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June 2021

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contents

June 2021

NewYorkFamily.com

pg. 20

pg. 18 pg. 12

pg. 14

pg. 28

FEATURES 8 | Gear Sleeping products that may help you get a good night sleep 16 | Style The best style jeans for moms 20 | Travel Summer road trips for the family to enjoy and explore 28 | Janet Bloom of Curious G and Me On curiosity, diversity, and the list of NYC kid-friendly spots you’ll need for an adventure-filled summer 30 | Tech Details on the new Instagram for kids being launched by Facebook

Stories & columns 4 | Editor’s Note June-New Summer 6 | Podcasts 7 educational podcasts for kids

on the Cover Many thanks to the Vourderis Family of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park in Coney Island for opening up their park for our June Cover. Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com Produced by: Donna Duarte-Ladd

12 | Family Day Out Family-friendly beaches that are in and around NY

Production Asst: Katarina Avendaño

14 | Mom Stories 5 reasons I broke up with my daughter a.k.a sent her to preschool

New York, NY 10022)

18 | Family Day Out Easy hiking trails for the whole family 26 | Family Fun Inclusive playgrounds with features for kids with special needs in and around the city

Written by: Mia Salas Cover clothing on G: Yellow T-shirt and Shorts: Molo available at A la Mode Shoppe (360 East 55th Street Cover clothing on Janet: Striped set: Miguelina Feautured clothing on G (above left): White On-Shoulder Top and Shorts: Molo available at A la Mode Shoppe (360 East 55th Street New York, NY 10022)

Featured clothing on Janet (above left): Floral dress: Zimmermann Gold hoop earrings: vintage from Christina Caruso (instagram.com/christinacarusostyle)

June 2021 | Queens Family

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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 Sales Assistant: Jake Davis Art Director: Leah Mitch Web Developer: Sylvan Migdal Graphic Designers: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti Nina Gallo Photography

June - New Summer Last summer, when all was closed and the days were inviting to be outside — many of us had to tell the kids, “sorry, we need to stay in.” Yet, there were still waves of optimism and declarations that things will get better, and thankfully, New York is on the road to recovery and is reopening. This is why for this issue, we went extra. We have articles on The Best Sleeping Products for Parents (page 8) because, you know, life. As well as Cris Pearlstein sharing with us why she ‘Broke Up’ with her daughter (a.k.a sent her to preschool page 14). With school coming to a close, the kids (and you!) will want to read up on the 7 Engaging Podcasts (page 6) perfect for summer listening while the family takes a

Family Road Trip (page 20). Lastly, we are super excited for this month’s cover mom, Janet Bloom from Curious G and Me (page 28). Contributor Mia Salas chatted with Janet on staying curious, how she talks to her daughter about the recent hate crimes against the AAPI community and why she loves raising her daughter in a diverse city. We are immensely grateful to Janet and G for trekking to Coney Island for an ultra fun photoshoot and, of course, sharing all the incredible things for our readers to do this summer in NYC!

Xo, Donna and New York Family

Editorial Contributors: Jana Beauchamp, Cris Pearlstein, Mia Salas Editorial Interns: Patrick Delaney, Analiese Dodd

Contact Information

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

New York Family has been awarded the PMA Gold Award for Excellence both overall and in Website Design

2020

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

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

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Recommended

Engaging Podcasts for Kids 7 educational options that are perfect for Summer By Donna Duarte-LaDD

I

t’s time for our kids to start winding down from a pandemic school year and enjoy being kids. Whether it’s visiting the park every day or going to summer camp, keeping them engaged is always a huge part of avoiding the school slide. Books, visiting NYC museums and libraries, and apps are ways to keep our kids interested and learning. Luckily some amazing podcasts will keep kids learning and, most importantly, engaged! Chompers Do you ever feel that you spend a fair amount of time begging or persuading your children to brush? Chompers is a two-minute morning and evening program of silly songs, fun facts, jokes, and riddles. If you have an Alexa, the app will keep track of the brushes. Ages 3-7. Circle Round Not all kids have the patience to sit or listen to a podcast, especially when it isn’t part of the school curriculum. These short (10 to 20 minutes) podcasts are where kids can listen to curated folklores with themes that explore issues such as compassion, humanity, and persistence. Ages 4 to 10. Story Pirates Kids are the creators of this podcast with actors an eclectic group of comedians, musicians, teachers, and actors who bring these stories to life. Recent podcasts such as The Boy Who Had a Pet Ice Cube/The Not-So-Safe Safe and The Missing Golden Eggs/The Super Secret Sassy Story are pure creativity and endless inspiration for kids. Ages 3- to 103. The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian Kids will love following Finn, an eight-yearold boy who lives in a space station. Finna has

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friends. Along with Abigail, Elias, and Vale, Explorers Troop 301 explore in 15- 20 minute episodes into uncharted planets, help the occasional alien and solve mysteries helping to save their space station. Ages 5 to 10.

a kid with co-host Molly Bloom search for answers to the world’s most captivating questions. We all know kids ask the darnedest things. This is the podcast you want the kids to jump on and have fun while learning. All ages.

