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December 2019

newyorkfamily.com

Holiday Cheer! Great events around the city

The Best Ski Resorts in New York State

Brianne Manz NYC mom in the know

Making that Mid-Year School Jump

our annual

Gift Guide for kids of all ages


Santa is Coming!

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December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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contents

December 2019 NewYorkFamily.com

pg. 19

pg. 10 pg. 24

pg. 28

FEATURES 19 | Holiday Gift Guide We have the perfect gifts for New York kids! 24 | Ski Resorts A guide to the best family-friendly resorts in Upstate New York 28 | Brianne Manz: Mom in the Know Stroller in the City’s founder shares on business, family, and New York City!

Stories & columns 6 | Editor’s Note The magic of December 8 | Mom Hacks: Family Travel Useful gear and tricks that make travel with family manageable

pg. 16

Family fun 10 | Family Fun Discover a winter wonderland at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park 34 | Calendar Unmissable events in Brooklyn and beyond for December

12 | Ask the Expert Understanding the epidural is essential whether it’s part of your birth plan or not 14 | Family Health What to know about the contagious viral infection Fifth Disease 16 | Education Tips for making that mid-year school jump 30 | Family Day Out: Historical Homes and Castles in NYC Have a Downton Abbey moment right here in New York 38 | We Asked What is the best gift you have been given that money cannot buy?

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

on the Cover Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com Dress: Love Shack Fancy | loveshackfancy.com


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December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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Editor’s Note

NewYorkFamily.com 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

The Magic of December December is here with all the hoopla that happens this time of the year. For families traveling to see loved ones or to bask in a warmer climate, we have a round-up of Family Holiday Travel Hacks (page 8) that will come in handy, we promise! If you’re heading upstate to the slopes, we have The Best Family-Friendly Ski Resorts in Upstate New York (page 24). On our cover this month, we have NYC Mom in the Know (page 28) Brianne Manz from Stroller in the City whose website I first visited when my oldest was just a young babe. Brianne shares on the business of sharing about her family, parenting, and the city she loves. Lastly, we have our Holiday Gift Guide (page 19). This guide was so much fun to put together and is full of gift ideas for babies,

kids, tweens and teens — so shop away!

“I look out the window, and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”   — Nora Ephron, Heartburn Living in New York City, one is surrounded by the bustle of the holidays, and although at times it can feel overwhelming to be in such a busy part of the world, there is no other place I would rather be. Happy Holidays and we can’t wait to see you in 2020!

Donna Ladd Executive Editor

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

Contact Information

ADVERTISING: (718) 260-4554 Advertising@NewYorkFamily.com Circulation: (718) 260-8336 Tina@NewYorkFamily.com

Address: New York Family Media/Schneps Media 1 MetroTech Center North, Third Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201

President: Victoria Schneps-Yunis CEO: Joshua Schneps Group Publisher: Clifford Luster

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 editorial@newyorkfamily.com and tag us at #newyorkfamily

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MoM hacks

Family Holiday Travel Hacks Useful gear and tricks that make travel manageable By Donna LaDD

T

raveling with kids, especially during the holidays, can frankly be straight out of a dramedy movie. And I know, I fly with my kids often and solo. I once flew from New York to Hawaii with my oldest son when he was a high-energy 2-year-old. I let him eat some packs of sugar because that is what he wanted to do. And I get it, allowing your

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

wild toddler to eat sugar in a contained space isn’t the smartest parental move. At the time, I placed my threshold to cope on an hourly basis. And as the stewardess commented, “you have to do what works for you.” Bless that stewardess and the red wine she offered me. Now I travel with two kids, and I have gotten very good with hacks and products that make the process more manageable. And

even with these genius short-cuts, things still don’t always go to plan. A few months back I flew with my two boys, and as soon as we were out of the car and heading to the airport kiosk, my toddler did the collapse. We all know the toddler collapse. Isn’t it a wondrous thing? They just let their body go, drop to the floor, and they seem to gain twenty pounds in weight when you try to pick them up. I tried to open up my sleek new lightweight stroller, so we could glide through the airport in an organized manner. Still, my boy looked at me from the floor of


Easy On-the-Spot Hacks the airport with a look that said “No way, lady, not on my watch.” Fortunately, I had a hack for his meltdown. It’s called an iPad. With videos I downloaded the night before (just in case the airport Wi-Fi was iffy) we averted our first crisis. And this my friends is a hack. Hacks, whether big or small, usually work, which is the beauty of using them. Especially when traveling, and you have little control over long lines and delayed flights. Here are a few tried and true hacks that will hopefully help you as you navigate travel this holiday season.

Use diapers for instant baby proofing

Traveling Car Seat If you are planning to rent a car, then a car seat is a must. Carrying a car seat, especially for a toddler, can be rough since most are heavy and burdensome. We recently tested the Way B Pico Travel Car Seat which weighs about eight pounds and is surprisingly durable. The Pico works as a forward-facing portable car seat and can be installed with the latch in all modern cars or an airplane belt. It can be stored in the Pico Travel Backpack Bag, which can be purchased separately and makes for easy carrying. I will admit it took about 45 minutes to install it the first time, about 30 minutes longer than most tutorials. Still, once we got going on our trip, this car seat was a gamechanger, it fits snugly and securely. The seat is recommended for ages 2 and up, for kids 22-50 lbs and 30-45 inches tall. Wayb.com

travel and have continued using it for taxis and train journeys since. Amazon.com

Travel Booster Seat for Big Kids The Graco Turbo GO Folding Backless Booster is about four pounds and folds into a compact square, making it quite portable. It can easily be carried in a large shopper bag or your child’s backpack. The large red hooks help to keep the seat belt in place. Recommended for ages 4 to 10, or 40 to 100 pounds. We initially bought this for summer

If you’re traveling with a crawling baby or mobile toddler cover sharp edges of chairs and furniture with clean diapers. Wrap around the edges or use them as a cushion.

Keep Ziploc bags in your bag Keep a large ziploc bag or two for any sort of stinky diapers or drenched clothes emergencies. We have even kept the electronics

Lightweight Travel Stroller The reason most of us like to forgo traveling with a stroller is our everyday city strollers are bulky, and lugging heavy gear through an airport or on a train sucks. This is why investing in a travel stroller is one of the best hacks you can do for yourself when it comes to traveling with young kids. You can stroll all the way to the gate and check it in for free. Help a restless baby or toddler to nap by walking around a terminal and actually have a nice meal while exploring the town while your little one naps. One favorite is The Maclaren Volo. This stroller weighs just over 10 pounds and works for ages 6 months and up (to 55 lbs), making it easy to carry around. It only has a single-seat position, but we love the sun canopy extends, and the four-wheel suspension makes it feel sturdier than most travel strollers. If you’re looking for a stroller that seats a newborn, we recommend the Maclaren Quest stroller. It’s around $100 more than the Volo and weighs four pounds more, but it is sturdy. Amazon.com For the always on the go traveling family, we recommend the Gb Pockit Compact Stroller. Weighing in at just under 10 pounds,

in a bag while changing planes as you just never know when a sippy cup or bottle is going to leak over everything.

