New York Family December 2019

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December 2019 established 1986

Holiday Cheer! Great events around the city

The Best Ski Resorts in New York State

Brianne Manz NYC mom in the know

Camp Fairs are here!

our annual

Gift Guide for everyone on your list



Through January 26 New York City’s favorite holiday tradition is back!

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December 2019

pg. 38

pg. 64

pg. 34

pg. 46

FEATURES 30 | Health Our round-up of the top fertility resources in and around the city 34 | Ski Resorts A guide to the best family-friendly resorts in Upstate New York 38 | Holiday Gift Guide We have 62 gifts for all members of New York Families! Babies, kids, teens, dads, moms and more! 46 | Brianne Manz: Mom in the know Stroller in the City’s founder shares on business, family, and New York City!

Stories & columns

14 | Ask the Expert Understanding the epidural is essential whether it’s part of your birth plan or not 18 | Gear The 7 best breast pumps perfect for city moms 22 | Education Tips for making that mid-year school jump 24 | Parent’s Book Club Samantha Downing’s #1 international bestseller, My Lovely Wife 28 | Shopping Nordstrom’s new flagship store’s second floor has the city parent in mind

pg. 22

Home & Away 52 | Neighborhood Guide: Dumbo We’re going Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass 54 | A Getaway to Bermuda Just a two-hour flight from NYC is where you’ll find this pink sand paradise 56 | Family Day Out: Historical Homes and Castles in NYC Have a Downton Abbey moment right here in New York

Family fun

6 | Editor’s Note The magic of December

64 | Mom Stories Essay: The gift of giving back

50 | Camp Fair It’s never too early to start searching for a summer camp — our camp fairs start this month!

8 | Contributors The wonderful peeps who have shared their talents this month

66 | We Asked What is the best gift you have been given that money cannot buy?

60 | Calendar Unmissable events in Manhattan and beyond for December

10 | Mom Hacks: Family Travel Useful gear and tricks that make travel with family manageable


New York Family | December 2019

on the Cover Photo: Yumi Matsu | Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | Dress: Love Shack Fancy |

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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

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 10) 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 34). We’ve put together a great round-up on Fertility Clinics in NYC (page 30). This is a guide you may want to dog-ear as it has loads of helpful resources and information. We also have our Holiday Gift Guide (page 38) of gifts from babies to moms- there is something for all! On our cover this month, we have NYC Mom in the Know (page 46) 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, Jana Beauchamp has written a beautiful essay on the holidays in New York and the gift of giving back to the community in The Magic of New York (page 64).

“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

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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 | December 2019

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Thinking of changing schools? Consider a Catholic education for your child! Are you moving to a new home? Interested in helping your child succeed academically in a safe, structured learning environment? If so, now is the time to invest in a Catholic education. Catholic schools provide a curriculum based on faith, respect and service to others; and our Math/ELA proficiency test scores have outpaced New York public schools for each of the last five years. Online admissions for 2020–21 open on December 4! Apply before April 15, 2020, and save $100/child in registration fees! Or book a Touring Tuesday date or personal tour at any of these Manhattan schools:

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December 2019 |



Ingrid Podwil Ingrid Podwil is a mom and freelance writer from New York City. Ingrid shared her insider tips in this month’s piece, Dumbo With Kids (page 52). When she’s not writing or chasing her scooting baby around the living room—or one of Brooklyn’s many open play spaces—she’s catching up with friends over pizza or taking her pitbull for walks.

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New York Family | December 2019

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MoM hacks

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


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


New York 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

December 2019 |


mom hacks

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.

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

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


New York Family | December 2019

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. 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. 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?!



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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


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


New York 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

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ask the expert

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

It’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. 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

make informed decisions. Check out, 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! 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.







New York Family | December 2019



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7 Best Breast Pumps for City Moms Choosing a breast pump can be overwhelming. We’ve done the research and found some winners BY DONNA LADD


reast pumping at work is on the rise. Hooray! New York City law states that a space must be provided with reasonable break times for lactation extraction for up to three years after birth. Also, under the Affordable Care Act, your health insurance must cover the cost of a breast pump. Each insurance works differently, but it is worth checking to see if your health insurance might cover the pump you are eyeing. This means more mothers are finding it easier and more comfortable to pump at work. If you know you are going to be pumping, then a breast pump is an essential item you need to consider when preparing for baby. A breast pump is a baby gear item that you know you have to tackle, yet it can feel a bit overwhelming on deciding what pump is going to fit your needs. We know that choosing a breast pump isn’t a small task, which is why we have done the research, some we even used when we pumped, and we narrowed them down to our top seven favorites for NYC moms.

Breas� Pump Ling�

• Single: Extracts from one breast at a time • Double: Option to extract both breasts at the same time • Manual pump: Non-electric • Closed system: A breast pump with a milk barrier is known as a closed system as it’s “closed off” from the milk. The barrier prevents the milk overflowing and leaking into the pump mechanism, and helps ensure your expressed milk travels through a hygienic route. (Medela) • Open system: An open-system breast pump doesn’t have a milk barrier — but bear in mind that the risks of contamination are extremely small even if you do have this type of breast pump. (Medela) • Let-down phase: The let-down reflex means your milk is ready to flow. It makes breastfeeding easier for you and your baby. ( • Flange: The breast flange is the funnel-shaped piece that fits on your breast over your nipple and areola. (

THE PUMPS Best Hospital Strength Breast Pump: Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump Hospital Strength

If searching for a high tech pump such as the type you may find in a hospital maternity ward, this is the gadget for you. There are two versions of the Spectra. The S1 and the S2 are both popular in their own right. City moms seem to prefer the S1 since the battery is built-in, where the battery is not included in the S2; this is pretty much the difference between the two. The pump powers at 250mmHg and features a closed system. Many moms love that the suction is not painful at the nipple area, which if you are sensitive in this area, this is pretty important. No one wants their nipples to hurt! Also, the suction can be adjusted in strength for a short or long length of period. On a personal note, there are many parts to this pump, which can be annoying — I would not deem it a travel pump. However, it is super efficient, and while all the pieces can be irritating, it is not a deal-breaker as it is a great breast pump. $199.

Best Breast Pump for Pumping at Work: Bellababy Double Electric Breast Feeding Pump

A top of the line breast pump is essential when pumping at work. You want it to work efficiently and extract the milk at a nice speed so you can get back to your workday. The Bellababy Double Breast Pump can be used at home, then packed up in your day bag for work. This is especially for mothers who extract several times a day. Weighing only one pound, it’s light and compact, making it easy to throw in a work bag after a morning use. Many mothers have shared that for being a small pump — it packs much punch and is surprisingly robust. The noise level of the pump is quite low, a plus when you are most likely pumping with other mothers in a large space. The Closed System has four modes with nine levels of suction from massage to stimulation. $60,


New York Family | December 2019













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December 2019 |



Best Manual Breast Pump: Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump with Suction

Best Single Electric Breast Pump: Philips Avent Single Electric Comfort Breast Pump

A manual breast pump is a must for every mother. It is a no-nonsense form of pumping that is perfect for all facets of mothers pumping regime. The Haakaa Silicone is our pick for we have personally used it and it is a game-changer when traveling on a plane, in a car and just that emergency tool you keep in your bag when you must pump. Made of 100% Food Grade Silicone, it is BPA PVC and Phthalate free. If using this pump for work or travel, you’ll need to provide ice packs and a cooler bag. Worth it since this pump is rarely ever over $20. $12.99,

