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November 2019 established 1986

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November 2019 |



November 2019

pg. 62

pg. 52

pg. 16

pg. 58

FEATURES 14 | Style Check out the Rockets of Awesome pop-up shop 28 |Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs Inspiration for the best bar/bat mitzvah celebrations 30 | Special Needs Ten things one mom wishes she knew when her child received a special needs diagnosis 34 | Special Needs Developmental Milestones and when it’s time for Early Intervention 40 | Self-Care Seven spots where you can indulge, get pampered, rest, stretch or explore 44 | The Ultimate Guide to Family Holiday Fun 52 festive things to do with kids in NYC this season

Stories & columns 6 | Editor’s Note Cue the Holiday Fun


New York Family | November 2019

8 | Contributors The wonderful peeps who have shared their talents this month 10 | Mom Hacks: The Best Healthy Snacks The best healthy grab-and-go snacks for the whole family 16 | Gear The best baby carriers for city moms on the go 20 | Ask the Expert Author and nanny Erika Veurik shares on how caregivers and parents can have stronger relationships 22 | Parent’s Book Club Nicole Dennis-Benn latest novel, Patsy 52 | Mom Stories Essay: Rethinking the family photo 66 | We Asked What we are grateful for this Thanksgiving

Home & Away 56 | Neighborhood Guide: Chelsea Explore food, culture and more in this family-friendly neighborhood

58 | Family Day Out: Germantown in the Hudson Valley This sweet, family-friendly nook of Hudson brings out the wonder of fall in New York 60 | Las Vegas We visited (with kids!) and had the most chill trip ever

Family fun 26 | Family Fun: LeFrak Center at Lakeside Discover a winter wonderland in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park 62 | Calendar Unmissable events in Manhattan and beyond for November

directory 36 | Special Needs Listings Our picks for Special Needs resources

on the Cover

Photo: Nick Lee | Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | Clothing: Rockets of Awesome* |

*Poppy (second from left) wearing her own t-shirt

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Editor’s Note Publisher: Hester Aba Executive Editor: Donna Duarte-Ladd Digital Editor: Katarina Avendaño Senior Adviser: Susan Weiss Director, Business Development: Mary Ann Oklesson Partnership Managers: Erik Bliss, Erin Brof, Mary Cassidy, Shelli Goldberg-Peck Ad Ops Coordinator: Charlotte Sauvagnat Art Director: Leah Mitch Web Developer: Sylvan Migdal Graphic Designers: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti Nina Gallo Photography

Cue the Holiday Fun For this month’s cover, we trekked to Central Park with our kids in tow, climbed up on one of the highest rocks, and had an exhilarating photoshoot with five energetic children. Afterward, we were exhausted. We learned a lot this day — a) have more coffee on hand for the adults b) kids are more likely to listen to other kids’ parents than their own own, and c) bring better snacks next time. Thankfully we have The Best New Snacks (page 10) in this issue, so you (and the New York Family Team) will have the best treats on hand for the entire family. In keeping with our “on the go” theme, we’re sharing a sweet round-up of baby carriers for parents perfect for city living (page 16). For parents wondering if their child is reaching their milestones and what the next step should be if not, check out When it’s time for Early Intervention on (page 34). And if you ever wondered how your relationship

with your child’s caregiver could be stronger, Author and Nanny Erika Veurink shares her thoughts in What a Nanny Wants you to Know (page 20). Last but certainly not least, New York City is glorious during the holidays. When I was a kid, I would watch holiday movies based in New York, and even on-screen New York twinkled. Our own kids and families who visit NYC at this time of year are in for a treat when they come here. This is why for our November cover, we have The Ultimate Guide to Family Holiday Fun (page 44). We recommend tearing out this section or heading to to print out the digital version to pop in your handbag or diaper bag this season. We hope you enjoy it! Donna Ladd Executive Editor

Graphic Design Intern: Elvia Caballero Editorial Contributor: Mia Salas Editorial Interns: Taryn Schofield, Keana Demming

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New York Family has been recognized for editorial and design excellence by PMA. New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC.

get in touch Share your feedback and ideas about family life in the city! Email us at and tag us at #newyorkfamily


New York Family | November 2019

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Erich McVey

Chris Eckert

Gena Mann

Veronica Rogers

Nick Lee

Gena Mann is an experienced Photo Editor from New York City working for brands such as Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and CosmoGIRL! Together Gena, with her co-founder Carissa Tozzi decided the best way to support special needs moms was to create a modern lifestyle app that would help special needs moms make meaningful connections. The Wolf + Friends app is what Gena wishes she had when her son was first diagnosed with autism.

Veronica Rogers is a creative director/ prop stylist/artist/creative educator/ seeker of beauty with a fascination with the human experience. Veronica owns a full-service creative agency and takes a holistic approach to design and content creation. She loves connecting brands to their customers by telling their stories through imagery in new and unexpected ways. Find more of her work at veronicarogers. com.

Nick is a native of London, England. He made his first moves into photography by tried and trusted fine art B&W hand printing and processing in London. Nick continued learning his craft by moving to NYC in 2006, and has since been awarded a PDN for his Sibling Project, and has built an impressive portfolio within commercial photography. Nick is married, has two sons and lives in Brooklyn.




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New York Family | November 2019


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The Best Heal�hy Snacks

Some delicious options to keep us going, between busy workdays and after-school activities! BY KATARINA AVENDAÑO


et’s get real! Although having your three daily meals is super important, snacks are what keep us going between finishing a deadline at work or getting the kids to their extracurricular activities. With little time to spare, we need something that is going to do the job in between meals. If you haven’t already heard about these snacks, we think that it’s time that you put these on your radar and keep your kitchen pantry stocked.


New York Family | November 2019

1. LesserEvil Organic Popcorn “No Cheese” Cheesiness Next time you are thinking about popcorn, you have to try LesserEvil’s “No Cheese” Cheesiness. This organic, vegan popcorn makes a great alternative to other cheeseflavored popcorn. Not only is it healthier and a good source of fiber, it has a unique and tasty flavor, with a hint of coconut from the coconut oil that it’s popped in. This snack is a family favorite and a must for the kitchen pantry. Order from their website in cases of five, 12 and 25, or go to to find a nearby location where you can grab a bag or two.

2. Tortilla Chips Seasoned With Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Onion & Parsley Kids may wrinkle their noses and say “ewww” when they hear that these tortilla chips are brussels sprout flavored. Well, they are in for a surprise and will be blown away with fantastic flavor. These chips are absolutely delicious, made with white corn and rice flour, potato flakes, and freeze-dried brussels sprouts. They are cut into triangle pieces, baked, and tossed into an array of spices that fully complete the chip — perfect for packing into a lunch for a little crisp treat! Go to to find a nearby location.

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3. PopCorners Kettle Corn You may have seen these at your grocery stores if you have made your way down the snack aisle. If you have, make sure to grab a bag because these are a snack game-changer. PopCorners bring corn chips to a whole new level. A personal favorite is their kettle corn flavor that is made with sunflower oil, cane sugar and just a pinch of salt. These crispy snacks are gluten-free, vegan, nut-free and dairy-free. Order from their website in cases of 12 and 40. Alternatively, you can use their store locator at to find a nearby location where you can purchase these snacks.

5. LesserEvil Egg White Curls Huevos Rancheros Who would’ve known that a breakfast favorite could be made into a snack? These paleo puffs are made from American Humane certified egg whites, avocado oil and have a slight kick of spice with each bite. They make a great option for your snack drawer at work or for your kids’ lunches. Order a case or find a nearby location at

4. Trader Joe’s Sun Dried Apricots Trio Pack This sealed trio pack of Sun Dried Apricots is a great snack to throw in your purse, backpack or really whatever bag. It makes for an easy way to get nutrients and they are also mess-free. You can find this snack within the dried fruits and nuts section at Trader Joe’s. To find your nearby Trader Joe’s, go to to find a location.

6. Protein Bites Looking for a way to incorporate more protein into your family’s diet? Protein Bites are absolutely perfect for that with a chocolatey, truffle-like bite. These Bites are not only packed with 6 grams of protein, but they are also loaded with great flavor from sunflower seed butter and dairy-free chocolate. Order online or find a store at


New York Family | November 2019

7. Bare Baked Crunchy Fuji and Reds Now that we are in the fall season, these Bare Baked Crunchy Fuji and Reds make the perfect seasonal snack. You get the sweet apple taste paired with the crisp and crunch of the chip. And parents, the best part about this ingredient list is that it’s just apple — that’s it! They make a great source of fiber and there is no sugar added. See where you can buy these at 8. Trader Joe’s Bamba This peanut snack is definitely a TJ’s fan favorite. These snacks are light, crunchy and are bursting with peanut flavor. Finding this popular Israeli snack is not easy to come by, but Trader Joe’s makes it happen! These delicious, peanut-like snacks are packed with flavor but are actually made with just four simple ingredients: corn grits, peanut paste, palm oil and salt. You can find these in the snack aisle of Trader Joe’s at 99 cents a bag! To find your nearby Trader Joe’s store, go to and stock the pantry up.

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Rachel Blumenthal shows off her new pop-up shop in the Flatiron District, which includes a “marshmallow” pit for kids.

Rockets of Awesome Pop-Up Shop


ockets of Awesome, the magical kid’s line born here in NYC, has a fantastical pop-up shop in town, now until December 28th. Initially intended for parents to stock up on their popular pieces for Back to School, the surge of demand and excitement of the shoppers persuaded Rockets of Awesome to keep the store open through the holiday season. A bit of history Rockets of Awesome was founded by mom Rachel Blumenthal who lives in Manhattan with her husband, Neil, and their children, Griffin and Gemma. Rachel founded and


New York Family | November 2019

was CEO of the Cricket’s Circle, which many parents may recall was a cool website that did the job of weeding through the fray of all the baby products and information that comes at you when you’re new parents. This site provided curated resources and editorial content that helped parents to navigate what they needed for their baby and toddler. It was Cricket’s Circle community that inspired Rachel to start Rockets of Awesome. Now a popular kids’ clothing subscription service, as well as an e-commerce site, Rockets of Awesome is here in a sweet shop located in the Flatiron District. While parents shop the signature

bright and bold collections, kids can jump into the ‘marshmallow’ pit, take selfies on the rainbow swing, and work on their creative vision through the walls of the sticker rooms. Visit the pop-up! Store location: 133 Fifth Avenue (at 20th street) New York, NY 10003 Store hours: Mon-Sataturday: 10 am 7pm / Sun: 10 am - 6 pm Store Phone number: 646-791-0966 Stay in the know with the Rockets of Awesome Pop Up by following them on Instagram: @rocketsofawesome.


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The Best Baby Carriers for New York CitY MoMs

Best Infant to Toddler Baby Carrier: Tula Tula offers six different carriers, each with various features and functions. Our pick is the Explore, which provides maximum versatility. The Explore allows you to carry your baby in six positions, accommodates newborns to toddlers weighing 7 to 45 pounds, and offers adjustable head support. The Explore uses breathable and lightweight material and has a cool mesh carrier panel to keep you and your baby cool. The three width settings allow you to adjust the carrier as your little one grows, and the removable hood provides protection from the sun and privacy while feeding your baby. The Tula is the rebel baby carrier brand in that they are very stylish. While most carriers play it safe with solid colors, these baby carriers are famous for boasting fun prints such as animal print patterns, floral, stars, polka-a-dots, and more, all in fun pops of color! Explore Baby Carrier $179,


New York Family | November 2019

Best Affordable Baby Carrier: Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier Ever wish that you could simply adjust the seat of your baby carrier as your little one grows instead of buying a whole new one? With Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier, you can! There are four ways to carry: baby-facing in with a narrow seat for newborns, facing in with a wide seat for older babies, facing out with a narrow seat for babies with head control, and back carry with a wide seat for older babies and toddlers. The easily adjustable seat makes sure that the baby carrier is the perfect size for maximum comfort for your baby. We also love the Wonder Cover Bib, which attaches to the inside of your carrier when facing in, and across the folding rest when facing out. The Wonder Cover Bib protects your clothing and carrier from spit-up and drool â&#x20AC;&#x201D; no outfit changes needed throughout the day! We not only love this carrier for being well made and affordable, but it is also lightweight making it a great carrier for travel or to keep in the stroller. $27,

By Donna LaDD

Best Stylish Baby Carrier: Artipoppe Zeitgeist Baby Carrier Artipoppe is a bit like an honorable mention as purchasing this line of baby carrier entails purchasing through its UK website. Founder Anna van den Bogert designs her stylish carriers with all mothers in mind, which is why we are a bit obsessed. If we werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t done having babies, we would be sporting one of her ethically designed carries that are checked and finished in the Netherlands. The Zeitgeist Baby Carrier has front and back carry options that provide an ergonomic position. The padded waistband and cushy padded shoulder straps help distribute weight with neck and shoulder comfort. The style comes in gorgeous prints, we are loving the baby leopard print as the leopard is truly a classic and perfect for us city moms.