Story Seeds StorySeeds pairs best-selling authors and kids ages 6 to 12 to collaborate and create a storytime. With a season of podcasts, kids can listen to a brainstorming idea being processed and developed into a cool story. Ages 6 to 12

Stuff You Should Know My oldest enjoys spewing out facts. What we call education, information, and what not; kids call stuff. I wish a podcast like this were around when I was a kid. It is way more fun to learn about How Cave Dwellers Work or Rosa Parks. You may want to skip some podcasts like the online in LSD or How Corporate Taxes Work, so we do suggest you check out what podcast is appropriate for your child.

Brains On The entire family can get on this podcast that inspires science and history. Each podcast,


June 20 th

June 2021 | Queens Family

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gear

The Best Sleeping Products By Donna Duarte-LaDD

T

he pandemic, remote life, and everything that goes with it has made many of us lose sleep, which was pretty precious pre-pandemic! While we make our way out of the fog of the last year and a half, this also has some of us losing more sleep—Oy vey. And while we aren’t sleeping experts, we are humans losing sleep. This is why we tested products that give parents something more valuable than gold—a good night’s sleep. Here Are five sleep products that we feel are worth a try.

Sleep Assistant with Google Nest Hub The second-generation Google Nest Hub tackles something that many people deal with, which is sleep issues. Sleep Sensing uses Motion Sense which is designed to help improve sleep by monitoring your sleep patterns. Once the hub gets your sleep data, you will then be given insights and helpful tips geared towards your sleeping patterns. And while this may feel like a Big Brother is watching, there is no camera on, and all data like coughing and um snoring stays with the data. You can also save or delete. Presently the Sleep Sensing is free with the purchase of the nest Hub (2nd generation) until next year. Googlestore.com, Starts at $99.

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A Clock That Promotes Snooze: Hatch Restore Smart Sleep Assistant with Sound Machine and Sunrise Alarm Clock Part of feeling wellrested is how we wake up in the morning. Instead of waking up abruptly to a beeping alarm clock, the Hatch Restore will gently wake you up with its sunrise light effect and soft noises such as birds chirping. And to help you wind down at night, you can create the perfect relaxing setting with ambient sounds and dim lighting until you fall asleep. Our tester commented, “This alarm clock has been a game-changer in how I sleep and helped me fix my sleep cycle quickly.” Buybuybaby.com, $129.99


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June 2021 | Queens Family

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Gear

A Supportive Mattress: Nectar Premier Copper Memory Foam Mattress This new premium mattress from Nectar is serious about your sleep. First, the design-y stuff on why this mattress is so good. It starts with the layers such as the Quilted Cool Cover With Copper And Sleep Fabric Tech (cooling technology). Then the Nectar Smart Layer with ActiveCool HD (works with your sleep temperature) and the Dynamic Support Layer (extra plush to help you sleep deeply) are just a few of the premium design touches that make this mattress super comfortable. Our tester, okay, it was me, had some of the most comfortable nights of sleep in a year. This mattress is firm yet not hard and comfortable but not too cushy, so the body has balance support. Nectarsleep.com, Full mattress,$1599- 2097. *And while supplies last, Nectar will give away the Google Nest Hub with Sleep Sensing with every purchase of one of its new mattresses – free of charge!

Keep the Light Out: Lunya Washable Silk Sleep Mask According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “Blue light has the strongest impact. Exposure to blue light (and white light, which contains blue light) during the sensitive period can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.” So in layman’s terms, this means if that modem light or street light is making you toss and turn, perhaps it’s time to give an eye mask a try. This Washable Silk Sleep Mask is made from naturally moisturizing silk, and not only blacks light, but it also helps to reduce the appearance of fatigue. Our tester Katarina shared, “It’s also super comfortable to wear, like a soft pillow over your eyes; and I especially like that the band isn’t super tight around the head so you can avoid hair creases.” Lunya.co, $48.

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Sleep Aid with CBD: CBD Blackberry Rose Sleep Gumdrops When you want a few more Z’s, this gumdrop is the perfect mix of CBD, CBN(Cannabinol), and melatonin to take before bed. Our tester commented, “Unlike other products that taste more “earthy,” these gumdrops have a nice fruity/ floral flavor.” Mollyj.com, $70.