Many mothers opt for a single pump for different reasons. Some may pump while simultaneously breastfeeding. Single breast pumps tend to be lightweight, which helps if you are tooling around with your pump daily. Also, some mothers just do not like double pumping. The Philips Avent Single Electric Comfort Breast Pump comes with few parts, a beautiful thing for many breastfeeding moms, as anyone who has pumped knows that when you are using a pump a few times a day, the cleaning of the parts frankly is a pain in the arse. The neck of the pump is at an angle. This angle allows for the milk to flow naturally to the bottle, and you can stay put (and comfortable), not having to crouch into the pump. After starting in the gentle stimulation mode, there are three expression settings: low, medium and high. $99,

Best HandsFree: Freemie Liberty Mobile Hands-Free Breast Pump

When it comes to an electric hands-free pump that can be also be worn, there are a few available styles, and most have tweaks to work on in this category. A hands-free pump is an excellent option for a mother who desires or frankly needs to have her hands free and moving around. Whether it is for getting work done, taking care of other children or just the desire to sit and binge watch Netflix — there is a considerable advantage to wearing the Freemie. How it works is the collection of cups (25mm and 28mm funnels) are placed into your regular or nursing bra. The pump works up to 40 minutes and has 100 pump settings. After the milk is collected, it can be poured into storage bags or bottles. Each cup holds up to 8 ounces. The pump is 120VAC and requires an electrical outlet. This pump is a cool option if you can afford the luxury of a second pump. For although we think it has significant advantages, we advised a more traditional breast pump as your main pump, especially if this is your first time pumping. $199, freemie. com

Best Double Breast Pump: Medela Pump In Style Double Electric Breast Pump with Backpack

The advantage of this double pump is that it features 2-Phase Expression Technology with a one-touch letdown button. What the heck in a mother does this mean? It means that it is a cool techy thing that makes the pump work hard to get as much milk as possible. How the 2- Phase Expression operates is that it is built to mimic how a baby nurses, most babies nurse in two phases — fast and then slow. Depending on how milk is flowing, a mother can use the let-down button to pump slower or faster. If your partner is sharing feeding shifts and bottle feeding – or you are back at work and need as much milk in the freezer for the sitter — gear such as this is essential. At a little over seven pounds, the pump is built into a compact backpack with room for an ice pack (included) and four milk bottles. This is an excellent pump for home as well as for pumping at work. $199,

Best for a Budget: Evenflo Feeding Advanced Hospital Strength Breast-Feeding Closed System Pump

At under $100, this hospital strength breast pump is not only affordable; it is made to work in all parts of the breast mother’s pumping journey. Designed with what the manufacturer calls personalized pumping, this gadget provides 32 settings for high flexibility when pumping. Their Perfectfit is a flange system that contains three different sizes to give the pumping mother as much comfort as possible. A helpful design touch, the PerfectPosition, includes a shorter nipple tunnel which helps secure as much milk as possible. Because who wants to do all that work and lose this precious milk?! The double pump closed system which works to prevent milk back-up. At 2.7 pounds it is not as lightweight as some travel and work pumps. But for a hospital grade pump that can be battery operated, it is pretty darn awesome. This is why the Evenflo Feeding Advanced Hospital Strength Breast-Feeding Closed System Pump is our overall pick. $99.87, Amazon


New York Family | December 2019

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December 2019 |



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


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


New York 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

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

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

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

The Montessori School of New York International

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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December 2019 |


Parent’s Book CluB

Discover New Stories with Us!

Jacqueline Dallimore

DeCeMBer TheMe:

Spice Up the Holidays By Mia SalaS


s “the most wonderful time of the year,” the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, relaxation, and lots of food. But with the merry spirit everywhere and the overload of free time, sometimes the holiday season can feel pretty boring. Our Monthly Pick will surely add that spark of excitement, thrill, and even fear that you crave to spice up the holidays! My Lovely Wife Samantha Downing

A man and woman meet, fall in love, have kids, and move to the suburbs. But flash forward fifteen years later, and their lives feel boring. What better way to keep their


New York Family | December 2019

marriage interesting than to get away with murder? Follow this couple through both their all too normal and extremely unsettling life. How well do you really know your neighbors? Samantha Downing is the author of the USA Today and #1 International Bestseller, My Lovely Wife. She was born and raised in Marin County and now lives in New Orleans, where she is furiously typing away on her next thrilling standalone. To read our interview with Samantha Downing, visit! Samantha Downing shares her motivation for writing My Lovely Wife and what she hopes that readers take away: “The original idea came from a documentary about a couple who kidnapped a woman back in the 1970’s. I took this

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.

idea and instead of telling the story from the perspective of the victim, I created a story about a couple who does something like this, and I wanted it to be about their marriage, not just their crimes. The violence is not explicit, the book focuses more on relationships than anything else. What I really hope is that people have a great time reading it, and hopefully it will make you laugh and shock you at the same time.” We hope that you enjoyed reading and discussing Samantha Downing’s My Lovely Wife. We’re excited about January’s read, but in the meantime, catch up on all of our author interviews at!

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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 thought-provoking, intellectual, and even controversial discussions about the novel.

1. Why do you think Downing never reveals the husband’s real name? 2. Did you trust the husband’s narration throughout the novel? 3

Share a passage in the novel when you either liked the couple or considered them to be pretty normal and forgot all about their side business. Why do you think Downing makes these characters likeable at times?

4. Consider Rory’s relationship with his father. How might his father have approached Rory’s accusations of him cheating on Millicent different? 5. What effect do the murders, allegedly by Owen, have on Rory and Jenna? 6. What do you believe is the husband’s breaking point, when he finally decides that enough is enough with the murders? Was it the effect on Jenna? Trista’s suicide? 7.

The main plot twist in the novel is when we find out that Millicent has planned her husband’s downfall through all of the murders because he cheated on her. Did you see this plot twist coming? Did you expect this from Millicent?

8. What did Millicent’s original story about Holly do for you as a reader? Did it generate sympathy for Millicent, or perhaps an explanation for her psychotic behavior? When the truth about Holly is revealed, how did your perception of Millicent change? 9. Even though Millicent is technically the “bad guy” here, her husband still partakes in the murders, but he ends up getting away with it. Was this unsettling for you or were you rooting for him after he was framed? 10. Who was your favorite character in the novel and why? 11. Think about all of the couple’s interactions with neighbors and friends. How are we supposed to trust anyone after reading about a “normal” couple who commits these gruesome murders?


New York Family | December 2019

12. Trista reveals a different side to Owen when she tells Millicent’s husband about her relationship with him. Is it wrong for us to love someone who clearly is not right for us? 13. Thinking about Owen, Millicent, and Millicent’s husband, how did this novel add dimension to your perception of criminals? 14. There’s a sort of role reversal in this novel. The woman is not a damsel in distressshe’s the killer and torturer of lots of damsels in distress. Does My Lovely Wife relay a message regarding womanhood or feminism? 15. What was that message for you? 16. There are lots of references to Millicent’s hair color. Why do you think Downing writes Millicent as having red hair? How does her red hair relate to her character? 17. What does the ending, in which the former Tobias introduces himself as Quinten, suggest for the future? Why does Downing end the novel here? 18. What does the ending imply about the husband? Is he the hero who saves his kids and avoids being framed for murder? Or is he, in fact, just as bad as Millicent? 19. How does the title, My Lovely Wife, add to your understanding of the novel? 20. Take a look at the novel’s cover. What’s included and what’s not? How does the cover art influence your understanding of the novel? 21. What parts of the novel pulled you in the most and what kept you reading?