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November 2019 |



Best Functional/Multi Use: Lillebaby The Complete Carrier We have to start with the style of Lillebaby carriers because they’re truly one-of-akind! Lillebaby offers versatile, solidcolored baby carriers for the parent who’s looking for a more classic look. A baby carrier that will blend in and match with any outfit. Lillebaby also caters to the parent who’s looking to make a fashion statement. Disney Baby features characters from The Incredibles 2, Minnie Mouse, and Mickey Mouse. Minnie Classic has an adorable pink background with Minnie Mouse silhouettes in all directions — perfect for your little girl! The Incredibles 2 will make both you and your little one feel like superheroes with the colorful blocks of color and the silhouettes of all five of The Incredibles. But the fun doesn’t stop with Disney, Lillebaby also collaborated with World of Warcraft to produce a rainbow, creative design of these little creatures. On to the structure and design, we love The Complete, which offers six carrying positions. Accommodating infants and toddlers weighing 7 to 45 pounds, The Complete also has a zip-down front panel to control your baby’s temperature with breathable mesh. Store your essentials in the slim pockets, adjust the straps and seat, and toss the carrier in the wash — all Complete carriers are machine washable! The Complete $120-$190,


New York Family | November 2019

Best for the Parent who Carries 24/7: Ergo 360 With a softly structured carrier design, Ergo Carriers are not only comfortable for both parent and baby but comforting, as you can keep your baby close to you at all times with the freedom and flexibility to still go through your daily routine. The Ergo 360 lets you carry your little one in every position: front carry- facing parent, front carry- facing out, hip carry and back carry. No need to take a break from the baby carrier or feel any stress on your body, because the Ergo 360 has both lumbar support for lower back comfort and adjustable padded shoulder straps for neck and shoulder comfort. You can even breastfeed in the Ergo 360! The carrier is machine washable and has a lifetime guarantee, so if for any reason you find a defect, Ergobaby will replace your carrier at no charge: the ErgoPromise! If your infant is between 0 and 4 months (7-12 pounds), you can purchase the newborn infant insert to go along with the carrier. Comfort is always a priority, but we also care about style, and Ergo 360 comes in lots of adorable patterns and colors. Let’s not forget dad, this is a great carrier for both mom and dad as it adjusts well to whoever is wearing it and fits well with different heights. This is important as some carriers can either be too bulky on petite frames while not fitting at the right points on a tall frame. The Ergo is our pick for the baby being carried 24/7. $160, ergo. com

Best Newborn Carrier: BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One Air Offering five types of baby carriers, BABYBJORN specializes in making life more comfortable in the early years for parents and families. A family-owned company, BABYBJORN sold their first baby bouncer in 1961 and debuted their first baby carrier in 1973. With a strong foundation and history, you can trust that both you and your little one are in good hands with a BABYBJORN carrier. A noteworthy feature of BABYBJORN is their commitment to stressing the role that dads play. They included dads in their baby carrier ads since the 1980s and developed unisex designs for baby carriers that both parents can use. Of all the baby carriers, we love the Baby Carrier One Air, which fits newborns and toddlers ages 0 to 3. Made of airy and cool mesh, the fabric is both soft and keeps you and your baby cool. The size, seat area, and head support are adjustable, so you can modify the carrier as your baby grows. On a personal note, this carrier has been used by staff at New York Family as well as fellow mom friends. All loved it, but most have shared that once their babies reached that bulky toddler stage, they moved on to carriers that we made more specifically for toddlers. BABYBJORN also collaborates with Save the Children to raise money to provide a better life and fight for children’s rights all over the world. Carrier One Air $219.99, All Baby Carriers $79.99-$219.99, babybjorn. com

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ask the expert

What a Nanny Wants You to Know How to build a stronger understanding and communication between caregiver and parent By Erika VEurink


inding a good family to nanny feels like winning the lottery, that is, if the lottery is sustainable employment rooted in mutual respect and open communication. After years of “ok” nannying experiences that seemed to blur together, I’ve recently celebrated a year with a family I feel lucky to work for. My connection to the boys has been crucial to the success of the whole endeavour. Their parents’ support of my pursuits within the role and outside of it have been, too. Beyond that, there are a few things that have made this experience not only lovelier, but more worthwhile, than the rest. It all started last August, after a few frantic months of working as an office coordinator for a fashion label. I was burnt out, fresh out of undergrad, and in desperate need of some time to sort what was next. I thought back to work experiences I had enjoyed in the past. Babysitting came to mind almost immediately. I logged back into my online nannying profile, updated my profile picture, and hoped for the best. After sorting through a sea of cryptic postings, I came across a simple request for an after-school sitter for two boys. I applied. My future employer responded. We talked on the phone briefly. I went over to the apartment to meet the family that weekend. First impressions This wasn’t my first Nannying in New York Rodeo, not by a long shot. Over the years, I’ve been a babysitter in virtually every neighborhood. The best experiences always involve being introduced by the parents to the children upon first meeting. It sounds simple, but there have been a few occasions where I’ve had to request an introduction before showing up at hopefully the right door step in order to be greeted by what I assume to be the right child. These first meetings are much like first dates — a bit awkward, usually ok in the end, but imperative for determining if there’s any chemistry. I’ve been on a few first meetings that resulted in a polite decline of moving forward, and thank goodness. Once, I walked into a cluttered, cat hair coated basement


New York Family | November 2019

apartment, only to be abandoned with a 2-year-old while the mother took a work call. Another time, I leaned on a stack of books I’d set up as a prop for a Facetime introduction that promptly toppled onto the floor. When I met the family I babysit for now, I felt instantly at ease in their sunny apartment. The boys and I connected over their latest Lego creations. The parents were calm, kind, and attentive. There’s something to be said for gut reactions, especially when it’s work as personal as caregiving. Talk about timeline After an excellent first meeting, I was thrilled to receive an offer from my employers. Thanks to a comfortable and candid conversation during our first meeting, I felt confident moving forward. I knew what hours would be kept, how compensation would work, and even what to expect for sick day procedure. Taking the time to sort this all out before I even began gave me a sense of assurance and made me feel prepared. It doesn’t necessarily have to be formal, but both parties benefit from honesty, especially when it comes to future plans. No one wants to be stranded without support. In my current position, a formal contract outlined expectations plainly. I apprehensively mentioned graduate school as soon as I started applying last fall. My employers met my nervousness with generosity and encouragement, reaffirming the truth that discussing early and often fosters the healthiest lines of communication. When I was accepted to my first choice low residency program, I couldn’t wait to share the news. Communication is key Channels of communication are just as important as the act of corresponding. I’ve worked for families that expected constant text messages while I was with the children. One mother asked for a photograph of her child every hour, on the hour. There are only so many smiling in the swing photos one can take, come hour three in the park. Another parent insisted on leaving written summaries in a notebook before I went home. “Normal day. Made pasta for dinner.

Listened to Hamilton soundtrack. Was beat at chess, again.” The journal entries stunted the natural flow of conversation, plus served as a constant reminder of my lack of improvement in chess. Now, I check in when my employer arrives home, usually debriefing on the day, catching up, etc. We email when I’m not with the boys and when I am, short texts or phone calls are exchanged. I love sending her snapshots of our days and even made a short film of favorite moments as part of a holiday gift. It feels empowering to be trusted and at the same time, know that both parents are accessible. There’s always a communication learning curve, in any relationship. But being able to speak to what feels most productive out of the gate can help to avoid missed memos or a general sense of overwhelming aloneness. Teamwork makes the dream work And nothing is worse, as a nanny, than feeling alone. Once, during a particularly spirited after-school argument with his sister, a child I was babysitting locked himself in the bathroom. I scoured cabinets for ingredients, resorting to homemade pancakes for dinner with pantry staples. The boy burst into the kitchen a minute later to alert me the tub was overflowing. The sister called from her bedroom at the exact moment informing me that the dog had peed on her rug. Neither of the parents could be reached and after an emergency group outing to the bodega for cleaning supplies and pizza, I collapsed on the velvet settee, until I remembered we were late for dance. Understanding my role as a nanny in the web of support that keeps the boys’ lives running smoothly not only takes the pressure off of the work, but also helps keep everything in balance. On any given day, I nod at the familiar ferry coordinator, greet the doorman, and smile at the neighbors next door. When family visits from out of town, I feel excited to catch up and thrilled for the extra attention for the boys. By introducing me to family members and family friends, my employers helped me to feel bolstered and supported — a veritable part of the family’s circle.

Build routines We take the stairs down to the scooters, snap on helmets, and race off to the ferry that always seems to beat us to the pier. We settle into our specific row, unpack snacks, and start a story, usually about a bad guy named Jason and always featuring a chase scene. We arrive home, unpack backpacks, and I start dinner. It took us about a month of trial and error to define this series of moments that set us up for a blissfully uneventful afternoon. And even on the days when we have an activity or engagement, the boys like to ask what we would normally be doing at that time. “We’d be waiting for the ferry,” or “We’d be running a bath,” serve as metrics for our time together.

In the past, lack of routine made it hard on everyone involved. Loads of last minute messages being exchanged with the parent could distract from the essential after school debrief on the walk home. Or interrupting a project could make moving to the next activity nearly impossible. Now, something as simple as choosing a recipe on Tuesday, shopping for ingredients on Wednesday, and baking on Thursday has become our tried and true rhythm. Plan ahead Some nights, the boys crack open the window and yell adorably indiscernible farewells from three flights up. Other nights, we race around

the hallway. However we say goodnight, my employers are always acutely aware of my departing on time. It’s a simple gesture that speaks volumes to their respect for my life outside of babysitting. Holidays when the boys are off school are discussed weeks in advance. Vacation time is always discussed months before. The more planning becomes customary, the easier it is to express flexibility when events come up. When I’m away at school or on holiday, I find myself missing the structure and delight of my time with the boys. I get back to the book I’m reading or the train I’m racing to catch, but not without gratitude for the work I love and the family that makes it possible. November 2019 |


Parent’s Book CluB

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NovemBer Theme:

Thankfulness By Mia SalaS


ovember is the month of Thanksgiving, in which we take the time to think about what and who we are thankful for. Our Monthly Pick puts life in perspective and raises questions that you may have never considered before. We encourage you to think about the things that make your life meaningful, and then express that appreciation.

Patsy Nicole Dennis-Benn

Patsy leaves her 5-year-old daughter, Tru, behind in Jamaica in search of love and a better life in America. But when Patsy arrives in Brooklyn, she discovers that America is not what she thought, and meanwhile, Tru struggles with her own questions of identity and sexuality.


New York Family | November 2019

Weaving through the lives of Patsy and Tru, Dennis-Benn presents a passionate, moving, and fiercely urgent novel that gives voice to a woman who looks to America not to give a better life to her family back home, but instead for the opportunity to choose herself first. Nicole Dennis-Benn is the author of the novel Patsy(Norton/Liveright, June 2019), and the debut novel, Here Comes The Sun (Norton/ Liveright, July 2016). Dennis-Benn is a Lambda Literary Award winner and a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Grant. Dennis-Benn has previously taught in the writing programs at Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, NYU, Sarah Lawrence College, and City College; and has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell Colony, Hedgebrook, Lambda, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Hurston/Wright, and Sewanee

Welcome to New York Family’s Parent’s Book Club! Each month, we feature a different Monthly Pick novel, all of which have several copies available in the New York Public Library. We encourage you to start your own book club with friends, loved ones, and neighbors, using our Monthly Pick as your book of the month. Host meetings to discuss the novel with our discussion questions, and enrich your perspective of the book with our author interview on NewYorkFamily. com. We hope to connect NYC families and encourage more “me time” for parents.

Writers’ Conference. Dennis-Benn was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives with her wife in Brooklyn, New York. To read our interview with Nicole DennisBenn, visit! Nicole DennisBenn shares her motivation for writing Patsy and what she hopes that readers take away: “I’m an immigrant myself, but when I came to the United States, it was more for college. Yet as I was actually coming into myself in New York City, I realized that there are other immigrants around me who do not have this

Through our unique dual program, which incorporates both the French and American curricula, The École offers students the lifetime benefits of a bilingual education and empowers them to create and connect to a world filled with possibilities.

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Parent’s book club

Discussion Questions You read the book, now we have the discussion questions here to guide your book club meeting! We hope that these questions will spark thoughtprovoking, intellectual, and even controversial discussions about the novel.

opportunity. I started teaching at the College of Staten Island, and I would commute with these individuals who were going off to their various jobs as construction workers and nannies. I was looking around, and I was like, wow. My imagination kicked in, and I started wondering who they were before they left their country, what they brought with them, and what they left behind. And that’s how Patsy came to be. Then I was looking up on the subway advertisements, and I saw the beautiful beaches and signs of Jamaica, and there’s the irony of us hustling to work, but there’s these ads appealing to tourists to go back to our country for things we couldn’t partake in. We had to come here to America to make life a lot better for ourselves and, for the most part, for our families as well. “I really want readers to actually empathize with a character like Patsy. When you walk around, especially in a place like New York City, there are so many immigrants existing and also so many mothers who are unwilling to raise their own kids, women who happen to choose themselves because they weren’t given the opportunity to find their own identities. Creating a woman like that on the page is important to me, and so I hope my readers will also see that and become more empathetic towards those individuals as well.” We hope you enjoyed reading and discussing Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Patsy. Our Monthly Pick for December isn’t your typical, merry holiday read — that would be boring! Here’s a hint: it’s a lovely spark of thrill and suspense to spice up your holiday season.


New York Family | November 2019

1. How did your opinion and understanding of Patsy’s decision to leave Tru for America change over the course of the novel? 2. The work that Patsy does in America is considered a lower ranking than the job she had in Jamaica. Why do you think Patsy is determined to stay in America, despite her struggles? 3. How does Tru’s relationship with her father change throughout the novel? 4. Why do you think Patsy rarely contacts Tru? 5. Just as we have conflicted feelings towards Patsy’s decision to leave Tru, similar feelings arise in Cicely’s decision to stay with her husband. What were your thoughts on their marriage? Does Cicely have a point — can we blame her if life in America is easier with a husband? 6. If you had to describe Patsy in three words, what would they be? 7. Look back at times in the novel when Patsy was happiest. What was the cause of this happiness? How about Tru? 8. Describe the different portrayals of motherhood in the novel, including Marva, Patsy, Mama G, and the various moms who Patsy works for as a nanny. What are the characteristics of a “good” mother? What other factors influence the ability to be a “good” mother? 9. Do you find that there’s pressure put on women today, in any society or culture, to have kids? Is there a stereotype or assumption about women who decide not to have kids? 10. Patsy does not want to be a mother, but she can’t get an abortion because it’s illegal in Jamaica. How does Patsy’s story impact your perspective of reproductive rights? 11. Share a passage from the novel that stood out to you, and explain why you chose it. 12. Take a look at the novel’s cover. How does the cover reflect and add to the story? Consider the colors, background images, images in the front, and orientation/font of the text. 13. Patsy is very much about identity as

Patsy and Tru struggle to find where they fit in, who they are, and what they can be. What composes an identity? Is identity stagnant or shifting? Why does how we define ourselves matter, and in what ways does it matter to the characters in the novel? 14. Tru’s mother leaves her when she is very young, and yet her absence dictates the remainder of Tru’s childhood. How does our childhood shape our adolescence and adulthood? 15. Both Tru and Patsy journey on parallel explorations of love and sexuality. How does society, both in Jamaica and America, serve as an obstacle to Tru and Patsy in this self-exploration? 16. There’s a tension between Tru and her half brother, as they both deviate from gender stereotypes. Tru takes the sporty, strong route and her half brother is considered weak. Who enforces these gender stereotypes in the novel and who else defies them? What gender stereotypes do you still notice and society today? 17. Despite the title being Patsy, the book ends with Tru. Tru’s story gets the last word in the novel. Do you think that there’s a significance to ending with Tru instead of Patsy? What do you anticipate for Tru’s future after the book ends? Patsy’s? 18. In Patsy’s letter to Tru, she explains how she didn’t want to raise a daughter in this world, as Tru would face the inevitable challenges that come with the society and culture that she was born into. Do you ever feel similar concerns about raising children in today’s society? How do you deal with these concerns? 19. In addition to being a brave and creative storyteller, Dennis-Benn is also an incredible writer in the way that she crafts sentences and conveys such emotion through the written word. Share a line or passage where you appreciated DennisBenn’s writing style or technique. 20. How has Patsy changed, confirmed, or challenged your previous beliefs, opinions, and perspective?

