can be much better for them in future applications than competing with 10 other kids who are high achievers and going for the same secondary school later.

Joyce szuflita: Most of the people who have gone into education have gone in because they love working with children at that age and developmental level. They are not focused on the next round of admissions. They are mainly focused on your child now.

robin aronow: You have to balance it out. What works for your child? And breathe easy— there are always schools that have openings. There will be a school out there available, sometimes at the last moment, but, honestly, it all does work out!

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if your child is learning disabled... schools that made the Forbes list. Other highly regarded schools include Friends, Columbia Grammar, Birch Wathen Lenox, Browning, Cathedral, Hewitt, Marymount, Sacred Heart and Trevor Day. Grace Church is opening a high school in September. Don’t overlook the schools that go only through eighth grade, such as Bank Street School, Cathedral, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s, Allen-Stevenson, Little Red Schoolhouse, St. Bernard’s, Buckley and the Town School. Among other things, “they help keep kids younger a little longer,” says Robin Aronow of School Search NY. In general, it’s recommended that parents apply to 10 to 15 schools, including “reaches, reasonable choices and safety schools—like college,” Aronow says. And be aware of public school options and their deadlines as well. “I knew of a case where the parents applied to eight private schools and were waitlisted at every one,” she says. “And they had missed the public school deadline.”

Do connections matter?

It depends. Being a legacy—a child of an alum or a faculty member, or a sibling— still means a lot, although it’s no longer the magic bullet it used to be, Haddad says. She cites a recent case where the parents had two children at Horace Mann and were shocked when the third was rejected. Uhry echoes this observation: “It’s very difficult to say no to a sibling but it happens all the time.” Because spots are so tight, multiples have an especially hard time of it. “You see very few twins at the top-tier schools,” Uhry says. A contact or relationship with the school community can raise your file out of anonymity but not necessarily get you in, says Roxana Reid of Smart City Kids. That said, even if you do have a connection to a director, you may be better off with a recommendation from a school parent who knows you and your kid really well.

What about diversity?

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ward recruiting and retaining families with a connection to the global marketplace, Reid says. Some schools truly excel: At Fieldston’s Lower School, the 2011–12 kindergarten class is half minority, Dalton’s is 47 percent, and Trinity’s is 45 percent. Reid cites Spence, Friends, Grace Church and Manhattan Country School as other schools that stand out for diversity initiatives.

Should I redshirt my kid?

Redshirting—or delaying your kid’s entrance into kindergarten—is a dangerous thing to consider on your own, Reid says. Some schools have strict cutoff dates, and will force you to apply to the first-grade class if your kid is considered too old for kindergarten. Conversely, many private schools are actually asking parents with summerbirthday students to wait a year to apply. So the answer is: Check first with the schools you are interested in. Should the school ask you to wait, the question then becomes whether to stay with your preschool or enroll your child in public kindergarten. Parents with fall-birthday students also face this dilemma, because the private school cutoff is Sept. 1 and the public school cutoff is Dec. 31—and the latter does not permit parents to redshirt. Aronow says that repeating nursery school gives your kid—being older—the potential to be a leader in the class. Plus, you keep access to the all-important nursery school director’s report. But going public means a big cost savings, and your child may well be ready to move on to kindergarten. Finally, you may find that you actually like the public school, Aronow says. “I think that every family has to be aware of their public school options, especially younger kids who have zoned schools.” To keep the private school option open, she suggests seeking out people other than your old nursery school director to speak on your behalf. So despite the instinct to panic, be reassured. Your kid will get an education, and quite possibly one that is better than 99 percent of what’s out there on the other side of the Hudson. “It’s like going down that yellow brick road,” Goldman says. “There are flying monkeys and there are wizards, but at the end, you will find a home.” S

Nearly 20 percent of people in the United States have a languagebased learning disability, like dyslexia. Is your child one of them? If so, finding a school becomes a whole different ball game. “The search is harder. You have to dig deeper,” says Joyce Szuflita. Adds Robin Aronow, “Public schools, including top high schools, have a new mandate to accommodate more special needs kids this fall. But finding the right fit is still a challenge.” Dealing with other parents can be overwhelming, too. “A parent whose child might not have the same options wants to be happy for their friends’ kids, but it’s harder to talk about with their friends. There are so many hurt feelings,” says Szuflita. “It’s important for parents in this process to be kind to each other.” Private schools specializing in learning disabilities, thankfully, do exist. Getting into one can be daunting, since there are such limited seats. But here are a few stellar options. -Danielle Mowery

Grades K–12 Churchill 301 East 29th Street Mary McDowell Friends School Elementary, middle and high school in Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens and Brooklyn Heights) Grades K–8 Gateway 211 West 61st Street The Stephen Gaynor School 148 West 90th Street The Sterling School 299 Pacific Street, Brooklyn Grades 6–12 Winston Prep 126 West 17th Street

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Middle School Gauntlet

NYC kids grow up fast. But 10 is a tender age to worry about wrecking your future because of a bad interview. by Kristen Iversen

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ith a son age 10, I’ve come to expect the unexpected. Little fazes me anymore. Walking into his bathroom to see the sink full of a brackish and bubbling blue liquid concocted during a play date? No big deal. Finding crumpled-up notes in the darkest recesses of his backpack that ardently declare first crushes? A weekly occurrence, now. Being requested to examine his underarms for the first signs of newly sprouted body hair? I must admit I paused for a second at this request, but quickly took it in stride. But not so long ago, my son came home from school and rather dramatically deposited his coat, hat and lone remaining glove on the floor before launching into a torrent. “Linus said that there is no chance of getting into M.S. 51 unless we have it listed it as my No. 1 choice on the application form. Did we do that? Henry already has an interview appointment scheduled. Why haven’t they scheduled me for an interview yet? Do you know what Charlie told me? He told me that M.S. 447 only accepted 9 percent of the kids who applied last year. Do you know who else only accepts 9 percent of its applicants? ” His voice had grown progressively more high-pitched. He practically squeaked the word I was simultaneously whispering. “Harvard.” We said it in unison. “What if I don’t get in anywhere? What if all my friends get into the same school and I’m somewhere else?” he asked. His shoulders slumped. He sat down next to me on the couch and—for the first time in a long while—let me smooth his hair down. I hugged him. He had seemed to outgrow my hugs around the time that his shoe size surpassed my own, but with the advent of middle school application stress, all previously established norms were abandoned. All this left me in a state of shock. As I tried to assure him that he had nothing to worry about—that he had always done well

in school, that he was a well-behaved student who was beloved by his teachers, that everything would be just fine—I shuddered to realize my son was now encountering a very adult experience: that of constantly wondering, Am I good enough? I suppose I had lulled myself into thinking that the era of internalized torment and selfdoubt were still several years away for him. Could it really be that only my son felt the weight of his entire academic future on his shoulders? Were his friends Linus and Henry able to talk about the process so blithely because they were worry-free? I had to find out. What I discovered was reassuring only in that I learned that my son was not alone in his angst. This was of little comfort though, when I considered the extent to which 10-year-old kids are regularly tortured by a process that seems to exist nowhere but New York City, though it traces its roots to the Spanish Inquisition. On the playground, I asked a father if filling out the applications had been difficult for his son. He smiled and ran his hand through his hair. “Let me just put it this way: There have been tears.” “The most difficult part is making a 10-year-old describe his good and bad qualities in an essay. They’re only just becoming self-aware, and this heightens all their other insecurities. This whole process is so against their age.” A friend who has remained childless heard me out for one particularly lengthy rant, then inquired, “But why are you going through all this? Don’t they all just go to the same school? The school near your apartment? ” Well, no. No, they don’t. In an attempt to achieve as much academic parity as possible in an unwieldy and academically uneven public school system, the New York City Department of Education has divided the city into districts, and the districts into zones. All children have a zoned

neighborhood elementary school. Parents may sometimes send their child elsewhere, for a number of reasons, but are guaranteed a spot in that school by virtue of where they live. Some neighborhood public schools, particularly in our Brooklyn neighborhood, are so coveted that they become the primary

The most difficult part is making a 10-year-old describe his good and bad qualities in an essay. selling points of local real estate. Forget about views of Prospect Park! This two-bedroom is zoned for P.S. 321! When kids reach middle school, the system changes. Rather than being zoned for a particular middle school, students can apply to any of the middle schools within their district. Districts cut across different neighborhoods and each child is only guaranteed a spot in one of the schools within the district, not necessarily their top choice and not necessarily a competitive school. There are also a handful of citywide middle schools, all of which require an extensive testing and interview process—and all of which make a 9 percent acceptance rate look incredibly inclusive. Students are required to fill out an application listing their top choices. If those schools match up with the schools that want them, they’re in. It sounds simple enough. But when you have over 2,000 children, with negligible differences in their report cards and test re-

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School ADMISSIONS

sults, applying for 175 spots, things start to get scary. The top schools openly tell you they examine attendance records dating back to fourth grade in an effort to determine which students will be accepted. Spending that extra day in Beaver Creek last winter break suddenly seems like a significant turning point in your child’s future. As intimidating as these statistics are, they’re nothing new to New York City parents. This is, in a sense, just what we signed up for. We knew there would always be competition, that we would always need to keep an edge. But foreknowledge does little to lessen the shock of watching children assuming the burden to not just achieve, but to exceed. Soon enough, high school, SATs and col-

lege applications will inevitably dominate many teenagers’ nightmares. But there is something disconcerting about a 10-year-old knowing the acceptance rate for Ivy League schools. When I looked up Harvard’s actual acceptance rate and found it to be hovering around 6 percent, I gleefully told my son not to worry because his preferred middle school was actually more like Dartmouth— and everyone knows that’s a safety Ivy. Middle school acceptance letters don’t arrive until late spring. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to allay my son’s anxieties. I’ve certainly convinced myself that he has worked hard in school, that he is an intellectually curious and active child, and that, byzantine as the system is, in the end even the Department of Education wants children to be placed in the best learning environment for

their individual needs. So we went for his interview at one of his top choices. I tried not to let my nerves show, so he could maintain the relaxed composure we had worked so hard on. It took quite a while for him to come out of the interview. Other kids who had entered after him came out sooner. My eyes stayed fixed on the door until I saw him come through. “How did it go?” I asked, trying to keep my voice level. His face broke into a grin. “Wonderful. It was no big deal.” And he ran off to join his friends and talk about the questions they had been asked, chattering and giggling like kids. Which is what they are. S

acknowledgements

Beatriz Beckford Brooklyn Food Coalition brooklynfoodcoalition.ning.com Leni Calas The Mamas Network queensmamas.com Shamir A. Khan, Ph.D. NYC Private Schools Blog nycprivateschoolsblog.com Parents League of New York parentsleague.org Gina Parker-Collins RIISE (Resources In Independent School Education) 4riise.org Joyce Szuflita NYC Schools Help nycschoolhelp.com

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Pamela Wheaton InsideSchools.org AND TO: BronxMamas.com Jennifer Brozost & Vimmi Shross Private Education Advisory Services (PEAS) nypeas.com Sandra Clifton Clifton Corner cliftoncorner.com Susan Fox Park Slope Parents parkslopeparents.com Blythe Grossberg, Psy.D. Michael McCurdy NYC Gifted and Talented Blog nycgiftedandtalented.wordpress. com MommyPoppins.com

gett y (4)

Robin Aronow, Ph.D. School Search NYC schoolsearchnyc.com

spring 2012

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School ADMISSIoNS

olD School

New Yorkers credit the educational institutions that launched them on the path to success. by Corynne Steindler

Starting her freshman year at brooklyn tech in Fort greene, lucy liu tells Scooter she went on to have “an amazing experience at Stuyvesant,” where she matriculated as a sophomore. “My brother went to Stuyvesant. My parents stressed the importance of it. It seemed to be, ‘If you don’t end up there, you’re going to end up at your local high school,’ and that wasn’t really something they wanted to happen.” liu recalls “the pressure and intensity for teenagers at the time to do well on the SAts and to score. even to get into Stuyvesant was intense.” growing up in Queens, “it took an hour to get to school.” but the commute had its perks. “there was something very external about Manhattan,” she adds. “I just found it really opening to be in the city . . . there’s a style that you kind of fall into when you’re buying vintage clothes and hanging out at the park.”