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December 2019 |



Nordstrom’s New Flagship Store This new store is massive and cool but it’s the second floor that has us excited By Donna LaDD


here is a new megastore in town. Nordstrom’s new flagship store is located just south of Central Park and opened up for business in October. Nordstrom, originally a shoe store founded in 1901 in Seattle, is not a foreign brand for New Yorkers. We have Nordstrom in our surrounding suburbs and were ecstatic when a Nordstrom Rack opened a few years back in Union Square, along with a men’s store open near the new flagship location. This Flagship store is different however: big, luxurious and luckily for us parents, there is a whole floor dedicated to kids’ gear. Nordstrom clearly knows what will make New Yorkers happy! The entire space sprawls over 320,000 square feet. Like many malls that are popping up in and around NYC, it is catering to city peeps. The layout has been designed for the customer to enjoy, browse, shop, and stay a while. Customers will not only find fashion retail but delicious food spots. There are seven levels – two below street level and five above. Specialty shops, top-of-the-line beauty services such as Drybar (yay!), Base Coat, and Nordstrom Spa are also on board. We checked out what the best nooks in this mammoth space are for families. The kids floor on lower level two With deep roots in the shoe market, Nordstrom ‘brings it’ when it comes to the shoe department at this flagship store. With brands such as Nike, Vans, Native Shoes, Doc Marten, and See Kai Run, the shoe section is a-mazing. Moms will love the Volumental Digital foot measuring 3D scan. You’ll know right then and there what size shoe your kids are and not have to deal with ill-fitting shoes. After you pick out your shoes for the kids, head over to the Conveyor Belt to wait for your picks to deliver straight to you. And Tweens can rejoice, they have their own footwear space! There are also clothes of course. You’ll find toys, baby and kidswear clothing brands like Givenchy (ooh la la) to Mini Boden. Parents can also find a curated selection of gear such as UPPAbaby, Nuna strollers car


New York Family | December 2019

The new nordstrom on 57th street features an entire floor for kids’ gear.

After you pick out your shoes for the kids, head over to the Conveyor Belt (above) to wait for your picks to deliver straight to you. The donuts at OH MOCHI (left) are delicious. will tailor any pieces regardless if they were purchased from Nordstrom. Express tailoring and clothing repairs are also available. Join the Nordy club, it’s free to join, and you can do curbside pick up, meaning you place an order to pick up via the Nordstrom iOS app to request Curbside Pickup and an associate will walk your order out to your car. How is New York that for you?!

seats, and Baby Bjorn baby carriers. Family friendly eats There are seven food and beverage spots to choose from at Nordstrom Flagship. Our pick for family-friendly eats is WOLF. A relaxed space where you can find Italian fare with a bit of a twist like Spaghetti with Uni for the kids, and Fried Oysters with Calabrian Chili Aioli for mom or dad. Conveniently located on the second floor, perfect for catching

something to eat after shopping or during! For a treat, head over to OH MOCHI, which is perfect for bribing your kids to behave well while you shop, because these baked in-house donuts are delish! Perks a parent will appreciate At Nordstrom flagship, you’ll find online ordering and pickup 24/7 (yup, need those boots at 3 am? You can pick them up!) and an alteration and tailoring department that

Giving back to the community Nordstrom also plans to actively give back to the New York Community. In partnership with the Good + Foundation, they have provided a $250,000 community grant to help support this organization’s work in all five boroughs of New York. Good + Foundation works include delivering essential baby items as well as job training, couples counseling, and parenting classes. Nordstrom employees will also be contributing their time by volunteering with this fantastic charity foundation. Nordstrom Flagship is located at 225 West 57th Street, New York, NY 212- 295-2000 December 2019 |


Fertility Clinics New York City is home to some of the best infertility resources in the country

By Taryn Schofield


ealing with infertility can be confusing, stressful and disheartening for couples yearning to have children. With so much information, so many clinics and doctors and stigmas surrounding the causes of infertility, looking for fertility treatment options can be overwhelming. If you have recently been diagnosed with infertility, or suspect you are infertile, a great first step may be to visit Planned Parenthood. Visits to doctors and specialists can be expensive for some, but Planned Parenthood is an accessible and affordable way to not only become more educated on the topic but also come to understand your best options for getting pregnant. To make an appointment at your local Planned Parenthood, call 1-800230-7526, or visit their website. While most fertility clinics offer traditional treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), it is important to find a center and doctor that not only makes you feel comfortable but also understands the specific factors that make conceiving challenging for you and your partner. Here are some of the best options for infertility and treatment options in the city. Weill Cornell Reproductive Medicine 1305 York Ave., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10021, 888-703-3456 2315 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10024, 646-962-3767 255 Greenwich St., New York, NY 1007, 646-962-7499 186 Joralemon St., 12th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201, 646-962-3868

With several locations in Manhattan and


New York Family | December 2019

Brooklyn, Weill Cornell’s Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine has helped bring over 21,000 babies into the world through IVF treatments. Although it is a large operation, Weill Cornell places an emphasis on personalized medicine. Physicians will take the time to learn about each patient individually to choose the most medically-sound, least-invasive and cost-effective treatment. On-site psychological support services are also offered to help patients and their partners cope with any stress involved with infertility treatments. Patient and financial coordinators are available as a resource for patients to help navigate the logistics of IVF and other treatments. Current and former patients on Fertility IQ describe “honest and kind” doctors and nurses and staff that try their best to be friendly and accommodating even though they have a large patient population. New Hope Fertility Center 4 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10019, 212-969-7422

If you are looking for low and no-drug fertility treatment options, New Hope may be suitable for you. This clinic specialized in holistic and innovative approaches to IVF, including Mini-IVF and Natural Cycle IVF, which focus on the naturally occurring fertility system instead of creating an artificial one, like in convention IVF treatments. Regular IVF treatments are also offered if they are found to be best for the individual patient. New Hope also offers , egg donation and freezing, genetic testing and male fertility care, among other things. The many specializations at New Hope include polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, cancer-related infertility, LGBTQ couples and patients who have dealt with multiple

miscarriages. New Hope’s Mini-IVF and Natural Cycle IVF systems offer success rates of 62.5 and 70 percent, respectively. Many former and current patients describe comfortable, thorough and efficient care from physicians, specifically Dr. Merhi, while others note poor customer service and billing departments and an overall lack of communication between facility and patient. New Hope is a large fertility center, with many patients and treatments, so it may be easier for the process to seem impersonal. Columbia University Fertility Center 5 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 646-756-8282

The fertility center from the Columbia University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology offers an array of treatment options that address multiple causes of infertility, including male infertility. Additionally, genetic testing and disease prevention services are also offered at Columbia. Experts in the field of genetics work with patients closely to develop an individualized treatment plan and ensure the implantation of a healthy embryo. For those concerned about the financial burden involved with fertility treatments, Columbia is one of the few programs in the United States that accepts in-network managed care insurance for IVF. Accommodations for out-of-network insurances and those eligible for the New York State Department of Health Infertility Demonstration Program are also available. Current and former patients note a clean and energetic environment with friendly staff and physicians. On the other hand, concerns and complaints relate to long waits, impersonal appointment set-ups and office atmosphere and issues with prescription and drug-ordering and the transferring of patient folios.

offered include ISCI, testicular sperm extraction (TESE), IUI, egg donations and cryopreservation. Montefiore also has a psychologist on staff who offers counseling to couples and patients dealing with emotional stress involved with infertility and fertility treatments. Counseling is available before, throughout and after treatments for any concern patients may have. Montefiore is also a participant of New York State Department of Health’s Infertility Demonstration Project. Patient assessments described a caring and personable nursing staff and a professional medical team. Also mentioned was a clean and efficient office environment. Some cons described were longer waiting room times and some vagueness and inconsistencies with administration.

Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York 635 Madison Ave., 10th Floor, New York, NY 10022, 212-756-5777 200 W. 57th St., Suite 900, New York, NY 10019, 212-256-8200 594 Broadway, Suite 1011, New York, NY 10012, 212-906-7900 26 Court St., Suite 2710, Brooklyn, NY 11242, 718-532-8700 May Center for Mount Sinai Doctors, 5 E. 98th St., 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10029, 866-674-3721

Recognized by New York Magazine for having five of the “Best Doctors,” RMA of New York offers patients a wide range of treatment options, from low-tech approaches to high-tech interventions, depending on an individual patient’s needs and challenges determined by fertility testing. Common treatments like IVF, IUI and ICSI are available, as well as blastocyst transfer, egg donation programs and egg freezing, single embryo transfer, genetic testing and embryo cryopreservation. RMA of New York also specializes in LGBTQ-specified treatments and fertility preservation. For financial concerns, RMA of New York does work with participating insurance companies and financial institutions and offers

financing programs and benefits for military members and veterans and New York City employees. Reviews on FertilityIQ mention efficient procedures and convenient hours and locations. Many complimented on good doctors and educated staff. However, many patients noted issues with communication within RMA of New York and a lack of personalization within treatment and on-site experiences. A number of patients mentioned seeing a different doctor each time they visited the clinic. RMA of New York is a chain clinic with multiple locations so an individualistic approach may be challenging. Montefiore Medical Center Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health 1695 Eastchester Rd., Suite 305, Bronx, NY 10461, 718-405-8590

The approach to fertility treatment at Montefiore fuses together emotional support, financial counseling, experienced professionals and vast research and available resources. While IVF is an option at Montefiore, the goal is to evaluate all of your options and consider less invasive, stressful and expensive treatments before immediately trying IVF. Other treatment options and services

The New York Fertility Center 4231 Colden St., Suite 202, Flushing, NY 11355, 347-328-1394 1160 Broadway, Suite 308, New York, NY 1001, 347-342-0073

As the recipient for Top Doctor Award 2019 for Reproductive Endocrine Fertility, The New York Fertility Center is a smaller, one-doctor operation which focuses on individualized and unique treatment plans for its patients. Insurance pre-authorization and financial assistance are also available to assist with the fertility treatment process as much as possible. Patient reviews mention extremely personal and warm experiences with both Dr. Tsai and his staff. Many describe feeling comfortable at The New York Fertility Center and maintain that they were treated like family while undergoing treatments. A number of reviews emphasize that it is very clear that Dr. Tsai cares deeply for his patients. If you are looking for a more intimate and personable experience, a smaller practice like The New York Fertility Center may be best for you. Sher Fertility Institute 425 5th Ave., 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10016, 866-747-6692, 646-792-7476

With programs structured run on a tight December 2019 |


time schedule to minimize delays and inconveniences, Sher Fertility Institute values their patient’s time when it comes to going through the lengthy journey of fertility treatments. Treatments are usually coordinated with a patient’s OB-GYN to help reduce the time spent at the clinic’s offices. Additionally, Sher Fertility Institute also offers 24/7 access to their clinical care team and assure patients that they will see the same physician at each appointment. Treatments include IVF programs, IUI and surrogacy. Additionally, genetic testing and gender selection, along with egg freezing are also available. In terms of finances, Sher Fertility Institute accepts some insurances, offers financing services and programs and multi-payment programs. Many patients attribute the smaller clinic size to a more individualized experience, without feeling like just a number. Some patient concerns related to communication issues, some with specific doctors and treatments, and others with administration and testing results. Extend Fertility 200 West 57th St, Suite 1101, New York, NY 10019, 212-810-2828

A leading New York City-based fertility care provider, Extend Fertility was founded on the premise that democratizing egg freezing could ultimately change the fertility industry and deliver better results. The clinic offers a full range of truth-based care and infertility services, including IVF and embryo freezing, utilizing the latest technological advances to create successful outcomes for its patients. As of 2017, Extend Fertility was the largest egg freezing practice in the country. Co-founder Dr. Joshua U. Klein created this clinic to empower women to proactively take on their fertility by providing them with free access to the information they need to make informed decisions. The clinic also offers manageable prices, which are typically 20 to 40% less than the national average. Additionally, Extend Fertility partners with companies who offer financing for egg freezing treatment, medications, and longterm storage in order to make the full range of fertility services as accessible as possible. Patient reviews on Fertility IQ describe an efficient and compassionate staff and a warm atmosphere. Many patients noted and complimented the nursing staff for being friendly, caring and personable. GENESIS Fertility and Reproductive Medicine 718-306-9244


New York Family | December 2019

Inside the lobby at Kindbody. 6010 Bay Pkwy., Suite 501, Brooklyn, NY 11204 808 8th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215 107-21 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills, NY 11375

GENESIS looks to bring together all of the comprehensive services relating to fertility into one convenient location. In addition to a reproductive endocrinologist, the services of a urologist specializing in male infertility, a psychologist with expertise in counseling for infertility, a genetic counselor and reproductive scientists are all available on-site for whatever patients and couples may need. In addition to IUI, IVF and sperm and egg donation and freezing treatments, GENESIS also offers acupuncture, ovulation induction and minimally invasive surgical options. GENESIS is transparent about the potential costs of treatment and give patients a number of resources about payment. Patient reviews noted a friendly on-site staff, and clean and organized atmosphere and applauded efficient and convenient patient resources and support. Some concerns involved a lack of compassion and personability from the billing department and over-the-phone interactions with nurses concerning test results and check-ins. NYU Langone Reproductive Specialists of New York 16 Court St., 27th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11241, 347-991-8255

Offering patients free infertility support groups and opportunities to meet with a psychologist for one-on-one sessions, NYU Langone RS NY sets out to develop an unrivaled support system for its patients. Fertility treatments and services include IVF, IUI, LGBTQ specialization, sperm analysis and programs in egg donation, genetics and fertility preservation. Physicians at NYU Langone RS NY also help to address issues involved with endometriosis, recurring

pregnancy loss, tubal disease, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and hormone imbalances. NYU Langone RS NY also accepts insurance and offers several financing options for patients and couples who may need it. Patient comments describe clean, spacious and well-organized operations and facilities with warm and thoughtful staff. Some complaints mention issues with phone communications and delayed or lulled responses from the billing and finance departments. Kindbody 855-563-2639 102 5th Ave., New York, NY 10011 693 5th Ave., 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022

Kindbody is a brand-new fertility clinic in New York City. Kindbody’s mission is to destigmatize women’s health and fertility. An emphasis is placed on making it accessible, intuitive and empowering. These goals are pursued through accessible gynecological care, discounted supplements, same-day urgent care visits, and onsite lab testing. Yearly memberships for services are also offered. Kindbody offers options in preservation, such as embryo and egg freezing and storage and fertility treatments, such as IUI, IVF and egg and embryo transfers. Additional services include fertility assessment, wellness coaching, therapy sessions and return-to-work coaching. This clinic accepts most major insurance plans in New York City and self-pay rates for patients paying for services out of pocket. Many patients describe having a personal, friendly and encouraging experience with Kindbody. Some concerns among patients involved confusion with billing and pricing for services that may not include the expenses of blood work. As with any clinic, be sure to ask questions about what is covered or not covered by insurance and what advertised prices include.








December 2019 |


The Best Family-Friendly

Ski Resorts in Upstate new York


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.