Bring quiet playthings If you’re flying or taking the train, bring quiet toys. Noise-canceling headphones for kids (or parents), soft toys to play with, even a deck of cards — your fellow travel neighbors will appreciate your efforts to keep noise to a minimum.

it has a one-hand pushing and steering, overhead canopy, and padded handlebars. Most importantly, it has a two-step fold and can fit into the overhead baggage storage or be carried in a large tote bag. Gbchildusa.com Painters Tape If you are planning to stay at a hotel, Airbnb, or with the in-laws, then pack painter’s tape! A cheap child-proof tool that doesn’t leave any sticky residue, it is perfect when you have young children. Tape over outlets, oven knobs and shut dresser drawers. You can even outline a space to show which area your kids are allowed to play in. This magical tape will help in keeping order in a space you do not own. Bribery This hack throws all parent’s rules and values out the door, but it tends to work. It is for the kid who causes total chaos on a plane or train when traveling. Go to the dollar store or get some inexpensive toys at Target and negotiate. For every hour they are quiet, they get an award. These gifts do not have to be grand: think sticker books, a new coloring book, or go big and get than that L.O.L. Surprise! Fluffy or Fuzzy Pets they have been begging for. It was in a desperate attempt to stop getting the side-eye from fellow passengers that a seasoned parent kindly suggested this tactic. Duh, who doesn’t want gifts when traveling?! December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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family fun

Chill Out! Discover a winter wonderland in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

A

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. The skating season has now begun. For all the details on skating pricing, hours, and admission, visit their website at Lakesidebrooklyn.com. 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

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

Illustration: Elvia Caballero


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ask the expert

Understanding the

EpidurAl A good grasp of the procedure is important whether it’s part of your birth plan or not By Samantha hugginS

A

n epidural is a tiny plastic catheter that is threaded into the epidural space in the lower part of your spine and left there until your baby or babies are born. When used during labor, it delivers a continual flow of a cocktail of medications that will inhibit your ability to feel your contractions, which can be a real Hail Mary for many people. It’s not 100% effective for everyone. Some laboring moms still feel some pressure, and some people even have breakthrough points of actual discomfort, but most are pleasantly relieved. To epidural or not? Childbirth is a complicated subject because bodies are a complex subject. It’s also hard to make decisions about our bodies before we have given birth, because most of us have never considered or tested what the outer limits of our coping skills might be. As doulas, we don’t have an opinion whether laboring moms get an epidural or not. We are your cheerleader, advocating for your needs and are there to elevate your decision-making process by helping you to gain access to evidence-based information. However, we also believe that there is a sweet spot for when to get an epidural. Enter the Strategic Epidural conversation. What is a strategic epidural? A strategic epidural is different than your normal epidural decision-making process in that you, the birthing person, are encouraged to consider a few key variables. Questions to ask are: How are you coping? How is your mental and physical health? How far along you are in your labor if you are laboring yet at all? Many factors go into making a sound and firm decision. And this one should be

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

no exception. Whatever you decide will be unique to you and this particular labor. No judgment, ever. This expert’s advice on an epidural My soundest piece of advice for those of you who are looking for minimal intervention beyond the epidural is to wait as long as you can to get one. Here is why. Labor requires strong contractions, gravity, movement, and at least two happy bodies that are willing to keep doing the work (we see you, multiples families!) in order to get babies down and out through the vagina. And to get into active labor, for most of you, your brain needs to know what your uterus is up to. When contractions are smaller and shorter, your brain may not continue to make oxytocin, the

hormone we need that generates contractions, with an epidural blocking a weaker signal. A weak signal means less oxytocin. So, when you get an epidural on the early side, you often need more medication like Pitocin (a synthetic of the oxytocin hormone that makes the uterus contract over time in a more robust way) and IV fluids to keep things moving. Now, does that mean if you find your contractions have started to feel overwhelming, you shouldn’t get some relief? Not at all. You get that epidural. Your mental health is everything. When an epidural should be considered There are reasons outside of just wanting


or not wanting an epidural to get one or to choose not to. Most common reasons for a big fat yes are exhaustion from labors that are taking a long time to progress, artificially initiated labors (medical inductions), and something we call holding. Holding is a term we use when laboring people stop dilating during the process. Sometimes a person can start to clench the pelvic floor so tightly that they can stop the baby from engaging the cervix. This happens for a variety of reasons, including exhaustion, mental blockages, and more. Sometimes an epidural can offer a wearied laboring person a good catnap or two (never expect to get a long deep sleep in a hospital). Most importantly, it can work as a necessary reset so that laboring moms can then release their pelvic floor and allow their bodies to have a baby. The body is so incredible! Check-in with your doctor If you are taking blood thinners or you struggle with a low blood-clotting factor, speak with your doctor or midwife about

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to make decisions about our bodies before we have given birth, because most of us have never tested what the outer limits of our coping skills might be.

make informed decisions. Check out evidencebasedbirth.com, take a childbirth education class if that is something you have access to and hire a doula! There are doulas and classes out there for everyone. Cost does not have to be prohibitive for you to have the care and information you deserve. The information provided in this article is food for thought and your right to have access to this knowledge. How it informs and what your decision is, is totally up to you. Happy Birthing!

your options. Some people have a big fear of things in their bodies. Honor this concern and weigh your options. Read up Education is everything. There are many excellent resources online to help you

Samantha Huggins is a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, doula trainer, CBC, parent and curriculum builder. As a founding member of Carriage House Birth, Samantha works vigilantly to redefine doula work and contemporary parenting. She oversees CHB Education focusing primarily on curriculum building, elevating doula professionalism, and training doulas. Samantha is deeply committed to this work and creating a model of care that is sustainable and works for all people. Samantha is the mother of two, wife to one and friend to many.

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Family HealtH

What to Know About Fifth Disease Understanding this contagious viral infection that affects kids by Pramod Narula, m.d.

I recently hosted a birthday party for my twelve-year-old son. One of his friends had a rash on his face and arms, which his mom said was fifth disease. She said her child was no longer contagious, but I was still nervous. What is fifth disease—and what are the chances that other kids at the party now have it?

F

ifth disease sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. The name comes from being the last of the five classic rash-producing infections of childhood (The first four being measles, scarlet fever, rubella and a nowforgotten disease called fourth disease). Fifth disease is a viral infection caused by parvovirus B19. The condition manifests itself first through a low-grade fever and cold-like symptoms. These symptoms resolve

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

fairly quickly, and then a red rash develops on the face (thus the disease’s moniker as the “slapped face syndrome”). The rash can then spread to the arms, hands and torso. In terms of the disease spreading to the other kids at your party, I wouldn’t worry. A child is contagious during the “cold-like” symptom phase of the disease, and the virus is spread through the tiny respiratory water droplets in a cough or a sneeze. By the time the rash appears on the skin, the infection is no longer contagious. The virus usually strikes children between the ages of 5 and 15, and is relatively harmless for a healthy child. However, children with weakened immune systems or pregnant women should be in contact with their doctors if exposure to fifth disease is suspected or if symptoms develop. The condition slows down the body’s production

of red blood cells, which can lead to anemia and deprivation of oxygen to tissues. In non-compromised children, this slowdown is barely noticeable. However, for those with compromised immune systems or for those who are pregnant, there can be complications that require medical attention. Because fifth disease is a virus, there is no treatment beyond waiting it out. While fifth disease’s contagious phase only lasts a few days, the ensuing rash can remain for up to three weeks. While the child may feel just fine, the rash may itch and fade and reappear as the disease runs its course, making it more annoying than painful. In any case, a rash should always be checked out by a pediatrician for correct diagnosis and, if warranted, treatment. Pramod Narula, M.D. is the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at NewYorkPresbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.