Pete Shapiro Co-founder, Brooklyn Bowl; publisher, Relix magazine Dalton ’91 Friends of Relix publisher Pete Shapiro would not be surprised to learn he was a “nice, creative” kid at Dalton—nor that the Brooklyn Bowl cofounder remembers “getting chased on 86th Street in front of Toy Park,” and the occasional Saturday night spent “drinking 40s on Upper East Side stoops” during senior year. Shapiro’s high school passion was basketball. “I had a public-access TV show with a classmate, where we covered sports at Dalton,” he recalls. “And I held Nerf basketball tournaments in my room between classes.” Dalton prepared Shapiro for success in publishing and nightlife: “I learned to navigate chaos and to make it somewhat controlled.”

Brad Zeifman Principal, Shadow PR The Dwight School, ’95 “There’s nothing like going to high school in New York City,” maintains Brad Zeifman, half of the power team that started public relations firm Shadow PR in 2008. “Some describe it as an early loss of innocence, but I see it as a getting an amazing head start. I saw from a very early age what this city could offer if you hustled and connected with the right people.” At Dwight, Zeifman was part of the school’s first baseball team, though he wasn’t exactly known as a jock. “Picture the teacher’s pet meets the class clown meets the life of the party, and that was me,” he recalls. “Oh wait, that’s still me. “

James Mallios Owner, Amali Restaurant Bronx Science ’92 the onetime “captain of the best debate team in the country,” James Mallios has no qualms revealing he was “duke of the nerds” at bronx Science. Mallios started at parochial school in Queens, but Science “opened the city for me.” his newly opened restaurant Amali, on east 60th Street, “has New york in its bones … literally,” he tells Scooter. “Almost every surface is repurposed from buildings in New york city.” even better? “opening the restaurant has even reunited me with some of my classmates from bronx Science, who now visit regularly.”

Tina Charles Center, the Connecticut Sun Christ the King, ’06 I was an “overachiever,” says WNBA star Tina Charles. “I would want good grades—and not just to get by in academics—and to be a good role model of what a student athlete should be in high school.” Going to school in Queens helped Charles “learn about different cultures.” She became “street smart” through years of “traveling on public transportation … It helped me mature and carry myself a certain way.”

Richie Akiva The Butter Group Columbia Prep; the Dwight School ’95 His ninth-grade report card read, “Richie Akiva is one of the most enthusiastic and social students I’ve ever met.” Indeed: The owner of Butter, the Darby and 1Oak is grateful for his city education. “Going to high school in New York City exposed me to a lot of art, music and culture at a young age. I was out every night making a name for myself, establishing relationships and watching the power players at work. When it came time to start my own business, I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like and I had the relationships to help make it happen.”

Alexis Swerdloff Executive Editor, Paper magazine Chapin School, ’00

Growing up in Brooklyn, Paper magazine’s executive editor Alexis Swerdloff (the original Gawker “Intern Alexis”) attended St. Ann’s before entering Chapin for high school, where she wrote for school paper The Limelight. Though a hard-working student, “I don’t think I was a full-on ‘nerd,’ because I was pretty social.” The switch from Brooklyn in ninth grade was a culture shock; many of her new classmates “had never been downtown, let alone Brooklyn. My friends from Chapin thought Bloomingdale’s was downtown!”

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Lucy Liu Actress Stuyvesant ’86

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M

anhattan Country School is a pre-kindergarten through 8th grade independent school that has both a city and a farm campus. Our goals for students are academic excellence, independent thought, social awareness, self-confidence, and firsthand knowledge of the natural world. MCS is unique among NYC independent schools in having a 180-acre working farm integral to the curriculum, broad economic diversity and a sliding-scale tuition policy.

www.manhattancountryschool.org 212-348-0952 admissions@manhattancountryschool.org

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Unique New York School Awards

SCOOTER’S LIST OF SCHOOLS THAT STAND OUT

Most International Faculty UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (UNIS)

BEN WEITZENKORN; GETT Y

24-50 F.D.R. Dr. Mix the kids of diplomats, ambassadors and the U.N. community with selected New York City kids who have multicultural backgrounds, along with the children of professionals whose jobs require constant international travel—and what do you get? A student body in which nearly every student speaks more than one language—with a diverse sampling of many different mother tongues. (Students at UNIS come from over 120 countries, while the staff represents nearly 60 nationalities, according to the school’s Web site.)

The school is tucked away at the edge of the East River by Waterside Plaza. Even in our cosmopolitan city, such guaranteed exposure to multiple worldviews is not a given. Classroom discussions at UNIS can’t help but have an international perspective based on personal knowledge. Course offerings in French, Arabic, Rus-

sian, Chinese and a slew of other languages complement the international curriculum and ensure that these youngsters’ worldly inclinations thrive. Admission is competitive, especially in the upper grades. The school operates on the IB (International Baccalaureate) system, facilitating transfers between other countries—or just adding another impressive notch to college applications. —Danielle Mowery

newyorkharborschool.org to decide if it’s the right fit for their child. A school application is also available online. Ships ahoy! (Sorry.) —Stella Psaroudakis CHEF BOBO OF THE CALHOUN SCHOOL.

Most Anticipated New Building HIGH SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN

Best. Commute. Ever. NEW YORK HARBOR SCHOOL

550 Wheeler Ave., Governors Island Do you have a budding Jacques Cousteau (or even Steve Zissou) in your midst? Then this is a don’t-miss: After eight years on a Bushwick campus, the students of the New York Harbor School in 2010 quite literally set sail for their newly renovated home on the truly exclusive and expansive Governors Island. Students travel to and from the school via a special ferry, enjoying an unbeatable commute starring the Manhattan skyline, the New York harbor and maritime life. Students in the professional diving program can achieve a scientific diving certification (it’s the only U.S. high school to offer this), with training offered in the Bahamas and Bonaire—not so narrowly edging out Mystic, Conn., in terms of seaworthy school trips. With a dedicated aquaculture lab, and courses in coastal piloting and seamanship and underwater robotics, this high school curriculum is peerless. Fascinated parents should view the documentary Classroom on the Water at

outside of the classroom. Programs include volleyball, golf, ballroom dance, basketball, martial arts and Pilates. The school opened its new gymnasium in 2004, and added a green roof in 2005. Notable alumni include Ben Stiller and Wendy Wasserstein. —Corynne Steindler

Culinary Excellence CALHOUN SCHOOL

174 West 74th St. (pre-K through first grade)/433 West End Ave. (second through 12th grades) At the Calhoun School’s Upper School, located in an iconic building resembling a TV set, students from grades two through 12 all know “Chef Bobo,” who was hired from the French Culinary Institute in 2002 with the goal of sprucing up the lunch program. The prep school takes a “holistic approach to healthy eating” through its lunch program, which is called “Eat Right Now.” Students are offered healthy, highend lunches and snacks as an alternative to typical drab cafeteria fare at many schools. The chef also visits classrooms, offering cooking demonstrations and teaching students about the science and culture of food. Calhoun offers its 750 students diverse opportunities to excel

1075 Second Ave. Massive, cool and loaded with tech, Art and Design is zooming into the 21st century with a new home at East 57th Street and Second Avenue after over 50 years just around the corner. A New York classic that’s been readying the next generation in fashion design, cartooning, digital photography, graphic design, video production and architectural design since the ’30s, Art and Design will be sharing space, and perhaps some of its fabulous vibe, with P.S. 59, while a Whole Foods will occupy the building’s ground floor. “I loved being at Art and Design,” one alum from the late 1970s fondly recalled, “but that building was old even when I was there!” —DM

Best Tech Gadgets WILLIAMSBURG HIGH SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN

257 North Sixth St., Brooklyn If AutoCAD and digital photography equipment aren’t enough to woo a techie heart, how about a 3D printer which renders student designs into plastic miniatures that can be held,

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UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOLS

loved and shown off in a way that is so much cooler than paper or even computer versions? For the nearly 500 students in this Williamsburg multi-high-school building, architecture is woven into the curriculum starting from day one. Digital photography is used to study historic preser vat ion by c apt u r i n g architectural detail, as well as deterioration, which is then further analyzed. Art classes incorporate building principles and even math courses focus on the pragmatic end results. Turning tomorrow’s design visions into today’s miniaturized reality is just one fun part of this unique Brooklyn package. —DM

NYC iSCHOOL

131 Avenue of the Americas Because NYC iSchool shares space with the Chelsea Career and Technical High School, students trek to the fourth and fi fth floors of this 1848 downtown building. Those two floors do not include a gym, so no physical education classes are held at the school. (Gym requirements

RIVERDALE COUNTRY SCHOOL

are satisfied at a nearby recreation center or by getting credit for after-school activities.) But every day, this innovative high school gives its students more than mental calisthenics in their project-based modules—climbing to the top floor guarantees that they are starting their day with a better workout than most New Yorkers! —DM

Most Dramatic Campus RIVERDALE COUNTRY SCHOOL

5250 Fieldston Rd. and 1 Spaulding Lane, Bronx From Beijing to Botswana, Riverdale is making inroads in sending kids out of the country for global studies. Its character development program ( “mind, character, commitment, community”), initiated by headmaster Dominic Randolph, was the subject of a New York Times Magazine profi le last year, sparking discussion throughout New York’s education community. And the school’s balanced view of testing, coupled with its farsighted focus on educating to-

NYC ISCHOOL

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mor row’s s o c i a l- c h a n ge entrepreneurs (Riverdale partners with local schools including KIPP and the Bronx Academy of Letters), sends a strong message to students and parents alike. But what visitors are likely to notice first are the two stunningly lush campuses, comprising over 27 acres and impressive buildings. The Lower School and its rolling fields are situated by the Hudson River, below Wave Hill, at what Google Maps hilariously labels “Riverdale Country School for Girls.” Which it was, until the school went coed in 1972—when Google didn’t quite yet exist (though Riverdale students had access to the proto-Internet as early as 1970). The landscape is even more striking at the original 1907 Fieldston Road campus, where a formidable 1960s athletic center, built into the hillside, rises from the playing field below. Students hail from the surrounding area as well as Manhattan and Westchester. J.F.K. and brothers Bobby and Ted attended for several years while their fam-

ily lived nearby; recent grads of note include Carly Simon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series creator Joss Whedon (whose mom taught science there), Daily Candy founder Dany Levy and writer Molly Jong-Fast. —DM

Best P.T.A. Events P.S. 295: THE STUDIO SCHOOL OF ART AND CULTURE

330 18th St., Brooklyn On April 9, 2011, hundreds of parents and children converged on the street in front of P.S. 295 in Brooklyn for the couldn’t-miss event of the season: The “TouchA-Truck” fund-raiser. The event featured 17 awesome trucks, from garden tractors to fire trucks, for kids of all ages to see and touch and even climb. The sensational event thrilled the tots—not to mention the school’s P.T.A., often referred to as “the little engine that could.” The one-day fund-raiser brought in $26,000 of badly needed funds. Perched on the outskirts of Park Slope, P.S. 295 serves just over 400 pre-K-to-fifth-grade students. With budget cuts a

BEN WEITZENKORN; COURTESY OF RIVERDALE COUNTRY SCHOOL

Best Workout Without a School Gym

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UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOLS

harsh reality at every level of education, the school’s parents, teachers and students band together to do their share, and then some. P.T.A. co–vice president (and “Touch-A-Truck” co-chair) Amy Janzen describes the group as a “wonderfully diverse community—a creative group of parents hustling to raise as much money for the school as they can.” With the “Touch-A-Truck” fund-raiser proceeds, the P.T.A. was able to hire a yearlong support teacher for fourth- and fi fth-grade students, helping to alleviate overcrowding. Funds from other successful events (the “Beat the Blahs” concert series, the Spring Arts Festival, the October Dance-A-Thon and Silent Art Auction) have gone to support a music enrichment program partnership with the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (which concludes with a concert featuring students in grades K through five), as well as regular trips to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and other cultural experiences. This year’s “Touch-A-Truck” event on April 28 will feature over 22 trucks, including tow trucks, fire trucks and police cars, along with an antique ce-

ment truck, a variety of food trucks and an art truck. Did we mention the bouncy house? If that isn’t enough to get your tykes’ engines revving, we don’t know what will. —SP

Best Place for Kids to Get Their Hands Dirty P.S. 216: THE ARTURO TOSCANINI SCHOOL