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November 2019 |



CHILL OUT! Discover a winter wonderland in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park


few cool facts about Prospect Park: the park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the same duo who were the architects for Central Park. The park’s main entrance at the Grand Army Plaza, which, if you haven’t ever seen (but should, because it’s quite impressive) was designed to commemorate the Union victory in the Civil War. Also at the center of the park is a forest known as the Ravine. At 146, acres it is Brooklyn’s only forest! The park is also in good company as it is adjacent to Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden. At 526 acres, it is the secondlargest public park in Brooklyn – Marine Park is the first. There are so many gems located in Prospect Park. One specific spot for family fun is the LeFrak Center at Lakeside. Located on the southeast side of the park, Lakeside went through a significant revamp in 2013 that breathed new life into this popular nook. During the summer, there is roller skating, bikes can be rented, boating, outdoor yoga – the list is endless. Although the warmer months are busy, the LeFrak Center at Lakeside turns into a winter wonderland come late fall and winter. There are not one but two ice rinks where you’ll find 32,00 feet of skating lessons and ice leagues. Enjoy ice skating, figure skating, hockey, broomball, and curling, all with spectacular views of the park. Whether you live nearby or jump on the train, plan to spend the whole day at this beautiful park. Lakeside offers skating lessons for beginners, perfect for wobbly little ones. They also offer birthday packages for kids from ages 3 to 16. The Bluestone Cafe offers light bites to eat as well as hearty sandwiches and desserts. For the adults, you’ll find Brooklyn Brewery beers and specialty wines. Skating will start in November – weather permitting, it is best to check the website for the exact opening date. For all the details on skating pricing, hours, and admission, visit their website at There are lockers available to rent as well as safety gear. LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park, Brooklyn 171 East Dr. Prospect Park, Brooklyn 11215


New York Family | November 2019

Illustration: Elvia Caballero








November 2019 |


bar/bat mitzvah

13 Themed Party Ideas Inspiration for the best Bat and Bar Mitzvah celebrations By Gavriella Mahpour and new york FaMily

ingly, including uplighting and glitz galore!


There’s no crying in baseball Score the winning run for your sports fan by throwing a bat mitzvah party featuring their sport of choice. Table place cards can take the form of game tickets, sporting balls can create spectacular table centerpieces, and partygoers can go home with personalized foam fingers and other sports-related swag.

hrowing a bat or bar mitzvah? Mazel Tov! In the Jewish tradition, bar and bat mitzvahs signify the rite of passage into adulthood for girls turning 12 and boys turning 13. Ensure that your daughter’s day will be one she never forgets by hosting a themed party. Have the bat mitzvah girl choose a theme, and start planning the big day. Below are several theme ideas to get the party started!

Hurray for Hollywood Whether your bat mitzvah star is obsessed with the movies and TV in general or merely has a favorite flick or show, a Hollywood-themed bat mitzvah party is the way to go! An Academy Awards party can have the guests walking a red carpet, dressing up in Oscars-worthy attire, feasting on dishes based on actual past award show menus, and dancing to a hit movie soundtrack. If TV is your gal’s thing then ask guests to come decked out as a character from your leading lady’s favorite show, and, of course, decorate the venue accord-



New York Family | November 2019


Come fly with me Young jet setters can travel the world with a travel-themed bat mitzvah celebration. A guest sign-in board can take the shape of the party girl’s passport, flavorful international culinary fare will make up the menu, and “passengers” can pose behind famous landmarks in the photobooth.


Glam squad If stylish hair and makeup is your guest of honor’s passion, treat her and her guests to a makeover-themed party. Entertainment might include hair and makeup sessions, spa treatments, and magazine-style


photoshoots. Attendees will love a goody bag full of makeup and hair care products and/or a gift certificate to your glam girl’s favorite local salon.

Fashionista Your fashion trendy daughter is sure to enjoy a party centered around the latest clothing crazes. Guests can write well wishes to the bat mitzvah girl on a mannequin form, snack on shoe-shaped cookies, and take home a fierce t-shirt or other clothing item designed by the budding designer herself.


Foodie Does your aspiring chef crave a foodthemed shindig? Throw a gourmet bat mitzvah featuring a favorite cuisine, a cooking demo taught by a local chef, and gift bags filled with treats such as personalized candy or a homemade dessert. A chef’s coat can be used for guests to sign upon arrival.


If I could turn back time Time travel may be a thing of the future, but a bat mitzvah dedicated to a past decade can be thrown now! The Roaring Twenties, Swinging Fifties, or Groovy Sixties can be brought to life through music, food, and clothing. Gift bags filled with nods to her favorite era are sure to be a hit. Request that guests dress in attire popular in your time traveler girl’s chosen time period.


Music makes the people come together Make music the theme of your daughter’s upcoming bat mitzvah! If the bat mitzvah girl plays an instrument or simply can’t get enough of her favorite band, a party devoted to her love of all things musical could be just what the DJ ordered. Sheet music can be used to wrap table centerpiece flower vases, friends and family may choose to perform an original song inspired by the girl of the hour, and, of course, guests can take to the dance floor to dance to the beat of top 40s perhaps mixed with a few retro classics accompanied by a live band or DJ.


I’d rather be reading Plan a book-themed bat mitzvah for your young bookworm. A beloved genre, series, or single title can provide the perfect inspiration for everything from cake to party favors. Personalized bookmarks make for cute place seating cards. In place of gifts, ask your guests to bring along a new copy of their favorite book as a donation to your local library.


Miami 80’s This bar mitzvah theme may be more about the parents, but it is guaranteed fun for your boy’s Miami party. Neon streamers can fall from the wall. On each table, place cool sun shades by each place card. Ask the guests to dress in poppy colors or all white. Add some cool paper palm trees. When it’s time to dance to all that great 80’s tune, dim the lights and bring out the glow sticks. Send guests off with a Candy table of the brightest of candies for guests to take home.


Woodland Take guests into the woods with this gorgeous theme. Welcome guests with a large poster of the bar mitzvah boys’ name or bat mitzvah girls’ name next to an illustration of a mason jar. Next to a place card, place a yellow ink pad and ask guests to ‘make their mark’ and sign their name and leave their ‘firefly’ fingerprint on the poster. Add terrariums and succulents throughout the party and tables. Have a poetry reading table for guests. Make a station area where kids can make their own mini terrariums.


In place of a photo booth, create a portrait area where a jewel color chaise sits in front of greenery, such as ferns with a whitewashed screen in the background.

Through the looking glass Guests walk through a keyhole wall to get this party with signs that say ‘this way.’ Throughout the party, decorate with large faux clocks. Checkered tablecloths can adorn the tables. On each table, place large Ace playing cards to welcome guests to their seating. For the food and drink, stations have hand-lettered cards with ‘eat me’ and ‘drink me’ next to a buffet of food.


Winter wonderland Guests head to the snow with this winter-themed party. White twinkle lights can be set up throughout the party. Create hot chocolate stations where guests can customize their drink with hand-cut marshmallows, caramel and chocolate bits, and sprinkles. Frosted trees and white balloons can decorate the dance floor. Send guests home with a jar of blue Hershey kisses.


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212.731.0668 November 2019 |


special needs

10 Things I Wish I Knew When We Received a Special Needs Diagnosis Gena Mann of Wolf + Friends shares how she learned to come to terms with her son’s autism By Gena Mann


DD NOS,” said the developmental pediatrician to my husband and me that summer day in our Upper Eastside apartment. With those six letters — which are so meaningless, nobody even uses that term anymore — she changed the entire course of our lives. At the time, I felt shattered. We finally had an answer to why our beautiful brown-eyed, 2-year-old boy would run in circles, page through the same board books over and over again, and had zero interest in interacting with other children. The answer felt like all of the dreams we had for his future


New York Family | November 2019

— sports, prom, and college evaporated with this diagnosis. This was 15 years ago. At the time, I knew not one fellow parent who had a child with autism. I knew nothing about interventions and therapies and diets. I allowed myself about a day to hide and cry and feel sorry for myself. The next morning I woke up and started the research. Research that was not at the level it is now. It was the early days of Google. I didn’t know which search words to Google. I found a friend who put me in touch with another NYC mother whose child had been diagnosed the year prior. She patiently sat on the phone with me, suggesting the

agencies and therapists I needed to contact. Through this one mom, I was able to connect with a support group where I learned from their hard lessons. I found helpful advice and resources to help my son. This new community gave me a jump start in helping me to learn how to navigate this new world of being a Special Needs Mom. My second son was diagnosed five years later at the very other end of the spectrum: verbal, social, some would say “high functioning,” but with a host of other challenges. As I write this, with the benefit of 15 years of experience raising not one, but two children on the spectrum, I wish I could


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tell my 31-year-old self so many things. If you are reading this and are facing a recent diagnosis of any kind of developmental difference for your child, I can tell you the top 10 things I wish I knew when I heard those six letters. 1. The child that developmental pediatrician

was talking about was still the same delicious, loved, the spectacular child he was before she added those six letters after his name. My husband expressed this wisdom that very same day. He will still have a beautiful life, he will make a difference, he is still our boy. This has all proven to be true.

As I write this, with the benefit of 15 years of experience raising not one, but two children on the spectrum, I wish I could tell my 31-year-old self so many things.

2. You cannot try every single intervention

that exists. Well, you can, but you will be bankrupt and likely no further along than if you hadn’t. Do research. Different interventions are better for different kinds of kids — so, at least some stuff that is evidence-based and widely known. And then try some stuff (therapies/ supplements/experimental treatments/ healers, etc.) here and there that “speak” to you. Try one new thing at a time so you can really see what is helping. 3. Celebrate and nurture your child’s

strengths. They may be wildly different than you thought they would be. My son used to make incredible art using candy on my bathroom floor. He was happy and calm when he did it, so we bought bags of candy and let him set it up on our bathroom floor! He has since moved on to other types of artistic endeavors working with his hands. You never know where it will go.

personality is someone who never ruffles feathers. But when it comes to my kids and what they need academically and socially and emotionally to thrive, I am unstoppable. I know the law (and surround myself with people who know it betteradvocate, lawyer) and I will not stop until they have everything. 6. Find a friend who gets it. This is huge!

Your friends with typical kids may or may not eventually understand and appreciate your “new normal” but it’s so important to find some moms walking a similar path to yours. They know about IEP meetings, you can laugh and cry with them about the lack of sleep, the meltdowns, or whatever insanity you are surviving. Parents raising children with special needs speak their own language, and you need others that are fluent. 7. Adapt your expectations but continue to

4. Set your child and your family up for

success. Try to resist the urge to do all of the “kid” activities your friends are doing with their kids. I used to insist on going apple picking every fall because it is a standard autumn family activity where we live. It was a sensory overstimulation nightmare for my kids, and we sweated and struggled every time we went when they were little. I eventually found activities that were more appropriate for my kids (a special needs gymnastics class, therapeutic horseback riding, swimming), and these have been amazing and way less stressful. 5. Fight your city/town/school district for

everything your child is entitled to. My


New York Family | November 2019

shoot for the stars. You may have to throw away the Harvard sweatshirt, but you will learn so much from your child! My son works harder than anyone I know, and he demands so little in the way of “stuff.” And the little things become everything. The first time he waits in line nicely, the first time you can go to the grocery store without him tearing everything off the shelf. These milestones become more significant than any you could imagine. 8. Take care of yourself and your marriage.

To be honest, talking about self-care annoys me. It can feel like one more to-do on your list of 300 things you don’t actually have time for. But do something, anything

for yourself every day: ten minutes alone to have your coffee or a walk around the block. If you can manage a date night with your spouse once in a while, do it! Raising a child with special needs can be so hard on a marriage. If yours is worth being in, make time for your marriage. 9. Have more kids. Some people thought I

was insane to have two girls after my two boys were both diagnosed on the autism spectrum, but our plan was always to have a big family, and I knew that typical siblings would be both amazing for my boys and for my husband and me. 10. You don’t have a right to the cards you

believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you are holding. (OK, I stole that from Instagram, but whoever wrote it saw inside my soul!) Gena Mann is an experienced Photo Editor from New York City working for brands such as Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and CosmoGIRL! She left magazines shortly after her second son was born and her first child was diagnosed with autism at 2-years-old. Gena knows first hand how lonely, terrifying, and costly it is to navigate everything that comes with having children with special needs—and the special needs moms around the world she connected with on Instagram felt exactly the same way. Together, Carissa and Gena decided the best way to support special needs moms was to create a modern lifestyle app that would help special needs moms make meaningful connections in their neighborhoods and find resources they could trust. The Wolf + Friends app is what I wish I had when my son was first diagnosed with autism.


We started Wolf+Friends app to help moms raising children with special needs meet other moms in their neighborhood who “get it”— See number six! Download the app to connect with likeminded moms, read inspiring content, get shopping tips and find specialists in your area to help with your child’s different needs.

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Winter Office: Camp Lee Mar Ph: 215-658-1708 Fax: 215-658-1710 Email: Like us on Facebook Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. On YouTube you can view parents and campers talking about their experiences at Lee Mar. November 2019 |


Special needS

When It’s Time for Early Intervention Your child’s developmental milestones and what to do if they are not met By Jean Sheff


s soon as your child is born their health and development become your paramount concern. Family and friends are sure to ask if your little one is rolling over, crawling, walking or talking. It’s best not to get pulled into comparing your child’s progress with others, but it’s also important to educate yourself on what the childhood developmental milestones are so you can recognize if your child might need early intervention services. Milestones defined Vicki Iannotti, M.D., Chappaqua Pediatrics, a division of Boston Children’s Health Physicians, LLP, says there are volumes of material written on children’s developmental milestones, as it is the cornerstone of what pediatricians do for children. “Currently, one in six children in the U.S. has a developmental disability,” Iannotti says. “It is the stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that general pediatricians take a more active role in the evaluation and diagnosis of developmental delays than in the past.” At birth, pediatricians assess newborn babies through a physical exam. The results, and the newborn’s prenatal history, age of gestation, maternal health, and delivery give an initial picture of the newborn’s development. “There are five streams of development that when typical, occur in an orderly, timed, sequential pattern, affecting each other in a predictable manner,” Iannotti explains. The five streams of development are gross motor, fine motor, language, visualmotor problem solving, and social skills. See the side bar for specific examples of childhood developmental milestones. Other tools The AAP recommends the use of a formal questionnaire, “Ages and Stages,” to assess development in each of the five areas at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months, 36 months, 48 months, and 60 months of age. “The questionnaire is completed by the child’s parents, as they know their child best. It identifies strengths and any areas of


New York Family | November 2019

Developmental Milestone Examples

Vicki Iannoti, M.D. describes Gross Motor Milestone Development across a child’s first 15 months and Language Milestone Development in a child’s first 3 years.

Gross Motor Milestone Development • 1 month old: can lift their head off the table when lying prone • 2 months old: can lift their head and chest off the table when lying in the prone position • 3 months old: can lift head and upper chest up to elbows bearing weight on their forearm • 4 months old: can lift themselves up to support weight of upper body on wrists and can roll from prone to supine • 5 months old: can roll from supine to prone (back to front) and can sit up with support • 6 months old: can sit up without support • 9 months old: pulls himself up to stand and cruises along furniture • 12 months old: taking steps unassisted • 15 months old: child is running.

