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February 2021


Thinking Thinkingof of Changing Changing Schools? Schools? Consider Considera aCatholic Catholic education educationfor foryour yourchild. child.

Whether learning from home class, our schoolsand andhearts heartsare areopen! open! Whether learning from home oror inin class, our schools you interested helping your child succeedacademically academicallyinina acaring, caring, AreAre you interested in in helping your child succeed structured and safe environment? moving newhome? home?If Ifso,so,now nowisisa agood good structured and safe environment? OrOr moving toto a anew time invest a Catholic education. Catholic schoolsprovide providea acurriculum curriculum time to to invest in in a Catholic education. Catholic schools based faith, respect, and service others. Andour ourMath/ELA Math/ELAproficiency proficiencytest test based onon faith, respect, and service toto others. And scores have outpaced New York public schools eachofofthe thelast lastfive fiveyears. years. scores have outpaced New York public schools forforeach Financial Assistance available most schools;families familieswho whoapply applyearly earlyhave have Financial Assistance is is available atat most schools; better chances receiving award. better chances of of receiving anan award. 2021-22 online admissions open Bronxschools! schools! 2021-22 online admissions areare open forfor allall Bronx Apply online CatholicSchoolsNY.org/apply arrange a VirtualVisit. Visit.We Weinvite inviteyou you Apply online at at CatholicSchoolsNY.org/apply oror arrange a Virtual value a Catholic education: reserve your spotatatone oneofofthe theupcoming upcoming to to seesee thethe value of of a Catholic education: reserve your spot VIRTUAL Visit information sessions being hosted participatingschools. schools. VIRTUAL Visit information sessions being hosted byby participating

APPLYNOW! NOW! APPLY CatholicSchoolsNY.org/apply CatholicSchoolsNY.org/apply callour ourbilingual bilingualhelpline: helpline: ororcall (646)794-2885 794-2885 (646)

State of the Art Dental Facility • Kid Friendly

We Welcome Little Smiles! Dr. Dionne Finlay, Pediatric Dentist Dr. Jennifer Dang, Orthodontist

2100 Bartow Ave., Suite 246 Bay Plaza, Coop City Next to AMC & Dallas BBQ

February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



February 2021 NewYorkFamily.com

pg. 18

pg. 12 pg. 26

pg. 14

pg. 28


Stories & columns

26 | Family Day Out 11 of the best spots to go snow tubing

6 | Editor’s Note February - Love notes

28 | Melissa Ben-Ishay — A Sweet Take After Sour Year The mini cupcake empire’s creator on comfort zones, resilience, and why her team means everything to her

10 | Tech Apps that help moms with self-care 12 | Beauty 5 products that can help you with mask breakouts and skincare 14 | Education Everything you need to know about Catholic Schools in 2021 30 | Mom Stories What raising a child with Autism looks like for me

Camps 18 | Camp Safety Covid-19 safety changes for summer camps 31 | Virtual Summer Camp Fairs

Directories 20 | Charter School Listings

on the Cover Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com Make-up by: Jenn Dockendorf | jenndock.com Produced by: Donna Duarte-Ladd Written by: Cris Pearlstein | crispearlstein.com

(sign-up for Cris’s newsletter at crispearlstein.com!)


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

Parents & Teachers: Parents & Teachers: partners in education partners in education

Apply today at Apply today at SuccessAcademies.org SuccessAcademies.org Apply to Success Academy today Apply to Success Academy today ApplyToSA.org ApplyToSA.org Outstanding, Outstanding, free free public public education education February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family Outstanding, free public education


Editor’s Note

NewYorkFamily.com Publisher: Clifford Luster Executive Editor: Donna Duarte-Ladd Digital Editor: Katarina Avendaño Senior Adviser: Susan Weiss Digital Director: Erik Bliss Partnership Managers: Erin Brof, Mary Cassidy, Shelli Goldberg-Peck Ad Operations Manager: Rosalia Bobé Art Director: Leah Mitch Web Developer: Sylvan Migdal Graphic Designers: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti Editorial Contributors: Jana Beauchamp, Mia Salas Nina Gallo Photography

February — Love Notes It is hard to believe we are already into the second month of 2021. We are happy for those who have received vaccines and hoping more are on their way for all who are patiently waiting. Looking into Catholic schools? We have an update on how Catholic Schools (page 14) are ensuring that students receive the best education while safely weathering this pandemic. Speaking of making it work, New York Family has moved our popular camp fairs to Free Virtual Camp Fairs. Much like speed dating for parents, our virtual fairs will find the right camp for your kids. Register now, (page 31)!

While parents still are juggling much these days, taking care of yourself needs to be top on the list of things to do. We have five apps that will help you on giving yourself some virtual Self-Care (page 10). Lastly, hello, it’s February, and we have Melissa Ben-Ishay, founder and CEO of our favorite cupcakes, Baked by Melissa (page 28), on this month’s cover. Contributor and writer Cris Pearlstein (crispearlstein.com) shares on this amazing mom, co-founder, and CEO of the best mini cupcakes in NYC.

Donna Ladd Executive Editor

Editorial Interns: Sabrina Lee, Augostina Mallous, Brooke Thompson

Contact Information

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New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC.

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


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

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St. Helena Elementary School A Total School Program Virtual Tour available on our website. • Full Day UPK • Schedule: 8:00 am to 2:35 pm • Breakfast Program Available (beginning at 7:00 am) • After School Programs to 6:00 pm (FREE for grades 6, 7 & 8) • Academics - According to New York State Board of Regents Requirements • Foreign Language Instruction in grades K-8 • Accredited by AdvancEd • 2 to 1 ratio of laptops to students • CYO Sports, National Junior Honor Society • Last year our 8th Graders earned $300,000 in H.S. Scholorships

A Safe Passage Through Childhood/A Solid Religious Foundation As seen in the Daily News on December 19, 2006 - Catholic school keeps faiths “All God’s children” welcome “There is a wonderful family atmosphere here. In the Parkchester area, you have all these faiths. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor is Muslim or Catholic. They’re still your neighbor.” — Richard Meller,

2050 Benedict Ave.

School entrance on Benedict Avenue between Pugsley Ave. & Olmstead Ave.

Bronx, NY 10462 718-892-3234


February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family




To provide a rigorous college readiness program and career preparatory learning environment that provides students with a foundation of the necessary skills to pursue college or a career in the architecture, engineering, and the construction industries.


• 98% Graduation Rate • Rigorous college course sequence that allows students to earn college credits while attending AECI. • Architectural Drawing, Drafting, Revit, and AutoCad classes prepare students for certification exams in the architecture field. • Robust Internships and partnerships provide our students with scholarships in the architecture field. • Six counselors on staff to support whole student development. • AECI Core Values of Perseverance, Achievement, Integrity and Respect develop our students into young professionals.


• Use of UV Lighting to disinfect classrooms daily • HEPA Air Filtration units utilized in all AECI classrooms PPE Equipment (hand sanitizer, masks, disinfectant wipes) provided daily • Digital temperature scanning performed daily • Tri-Fold screens utilized at every student desk • Every student provided with a Chromebook and Wifi connectivity device to support our hybrid learning model


Community School District 7, South Bronx 838 Brook Avenue, Bronx NY 10451

GRADUATION 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020

RATE 97% 95% 95% 98%


LEARN ABOUT AECI / IN PERSON SCHOOL TOURS AVAILABLE BY APPOINTMENT Contact Ms. Harrigan at 646-400-5566 x. 3054 admissions@aecicharterhs.org WWW.AECICHARTERHS.ORG


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021




Escuela Secundaria Autónoma de la Ciudad de Nueva York para la Ingeniería Arquitectónica y las Industrias de la Construcción MISIÓN:

Proporcionar un programa riguroso de preparación para la universidad y un entorno de aprendizaje preparatorio para la carrera que brinde a los estudiantes una base de las habilidades necesarias para seguir la universidad o una carrera en las industrias de arquitectura, ingeniería y construcción.