350 Ave. X, Brooklyn For the past 10 years, the movement toward the consumption of local and organic produce has become increasingly passionate. This discussion has made its way from the dinner table to the lunchroom, with wellness advocates fighting to make a difference in the way children eat. In 2010, Edible Schoolyard NYC transformed a cement parking lot at Brooklyn’s P.S. 216 into a nearly three-quarter-acre organic garden, where kindergartners are taught to harvest apples and pear trees, winter melon, dill, garlic, lettuce and a multitude of other produce. An affiliate of a program founded by Alice Waters, Edible Schoolyard NYC has created a garden curriculum for every grade level from kindergarten

through fi fth. The garden and kitchen are used as starting points for interdisciplinary lessons tied to math, science and social studies. Kindergartners learn about planting in patterns and worm composting; fi rst graders compose poems about the signs of spring; fifth graders help organize a harvest event for their community. Every class participates in hands-on organic gardening classes that reinforce the academic curriculum. Over 60 types of fruits, grains, herbs and vegetables are cultivated and used in the children’s lunch menu, completing the circle from farm to table. A dedicated kitchen classroom and cooking teacher are on the menu for 2012. Principal Celia Kaplinsky, who traveled to Berkeley to visit Waters’s original school garden, calls this “living program” a new way of life for the students. “The children plant, grow, harvest and eat; it’s an all-encompassing experience.” One mark of its success? Parents clamoring to get their children into the school. And what change has it made in the eating habits of these students? “The kids are now raving about salads every day,” Kaplinsky says. “At first they didn’t know what chickpeas were. Now they get upset if they don’t see them in the salad bar.” —SP

Silver Screen Award

COURTESY OF PS 216; GETT Y

FIORELLO H. LAGUARDIA HIGH SCHOOL OF MUSIC & ART AND PERFORMING ARTS

P.S. 216: THE ARTURO TOSCANINI SCHOOL

100 Amsterdam Ave. This year, 9,000 students applied for entrance to LaGuardia Arts, the performing arts school near Lincoln Center and the inspiration behind the 1980 hit musical Fame. (It was then known as the High School of Performing Arts, and it was lo-

ANNE BAXTER.

cated near Times Square, before merging with the High School of Music and Art—itself the setting for 1973’s Golden Globe– nominated Jeremy.) The school, one of N.Y.C.’s nine specialized high schools, accepts only 664 applicants, making it one of the most competitive public schools in the city, especially for stage-bound students. Kids who go to LaGuardia must be smart as well as talented: Academics take up a large part of the students’ rigorous schedule, which includes studio training in dance, drama, music, arts or technical theater. Madonna’s daughter Lourdes is a student at LaGuardia; Al Pacino and Jennifer Aniston are touted as famous alumni. —CS

Hidden Gem P.S. 32: THE SAMUEL MILLS SPROLE SCHOOL

317 Hoyt St., Brooklyn Nestled in brownstone Brooklyn, at the hot skateboarding corner of Union and Hoyt, P.S. 32 is the quiet, often-overlooked dynamo of elementary ed in a neighborhood brimming with fabulous schools. Cheerful and vibrant, P.S. 32 boasts small class

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UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOLS

Most Bilingual

school year. In preschool, children are taught on a bilingual basis, but by fi rst grade, all students must be fluent in the French language in order to be considered for admission. While every N.Y.C. private school touts diversity, LFNY actually lives up to the claim: The school’s 1,350 students hail from 50 different countries. Aside from the intense academic requirements, Lycée Français offers 30 sports teams and a wide range of music programs. Students are known for forming their own rock bands at the school: Members of Nada Surf and the Strokes got their start at LFNY. —CS

Eclectic Achiever Award EDWARD R. MURROW HIGH SCHOOL

1600 Ave. L, Brooklyn As most Brooklyn parents with children of a certain age know, Murrow’s a big school with a lot to offer. “We had more people than ever who wanted to see the school this year—we had tours past Thanksgiving. It’s great!” says parent coordinator Rose Dasch, who’s been involved with the school for years. Phenomenal science and math (including New York City science and engineering fi nalists), music, theater and theater design and funky gym classes (though no sports teams), and a greenhouse, a planetarium, foreign languages

LYCÉE FRANÇAIS DE NEW YORK

505 East 75th St. If the United Colors of Benetton and Soho House gave birth to a school, it would be Lycée Français. LFNY opens its doors to the likes of Maddox Jolie Pitt and the children of those who run international corporations for the relative bargain cost of $22,000 per 74

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P.S. 372: THE CHILDREN’S SCHOOL

galore, intriguing English electives and a wide array of clubs and activities, give just a flavor of the school’s range. Recently, Murrow’s won competitions for both chess (state champs yet again!) and the Virtual Enterprises International Annual Citywide Business Plan Competition (with a student business plan for Brandmark) — and both are moving on to nationals. And in terms of choice, Murrow was top of the heap in Brooklyn and No. 4 overall for the city. As far-ranging as its offerings are, one staple of the school is, of course, art. As one portfolio reviewer for a prestigious art school put it, “Murrow art students are cool: laid-back, great work and, year after year, just effortlessly cool.” So: eclectic, diverse and cool—is it a Brooklyn thing or what? —DM

Most High-Tech After-School Origami Program P.S. 372: THE CHILDREN’S SCHOOL

LYCÉE FRANÇAIS DE NEW YORK

512 Carroll St., Brooklyn On a Friday afternoon at P.S. 372 in Park Slope, six fi rst and second graders hover over a sin-

gle iPad. At fi rst they seem engrossed by an app that animates step by step the process of transforming a sheet of paper into a frog, but it’s what comes next that really grabs their attention: a folder full of origami paper in every shade of the rainbow. The students pick their favorite colors, their instructors put aside the iPad and the class gets to work. When Taro’s Origami Studio opened in Park Slope last November, P.S. 372’s after-school program director, Hank Linhart, saw an opportunity. Three months later, the school’s fi rst origami class is in full swing. Led by Hisao Ihara and Ben Friesen, two experienced instructors from Taro, the class is based on an innovative teaching methodology combining modern technology with the ancient art of paper folding. As Ihara and Friesen guide elementary students for an hour and half each Friday, they bring to life studio founder and origami iPad app creator Taro Yaguchi’s vision: standardizing origami and making it accessible to everyone—with an emphasis on process, and without compromising attention to detail. Ihara requests that students

BEN WEITZENKORN; MICHAEL EWING

sizes, wonderful art classes, a beautiful playground, SMART Boards and, as one education professional gushed, “extraordinary special education”: a wellregarded NEST program (team-taught classes geared toward high-functioning children on the autism spectrum) that launched in 2003. And P.S. 32 did it right, starting fi rst with a partnership with P.S. 321 and the Children’s School to initiate collaborative team teaching classes (C.T.T.—or I.C.T., as they are now called), then gradually expanding to the city’s NEST approach. Parents have described P.S. 32 as “life-saving.” And parents whose general ed children are in the classes rave about the benefits, too. Not enough to intrigue you? The school’s library recently underwent a significant capital funds renovation. With a grand reopening in February attended by Borough President Marty Markowitz and others, this sparkling multimedia center also offers community access with parent workshops and weekend hours. Want more? The school is a Music Memory Program participant and has won the citywide competition two years in a row. The spacious building also houses M.S. 442: New Horizons (which recently added an ambitious rooftop garden), another underthe-radar star. —DM

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UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOLS

BEST OLD-SCHOOL SCHOOL City and Country School

146 West 13th St. Founded in 1914, the Greenwich Village–based City and Country School is one of the oldest progressive educational institutions in the nation. Taking the work-study concept to a higher level, every Middle and Upper School group has a specific job to learn and perform within the C&C community, which is then incorporated into the curriculum.

COURTESY OF CIT Y AND COUNTRY SCHOOL; BEN WEITZENKORN

The sixth-grade program harkens back to an age before text messages, Twitter and all other things obsessively digital— way back. The sixth-grade group, or “11s,” as they are called (C&C follows a unique group numbering system), are responsible for running the school’s printing presses, two behemoth 1800s-era Chandler & Price treadle models. The kids typeset, produce all the school’s standard stationary, mix inks and design lovely woodcut and linoleum holiday cards and literary magazines, which are then sold to the school community. This distinctive hands-on experience is an integral part of the year’s social studies curriculum, which focuses on the Renaissance and the critical point in history when the written word met good olde print. Press on, kids. —SP

wash their hands prior to working with origami paper. He explains that hand washing will not only keep their creations clean, but also put the young artists in a different frame of mind. The adherence to concentration and discipline is obvious from the outset. Next, Ihara breaks out a model of the day’s fi rst task: a seagull, its paper wings balanced on a drinking straw as a makeshift bird body. Then all eyes turn to Friesen as he carefully demonstrates the first fold, talking the class through the fi ner points of pressing down on the crease and making sure the corners meet just so. The kids bombard him with questions: Is this good? Did I do it right? Is the fold O.K.? Will this be the wing? “It can be tricky to get it exactly perfect,” explains first grader Ella. In fact, the students seem just as focused on precision as their instructors. When fi rst grader Rachel notices a small crinkle in her paper, she asks for a fresh piece. Though Ihara tells her not to worry, she frowns and turns to the group: “But he always says don’t be mean to paper!” Sometimes the instructors will project images from the app for the entire group to see. The animation software is especially helpful with large classes, allowing more advanced students to work at their own pace while instructors work one-on-one with others. Even so, origami’s nuance necessitates a human touch, like the way Friesen demonstrates how to fashion the curve in a seagull’s “wings” by curling each section of paper around his index fi nger. The art of paper folding isn’t the only thing that students take away from the course. For a generation reared on touch screens

and keyboards, the tactile practice is excellent for developing hand-brain coordination. “It gives the students a 3D understanding,” says Ihara. “Digital can’t give you that.” What’s more, continues Ihara, is that in a society where being smart is often equated with expediency and cleverness, origami reinforces the value in taking things slow and steady, making every step count. —Alizah Salario

Most Over-Achieving Student Body STUYVESANT HIGH SCHOOL

345 Chambers St. Possibly the most coveted admission of the nine specialized high schools in New York City, Stuyvesant High School in Lower Manhattan is a breeding ground for students who live to excel. Though the school leans heavily on its math and science accolades, the eighth graders who list Stuy as their No. 1 choice for entrance to the elite non-private high schools of N.Y.C. are likely to seek a wellrounded education. The competition between Stuyvesant High and Bronx Science is fierce among the math and science programs, but many Stuy students consider a future in English, languages, history or the arts. Ranked No. 31 in Gold Medal Schools by U.S News & World Report, the school’s 3,125 students are likely to enroll in A.P. classes and extracurricular activities—and to attend college.

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UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOLS

New Yorkers can easily spot the bleary-eyed Stuy kids studying on the No. 2 train at 7 a.m. before lugging their oversized book bags up the stairs at Chambers Street. Paul Reiser, Lucy Liu, David Axelrod, Tim Robbins, author Hubert Selby Jr. and Himanshu Suri of Das Racist are among the Lower Manhattan school’s famous alumni. Stuyvesant was founded in 1904 as a “manual training school for boys” and went co-ed in 1969, though boys still outnumber girls at the school, where 43 percent of students are female. A recent New York Times article also highlighted the school’s growing Asian population, which makes up 72.5 percent of the student body. —CS

The Nobel Prize Prize BRONX HIGH SCHOOL OF SCIENCE

75 West 205th St., Bronx

Among the city’s nine specialized public high schools, Bronx Science stands alone when it comes to academic achievement in math and science. Seven Bronx Science graduates have gone on to win a Nobel Prize— that’s more than any other secondary education institution in the world. Bronx Science boasts 135 Intel Science Competition fi nalists, more than any other high school in America. Almost every senior in the 2010 class gained acceptance to a top college or university. The school’s principal, Valerie Reidy, became a hot topic among students and teacher at Bronx Science after she was accused of “driving out” teachers who had spent their careers teaching at the legendary school, and of refocusing the curriculum to prioritize standardized testing. With a student body of around 2,700, Bronx Science competes

fiercely with fellow specialized schools Stuyvesant High and Brooklyn Tech. The school is located in a scenic section of the Bronx, at West 205th Street and Golden Avenue. The school has a weather station, a rooftop planetarium and a 15-acre field for sports practice. It is also home to the first Holocaust museum in the nation, the Holocaust Museum and Study Center, which is entirely studentrun and is housed in the school library. It was founded in 1978 by Stuart Elenko, a retired history teacher working with a Jewish survivor organization. —CS