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education

Making That Mid-Year School Jump Tips for a seamless school switch By Donna LaDD

W

e’re nearly at the end of the first term of the school year and it’s time to take stock of how things might be going for your child. While your kiddo might be blissfully happy, it can also be the case that sometimes situations just don’t click. Maybe you’ve started worrying that your child has not found the best fit for them and you’re considering a mid-year jump to a new school. Figure out what isn’t working The first step is to check in on why you want to move to another school. This will help you to assess the kind of school that will work for your child. I recently changed the school my youngest was attending as this nursery school did not work closely with Special Needs kids — something I discovered when my son was diagnosed. When an education evaluator came to the school to evaluate him, she immediately called me to stress that he needed to be pulled out immediately. She felt that he was in an unsafe environment. The school itself was not dangerous, but with the lack of qualified teachers, his needs were not being met. List pros and cons Whether you physically write it down or verbally work them out, list the pros and cons of staying or moving to a new school. There doesn’t have to be any finger-pointing or negativity; this is about what your family and child need in their schooling. No one or one thing has to be the bad guy; sometimes, it just isn’t working. Talk to your child’s teacher or school principal Reach out to your child’s class teacher or school principal to schedule a meeting or a time for a phone call. Be honest that you’re considering a change of environment, and bring up the concerns you have about the

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

school. Keep in mind that you only see one side of the story as a parent and that they might have valuable insights to share about your child’s life at school.

Once you’ve laid out your concerns, listen carefully to their response and ask them whether they have any proposals or ideas for improving the situation. I found


Making an Assessment

that when I had a one-on-one conversation with the school’s director, I realized they adored my son and felt the same concerns I was feeling. If you aren’t convinced that change will be possible, and you still have the same desire to make a move, ask what the process for leaving mid-year might be. If you’re at a private school, understand your billing notice period and how you will retrieve school records. Research, research, research It’s time to spring into action. Talk to friends, contact a school’s expert, call schools’ admissions departments, and arrange visits whenever possible. Try to identify what your options are considering academics, travel time, curriculum, cost, and pastoral approach. Most importantly, have an honest discussion with parent coordinators, teachers, and directors about the probability that they will have a space for your child. Don’t necessarily take an initial “no” as a final answer but probe to understand whether there are circumstances in which spots might open up. I know what

What sort of behaviors should you address that would lead you to make a move to a new school? • Negative social and emotional behaviors • Academic challenges or academic boredom • If your child expresses they don’t feel safe • Lack of support with special needs • Overcrowded classrooms • Poor relationship with the teacher or discipline challenges

helped in my situation is that I immediately went on the wait-list and continued to check in until a spot opened up. Once a new school has been chosen, mentally prepare your child for the move Alicia Sharpe, a New York City based Education Consultant says “Mental preparation starts at home. Speak with your child about this new coming transition; even if the child is too young to communicate with

What are some criteria to look for when deciding to move to another school in the mid-year? • School curriculum • Teacher certification • Staff turnover • Genuine and sincere staff • Children appear happy when you visit the school • Location • Cost • Likelihood of admittance

you verbally, they will understand. If possible, bring your child to visit the new school, meet the teachers, and introduce them to their new classroom before the start of the new school term. If you have an older child, help them to understand that moving schools is not abnormal, but will be an exciting fresh start for them. Reassure them that it’s possible to maintain friendships even when they’re at a new school, and consider how you can help them to participate in activities that current friends take part in.

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Our kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; gifts are perfect for the holidays and, most importantly, New York families. We wish you happy holidays and happy shopping! By Katarina AvendaĂąo & Donna Ladd

December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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FOR BABY

2

1 3

4

5 6 7 8

1.

Mini Boden Deer sweater and pants, $60 set, bodenusa.com

6

Marie-Chantal Velour Gold Angel Wing Onesie, $109, mariechantal.com

2. Pottery Barn Kids Everything Bagel Set, $29, potterybarnkids.com

7. Sleep Nest Teddy, $39, babydeedee. com, (0-36 months)

3. Bla Bla Mini Honey the Bunny, $48, roseandrex.com

8. Crate & Kids Plan Toys Solid Drum, $25 (18 months and up), crateandbarrel.com

4. Cuddle Bus & Train, $19.95, nytransitmuseumstore.com 5. Tiny Dancer Onesie, $23, polishedprints.com

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

9. Spitzy the Llama $24.99 (18 months and up), target.com

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FOR LITTLE KIDS 2

3

4

1

5

7

6 1.

Crate & Kids, Abstract Blue Teepee, $159 (on sale currently at $96), crateandbarrel.com

2. Pinkfong Baby Shark Song Puppets with Tempo Control, $19.99, walmart, (2 and up) 3. Poopsie Rainbow Surprise Slime Kit $69.99, target.com, (ages 3 and up) 4. Papoose Felt Bento Box Set, $30, roseandrex.com

5. Lovevery Buddy Stroller, $55, lovevery.com (12 months up) 6. LeapFrog RockIt Twist in Purple $59.99, target, (ages 4-8) 7. Hape Create and Display Easel, $119.99, roseandrex.com, (ages 36 months to 12 years) 8. DK Books, Santaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Workshop Board $14.99, dk.com

8 December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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FOR BIGGER KIDS 1

3

2

4 5 7 8 6 1.

Wild Ones Razor Scooter, $34.99, target.com, (ages 5-8)

5. Hot Wheels Colossal Crash Trackset $99.99, target.com, (Ages 5-10)

2. Maileg House of Miniature Ultimate Dollhouse, roseandrex.com, (3 years plus)

6. 20 Piece Wooden Subway Set, $34.95, nytransitmuseumstore.com

3

Loog Guitars Mini 3-String Guitar, $79, (ages 3 and up), roseandrex.com

4. Only Good Vibes shirt, $25, polishedprints.com

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

7. Fart Ninjas Basic Figures Series, $5.99, walmart.com, (ages 3 years and up) 8. Crate & Kids, Hape Four Stage Rocket Ship, $100, crateandbarrel. com, (ages 3 and up)


FOR TWEENS & TEENS 2 1

3

4

5

6

7 8

1.

Fortnite Jumbo Loot Llama PiĂąata $79.99, target.com, (ages 8 years and up)

5. DK Books Tech Lab: Awesome Builds for Smart Makers (Maker Lab) Hardcover, $19.99, dk.com

2. Buffalo Games Classic Pinball Board Game $37.99, target.com, (ages 8 and up)

6. Subway Map Backpack, $44.95, www.nytransitmuseumstore.com

3. Areaware Blockitecture Tower, $45, roseandrex.com

8. Pottery Barn Teen ban.doÂŽ Back Me Up! Mobile Charger, $35, pbteen.com

4. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Rose Quartz Camera Holiday Bundle $79.99, target.com

9. Schoenhut 5-Piece Drum Set, $245, maisonette.com

7. The Chameleon, $19.99, target.com

9 December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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The Best Family-Friendly

Ski Resorts in Upstate new York

T

here are plenty of family-friendly ski resorts in upstate New York just calling to those who want to dip their snow boots in the hardpack for the first time and those who have years of skiing under their belt. New York has more ski resorts and ski areas than any other state in the United States. We’ve rounded up some of the best family-friendly ski resorts in upstate New York for you to choose from. All of these ski stations make for wonderful family getaways, offering gentle slopes and “ski school” for both children and adults. Thunder Ridge Ski Area 137 Birch Hill Road, Patterson, NY 12563

Thunder Ridge Ski Area offers skiing options for the beginner as well as advanced options for those with a little more slope time under their belt. With 22 trails, a variety of difficulties, lessons for children and adults, and local dining and lodging options, it’s worth the one and a half-hour drive north of the city. For those looking for a day or weekend outing, the close proximity makes Thunder Ridge an appealing choice. Thunderridgeski.com Belleayre Mountain

gondola will both be ready for the 2019-2020 season, making it an even more attractive ski destination in the northern part of New York. Located just north of Big Indian Wilderness, this resort is just over a two-hour drive from NYC, making it a gem for the best of both location and skiing for the entire family. Belleayre.com Gore Mountain 793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek, NY 12853