Upgrading Your Pillows: Organic and Plush Avocado Pillow We all know that feeling when we sleep on a great pillow versus a not-sogood pillow. The Green Pillow from Avocado is made from GOLS organic certified latex and GOTS organic certified kapok. It is also GREENGUARD Gold certified and vegan, and handmade. These pillows are the Rolls-Royce of pillows. Our tester stated when testing the pillows, “It is like sleeping on butter.” Avocadogreenmattress, $89.

For a Night of Rest: Hum Beauty zzZz I, like many, have work and school on my mind more than usual since both now reside in my home, which means I struggle a bit with a good nights sleep. If looking for a non-CBD sleep aid that you can use more consistently, I tested and am now a customer of the Hum Beauty zzZz vegan capsules. The capsules have Melatonin (calming) and vitamin B6 (normalizes circadian rhythm) along with calcium both helping promote sleep. Humnutrition.com, $14.99.


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Ethan Murphy Leopoldo Natividad Raymond Nieves Robert Nunez Lizbeth Ojeda Jillian Osman Caitlyn Oviedo Daniel Pachnicki§ Brandon Paider§ Douglas Paider§ Michael Panarese Maximo Parada Panagiotis Pavlatos§ Allyson Pedraga Fatima Peralta Anastasia Pippis Ava Pullara§ Ritisha Purohit Edward Quadrino Stephanie Quercia Robert Raggi Kylie Robinson Daniella Rodriguez Izabella Rodziewicz John Romano Kayla Sacco Prasoon Saha§+ Dylan Salaun Matthew Scott Matthew Sementilli Steven Siano Yanni Silva James Sotamba Nicholas Spitzer§ Kelly Tapia Gabriella Termine Jonluca Tortorici Annie Tritschler Fransisco Urena Francesca Vaccaro Matthew Vargas Fiorella Veliz Campos Frank Verga Christian Verish Giuseppe Vicino Brian Vizcaino Matthew Wenz Ashley Williamson Isabella Wiseman Daniel Zalot Robert Zmujdzin §- Denotes Top 20 +- Denotes Valedictorian ✓-Denotes Salutatorian

June 2021 | Queens Family

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FAMILY DAY OUT

Bes� NY Beaches f�r �he Family BY DONNA DUARTE�LADD

A

fter a year plus of social distancing, New Yorkers are more than ready to enjoy the upcoming summer, and thankfully starting May 29th, all New York City Beaches will officially be open from 10 am to 6 pm. New York has many beaches, and we are incredibly privileged to have so many beautiful destinations that are a subway or car ride away. And while kids and families cannot wait to make the beach life part of our summer again, the way to go about anywhere in NYC while it reopens does

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NewYorkFamily.com | June 2021

require a bit of due diligence. For as of now, Jacob Riss beach, which is managed by the National Park Service, is open at 50 % capacity. Robert Moses State Park last summer would post on their Facebook page when they closed the beach due to capacity. As we know, in COVID life, this may change in the weeks ahead and since this is a new experience for everyone, we do suggest checking websites and Facebook pages before you head out. Brighton Beach (Brooklyn) 50 min to 1-hour subway (from midtown)

Known for its Russian population and

popular neighborhood “Little Odessa,” this neighbor to Coney Island is a famous beach located in the southern part of Brooklyn. This beach is a vibe-pack a picnic or pick up some of the delicious food at some of the nearby eateries and enjoy the sunshine. Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1hr, 15minSubway (from midtown)

Coney Island isn’t just a beach; it is an experience. Families can visit The New York Aquarium, and now that the amusement parks Luna Park and Deno’s Wonder Wheel are open at 33% capacity, these are also fun spots to venture to before you take your


Family day out

place on the sand. The beach itself is always packed, so if you are looking for quite a beach day, you may want to go early before the crowds show up. Or embrace this busy beach and enjoy the boardwalk food stands -just make sure to get you tickets for any extra fun like rides or the aquarium if you plan to include these attractions to your beach day. Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, 1 hr, 28minSubway (from midtown)

If looking for a beach minus the bells and whistles that you, the family, and a good book are what you have in mind, you’ll want to check out Manhattan Beach. There is a park for the kids, and you can bring your barbeque grill and cook right by your beach spot. The waves aren’t huge, and the vibe is chill making it perfect for families with young kids. Rockaway Beach, Queens, 1hr30min – Subway (from midtown)

If you want less spectacle and more surfer destination with snack shacks (Rockaway

Beach Surf Club) and food Californians call everyday life, you’ll want to pack up the beach bag (and kids) and head over to this chill beach. It is a worthwhile day trip if you are a beach bum at heart at an hour car ride and an hour and a half subway ride.

stay active, there are two playgrounds, 26 basketball courts, volleyball, and handball. With two picnic areas, you can grab a spot to eat food from the snack bars or bring along food and munch while you enjoy the view of City Island.