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. Gore Mountain 793 Peaceful Valley Road, North Creek, NY 12853

Gore Mountain is the best of the best ski familyfriendly 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. Hunt Hollow Ski Club

Belleayre Mountain


181 Galli Curci Road, Highmount, NY 12441

7532 County Road #36 Naples, NY 14512

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 gondola will both be ready for the 2019-2020 season, making it an even more attractive ski destination in the

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

New York Family | December 2019

December 2019 |


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 onsite, but plenty can be found in the area, making this a great ski getaway for the family. 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. Maple Ski Ridge 2725 Mariaville Road, Schenectady, NY 12306

For those looking for familyfriendly ski resorts in upstate New York, the most significant selling point for Maple Ski Ridge is its simplicity. It will never be an upscale, high difficulty ski mecca, and that’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 half-hour drive from NYC with lodging availability nearby, the family and beginnerfriendly slopes of Maple Ski Ridge might be just the thing for many families. 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 it’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


New York Family | December 2019

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 family-friendly ski resorts in upstate New York for the value. Toggenburg Mountain Ski Center 1135 Toggenburg Road, Fabius, NY 13063

With twenty-one 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, it’s not difficult to 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. 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. 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. 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. 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-beatenpath 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. 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 two-hour drive to get there. 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 halfhour car ride to get there, but the quality of the slopes makes it more than worth it.

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 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 Men’s’ Hockey Championship. It’s a four and a halfhour drive from the city, but it’s well worth the roadtripping to get there. Plattekill Mountain 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. Holiday Valley 6557 Holiday Valley Road Route 219, Ellicottville, NY 14731-0370

Holiday Valley is best described as a four-season 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. December 2019 |


We have 62 gifts that are perfect for the holidays and, most importantly, New York families. From babies, kids, teens, dads and perhaps a present or two for yourself, we wish you happy holidays and happy shopping! BY KATARINA AVENDAĂ‘O & DONNA LADD


New York Family | December 2019



1 3


5 6 7 8


Mini Boden Deer sweater and pants, $60 set,


Marie-Chantal Velour Gold Angel Wing Onesie, $109,

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

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

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

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

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


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

December 2019 |








6 1.

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

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


New York Family | December 2019

5. Lovevery Buddy Stroller, $55, (12 months up) 6. LeapFrog RockIt Twist in Purple $59.99, target, (ages 4-8) 7. Hape Create and Display Easel, $119.99,, (ages 36 months to 12 years) 8. DK Books, Santa’s Workshop Board $14.99,





4 5 7 8 6 1.

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

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

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

6. 20 Piece Wooden Subway Set, $34.95,


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

4. Only Good Vibes shirt, $25,

7. Fart Ninjas Basic Figures Series, $5.99,, (ages 3 years and up) 8. Crate & Kids, Hape Four Stage Rocket Ship, $100, crateandbarrel. com, (ages 3 and up) December 2019 |







7 8


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

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

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

6. Subway Map Backpack, $44.95,

3. Areaware Blockitecture Tower, $45,

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

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

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


New York Family | December 2019

7. The Chameleon, $19.99,



1 3 2

4 6 5 9


8 1.

Boden sweater Festive Fair Isle Sweater, $130,

6. Cat Bird Talon Zodiac Necklace, $224,

2. Maya Brenner x Clare V Zodiac Pendant $224,

7. Globein Kimono Bathrobe, $85,

3. Pottery Barn Cozy Faux Fur Booties Collection, 39.50, pottery

8. Verloop Pink/Coral Colorblock Touchscreen Gloves, Retail: $29,

4. Kibou Diaper Fanny Bag in Blush, $89, 5. Cat Bird GrandCygnet Ring, $218,


9. A New Day Holiday Fur in Jacket Blush Brown, $39.99, 10. Clare V. Midi Sac Midi Sac, $345, December 2019 |



3 2






Goodfellow & Co Cozy Sweater, $29.99,

2. Tile Sticker, (2-Pack) $39.99,

5. Sony WF-1000XM3: Wireless NoiseCanceling Earbuds, $229.99, sony. com 6. Biolite FirePit, $199.95,

3. Welly Original 18 oz, $35, wellybottle. com

7. Hush Puppies Men’s Caleb PT Boot, $139.95,

4. Waxed Canvas Billfold Wallet, $39.95,

8. Guardian Belt Set, $295,


New York Family | December 2019




1 2


5 9 8


7 1.

L.L. Bean: Turtle Fur Stratus Beanie, $58,

2. WowWee Lucky Fortune Blind Collectible Bracelets, $6.99, target. com (not for children under 3 years) 3. Jonathan Adler Apollo Salt & Pepper Set, $58, 4. HATCH Belly Masks, $12, 5. Turmeric Tea Tales - 6 Turmeric Teas Gift Set, $39.99,

6. Welly Bravery Badges, $6.99, 7. Stride Rite Connor Cars (3-Pack), $14.50, 8. Jack Black Beard Oil, $26, 9. Lanolips Rose Gold 101 Ointment, $17.00, 10. Ebi Silicone Teether - Single, $14,

10 December 2019 |


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


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,


New York Family | December 2019

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 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

Photo by Yumi Matsuo

December 2019 |


Around the city with the family Favorite place to grab a bite to eat with the kids? Favorite brunch spot? Bubby’s has been our favorite brunch spot for years now, the Tribeca location is our fav. Another spot my kids love is El Vez. It’s a great Mexican restaurant that is ideal for families. Favorite date night spot? Il Mulino has been a favorite date night spot for Jason and I for as long as I can remember. I just love how the Greenwich Village location is so cozy and romantic! Favorite ice cream/cookie/treat place? I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but my kids sure do, and they love Magnolia Bakery’s banana bread pudding. Molly’s Cupcakes on Bleecker Street in the West Village is incredible too! Favorite park? Pier 25 Park has something for everyone. It’s a fairly new park with a playground with a swing and splash ground, mini golf, skateboard park, volleyball courts, a soccer field, and so much more. Favorite holiday activity with the fam? Since the kids were little, I’ve made it a point to always see the holiday shows here in New York City. The Radio City Rockettes and The Nutcracker are a must. We’ve done breakfast with Santa at Rock Center almost every year, which is such a treat.


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. You are the “go-to” mom on Instagram for city living. What do you do to unwind and take a breather from the hustle and bustle? Since our lives are the main content of my blog, I seldom have an opportunity to unwind. We are always on the go, but that’s OK because it’s our norm. That said, I LOVE to travel and will go anywhere, anytime, whenever possible. Escaping the city on the weekend and discovering new places with my family is something I thoroughly enjoy, though New York still remains my favorite place in the world. Living here for so long somehow doesn’t always feel like a hustle and bustle. It’s just New York! 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.

which don’t work for me. Today, I’m part of this great community in New York where we all do our best to juggle our families, our businesses and everything that comes along with it.

How do you keep on top of what’s hot in the city? Any new spots or discoveries we should be checking out? I’m obsessed with staying in the know, so I subscribe to daily emails on what’s hot and happening, and read lots of magazines, like yours! Now that Stroller in the City is well established, we get emails from new pop-ups on the daily, and do our best to get to each and every one, so we can deliver the coolest and newest places for our readers to check out.