• Tasa de graduación del 98% • Secuencia de cursos universitarios rigurosos que permite a los estudiantes obtener créditos universitarios mientras asisten a AECI • Las clases de dibujo arquitectónico, dibujo, Revit y AutoCad preparan a los estudiantes para los exámenes de certificación en el campo de la arquitectura. • Prácticas sólidas y las asociaciones brindan a nuestros estudiantes las herramientas necesarias en el campo de la arquitectura. • Seis consejeras disponibles en el personal para apoyar el desarrollo integral del estudiante. • Los valores fundamentales de AECI de perseverancia, logros, integridad y respeto convierten a nuestros estudiantes en jóvenes profesionales.


• Uso de iluminación ultravioleta para desinfectar los salones de clases a diario • Unidades de filtración de aire HEPA utilizadas en todas los clases en AECI • Equipo de EPP (desinfectante de manos, mascarillas y toallitas desinfectantes) proporcionado diariamente • Escaneo de temperatura digital realizado diariamente • Pantallas de tres pliegues utilizadas en todos los escritorios • Cada estudiante se proporciona una computadora Chromebook y conectividad wifi dispositivo para apoyar nuestro modelo de aprendizaje híbrido


Distrito Escolar Comunitario 7, South Bronx 838 Brook Avenue, Bronx NY 10451

GRADUATION 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020

RATE 97% 95% 95% 98%


PARA MÁS INFORMACIÓN SOBRE AECI / VISITAS ESCOLARES EN PERSONA DISPONIBLE – CON CITA PREVIA Comuníquese con la Sra. Harrigan al 646-400-5566 x. 3054 admissions@aecicharterhs.org WWW.AECICHARTERHS.ORG


WWW.TWITTER.COM/AECINYC February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



Apps That Help Moms with Self-Care By Donna Duarte-LaDD


hether you are an introvert or an extrovert many mothers have shared that they feel disconnected from how we lived life a year ago. While virtual life can be both a blessing and a curse, it can also serve as a lifeline. Here are 5 apps that help focus on mental health, gratitude, or can serve as a tool to help you get through the day. Daily Self-Care: Shine Founded by two former work colleagues who realized that the support they provided to each other was instrumental. This support was “everything,” as they state on Shine, and they wanted to help more people. The Shine premium account offers many tiers of daily support. Start your morning with the ‘Daily Shine,’ a 9-minute breathing exercise that sets an intention such as helping you when life throws you a curveball. Or working on letting go of the past. You can ‘check-in’ for the day and click on the mood you are currently feeling or click on gratitude. Depending on your perspective, the app will provide you the tools to help your work through this feeling. For example, when I clicked that COVID19 was a worry, I was presented with a helpful article on “How to Build a Routine during the Pandemic.” The app offers a library of meditations (800 plus) from some pretty cool people covering topics that affect many mothers, such a COVID-19, Black Mental Health, and a biggie for moms, sleep. With gentle nudging from Shine, it will be suggested to write out a helpful mantra for the day or read or post it on the community board. Gratitude Journal: Presently If you own an Android and are looking to document what you are grateful for this year, then you may want to try Presently. This free app (and ad-free, whoo hoo) lets you record daily entries as well as a jaunt down past gratitudes. As busy parents know, it is easy to drop off from self-care; you can set helpful daily reminders to keep your practice going. It will also nudge you to share your thoughts by presenting you with an array of questions that get the brain and heart reflecting. You can treat Presently as your personal diary and keep your entries to yourself or share them with others. The app allows you to import and export entries.


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

Meditation & Yoga Support: Insight Timer If anxiety or lack of sleep has been an issue for you, the Insight Timer app is a free app that has become quite popular. Insight Timer shares yoga, meditation, and live sessions that can help with sleep and anxiety. There is even a mediation guide the kids can join in on from the wildly optimistic and happy Goldie Hawn, “Keep Your MindUP For Your Brain”. . One of my personal favorite meditations is from the author and wellness consultant Alexander Elle “Re-Centering In Times Of Uncertainty.” If you would like to take your practice to the next level by having access to their library of micro-courses, you can sign up for a subscription that is $60 for the year. Vision Boarding: Canva Vision Boarding is when you create a ‘board’ that helps you set goals for the future. It is best to set a realistic number of goals, dig into old magazines, cut out words and images. A modern approach would be to design an

’a board’ via an app. Whether you craft on paper or your device, your board should feel inspirational and aspirational. Canva is free and offers fun fonts; using an array of templates, and you can add images, edit, change up with gorgeous filters, icons, and shapes. The app is free, but you are charged for any premium elements you add to your design. You can download in PNG, JPG, and PDF formats. Mood Self-Care: MindDoc If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or an eating disorder- MindDoc is a selfmanagement app that offers insights and monitors your mood. When many people do not have as many human connections as we had pre-pandemic- MindDoc can be a useful tool in self-management for mental health disorders. Not to replace a therapist or a psychologist, this app is when you need to check in with your feelings, and helpful words and calm help you. The app costs anywhere from $4.49 a month. MindDoc ranges from $24.99 to $47.99 a year.


SS ,







St. Raymond Elementary School OWLEDGE

Where Your Child Is Part of Our Family FO

We offer full-day academic programs for Pre-K3 through Grade 8, advanced level math and science, honors and remediation programs, computer and science labs, sports, a fitness center, and a broad array of extracurricular activities.





Now accepting online applications for the 2021-2022 school year! Visit www.straymondelementary.org/online-application and click to apply online!

SS ,














St. Raymond Elementary School Fr. James Cruz, Pastor | Eugene Scanlon, Interim Principal 2380 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx, NY 10462

718-597-3232 • www.straymondelementary.org

St. Catharine Academy: Preparing Young Women for College Success, Leadership, and Engagement in the World Community

Core Values the SCA Way: • Educational Excellence through our rigorous academic curriculum (AP courses, Regents courses, Academic honors) • Compassion & Service • Concern for Women & Women’s Issues • World Vision & Responsibility • Spirituality Growth • Collaboration

“There could be no work more productive of good society ... then the careful instruction of women.” - Catherine McAuley

St. Catharine Academy 2250 Williamsbridge Road, Bronx N.Y. 10469 • 718-882-2882 • www.scahs.org

We welcome young women of all faiths and backgrounds

February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



Mask� & Y�ur Skin 5 products that can help with the outbreaks and irritation BY DONNA DUARTE�LADD


earing masks are necessary, and while we do our part during the Covid-19 pandemic by wearing these safety measures, some of us are breaking out. According to Dr. Gretchen Frieling of GFaceMD, these breakouts are called “Maskne.” Dr. Frieling shares, “Maskne,” or mechanical acne, is multifactorial and a major problem with the current pandemic. The major contributors include warm to hot temperatures of the skin, damp skin from saliva and moisture retention under the mask, and the pressure of the mask on the skin. The warmth under the skin can lead to clogging of pores and acne since higher temperatures are a breeding ground for bacteria.” While how long we will be wearing these safety essentials is unknown, one thing we can update is our skincare routine. Dr. Frieling concurs, “A solid daily skincare routine is paramount to skin health in mask-wearing times.”