The Jock Award DALTON SCHOOL

108 East 89th St. For many of the city’s Upper East Siders, sending their children to the Dalton School from grades K through 12 is a part of the plan. Unfortunately, admission takes more than send-

ing an application from a 10128 ZIP code. Sending a child to kindergarten at Dalton will run you $36,970 a year—and that’s only if your 4-year-old beats out the 10 other potential students vying for a spot in the Little Dalton class. But perhaps what sets Dalton apart from other private high schools in Manhattan is its reputation for outstanding athletic teams. Dalton is home to the only varsity private high school football team in Manhattan, and boasts a rich athletic program for both boys and girls, featuring soccer, tennis, volleyball, lacrosse, swimming, wrestling, golf and track. The school offers 23 varsity teams—including a cheerleading squad—and nine junior varsity teams in its high school athletics program. That’s not to say that crushing the competition in sports is Dalton’s only claim to fame. The school landed at No. 13 on the Forbes list of Top 20 Prep Schools, which reported that 31 percent of graduates go on to attend Ivy League schools—though in 2008 much was made of the fact that not a single Dalton graduate was accepted into Harvard. —CS

The Bootstraps Award 29 Fort Greene Pl., Brooklyn Located on a quiet block of Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood, Brooklyn Tech is known as the largest and most ethnically diverse of the nine specialized New York City high schools. Tech, as its students call it, has a bit of a chip on its shoulder, because it’s often ranked third of the founding three specialized high schools, after Stuyvesant and Bronx Science. Still, 76

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BEN WEITZENKORN (2)

BROOKLYN TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL

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UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOLS

these kids have bragging rights. Tech boasts one of the largest auditoriums in the city, second only to Radio City Music Hall. It also features a swimming pool, an aeronautical lab with a wind tunnel and a student library equipped with fi replaces. The school also offers over 100 student organizations, including chess, football, quilting, cheerleading, rowing, tennis and a model U.N. Unlike some its richer, whiter counterparts, many of the 4,500 or so kids who attend Brooklyn Tech weren’t raised with silver spoons. Almost half of the students come from economically disadvantaged homes—making the school’s high graduation and college acceptance rates that much more impressive. Minorities make up around 20 percent of the student body. In 2010, U.S. News & World Report ranked Tech No. 63 on its Gold Medal Schools list. While Tech kids have a reputation for being hard-working and fairly straight-laced, the school did suffer a bit of a scandal this year when a few students were caught bringing marijuana-laced cookies to school. Brooklyn Tech now has a strict ban on homemade baked goods. —CS

The Smallest Class Size Award BREARLEY SCHOOL

610 East 83rd St. As one of the smaller all-girls schools in New York City, Brearley is probably best known for consistent success at placing its girls in Ivy League colleges. Since 2007, the school boasts sending 20 girls to Yale, 17 to Harvard, 14 to Columbia and 13 to Princeton. Located (where else?) on Park Avenue, Brearley was the only private school to be given an A+

BREARLEY SCHOOL

by The New York Sun in 2008, and in 2007 The Wall Street Journal ranked it the No. 2 high school in the country. Brearley parents pay $36,800 per year in tuition (the rate is the same for all grades from K to 12) for the luxury of a nearly unheard-of six-to-one studentteacher ratio. Last December, Brearley announced Jane Foley Fried would take over as the head of the school. Brearley girls are fiercely competitive with two other top all-girls schools in the city, Spence and Chapin. Famous

alumnae include actresses Tea Leoni, Kyra Sedgwick and Anne Baxter. —CS

The Creative Class Award ST. ANN’S SCHOOL

129 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn Easily one of the most wellknown high schools in Brooklyn, St. Ann’s elite reputation is based on the creative encouragement and individual attention it offers its students. Known for its “no grades” policy and unusual curriculum, students at this Brooklyn Heights

K–12 school don’t have the same reputation for academic rigor as some of their counterparts at other elite private schools. But that’s not to say they’re a failing bunch. In 2004, St. Ann’s was ranked the No. 1 school in the country by The Wall Street Journal; shortly after, the school announced it was replacing infamous founding headmaster Stanley Bosworth with former Horace Mann head Dr. Lawrence S. Weiss. Since then, not much and everything has changed. No students were accepted to Harvard in 2009 or 2010, which caused a bit of a stir among the parents, who pay over $30,000 a year in tuition for their kids to learn to play oboe and make papier-mâché. One former student described the student body as “a bunch of genius slackers,” suggesting that the high-achieving, intelligent students at St. Ann’s are not far from the characters portrayed in The Squid and the Whale. Students here not only prefer but are often encouraged to explore their creative consciousness over rigorously hitting the books. St. Ann’s is known for its farranging course offerings—not just Chinese, Japanese, Latin and Greek at multiple levels, not just amazing art classes that are almost overlooked because they are so expected, but also its specialized courses in puppetry, space colonization, game theory, pharmacology, jazz history, monotheism in antiquity (much, much cooler than it may sound), American women’s history, algorithms for genetic sequencing, programming (for four levels!), Web design, live improv and Nietzsche. And that doesn’t even touch on the gym classes, afterschool clubs or music and theater. And did we mention the art

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UNIQUE NEW YORK SCHOOLS

The Socialite School Award CONVENT OF THE SACRED HEART

1 East 91st St. While there’s always been a “schoolgirl gone bad” stereotype surrounding private all-girls schools in the city (think Cruel Intentions), having Lady Gaga

emerge out of Sacred Heart high school definitely revived the image. Home to “girls who have long hair and play volleyball,” according to one graduate of a rival private school, Sacred Heart is always under the microscope due to its Roman Catholic roots and female-only student body. Located in two historic mansions on the Upper East Side, the school sits across from Central Park, at East 91st Street and Fifth Avenue, giving it the air of one of the toniest schools in Manhattan. Parents of Sacred Heart preschoolers shell out around $20,000 a year, while high school runs families $37,000, making Sacred Heart one of the most expensive schools in the country. So it’s no surprise that girls with famous last names such as Nicky and Paris Hilton, Caroline Giuliani, Gloria Van-

derbilt, Caroline Kennedy and Ally Hilfiger are among the school’s well-known alumnae. —CS

Best Farming Opportunity MANHATTAN COUNTRY SCHOOL

7 East 96th St. Feel like the best way for your kids to really learn about life is to get their hands dirty? Look no further than Manhattan Country School, which sends students to its 180-acre working farm in the Catskills starting in second grade. Beginning fi fth grade, students spend a week at a time at the “retreat,” getting up-close and personal knowledge about food: where it comes from, how much work is involved and what sustainability really means in both a practical, local sense and a more far-reaching global perspective. Through its outreach and a sliding tuition scale, M.C.S. makes

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great effort to ensure this unique out-of-city experience is offered to a culturally, ethnically and economically diverse group of N.Y.C. students, an key component of its 1966 founding vision. —DM

Most Impressive Manners P.S. 69: THE NEW VISION SCHOOL

560 Thieriot Ave., Bronx The first thing that strikes us about P.S. 69’s Robin Hood Library is its color. It’s bright orange, almost tangerine. The second thing is its size: large enough to hold two separate classes, it also serves as the school’s computer lounge, with several iMacs lining the window walls. But look outside and you might be surprised to find yourself transported not to the grounds of some Park Slope charter school, but to a busy intersection in the Bronx. Welcome to the New Vision School, or P.S. 69. It’s been nine years since Alan D. Cohen came on board as principal of a school on the verge of a state takeover due to poor student performance. The school’s dramatic transformation is one of the hidden gems of the New York City public school system. By 2006, just three years after the 500-student institution’s educational and physical makeover, test scores had risen by double digits. P.S. 69 is now run by Cohen’s former vice principal, Sheila Durant, who seems to be building upon her predecessor’s legacy. The A grade P.S. 69 received in the Department of Education’s annual progress report for the 2010–11 school year—the most recent available data—put it in the top quarter of N.Y.C.’s public schools for student performance, student progress and school environment. That’s up from last

BEN WEITZENKORN (2)

classes? As one mom reassured her mesmerized teen on a school tour, “Remember—this is what college can be if we find the right one.” (St. Ann’s students are often drawn to schools like Oberlin, Berkley, Sarah Lawrence or N.Y.U., rather than the Ivy League.) The distance from Manhattan’s private schools doesn’t give St. Ann’s kids a complex, especially these days, when anything Brooklyn-based represents the standard of hip, and having arts and smarts trumps cash and flash. —CS

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COURTESY OF PS 69

P.S. 69: THE NEW VISION SCHOOL

year, when it received an overall A, but with B ratings in two of the three categories. In 2010, it was named one of the top 50 public schools by the DOE. New Vision uses a variety of non-traditional models, including the Reggio Emilia curriculum, an arts education program and “Time to Know,” an experimental program in which students study using laptops that adjust to their learning rate and provide teachers with the data. We take our seat in the Robin Hood Library and watch approximately 20 fourth graders participate in their monthly etiquette class, taught by Lyudmila Bloch, founder of Etiquette Outreach. The Russian-born Bloch spends most of her week teaching Wall Street C.E.O.’s how to interact with investors from other countries without coming off as boorish Americans. But twice a

month she takes a car from her midtown high-rise and teaches the majority Latino and AfricanAmerican New Vision classes the necessity of everything from basic social and dining skills to conflict resolution. “It really is an opportunity for children to develop self-esteem and confidence,” Bloch says, extolling the benefits of early etiquette training on our ride. “Very often, it’s not about fork and knife. That’s a trivial understanding of what etiquette is. It really is about how we develop our relationships, our kindness and our empathy toward other people.” Some might see empathy classes as a misuse of public funds. But over the course of a one-hour lesson, it becomes obvious that a P.S. 69 education goes far beyond math and reading comprehension. Unlike the same-age kids in a Brooklyn Heights etiquette

class we’d visited weeks earlier, Bloch’s pupils were unflaggingly polite—raising their hands to ask and answer questions, not fidgeting or talking during class and actually paying attention to their instructor. They were, to put it in obvious terms, polite. For a generation raised by parents who consider attention deficit disorder a natural state of being, perhaps the greatest gift P.S. 69 has given its students is the ability to truly listen and learn—something the traditional elementary school model doesn’t really emphasize. Principal Durant points out the newly renovated auditorium where STAGES!, a New Jersey theater academy, came and helped students put on a production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The renovation preserved the building’s original structure (and somewhat drab

exterior), but a team of Nelligan White architects managed to turn the cramped quarters into an open-space modern outfit to foster a more creative learning process. The project—including a student-designed playground— was funded mostly by state money, secured by Senator Ruben Diaz, his son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and Assemblyman Marcos Cres po, along with some private donors such as the New York Yankees. “Every day, I tell my children they are the best in New York City and they are in the best school,” says Durant. “They believe that and so do I.” And hey, if P.S. 69 test scores keep rising the way they do, perhaps other public schools will adopt the innovative program that has kept New Vision thriving as the state looks to slash even more funding for public schools. —Drew Grant S

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fitness | pacifier

A Very

Gaga Workout by Peter Feld Final three

Calvin Nonato

“A lot of times , kids get into

a sport where parents have expectations. Here, it’s just a game,” says Alissa Schmelkin, cofounder of the newly opened Gaga Center on the Upper East Side. “You don’t have to live up to standards.” Gaga may be “just a game.” But played in octagonal pens— though rules can vary, the basic aim is to avoid getting hit below the knee—it offers a high-energy workout that kids seem to love, building endurance and flexibility, according to general manager Avi Gordon. The Gaga Center—the only such venue in Manhattan—offers co-ed groups for kids under 7 and for 7-to-10-year-olds. The game is well suited toward youngerer kids—the ball is soft— though their games often devolve into simple passing of the ball. “Israeli dodgeball” is a misnomer: Gaga originated here in the U.S. at Jewish summer camps in the ’60s, and was brought back home by Israeli counselors. Gordon grew up playing gaga at Camp Givah near Albany. “I actually forgot how good a workout gaga is,” he laughs. An ex-teacher, he recruited the Gaga Center’s five coaches, who spent two months training before the February launch. Business is already booming, Schmelkin tells me; birthday parties—with DJs—are “exploding.” Schools send groups,

and groups of friends sign up together for freestanding sessions, 50 minutes in length. As an older kids’ session starts, the ball bounces twice. “Ga-ga, then you can hit it,” explains Gordon to the 7-year-olds, who are on the honor system to leave the game when hit below the leg. Ana, in a white T-shirt, poises herself for action as the game starts. A moment later, the ball catches the cuff of her pants. Resignedly she climbs out of the pen, resting her chin in the palm of her hand as she leans on the railing to watch. Within seconds, she is jumping and cheering for one of her friends. The 6-year-olds in the next ring Watch your legs! are having a less rigorous game. “The honor system doesn’t always work,” Schmelkin laughs, as one tyke happily ignores being clipped by the ball and continues playing. “No expectations” notwithstanding, some kids take gaga pretty seriously. Co-founder Marcy Singer’s son has “gaga knuckles”; he wears gloves to protect his cut-up hands. Classes for teens may be upcoming; at summer camps, the game is often played more aggressively, with harder balls and Gaga Center tougher rules. Avi enthuses that gaga can be great for 230 East 93rd St. adults—“as long as you gagacenter.com have a good back.” S (212) 920-7884

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pacifier | Events

Spring is bustling with fun family events! by Jennifer Maas bioluminescence abounds at the museum of natural history

What

Where Trinity Churchyard

When Fri., May 18 at 5pm; Sat., May 19 at 11am and 3pm

Egg and scavenger hunts, a puppet parade, digital photos with the Easter Bunny, and music by Bari Koral. Free.