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. My mom jokes that I used to check the price tags when out shopping with her. So when it came time for college, it was only natural that I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology, here in New York City. After college, I worked in a few showrooms before starting my own. 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

Have you always been a New Yorker? Is there any other city you’d want to live in? I grew up 20 minutes outside of New York City, but always dreamed of living in Manhattan. My parents both worked in New York City, and I remember telling them we should sell our home and move into a city apartment. Naturally, they thought I was insane, but now I’m living my dream. New York City is the greatest city in the world, and no matter where in the world I travel, I still get all the flutters when I come back home and fly over the skyline, or just come through the tunnel to see all the big buildings. I just love everything

New York Family | December 2019

about it. Honestly, I can say, I never want to live anywhere else. Visit, yes, but not live! With the holidays coming up, do you have any special traditions that you love during the season? I love everything about the holidays, and the traditions, old and new that we’ve implemented as a family! 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 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 and hearing their comments when they experience something or someplace new and exciting. I didn’t travel much as a child or even early in my adult years, so there are way too many places in this world that I need to see, and want my children to see as well. But 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. What are some of your tips to keeping the relationship alive with your husband? What do you both enjoy doing when it’s just you two? Jason and I both travel for work and three kids with packed agendas can sometimes be difficult, to say the least. My husband and I have very different careers and schedules, but we make it a point to schedule dates and social outings. Going out to dinner and being able to sit across from one another, uninterrupted, goes a long way to letting us reconnect again. A couple of years ago, my husband and I started taking at least one trip per year sans kids. Every couple needs that much needed grown up time, to make their relationship a priority, over the craziness of homework and after-school activities. And I think communication is key, even if

Photo by Yumi Matsuo

my husband is off filming over 3,000 miles away, he still knows what’s happening in our world! 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 |



It’s Camp Fair Time! It might seem early to start thinking about camp, but with the holidays right on the horizon, it will be 2020 before you know it! We’ve got the perfect way to get on top of your summer camp research now: by attending one of New York Family’s Camp Fairs, held at convenient locations all over the city. Our Camp Fairs are totally free events that gather dozens of the best day, sleepaway and specialty camps together in one spot, allowing you to have one-onone convos with camp directors. You


New York Family | December 2019

can ask the Directors about their camp philosophy, program information, dates, session lengths, and most importantly, whether their camp will be the best fit for your kid. Our two Camp Fairs in December will be held on the Upper East and Upper West sides. Registration is encouraged as places are limited.

• December 8th at Basis Independent School, Manhattan on the Upper West Side, 12pm – 3pm

Upcoming Camp Fairs:

Just head to for further details and to reserve your spot, now.

• December 7th at St. Jean Baptiste High School on the Upper East Side, 12pm – 3pm

• January 25th at The Spence School on the Upper East Side, 12pm – 3pm • January 26th at Congregation Rodeph Sholom on the Upper West Side, 12pm – 3pm

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 |

December 2019 |


neighborhood guide

DUMBO with Kids Exploring Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass By IngrId PodwIl


he funny thing about living in New York is that you may know about a special nook but not really know what to do there with the family! DUMBO is one of those neighborhoods where you need an insider to share with you all the cool places. First, Dumbo is gorgeous. It sits along the water with a breathtaking view of the skyline. As a mom and resident of the area, I love that there is never a lack of entertainment that can accommodate my young son. For those who don’t live there, it is easy to get to by train or by ferry. Visitors can take the 2 or 3 trains to Clark street, the A or C trains to High Street, or the F train to York Street to access the neighborhood. The Jay-Street Metrotech train station is a trek from the area, but offers an elevator for those with strollers and is served by the A, C, F and R trains. Pier 1 is a ferry stop in the heart of the neighborhood that offers stair-free access from various parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Eat & Drink From amazing bagels and pizza, to hole-inthe-wall delis with the world’s best bacon egg and cheese sandwiches to fine dining experiences, there is something for everyone in DUMBO.

Westville Dumbo

American restaurant Westville Dumbo, located at 81 Washington Street, offers filling food made with fresh ingredients. From avocado tacos to truffle Parmesan fries, their long menu ensures there is a dish for every palate. The restaurant is on the ground floor and has plenty of open space, high chairs and a handicap restroom that has space for you to change a diaper. The restaurant opens at 9 am Monday through Friday and 10 am on Saturday and Sunday, and stays open until 10 pm. the Osprey

For dining right along the East River, The Osprey in Brooklyn Bridge Park is just a step away from waterfront views. Its fare includes a range of American dishes, such


New York Family | December 2019

as Nantucket Scallops or Long Island Duck. It opens early for breakfast and lunch and closes from 3 or 4 pm, depending on the day, until 5:30 pm before dinnertime. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, which offers luxurious lodging and a full-service spa on the cellar floor. The restrooms downstairs are accessible by elevator and include a handicap stall. Cecconi’s Dumbo

Cecconi’s Dumbo at 55 Water Street features a gourmet Italian menu and an extensive cocktail and wine menu. Restaurantgoers can wine and dine while gazing over the water at the Manhattan skyline from the outdoor tables. While the restaurant bathroom does not include a changing table, there is a restroom open to the public in the same building that parents can use, should they need access to a changing table. It is open until 11 pm on most nights.

Stefano Giovannini

Jacques torres

The small Jacques Torres chocolate shop at 66 Water Street sits across a cobblestone street, making it a gorgeous spot for a date night or dessert. Jacques Torres is best known for its unique bonbon assortments, including champagne, fresh coconut, cappuccino and pineapple pastis flavored chocolates. The doors are open from 9 am to 8 pm every day except Sunday, when the shop is open from 10 am to 6 pm. ShOp The opportunity to shop in New York seems to be around every corner, and stores focused on kids’ clothing and toys are abundant, especially in DUMBO. two kids and a Dog

On 65 Pearl Street, Two Kids and a Dog offers children’s toys and clothing from name brands, including Patagonia and Rylee + Cru. The store is a perfect stop for birthday gifts, serving newborns through age 10 until 7 pm every day. Started by two New York City parents, the store is a great option for someone looking for curated apparel in a boutique setting.

Egg new York

Egg New York at 72 Jay Street features their own brand of chic clothing for babies, toddlers and older kids. The store has multiple locations, including others in New York City and various states across the U.S. Its DUMBO location is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily. Dumbo Baby

Just steps away from Egg New York, clothing boutique Dumbo Baby offers an additional range of baby clothing at 68 Jay Street.

the playground is still close to the beautiful view of the water at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Aside from designated playgrounds, there are several grassy lawns to spread out on with a blanket and a picnic basket. Jane’s Carousel

Brooklyn Bridge Park offers activities for the winter as well, with Jane’s Carousel on Old Dock Street housed in glass walls to allow for warmth and a view of the water. The wooden carousel features 48 horses for older babies and kids to sit on and sleigh benches for parents to ride with younger babies. Winter hours, held until May 17, 2020 are Thursday through Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm and tickets are just $2. Recess d.u.m.b.o.

For more freedom of movement, Recess d.u.m.b.o. at 81 Washington Street offers $30 drop-in play sessions and $40 classes with sibling discounts. Activities run from 9 am to 5pm on weekdays and 9 am to 11:30 am on weekends. In addition to its spacious play areas with slides and climbing structures, the location has various classes for toddlers including acting, yoga, dance and preschool prep. Babies can attend music classes along with their older peers. The little Gym of DUMBO

Another play space geared toward movement is The Little Gym of DUMBO at 75 Front Street. The gymnasium has classes at various times for babies 4 months and up at $37 per class. Its classes include a range of activities, from parent and child movement courses, pre-k and grade school gymnastics to dance. Both Recess d.u.m.b.o. and The Little Gym offer birthday party packages for toddlers and kids. area 53

Jane’s Carousel in DUMBO offers spectacular views and an old-fashioned ride. Play Whether you’re a Brooklyn local or on vacation, kids and babies are most excited by play time. DUMBO offers plenty of space to play and entertaining activities for all ages, such as numerous gyms with open play hours and classes for more structured fun. Brooklyn Bridge Park