Pimples: Indie Lee Banish Solution

This clarifying and soothing solution contains ingredients that draw out impurities (the yuk) and soaks up oil. Zinc Oxide helps nourish the skin (something many of us need from wearing masks for hours) and minimizes dryness. One bottle usually lasts me a year, but I am now on my second bottle since the pandemic. I am not a beauty expert, just a mom who tests beauty products for work, and I love this product. $21 Exfoliating: Revision Finishing Touch

Finishing touch is beautiful exfoliation scrub that will remove dead skin cells


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

with ingredients such as Polynesian Black Volcanic Sand (Silica) and ultra-fine Pumice. It leaves the skin hydrated but also receptive for intensive hydration. It is best for those with oily and acne-prone skin, suffering from maskne. $48 For Chafing and Redness: CeraVe Healing Ointment

If you have found that you are suffering from chafing and redness while you do not have breakouts, this, unfortunately, is common. Dr. Frieling says, Masks also absorb natural oils from the skin, which can cause irritation. When washing masks, harsh detergents

can also cause redness, irritation, and scaliness, especially if you already have sensitive skin.” The irritation and redness the doctor speaks of are not only annoying; it can be painful. When I was in the hospital with my son at the beginning of the pandemic, I wore a mask all day, even when I slept. I suffered from cuts and scaling behind my ears, and the nurses shared that a lubricant, much like we would use on a baby for diaper rash, helps tremendously. CeraVe Healing Ointment was a miracle worker on my skin and something I now use after a long day of maskwearing as a preventative measure. Another plus is this ointment has ample moisture while also protecting and soothing irritated skin. $19.99 For Mild Breakouts: Gel De Nuit Banish

The easy to glide on to breakout areas gel can be used

on mild breakouts. Ingredients Kaolin and Bentonite Clays draw out the muck without drying to the skin. Added ingredients such as Wintergreen-derived Salicylic Acid and Vitamin-rich Noni, Tasmanian Pepper Fruit, Jasmine, and Burdock Root will exfoliate and nourish the breakout area. $19 Remove Toxins and Impurities from Skin: The Pore Purifying Clay Mask by Revision Skincare

The Pore Purifying Clay Mask by Revision Skincare is “a great treatment to use once or twice weekly to deeply cleanse the pores and diminish acne formation. Best if left on for 15-20 minutes, this mask contains salicylic acid for gentle exfoliation and freshwater silt and black iron oxides that remove impurities and toxins from the skin. The skin is soothed with cucumber extract, oat kernel extract, and bisabolol. A goto weekly detox, this is a super-effective treat for the skin.” recommend Dr. Frieling. $48

High Quality Subsidized Child Care 2 Months to 4 Years of Age ' Head Start (3 and 4 years old) ' Child Care Services (2 months – 3 years old) ' Developmental Assessments ' Qualified Teachers ' Research- Based Curriculum ' Universal Pre- K Programs www.marcafc.org ' Licensed Clinical Social Worker www.facebook.com/marcacademy www.twitter.com/marcacademy ' Child and Family Support Services ' Nutritious Meals ' Open from 8 am to 6 pm Locations for Center Based Services for 3 and 4 year olds: Main Address: 55 E 175th St, 1st Floor, Bronx, New York 10453 Telephone: 718-562-3410 Other location: 2863 Webster Avenue, 2nd Floor, Bronx, NY 10458 Telephone: 718-562-6080 Family Child Care Network Provider services for children 2 months to 3 years: Approved, qualified and well-experienced registered/licensed providers are available in the following zip codes: 10451 10452

10453 10455

10456 10457

10458 10459

10460 10462

10463 10466

10472 10473

February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



Catholic Schools

Everything you need to know By Mia SalaS


hoosing a school for your little scholar is always a time-consuming, challenging process. The global pandemic surely hasn’t made this process any easier for us New York parents as we navigate the ohso-many options for school and try to figure out what school even looks like these days-blended, in-person, virtual etc. To save you time (and stress!), we’ve got the scoop on Catholic Schools in New York City and Westchester.. If you’re considering a Catholic School for your kiddo, read on to learn about how these schools are getting creative with lesson plans, maintaining community, taking safety precautions, and so much more. First things first, you should know that The Archdiocese of New York invested over $18 million to ensure schools could open on time and without incident for the 2020-21 school year. School principals worked with the Catholic Schools Reopening Advisory Council to draft an opening plan that would get your little ones back onto a regular schedule. What we love about their plan is how accommodating and flexible it is for different family situations. For example, St. Anselm Elementary School is “offering the option of five full days in-person, hybrid and/or full remote to meet the needs of each family and the implementation of a Social-Emotional Program through a guidance counselor from Catapult Learning.” Catholic Schools like St. Anselm Elementary recognize that a cookie-cutter approach simply won’t work, because each family is different. That’s why, you can choose your child’s learning format depending on what you feel comfortable with and what works best for your family. While not every family is comfortable with in-person learning, we love that it is an option. Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens have provided five days a week,


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

in-person learning since the beginning of the school year. “Every member of our school community has truly dedicated themselves to keeping our schools as safe as possible in the wake of this Coronavirus pandemic, and the results prove these efforts have worked,” says Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Catholic Schools. Yet with the pandemic still carrying a lot of uncertainty, some Catholic Schools are currently teaching fully remote. Cardinal Spellman High School explains: “We started in September with a hybrid schedule...In recent weeks we have switched to full remote with the rising cases in the state of New York. It is our hope to be back to hybrid learning on February 1st.” More than ever, we want to know as NYC parents that schools are ready to adapt quickly, and that is just what Cardinal Spellman High School did. While the goal for NYC Catholic Schools is to offer 5 full days of classroom instruction whenever possible, they are also fully prepared to move to a virtual platform to maintain the health and safety of their students, faculty, and staff. Speaking of health and safety, you may be wondering how NYC Catholic Schools are taking precautions and making sure that your little one returns home happy and healthy. Maria Regina High School says: “All students are required to complete a daily Health Screening

through the app SchoolPass...Students and staff entering the building have their temperature checked before signing in and moving to their classes for the day....Lunches are pre-ordered and individually bagged. We have increased our maintenance staff to deeply disinfect our school building each night after students and staff have left for the day”. While the classroom certainly looks different this year with social distancing, temperature checks, and Zoom club meetings, the most important takeaway is that Catholic Schools are here to support you and your family along the way. We love how Cardinal Spellman High School started #SpellmanStrong on social media to lift spirits and maintain community online. Supporting families financially is also a priority. St. Catharine Academy says: “The fact that SCA provides an iPad to every student as part of tuition created a level playing field for all students whether they were in school or remote. We created The Pandemic Fund last spring to assist families struggling with tuition payments...We have also provided food gift certificates for families in need with support from the Sisters of Mercy.” Catholic Schools also support your kiddos by maintaining normalcy when possible. St. Raymond Academy for Girls explains: “The Academy is keeping with traditions such as hosting virtual spirit week and Christmas

Welcome Class of 2025! Maria Regina High School is committed to the values of: Scholarship: Maria Regina High School is a Catholic college preparatory high school that is committed to a holistic approach in the education of young women offering a wide range of Advanced Placement and Honors Courses. Service: MRHS provides service opportunities to all students challenging them to respond to the crucial needs of today's society. Spirit: With over 25 student clubs and organizations as well as Varsity/JV athletic teams, there is something for every student.

Registration Day March 3, 2021 500 West Hartsdale Avenue | Hartsdale, NY 10530 | (914) 761-3300 | www.mariaregina.org




Financial Aid Still Available! 100% Graduation & College Acceptance Rates. 50+ Clubs/Activites & 30+ Sport Teams. 20 AP College Level Courses. $40+ Million Earned in College Scholarships by Class of 2020.

Cardinal Spellman High School 1 Cardinal Spellman Place, Bronx, NY, 10466 (718)-881-8000 ext. 206 TACHS CODE 303 admissions@cardinalspellman.org Follow us @SpellmanBX!