Language Milestone Development • 1 month old: alerts to sound

potential concern to monitor,” Iannotti says. In addition, Iannotti says, at wellchild visits pediatricians use the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT), a validated developmental screening tool for toddlers between 16 and 30 months of age. It is designed to identify children who may benefit from further evaluation. When to be concerned Parents should be concerned when their child’s development in any area is not made over one to three months of the expected time frame, or if development regresses. “If a child has a delay of six months or more in meeting milestones in one or more

• • • • • •

2 months old: social smile 3 months old: coos 4 months old: laughs 6 months old: babbles 8 months old: says “dada” and/or “mama” non-specifically 10 months old: understands “No”, says “mama” and “dada” specifically 12 months old: follows one-step commands with a gesture, twoword vocabulary 18 months old: points to one picture, identifies greater than two body parts, has a seven- to 10-word vocabulary 21 months old: points to two pictures, 20-word vocabulary, twoword sentences 24 months old: follows two-step commands, 50-word vocabulary, two-word sentences 30 months old: understands the concept of “I”, points to seven pictures, uses pronouns 36 months old: follows two-step commands, 250-word vocabulary, uses three-word sentences.

areas of development, it is significant and should be evaluated further,” Iannotti says. Evaluation can include medical genetics, pediatric specialists including neurology and developmental pediatrics, ENT, and/or audiology to name a few. Iannotti says if parents are concerned they should schedule an appointment with their pediatrician to initiate an evaluation. “They should not wait until a scheduled wellcare visit,” she advises. The importance of early intervention The good news is many developmental delays can be positively addressed. “Evaluating de-

velopmental delays, determining a diagnosis, and establishing a treatment plan usually involves specialists in neurodevelopmental pediatrics, physiatry, and a therapeutic team of specialists and educators who provide the necessary interventions over a period of months to years,” Iannotti says. Keep in mind that from infancy to age 3, your child can receive help through early intervention services. The Individuals with Disabilities Act, a federal law, requires states to provide early intervention. You can request a free evaluation from your state’s early intervention service program. If your child qualifies, services may be provided to your child at no cost. A team of educators will develop an Individualized Family Service

Plan for your child. The evidence for early intervention (EI) is irrefutable, Iannotti says. EI programs support parent-child interactions, provide parental education on child development, reduce parental stress and guide parents to become strong advocates for their children. “Neurocognitive research has shown that there are optimal periods of brain development, more recently termed “sensitive periods,” during which learning is most efficient and almost critical to future success,” Iannotti says. Intervention during these early, sensitive periods of development can maximize the child’s functional potential and further minimize the secondary behavioral, social, and emotional problems that often stem from

developmental delays that are not addressed until school age. In short, EI and targeted therapy has proven to be of tremendous value. What can parents do to help their baby reach their milestones? “Parents provide the nurturing environment that facilitates brain development, feelings of security and stability to promote emotional well-being,” Iannotti says. “Reading, talking, singing, playing on the floor, supporting motor development through playful situations, and teaching through experiences has immeasurable benefit to the developing infant and child.” Jean Sheff is co-publisher and editor of Westchester Family. November 2019 |


Special Needs Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

Achieve Beyond Pediatric Therapy & Autism Services

Offering Clinic and Home Based Services for Behavioral (ABA) and Speech Therapy We are centrally located in Forest Hills, Queens and we also provide home based services throughout the 5 boroughs, Long Island, Hudson Valley and the Capital District. We are in network with most major insurances and have private pay options available

Contact us! 7000 Austin st Suite 200 Forest Hills, NY 11375


Services available in all five boroughs and Long Island 718-762-7633 631-385-7780 Achieve Beyond believes that early intervention services make a difference and provide pediatric therapy to children and students ages infant-21, aiding each child to reach their full potential through education, therapy, and family support in over 30 different languages. They offer initial screenings, parent or school consultations and comprehensive evaluations. Their professional and licensed staff is committed to serving special needs children with physical and developmental disabilities/ delays. Services are provided in home, clinic, or community environments. They offer speech and language therapy, occupational and physical therapy, special education and more.

Atlas Foundation for Autism

Speech Therapy SAYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Speech Therapy program is exclusively dedicated to the treatment of stuttering, providing specialized expertise to help kids & teens build communication skills, increase selfesteem, develop independence, and enhance dynamic school participation. 36

Ryan Millager, MS CCC-SLP 212.414.9696 ext. 205

New York Family | November 2019

252 West 29th St., 3rd Floor. New York, NY 212-256-0846 Atlas is a nonprofit school and program providing services to a Neurodiverse population using multi strategic approaches, fun and engagement as a means to connect and thrive! The school is available to students with Autism and other developmental differences ages 7-21. The community classes are geared to all ages and all abilities with a focus on art, health and fitness as well as other social interests. Inquire about our 18+ vocational programs. Atlas is open 7 days a week and excited to support you!

Camp Lee Mar 450 Route 590 Lackawaxen, PA 18435 Winter: (215) 658-1708

Summer: (570) 685-7188 Lee Mar is a private 7 week residential summer program for campers 7-21 offering a unique curriculum incorporating a strong Academic and Speech program with traditional camp activities. Campers flourish at Lee Mar due to the structured environment provided which allows campers to feel comfortable and secure. At Lee Mar the children find comfort and friendship with children of similar age and functioning level. From this foundation campers are encouraged to embrace and learn new skills and have new experiences which they can build upon when they return home. Lee Mar strives to improve the daily living, social, and life skills of all campers, while giving them the happiest summer of their lives!

Direct Behavioral Services New York City areas and New Jersey 347-559-6131 directbehavioralservices@ Direct Behavioral Services (DBS) offers insurance funded Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) home services in New York City areas and New Jersey. They are a private group of board certified behavior analysts (BCBA)/ licensed behavior analysts and registered behavior technicians who work collaboratively in improving the lives of children and adults with autism by providing individualized high quality programming at the individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home and community. They work on academic and social skills, daily living skills, fine and gross motor skills, to name a few. They accept most health insurances, and they advocate on behalf of clients with insurance companies. For more information, call 347-5596131 or send an email to directbehavioralservices@

November 2019 |


Special Needs Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

Par�ner wi�h Us

Gillen Brewer School 410 E. 92nd St., New York, NY 212-831-3667 Founded in 1992, this school provides a familyoriented, early childhood program for children ages 2.8 to 10 years old with language-based and nonverbal learning disabilities. They offer a 12-month program that provides developmentally appropriate academic instruction, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy and counseling, music, art, science, technology, sports and physical fitness. Learning and growing in a secure and nurturing environment, students develop the skills necessary to overcome challenges. They work closely with families to instill self-confidence and build a strong foundation for lifelong learning and independence.

SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young

Want to reach engaged parents across New York City? Collaborate with the New York Family Media team to spread the word about your launches, promotions and news. Reach us by emailing or calling 718.260.4554 38

New York Family | November 2019

Speech Therapy Program 247 W. 37th Street, New York, NY 212-414-9696 SAY’s Speech Therapy Program is currently available for kids who stutter of all ages. Speech therapy at SAY addresses individual needs and goals for change, and is led by speechlanguage pathologists who have unique experience with a practical and holistic approach to stuttering therapy. Diagnostic evaluation and treatment sessions are available at their Manhattan office, or via online tele practice to many areas of the United States. Additional parent and professional support can be provided, as well as synergy with SAY’s one-of-a-kind support programs (like Camp SAY). Sliding scale fee options are available. Contact Ryan Millager at ext. 205 or at:

The IDEAL School of Manhattan 314 W. 91st St., New York, NY 212-769-1699 On any given day at The IDEAL School of Manhattan, students may give a presentation on a civil rights leader, showcase their writing at a publishing party, enjoy Riverside Park, perform in a musical, or visit the Met. IDEAL is New York’s only K-12 independent inclusion school, where they celebrate the tremendous social, emotional, and academic growth born in a diverse and nurturing educational community. IDEAL’s name reflects their core values: Inclusion, Diversity, Excellence, Acceptance, Leadership. Visit their Upper West Side campus to experience this unique school. Schedule your visit today: admissions/open-houses.

The Westchester School 45 Park Ave., Yonkers, NY 914-376-4300 This school views all children, regardless of functioning level or handicapping condition, as children with potential for growth and development. Historically, educational programming, particularly for the severely handicapped was primarily concerned for easing the burden of those who cared for these children. Changes in legal standards and sociophilosophical perspectives made this an excessively limited and limiting approach. The school’s rationale for program and selection of educational objectives is based upon the developmental needs of the individual child.

Founded in 1992, Gillen Brewer School is a familyoriented, 12-month early childhood program for children ages 2.8 to 10 years old with language-based and non-verbal learning disabilities. We instill self-confidence and build strong foundations for lifelong learning and independence. Students learn and grow in a secure and nurturing environment and develop skills to overcome challenges through: • Developmentally Appropriate Academic Instruction • Speech and Language Therapy • Occupational Therapy • Counseling and Social Groups

Uncover the Specialness in Your Child™ Contact: Julian Parham Santana, Director of Admissions • 212-831-3667

410 East 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128

Instagram: @gillenbrewer

The IDEAL Difference

On any given day at The IDEAL School of Manhattan, students may give a presentation on a civil rights leader; participate in a musical; enjoy Riverside Park; program a robot; or visit the Met. IDEAL is New York’s only K-12 independent inclusion school, where we celebrate the tremendous social, emotional, and academic growth born in a diverse and nurturing educational community.


Sign up for a Tuesday Talk and Tour or an Open House to learn more about IDEAL’s rigorous and differentiated program, innovative social justice curriculum, and uniquely inclusive community. LOWER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSES 314 West 91st Street 11/12/19, 6-8 PM • 4/7/20, 9-11 AM UPPER SCHOOL OPEN HOUSES 270 West 89th Street 11/19/19, 6-8 PM • 4/15/20, 9-11 AM

IDEAL is currently accepting applications in select grades for 2019-20 placement For further information, contact us at or 212-769-1699 November 2019 |


A Mom’s Guide to

Self-Care in New York City Seven spots where you can indulge, get pampered, rest, stretch or just explore

By Donna LaDD


elf-care is a lovely thought; however, treating ourselves to it can be a bit of a challenge. When we parents do get some free time, where are the best spots to hit? There are a lot, but we narrowed it down to the top seven we feel are worth checking out and giving yourself some much rest, pampering, or overall self-love. And let’s be honest, selfcare can be expensive especially in NYC. We have included a few sliding scale spots for us moms on a budget. Custom acupunture

WTHN 20 W 22nd St., New York, NY 10010

This earthy-meets-millennial-vibe space is conveniently located in the Flatiron neighborhood, so it’s easy to hop on the subway and get to. During our visit, we found a soothing environment with a friendly and warm receptionist. No clipboards here; the introductory health questionnaire can be completed on an iPad. You will be asked some brief medical history and the issues you would like your therapist to address. The treatment menu offers help with stress and anxiety, as well as fatigue and immunity. The treatment menu is quite enticing which makes it hard to choose,


New York Family | November 2019

but thankfully, you can also create with your therapist a custom treatment session. The whole concept of WTHN’s approach is that they make acupuncture easy to incorporate into your routine. You can expect your first visit to be a full 60 minutes, including a 15-minute consultation and 45 minutes of treatment. Future visits are just 45 minutes, and because your patient notes are entered into WTHN’s centralized system, in theory, you can see any of their therapists during your visit. In practice, some therapists do have specialties or particular areas of interest, which is why if you’re looking for help on something specific, like infertility, it might be useful to call ahead to make sure you can consult with someone who specializes in that area. As mamas we sometimes only give ourselves the grace to practice real self-care (and we don’t mean just a face mask!) when we reach breaking point, but visiting WTHN is a great way to help an ongoing issue such as anxiety or back pain and to get a significant dose of relaxation at the same time. Manicures and pedicures for mamas: Hatch + Tenoverten Parker New York

119 W.56th St., New York. NY 112 Reade St., New York. NY 121 Fulton St.,New York. NY 132 W.Houston St., New York. NY

The joys of motherhood are great, but it calls for a mental and physical break from keeping the world turning. With tenoverten and the HATCH mama manicure, you can escape to pure bliss without fretting about harmful chemicals that are detrimental to you and your baby. When you make your appointment at tenoverten, make sure to ask for the HATCH MAMA manicure and pedicure. As you sip on your refreshment in the eco-friendly salon with a clean and simplistic ambiance, relax with nourishing HATCH MAMA products being massaged into your skin for complete rejuvenation. Enjoy a 10-minute foot massage with HATCH MAMA’s Down Girl cream for swollen legs and feet, and a hot stone hand and arm massage with the hydrating HATCH MAMA Belly Oil. After the nail shaping, cuticle care, and all prepping is complete, top it off with your favorite 8-free+vegan+cruelty free tenoverten polish. After, while your toes and fingernails are drying off, the HATCH MAMA mani & pedi wraps it all up with a five-minute shoulder Belly Oil massage.

Manicure $45 (35min) & Pedicure $60 (45 min).

re-center. The Owls Adult Mediation will help and teach you how to focus so you can achieve clarity for a busy mind and tired body.

Take a meditation class The Happinest NYC 170 South 1st St., Brooklyn, NY

This tranquil space located in South Williamsburg has gained popularity for their classes that teach children meditation and mindfulness, but this space is also for adults. Whether you buy a membership or reserve a drop-in class, this sweet space aims to help you

Chill Out (and get a massage or facial) at the Chill House Chill House 149 Essex St., New York, NY 75 Varick St., New York, NY

We are so down with the Chill House founded by Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton. Just perusing their site, you’ll start to feel well, chill.

Start with their cafe and grab their Make Me Glow Latte and head over to their face, nail, and body spa. Try the $48 The Express, a 25-minute table massage that focuses on immediate trouble areas. Our favorite is the Mama Needs to Focus prenatal massage, which is about working out those pregnancy kinks, especially lower back pain. And starting November 7th, Chill House’s new flagship spa will be opening in Soho. This space will be 3,200 square feet, where you’ll find more space to relax in the cafe and get all the refreshing Chill House treatments on the menu. November 2019 |



Ultimate spa day at Spa Castle Spa Castle 131-10 11th Ave., College Point, NY

A journey to Spa Castle is quite the experience as it is a vast space where you can spend the day in ultimate self-care. Adult admission is $50 on weekdays and $60 at the weekend. The spa is open from 8 am to midnight, which means operating hours accommodate busy schedules. The entry includes a day pass locker, uniform, as well as access to the baths and pools. There are nine different sauna rooms, and spa treatments can be ordered a la carte as well as in packages. From the Castle Cafe, Juice Farm to Italian and Korean dining, this is a space where you can indulge in the ultimate mom self-care. Community acupuncture: Tigerlilyholistic Tigerlily Holistic 360 Jefferson St., Brooklyn, NY

Community acupuncture is quite popular in Asia where group acupuncture is more common — making it more affordable than one-on-one acupuncture. Tigerlilyholistic embraces this approach

with a serene space located in Bushwick and is known for amazing practitioners that work on a sliding scale fee starting from $40 to $70 per treatment. There is an initial paperwork fee of $10 paperwork on your first visit. No need to show proof of income, you share with your therapist what you can afford. Affordable yoga: Yoga to the People Yoga for the People By Donation

Free or on a Budget Self-Care Around NYC Try a membership at one of NYC Parks’ Recreation Centers Membership at one of NYC Parks is $150 a year with a pool ($90 without pool). The cost averages out to $8 a month. This is an excellent resource to visit the gym or take an enrichment class.