When Thu., April 19, 2–4pm

What

Earth Day Holiday Crafts

When Sat., May 19, 3pm

Help “craft the colors of spring into a larger-than-life paper flower” for Earth Day.

Where Peoples Improv Theater,

Where Metropolitan Museum of

Art, Uris Center for Education

Qing Ming Festival Family Day

Sketching, exploring, and listening to stories for kids 3-7.

What

Love from Mt. Pom Pom

Where The Museum of Chinese

What

When Through June 10 Where Children’s Museum of the

Arts, 103 Charlton St.

Japanese artist Misaki Kawai has transformed CMA gallery into an imagined world “where giant fuzzy animals and other colorful characters run wild.”

When Sun., April 1, 10am–5pm

in America, 215 Centre St.

Celebrate “those who came before you” with stories, workshops for making pinwheels, kites and flowers, a spring dance demonstration. Gustafer Yellowgold’s Year In The Day release party

What

What Ahhh HA! When March 30–April 14 (see

When Sun., April 1, 11am

NewVictory.org for times.)

son St.

Where The New Victory Theater,

209 W. 42 St.

A 75-minute show (see story, p. 48) with comedians, acrobats, and aerialists. Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence

What

Where 92Y Tribeca, 200 Hud-

Cartoonist Morgan Taylor’s show, for kids 4 and up, is “equal parts pop rock concert and hand-drawn cartoon movie.” Grover’s Gang Passover Family Concert

What

When Sun., April 1, 2pm Where Jewish Museum, 1109

When March 31-January 6

Fifth Ave. at 92nd St.

Where American Museum of

Songs of freedom and matzah for kids age 3 to 9.

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123 E. 24 St.

An original play, written as part of a program for special needs children (see p. 50).

Where The New Victory Theater,

What Little Scientists When Wed., June 6, 11:30am

209 W. 42 St. (NewVictory.org)

Where Brooklyn Children’s

The story of a boy who keeps track of his daydreams, on things like tropical fish swimming in the canals of Amsterdam.

Introduce kids 5 and under to the world of natural science.

When April 20-29

An exhibition about plants and animals that generate light, from fireflies to deep-sea fish.

Daytime Moon Creations

Central Park

The Book of Everything

Fri., Sat., Sun. (metmuseum.org)

St. and Central Park West

What

What

Natural History

Where The Concert Hall, W. 64

Bring your kids’ favorite stuffed animal, animal-themed outfit, and shoes for dancing.

Where Chess & Checkers House,

What Start with Art When Through June; Tu., Thu.,

Laurie Berkner Band: Animal Party

Touch-A-Truck Brooklyn

What

When Sat., April 28, 11am-3pm Where P.S. 295, 18th St. between

6th and 7th Aves., Park Slope

Kids can get “up close and personal with working vehicles they encounter in everyday life,” with 22 trucks from fire engines to an antique ice cream truck.

Museum

Father’s Day Scavenger Hunt

What

When Sun., June 17, noon Where DiMenna Children’s History Museum, New-York Historical Society

Children and their dads will use their “history detective skills” in a tour and scavenger hunt.

Kindiefest Public Festival Family Concert

What

When Sun., April 29, 12 noon

Where Littlefield, 722 Degraw

St., Brooklyn

With WeBop, SteveSongs, Apple Brains, KBC Kids, Moona Luna, and Bari Koral. St. George’s ukraInian festival

St. George’s Ukrainian Festival

What

Where East 7th Street between

When Sun., June 17, 2:30-3:30pm

What

When May 18-20

Second Ave. and Cooper Square

New York’s most homegrown street fair features vibrantly costumed folk dancers, from adorable preschoolers to teens, authentic crafts and food booths.

Egyptian Potsabilities

Where Metropolitan Museum of

Art, Uris Center for Education

Learn about an Egypt older than the pyramids, then complete your own clay “artifacts” for future archeologists to discover!

courtesy of the museum of natural history; peter feld

Spring Calendar

What Easter Fun Fest When Sun., April 8, 12:30pm

spring 2012

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pacifier | activities

Too Young To Learn French? Mais non! by Sarah Khuwaja

I

n New York , a casual walk down any given street is a cultural expedition. And if you happen to be walking down East 60th Street, be sure to stop by the French Institute Alliance Française at No. 22 for a reminder of why you decided to raise your kids in this city. FIAF is a nonprofit organization on a mission to offer New Yorkers exciting, unparalleled educational and artistic programs centering on French culture. FIAF offers events and affairs for all ages. Its Language Center, with the most comprehen84

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sive private French library in America, serves thousands. The 400-seat Florence Gould Hall Theater is home to a host of performing arts events and New York’s only year-round French cinema series, CinémaTuesdays. FIAF’s popular Family Saturdays are particularly impressive. You needn’t worry that your efforts to instill some urbanity into your children will leave them bored. On April 21, at 1 p.m. in FIAF’s Le Skyroom, you can introduce them to virtuoso violinist and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (“DBR”), whose Haitian roots meld with his classical training. Want to try acquainting your children with the French language without enrolling them in a class? Be sure to stop by the Haskell Library after the DBR show, at 3:15 p.m. There will be a story hour (all in French!), along with snacks and arts and crafts. The fun continues later into the day, with a French film and short episodes from Ma petite planète chérie (My Darling Little Planet)—a fun way to teach kids about the environment and celebrate Earth Day. Or come to FIAF on Saturday, May 12, at

11 a.m. Les petits will partake in an arts-andcrafts activity and enter the magical world of Peau d’Ours (Bearskin), a French fairy tale depicted by two movement artists using props. There will be another French story hour and a film screening (La prophétie des grenouilles, or Raining Cats and Frogs). This year, FIAF is expanding its popular French Summer Day Camp with more options for parents and children. Kids as young as 1 can be enrolled in à petits pas, a program that introduces children to French language and culture through songs, games, art and stories. For children 3 to 5, à petits pas Mini Summer Camp will focus on socialization and language arts, incorporating body movement, yoga and educational games. The camp offers a program called “1,001 Stories of the French-Speaking World” for kids 5 to 11, which will explore French-speaking cultures through art, theater, culinary workshops, games, sports and field trips, and cultural and immersion programs for tweens and teens. S For dates, prices and more information on FIAF’s Family Saturdays, or for French Summer Day Camp, see fiaf.org.

Arianys Wilson

Arts & Crafts AT FIAF.

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activities | pacifier

Parent Earth’s Perfect Spring Weekend

Try these family adventures to educate and excite your children about healthy, sustainable eating. by Molly Dengler

from top left: gett y; Daniel Angerer; gett y

1. Visit Your Local Farmers Market What better way to start off your weekend than shopping for fresh, local food right around the corner! Search for videos at ParentEarth.com to see how farmers markets connect your kids with what they are eating—and the people who grow it. Invite your child into the decision-making process. Show them how to use all five senses to experience the food around them, and let them taste the samples. Look under “our markets” at GrowNYC.org for a list of 15 farmers markets open throughout Manhattan and six in Brooklyn. 2. Gardening Class (drop-in programs) Growing season is finally here, and a gardening class with your kids is a great spring opportunity. The New York Botanical Garden hosts “Dig, Plant, Grow!” each afternoon from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. beginning in April. There are hands-on activities with fruits and vegetables and crafts—all included with garden admission. Starting in May, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden offers the “Discovery Workshop” every Saturday and Sunday.

locations: 275 Madison Avenue, 150 East 52nd Street, 40 West 55th Street, 80 Pine Street and 17 East 17th Street.

3. Eat at a Healthy Kid-Friendly Restaurant Want an easy way to eat healthy while dining out with the kids? Try for a savory, local meal in a casual, kid-friendly environment. Kids will not complain about eating their veggies here! The Dig Inn strives to serve local food and visit its farmers regularly. Five Manhattan

4. Go to Your Community Garden Get in touch with your natural side and visit a local community garden. The 6th & B garden, at East Sixth Street and Avenue B, provides a host of craft programs, science workshops, slide shows, cultural festivals, music, films and performances from all over the world. Just

down Sixth Street between avenues A and B is a lush, tiny jewel, the Creative Little Garden. Visit evpcnyc.org for an interactive map of the East Village’s many other fantastic green spaces. Use it to find your own favorites and enjoy the spring sun in one of Manhattan’s little pieces of urban paradise. 5. Sunday-Night Cooking with the Kids Finally, end your spring weekend with a nice home-cooked meal you made with your children (see

Clockwise from upper left: Union square farmers market, Dig Inn, the hattie carthan community garden, bed-stuy.

p. 29). There’s always fun in a little mess! They will love measuring, pouring and stirring, and cooking together offers a wonderful bonding experience. ParentEarth.com provides kid-friendly recipes. After the meal is prepared, you can sit down and relive the weekend’s food-related adventures. S

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pacifier | tech

Suffer the Search Engines

Think what you want about me. But will my Web trail hurt my kid? by Karol Markowicz

M

any New Yorkers spend the first part of their lives

perfecting their “I don’t care” attitudes. The light is red? I still walk, I don’t care. A guy is peeing on the corner? Just don’t come near me and I don’t care. You don’t like me? I really don’t care. But the protective urge kicks in when you have your first child, and completely overtakes all previous nonchalance. You want to give your baby everything, and it’s horrifying to imagine that you might somehow stand in your child’s way. Or that your online history might. Whether getting along with your new mommy friends or getting into preschool, the past that a parent might want to keep secret can easily come up in search results. It might not be anything too scandalous. My own Google not-sosecret is that for years I maintained a politically conservative blog, which then led to paid employment as an outspokenly conservative politics writer. I was never one of those Republicans who pretended to be a libertarian or something. Having been raised in Brooklyn with the mantra “be yourself,” I was always fearless about it. I’m proud of my politics and I can defend my positions. I also never talk about politics in social situations unless someone engages me, and I figured I’d continue in the same vein after my daughter was born. But having a child puts you in a new, awkward social situation. It’s the first time in a long while that you go out of your way to make friends. It’s like starting at a new school or moving to a new town— but the stakes are higher because you care for this little person so much more than you ever cared about yourself. You don’t want to hurt your child by association. So I found that I would shy away from telling the other moms on 86

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own, Lori’s strategy is to arrange truly blind dates, where the daters don’t know each other’s names or phone numbers. “There are three sides to every story,” Lori says. “This way they’ll give each other a chance without believing what they read on the Internet.”) Other examples are less sympathetic. Take Daniel (not his real name) in Brooklyn. These days, Daniel is a reputable business owner and upstanding father of two. Back in 2001, in his mid-20’s, he was involved in some financial malfeasance and served a year in a federal penitentiary. Eleven years and one Occupy Wall Street movement later, his first Google result is the charge from the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Before having children, I never considered someone would Google me and find out about my past. And if they did, I can’t imagine I would care. We’re leaving my name off the school applications,” he said. Still, some people shrug their shoulders at buttoning up just

‘I don’t care about what the other moms think, but I worry about my 8-year-old Googling me someday.’ because they’ve had a child. Writer J. R. Taylor, whose work spans from the semi-respectable Playboy.com to significantly seedier Web sites, isn’t worried about being judged or how his kid will be viewed if he’s Googled. “I’m pretty proud of my lowlife work, and it’s still how I make my living. I’ll want some samples online­— so my kid will have to rebel by becoming a normal human being.” S