February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



activities.” St. Joseph’s School was also able to move one of their beloved traditions online: “In a regular school year, we have family coffee houses in our auditorium hosted by our talented music teacher, Bridget Hogan...Virtual coffee houses began in March and have been going strong ever since.” Catholic Schools are truly going above and beyond to not only establish normalcy, but continue to grow and develop. Kerry Schmid, Dean of Student Life and Athletic Director at St. Catharine Academy, says, “While many schools have suspended their service program and requirements, we have done more than ever before. All of our service opportunities have been done remotely and have provided students with an opportunity to serve others in a safe manner.” We all know that support also means communication. So if you choose an NYC Catholic School, how will you stay informed with what’s going on? “Our families stay connected to the school community via a number of channels,” says St. Raymond Elementary School, “We post updates of important information for parents both on our school website and on our Facebook page. In addition, our principal Eugene Scanlon emails updates to all parents and also sends home hard copies of announcements... Mr. Scanlon also publishes his Monthly Messages newsletter, which goes to parents and is also posted on our website.” We appreciate how St. Raymond Elementary School provides not just one, not just two, but multiple outlets for communication. St. Brendan School adds that “teachers are in contact with the families daily; we continue to maintain open lines of communication and supply updates on a weekly basis and as needed.” It’s always great to get to know your little one’s teachers, but it has become more important than ever! St. Brendan School, alongside other NYC Catholic Schools, emphasize

“direct outreach from the teachers” so that you can stay up-to-date with your child’s progress and the school’s guidelines. And let’s not forget the power of social media to connect us-- NYC Catholic Schools have made clever use of social media channels to get info out quickly. Maria Regina High School says: “Our social media sites have been growing increasingly active, so parents and extended family members get a glimpse of what a typical MRHS experience has been like.” Now that you know all about the current state of NYC Catholic Schools, you may still have some more general questions about whether a Catholic School is the right fit for your kiddo. Well, we’ve got you covered with that too.

Here’s the rundown: Catholic values and academic excellence guide NYC Catholic Schools. Students learn in an environment where respect, courtesy, and service to others are always part of the curriculum. Not only do these schools offer Math, Religion, English language Arts, History, and Science, but they have expanded technology in the classroom and STEM programs. The most recent New York State Education Department Examination results show that Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York outperformed New York State and New York City Schools in performance growth over each of the past five years. Immaculate Heart of Mary, for example, has over 90 years of exceptional Pre-K to 8th grade education, and it’s been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. But New York Catholic Schools are about a lot more than academic results. “When you send your children to Catholic school you are sending them for the community,” explains one parent in a recent Archdiocese of New York survey. Another parent adds: “My children love their school. It is like family to us. They love their teachers. The teachers are the backbone of the school.” Community is a foundation at these schools, and it’s been a top priority to maintain during these challenging times. When asked about how remote learning is going, one parent notes: “Our school has handled distance learning well, and my child still feels connected to his classroom. He’s made growth despite not being in a physical classroom.” Want to learn more about Catholic Schools and see if they’re the right fit for your family? Visit catholicschoolsny.org, check out catholicschoolbq.org, you can also go online to book a virtual tour.

Check out our new site! Clowns • Characters Face Painting • Balloon Art • Magic Games • Cotton Candy • Popcorn Paint Nites for Adults & Kids too!

Party Room available for Birthday & Baby Shower Celebrations! Call (917) 579-0867 to book your party today! /ConfettiPartyPlace /ConfettiPartyPlace 3190 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

We’ve given our New York Family website a major makeover

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



Gives Your Child A Step Ahead With A Solid Academic Foundation, Catholic Values and A Warm, Caring Learning Environment



In person hybrid learning available; COVID safety protocols in place; on-site sanitizing staff

The philosophy of St. Brendan’s School is to provide a quality Catholic education so that each child can develop his/her full human potential. We place the teachings of the Catholic faith at the core of the curriculum so that religious values permeate all subject areas. We continue to welcome all who seek and appreciate a value- centered, quality education.

268 East 207th Street, Bronx, NY 10467 718-653-2292 stbrendanschoolbronx@gmail.com StBrendanSchoolBronx.org

Experience the facilities and learn about the activities enjoyed by all our children. • • • • • • •

Before and After-School Programs Breakfast Program Lunch Program Children’s Choir Accelerated Mathematics Program Basketball and Cheerleading Active & Devoted Home/School Association

• • • • •

Italian language studies Boy and Girl Scout troops Mobil Computer Lab Smartboards in every classroom Physical Education — huge gym

• • Middle School Robotics Team


ST. THERESA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 2872 St. Theresa Ave., Bronx, New York 10461 Telephone 718-792-3688 Visit our website at sttheresaschoolbronx.org

Father Thomas Derivan, PASTOR | Mrs. Josephine Fanelli, PRINCIPAL


Live Virtual Open House www.straymondacademy.org For more information contact

718-824-4220 ext. 1052 or email


1725 Castle Hill Avenue Bronx, NY 10462 A Community of Commitment, Faith, Respect & Learning

Tuition Will Remain the Same for All Four Years!

February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



Safety Changes for Summer Camps What you need to know about adjustments for COVID-19 By Jess Michaels


et’s talk about camp safety. It’s impossible to predict exactly where we will be with COVID-19 by summer, however, both day camps and overnight camps operated last summer successfully amid a global pandemic and campers had a safe, fun and healthy summer. Camps have put numerous protocols in place to mitigate the risk of COVID and while no environment can be 100% COVID free at this time, the summer camps that operated in the region had either no COVID cases or very few positive cases which were effectively managed and didn’t spread among the camp community. Camps have a blueprint on how to operate safely during COVID and the good news is that even the camps that didn’t open last summer, will be open for this summer. Here are a number of safety measures that camps implemented last summer. You can expect to see many of these changes at camp but all final decisions will be made closer to the summer with COVID changing so rapidly. Although camps may look a little different than in summers past, the core fundamentals of what makes camp so special and valuable for children such as gaining independence, building self-esteem and making new friends in an outdoor environment, remain the same and these opportunities feel more important now than ever before. Day Camp Safety Daily Temperature Checks – Children and staff were required to have their temperatures taken daily before attending camp. If your child had a fever, they were asked to stay home for a certain number of days and some camps required a negative COVID test or a note from your pediatrician before returning to camp. Daily Health Screening – Families were asked to fill out daily health screenings. If


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

a child or staff were exhibiting any COVID symptoms or had traveled to certain states, they were asked to stay home from camp. Reduced capacity – Camps ran at a reduced capacity of campers to maintain social distancing guidelines. Outside activities – Because the spread of COVID is reduced when outdoors, many camps ran outdoor programs and maximized their outdoor space. Hand hygiene – Hand hygiene was a top priority at camp, with additional hand washing and hand sanitizer stations throughout camp. Children cleaned their hands before, during and after activities. Many camp directors reported a decrease in common sicknesses over the summer because of diligent hand hygiene. Cohorts/pods – Camp groups acted as cohorts where they stayed together throughout the day and didn’t intermingle with other groups. State guidelines will determine if cohorts are needed and if so, the size of them for 2021. Additional cleaning & disinfecting – Camps have always cleaned and disinfected equipment and activity areas but with COVID, those cleanings increased throughout the day and included a deeper cleaning. Lunch– To limit the number of people gathering together, lunch times were staggered and lunch took place outside. Many camps also switched the way they served lunch from family-style or buffet to prepackaged lunches. Rainy Days – Because camps ran activities outside for the most part, some camps built in “rain days” last summer, very much like snow days where there wasn’t camp on extremely wet days.

Masks – Last summer, all staff wore masks and children wore masks on buses and when social distancing couldn’t be maintained. Eliminated activities – There were certain activities that were eliminated from the camp program because of too much contact with other people or equipment. Busing – Some camps decided to run busing last summer and some didn’t but camps will do busing in 2021. Due to social distancing guidelines, there may be less children on each bus this summer, children may be wearing masks and children may sit alone, with a sibling or with a camper from their group. Field trips – While out of camp trips have always been fun, camps eliminated them last summer to reduce exposure to other people. Field trips will be determined by each camp and final decisions on them will occur closer to summer when directors can evaluate where the state is with COVID-19. Overnight Camp Safety Testing – The use of COVID-19 tests was part of how overnight camps were able to mitigate the risk of COVID at camp last

summer. Both campers and staff were required to take a test a number of days before camp and then again once at camp. Testing wasn’t the one magic bullet but was used as part of a multi-layered system to mitigate the risk of COVID at camp. Testing may look different this summer as advancements in testing occur and final decisions on testing will occur closer to summer.