Sign up for Cultural Pass A solo stroll through one of NYC’s museums, gardens, or heritage centers is a lovely way to spend the day exploring all our city has to offer. If you have yet to sign up for the Culture Pass, all you need is a Brooklyn or New York library card to get into participating organizations free.

Listen to a podcast Listening to other stories, tips on parenting, and all-around mom


New York Family | November 2019

support can help when feeling frazzled and needing a dose of support on the way to work or while doing errands about town. Some of our favorites are Cool Moms, Spawned, and Big Little Choices.

Sit and chat on a park bench with a friend Have a good chat with a friend who will offer an ear, or enjoy a muchneeded catch-up. Even if it is after kid drop off or on an early weekend morning, catching up and sharing with another mom feeds the soul.

Sleep Tell the husband he’s on breakfast duty, hire a sitter, or ask a trusted friend to watch the kids for an hour or two and rest. Sleep is vital to staying healthy and your overall health. Demand more sleep.

Studios 12 Saint Marks Pl., New York, NY 2710 Broadway, New York, NY 211 N. 11th St., Brooklyn, NY

Namaste. A great way to unleash stress and invigorate the body is yoga. If you’re looking to give your body self-care and balance your mind, a power Vinyasa flow class works on pose, body, breath, and movement. Yoga to the People understands that the price of a yoga class may not be within everyone’s budget and offers their Power Vinyasa as a donation-based class. They are open in giving what you can and encourage others to return no matter your donation. You can find Power Vinyasa donation classes at their East Village, Brooklyn, and Upper West Side locations. Suggested donation is $10 or pay what you can afford. Medicine readings at Mama Medicine 73 Spring St., Suite 501, New York, NY

Visit Mama medicine for aura and medicine readings if this is your energy vibe. This space focuses on taking/sharing where you are at in life, what is blocking you, and providing a mother with the tools to clear blocks and move forward. Our pick, The Medicine Reading Original with Deborah Hanekamp, is worth checking out as it involves a conversation, an aura reading, and then a healing ritual. Other services range from $108 to $525 which can be a bit over some mother’s budgets but we do see these readings as investments that help in the long term of balance and reconnecting to a more balanced state.



For groups or birthdays call 866.642.9849

New World Stages 340 W. 50th St. G ill llii B bbl Sh

Check out our new site! We’ve given our New York Family website a major makeover

Visit to check it out and sign up for our weekly newsletters!


1027 FLATBUSH AVENUE BROOKLYN, NY 11226 November 2019 |


The Ultimate Guide to

52 terrific things to do with kids in NYC this season By Mia Salas


here are so many ways to get into the holiday spirit in New York City. We’ve got the classics, like watching the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular and ice skating at Rockefeller Center, but we’ve also mixed in less well-known ideas for holiday fun, such as the NYCRUNS Cocoa Classic 5K and 10K and holiday-themed storytimes at bookstores and libraries. Make the most of the holiday season before it’s over with our Ultimate Guide to Family Holiday Fun!

Manhattan As you stroll through the city with your family, don’t miss the beautiful holiday window displays! Two of our favorites are Saks and Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Avenue. Last year, Saks presented the Theater of Dreams with a Broadway-themed display and performance. Bergdorf Goodman took a super sweet direction with a candy-themed display that all ages gravitated towards. We’re curious what these shops have in store for us this holiday season, but with their unique style and grandeur, you surely won’t be disappointed! What better way to get into the holiday spirit than by ice skating? Bryant Park has an ice rink in the Bank of


New York Family | November 2019

America Winter Village with free admission, and the rink at Rockefeller Center is always a winter classic. Wollman Rink in Central Park is another great option, with the picturesque Central Park views surrounding you as you skate. Make your kids’ dreams come true by bringing them to meet Santa Claus! There are many places to meet and greet Santa throughout the city. The best free or low cost options to see Santa are at ABC Carpet & Home in Union Square, Santa in Central Park, and Santa’s Corner at Bryant Park’s Winter Village. Be sure to bring your camera to take adorable photos of your little ones with Santa Claus! Catch the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular! Whether you’ve seen the show every year or have never seen it before, the Rockettes always dazzle their audience of toddlers, kids, teens, and adults. Ticket prices start at $25 and vary depending on the day and seat. Enjoy some holiday dancing with the “The Little Dancer… a holiday family musical,” which will be returning from Philadelphia to New York for its second production at Theatre 71 located at 152 W. 71st Street, right off Broadway on the Upper West Side. Recommended for ages 6 to 106, this musical runs throughout December. Ticket prices are around $34

Photo by Nick Lee

November 2019 |


for most seats. Your Christmas tree may be great, but there’s nothing like the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. This enormous tree, with its multicolored lights provide the perfect backdrop for photos, which may even make it into your holiday cards! The Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on December 4, 8-10pm,. The tree at Rockefeller Center isn’t the only tree that has a lighting ceremony; Holiday on the Hudson invites all families to their holiday tree lighting party! Enjoy live music, dancing, tree decoration making, and hot chocolate to keep you warm. The festive celebration will take place on December 7, 4:30-6:30pm, at West Harlem Piers Park on West 125th Street and Marginal Street. Have you ever seen a Christmas tree decorated with paper? Head over to the American Museum of Natural History to see the Origami Holiday Tree, an annual tradition for more than 40 years! The theme of the tree this year is “T. rex and Friends: History in the Making”, which goes along with the T. rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit. There will be volunteers from OrigamiUSA to teach visitors of all ages paper folding techniques. One of the best places for hot cocoa is Max Brenner in Greenwich Village, the all-things-chocolate restaurant! Choose from Original, Italian Thick, Belgian, Mexican Spicy, Marshmallow, Peanut Butter, Hazelnut, Oreo, Salted Caramel, and Mocha, all served in their signature Hug Mug. All hot chocolates come in your choice of milk, dark, or white chocolate. Visit Santaland at Macy’s Herald Square to be transported into a magical world of elves, sleighs, Santa Claus, snow-topped trees, lights, and so much more! Make your way through the 13,000 square foot display to see Santa’s Workshop, a giant Lionel trainscape, the rainbow bridge, and a shiny red sleigh. At the end of your walk through Santaland, little ones get to meet Santa! Santaland is free but there are additional fees if you wish to purchase a photo package of your kids with Santa Claus. Don’t miss out on New York’s largest holiday festival, Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square on December 2, 5:309pm! Enjoy live entertainment by world-class performance groups, food tastings, including hot soups, drinks, and desserts from the Upper West Side’s top local kitchens, and the iconic tree lighting ceremony. Winter’s Eve also features plenty of kid-friendly activities, music, and holiday crafts. Head to Central Park Holiday Lighting on December 5, 5:30-6:30pm at the Charles A. Dana Discovery


New York Family | November 2019

Center. Meet Santa Claus, sing carols on the Plaza, and enjoy delicious hot chocolate and cookies. Then watch the lighting of several trees on Harlem Meer to kick off the holiday season! Sign up for a parent and child cooking class at Taste Buds Kitchen. Get ready for Thanksgiving with the Turkey Cupcakes Workshop, and throughout December, take part in the Gingerbread House Workshop. Sessions are typically for kids ages 2 to 8. The Gingerbread House Workshop is $75 per child with one caregiver and the Turkey Cupcakes Workshop is $45. There’s also the Cookies & Milk for Santa Workshop, in which you bake cookies for Santa and his reindeer, complete with a milkshake for $45. Browse 75 cookie varieties at the Annual St. Nicholas Cookie Walk! Take a stroll through the tables with more than 70,000 cookies, baked by the Cookie Walk Team, and select your favorites to fill your box. Afterwards, kids can create their own sweets at the Little Elves Bakery & Workshop, meet Santa Claus, and sip hot chocolate. Look forward to cookie flavors such as Macadamia Dreams, Lemon Ricotta, Rugelach, Hunka Hunka Chocolate, S’mores S’merrier, Kit Kat, and so many more. The walk will take place on December 14, 11am-4pm, and 15, 12-3pm, at St. Nicholas of Myra Orthodox Church in East Village. If you’re looking for a way to also stay active this holiday season, consider running the NYCRUNS Cocoa Classic 5K & 10K on December 1 at 9am. You’ll run along tree-lined paths and waterfront walkways, where you can appreciate winter’s beauty. After you cross the finish line, enjoy hot cocoa, New York’s finest bagels, and fresh fruit. All ages are welcome to join, so run the course as a family! The cost is $35 through November 18, $40 until online registration closes, and $50 on race day. The race kicks off at 108th Street and Riverside Drive in Riverside Park. The sweet treats are endless around the holidays, and Dylan’s Candy Bar specializes in all things sweet! Every Saturday and Sunday leading up to Christmas, head to one of Dylan’s Candy Bar’s locations in Manhattan to build your own gingerbread house. Drink hot cocoa and munch on holiday cookies as you construct your gingerbread house as a family. Looking to celebrate or learn more about Kwanzaa? Head to the American Museum of Natural History this December to experience one of the country’s largest Kwanzaa celebrations. There will be live performances, film screenings, a local artisan marketplace, and fun giveaways. Your whole family is invited to learn about African-American heritage and the cultural and artistic legacy of the AfricanAmerican community.

Spend the day at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to take part in a variety of holiday-themed activities. Build your own Christmas tree, paint a mug for your hot cocoa, create a gigantic marshmallow sculpture, explore snow that never melts, design your own gingerbread puppet, listen to the Nutcracker storytime, make your own holiday cards, and ring in the new year at the kid-friendly New Year’s Eve Ball Drop & Dance Party. Visit the Grand Holiday Bazaar for the ultimate holiday gift shopping. There will be over 150 handpicked, independent local artisans and dealers. Choose from candles, jewelry, chocolates, decorations, and so much more. This is a great place to buy unique gifts for your kids, and kids get a kick out of shopping for gifts here as well. Opening day is November 24, and then the Bazaar will be open on December 1, 8, 15, and 22. Check out the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park for more than 175 boutiques with gifts, apparel, local foods, and more. Kids will surely love Breezy Hill Orchards’s tasty gingerbread men, Dulcinea Churros, Fluffy Alpacas, a store for kids that sells alpaca stuffed animals, and Mr. Ellie Pooh, which sells handmade elephant-themed gifts to promote elephant conservation. Step into the world of theater with Symphony Space’s holiday-themed shows. From Sing-Along: White Christmas to Bolshoi Ballet: The Nutcracker (Encore) to even The Andersons present “A Jazzy Christmas”, Symphony Space at 95th Street has it all. Experience the holiday season through dance, vocal music, performance, and instrumental music for all ages. Prices vary per show, but tickets are around $16-$20 for kids. For bigger kids who are past the age of meet and greets with Santa Claus or holiday-themed arts and crafts, consider buying tickets to Jingle Ball. This year, the event will take place at Madison Square Garden on December 13. Watch pop artists, like Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, 5 Seconds of Summer, Halsey, Lizzo, Niall Horan, and more, perform your favorite songs. Ticket prices vary depending on your seat. The holidays aren’t all about Christmas — they also include Hanukkah! On December 15, 11am4pm, make your way over to the Jewish Museum to celebrate. Build a sculptural Hanukkah lamp, dance to Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights, sketch Hanukkah lamps from around the globe on a gallery tour, and watch a Haukkah story come to life through a drawing performance. Hanukkah Family Day is included with museum admission. Always a spectacle for kids and adults of all ages, the

New York Transit Museum brings back their Holiday Train Show for its 17th year at the Museum’s Grand Central Gallery Annex & Store. Set against a backdrop designed by artist Ebony Bolt, the trains travel around a 34-inch long, two-level track. Your little ones will definitely get a kick out of watching the trains in action. Brooklyn Celebrate the holidays in a literary style with holiday and winter-themed storytimes at bookstores and libraries. Books Are Magic on 225 Smith Street features lots of storytimes for kids, including one with Elliot Kreloff: The Luckiest Snowball on November 24! POWERHOUSE on 8 th has Sunday storytimes with holiday specials, and of course, Brooklyn Library has plenty of storytimes to check out, generally on Saturdays. Watch the family-friendly, classic story of A Charlie Brown Christmas come to life on stage. The show is on November 17 at 2 pm, and tickets are around $13, though the price may vary slightly depending on the seat. Make your way over to On Stage At Kingsborough at 2001 Oriental Boulevard to start your holiday season off with this heart-warming show, recommended for ages 4 and up. Interested in more holiday-themed theater? BAMkids is putting on the production of Muppet Christmas Carol on December 1 at 2 pm. Scrooge is forced to face the prolonged effect of his past misdeeds with visits from the ghost of the past, present, and future. General admission is $10, but kids ages 12 and under are $7. The performance takes place at the Peter Jay Sharp Building at 30 Lafayette Avenue. Bring the kids to the beautiful Kings Theatre at 1027 Flatbush Avenue to watch the beloved classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer live December 1st at 1 pm and 4:30 pm. Also, with Rudolph, you’ll see favorite characters from the beloved tv special such as Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, and more. The performance runs 90 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission. Dyker Heights Christmas Lights are back again this year for another magical display of Christmas. This well-loved and well-known NYC holiday display features life-size Santas, sleighs, snowmen, Christmas carols, and, of course, lots of lights. There’s an ongoing competition among neighbors in the area to create the best, most extravagant holiday display, which makes for a collection of spectacular sights. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum has everything you need to celebrate Kwanzaa with your family. As the 11th Annual Celebrate Kwanzaa !, on December

November 2019 |


26-31, this is the largest family Kwanzaa event in NYC. Explore Kwanzaa’s seven principles, learn about the history of Kwanzaa, and embark on a fun exploration of culture and heritage through arts and crafts, activities, and discussions.

and everyone can enjoy hot latkes and live music. Lighting times are: 4pm on the first night (December 22), 6pm on the second through fifth nights, 3:30pm on the sixth night, 7pm on the seventh night, and 5:30pm on the eighth night.