In the summer months, kids can run around

and swing at a number of playgrounds at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Playgrounds are open from dawn until dusk, and the park path along the water is open all night long. The Pier 1 Playground offers small bucket swings for babies and climbing structures suited for young children, with a view of the New York City skyline for parents to enjoy. Also in the park, the Main Street Playground has larger stairs to climb for older kids, and

Older kids and teens can enjoy laser and archery tag at Area 53’s DUMBO location at 53 Bridge Street. While there is no age restriction for laser tag, there is a height requirement of 3’4”. For archery tag, players must be at least 12 years old. A day at Area 53 makes for an energizing birthday party experience or simply a fun family activity on a weekend. To enjoy Area 53, attendees must book a time slot. That wraps up our top spots for dining, shopping and entertainment in DUMBO! The neighborhood is also walking distance from other areas full of entertainment such as Brooklyn Heights and Vinegar Hill. December 2019 |



A Getaway to Bermuda The Fairmont Southampton offers a pink-sand paradise just two hours from NYC By Jana Beauchamp


or those of you who have dreamed of transporting your family to paradise a simple hop, skip and jump away, we say no problem. Welcome to Bermuda, where you can sink your toes into the famous, pink sand, with just a two-hour flight away from NYC. With its proximity to the East Coast and Zika-free zone, Bermuda is a destination to return to over and over again. For family-friendly Bermuda bliss, head straight to the Fairmont Southampton. At this expansive resort (the largest on the island), everything is kid-friendly, like the pools, beach club, golf, and dining at nearly a dozen restaurants. Offering some of the largest guestrooms in Bermuda, Fairmont Southampton features 593 spacious accommodations that are ideal for families from signature suites, one- and two-bedroom suites, and even duplex and penthouse suites. We felt right at home and loved that the suites are light and bright, and capture the spirit of Bermuda. And we especially enjoyed that the rooms offer everything families could need (cribs, rollaway beds, chocolate milk via room service, etc.) and the breathtaking Bermuda views from the private balcony. I wish we could spend all day, every day at the resort’s private, oceanfront beach club. We snorkeled, enjoyed water sports, and played with larger-than-life-sized floats (like dolphins and unicorns) in the ocean. As the sparkling, turquoise sea splashed at our toes in the pristine pink sand, we smiled with delight and ran to play in the waves. We only paused to soak in the moment and admire this most beautiful beach. We also spent lots of quality time at the resort pool. It is the main attraction for the kids (and parents can get some beverages and R&R poolside). While some grown-ups chose to relax, we kept busy going down the waterslide (the largest and only one in Bermuda!) and splashing in the fountain


New York Family | December 2019

The Fairmont Southampton, the largest resort in Bermuda, offers loads of family-friendly fun. at the kiddie pool with the little loved ones. There is also a poolside restaurant, The Burger Bar at Wickets, serving up pool lunch

like burgers and salads and shakes so the kids could play, and everyone can eat so as not to miss a minute of the action.

The resort has a daily schedule of fantastic activities for families that is chock full-on fun! We enjoyed special activities like movies at night, campfires and s’ mores, bingo, and beach BBQs and parties! But if

you want some quality time with your bad self, drop the little ones at the Explorers Camp Kids’ Club complete with toys, a rock climbing wall, endless activities, and even nighttime stargazing and s’ mores. Then

you can play golf, unwind at the Willow Stream Spa, or visit the neighboring, famous Horseshoe Bay beach. You can’t go wrong! After an afternoon by the ocean and pool, enjoy a fine dockside dining experience at the Waterlot Inn, complete with a stunning setting and sumptuous steaks (try the trio if you can’t decide). The next day, experience the resort’s private beach club with full beach service and delectable dining at the Ocean Club. You’ll feel like you’re practically dining in the ocean with food just as fresh to match. For dining, the Fairmont Southampton could even please kiddos’ particular palates and make mommy and daddy’s taste buds dance, too. Not an easy feat. Bermuda may be a small island, but it offers a vast array of activities. Be sure to visit the island’s most popular attraction, the Crystal Caves. The crystal chandeliers and pristine underground pools were the real-life inspiration for Fraggle Rock. Stop by the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo on your way back to the resort. In season, celebrate the Harbor Nights in Hamilton with a dinner on Front Street overlooking the action, and then head back down to the street to join the party and mingle with the local artisans, taking home a special piece of Bermuda like the unique Alexandra Mosher pink sand jewelry. At the Royal Naval Dockyard, beware of the Bermuda Triangle and focus on the clay works, glass blowing, and rum cake making. We enjoyed a requisite visit to the Frog and Onion Pub and then had the experience of a lifetime at Dolphin Quest Bermuda at the National Museum of Bermuda. We made memories to treasure forever at Dolphin Quest, where we met and interacted with dolphins. We got up-close and personal, and the kids had infinite fun dancing with the dolphins and interacting and swimming with them and even stealing a kiss. We all learned ways we can protect dolphins in the wild, where they need our help now more than ever. We also learned valuable lessons about helping to protect the dolphins and our oceans. Fairmont Southampton has a new allinclusive package available through winter 2020. Enjoy incredible value where breakfast, lunch, dinner, and beverages are included at their extensive dining options. You’ll want to book your return trip now for the most Bermuda-ful days! Fairmont Southampton December 2019 |


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


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


New York 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 |


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


New York 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 ♦ December 2019 |


family fun







Great Kid-Friendly December Events in Manhattan By mia salas

NYCRUNS COCOA CLASSIC 5K & 10K December 1 Get your exercise in before the delicious sweets and eats of the holiday season with this 5K and 10K. 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, so you can run the race as a family. $40 until online registration closes, $50 on race day, 9 am start time, registration opens at 7:30 am. Riverside Park, 108th Street and Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10025,

WINTER’S EVE December 2 Don’t miss out on New York’s largest holiday festival, Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square! Enjoy live entertainment by several world-class performance groups, food tastings, including hot soups, drinks, and desserts from the Upper West Side’s top local kitchens, and the tree lighting ceremony. Winter’s Eve also has kid-friendly activities, music, and holiday crafts. And be sure to donate a new or gently used coat to support

Winter’s Eve’s charitable partner, New York Cares and their winter coat drive. Free, 5:30-9 pm. Select indoor venues and along sidewalks of Lincoln Square, from The Shops at Columbus Circle to 70th Street, in and around Broadway, New York, NY,

ROCKEFELLER TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY December 4 Gather around Rockefeller Center to watch the annual lighting on the enormous and exquisite Christmas tree! For over eight decades, the Rockefeller tree and holiday decor have been an iconic symbol of the holiday season. The tree stays lit through early 2020, and on Christmas day, the lights shine for a full 24 hours. Kick off the holidays with the tree lighting, and get plenty of photos in front of the Rockefeller tree for your holiday cards. Free, 8-10 pm. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112,

HOT COCOA MUG PAINTING December 7-8 Get crafty and creative at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan! Paint a mug for sipping hot cocoa this winter. Art, Artists & You invites kids ages 6 and up to this family craft to get ready for the exciting holiday season. Due to limited space, the event requires that you sign-up in the lobby one hour before. Free with museum admission, 2 pm and 3 pm. 212 West 83rd St., New York, NY 10024,

BECAUSE I SAY SO December 12-22 Calling all little ones ages 3 to 5 for an exciting theater performance that gets kids thinking! Colorfully-clad performers in tracksuits ask the question: What if kids had absolute agency? This Swedish theater company, through creativity and imagination, will see and move through the world as little ones do. $20, various times at 10 am, 1 pm, and 4 pm, 35-minute show. 229 West 42nd St., New York, NY 10036,


Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square on December 2 is the city’s largest holiday festival.