Outdoors – Overnight camps used their vast outdoor space to help mitigate the risk of COVID and spent as much time outdoors as possible which reduces the risk of spreading COVID.

All camp gatherings – One of the most special parts of overnight camp is when the whole camp comes together for all camp gatherings. After it was deemed safe to all come together, these larger camp gatherings were able to occur safely.

Masks – Masks were used when social distancing couldn’t be maintained between cohorts or when an all camp gathering was occurring.

Dining – Each camp that opened did dining differently however campers ate outside more frequently and some camps staggered eating times.

Temperature checks & Daily Health Screening – Like day camps, camper and staff had their temperature taken each morning and a health screening was given daily at overnight camp.

Inter-camp Games – While intercamp games have long been a tradition of overnight camps, last year there were no inter camps to mitigate the risk of COVID. Decisions on inter-camp games will be made closer to summer.

Visiting Day – Last summer, the overnight camps that ran didn’t offer a visiting day. This was because the camp session was shorter and also it ensured the bubble they created at camp remained COVID free. Decisions on Visiting Day will be made closer to the summer depending on rates of infection at the time.

Cohorts/Pods – With the goal of all campers being able to come together after a period of time, many overnight camps had cohorts or families where those campers started camp together and only intermingled with their cohort for the first 2-3 weeks of camp. As time went on and camp was deemed COVID free, campers were able to come together as a camp while also maintaining distancing between other cohorts. It is too early to tell whether camps will need to have cohorts and pods for the summer.

Cleaning/disinfecting – As with day camps, there was an increase in cleaning and disinfecting around camp from equipment to facilities. Hand hygiene – Camps increased hand hygiene among campers and staff with additional hand washing and hand sanitizing throughout the day. Overnight camp directors also reported less common sicknesses because of the additional hand hygiene.

Camp trips – Trips outside of camp were eliminated last summer. What camp trips will look like this summer will all depend on what the rates of COVID infection are in the states the camps are located in and where the campers are traveling to. Speak directly with camp directors at New York Family’s Virtual Camp Fairs: newyorkfamily.com/camps-nyc February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


charter Schools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement


AECI - NYC Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industries

prepares your child for a future full of choice APPLY NOW for GRADES 5-12 Apply online at inwoodacademy.org/admissions or call 212-304-0103 (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm) for assistance to apply over the phone Lottery preference given to English Language Learners New students will receive f ree school supplies and two uniform tops at start of year Middle School: 433 West 204th St High School: 3896 10th Ave

838 Brook Avenue, Bronx 646-400-5566 aecicharterhs.org AECI offers an academic program that provides students with a foundation of the necessary skills, knowledge and practical experience to pursue a path leading to college and/ or a career in architecture, engineering or construction industries. The school’s offerings are focused on providing a rigorous college preparatory sequence of classes while also preparing students for success in industry-recognized exams. All students receive double periods of math and ELA in freshman year to prepare for long-lasting success. All staff members are tasked with developing the whole child by working together to ensure that all academic, emotional and social development is supported, cultivated and challenged.

Brilla Public Charter Schools

A Free Public Charter Middle School A 2021 New York State School of Character Highlights: St HOPE 8th graders beat the city and state in English Language Arts and Math 98% of St HOPE scholars report that they feel safe at school, compared to 82% of students citywide St HOPE Special Education scholars far outperform the state of NY in both English Language Arts and Math Our classrooms are student-centered, with examples of project-based learning throughout the building Our scholars participate in a character-centered advisory program each morning

Apply NOW at: sthopeleadershipacademy.org/apply sthopeleadershipacademy.org


222 West 134th Street, New York, NY 10030


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

Brilla College Prep Elementary 413 E 144th St., Bronx Brilla College Prep Middle School 500 Courtlandt Ave, Bronx Brilla Veritas 600 E 156th St., Bronx Brilla Caritas & Brilla Pax 2336 Andrews Ave, Bronx 347-273-8439 brillaschools.org Brilla Public Charter Schools, K-8 schools in the classical tradition, helps students to grow intellectually, socially, and physically into young men and women of good character and spirit, and to be prepared for excellence in high school, college and beyond. Character development is just as important as academic outcomes; for that reason, Brilla prioritizes a joyful environment and collaborates with families. Join an upcoming Virtual Open House. Now accepting applications for the 2021-22 school year. Call today.

Capital Prep Bronx Charter School 755 Co Op City Blvd., Bronx

info@capitalprepbronx.org Founded by Dr. Steve Perry and Sean “Diddy” Combs, Capital Preparatory Schools’ mission is to provide historically disadvantaged students with the college and career readiness skills needed to become responsible and engaged citizens. Capital Prep Bronx Charter School is currently accepting applications for grades 6-8 for the 2021-2022 academic school year, then adding a grade each year to reach 12th grade by 2025. Capital Prep’s “Learner Expectations” model leans into students’ individual strengths with a Social Justice lens, resulting in a community of lifelong learners and leaders.

Inwood Academy for Leadership IAL Middle School 433 West 204th Street, New York, NY 10034 P: 646-665-5570 IAL High School 3896 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10034 P: 212-304-0103 inwoodacademy.org Inwood Academy for Leadership is a grade 5-12 charter school in and for the upper Manhattan and Bronx community. Our mission is to empower students to become agents for change through community-focused leadership, character development, and college preparedness. We have an inclusive, supportive and rigorous academic approach, allowing us to serve students of diverse backgrounds and abilities and help them each thrive. Applications are open for all grades, with the greatest number of seats available in our incoming fifth grade class. New students will receive free school supplies and two uniform tops at the start of the year. Inwood Academy gives lottery preference to students learning English as a new language. Apply online at inwoodacademy.org/ admissions or call 212-3040103 (Mon-Fri 9AM-4 PM) for assistance to apply over the phone.


“Zeta has become part of my family. That’s all we talk about when someone asks what school my son goes to. I can go on and on about how the school academics are and how they are helping him become his own person.” — Zeta Bronx 1 Parent Zeta Inwood 1 652 West 187th Street New York, NY 10033 Zeta South Bronx 425 Westchester Avenue Bronx, NY 10455 Zeta Bronx Mount Eden 1325 Jerome Avenue Bronx, NY 10452 Zeta Bronx Tremont Park 1910 Arthur Avenue Bronx, NY 10457

APRIL 1st February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


charter Schools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School Metropolitan Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy

REGISTER NOW Urban Dove Team Charter School Bronx Eligible Applicants Are: • Graduating 8th graders who repeated a grade in middle school • 9th graders who have less than 8 credits • 10th graders who have less than 18 credits • All students must be 16 years or younger at the time of acceptance

180 West 165th Street, Bronx 718-893-0640 met.lha.net At Met, we are not only getting scholars ready for college and their careers, we are getting them ready for life. College is not the endpoint for us. We accelerate learning and emphasize the development of skills that will prepare scholars for life during and after college. Through our two tracks, Business and Technology, we are able to specialize our instruction to give real skills to scholars in targeted interest areas. While rigorous instruction is our priority, our family model is our hallmark. All scholars are included as part of our small school community from grades K-12 and we bring the entire Met family together to grow together. Apply by April 1st to be added to the lottery for the 2021-22 school year!

Rosalyn Yalow Charter School

WE WANT YOU TO SUCCEED, AND WE'LL HELP GET YOU THERE! UD Team Bronx 860 Forest Ave, Bronx, NY 11210 Visit urbandove.org to Enroll. Questions? Call: (646) 341-0079 22

NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

650 Grand Concourse, Bronx 347-708-7446 yalowcharter.org/apply Rosalyn Yalow Charter School is a non-profit K–5 public charter school located in the South Bronx. They provide a private school education as a public charter school, with low student/teacher ratios. Their curriculum emphasizes self-worth through their multiple avenues for achievement—chess, visual arts, singing, work with violins, and fencing. Their academics include literacy from the start, Singapore math, and inquiry-based science­­. They are excited about their new home with all their grades in their new building now, they can closely coordinate teaching efforts for all their young students. And their new large auditorium and huge outdoor playground is sure to offer great joy to their students this year.