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a trip to Prospect Park to join in on the holiday-themed programming. There’s a Family Christmas Bird Count at the Audubon Center on December 15, 10am-1pm, and Winter Recess from December 26-30, which features games, nature explorations, DIY discovery packs, animal encounters, and more. Watch the New Years Eve fireworks on December 31 and January 1, and then prepare for Winter Zoo Wonderland. On weekends in December and January, learn about which animals love the cold temperatures and post your “Zoo Year” resolutions on the wall.

Another amazing (and might we add, delicious!) Hanukkah celebration is The 11th Annual Latke Festival on December 16, 6-8:30pm at the Brooklyn Museum. Restaurants such as Jacob’s Pickles NYC, Brings Jam & Marmalade, bricolage, Benchmark Restaurant, Baoburg Brooklyn, and many more will come together to make delectable latkes, and you get to help the judges decide the winner. Enjoy the best and most creative potato pancakes in the city. All proceeds go to The Sylvia Center, a nonprofit that focuses on teaching cooking in underserved communities. Ticket prices range from $75-$120.

The holiday season is also the season of treating yourself. How could you not with all of the delicious eats and sweets surrounding you at all times? Satisfy your sweet tooth and stay warm with a donut and hot chocolate at Dough Doughnuts in Bed Stuy at 448 Lafayette Avenue. Choose from unique donut flavors, such as cheesecake, hibiscus, nutella, and salted chocolate caramel, as well as the classics, such as plain glazed and cinnamon sugar. Pair your donut with hot cocoa made from a blend of different chocolates with optional whipped cream.

Our final favorite Hanukkah event for kids and families in Brooklyn is the Chanukah Festival at the Jewish Children’s Museum. There will be delicious food, arts and crafts, and games, all centered around celebrating Hanukkah. All ages are welcome to learn about the holiday and spend time with their loved ones at the museum on December 22.

Get crafty at Private Picassos with a DIY Wrapping Paper Family Workshop on November 10, 10:3011:30am, and a DIY Ornament Family Art Workshop on December 8, 10:30-11:30am. Both workshops are for kids ages 3 and up and their caregivers. Get ready for the holiday season with these creative art projects. Leave with your very own roll of wrapping paper and plastic ornaments, decorated with glitter, beads, bells, and yarn, to hang on your Christmas tree. The cost is $40 per child with one caregiver included. Looking for more holiday-themed crafts? Michaels Stores offers plenty of craft classes for kids for a low cost. The Michaels location at 252 Atlantic Avenue has make your own snowman ornament, paper Christmas decor, snowman cookies, and clay pot bell classes. The other Michaels location in Brooklyn at 410 Gateway Drive offers make your own Christmas ornaments, mini tree decorations, holiday wreath, and a gingerbread house classes. Prices range from free to $3 per child, but make sure to call ahead for availability. Celebrate Hanukkah with Brooklyn’s Largest Menorah in Grand Army Plaza. There will be a live kickoff concert on the first night of Hanukkah, and then stop by the menorah every day of Hanukkah to watch the next candle being lit. Kids will also receive small gifts,


New York Family | November 2019

Queens See what Queens County Farm has to offer during the holiday season. There’s the Queens Farm Holiday Market, December 1-23, which features Christmas trees, wreaths, games, toys, handmade stuffed animals, and plenty of other unique items for gifts. On select weekends in December, sign up for a Wreathmaking Workshop, no experience necessary. Then right after Christmas, December 26-28, head to the Holiday Open House for kids crafts, fireplaces, tours, mulled cider, and more. Take the holiday celebrations from the farm to the garden at Queens Botanical Garden. Christmas in the Garden features free festive activities, such as live musical performances, photos with Santa (additional fee), tree lighting, holiday crafts, and amazing sales at the shop. Get into the holiday spirit on December 8, 12-5pm, with your family. Looking for places to shop one-of-a-kind holiday gifts? Pop into Flushing Town Hall’s Holiday Market on December 8, 1-5pm, for a selection of goods from artists and crafts people from Queens. And don’t miss out on the performance of The Nutcracker, by Salzburg Marionette Theater, at Flushing Town Hall. The show will take place on December 4 at 7pm, and the cost is $14 for adults, $8 for kids, and free for teens. If you always get into a cooking and baking kick once the holiday season rolls around, then sign up for the

December 6, 2019 to January 26, 2020 • 5PM - 10PM • THE LARGEST LANTERN FESTIVAL IN NORTH AMERICA •








November 2019 |


Winter Solstice Workshop: Rice Ball & Dumpling Making at Flushing Town Hall on December 15 at 2pm. Learn about traditions and stories of Chinese culture, like the Lunar New Year. Kids ages 4 and up are welcome to come, along with a caregiver. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for students and kids, and free for teens.

Williamsburg Oval Recreation Center creates a Winter Wonderland for families. Celebrate the holiday season with arts and crafts, music, games, and a special visit from Santa Claus. Have some free family fun as you learn about all of the winter holidays. Winter Wonderland takes place this year on December 14, 12:30-2:30pm.

As the record-holder of the Guinness World Records for Largest Gingerbread Village, made up of more than 1,300 gingerbread houses, GingerBread Lane 2019 at the New York Hall of Science is a must-see this holiday season. Candy canes are railings on staircases, pieces of gum make brick walls, and M&Ms, candy corn, jelly beans, and Necco Wafers make colorful rooftop shingles. If your little ones, ages 4 and older, want to make their own gingerbread houses or trains, sign up for a GingerBread Lane Workshop for $15. GingerBread Lane 2019 is free with museum admission. Return to the museum on January 12 for the GingerBread Lane House Giveaway, when you can take home one of the gingerbread houses, first-come, first-served.

You can truly never get enough of Winter Wonderlands, so also check out Family Affair: Winter Wonderland at The Bronx Museum of the Arts. On December 7, 1-4pm, celebrate winter and the holidays with your friends and family at the museum. There will be plenty of festive art activities and games for kids ages 4 to 12 and their caregivers.

Feeling creative? Kids ages 3 and up can come make spiced ornaments at Hands on History: Make Your Own Scented Pomander on December 7, 1-4pm. Oranges used to be a very special fruit in the 18th and 19th century, because you could only eat them in the winter. Some of the oranges were used to make pomanders to decorate and fill homes with a lovely scent of holiday spice. Bring your pomander home and hang it on your tree. Afterwards, visit the rest of King Manor Museum in Rufus King Park to check out their holiday decor. Watch the production of The Nutcracker at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City on December 15, 3:30-5pm. Watch a little girl’s fantasy world of dolls, toy soldiers, an army of mice, snowflakes, princes, and fairies unfold on stage. After the show, kids get to meet and greet cast members and Santa in the magical Toyland, where each child will receive a special gift. Tickets are $20. Bronx Bronx Terminal Market Winter Wonderland will get you in the spirit to celebrate the holidays at their annual market on Tuesday, November 19, 5:30 pm7:30 pm on the BTM pedestrian walkway (@River Ave). Enjoy this two-hour holiday celebration with the family as there are lots of kid-friendly activities by an array of neighborhood Bronx organizations, including HOSTOS, the Bronx Children’s Museum. This free event will offer photo ops with Santa, hot drinks, holiday décor (including fake snow), arts and crafts with the Bronx Children’s Museum, and retailer promotions.


New York Family | November 2019

Visit the iconic Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden between November 23 and January 26. The incredible display features more than 175 famous New York landmarks, and this year’s show showcases Central Park with its beautiful landscape, architecture, and history, including Belvedere Castle. In addition to the show, there’s The Poetry of Trains: Billy Collins and Young Poets readings of poems inspired by trains, the holidays, and NYBG. Kids can also explore Evergreen Express for train-inspired fun in the Adventure Garden, including a child-sized train, crafts, sing-alongs, and an outdoor puppeteer theater! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or both, bring your family to the Holiday Lighting Ceremony at the New York Botanical Garden. Watch the annual tree and menorah lighting on December 5, 4-5:15pm. Gather around the tree or menorah for family photos and sing along to holiday jams with carolers. One more exciting holiday program that the New York Botanical Garden holds is the Holiday Favorites Film Festival, taking place on December 21-24 and 26-29, 11am-4pm. Watch the holiday classics on the big screen at Ross Hall with your family. The Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo are back and better, bigger, and greener than ever. Stroll through the zoo to see the animal lanterns, animated sculptures, colorful designs, and beautiful, bright displays of holiday magic. Holiday Lights officially opens November 29-December 31 and January 3-5, but there are also preview days on November 21-24. Wave Hill always has something fun in store for kids, and the holiday season doesn’t disappoint. Drop in for a holiday-inspired Family Art Project during the winter months. Kids and parents will learn about the selected topic or theme, and then get creative together as they work on an exciting craft. Stop by Wave Hill anytime between 10am and 1pm for the Family Art Project.

The sharingbox Mini

The sharingbox Mini rental includes: delivery/recovery*, customized pictures & GIF, 400 prints, unlimited email sending, photobooth props, online gallery, hosting for 4 hours. *within 10 miles of our office. | 929.295.0794 |

November 2019 |


mom stories

Megan Haughery of The Penny Gray Photography Co


FAMILy PHoTo When it comes to capturing what makes your family special, let’s all go after the truth By Veronica rogers



n the real is the beautiful. I read that line over and over again as I sat completely enamored with the photography on this photographer’s blog. Her images felt different. The images Yan Palmer took showed life in a way I had never seen — and I’ve seen a lot of photography. You see, I am a Creative Director and Prop Stylist by trade, which means I spend a lot of time crafting really pretty images. Images, that if I’m being totally honest, aren’t real at all. Take, for example, a crème blush makeup ad I did recently. To


New York Family | November 2019

create the image we use the actual blush, plus we added in a little paint and some glycerin to achieve the perfect texture. The final images look like beautifully creamy makeup that you would definitely want to buy. But real? Yes — sort of, but with a few tweaks, of course. We live in a time where “real — sort of” has become the air we breathe. We talk often about loving authenticity and “keeping it real” on social media. But the “real” we see is often a filtered reality, similar to the makeup ads I style. This year, as another summer came to an end, I was faced with the annual question of “are we going to do family photos… again?” I am the mom to two beautiful girls, now 4 and 6 years old, and the wife of an

incredibly supportive and wonderful man. As someone who creates photos for a living, it was surprising to my husband that my desire to take family photos had waned over the last few years. The thought of enduring the high stress experience had felt like too much for me at times. It always began with making a mental list of all the things I needed to make it happen: a perfect fall day with the right amount of brightly colored leaves on the ground, cute outfits for our family that all coordinate, and if we were getting really into it (which I always did) pumpkins and a flannel blanket for us to sit on — to really play up the fall vibes. Next, I would begin to make a mental list of all the ways I could bribe my children to get them to stay still

Megan Haughery of The Penny Gray Photography Co

November Month2019 2019 | |

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mom storIes

as they were corralled into a line, told what to wear, fidgeted with, and told to smile — really smile — no less than twenty times. My goal for our family photoshoots was to get it done before our summer glow faded into a depressed winter pale — that way, if we used the photo as our annual Christmas card, it would elicit the desired “Wow! They’re thriving!” reaction from friends and family. The art of styling consists of staying on top of all the tiny little details to design imagery that tells a story in creative and unique ways. It is a job that requires a certain level of perfectionism — so it is no wonder when it came time to take our family photo, the perfectionism would take over and tell me that this, too, was my opportunity to create another perfectly styled photo. Perfect outfit, perfect background, perfect smiles, and perfectly behaved kids equals a perfect photo. So simple, right? The reality would look more like a stressed out mom telling her family what to wear, how to behave, to sit still and smile, and to listen to the photographer “or else,” totally unsure of where the “or else” would lead. Funny how much easier it is to control paint and glycerin than your own kids. As I looked at the alluringly raw photos Yan Palmer had taken of families within their own homes, I realized that these are the moments I want to remember. I want to remember what my home looked like at this very point in time. I want to remember what stuffed animals my 4-year-old was playing with and what her bedroom looked like. I want to remember the things we would do together around the house. I don’t need another picture of the four of us smiling at the camera. I want to feel at ease in my space, play with my kids, and allow the photographer to capture the real moments we had with one another as we just spent time together as a family. That kind of photoshoot excited me. One of my best friends, Megan Haughery, is a talented family photographer. She was the one who first introduced me to Yan’s work. She and I sat on my blue Formica countertops having long talks together about the idea of shifting family photography from controlled and posed to a more freeform depiction of reality within the family. She suggested the idea that she could shoot my family in our house this year. Do something different. As I looked around at my little rancher house, still a far cry away from the hopes of a big renovation, I hesitated at the idea. It seemed like a great idea in theory, but capturing my


New York Family | November 2019

Megan Haughery of The Penny Gray Photography Co

I want to feel at ease in my space, play with my kids, and allow the photographer to capture the real moments we had with one another. little family in our home felt vulnerable and out of control. But I wanted to take a step to shift my own thinking, so I agreed. Leading up to the shoot, the stylist in me wanted to change everything. Put a blanket here, a plant there. I wanted to change my curtains — just for the shoot — so the yellow wouldn’t be so “loud.” I was tempted to go prop shopping as I normally do for all my photoshoots. I had to keep reminding myself that there is beauty in the unfinished and the goal would be to remember my family and my life as they truly are. The day came, and it was the opposite experience of what I was used to when it came to the family photo experience. We were all relaxed, barefoot, and hanging out. I wore a dress because I wanted to feel flowy and free, and my kids wore what they normally wear

— my oldest always chooses the dress, and my youngest is always in some sort of cozy romper. We turned on the music, pulled out the books and paints, and laughed and played together with ease. There was no rush, there were no forced smiles. It helped that we all knew our photographer well, so there was no fear with her around. It was a good day. Not all days are good days, and I hope to capture a not-so-great day, too — so we can remember that even when it was bad, it was good. When it comes to family photography, many of us have fallen into thinking that the stressed out family shoot is all there is. The goal of eliciting the “look how great they’re doing!” on the annual Christmas card has blinded us from what our hearts will long to look back on 20 years from now — and that is to remember the real moments in that one fleeting period of time in our life. When it comes to family photos, let’s all go after the truth. Let’s take that step of vulnerability and invite a photographer into our home to capture our family doing the things we love to do together. If a meltdown happens, let it happen. I promise that when you look back on those tears, you will be brought back to that very moment in time, with all its ups and downs, and it will feel perfect. We no longer need to create a filtered sublimity of our lives because the reality is that our lives are beautiful because we are human, we are alive, and we are connected. We feel love, we feel frustration, and we go through challenges. That is the human experience. Let’s begin to capture what it really looks like and continue to remind each other and ourselves that in the real is the beautiful.