Gore Mountain is the best of the best ski family-friendly resorts in upstate New York. Located on the eastern edge of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness, visitors can take advantage of 110 trails and 14 lifts on New York’s most prominent mountain. The resort also offers classes for kids, teens, adults, and private lessons, as well to help ski lovers master their craft. With a variety of beautiful accommodation options and delicious dining choices, the mountain is an all-season resort destination that’s widely considered to be the best in all of New York and in the upper echelon of the northeastern US. It’s well worth the drive of just under four hours from NYC to get there. Goremountain.com

interstate driving, which makes it much more manageable. In addition to being an easy drive, Hunt Hollow has slopes and amenities that more than make up for its distance from the city. Their 300-acre winter sports area features 80 acres of trails, 2.5 miles of cross country trails, and slopes ranging from The Gauntlet, a double black diamond, to six beginner courses. Hunt Hollow also features a lodge, ski shop, and dining. There are no lodging options on-site, but plenty can be found in the area, making this a great ski getaway for the family. Hunthollow.com Mount Peter Ski Area 51 Old Mt Peter Road, Warwick, NY 10990

Mount Peter Ski Area offers slopes ranging from basic, green circle runs to advanced, black diamond trails along with snow tubing. They offer skiing and snowboarding lessons for both adults and children, including the popular ‘Pete’s Pals’ designed to introduce skiing to the young skiers. Although it’s not a resort, there are plenty of lodging and dining options available nearby. Combined with a drive of just over an hour from NYC, it makes for a great day or weekend ski getaway. Mtpeter.com

181 Galli Curci Road, Highmount, NY 12441

Belleayre Mountain’s excellent skiing, reasonable pricing, and year-round activities make it one of the best family-friendly ski resorts in upstate New York. Their newly renovated Discovery Lodge and new heated

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

Hunt Hollow Ski Club

Maple Ski Ridge

7532 County Road #36 Naples, NY 14512

2725 Mariaville Road, Schenectady, NY 12306

Hunt Hollow Ski Club is just under five hours from New York City, but it’s almost exclusively

For those looking for family-friendly ski resorts in upstate New York, the most significant sell-


ing point for Maple Ski Ridge is its simplicity. It will never be an upscale, high difficulty ski mecca, and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s okay. Maple offers simple slopes, straightforward pricing, and a great introduction to skiing and snowboarding for all ages. It even offers lessons for both kids and adults. A two and a halfhour drive from NYC with lodging availability nearby, the family and beginner-friendly slopes of Maple Ski Ridge might be just the thing for many families. Mapleskiridge.com Titus Mountain Ski Center 215 Johnson Road, Malone, NY 12953

Located just north of Titusville Mountain State Forest and at five and a half hours from NYC, Titus Mountain Ski Center is a bit of a trek. However, all that driving pays off once the family finally arrives. Although itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not as fancy as Whiteface, the skiing is good, the prices are far cheaper, and it offers slopeside accommodations as well as dining. When you factor in slopes ranging from double black diamond to green beginner courses, ski lessons for both kids and adults, and a variety of events held every year, Titus Mountain makes for one of the best familyfriendly ski resorts in upstate New York for

the value. Titusmountain.com Toggenburg Mountain Ski Center 1135 Toggenburg Road, Fabius, NY 13063

With 21 trails with difficulties to fit every ski level, Toggenburg Mountain Ski Center makes for an excellent getaway for ski lovers of any age. In addition to their superb ski trails, the center also offers instructional classes for both children and adults and delicious dining at the Foggy Goggle. Be aware that there is no lodging at the center itself. However, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not difficult to December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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book a place to stay in the nearby area. Although it offers excellent skiing, between the four-hour drive and having to book external lodging, it might not be everyone’s travel cup of tea. Skitog.com Oak Mountain Ski Center 141 Novosel Way, Speculator, NY 12164

Oak Mountain Ski Center focuses on great skiing, affordable pricing, and nothing else. It’s called a center and not a resort because it has no dining or lodging options, but in this case, that’s completely acceptable. After all, when you’re on a skiing trip, you want great skiing. Oak Mountain has that in abundance. With four lifts, 22 trails, four snow tubing lanes, and miles of snowshoeing trails, Oak Mountain has hardpack fun for everyone. They also offer top-notch ski instruction for both children and adults, making it a great family ski destination. Don’t fret over the lack of dining options, either. Although it’s an almost four-hour drive from NYC, Oak Mountain has several excellent dining and lodging options nearby. Oakmountainski.com Windham Mountain 19 Resort Dr, Windham, NY 12496

At about a two and a half-hour drive from New York City and under an hour from Albany, Windham Mountain Resort makes for an easily accessible family ski trip. It combines the welcoming comfort that the Catskills area is known for with the amenities skiers usually only find at big mountains resorts out west. With a variety of slopes, lessons for all age groups, available ski-in/ ski-out lodging, great dining options, and even a spa, Windham Mountain practically guarantees a great experience for every skier every time. Windhammountain.com Greek Peak Mountain Resort 2000 NY-392, Cortland, NY 13045

Located north of James Kennedy State Forest and south of Tuller Hill State Forest, Greek Peak Mountain Resort is an outdoor and adventure lover’s dream. As the name implies, Greek Peak offers a variety of skiing options and opportunities. This family-friendly resort getaway also has a variety of warm-weather outdoor activities, an indoor water park, and even a spa. They also offer group rates and wedding, conference, and event venues. At around three and a half hours from NYC, it’s a bit of a drive but still close enough to make a weekend trip out of it. Greekpeak.net

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

Willard Mountain 77 The Intervale Road, Greenwich Historic District, NY 12834

Willard Mountain is a no-frills downhill ski area. An ideal start mountain for kids or adults, Willard Mountain, offers beautiful views, excellent pricing, and lights for night skiing. In addition, this off-the-beaten-path ski area is low on crowds, which makes it even better for newbies. Although it’s a simple place, it still has a lovely lodge with dining and drinks in the lounge for warming up after a day of skiing. It’s a three-hour drive from New York City, and it has no lodging, so you’ll need to do a bit of extra planning if you plan to visit this gem. Willardmountain.com

of New York. This resort offers plenty of downhill and cross country trails — all beautifully maintained — to suit a variety of skill levels. In addition, they offer ski lessons for kids, teens, and adults, as well as private lessons and an adaptive ski program. Visitors can also enjoy the bobsled experience, Lake Placid Olympic Museum, and Olympic Center Tour. This world-class mountain also hosts the Viessmann World Cup Luge, BMW World Cup Bobsled and Skeleton, and ECAC Mens’ Hockey Championship. It’s a four and a halfhour drive from the city, but it’s well worth the road-tripping to get there. Whiteface.com Plattekill Mountain

Hunter Mountain 64 Klein Ave Hunter, NY 12442

One of the best family-friendly ski resorts in upstate New York, Hunter Mountain has so much more than just skiing. While the resort is home to plenty of trails, it also offers skiing lessons for children and adults of different skill levels, as well as the Mountain Club Spa, a full-service spa, and beautiful on-site lodging, including their lodge, the Kaatskill Mountain Club. They even play host to events and festivals like the Ahimsa Yoga and Music Festival. With so many activities for both adults and children and with excellent accommodations, it’s worth the just over twohour drive to get there. Huntermtn.com McCauley Mountain Ski Area 300 McCauley Rd, Old Forge, NY 13420