St. HOPE Leadership Academy Charter School 222 W 134th St, New York, NY

10030 212- 283-1204 sthopeleadershipacademy.org St HOPE Leadership Academy Charter School is a public charter middle school in NYC. The school opened in the fall of 2008, and it currently serves scholars in grades 6, 7, and 8. St HOPE proudly lives its mission in Central Harlem, that being: “To prepare scholars for a college-preparatory high school, committed to serving others, and passionate about lifelong learning.” Examples of the school’s mission are seen in its rigorous, studentcentered and culturally responsive curriculum, college visits, extensive character and leadership development, and a commitment to restorative practices. St HOPE was named a 2021 New York State School of Character.

Success Academy Charter Schools Schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens & The Bronx Elementary School, Middle School, High School 646-597-4641 successacademies.org Admission is open to all NYS children, including those with special needs and English language learners. Students are admitted by a random lottery held each April. The 47 schools serving 20,000 students in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx are able to operate with greater independence than zoned schools, but are held strictly accountable to the state for student performance. The schools function as one system and as students advance, teachers and school leaders collaborate on each child’s academic and social emotional welfare to ensure scholars transition smoothly. An engaging and rigorous approach is tailored across each school level to teach core knowledge and critical thinking and then develop the independence and selfadvocacy skills scholars will need to excel.

Urban Dove Team Charter Schools UD Team II Bronx 671 Prospect Ave, Bronx

Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School For the 2021-2022 school year, MetLCS will be serving scholars in grades Kindergarten through 8th Grade.

Metropolitan Lighthouse College Preparatory For the 2021-2022 school year, MetCPA will be serving scholars in grades 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Apply online: https://metlcs.schoolmint.net/signin The application for the new 2021-2022 school year is now open. At Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School, we have sibling, district 9, IEP and ELL preferences in our lottery. The lottery application closes at 11:59pm on April 1, 2021. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to have your child potentially attend our school! Scan these codes with the camera on your phone to enroll and watch a quick video of our school! ELL scholars and scholars with IEPs are welcome!

180 West 165th Street Bronx, New York 10452 Phone: 718-893-0640 met.lha.net

Yalow’s New K-5 Campus! 650 Grand Concourse, The Bronx, NY 10451

Yalow’s Nuevo Campus 1-5 650 Grand Concourse, The Bronx, NY 10451

February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


charter Schools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

646- 341-0079 Urban Dove Team Charter Schools are completely unique and innovative alternative sports-based high schools for over-aged, under-credited youth that combine a rigorous academic curriculum with a handson, real-world vocational program, and an awardwinning college and career readiness program that strives to give each graduate a high school diploma, a foundation

for higher education, and the job skills needed to enter the workforce. New students must be 16 years old or younger, have already attended 9th grade, and have completed less than 8 core credits. Visit www.urbandove. org to apply!

Zeta Charter Schools Zeta Inwood 1 - 652 West 187th Street, New York, NY Zeta South Bronx - 425 Westchester Avenue, NY

Zeta Bronx Mount Eden - 1325 Jerome Avenue, NY Zeta Bronx Tremont Park - 1910 Arthur Avenue, NY zetaschools.org Zeta Schools are highperformance, next-generation schools with an innovative, whole-child approach, preparing children for a modern world economy. Starting with a foundation of world-class academics, their complimentary socialemotional program emboldens

students with the skills to thrive. It is extraordinarily important that children have the time and space to explore potential interests and passions. That’s why at Zeta, students engage in Specialist Classes as part of the school day, which may include art, dance, chess, music, sports and Taekwondo. Now until April 1, Zeta is accepting applications from pre-K through 4th grade for the 2021-22 school year.



We’re so Social

Follow us @newyorkfamily on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and tag us #newyorkfamily in your NYC adventures! 24

NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

PRESTON HIGH SCHOOL We have faith in Your future

Why Preston? ࠮  VMNYHK\H[LZHJJLW[LK[VH wide variety of colleges & universities ࠮ +\HSJVSSLNLJYLKP[JSHZZLZHUK AP classes with SUNY Albany ࠮ *SHZZVM^HZH^HYKLK  million in scholarships and grants ࠮ 6]LYJS\IZHUKL_[YHJ\YYPJ\SHYZ [VL_WSVYL·IV[OPUWLYZVUHUK virtually ࠮ 9LTV[LHUKPUWLYZVUSLHYUPUN opportunities

Virtual Accepted Students Night February 4, 2021 at 6:30 pm See your acceptance letter or check your email to register for the webinar.

;VHJJLW[V\YVɈLYVMHKTPZZPVU]PZP[ WYLZ[VUOZVYNHKTPZZPVUZ Finalize the enrollment process, pay your registration fee and so much more!

2780 Schurz Avenue, Bronx, NY 10465 • 718-863-9134 • PrestonHS.org

HAC Family Services Inc. Bridging the Gap to Education & Success

Doris E. Stone 1165 University Avenue Bronx, NY 10452 (718) 588-1030 Highbridge Advisory Council* Day Care Center 1181 Nelson Avenue Bronx, NY 10452 (718) 681-5216 Early Childhood Center I* 1594 Townsend Avenue Bronx, NY 10453 (718) 299-3917

- Childcare (2-years to 5-years) - Family EarlyLearn CACFP - Headstart - Pre-school Evaluations - Universal Pre-K - Pre-school Special Education - Family EarlyLearn (6-weeks to 4-years) - 3-K for All program For more information contact the central office located at: 880 River Avenue Bronx, NY 10452 2nd Floor Phone: (718) 992-1321 Fax: (718) 992-8539 James W. Nathaniel, CEO HacFamilyServicesInc.org www.hacfs.org Nearly a half a century of service to the Bronx

Early Childhood Center III* 1399 Ogden Avenue Bronx, NY 10452 (718) 293-9196 Richard H. Mangum Early Learning Center 921 E. 162nd Street Bronx, New York 10451 (718) 590-0673 Marshall England Early Learning Center 800 Concourse Village East Bronx, NY 10452 (718) 742-2366/69 Head Start Program* 880 River Avenue 2nd Floor Bronx, NY 10452 (718) 992-1321 February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



SNOW G N I B U T W 11 of the best spots near NYC BY BROOKE THOMPSON

inter is in full swing, so it’s time to bring out your winter boots, warmest coats, and favorite long-sleeved shirts to enjoy the cold weather. If you’re wanting to squeeze in more adventures during the winter season, why not take the kids snow tubing? There are many resorts offering snow tubing near New York City. What’s cool about snow tubing is that no experience is needed, the equipment usually comes with the cost of admission, and it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. Just think of the exhilaration of sliding down a hill/ mountain slope, the wind whipping your face, and the delighted screams of your family are all part of the fun of snow tubing. So what are you waiting for? Check out these 11 resorts that offer snow tubing near New York City. Where to go Snow Tubing Near New York City (Less Than Two Hours Away)

1. Mount Peter: Warwick, New York – One hour 51 Old Mt. Peter Road Warwick, N.Y. 10990

Mount Peter isn’t your average snow tubing place. This resort offers a multi-lane, 600foot tubing run that is built for speed and exhilaration. Your family will have the time of their lives as they tube down the mountain. They even have lanes built for riders 42 inches and under. The best part is that they have a carpet lift, so you don’t have to carry your tube up the mountain. Ticket prices vary on the day. On weekdays, it’s $30 for regular admission, while it’s $35 on the weekends and holidays. 2. Campgaw Mountain: Mahwah, NJ – One Hour 200 Campgaw Road