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Fair & Conference Monday, November 18, 2019 9:30am - 5:30pm Hotel Pennsylvania

401 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001


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Hear from our experts discussing:

Communication & Mindfulness Parent Journeys What are my childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s educational rights? A legal perspective Navigating Independence, Self Direction, and Financial Planning Integrating Methods of Learning November 2019 |


neighborhood guide

Family-Friendly Chelsea With some of the hottest food, culture and recreation in the city, this nabe keeps everyone busy By: Keana Demming anD Katarina avenDaño


helsea has it all. Those in search of a good meal or quick snack can eat to their heart’s content with the neighborhood’s awesome food spots then burn off some energy strolling along The High Line or checking out the newly opened Chelsea Green Playground! There’s so much to do, so ready, set, go! Food and drinks Chelsea Market 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

You can’t visit Chelsea without stopping by this amazing food marketmarket. It’s located in the former National Biscuit Company and is now a spot for foodies everywhere. It’s a food hall with options ranging from lobster to baked goods. If you’re craving anything, you’ll be sure to find it here. There are also several shops like Anthropologie and Artists & Fleas. Above all, the location has great historical value with its fountain made using exposed pipe and drill bits from its time as a factory. Hanamizuka Cafe 143 W 29th St., New York, NY 10001

If you want to try a large array of Japanese foods and desserts, this place is for you. This aesthetically pleasing cafe prides itself on four things: healthy options that make everyone feel beautiful, fresh “fast food” for the everbusy New Yorker, a modern atmosphere, and affordable dishes. Food includes everything from flavorful rice balls in flavors like chashu pork and sweet potato, b.l.t. miso soup, and Japanese roll cakes. Even more, there’s a separate night menu that offers items such as rice bowls filled with meat or grilled rice balls. The donut Pub 203 W 14th St., New York, NY 10011

Opening in 1964, The Donut Pub’s humble beginnings has transformed into a mustvisit for all sweet tooths. Featuring a wall of freshly made donuts, cookies, croissant donuts, and other baked goods — this place is sure to make your mouth water. Flavors


New York Family | November 2019

The high Line is one of new York’s most innovative parks. include everything from their popular maple bacon to slated caramel. Best of all, everything is peanut and tree nut-free, making it safe for those allergy-sufferers.

there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options on the menu. BEC also has an array of side dishes like baked sweet potatoes, fresh fruits, and avocado toast.

Chelsea’s down to Earth Farmers Market W 23rd St., New York, NY 10011

rECrEaTion and EduCaTion

What better way to get fresh food produce than a farmers market? Vendors include farms and small businesses from all over New York, all delivering their best. Buyers have access to fresh seafood, olive oil, coffee, and baked goods just to name a few. Moreover, the market has events like cooking demos and the opportunity to sample some items. BEC 148 8th Ave., New York, NY 10011

Everyone loves breakfast food and almost every New Yorker can attest to ordering a bacon, egg, and cheese from their local deli. Jessica Bologna certainly has anyway. BEC was born out of her love for the sandwich. Specialties include made-to-order organic egg sandwiches. Every sandwich is served over easy and paired with meats that were sourced locally, a variety of cheeses and vegetables. The homemade sauces and spreads are a bonus. If meat isn’t your thing, don’t worry,

Chelsea Piers sports and Entertainment Complex 62 Chelsea Piers, New York, NY 10011

Chelsea Piers is a great spot to try your hand at more than 25 different sports, host events and birthday parties. Hence, both parents and kids can find something to do here with the adult leagues and youth classes. There are activities that guests can just drop in for. For example, ice skating, rock climbing for both adults and kids, Rock-n-Roll sessions where kids are grouped and instructed through 45 minutes of gymnastics and 45 minutes of rock climbing, and much more. Some activities require calling for availability like the Toddler Gym and the batting cages, so make sure to do that as a rule of thumb. Chelsea Green Park W. 20 St. between Ave. of the Americas and 7 Ave.

It’s been 40 years since Chelsea got a new park until the opening of Chelsea Green. It features a playground that’s filled with slides, climbing

ATTRACTions CAMP 110 5th Ave., New York, NY, 10011

CAMP is much more than just a retail store! It’s an immersive place for families to explore with tons of activities for a one-of-a-kind experience. Here, the kids will never get bored because CAMP keeps an ever-changing theme going on that keeps them on their toes. Enter through a magical door that will lead to a variety of workshops, interactive areas, and more! Right now, kids can travel the world at CAMP through crafty events from making DIY Tibetan prayer flags to making macaroons out of clay. Even better, if you become a member, you’ll get to reap some of the many perks such as Milk Bar or dropping the kids off for ‘Date Night’ events.

Chelsea Market is a haven for foodies of all ages. nets, a rain garden and all sorts of structures perfect for kids. The lawn is made from synthetic turf that’ll be able to handle games of tag without a problem. The area has shaded seating and a space for public art displays and performances, fitting in with the artistic vibes of the neighborhood. It’s a good place to go to get your kids active and happy all day long. Chelsea Waterside Park Play Area 181 11th Ave., New York, NY 10011

There’s nothing better for kids than a day outside playing to their heart’s content. The Chelsea Waterside Park Play Area originally opened in 2000. After that, the playground had to undergo renovations because it was run down by 2016. With its reopening in the summer of 2018, the playground now features a newly designed play area and a gigantic multicolored wood pipefish. There are numerous fountains and other water areas perfect for kids ages 5 to 12. The High Line New York, NY 10011. Gansevoort, Washington, 14th, 16th St.

The High Line is a park built on a 1.45 milelong elevated rail structure. Founded by the residents of the neighborhood, it stopped the track from being demolished. Due to that, it’s now a public area that is welcome to all. Visitors can enjoy the amazing view, experience art, and nature. The High Line lawn is a great place to settle down and picnic with the family or for kids to play. They also have events every month like free stargazing and their “From Freight to Flowers” tour for instance. If you have a sudden craving, you’re in luck because The High Line also has food

and dessert options. The Rubin Museum of Art 150 W 17th St., New York, NY 10011

For all who want to spend a quiet day looking at art from the past, this museum is a great place to do that. Showcasing pieces from the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions, this museum does its best to promote cultural understanding and provoke thought. Guided experiences offer a deeper understanding of the displayed art. Tour guides are also available for more casual chats about the pieces. If you prefer to guide yourself, The Rubin Museum has a free audio guide app as well. After that, you can dine at Cafe Serai (this doesn’t even require admission!) and eat delicious meals like tandoori chicken, coconut shrimp, and matcha ice cream. Children 12 and younger get in for free, students pay $14 and adults $19. Whitney Museum of American Art 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014

Focusing on works from living artists, the Whitney Museum presents a full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art. Located right along the High Line, the Whitney gets sweeping views of the city and the Hudson with tons of natural light — even on a gloomy day it’s beautiful. There are tons of events for kids to interact with the exhibits from activities for kids who are on the autism spectrum to several art-making projects. They even have stroller tours that welcome parents/caregivers and their crying babies to explore the Whitney in the morning before they open their doors to the public.

Annex Markets: Chelsea Flea Market 29 West 25th Street New York, NY 10010

This flea market is open every weekend and has an entrance fee of just $1 to get access to around 100 vendors. If there’s a holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, the market will still be open. In other words, you’ll have a place to get any unique last-minute gifts should you need to. The original market was opened in 1976 under the name of The Annex Antiques Fair & Flea Market. Currently, vendors sell everything from art, vintage clothing, antiques, jewelry, collectibles and more. Most noteworthy, the market does allow some haggling if you want a deal. However, the market does ultimately respect the vendor’s set prices. Hudson Yards Between 10th and 12th Avenues from West 30th to West 34th Streets

The hype was everywhere when Hudson Yards opened this past year. If you haven’t already explored this new addition right on the border of Chelsea neighborhood, what are you waiting for? This architectural icon has it all from retail, attractions, living, gardens, and more! Make sure to visit the Public Square and Gardens that span over five acres of public space with plazas, gardens, and groves. One of the biggest attractions that is hard to miss is the Vessel! You can climb and explore to the top and catch some unique views of the newly developed area. Once you make it down, replenish by visiting some of the kid-friendly restaurants inside like Shake Shack, or grab a treat at Dylan’s Candy Bar! You can also hit up the several stores inside which has an H&M with a kid’s department (located on the 3rd and 4th floor). November 2019 |


family day out

Germantown in the Hudson Valley This sweet, family-friendly nook of Hudson really brings out the wonder of fall in New York By Donna LaDD


any families in the city love to head upstate to the Hudson Valley, especially now when families can enjoy the gorgeous fall scenery. While the Hudson Downtown Area (near the Hudson Amtrack station) gets a ton of attention, there is a quaint town located on the east bank of the Hudson area called Germantown. While this nook of Hudson is pretty quiet, it is a lovely place to visit with the kids for a day visit or a weekend. Not far from the Downtown Hudson area (about 20-minute car drive) and around a 45-minute scenic drive to the gorgeous Kaaterskill Falls, there is a lot to with the kids and worth giving Germantown a visit.

Where to stay in Germantown The Central House Inn 220 Main St., Germantown, NY, 12526

A quaint inn located in the heart of Germanton. With a spirited past as a brothel, a speakeasy, a stagecoach, and a restaurant. Now you’ll find a quaint inn with six suites with baths. The hotel is quite charming and has a communal space called the Great room with a cozy fireplace located on the second floor. Many weekends, have we passed the Central house to find visitors relaxing and chatting in the veranda porch. For rates check out their sites as their off-season starts November and rooms are a bit lower at this time. The only caveat of this inn is that the rooms are not accessible for people with reduced mobility.

(Clockwise from top) otto’s market in Germantown is a great place for lunch, while Gaskins promises a delicious dinner. and if you need it, the German laundromat will clean your clothes in a kid-friendly space.

Great breakfast/ lunch spot

Dinner in Germantown

Where to visit nearby

Otto’s Market 215 Main St., Germantown, NY, 12526

Gaskins 2 Church Ave., Germantown, NY, 12526

Olana State Historic Site 5720 State Route 9G, Hudson, NY 12534

This friendly market has an old town vibe yet is modern in its design and food offerings. Groceries such as milk, eggs, cheese (mostly local) as well as frozen goods can be purchased. Kids will go for the locally baked chocolate croissants and other yummy pastries. Stay and sit in their seating area located inside and outside for their delicious breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Also, don’t miss Otto’s pizza night, which is every Tuesday from 5-7.

This restaurant is hands down one of the best places to eat in the Hudson area. Serving a locally sourced menu — owners Sarah and Nick Suarez have created a space that feels warm and friendly. Kids are more than welcome, and the patient of the staff is always appreciated. Recently, we had roasted beets mixed with yogurt and miso and some other deliciousness. The scallops are divine; my kids go for the grass-fed burger and homemade ice cream.

Only 15 minutes or less, drive to this historical home to famous landscape artist Frederic Edwin Church. Church lived here with his wife Isabel in the late 1800s; this site sits above the Hudson River, where you can take in the views of the Catskill Mountains. The interior of the estate itself is stunning and will be appreciated even if your kids aren’t art lovers. This historic site holds paintings and furnishings that were collected by Church from his many travels, as well as


New York Family | November 2019

You don’t have to be an art lover to appreciate the spectacular setting of the Olana State Historic Site. Church’s studio. The landscape is gorgeous, and we recommend visiting this estate on a non-rainy day to appreciate its beauty fully. Shops to check out in Germantown Alder & Co 222 Main St. Germantown, NY, 12526

Initially located in Portland, Oregon this store owned by Rebecca Westby and Carla Helmholz is now housed in a renovated 1876 farmhouse. You’ll find a nook of curated kids items like Kerry Cassil quilts and Misha & Puff pointelle onesies. For mom (or dad!) you’ll find organic beauty lines, fine jewelry, and cozy cashmere knits. Athabold Flowers 214 Main St., Germantown, NY, 12526

A lovely flower shop to browse, shop, or pick up some flowers for a weekend host. Flowers

are seasonal and feel unique in how they are arranged and picked.

Nearby cozy brewery

Extra in Germantown

A great thing about Hudson and its surrounding areas are the many family-friendly spots. In the middle of vast land, you’ll find something unique, which is how to describe best the smart brick building that now houses The Suarez Family Brewery. Once a former lamp factory, this mom & pop brewery is located in Livingston, which is about a 20-minute scenic drive from downtown Hudson. We do suggest looking up their open and close times as they tend to have quirky hours, with longer hours during summer. Well-behaved kids( and honestly mine weren’t that well behaved and no one seem to mind!) are allowed, and they can indulge in one of the brewery’s delightful and freshly made, handbaked pretzels while you enjoy a beer. Outside snacks are also welcome.

German Laundromat 3 Church Ave., Germantown, NY, 12526

One may not visit Germantown to do laundry, but if you have kids, it’s easy for them to get pretty dirty with all the outdoor adventures. And when it’s tick season, you may want to launder a load or two for safety. And although this open 24/7 laundromat is very Instagram friendly and offers free Wi-Fi, it is a viable business that serves as a community space that inspires clean living. The front shop of the space offers mending-repair and eco gifts to take home. If weather permits, check out the backyard area where the kids can play bocce or have a snack from Otto’s right around the corner.

Suarez Family Brewery 2278 US 9, Hudson, NY 12534

November 2019 |



Viva Las Vegas (with Kids) The city has a lot going on but we managed to visit and have one of the most chill trips ever By Donna LaDD


grew up on the West Coast where visiting Las Vegas frequently is the norm for many Californians. My parents, once all the kids were finally out of the door, retired to this desert oasis. I have lost count how many times I have flown into this neon city. I spent my 21st birthday here, many New Years, walked the strip into the wee hours, and the rest — well what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, baby. On a recent trip to California and in the spirit of packing in as many friend and family visits as possible, the kids and I took a road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Since I had my kids with me this trip, I was looking for a more family-friendly visit to Vegas. I wanted to stay off the beaten path yet not too far from the strip. We chose the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, which is 10 miles from downtown and about a 20-minute drive from the strip. Red Rock Hotel and Casino My youngest is easily overstimulated. The hotels in Las Vegas are famously large, and I was seeking something a bit manageable so he would not be too overwhelmed. Although I would not call Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa a boutique hotel, it has 800 rooms, so it is smaller than most Vegas hotels. My older sister also join us on this trip, so we needed enough space for us all. We stayed in their Signature Suite, which was quite spacious, and after a long day out and about, we would lounge on the couch and watch a movie and eat popcorn. Not what you would picture as a wild night in Las Vegas but perfect for our family. With Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, you can have either city views or picturesque views of the canyon. Luckily we had the mountainside, which was breathtaking. It is a bit funny to travel to a city known for being wild, but at this hotel, we felt chill and relaxed. The room We stayed in a one bedroom with double beds that was again quite spacious. If you’re looking to save money by staying in one bedroom, a cot can be sent up to your room.