What McCauley Mountain Ski Area lacks in size, it makes up for in great skiing and a variety of slopes. Located in the heart of the Adirondack mountains, McCauley offers big mountain skiing without the big mountain lines and high prices. McCauley offers skiing options for every skill level from advanced double black diamond runs to blue and even green circles for beginner adults and kids. It’s a solid, four and a half-hour car ride to get there, but the quality of the slopes makes it more than worth it. Mccauleyny.com Whiteface Mountain 5021 Route 86, Wilmington, NY 12997

Located north and east of Lake Placid in the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness, Whiteface Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in all

469 Plattekill Road, Roxbury, NY 12474

Located in the northwestern Catskills, Plattekill Mountain is a different breed of ski resort. This privately owned and operated resort, affectionately called “Platty” by the many ski enthusiasts who regularly visit each year, offers a unique, “you’re family” vibe that visitors love. Skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing fun can all be found on the mountain, but visitors will also find a welcoming atmosphere, plenty of smiles, and unique experiences like fireside yoga. During the summer, Plattekill offers a variety of biking and hiking options and hosts weddings, private events, and concerts. Visitors should definitely check out the Plattepalooza Fall Festival, as well. At just about a two and a half-hour drive from the city, it’s a great option for getting in some great skiing and feeling like you found a second home. Plattekill.com Holiday Valley 6557 Holiday Valley Road Route 219, Ellicottville, NY 14731-0370

Holiday Valley is best described as a fourseason ski resort. During the winter, enjoy skiing, tubing, cross country and snowshoeing fun. Visitors can also take advantage of the classes offered as well. In the summer months, the mountain provides biking, golf, pools, and a gorgeous lake. With plenty of upscale lodging and dining, activities, fests, and available venues for weddings, meetings, and more, Holiday Valley really does offer everything anyone could ask for in a resort. It’s more than worthy of the six-hour drive it takes to get there. Holidayvalley.com


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27


NYC Mom in the Know Brianne Manz shares on business, family, and the city she loves (NYC, of course!) By Katarina avendaño

B

rianne Manz of popular blog and Instagram account Stroller in the City, kicked off her career in fashion, running multiple showrooms across the nation. These days you’ll find her juggling her kids’ activities while staying on top of the city’s pulse as the it influencer for NYC moms who want to be in the know. Brianne works every New York minute, giving us the scoop on the latest pop-ups and exciting happenings in New York, and of course she stays true to her fashion roots by sharing her fave looks for moms and kids. With one hand balancing her morning coffee while hitting the ground running, she is first a mother who has to get the kids off to school. Running her business is a 24/7 job, and lucky for Brianne, her three children Ryder age 11, Siella age 8, Gemma age 6, husband Jason, and incredible team make it all possible with their support. It takes a village and like all working moms she needs her support system to make it all work. We talked to Brianne about finding success as an influencer, and how she involves her kids with her business, something that she considers essential. You went from a fashion showroom owner to being the founder of a site for NYC moms, Stroller in the City. What made you want to transition? The transition happened somewhat organically when I became pregnant with my son Ryder. At that point, I had a showroom in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, with three employees, and had about 10 designers I was representing. It was a lot. I knew that all the travel involved in owning a showroom

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

would prohibit me from being present as a new mom, so I decided to sell the showroom to my sales manager, and became a stay-at-home mom. Initially, Stroller in the City started when my son was just a year old to share with friends and family the life I was discovering as a new mom. In time, it has evolved to what it is today. Looking back, there was probably something inside of me craving a creative outlet, because I was never not working, so leaving a career built from the ground up was a huge transition in my life. How did you build your career as a mom influencer? I didn’t know that this little website of mine could morph into a full time job. It was pretty much under the radar for the first three years or so until a friend suggested that I join Twitter. From there, I started to connect with other New York City bloggers, and was eventually invited to events. I remember for my first invite, I asked them if I needed to bring anything, but instead I left with probably five new friends and a huge gift bag. From there, I gradually built connections with brands via invitations to fun and exciting opportunities and events. After four years of blogging, I attended my first conference which opened my eyes to another level of possibilities for me and my site. There are many ways to generate money through a website. Through trial and error, I’ve narrowed down which work and which don’t work for me. You can shop your style on Stroller in the City, how did you find your love for fashion and how have you expressed this passion? I have always loved fashion. Now as a mom, I find that I focus more on children’s clothing, constantly gravitating towards the

children’s section. I remember when my son was born there was such a shortage of cute boys clothing, so I would always be on a mission to deliver to my readers new finds. Now with Stroller in the City, I flex my love of fashion by sharing some favorites in our shop section, or doing fun roundups for each season. With three kids, you are always running around the city all day long with your kids. How do you manage all of their schedules? Kids’ schedules are hard! I used to get a ton of comments and questions about raising three little babies in the city, and let me just say those days when they were babies were the easy days. I could tote all three around in the stroller, but now they are older, they are into different activities, with multiple groups of friends, and the playing field (no pun intended!) is different. But I am able to ask for help. I try to set limits on my workday confining blog activities to school hours, so it’s all hands on deck when school lets out. Soccer practice, ballet, tutor, piano lessons, play dates etc. It’s a juggling act, but I’m so grateful for my team. With the holidays coming up, do you have any special traditions that you love during the season? For the past six years during the holiday season, my mom, sister, daughters, and I have attended George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. It’s magical and never gets old. We love going to see The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and Santa Claus (the real Santa!) at ABC Home and Carpet. If you are looking for a fun restaurant that is totally transformed for the holidays, go to Rolf’s! It’s a must see for sure. Also, I love bouncing around the city and taking in all of


Photo by Yumi Matsuo

the holiday windows and displays. Naturally, we never miss the iconic Christmas tree at the Rock Center, but some may not realize that there are so many other decked out trees to take in throughout the city during the holidays. The New York Stock Exchange tree, and the South Street Seaport tree are two trees to hit in the same day if you are downtown. And the Lotte New York tree at the Palace Hotel has become another favorite. Traveling with your kids is something you seem to very much enjoy. What do you love

about traveling with kids and do you have any tips for parents? I love seeing the world through their eyes when they experience something new and exciting. My tip to those parents debating whether or not to get on that plane with their toddler, or worried about traipsing around Europe for the first time with a 6-year-old is this — do not hold back! If you want to take the trip, take the trip! Don’t sweat taking fussy little ones on a plane. The plane ride is temporary, but the memories are forever. And the more they are exposed to travel, the

more they’ll know what to expect. Being a true New Yorker, Brianne holds this city close to her heart. Everyone has their own experience of the city, and Brianne’s is to enjoy all that it has to offer with her family by her side. There is never a dull moment which keeps herself and family on their toes, enjoying the city’s magic to its fullest. To learn more about Brianne Manz, visit strollerinthecity.com or follow her on Instagram @strollerinthecity December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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family day out

Historical Homes and Castles in NYC Take the family out to explore these amazing, unexpected attractions found across the city By Mia SalaS

A

s the weather gets colder and you’re looking for fun and educational activities to do on the weekends with your family, consider visiting one of New York’s historical houses and castles. Not only do you get to immerse yourself into a totally different time period through art, architecture, and artifacts, but there are also tons of hands-on learning opportunities for kiddos. Browse the history of our favorite picks below and get ready to have your very own Downton Abbey moment! Manhattan Belvedere Castle Central Park, Mid-Park at 79th Street