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

Mahwah, NJ 07430

This resort offers thrilling snow tubing that will delight your family. Tube down a snowy hill that fits your level of thrill riding before using the surface lift to bring you back up the hill without any hassle. Tubers must be at least 42 inches tall to go snow tubing. Tickets are sold six days prior to the day you would like to attend, so purchase your tickets online now before they sell out! 3. Holiday Mountain Ski Resort: Monticello, NY – 90 minutes 99 Holiday Mountain Road MonticelloNY 12701

Holiday Mountain Ski Area offers snow tubing. Sessions are available Friday-Sunday. A two-hour session is only $20 and multiple, consecutive sessions that can be booked vary on the day. To go snow tubing, there is a height requirement of at least 44 inches. 4. Mountain Creek: Vernon, NJ – 90 minutes McAfee Vernon Rd, Vernon Township, NJ 07462

Race down a hill on a snow tube with your family at Mountain Creek. With more than five acres of trails to slide down, you and your family are bound to have a blast. When you are done racing down the hill, just pick your tube and ride their carpet lift back to the top of the hill for more exciting snow tubing. Tubing sessions last two hours, and riders must be at least five years old and 42 inches tall. If you want to enjoy snow tubing at Mountain Creek, be sure to make reservations online. 5. Shawnee Mountain Ski Area: East Stroudsburg, PA – 90 minutes

401 Hollow Road East Stroudsburg, PA 18301

Pocono Plunge Snow Tubing located at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area offers an adrenaline-inducing, winter activity that will leave your family smiling. Their snow tubing requires no special skills, just a tube and an adventurous spirit. Once you are finished sliding, hop on either of their two conveyor lifts to take you back to the top of the hill for more fun tubing. The park offers both single tubes and adult and child tandem tubes. Riders must be at least five years old and children under 46 inches can ride with an adult. Snow tubing sessions are offered in one hour and 30-minute sessions. Tickets are sold online only and cost $30 on weekdays and $45 on weekends. 6. Camelback Resort: Tannersville, PA – 1 hr & 40 minutes 193 Resort Drive Tannersville, PA 18372

Camelback Resort offers thrills and fun with their snow tubing experience. Choose from 40 different lanes to slide down the mountain to accommodate your level of thrill. Come back at night to slide down glowing lanes with their Galactic Snow Tubing. And the best part is – you don’t have to carry your tube back up the mountain. You can sit back on their “Magic Carpets” to give you a lift back up the mountain, so you can start sliding back down in no time.

1000 Montage Mountain Rd, Scranton, PA 18507

Head on over to Montage Mountain Snow Tubing Park and enjoy the crisp, winter weather. Montage Mountain offers two to four-hour sessions of snow tubing, depending on the day of the week. Tickets are $30 on weekdays and prices vary depending on the time during the weekends. Riders between 32 and 41 inches can ride in a single tube whenever the Kiddie Tubing is open. Riders over 42 inches can ride in the main tubing park. 9. Windham Mountain: Windham, NY – 2 hours and 30 minutes 19 Resort Dr, Windham, NY 12496

Check out Windham Mountain’s Adventure Park! With a range of activities including, skiing, ice skating, and snow tubing, your family will always be busy. Ride a 650foot, snow-covered slope with six lanes to choose from. When you are done snow tubing, enjoy the ride on a conveyor lift back to the top to repeat the snow tubing ride. Unlike the other entries on this list, there are no height or age requirements as long you can get in and out/ sit up in a tube. It’s $25 per person for a three-hour session.

Camelback Resort’s snow tubing sessions are two hours long, and they recommend purchasing your tickets online to reserve your session. Riders who are between 33 inches and 43 inches can ride in a double tube with an adult. Riders have to be at least 44 inches to ride alone. Where to go Snow Tubing Near New York City (More Than Two Hours Away) 7. Hunter Mountain Resort: Hunter, NY – 2 hours and 15 minutes 64 Klein Ave, Hunter, NY 12442

Hunter Mountain offers a 1000 ft. hill that is one of the biggest tubing hills in New

York. Slide down this thrilling, snowy hill before taking a ride on their surface lift appropriately dubbed “the Magic Carpet.” To enjoy snow tubing, tickets must be purchased within 48 hours of your desired date. Riders must be at least 36 inches to ride on a snow tube. A standard size tube is available for a two-hour session for $25 and can be ridden by anyone over 44 inches. A double size tube is $35 and available for a two-hour session as well. It can be ridden by an adult and a child between 36 and 44 inches. 8. Montage Mountain Resort: Scranton, PA – 2 hours and 15 minutes

10. Greek Peak Mountain Resort: Cortland, NY – 3 hours and 30 minutes 2000 NY-392, Cortland, NY 13045

Greek Peak Mountain Resorts offers snow tubing in three-hour sessions for only $30 per person. Riders must be at least 42 inches tall and must ride alone in a tube. 11. Gore Mountain Ski Resort: North Creek, NY – 3 hours and 45 minutes 793 Peaceful Valley Rd, North Creek, NY 12853

Little Gore Tubing Hill at Gore Mountain features an 800-foot chute that allows for a thrilling snow tubing experience. Once you are at the bottom of the hill, you can ride their handle tow lift to take you back to the top for more snow tubing fun. February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


Melissa Ben-ishay

A Sweet Take After a Sour Year Baked by Melissa’s founder and creator on comfort zones, resilience, and why her team means everything to her By Cris Pearlstein


hen I was a fashion editor at a big magazine a lot of companies sent me gifts. The best ones came in white pizza-style boxes. The boxes were from a new company that everyone was buzzing about, Baked by Melissa, and were filled with tiny bite-sized cupcakes. My coworkers and I were thrilled every time there was a delivery. I’d open the box and we’d all stand around it, surveying the bounty and calling dibs on the ones we wanted. Each cupcake was a beautiful little work of art, as cute to look at as they were delicious to eat. The flavors were so unique, and the fact that each cupcake was barely bigger than a quarter meant you could actually try them all without getting sick. By 2012 it got to the point where I was probably eating them three times a week—and then bringing home extras for my husband who loved them as much as I did. My favorite flavor was Peanut Butter & Jelly, which was at once nostalgic and modern. Eating it was like taking a bite of the most perfect little sandwich, with the exact right amount of peanut butter and the exact right amount of jelly. But there was also Chocolate Chip Pancake, Red Velvet, S’mores, Cookie Dough, Cinnamon Bun, and Tie-Dye, among many others. The Tie-Dye cupcakes were the most eyecatching little treats I had ever seen, featuring a bright swirl of colors, like hot pink and electric blue. They were the real star of the show and, not surprisingly, they became the brand’s signature. In fact, it was the flavor that inspired the original brand logo, which they still use today. Fast forward to 2021 and those tie-dye cupcakes remain the number one best sellers. But the variety and creativity of flavors is really what makes the brand special. They always have at least 18 flavors at any given time, and are always working to create new ones.