New York Family | November 2019

The backyard of the red rock Hotel and Casino features a dizzying choice of pools. We received an extra bed within ten minutes that was the size of a twin bed and super comfy. The Egyptian Cotton sheets on all the beds were scrumptious. The bathroom was roomy and had a deep soaking tub that my kids were obsessed with, along with more views of those gorgeous Red Rock mountains. The fine print Although the mini bar had an excellent selection of drinks and snacks for both kids and adults, our family rule is we stay away from the mini-fridge. We instead went to a Trader Joe’s nearby at the Downtown Summerlin Mall, which was about a sixminute walk from the hotel and stocked up on snacks and milk for the kids that we kept at the wet bar that was adjacent to the foyer of our suite. And yes, it’s Vegas people, of course, there is an in-room wet bar! We probably saved about $100 just by stocking up on our own snacks.

So many pools! There are nine pools located within Red Rock’s three acres. Yes, nine! The largest called the Sandbar Pool is surrounded by smaller pools with many only a few feet deep and perfect for kids. The area can accommodate many people and is surrounded by bars and cabanas, but the kids were totally welcomed with the lifeguards keeping an eagle eye on them the entire time. Where to eat There are many dining offerings at the resort, including fine dining options. And Vegas isn’t Vegas without a buffet. The Feast Buffet seemed to always have a dedicated line and is one of the resort’s most popular restaurants. There are also two Starbucks to service your coffee needs. Our favorite restaurant was Blue Ribbon Sushi, and it wasn’t lost on us that this restaurant first originated in New York. The wait staff was tremendously friendly and accommodating of

The s�rip!

What to do in and around the strip with kids? We did finally leave our hotel, and when we hit the strip, we focused on the most touristy things to do with kids. First, when it is dark, ride down the strip so the kids can take in all the lights and the hoopla that is Vegas. There are 32 casinos! The famous Las Vegas sign across the street from the Mandalay Bay is the traditional start of the strip. Stop by at the Neon Museum and visit all the iconic Las Vegas signs. (770 Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV 89101, 702387-6366) Bellagio Water Show and Wynn Fountains are so La Vegas and a must-stop with the kids. Circus Circus has free circus acts every day, starting at 11:30 am, usually every hour until 10/11 pm. (Circus Circus Hotel & Resort, 2880 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109)

Las Vegas is known for its neon, but a short drive brings you to the stunning natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon (left). kids. The food of course was absolutely delish. Our favorite dish and one that we spoke about for days afterward was the Oxtail Fried Rice dish. My sister and I promised another sister that we would bring her leftovers, and we failed miserably on this promise. Why Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa is kid-friendly Sure, Vegas is fun, and kids are welcome, but it is also called Sin City, so, at a certain point, you may want to have a bit of fun and visit the casino or spa away from the kids. This is where Kids Quest comes in. Kids Quest is a state-licensed childcare center where kids ages 6 weeks to age 12 can play for up to five hours a day. Think of Kids Quest as the ultimate playdate for your kids. There are other kids, and the entire space is geared to keep them entertained and busy. Kids Quest charges by the hour with the cost around $10.50 to $11 for each child per hour. It is recommended that if you plan to use Kids Quest while you stay at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa that you send immunization records to them in advance. Also located in the hotel is The Regal Theater 4 DX and IMAX. The theatres are

quite large, especially for us space deprived New Yorkers. The screens are huge and seating comfortable. We also appreciated that everything was so clean! Red Rock Lanes is considered the largest bowling alley in Las Vegas. And with 72 lanes, it is an enormous space of fun for the entire family. There is an entertainment center, fullservice snack bar, accessible bowling ramps, an arcade, dartboard, and more. More fun for the family If you ever visit Las Vegas, I strongly suggest taking the time to visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation, which is located a

few miles west of Las Vegas on 195,819 acres within the Mojave Desert. The Red Rock Canyons are simply stunning. STUNNING! We paid the $15 car fee and took the 13-mile Scenic Drive, stopping a few times to take in the beauty and of course, get some of the most gorgeous photos. Although this trip was different than past visits, it was the most memorable for it involved my children getting to know the city their grandparents love. And with a flight time of a little over five hours from New York, we plan on spending more time in this desert city for many years to come! November 2019 |


family fun




Great Kid-Friendly November Events in Manhattan By mia salas

INWOOD PUMPKIN PAGEANT November 1 Show off your Halloween masterpieces at the 6th Annual Inwood Pumpkin Pageant! Bring your carved jack-o-lanterns to the park and vote on your favorite designs. Even if you don’t have a pumpkin to bring, this is a wonderful community event to spend time with friends and family and observe the assortment of illuminated pumpkins. Afterwards, the pumpkins are recycled for composting! Free, 5-8 pm. Isham Park, Isham Street and Seaman Avenue, New York, NY 10034




November 2 Learn all about Día de Muertos at this familyfriendly festival! There will be altars dedicated to extinct animal species, performances by Mexican folk musicians and dance troupes, hands-on artisanal and scientific workshops, and a craft marketplace. Bring your family for some fun at the museum! Free with admission, 11 am-5 pm. Milstein Hall of Ocean Life and Hall of Biodiversity in the American Museum of Natural

History, Central Park West & 79th Street, New York, NY 10024,

FALL FAMILY FESTIVAL November 2 Get crafty and creative at this Fall Family Festival! Kids and their families will design projects inspired by The World of Anna Sui, including tote bags, vibrant geometric textiles, and embellishing denim. Take a family adventure through the interactive gallery tour as you explore themes, art concepts, and current events through discussion, sketching, and other fun activities. Free with museum admission, 10 am-2 pm. The Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019,

PUMPKIN SMASH November 2 Halloween is over, so it’s time to say goodbye to the jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins to make room for the upcoming holiday season! Get rid of your pumpkins in a fun and sustainable way with this family pumpkin smash and fall festival at Hudson River Park. There will be kidfriendly pumpkin smashing, festive games, and fall refreshments. Free, 11 am-2 pm. Chelsea Waterside in Hudson River Park at 11th Avenue and West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011,


©AMNH/R. Mickins

Celebrate Día de Muertos at the American Museum of Natural History November 2.


New York Family | November 2019

November 10 Do your kids love reading the Magic Tree House chapter books? If so, head over to the theater for an exciting afternoon with the author of the series, joined by Natalie Pope Boyce, author of the Magic Tree House Research Guides and Madeline Cohen, Symphony Space’s Education Director. Thalia Kids’ Book Club will meet to initiate discussion between the two authors, director, and fans ages 7 to 10. The event includes a creative writing project, reading, discussion with the audience, and a book signing. $14 members, $17 non-members, 1-2:15 pm. Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater, 2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025,

ALADDIN AT GALLI THEATER NEW YORK November 16-17, 23-24 We all know the classic Disney movie, Aladdin, but have you seen Aladdin come to life on stage? Follow Aladdin along his journey, from when he finds the genie in the lamp to when he’s soaring in the sky on a magic carpet with his love. Aladdin has something for everyone, so your whole family will enjoy the show! Adults $20, kids $15, doors open at 1:30 pm and show is 2-2:45 pm. Galli Theater New York, 75 Warren Street, New York, NY 10007,

AMAZING APPLE FESTIVAL WITH THE CREATIVE KITCHEN November 16-17 Join The Creative Kitchen to explore a delicious fall fruit: apples! At The Creative Kitchen’s Amazing Apple Takeover, there will be apple inspired food craft stations, cooking demonstrations, and apple-based storytimes. Red Delicious Cooking with Chef Cricket Azima features creative ways to make simple and healthy dishes and snacks with apples. Celebrate apples before the fall season ends! Free with museum admission, 10:30 am-4:45 pm. Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd Street, New York, NY 10024,

SALON DU CHOCOLAT NY November 16-17 Spend the weekend tasting delicious chocolate and learning from chocolatiers, artisans, pastry chefs, and businesses from around the world. Watch chocolate demonstrations, get baking tips for the holiday season, check out the extravagant

chocolate sculptures, and partake in Salon du Chocolat Junior for educational and hands-on activities for kids! Advanced tickets: $25 adults, $10 kids ages 6-12, onsite tickets: $35 adults, $12 kids, free for kids ages 5 and under, 10 am-6 pm on Nov. 16, 11 am-5 pm on Nov. 17. Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001,

Kick off your holiday season with a classic New York City spectacle: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

GRAND HOLIDAY BAZAAR: OPENING DAY November 24 Get your holiday shopping spree on with the opening day of Grand Holiday Bazaar! The market is both indoors and outdoors with rotating merchants, so you will surely find unique gifts. Shop from over 150 hand-picked, independent local artisans and dealers, featuring holiday decorations, candles, fashion, vintage collectibles, jewelry, and more. Free entry, prices vary for items, 10 am-5:30 pm. 100 West 77th Street, New York, NY 10024, grandbazaarnyc. org

MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE November 28 Kick off the morning of Thanksgiving with Macy’s iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade! With balloons such as Pickachu, Astronaut Snoopy, and Pillsbury Doughboy, floats such as 1-2-3 Sesame Street, Toy House of Marvelous Milestones, and amazing performers, this is not a parade to be missed. Free, 9 am-12 pm. Places to watch: kick off at West 77th Street & Central Park West, West 75th to West 59th Streets, 6th Avenue West 59th to West 38th Streets, November 2019 |


family fun

Featured event

Events Around the City By Mia Salas

AESOP’S FABLES November 1-3 Aesop escapes his master and embarks on a journey to Mount Olympus. He’ll learn many lessons along the way about overcoming challenges and thoughtful planning. This opera show features songs in both English and a mix of South African languages with a live score of marimba music. Aesop’s Fables is recommended for ages 7 and up. Tickets start at $17, Nov. 1, 7pm; Nov. 2, 2 pm and 7 pm; Nov. 3, 12 pm and 5 pm; show is approximately 70 minutes. The New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd St., New York, NY 10036,

STORYTIME WITH JULIE FOGLIANO: JUST IN CASE YOU WANT TO FLY November 2 Just in Case You Want to Fly comes from the creators of the award-winning When’s My Birthday?. The story is all about growing up, facing challenges, and always having that parent-child bond, no matter how old you are or how far you have flown. Kids will love this heartwarming story with beautiful illustrations. Free, 11 am-12 pm. Books Are Magic, 225 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY 11231,

DARTMOUTH FOOTBALL VS. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL November 9 While you may associate the Yankee Stadium with baseball, get ready for the stadium to be turned into a football field! Come watch the two Ivy League schools compete and dress in the colors of the team you’re cheering for. Grab some hot cocoa, get spirited


New York Family | November 2019

Turkey Cupcakes Workshop November 23 and 27 Get in the Thanksgiving spirit with turkey cupcakes! Learn how to make a delicious chocolate cupcake that looks just like a turkey. The first workshop on November 23 is for ages 5

with the cheerleaders, and watch an intense and exciting football game as a family. Tickets start at $39 and vary by seat, 2 pm. Yankee Stadium, 1 East 161st Street, Bronx, NY 10451,

DIY FALL FEST GAMES November 9-10 Savor the remaining days of fall with DIY Fall Fest Games! Kids ages 6 and up are invited to make their own fall-inspired games, such as ring toss, corn hole, and giant jenga. Drop in to Art, Artists & You for some fun and games that you can bring home to play with your family. Free with museum admission, 1-3 pm. Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 West 83rd St., New York, NY 10024,

DIY WRAPPING PAPER FAMILY ART WORKSHOP November 10 Get ready for the holiday season with this wrapping paper workshop!

to 8 with a caregiver and the second is for ages 2 to 5. $45 per child with one caregiver, Nov. 23, 9-10am; Nov. 27, 4:30-5:30pm. Taste Buds Kitchen, 109 West 27th Street, New York, NY 10001,

Kids and their parents will learn kidfriendly printmaking techniques to decorate their own wrapping paper. Everyone leaves with a full roll of their own wrapping paper to wrap their presents for the holidays. This event is recommended for kids ages 3 and up and parent participation is required. $40 for one child and parent, 10:3011:30 am. Private Picassos Art Studio, 237 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215,

NYCRUNS GO NUTS FOR DONUTS 5K November 10 Run a 5K with your family before the temperatures really drop in the winter months! Afterwards, enjoy jelly, frosted, glazed, sugared, and custard-filled donuts. Take in the amazing views of Manhattan as you run along the East River and get your adrenaline up by starting and ending the race on the Icahn Stadium track. There will be prizes for all age categories, including ages 9

and younger. $45 until online registration closes, $50 race day, 9:30 am. Icahn Stadium, 20 Randall’s Island, New York, NY 10035,

VETERANS DAY IN PROSPECT PARK November 11 Get excited for family-friendly programming on Veterans Day in Prospect Park! There will be lawn games, nature exploration, DIY discovery packs, animal encounters, carousel rides, and more. Spend the day in the park as you enjoy the last of the fall weather and have fun with friends and family. Free, additional cost for carousel rides, 12-4 pm. Several locations in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY,

DDAT: NATIVE AMERICAN HIP HOP JAZZ FUSION FAMILY PERFORMANCE November 16 Named by NPR as one of the top 10 bands in the US - DDAT combines hip hop, jazz, funk and soul with an original southwestern feel. DDAT consists of four talented musicians - Chris Bidtah (Navajo) on vocals, Delbert Anderson (Navajo) on trumpet, Nicholas Lucero on drums, and Mike McCluhan on bass. Bring your family for an interactive and exciting performance with dancing, improvisation, live painting, and more! $14 adults, $10 members, $8 kids, $6 kids who are members, free for teens, Flushing Town

Keith Pattison

Experience a South African take on “Aesop’s Fables” at the New Victory Theater on November 1 to 3. Hall,

THE KNIGHTS: FAMILY SHOW November 23 Experience the joy of classical music in a fun and interactive environment! In this one-hour family show, little ones

will learn about classical music through hands-on experiences, singing, and dancing. The Knights are known for connecting with audiences of all ages, making education entertaining! $10 sdvanced tickets, $14 day of show, 2-3 pm. BRIC House Ballroom, 647 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217,

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November 2019 |


We asked

Illustration by Elvia Caballero

What Are You Grateful for? My mantra is, don’t let the things you want make you forget the things you have. and what I have — my family, our health, and our freedoms — is more than enough for me. @tarynmohrman This season I am grateful for the support system I have that helps me stay sane as a mom! Between my mom, husband, neighbors, friends, and trusted caretakers, I know how incredibly lucky I am to have so many people in our lives. I know I would not be able to balance work, kids, and basically life without these special people who are there to help me on my parenting journey. @kaityvelez I am grateful for my husband, who helped me create my son. Without them, my personal life would be far less fulling. I’m thankful for my handful of best girlfriends — they keep me grounded and laughing. Last but least, grateful for my therapist and Lexapro — without, both I would not have survived my depression this year (seriously). @julesgarces I’m grateful to spend time with my daughter and reflect on what she has learned this first semester, and have some quality time with her over the holidays and learn about giving back. Plus it’s fun to stay up later and bond over festive movies and activities! @lessav 66

New York Family | November 2019

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New York Family November 2019  

New York Family November 2019