True to its name, as Belvedere translates to “beautiful view” in Italian, Belvedere Castle is an exquisite sight. Recently renovated, the castle is now open for visitors to climb up its spiral staircases and peer out of the castle windows. Designed in 1869, the Belvedere is rich with history, architecture, and it has the best views of Central Park and the cityscape. The Central Park Conservancy offers Discovery Walks for Families. During the Turtle Pond Discovery Walk, little ones get to explore the five turtle species that live there and the history of the pond through hands-on activities. As the Turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle are neighbors, take a stroll through the Belvedere before or after your Turtle Pond journey. If you’re looking for a Belvedere-specific tour, there are upcoming dates all throughout the winter, but note that these tours take you through the areas surrounding the castle, not inside of it. You are welcome to explore the castle’s interior before or after the tour. The tour of Belvedere costs $15 per person and $10 for members. Open to visitors 10 am-5 pm fall, winter, and spring, 9 am-7 pm summer.

control of the estate in 1896 due to nonpayment of taxes. Before its tradition as the “Little White House” began, Gracie Mansion was the first Museum of the City of New York, which then moved to its permanent location in 1932. The mansion has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years, including the addition of a ballroom and reception rooms when Robert F. Wagner was mayor. When Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to stay in his own house in 2002, the mansion was renovated and restored into the “People’s House,” creating more municipal and public access. Visit the Gracie Mansion to learn more about the fascinating Little White House. Tours are Mondays at 10 am, 11 am, and 5 pm. Make a reservation online to visit.

Gracie Mansion East 88th Street and East End Avenue

Morris-Jumel Mansion 65 Jumel Terrace

Known as the “Little White House,” Gracie Mansion has been the home of many NYC mayors over the years. Archibald Gracie built the house in 1799, and it was bought and sold by a few others before NYC finally took

Originally built in 1765 as a summer house by Colonel Roger Morris for his family, when Morris abandoned the house at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, General George Washington and his Patriot officers

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

Belvedere Castle rises dramatically above turtle Pond in Central Park. moved in a few years later in 1776. The view from the mansion allowed Washington to note troop movements and plan the army’s first successful victory: the Battle of Harlem Heights. President George Washington later held his first Cabinet dinner at the mansion in 1790. The land was purchased by Eliza and Stephen Jumel in 1810, at which point it underwent lots of alterations, and the City of New York eventually took control of the property in the 1880s. The Morris-Jumel Mansion is the oldest house in Manhattan, giving visitors a peek into the lives of the Morris and Jumel families. The Mansion holds Family Days on the second Saturday of each month, 12-2 pm, that involve hands-on activities and crafts for kids! December 14 is Paper Ornaments Family Day, so come to make your own paper ornament to decorate your holiday tree. And don’t miss out on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”: A Play with Music on December 14, 8-9:30 pm. Open to visitors Tuesday-Friday 10 am-4 pm, Saturday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm. Adults $10, seniors and students $8, free for kids under age 12 and members.


(Above) Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park dates from the 18th century and offers lots of kid-friendly activities. (Left) The Wyckoff House in East Flatbush, built in 1652, is the city’s oldest building. your Lefferts experience, look into hosting your little one’s next birthday there. After you’re done exploring Lefferts Historic House, check out all that Prospect Park has to offer! Open to visitors Saturday-Sunday 12-4 pm for October 31-November 29, hours subject to change per season. $3 suggested donation. Wyckoff House Museum 5816 Clarendon Road

Susan De Vries

Brooklyn The old Stone House 336 3rd Street

Visit this Dutch stone farmhouse to learn all about its history and get involved in its fun, family-friendly events. The original house was built beside the Gowanus Creek in 1699 and used by soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Later, it became the first clubhouse of the Brooklyn team of the National Baseball League (now the Brooklyn Dodgers). The house was rebuilt in the 1890s with the original stones and was used as a sports facility in the 1930s for J. J. Byrne Park (now Washington Park). The Old Stone House offers a variety of educational programs, such as Dutch Toys and Games or Colonial Crafts. The December events calendar is full of theater, a holiday book fair, and so

much more! Open to visitors Friday 3-6 pm, Saturday-Sunday 11 am-4 pm, or by appointment. lefferts Historic House 452 Flatbush Avenue

Lefferts Historic House was built by a Dutch family in the 18th-century farming village of Flatbush. The house features a working garden, historic artifacts, period rooms, and exhibits. While you may have already visited this Brooklyn, kid-friendly hotspot, there is always something new and exciting to do when you go! Little ones and their families get to play with traditional tools, toys and games, and engage in historic activities, such as candle making, sewing, and butter churning. Lefferts Historic House also does children’s birthday parties, so if you love

Dating back to 1652, the Wyckoff House is NYC’s oldest building. The Wyckoff family lived in the house for eight generations until 1901. In 1982, the house was restored and opened to the public. There is always lots to do at the Wyckoff House, including Free Family Days every third Saturday of the month, 11 am-3 pm. Bring your family to embark on a scavenger hunt, investigate artifacts, garden, and get crafty with handson activities. The theme of December’s Family Day on December 21 is Festive Felt and Fiber Crafts. Open to visitors FridaySaturday 1-4 pm, tours start every 30 minutes, Tuesday-Thursday tours available by appointment only. Adults $5, kids ages 10-18 $3, students and seniors $3, free for kids under age 10 and members. QueenS Bowne House 37-01 Bowne Street

Built around 1661 and expanded by John December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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family day out

Bowne in 1669 and 1680, Bowne House is the best-preserved example of Anglo-Dutch vernacular residential architecture in the country. Step back in time as you learn about the lives of the Bowne and Parsons families from the 17th to 20th centuries. What we love about the Bowne House is that most of their approximately 5,000 objects are original to the house! Check out decorative arts, furniture, textiles, costumes, rare books and manuscripts, paintings, and toys. The Bownes and the Parsons were also very involved in anti-slavery activism and the “Underground Railroad” to help enslaved people escape to their freedom. Their activism is documented in the Browne House. Individual tours are available Wednesday 1-4 pm or by appointment. $10, $8 students and seniors. Lewis H. Latimer House 34-41 137th Street

Home of the African-American inventor and electrical pioneer Lewis Howard Latimer, this historic house is full of genius! Latimer worked alongside three of the greatest scientific inventors in American history: Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Alva Edison. He helped develop the telephone and invented and patented the carbon filament. Latimer also supervised the installation of street lighting and the construction of electric plants in American cities. The house shows Latimer’s and other African-American’s contributions to science, technology, and American life. Be sure to mark on your calendars the Holiday Tinker Festival & Tree Lighting at the house on December 15, 2:30-4:30 pm. There will be hot cocoa, music, tinkering, and, of course, tree lighting! Open to visitors Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday 12-5 pm, walk-in tours available but groups must schedule in advance. $5 suggested donation. King Manor Museum 150-03 Jamaica Avenue

Named after Rufus King, a signatory of the United States Constitution, King Manor Museum is open to the public with plenty for families to see, do, and explore! When King owned the manor, beginning in 1805, he added a kitchen, expanded the dining room, and renovated the bedrooms. King’s son later added the Greek Revival exterior details. Under King’s ownership, the manor was a working farm, growing wheat, barely, potatoes, corn, strawberries, peaches, apples, and more. King even raised livestock, including dairy cows, horses, hogs, and