Illustration by Chris Gash

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the playground what, exactly, it is that I do for a living. I didn’t care if they judged me—I’ve got enough f r iends a lready, thanks—but what if they didn’t want their children to play with my child? What if my daughter were shunned? What if the preschool decided it didn’t want to accept the child of one of those conservatives? In the über-competitive world of New York parenting, it becomes difficult not to care, at least a little. Google results that might not have mattered when you were a freewheeling nonparent take on a much greater meaning when you have a child. Take Toby Bochan, now a senior editor at Yahoo! and previously a poker guide at About. com. An avid player, she also authored The Badass Girl’s Guide to Poker: All You Need to Beat the Boys. Mildly edgy, sure, but nothing embarrassing­­—so far. Unfortunately for her, some site lifted her explanation of one particular poker game. No, not Hold ’Em, or Omaha, but, of course, Strip Poker. That page turns up near the top of her search results. And, yes, stripped of its About.com context, it seems Toby spontaneously elected to codify the rules for how to lose your clothes while playing a card game. How does that play to a school admissions committee? For other parents, such as matchmaker Lori Zaslow (cofounder of Project Soulmate and star of Bravo reality show Love Broker), the problem is less about judgmental parents than about curious children­— their own, perhaps several years down the road. “Being a matchmaker means talking to people about life, love, sex. Sometimes topics like sex toys. I want to be the best role model for my kids,” Lori said. “I don’t care about what the other moms think, but I worry about my 8-year-old Googling me someday.” (For her matchmaking clients facing a Google past of their

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Born Yesterday Maxwells in the house! by Sarah Khuwaja

Maxwell X MacPherson Dec. 7, 2011 6 pounds, 14 ounces

The newest Guest of a Guest is none other than the prince of New York’s social scene, by way of Rachelle Hruska, the GofG founder and social queen with an omniscient view of Gotham people, places and parties. Her baby boy, Maxwell X MacPherson (“X isn’t an initial,

it’s the name—ha!”), is already almost as busy as his father, hotelier Sean MacPherson, of The Jane, Maritime and Bowery fame. “Maxwell has been to the GofG offices on a weekly basis, as our house is three blocks away,” emailed Hruska. “He learned early on that he had to sleep through the night so he could make it to the early morning writers meetings.” That’s some serious work ethic for someone under the age of 1. Perhaps the little socialite in the making is so conscientious about his work schedule because of an early prod from his pop. Among MacPherson’s first words to his son were “Welcome to the world, now get to work!” Despite preparing to mold his offspring into an assiduous child,

there was one thing that MacPherson was not prepared for. “Sean was certain we were having a girl. When they said, ‘It’s a boy!’, we were both in shock. We were so surprised, we didn’t have our name decided on until we had to leave the hospital and fill out his paperwork.” Maxwell Eliot Stringer Dec. 9, 2011 6 pounds, 2 ounces

On a Friday morning in December at 8:13 a.m., Elyse Buxbaum’s pregnancy culminated in a baby boy with a “full head of dark hair” and “large steel-blue eyes,” not to mention a “charming smile.” Clearly, Buxbaum, an as-

sociate director at the CooperHew it t Nat ional Desig n Museum, and husband Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president preparing a 2013 run for mayor, may have a budding politician on their hands. Buxbaum didn’t mind being pregnant: “I was fortunate to have a pretty easy pregnancy. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier—at least I never laughed so much or so hard.” We’d be chipper too if we had an extraordinarily busy husband who still managed to attend each and every one of our doctor’s appointments, and brought us peach smoothies every morning to satiate our cravings. We already know the little guy has Stringer’s chin and maybe his feet. Those dashing good looks are all his mama’s, though, at least according to the proud papa. Buxbaum likes to think that Maxwell is “the perfect combination” of herself and her husband. “Although,” Buxbaum quips, “when he’s being sweet he looks like me.” S

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pacifier | Television

Thomas the Tank Engine Nick Jr., various times

Kid Appeal: Gentle introduction to narrative storytelling in a land inhabited by mechanical nitwits. Fourth Wall: Ignored in favor of hermetically sealed and chronologically frozen Island of Sodor where action (such as it is) takes place. Magic: All trains, vehicles, and industrial machinery are living beings enslaved by pompous English robber baron. Despite supernatural existence, the trains neither resent their slavery nor possess mental development beyond toddler level. Adult Appeal: Nil. Repetitious nature of trains’ character flaws and pointless nature of their labor an unwelcome reminder of adult workday life. Occasional celebrity narrators somehow make it even more depressing.

Reviews of My Son’s TV Shows

A toddler’s dad adjusts to his new video diet. by Chris Mohney

PBS, weekdays 8:30 am and 2:30 pm, weekends 7:30 am

Kid Appeal: Goofy and weird pedagogy, usually about science and nature topics. Fairly high-concept; not shapes and colors, but more like microorganisms and minerals. Fourth Wall: Occasionally violated for singing, gesturing, simpatico cheerleading to power one of the Cat’s outlandish gadgets. Magic: The Cat’s existence, super-powers, machinery, minions, etc. Adult Appeal: Martin Short voices the Cat and brings his Broadway musical yodel to various show-stopping numbers about diatoms and such.

perceive despite immediate proximity. Magic: All problems are solved using one of four random “Mouseketools” provided by floating Mickey trademark symbol known as “Toodles,” which occasionally exhibits a personality but is usually a faceless but omnipotent automaton.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Disney Junior, various times

Kid Appeal: Walt’s deal with Lucifer apparently intact, as Disney characters still rocksolid eyeball magnets. Fourth Wall: Routinely violated for counting, color choices, shape identification, pointing out things the characters somehow can’t 88

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Adult Appeal: Historical interest in obscure Disney character cameos; main nemesis is Pete the Bear, whose lightweight current incarnation belies his Prohibition-era origin as a malicious bootlegger.

Chuggington Disney Junior, weekdays 7:30 am, weekends 6 am

Kid Appeal: Takes the dreary Thomas the Tank Engine world and amps it up to 11 with bright colors and clangorous racket. Most bald-faced rip-off in cartoon history, with exception of Flintstones v. Honeymooners. Fourth Wall: Ignored because there’s too much going on already. Magic: Trains are alive à la Thomas, and they behave just as foolishly, but at least it’s acknowledged that most train characters are immature train-children. Also, a godlike artificial intelligence, known only as “Vee,” who monitors and controls mechanical and human life through an Orwellian system of animated loudspeakers. Adult Appeal: Minimal, though at least it lacks the sonorous monotony of Thomas’s world. Still disturbed by the way the trains tend to jump around on the rails when excited. Simmer down!

all images courtesy of the respective networks

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

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Television | pacifier

Octonauts

Little Einsteins

Disney Junior, weekdays 11:30 am, weekends 7:00 AM

Disney Junior, various times

Kid Appeal: Undersea fun with various weird beings on a submerged base dedicated to helping injured animals. Predator animals usually given short shrift. Nobody helps the sharks. Fourth Wall: Closing “Creature Report” song details what’s been “learned” about the ocean animal featured in the episode. Magic: Other than the talking animals, there is a coterie of cutesy “vegimals” (animal-vegetable hybrids), possibly created by the other unexplained miscegenation on the base: Professor Inkling, who is allegedly an octopus but has the face and ears of a cat. Adult Appeal: Despite the setting, disappointingly plodding and pedantic. But did feature what has to be the first cartoon appearance of a blobfish, so there’s that.

Fourth Wall: Some characters mug to the audience, or more specifically, to adults. Magic: Science on a colossal superheroic scale, used by good and evil and incidental characters with no apparent limits. Indolent townspeople so inured to daily catastrophe that nothing appears to faze them. Adult Appeal: Permanent side plot of super-spy platypus versus mad scientist that always touches on main plot tangentially, despite oblivious main characters. Possibly the most overt appeal outside of Pixar to placating parents. Special Agent Oso Disney, 6:30 am

Jake and the Neverland Pirates Disney Junior, 8:30 am

Kid Appeal: Colorful pirate adventure drained of actual danger or adventure, including emasculated Captain Hook. Exotic locale. Boats. No actual piracy. Fourth Wall: Violated when viewer assistance required to solve simple puzzles, plus sharing in group “reward” of pointless and unspendable gold doubloons. Magic: Pixie dust for flying, supposedly used only in “emergencies” but used regularly and trivially. Various magical characters and beings with congenital inability to survive without help from flying pirate children. Adult Appeal: David Arquette voices a parrot. Phineas & Ferb Disney and Disney XD, various times

Kid Appeal: Manic insanity of genius brothers who control space and time with their inventions while tormenting their sister with impunity. A gateway step to hyperactive post-toddler cartoons.

Kid Appeal: A stuffed bear secret agent so incompetent he will make any child feel like a genius. Fourth Wall: Completely rent asunder. Oso addresses the viewer constantly, both when pleading for help in accomplishing the most basic tasks (“how to blow your nose” is one lesson) but also for jokey asides or smarmy praise.

Kid Appeal: Group of mystery-solving, musically inclined children enter hallucinatory worlds composed of elements from classical artworks and inhabited by beings fueled with classical music. Fourth Wall: Yes, your child must locate non-hidden objects, articulate obvious choices, and clap or wave or writhe in place to “power” a rocket. Magic: The rocket, named Rocket, zooms the children around the universe and transforms into other vehicles, occasionally clashing with other super-powered vehicles whose motives are obscure. Is the sinister Big Blue Jet crewed by a foursome of evil tots? Adult Appeal: Regardless of what you think of the Einsteins franchise, there is no appeal in this saccharine attempt to convert high art into the television equivalent of chewable vitamins. Team Umizoomi Nickelodeon, weekdays 10:30 am and 12:30 pm

Kid Appeal: Colorful alien children in a primary-colored world who, as usual, require the child-viewer’s assistance. With math. Fourth Wall: As is standard, the characters are unable to overcome any challenge, no matter how inconsequential, without abstract help from your child. Magic: The two human-child characters and the robot-child character have various species of powers derived from mathematics. None actually involve solving math problems without help, of course. Adult Appeal: None. Math is never fun. Super Why PBS, weekdays 9:00 am and 12:00 noon, weekends 8:00 am

Magic: A roster of James Bond gadgetry, plus singing “Paw Pilot” virtual espionage handler, endless fatuous James Bond puns that without doubt go right past the child viewer to lodge uncomfortably in the brains of older viewers. Adult Appeal : Sean Astin, aka Samwise Gamgee of hobbit fame, does the voice of Oso. Otherwise completely repellant.

Kid Appeal: Fantastical journeys into the wonderful world of reading about stuff. Fourth Wall: If you haven’t yet caught on, the child’s mandatory assistance is assumed as he or she is press-ganged into the Super Readers club of problem-solving fairytale characters. Magic: The characters are from fairytales to begin with, but here they also have reading-derived super powers, use computers, and creepily interact with the occasional live-action interloper. Adult Appeal: Very little, though it’s hard not to chuckle at Alpha Pig, the alphabetpowered swine who nevertheless seems like more of a beta personality. S

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pacifier | Books

New Kid Lit

The intersection of technology and individuality permeates this season’s children’s books by Brionna Jimerson

by Annette Simon (Candlewick Press) Ages: 4–7

by Nicola Davies with illustrations by Marc Boutavant (Walker Children’s Books) Ages: 2–5

Annette Simon’s latest tale will make you reboot and re-compute! Her take on friendly rivalry, Robot Zombie Frankenstein, mixes the supernatural and the all-too-real feelings of competition between two individuals. Two robots play creatively through stark triangles, rectangles and playful shapes, evolving first as robots … then robot zombies … then robot zombie Frankensteins! This tale, emphasizing the fluidity of identity and necessity of creating wiggle room in a child’s understanding of self, is for children with limitless bouts of energy, and will encourage the shy child’s creativity. There is also something for adults in this book: In a world where technology reshapes our world on a daily basis, and some new gadget is almost always making its way down the conveyor belt, Robot Zombie Frankenstein recalls the simplicity we can regain once we strip away our apps and devices. Maybe we all just need some pie.

What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors

Robot Zombie Frankenstein

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton (Candlewick Press) Ages: 2–4

The vibrant illustrations of Oh No, George! will remind you of Eric (The Very Hungry Caterpillar) Carle’s classic stories in their intricate and careful crafting, or No, David! by David Shannon. Oh No, George! is a great readaloud story for children about keeping their word, as George, a dog, struggles with his affinity for cake and playing with his friend, Cat, after he promises owner Harry that he will “be good.” The story is a great way to introduce the concept of behavior and accountability. George’s struggle for self-control and Haughton’s subtle writing illustrate the alltoo-familiar struggle with temptation. House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser with illustrations by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press) Ages: 4–8

In House Held Up by Trees, the lyrical prose of Ted Kooser (U.S. poet laureate from 2004 to 2006) is more than matched by Jon Klassen’s expert illustrations. House chronicles transformation, loss and the gentle conquest of nature as two children find solace in a wooded area near their home. After they reach maturity and their father moves away, the house melds with nature, hoisted into the air by the

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Who’s Like Me? (Uncover & Discover)

Who’s Like Me? is a fresh take on the typical children’s flip book, commonly stuffed with tactile texture pads and uncharacteristically soft fibers in lieu of animal fur. But this creative concoction by Davies (a zoologist who has transformed her interest in the natural world into an educational venture) and Boutavant seeks to inspire kids to use their eyes and imagination to explore textures and describe the natural world around them. It opens by asking, “Who’s furry and breathes air like me? ”, before prompting children to flip open slats in the book. The story establishes connections between likebodied animals and makes animal classification a fun task. Davies’s earlier award-winning children books include White Owl, Barn Owl and Surprising Sharks.