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

By “they” I mean founder Melissa Ben-Ishay and her husband Adi. They met on the day she opened her first store in SoHo and have been making cupcakes side by side ever since—she conceptualizes the flavors and he brings them to life as Director of Product. They have two daughters, Scottie age 5, and Lennie, age 2.5 and live across the river in Hoboken, NJ. I caught up with Melissa to hear how it’s been to run a business during a pandemic, what advice she has for other entrepreneurs, and what it’s like to work with your husband. What has been the biggest challenge in owning your own business during a global pandemic? It’s hard to pick just one! There is no option to fail. There is no playbook for how to get your business through a crisis like this, but that’s probably why I have learned so much over the past year. Also, I feel an incredible responsibility to my team. The added pressure I put on myself to get us through it made it more challenging, but I love a good challenge. Although I would never choose to run a business during a global pandemic, I am trying my best to focus on the silver linings and the personal growth I have experienced with my teammates over the past year. So what were the silver linings? Did you have any surprising victories in 2020 that you wouldn’t have expected? My team is without question my silver lining of 2020. Our team was able to pivot overnight to an e-commerce only business. They worked harder and smarter than ever before, often working early mornings, late nights, and through the weekend. Our team is what got us through 2020. What kind of pivots did you take in order to keep your business going? To keep our business running first and

foremost we had to keep everyone safe. We immediately purchased PPE for the whole team, built plexiglass dividers for our retail stores and the bakery, and implemented social distancing guidelines. When we reopened our stores in June, we moved to pre-packed, pre-assorted boxes, and we only allowed one customer in the store at a time. Another big change we made was having only one team member working one shift a day—this meant shorter hours of operation, yes, but it also meant increased safety for our team, for our customers, and for the community. It was the right thing to do. What advice would you give to a mom who is trying to start a business? When you are setting out to start your own business it really has to be your top priority. My biggest piece of advice to any parents just starting out is to make sure you have a strong support system. Having people who love and support you will provide the encouragement you’ll inevitably need when you aren’t feeling super positive. You also need to find people who are willing to help out with childcare. Once you establish your support network it is then essential to understand what you are great at, and what you’re not. It’s important to identify where you are not the expert, and then bring people in to do that work. I did not build Baked by Melissa on my own, not even close. I surrounded myself with people who had skills I did not have, and together we founded this incredible company. I know your husband is also your business partner. How does that work as far as living and working together? Do you have any ground rules or boundaries set up? My husband, Adi, and I met on the day we opened our very first store in SoHo. He was bartending at a nearby bar and a customer asked him, “who is this beautiful woman?” to which he responded, “she’s going to be my wife.” And he was right! Since we met at the beginning of the Baked by Melissa journey, all we knew was spending all day every day together

elected by my board to step in—I was in shock. The role was extremely outside of my comfort zone, which I usually love, but I was scared. Looking back, I think being scared is ultimately what made it exciting for me. I thought it would be temporary until we found the right person to fill the role for the long term, but I quickly learned that the right person for the job was me all along. I went from stepping into the CEO role to leading our company through our busiest holiday season ever, right into Valentine’s Day, which is our single busiest week of the whole year. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, hello global pandemic! Talk about CEO bootcamp. Of course I hate that we are in a pandemic, but I have loved the business challenges that came along with it because I’m grateful for all I’ve learned. Through these unique experiences as CEO I have gained self-confidence I did not have before. I am living proof that you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. I think women in general do not give themselves enough credit and we don’t go after things the way men often do. I didn’t even think I wanted to be CEO of Baked by Melissa, my own company that bears my name. Shame on me! If you’re reading this please close your eyes and think of something outside of your comfort zone that you want to accomplish. You can do it. Women can do anything men can do and more. We can have babies. Don’t ever forget that.

Photo by Yumi Matsuo

working on the business. Since COVID, I split my time between working from home and the bakery, where Adi works. We work well together. I think setting clear structure and expectations is the key to a successful working relationship—and a successful marriage, for that matter. We have laughed together so many times since March because we’re truly good at being together. We’ve spent more time together over the past year than we have in a while. It reminds us of

the first years of our relationship and how we first fell in love. What was the biggest change in your dayto-day life once you became CEO in 2019? Does it feel good to have even more control over your company? Or is the responsibility overwhelming? When I became CEO in December of 2019 I didn’t even really want the job. Our current CEO could no longer be in his role and I was

So what can we expect from Baked by Melissa this year? For now we are focused on Valentine’s day, our busiest time of year. This Valentine’s Day we have partnered with the non-profit organization Good Grief that provides free and unlimited support for children, teens, young adults, and families coping with loss. For every February Fix 25-pack sold we will donate $1 to help fund their peer support programs. When the 14th rolls around I ask you to think about the people in your life that you love most. Reach out to them. Check in. Tell them you love them. If you’re anything like me, you’ll send them cupcakes, and by doing so, you’ll also be supporting Good Grief and the many people that have lost someone they love dearly. What do you think your daughters are learning from seeing their mom run her own business? I love this question. I hope my daughters are learning that women can be great moms and great leaders. I also want them to understand that hard work equals fulfillment. My daughters see first hand that women can do anything. February 2021 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


mom stories

Raising a Child With Autism and what it looks like (for me) By Donna Duarte- LaDD


hen my son was first diagnosed with Autism, I decided that I would still do ‘normal’ things and advocate for him to live a ‘normal’ life. Boom. Wrong. It didn’t take long to learn that having a child with special needs means ‘normal’ goes out the door. Of course, I am only human, and what mother doesn’t want their child to live their best life? I soon realized that I, the parent, had to learn to support my child’s growth at whatever pace he was at the present moment. This means working at his level. And much like a rubber band that springs back after going forward, the progress many parents experience with an autistic child goes back and forth, with triumphs and setbacks. At least, this is what parenting looks like for my family and me. A Diagnosis is a GameChanger Having a child on the high spectrum with Autism changes your life. I have always been a fierce mother, but having a child with special needs has made me an advocate, caretaker, and an expert at saying ‘no’ to the bull sh*t that life can throw at you. A special needs parent will know what I mean; there is no time to waste. Sure, when I am at the playground, I admit it hurts my feelings not to be friends with a group of parents like I have with my oldest child. It saddens me to see children ignore my boy, but the truth is, he doesn’t even notice nor care. All he sees is the fun he is about to enjoy at the park. He lives in the moment, enjoying the time hanging out with me. So I put my big girl pants on and shake off my ego, and join in on the fun. Special needs parents soon learn that life isn’t always wrapped up in a beautiful package, and neither are human beings. It’s No Party The CDC describes stimming as “people with an ASD might spend a lot of time repeatedly flapping their arms or rocking from side to side. They might repeatedly turn a light on and off or spin the wheels of a toy car. These types of activities are known as self-stimulation or “stimming.” In the beginning, when my boy would stim, some parents would look at me with a


NewYorkFamily.com | February 2021

hint of sadness or embarrassment — but I refuse to participate in a pity party. Yes, my kid outwardly shows what he lacks: speech, social cues, and delays, but what he does show are happiness and love, and if you can’t get on board with that, your loss. Parenthood can be a bit like high school. There are clicks, and there are the ‘cool’ moms. With my first child, I possessed the need to hang with other mothers. Those first few years of parenthood felt confusing and lonely, trying to navigate where I ‘fit’ in. It’s one reason I segued from the fashion world into parenting; I was figuring this new chapter out and wanted to share what I was learning. Yet with my second son, the hardships of finding a group I could commiserate with never happened. And this is okay. I have found that where both my child and I receive support (and yes, 100 percent, you need help in this journey as much as your child) is with my son’s ‘team.’ He has fantastic teachers, pare (classroom support), therapists, and doctors. For it takes many people and experts to get my son and the fam-

ily in a healthy state. And if reading this, you think, “well, you’re rich.” I am not. Some aid is from organizations that fit into my budget and have been worth it, and other assistance comes from his school and organizations we stumbled upon when looking for help. Pure Joy My son is four and a half. He is still young and living his best life. He will swing at the park during a snowstorm with a smile on his face; he can do circles around many a teenager with his mad puzzle abilities. When he sleeps, he sometimes has traces of cinnamon and butter at the corners of his mouth; and all I can think of is how lucky I am. He is pure joy. Of course, like all parenting challenges, there are days harder than others. Some days leave us both in tears. His future is one big mystery and frankly scary to wrap my head around, but if anything having a child with special needs has taught me is to cherish each day, and you will see the wonder and joy of life in spades.

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Five Full Days: In school, hybrid, or full remote (2020-2021)


For more information, please call the school office. Monday-Friday 8am-4pm 685 Tinton Avenue, Bronx, NY 10455 | 718-993-9464 | www.stanselmbx.org

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Bronx Family - February 2021  

Bronx Family - February 2021