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

the morris-Jumel mansion, once home to George Washington, is the oldest house in manhattan. sheep. The Village of Jamaica occupied the property for a time, and then eventually it was transferred to the City of New York. King Manor Museum opened to the public in 1994. The house now offers Hands on History creative projects for kids, such as Make Your Own Scented Pomander on December 7, 1-4 pm. There is also a winter celebration on December 13 featuring classical chamber music from the time of Rufus King. Open to visitors Monday-Friday 12-2 pm, Saturday-Sunday 1-5 pm. Suggested admission is adults $5, seniors and students $3, free for kids ages 16 and under and members. Bronx Edgar Allan Poe Cottage 2640 Grand Concourse at East

As a NYC and State landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage is a must-visit. Whether your little ones know who the famous writer is or have never heard the name before, they’ll love exploring this cottage and learning about Poe. While living in the cottage with his family, Poe wrote “The Bells,” “Eureka,” and “Annabel Lee.” For your young aspiring writers, a trip to the cottage will be such an inspiration of literary greatness! Open to visitors Thursday-Friday 10 am-3 pm, Saturday 10 am-4 pm, Sunday 1-5 pm. Adults $5, kids, students, and seniors $3. Valentine-Varian House 3266 Bainbridge Avenue

Built by blacksmith and farmer Isaac Valentine in 1758, the Valentine-Varian House is the second oldest house in the Bronx. But during the Revolutionary War, Valentine and his family had to leave their house for British, Hessian, and American

troops to occupy it. Even after battles and a series of cannons on a nearby hill, the house survived and was donated to The Bronx County Historical Society in 1965. Now known as the Museum of Bronx History, families can touch the fieldstones Valentine used to construct the house and walk on the original oak and pine floorboards. There are also several gallery exhibitions to check out that detail Bronx’s history and culture. Open to visitors Saturday 10 am-4 pm, Sunday 1-5 pm. Adults $5, kids, students, and seniors $3. Van Cortlandt House Museum West 246th Street

The Van Cortlandt House is the oldest surviving building in the Bronx. Frederick Van Cortlandt began building the house in 1748 on the plantation that his family owned and farmed since 1691. During the Revolutionary War, the house was used by Rochambeau, Lafayette, and Washington. Van Cortlandt descendants then lived in the house until 1886, when they sold the estate to the City of New York for Van Cortlandt Park. Van Cortlandt House Museum is also the first historic house museum, and it’s been declared both a New York City Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. During the holidays, December 1 through January 6, the house features glimpses into 18th century celebrations of winter holidays with festive decor and exhibits. And on December 8, visit the museum to celebrate all things Saint Nicholas through crafts, tours, games, hot chocolate, and horses! There is much to learn and experience at this historical house, so plan a trip with your family today. Open to visitors Tuesday-Friday 10 am-4 pm, Saturday-Sunday 11 am-4 pm. Adults $5, $3 students and seniors, free for kids ages 12 and under, free/by donations on Wednesday.


There’s no place like Oz for the holidays

GERSHWIN THEATRE ♦ WickedtheMusical.com December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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family fun

10 MUSEUMS

MUSIC

THEATER

Great Kid-Friendly December Events in Brooklyn By mia salas

MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL December 1 Scrooge is forced to face the prolonged effect of his past misdeeds with visits from the ghost of the past, present, and future. But it’s never too late to change your ways and embrace the holiday spirit! Reinvented with Jim Henson’s The Muppets, Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic is a funny, beautiful, and educational experience for all ages. Catch BAMkids’ production of Muppet Christmas Carol! Members $7, kids ages 12 and under $7, general admission $10, 2 pm. Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217, bam.org

WINTER ON A FLATBUSH FARM ATTRACTIONS

FOOD

Outdoors

December 1 Learn about how people in the farming village of Flatbush got ready for the winter in the 19th-century. Kids will get to watch a master spinster spin wool thread and enjoy Dutch treats made at the outdoor hearth from a Lefferts family recipe. Santa will stop by for little ones to meet & greet at the end of the event. Free, 1-3 pm. Lefferts Historic House, Prospect Park, 425 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225, nycgovparks.org

ANDREA BEATY PRESENTS SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ December 3 Come listen to author Andrea Beaty present her children’s book, Sofia Valdez, Future Prez, the latest addition in the bestselling Questioneer series. Sofia is a Mexican American second-grader, and every day her Abuelo walks her to school, until he hurts his ankle at a local landfill. Sofia has the idea to turn the landfill into a park. City Hall turns her plans down, but Sofia isn’t ready to give up. Join Beaty and volunteers from Common Cause NY and Make the Road NY to teach kids how they can get involved in their communities like Sophia! Free, 6 pm. 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238, greenlightbookstore.com

RAGA KIDS December 7 Presented as part of BAMkids Music Series, Raga Kids teaches little ones all about raga music through multilingual songs and sing-alongs. Kids learn the Indian equivalent of D-Re-Mi and the percussion language of tabla. These musicians will take kids through a journey of Indian classical music, jazz, and American traditions. If you come 30 minutes prior to the show, you can join in for a warm-up with Raga Kids musicians. $10, 10:30-11:30 am and 2-3 pm. Peter Jay Sharp Building, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217, bam.org

DIY ORNAMENT FAMILY ART WORKSHOP December 8 Kids ages 3 and up are invited to come make their own ornaments with their family! Each little artist gets four plastic ornaments that they can fill and decorate with glitter glue, beads, bell, yarn, and more. You’ll leave with four beautiful ornaments to add to your Christmas tree. $40 per child with one adult, 10:30-11:30 am. Private Picassos Art Studio, 237 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215, privatepicassos.com

BROOKLYN NUTCRACKER

Brooklyn’s largest menorah will be lit at Grand Army Plaza for the eight nights of Hanukkah staring December 22.

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

December 14 Reinventing the classic holiday story, the Brooklyn Nutcracker brings together ballet, hip-


Paul Martinka

hop, and more world dance genres. The show transforms Nutcracker characters and scenes to represent the diverse traditions and vibrant culture of melting pot Brooklyn. Come celebrate Brooklyn at New York’s only culturally inclusive production. $30-$115 depending on the seat, 2 pm and 7 pm. Kings Theater, 1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11226, kingstheater.com

MOTOWN FOR KIDS HOLIDAY CELEBRATION December 22 The Rock and Roll Playhouse plays Motown for Kids at this holiday-themed family concert. This interactive concert gets little ones on their feet to move, dance, listen, and explore. All ages are welcome to explore their creativity and jam to great music! Motown for Kids Holiday Celebration features the music of Diana, Stevie, Gladys, The Temptations, and more. $13, 12 pm, doors open at 11 am. Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211, therockandrollplayhouse.com

BROOKLYN’S LARGEST MENORAH December 22-29 Celebrate Hanukkah by gathering for the lighting of Brooklyn’s Largest Menorah. Listen to live music, eat delicious hot latkes, and spend quality time with your family. There will even be small gifts for little ones at this local holiday celebration! A tradition since 1985 and rated by USA Today and

CBS, you don’t want to miss Brooklyn’s Largest Menorah. Free, Dec. 22, 4 pm; Dec. 23-26, 6 pm; Dec. 27, 3:30 pm; Dec. 28, 7 pm; Dec. 29, 5:30 pm. Grand Army Plaza, Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238, chabadparkslope.com

Check out the family programing in Prospct Park during the Winter Recess.