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld with illustrations by Ben Boos and A.G. Ford (Candlewick Press) Ages: 6–12

What Color Is My World?, the second collaboration between retired NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld, illuminates overlooked African-American inventors in the United States. The story introduces us to nearly two dozen of the countless American innovators, often overlooked by history, through the lens of siblings Ella and Herbie as they help renovate their new home. Black history should not begin and end in February! The book is engaging and expertly illustrated, with “fast facts,” blueprints and diagrams galore. S

all books courtesy of the publishers

surrounding trees, and human nature and nature itself converge. The story serves to remind children and adults of who and what was here first, with an ending that restores priority to the earth, while inspiring environmental curiosity in the reader.

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BOOKS | PACIFIER

cording to a recent NPR story, or that t he Joa n Ga nz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop found that children preferred books on iPads. In a recent study, the center observed 24 families with children ages 3 to 6, who, when given both print and e-books, preferred reading the electronic versions to print books, though comprehension was equal. There has yet to be a comprehensive study that addresses whether e-books are better or worse for kids’ learning. So before deciding whether reading your child to sleep while curling up with a backlit screen is a good or bad idea, consider a basic question: With all the digital bells and whistles, what does a “good” book even look like these days? For Brook ly nb a s e d M ic hel le Knudsen, author of over 40 books for children, the heart of a good book remains a compelling story. Knudsen notes t hat pinpointing what made her most popular title, Library Lion, such a hit isn’t totally obvious, but the elements that resonate with young readers have more to do with emotions than electronics. “I think what they most respond to is the emotion—the feelings of the characters for one another and the themes of friendship and belonging and sacrifi ce,” says Knudsen in an email. “I didn’t sit down to write a story about any of those things at the outset, but I think the fact that there are real emotions at the heart of the story makes people care about the characters and what happens to them in the books.” “The key point for a good

‘I’ll Drag, and Click, and Blow Your House Down!’

IPAD: FOTOLIA; BOOK COVER COURTESY OF CANDLEWICK

E-books are popular with kids. But are they losing the magic of the printed page? by Alizah Salario

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HEN THE GODFATHER OF CHILDREN’S LITERATURE , Maurice Sendak, talks books, it’s best to take note. In a recent interview with Steven Colbert, the revered author of Where the Wild Things Are confirmed his status as a lovable curmudgeon. “I don’t write for children,” he told Colbert. “I write, and someone says, ‘That’s for children.’ I don’t set out to make children happy, or make life better for them, or easier for them.” Sendak’s rough-around-the-edges sensibility is a provocative counterpoint to the growing list of digitally enhanced children’s books that incorporate kid-friendly animation and interactive elements. Consider the recent iPad makeovers of these classics: An ebook iteration of The Three Little Pigs allows young readers to help the wolf blow down the piggies’ houses via the iPad’s microphone, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit is tricked out with touch-and-hear text and pull tabs that literally “pull” readers into the world of Beatrix Potter’s classic illustrations. In a rapidly evolving publishing landscape, it comes as no surprise that 11 million parents have purchased e-books for their children, ac-

book is universality,” agrees E.J. Altbacker, author of the Shark Wars series for middle grades, and a writer for cartoons and kid’s shows. “Whatever magical land you’re in, there has to be something anchoring it that kids can relate to. Either the character is an outcast, or an orphan, or he’s different somehow.” Altbacker notes that those who grew up listening to storytellers spin yarns around the fi re might have experienced similar feelings about the transition to print. Initially, a story without a teller may have seemed stale, the page revealing nothing about the subtlety of tale. “Everyone knew the stories, but it was the skill of the performer who was giving nuance to the words,” Altbacker says. While stories can be told in many different formats, picture books leave plenty of room for a child’s imagination. There’s even the “picture book proclamation,” a tenderly illustrated manifesto spearheaded by children’s book author Mac Barnett and signed by numerous prominent writers and illustrators. “We believe a picture book should be fresh, honest, piquant and beautiful,” it declares, insisting that printed children’s books are “a form, not a genre.” Print books and e-books each have their strengths, and aren’t mutually exclusive: Readers young and old still cherish the tactile experience of reading a picture book. Knudsen suggests that while apps or games can supplement a book, letting young readers enjoy characters in an extended format, the story should still always come fi rst. “The words and the pictures draw the reader in, inviting her to meet the author or artist halfway, helping to bring the story fully to life in her mind,” says Knudsen. “If books become too much like games, if it becomes all about touching the screen to see what happens, I worry that sense of connection will be lost.” S

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top: Timothy Saccenti; bottom: Frej Hedenberg; right: Benoit Pailley

Art | pacifier

An Enchanting Child-Themed Art Site Grows in Brooklyn s

t o o r h c ren F th i w

Want to celebrate the magical realism of childhood

in a more sophisticated fashion than your average Anne Geddes print? Of course you do—unless you really love grinning infants wearing pumpkin costumes. (I have always suspected those children are drugged.) Kid-in’s take on childhood is thoroughly grown up. If there is a child in a pumpkin costume on the site, you can be sure that it was intended as a wry and pointed commentary. At Kid-in (kid-in.net), an online platform on which a wide range of international and local designers and photographers focus their creative efforts upon the subject of childhood, you’ll always find something fresh. Updated fortnightly, the site features photos of children dressed in war paint, sitting like tiny tutu-ed dictators on thrones,

and grimly dragging their toy trains. Meanwhile, toys such as the Slinky lend themselves to the “platonic solids” series. The overall effect is more fashion editorial, less consciously cutesy. That is to say, the children in it still look like children—but

they don’t look like they were posed to provoke squeals of delight from adults. Alice Betay and Stephanie Arpage, the two Brooklyn moms from France who founded the site, see childhood as more than simply adorable. Alice notes that she’s driven by “her love of spontaneity and the surreal,” while Stephanie’s inspiration stems from the family attic and “the hours on end spent pilfering forgotten trunks of exotic fabrics and costume jewelry.” Perhaps those insights account for the stunning outfits seen on the children who appear on the site—or maybe that’s just good stylists at work. Regardless, you can expect to see something brilliant and inventive—with very little kidding around. –Jennifer Wright

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pacifier | Events

Social Scene

Winter was a busy party season for New York kids and the grown-ups who love them too much.

Ramses Barden and friends

On Jan. 29, Scooter joined with Big City Moms and sponsors RedRover, J&R Jr. and the Observer Media Group to host Winterfest Family Fun Day at Central Park’s Wollman Skating Rink. The event raised funds for K.I.D.S (Kids In Distressed Situations), which provides clothing, toys, books and baby products to 67 million children in need around the world.

Rockin’ Railroad

Vignette and Phoenix francis

Henry and Katherine Tucker

On March 6, F.A.O. Schwartz, Sloan-Kettering and Tiffany teamed up to host the society children’s event of the year, the 21st annual Bunny Hop at the Fifth Avenue mega toy store. Proceeds benefitted the Pediatric Family Housing Endowment. Kids of all ages enjoyed a plethora of creative activity booths, craft tables, toy-making corners, live animal and sing-along presentations, plus gorgeous food stations. Upstairs, Birkin-toting moms enjoyed posh sips of rosé while stylishly clad juveniles danced to the beats of a DJ. For many youngsters, the biggest excitement was the appearance of New York Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden.

Patrick mcmullen; below: Simon Courchel

Kids skating and warmed up with hot chocolate and lunch from Relish Caterers while listening to a high-energy performance by Rockin’ Railroad.

Kid-in.net (see p. 93) celebrated its launch with a lively party at the Invisible Dog gallery in Cobble Hill on Feb. 16. Founders Alice Bertay and Stephanie Arpage, Brooklyn moms originally from France, and managing editor Larissa Zaharuk mingled with parents, writers and photographers as images from the site were projected on large screens, while adorable, impeccably behaved children busied themselves out of the way of the StGermain-sipping partygoers. (Just as one might expect of children raised in the famous French style of non-helicopter parenting.) Alice Bertay and Stephanie Arpage

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CLARIDGE’S, a classic prewar building in the heart of midtown, is steps from Central Park, Fifth Avenue and 57th street shopping, Time Warner Center, Carnegie Hall, and MoMA. Residences offer high ceilings, restored plaster moldings and beams, granite kitchens, marble baths and entry foyers and abundant custom closets. Penthouses feature large terraces, many with views of Central Park. Featuring an elegant lobby the building has a 24-hour doorman, staffed on-site fitness center and “Sky’s the Limit” concierge to attend to all your personal needs. For more information call 347-728-0332

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MONEY SAVVY GENERATION continues to develop innovative educational products to help parents, grandparents and others teach kids the basics of personal finance. Through our award-winning line of unique 4-chambered banks - Money Savvy Pigâ (winner of Parents’ Choice Gold and NAPPA Gold awards), Money Savvy Cowâ and Money Savvy Footballâ - we introduce kids (4 – 11) to the basic choices for money: SAVE, SPEND, DONATE, and INVEST. The perfect child’s gift! Call: 866-390-5959 or visit www.msgen.com.

For 150 years, the legendary FAO SCHWARZ® has enchanted generations of kids, created lifelong memories and drawn acclaim for its assortment of extraordinary toys. Established in 1862, the country’s oldest and most beloved toy store kicked off a year-long celebration for its 150th anniversary. The company will honor its rich heritage with in-store events, commemorative product offerings, a showcase of brand archives and an enhanced website that together will present the brand’s storied history. 1.800.426.8697 fao.com ® NYSDED

AZURE, the Upper East Side’s newest luxury residential development located at 333 East 91st Street, offers floor-to-ceiling windows in each residence with breathtaking city and river views, as well as 6,300 square feet of amenity space and includes full service valet and 24-hour concierge, a live-in resident manager, Fresh Direct approved refrigerated storage, additional individual storage units and free bicycle storage. For more information about Azure, please contact the sales office at (212) 828-4848, e-mail info@azureny.com or visit the website at www.azurenyc.com.

THE ART FARM IN THE CITY is an an Eco-friendly and organic facility which teaches your children about nature, animals and how to better care for our planet. We also teach your children about responsibility through caring, loving and being in the company of animals. Our magical, USDA licensed, indoor petting zoo has a wide variety of animals including bunnies, chinchillas, guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, birds, tropical fish and more. We offer a variety of programs such as camps, birthday parties, adult and me & after school classes, drop ins, and more.

SHOOFLY has been a teeny star in NYC since 1987, the first to showcase European footwear for children. Shoofly originally set out to be more than your average shoe store, offering an unusual selection of hats, socks and accessories. Fashion is fun but fitting shoes is also very important at Shoofly and we do it with care, fun and expertise. We carry shoes from newborn to big kids, prewalkers to stiltwalkers, walkers to hikers. Please stop in!

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Scooter Gallery FROST VALLEY YMCA is the premier year-round camping and retreat center in the heart of New York’s Catskill Mountains and a favorite for parents seeking an engaging, summer camp experience for their children. Our 6,000-acre campus offers one of the most breathtaking natural settings in the country, surrounded by 250,000 acres of “forever wild” Catskill Mountain Forest Preserve. We offer year-round activities for families, friends, couples, and groups. Learn more at: frostvalley.org

FUSION ACADEMY & LEARNING CENTER A private school and tutoring center for grades 6-12 that customizes an academic program and schedule for each student in the perfect environment: one student and one teacher in each classroom. At Fusion Academy, the educational experience is completely customized around each student. In addition to being taught on a one-to-one basis, all of our classes are self-paced and the material is presented in a way that considers each student’s individual interests, strengths, and learning style. Manhattan 866-430-7677 Long Island 866 426 1188 www.fusionacademy.com

HALSTEAD PROPERTY is one of the most respected firms in the real estate industry. As the largest privately held real estate firm in the Tri-State area, servicing New York, the Hamptons, Connecticut and New Jersey with 21 offices and 950+ agents, the company’s presence is unmatched. Halstead’s innovative and personable approach to service makes the process of buying and selling real estate rewarding and fulfilling. Visit the award-winning www. halstead.com to search listings, view videos or learn more.