New York Family | December 2019

December 13 This year’s Jingle Ball lineup is not one

Anna Drvnik

to be missed. The annual holiday pop celebration brings together multiple singers: Taylor Swift, Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, Halsey, 5SOS, Niall Horan, Lizzo, Dan + Shay, and more. If your little ones are not so little anymore and are fans of these pop icons, head to Jingle Ball this holiday season for live music, dancing, and holiday cheer. Ticket prices vary per seat, 7 pm. Madison Square Garden, 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001,

ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH COOKIE WALK December 14-15 Browse 75 cookie varieties at the Annual St. Nicholas Cookie Walk! Take a stroll through the tables of over 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. Cookie flavors include Macadamia Dreams, Lemon Ricotta, Rugelach, Hunka Hunka Chocolate, and so many more. Two sizes of boxes: $20 and $35, photo booth with Santa $5, 11 am-4 pm on Dec. 14 and 12-3 pm on Dec. 15. 288 East 10th St., New York, NY 10009,

ORIGAMI FOLDING FUN SESSIONS December 15 In theme with the Origami Holiday Tree, the American Museum of Natural History hosts origami folding workshops for all ages. These special origami classes come in all levels and are taught by highly skilled teachers. We recommend

the Family Fun: Holiday Models session for kids ages 5 and up. Museum members $20 per class or $35 for two classes, non-members $35 per class, morning classes 10:30 am-12:30 pm, afternoon classes 2:30-4:30 pm. 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5102,

“Because I Say So” offers a kid’s perspective of the world at the New Victory Theater from December 12 to 22.

WINTER FAMILY FAIR December 15 Check out the original manuscript of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the museum’s Winter Family Fair! Kids ages 3 to 14 will meet Dickens, Scrooge, Cratchit, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. There will also be magicians, musicians, and kid-friendly arts and crafts inspired by the museum’s exhibits. Pop into J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library for more literary inspiration and fun. Free with museum admission, 2-4:30 pm. The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016,

COOKIES & MILK FOR SANTA WORKSHOP December 23 Celebrate Christmas Eve by baking cookies for Santa Claus and his reindeer at Taste Buds Kitchen. Mini chefs, ages 5 to 8, and their caregivers will bake Taste Buds Kitchen’s signature cookies with their own holiday twist and a milkshake with fresh whipped cream on the side. You’ll leave with a box of custom cookies ready for Santa’s arrival! $45 per child with one caregiver, 4:30-5:30 pm. 109 West 27th St., New York, NY 10001, December 2019 |


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,

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,

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


New York 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

narrators included Alan Cumming in 2018 and Jane Krakowski in 2017. Save the date for this wintery, familyfriendly event. Free, 6 pm. Bryant Park, 6th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, New York, NY 10018,

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,

HOLIDAY ON THE HUDSON December 7 You might remember the

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,

Summer on the Hudson kid-friendly programs from the warmer months. Well 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,

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’s 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 Farmhouse

Museum, 5816 Clarendon Road, Brooklyn, NY 11203,

HOLIDAY COOKIES & CRAFTS December 14 Get crafty and creative at this walkin family workshop! Work together as a family to design holiday decor celebrating the winter season. There will also be hot cocoa and cookies to sip and munch on as you create. Santa will even make an appearance during the workshop for little ones to meet & greet. Kids $5, $15 maximum per family, 12-2 pm. Bayside Historical Society, 308 Totten Ave., Bayside, Queens, NY 11359,

KUPFERBERG PRESENTS: THE NUTCRACKER December 15 A classic holiday favorite, The Nutcracker takes the stage at Kupferberg Center for the Arts. Follow a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers, and an army of mice. 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, 15349 Reeves Ave., Flushing, Queens, NY 11367,

Shop small for unique gifts and meet local makers at the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar, running on the first three Sundays on December in Gowanus. MELROSE PARRANDA December 21 Led by the Bronx Music Heritage Center, join the parranda, the Puerto Rican tradition involving processions of carolers, for a musical parade through Melrose. The parade will make stops at different casitas, the little houses that resemble those on the countryside in Puerto Rico, and conclude at the casita renowned for its musical legacy, “La Casita de Chema”. With special guests Jorge Vázquez and Matthew Gonzalez, along with Grammy-nominated musician Bobby Sanabria, Melrose Parranda is sure to be a lively, energetic, and exciting cultural event for families.

Free, 7 pm. Meet at Bronx Commons, 443 East 162nd St., Bronx, NY 10451,

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

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December 2019 |



The Magic of New York The gift of giving is ultimately the best present of all BY JANA BEAUCHAMP


s there a true definition or meaning of the holidays in NYC? Do you believe in magic? For families who need to see and do it all, there is no place more magical than New York City for the holidays. While there are always a wealth of amazing opportunities and experiences to keep us moving at a fast and furious pace in NYC, the holiday season is even more supercharged. It is filled with holiday cheer, special limited time holiday engagements,


New York Family | December 2019

seasonal parties, and oh so much to celebrate. We are all well-aware that the true meaning of the holidays is not a VIP ticket to the hottest show in town or the biggest present under the tree but it is easy to get caught up in this hoopla. The holidays make me thankful for the wealth of special, seasonal events and enchanting experiences that present opportunities to savor treasured time with beloved family and friends, enjoy these magical moments, and make lasting memories. They say there’s no place like home for

the holidays and to me home is wherever my family is together. And what better place to kick off the holiday season than New York! Everyone has their own New York state of mind and that’s why everyone’s favorite things about the city are never the same. My home away from home is where I am actively involved in the New York Junior League (NYJL). Our love for New York City and the people who call it home are at the heart of all we do. We believe that all women, children, and families should have equal opportunity, the resources to unlock their potential, and the structures to support them. I vividly remember the first snowy winter we had. There was lots of excitement and anticipation in the air. While my kids ran out to play and catch a snowflake on their tongue they could relish in the pure bliss of childhood. Many others worried

about travel plans and navigating through the snow, but the New York City homeless population had to deal with this weather in a much more serious capacity. On that cold night, Covenant House President Kevin Ryan tweeted “Brutally cold night. Direct homeless youth in NYC to @CovenantHouse We’ll make room.” The Covenant House New York, a community partner of the NYJL, serves more than 400 homeless youth each day – providing food, shelter, and other basic needs and services through a variety of custom-fit programs. This is where the NYJL Rights of Passage committee provides these youth with basic life skills workshops to help them along their path at Covenant House and beyond. Working diligently alongside more than 50 community partners, NYJL members deliver impactful programs to our city’s most vulnerable populations. I was fortunate to partake in holiday happenings we host for many community partners. At one celebration for young children the donated school supplies and toys may be the only gifts of the season that these kids receive.

I always wish I could give my kids more of what they want, but the best gift I can give them is not to let them have too much. I want them to have perspective and to give thanks. Watching their eyes light up with pure joy is infectious and makes you want to do more and more. So my family did more. Whether making holiday cards for veterans overseas or to thank helpers in our

community, donating new or gently used toys and essentials to those who need them more than us, dropping off fun and festive items for a holiday bazaar for senior citizens, or ensuring others can enjoy a proper holiday feast by donating food, we make this part of our holiday tradition and this brings out our best holiday spirit. My kids are fortunate to have what they need (and much of what they want) at the holidays. I always wish I could give them more of what they want (within reason of course) but the best gift I can give them is not to let them have too much. I want them to have perspective and to give thanks. Giving is better than receiving and I will be giving them the world when we do more to help others, especially if we do it together as a family. My colleague always says that the beauty of New York is that you make it your own and I want to help make our New York City a better place for its children and families at the holidays and always. I hope many others will do the same this season and create some real holiday magic!

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December 2019 |


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 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 66

New York Family | December 2019

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