WINTER RECESS IN PROSPECT PARK December 26-29 Get ready for family-friendly programming in Prospect Park during Winter Recess! Make your own “Gilded Frame” for holiday photos, grab a Discovery Pack with nature activities, play birdrelated games, and learn about animals. There’s lots to do during Winter Recess, so spread it out over a few days. Free, 12-4 pm. Multiple locations in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, prospectpark.org

NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS December 31 Watch Brooklyn’s most spectacular New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Prospect Park’s Grand Army Plaza. In its 40th year, this familyfriendly fireworks display brings together tens of thousands of people every year. Hosted by Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Prospect Park Alliance, ring in the New Year with your family at this celebration. Free, 10:30 am-12:30 am. Grand Army Plaza, Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238, prospectpark.org December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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family fun

Featured event

Events Around the City By Mia Salas

PETITE TEA PARTY December 1 Dress your little ones up in their tea party attire for this creative version of a tea party at the Children’s Museum of the Arts New York. Recommended for kids ages 5 and up, kids will get to make their own table with tea, centerpieces, crumpets, and jam using clay. When they are all finished, they’ll have their very own artwork to admire and tea party to enjoy! Included with museum general admission, 10 am-5 pm. 103 Charlton St., New York, NY 10014, cmany.org

BROOKLYN HOLIDAY BAZAAR December 1, 8, and 15 Bringing together the best of local makers, the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar’s 7th edition has everything you need for your holiday shopping and more. Look forward to fine handmade goods, delicious food and drinks, music, and craft activities. As you shop among the more than 40 makers, little ones can do kids crafts and take pictures in the photo booth. You can even use the photo booth for your family holiday cards! Free admission, various costs for goods and products, 11 am-5 pm. 501 Union St., Brooklyn, NY 11231, brooklynholidaybazaar.com

BANK OF AMERICA WINTER VILLAGE AT BRYANT PARK TREE LIGHTING 2019 December 5 Bring your family to watch the lighting of the Winter Village Tree! There will be performers including narrators and skaters. Past skaters included Olympians Johnny Weir, Nancy Kerrigan, Brian Boitano, synchronized skaters The Haydenettes, and more. Previous narrators included Alan Cumming in 2018 and

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Brooklyn Family | December 2019

Greg Kessler

City of Science 2019 December 15 Enter the world of science, technology, engineering, and math at this year’s City of Science. There will be interactive demonstrations, handson activities, and exhibitions that release everyone’s inner scientist. An inspiration for all young and aspiring scientists, City of Science is a great

Jane Krakowski in 2017. Save the date for this wintery, family-friendly event. Free, 6 pm. Bryant Park, 6th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, New York, NY 10018, bryantpark.org

BEYOND CHOCOLATE: COLONIAL COFFEE, CACAO, AND TEA December 7 All ages are welcome to join this Living History program exploring global trade and colonial silversmithing in Paul Revere’s time. Families will get to drink a variety of delicious colonial beverages, discover recipes, smell spices, and handle hot chocolate preparation tools. Afterwards, check out the exhibition Beyond Midnight: Paul Revere! Free with museum admission, 1-4 pm. New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way, New York, NY 10024, nyhistory.org

HOLIDAY ON THE HUDSON December 7 You might remember the Summer on the Hudson kid-friendly programs from the warmer months. Well

way for kids to learn about the many fields of science and develop their interests. The World Science Festival’s City of Science touring event is a must-see and must-do this December! Free, RSVP encouraged, 10 am-4 pm. Park Slope Armory YMCA, 361 15th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215, worldsciencefestival.com

now that we’re into the winter, families are invited to Holiday on the Hudson! Celebrate the holiday season with a tree lighting party, live music, dancing, tree decoration making, and hot chocolate while supplies last. Free, 4:30-6:30 pm. West Harlem Piers, 125th Street and Marginal Street, New York, NY 10027, nycgovparks.org

SINTERKLAAS — ST. NICHOLAS DAY & TREE LIGHTING December 7 Bring your family for this exciting day of holiday festivities. There will be a colonial concert with Linda Russell, a special visit from St. Nicholas, and delicious hot cider. Kids will get to feed St. Nicholas’ horse carrots and hay, sign the Red Book with St. Nicholas before he tells the traditional tale of “The Bakers Dozen.” Play colonial games, create a holiday pomander, decorate a Dutch clog for Sinterklaas, and dress the tree for the tree lighting. Adults $7, kids ages 3-10 $4, free for kids ages 0-2, 1-4 pm. Wyckoff House Museum, 5816 Clarendon Road, Brooklyn, NY 11203, nycgovparks.org


KUPFERBERG PRESENTS: THE NUTCRACKER December 15 A classic holiday favorite takes the stage at Kupferberg Center for the Arts. With the same authentic Russian choreography that is performed in Moscow by Bolshoi Ballet, Tchaikovsky’s amazing music, spectacular sets, and beautiful costumes, your entire family will enjoy this heart-warming performance. $23$42 depending on the seat, special family four pack value for a set of four tickets, 3 pm. Colden Auditorium, 153-49 Reeves Ave., Flushing, Queens, NY 11367, kupferbergcenter.org

STAR STORIES December 28-29 Kids ages 5 to 12 and their siblings and parents are invited to this enrichment program to learn together. Explore the Intrepid Museum’s planetar-

dance

Shop small for unique gifts and meet local makers at the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar, running on the first three Sundays on December in Gowanus. ium to learn the myths from around the world that explain the patterns of stars in the sky. Then create your own constellation and myth in a storytelling activity.

Music Lessons

Piano Lessons For Everyone

Free with museum admission, 12-1 pm. Intrepid Museum, Pier 86 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036, intrepidmuseum.org

Music Lessons

SoundS of MuSiC Seasoned Performing Musicians with Extensive Teaching Experience

135 Eastern Parkway

Private Lessons for Children & Adults at All Levels

across from the Brooklyn Museum

Experienced, friendly teacher with MA in Music Student recitals twice a year • Six foot concert grand piano Near 2, 3, 4 & 5 Subways

Call me and let’s talk about what you or your child would like to learn Call Beth Anderson-Harold: 718-636-6010 or Email: beth@beand.com

• • • •

Piano • Keyboard Violin • Oboe Recorder • Saxophone Flute • Clarinet • Vocal

718-232-2703 • Cell 646-752-7973

Daniel & Diana Barkan • soundsofmusic.arts@gmail.com www.soundsofmusic-arts.com

ice skating

Advertise with us Call 718-260-4554 NewYorkFamily.com

Steeplechase Ice Skating Center

at the Abe Stark Skating Rink West 19th Street & Surf Avenue Ages 4–Adult

718-253-8919 • 347-628-0663

LEARN TO SKATE PROGRAMS

Classes Saturdays 2-4pm

Basic Skills 1-8, Hockey 1-3 Adult 1-4, Freestyle 1-6 & More Weekend classes • Credit cards accepted

Have Fun While Building Strength, Confidence & Coordination December 2019 | NewYorkFamily.com

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We asked

What is the best gift that money cannot buy? Peace of mind is the hardest to come by as a mom. I find myself anxious and constantly worried about something that needs to be done for my household. I’ll take one day, free of mom guilt, for the holidays. @j_freemanxo The gift I’m most grateful for that money can’t buy...is turning 40! My 18-yearold self would be shocked. I’m old (her words, not mine!), but she also would never believe all the amazing things we got to achieve by 40. Like marrying a great guy, becoming a mom, and having a career we love! another birthday means I get to keep going and keep improving, I’ll take it. @missyb823 almost every day, my sons gift me with a slow and sweet bedtime routine. They are always on the move — climbing on furniture, running after each other, chasing after imaginary monsters. But as we say goodnight, both of them make time stand still. They quiet down, hum our lullabies, and whisper the sweetest of words to my ear. It’s exactly what I need to recharge after a busy day, and to build up the confidence I need to get ready to tackle the next. I’m thankful for that! @chapetitbark 38

Brooklyn Family | December 2019

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