HARRY’S SHOES FOR KIDS continues to offer the city’s most extensive collection of quality brandname children’s footwear, fitted by our highly competent and patient staff of professionals. From infants to “tweens,” Harry’s offers style and selection to even the most demanding consumer: your child! Visit us on Broadway between 83rd and 84th Streets. We’re open seven days! And when in the neighborhood, visit our adult’s store on Broadway at 83rd Street!

ICING ON THE CAKE was started as a love of baking and grew into a into a love of making people smile. After all, if there’s a cake there’s something to celebrate! Every cake is made to order. That means you can be sure that your cake is fresh and delicious every time. Each cake is individually designed to match you, your personality, and the theme of the occasion you are celebrating. Icing On The Cake can create anything from a traditional wedding cake to a 3D sculpted cake. We also make cupcakes! Call or email to schedule a consultation for your next event. We look forward to baking for you! (347) 604-3309 icingonthecakenyc@yahoo.com www.icingonthecakenyc.com

INCARNATION CAMP. Why pay double for the same camping experience that you can get at the oldest co-ed camp in America? For 120 years, kids have been making friends and enjoying a full range of activities including sports, hiking, boating, archery, and horseback riding on our 700 –acre campground with private lake. Visit us to see for yourself what a great time your kids can have this summer. American Camp Association Accredited. Ivoryton, CT Incarnationcamp.org 800.226.7329

KIDDING AROUND — named “Best Toy Store in NYC” by New York Magazine. Sister store, just kidding around, named “Best Toy Store in NJ” by New Jersey Monthly Magazine. We are passionate about our selection of toys, games and gifts. Great design and great value – lots of classics and lots of surprises! As a family owned business, we so thank you for your support of local independent retailers! Unique toys & gifts. 60 West 15th Street, New York City 10011. 212.645.6337 • www.kiddingaround.us

LAKERIDGE, a woodsy retreat just a quick drive from New York City, has 474 homes and limitless enjoyment for your family, including sixteen outdoor tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a private ski area, and onsite day camps. Situated next to Burr Mountain State Park in Litchfield County, a place for everything from horseback riding to tennis lessons to gardening, Lakeridge has everything you need to for the perfect vacation any time of year. For more information, please visit or call us at lakeridgect.com / 800-796-8929

LEMAN MANHATTAN PREPARATORY SCHOOL. Located in historic downtown New York, we are a worldclass preparatory school starting with 3s through Grade 12. Our academically challenging education teaches young people to be courageous, critical thinkers who are prepared to succeed at top choice colleges. Our network of schools in Europe, Asia, Latin America and throughout the US creates endless opportunities for students to participate in international learning, leadership, athletic, music and art programs that develop cultural knowledge and real-world experience.

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THE STORY HOUSE, a boutique condominium located in the heart of ALL ages- from toddlers to the Flatiron district at teens, new parents to great36 East 22nd Street, 91 Hill Street Southampton, NY 11968 • 800.832.6500 • southamptoninn.com grandparents! Perfectly located in the historic Southampton offers eight, full-floor Village, the inn offers complimentary shuttle service to #1 loft residences all with Coopers Beach (summertime). 50-ft. Heated pool, tennis court, privately keyed elevator outdoor climbing toys and lawn games, and a playroom of access and some with toys and books. Pets permitted in some rooms. The midweek private outdoor space. summer 6-day/5-night special for two adults and two kids is an Two-bedrooms plus den and three-bedroom homes both affordable Hamptons holiday! feature three full baths and open gourmet chef’s kitchens. Bathed in sunlight from floor-to-ceiling windows, homes 91 Hill Street have soaring ceilings and expansive floor plans. The building Southampton, NY 11968 is serviced by Cyberdoorman™, and Manhattan Skyline’s Southamptoninn.com exclusive Sky’s The Limit™ VIP concierge. Please visit www. TheStoryHouseNYC.com or call 212-697-8679 for more information.

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MANHATTAN COUNTRY SCHOOL is a prekindergarten through 8th grade independent school that has both a city and a farm campus. Our goals for students are academic excellence, intellectual freedom, social awareness, selfconfidence, and firsthand knowledge of the natural world. MCS is unique among NYC independent schools in having a 180acre working farm integral to the curriculum, broad economic diversity and a sliding-scale tuition policy. For more information: Visit online: www.manhattancountryschool. org Call (212) 348-0952 or e-mail: admissions@ manhattancountryschool.org

WEST RIVER HOUSE Located at 81st Street and West End Avenue, West River House offers family-sized apartments up to convertible three-bedrooms. Amenities include a staffed health club, a fully furnished and landscaped roof deck, 24-hour doorman, laundry rooms on every floor, 24-hour attended parking garage and “Sky’s the Limit” concierge. Steps from Broadway shopping, (including food favorites: Zabar’s, Citarella’s, Fairway, Trader Joe’s) and transportation, the building is also near Riverside Park and 79th Street marina, the Hudson River promenade, the Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum. For more information please call 347-728-0367

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Scooter Gallery DM ROTH & ASSOCIATES A division of Dinsmore/Steele Dinsmore/ Steele is a human capital agency that helps companies like yours comparatively price the market for each stage of their employees’ life cycles-from payroll, health insurance, risk mitigation & HR. Whether you’re a start-up or a publicly traded company, we eliminate the stress of shopping multiple providers and vendors by eliminating the sales process altogether. Presenting you with the best solution for your needs and saving thousands over your current solution. Come save with us, you know, if you’re into that sort of thing. www.dinsmoresteele.com Contact Timothy Hillert, Human Capital Strategist, One Penn Plaza, Suite 2035, 888.973.6276x145 th@dinsmoresteele.com

MY ANIMAL CAMP Cub Creek Science Camp Feed lemurs, walk llamas, hold baby kangaroo, pet a porcupine (very carefully of course), launch rockets, explore a cave, make candy and crafts, enjoy archery, riflery and zip lining. Offering a modern facility, beautiful airconditioned cabins, great food and caring staff. Cub Creek is the only overnight animal camp in the country. Most popular week long activities are Adopt and Animal and Jr Vet. Request your FREE brochure. 573-458-2125 www.MyAnimalCamp.com

MY LEARNING SPRINGBOARD is an educational services company offering consultation, private tutoring, test preparation, and enrichment teaching as well as homeschooling and special education services. Our faculty is comprised of top-notch educators and specialists with expertise at all levels, from pre-kindergarten through adult learning. We develop trusted relationships with families and schools by taking a holistic approach to teaching and learning. Please contact us to discuss our services: info@mylearningspringboard.com 646.478.8692 www.mylearningspringboard.com

ONE CARNEGIE HILL, located at 217 East 96th Street, offers discerning New Yorkers a truly unique Upper East Side lifestyle with a luxurious collection of spectacular for sale residences featuring breathtaking river to river views, sumptuous marble baths and gorgeous granite kitchens. The 18,000 square foot Residents’ Club, designed by acclaimed architect David Rockwell, includes a 50 foot skylit pool, a state-ofthe-art fitness center, outdoor play and BBQ dining areas, and a stunning rooftop lounge and terrace. For further information or to schedule an appointment, contact Matthew Chook at (917) 597-6967. www.onecarnegiehillsales.com www. related.com

THE PARENTS LEAGUE OF NEW YORK is a non-profit association of families and schools since 1913. The Parents League provides advisory services to families applying to preschools and independent elementary, middle and upper schools in NYC. Boarding school, special needs and summer camp consultation is also available from our team of professional advisors. Parents League parenting education events and publications provide information on a wide variety of subjects of interest to parents. Join today at www. ParentsLeague.org

THE PAVILION Located at 500 East 77th St., the historic Pavilion offers the best of luxury rental living today. The Pavilion’s one-, twoand three-bedroom homes are built with growing families in mind, boasting Glenwood’s signature finishes, generous proportions and timeless sophistication. Just steps from John Jay Park and the City’s finest schools, residents also benefit from Glenwood’s full-service amenities including landscaped rooftop sundecks, available valet and maid to buy art. wayinformation, a new Experience service and on-site shopping. For more call 212.535.0500 or visit www.glenwoodnyc.com.

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Sophie Speaks! The world’s most famous teething toy tells all. by Una LaMarche

P

eople often ask me what it’s like being the world’s most

famous teething toy. They want to hear about the glamour of it all, about the F.A.O. Schwartz displays and the accolades and the song John Mayer may or may not have written about me. But it’s not always an easy life. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. I mean, sure, if I’m being honest with myself, it can get a bit tiring to be gnawed on all day by babies and Shih Tzus, or placed in a cat litter “zoo” with Muno, the phallic centaur from Yo Gabba Gabba! But trust me, the adoration of my fans makes it all worthwhile. (That and the 10 percent cut I get on Sophie sales, which has made me a millionaire hundreds of times over. My primary residence— on Avenue Foch in Paris­—contains three original Picassos that have been shrunk down to 18 centimeters using giant convection ovens so that I may enjoy them without the assistance of an Erector Set crane.) Still, I’m getting older, and while my rubber may look taut and healthy thanks to my all-natural, phthalate-free hevea-tree-sap physique (as well as once-a-month juice fasts and a truly punishing Equinox trainer named Fabian), I have to be realistic about how long I can keep up with the other toys in the sandbox. I turned 50 in human years last May, rolling off the assembly line in 1961 on the same day that John F. Kennedy made his “man on the moon” speech to Congress. Incidentally, would you believe that I’m just a few weeks younger than George Clooney? Our agents tried to set us up once but he backed out at the last minute, mumbling something racist about dating outside his species. You’re not kidding anyone, Clooney—I know the real reason is that my shapely neck and legs would make you look like a toadstool at the foot of la Tour Eiffel. 112

Scooter

Anyway, my birthday was quite the fête. My publicists threw me a huge party at Le Rex Club, and absolutely everyone who’s anyone was there. Even President Sarkozy stopped by to pick up a few of me for the first baby, Giulia. The night was a dream until Rupert Murdoch— whose young daughters used to dress me in edible gold leaves from their ice cream sundaes at Serendipity—asked if the rumor was true that I’m really 350 in dog years. Well! I had a few Kir Royales in me by that point and so I said, “Do I look like a bitch to you?” Then I turned on my heel and had a dance-off with Alexander Wang. Rupe and I laughed about it later, of course, but I had Nate Silver do the math for me using mean solar days, and in giraffe years it turns out I’m just 155, like my style icon Karl Lagerfeld­— only skinnier! (Mais non, Karl­— I kid! You know ich liebe dich.) Obviously I rub elbows with major celebrities, which is a nice perk of fame, but I also suffer the consequences of being a household name. Have you looked at my Amazon reviews lately? I hasten to add that normally I wouldn’t even bring them up, but last night I ate the entire foie gras appetizer at Nougatine all by myself and came home feeling bloated, which led to an unfortunate 2 a.m. Google shame spiral. Of course I didn’t read any of the 1,130 five-star reviews. Oh, no, I went straight to the one-stars, or, as I like to call them, LAND OF THE ALL CAPS CHARACTER ASSASSINATION. I don’t know which is more hurtful, the suggestion that I should have my legs surgically shortened to prevent rugrats from accidentally “choking” on my God-given gams, or the claim that I’m simply not worth my price, and “could easily be mistaken for a dog toy.” Oh, REALLY? Well, I don’t know what kind of dog you have, “Valery,” but any pedigreed breed would never even think of disgracing me in its jaws. On my last trip to Washington I met Bo Obama, and he could not have been more of a gentleman—not even a cautious lick. That’s class. But as (former) Countess LuAnn de Lesseps once told me, I shouldn’t indulge the haters. At least when I’m feeling down, I can just shut my laptop, nibble on some twigs and gaze at the framed photo I have of me and Harlow Madden—Nicole Richie’s daughter—frolicking in the grass in Washington Square Park, my head in her mouth. It’s not like I don’t have plenty to do to pass the time. On any given day I might be on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, lounging poolside at Soho House, taking a safari through the dishwasher, or watching Let’s Make a Deal with the nanny—we love “le Wayne Brady” in France! And of course there’s my 51st/158th birthday coming up next month. It will be a smaller affair this year, but that’s to be expected—and makes it so much less stressful. People are always BBMing me last minute to get on the guest list, or requesting freebies for their niece, their neighbor’s adopted twins, their godson. But if my half a century on the planet has taught me one thing, it’s self-respect, and I’m done sticking my neck out for people. I really am. S

photo-illustration by Scott dvorin

TRANSITIONAL OBJECTS

spring 2012

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Publication: Scooter Instertion Date: March 26

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Profile for New York

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