Jacob Riss Park 1 hr, Queens, 40minSubway (from midtown)

Robert Moses State Park, Fire IslandLong Island, LIRR 1hr 30min (From Penn Station)

“The Peoples Beach” is a neighbor to Rockaway Beach and a perfect family day destination- especially if you love the beach and good food. Usually, not as super pack as Coney Island, this beach has a Brooklyn vibe (although it’s in Queens) with their many Brooklyn food favs. After spending most of the last year not being able to go out with the kids the family will love all the beach fun, food, and sweet treat options. Orchard Beach, Bronx, 1hr 45minSubway (from midtown)

This Robert Moses-designed beach is the Bronx’s only public beach, and it does not disappoint. At 115 acres, the beach includes a promenade, and for the kids who need to

This ocean beachfront entails hopping on the LIRR; by car, it is around the same time. This beach has options that are nice for a family beach day. This beach attracts 3.8 million visitors a year making it a popular destination for many. The shoreline is five miles with four fields. Why it is family-friendly is it is like a vacation packed in one day. Field 2 has a volleyball court. Fields 2,3, and 4 have picnic ars with picnic tables and grills. For a real East Coast treasure, check out Field 5 has a 3/4 walk that leads to the Fire Island Lighthouse; it also offers a spacious playground area for the kids. Parents: there are also private showers to rinse off that sand before you head home!

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mom stories

5 Reasons I Broke Up With My Daughter a.k.a. sent her to preschool By Cris Pearlstein

B

y the time September of last year rolled around my relationship with my toddler daughter was a dysfunctional codependency that was growing more unhealthy by the day. And like many other newly-formed relationships during quarantine, where two people are suddenly spending every second of every day together, it wasn’t going well. Don’t get me wrong, I knew becoming a mom meant I would be with my kid all the time, but I never signed up for all the time. I had always envisioned being able to drop Frankie off at a grandparents house for the weekend, or send her to have a sleepover with her cousins. I always imagined my sister, an incredibly talented artist, would take her for afternoons of arts and crafts, and I assumed my best friend and I getting our kids together for play dates would be a weekly occurrence. And I never thought anything would happen to the standing weekly date nights my husband and I relied on for our sanity. Well, we moved to a new city right before a global pandemic hit and so all of those dreams popped like the bubbles my daughter chases at the park. Being isolated in a two-bedroom apartment was taking a toll—on all of us. So I did what any self-respecting person in an unhappy relationship would do: I broke up with her. Yup, I enrolled her in full-time preschool during a global pandemic and I haven’t looked back. Now before you think I’m a horrible mother, you should know that as I write this essay she’s been going to school for about nine months and she is thriving. She tells me almost every day how much she loves her friends and her teachers. She wakes up excited for the day ahead. I can honestly say our break up was the best thing to happen

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to us and, if you, dear reader, are having a rough time in your parent-kid relationship and are in need of some guidance, keep reading. Maybe I can help you to decide whether you should break up with your kid, too. We needed to see other people. Sure, we had our good days. I’d take her scooting by the water to gaze at the sailboats, or we would walk to the giant baseball field to blow

bubbles and run in the grass. If it was sunny and she was in a good mood then I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be. Many days though, were not so good. When the weather was crappy or I was too anxious to leave our apartment, we stayed inside all day long. Things would spiral, and it got harder and harder to come up with activities that held her attention. But the worst part


was seeing how hungry she was for human interaction. If we came across people on our adventures around the city she went out of her way to talk to them, to show off a toy she was holding, or to tell them about her scooter. She would strike up a conversation with the clerks at the grocery store, or really anyone at the grocery store. While at the park she would spot a group of little kids and ask me if she could play with them, and when I’d say no she would be heartbroken. When she started hugging our phones during FaceTime calls with family, I knew she was desperate for other people. I realized preschool was the right thing not only for my sanity, but for hers too. While in our relationship, I had lost myself. Becoming a mom was something I spent a lot of time, money, and energy on. It took my husband and I four years, two IUI’s, and four rounds of IVF to finally get pregnant, and when we did we were beyond thrilled. But combine a horrible pregnancy with a long and complicated labor, and then add in the usual shock of actually taking your baby home from the hospital, and the whole thing was way more than I could have bargained for. I always considered myself good with kids, maternal even, but the shift in my identity and the inevitable change in our priorities as a couple, made the whole having-a-baby thing feel very unnatural to me. Call me dumb but I didn’t realize how much of myself I’d need to give in order to take on this new role. Between the sleepless nights, the breastfeeding, and the constant feeling of being on, I was running on fumes. And what’s more, after all the years of having one clear goal (having a baby), I didn’t know what to do once I accomplished it. It felt like I no longer had something to work towards, and I was often left with a now what? feeling. It became clear to me that I would not be fulfilled just by being Frankie’s mom. I needed to find a sense of accomplishment and success that was separate from her. I needed more. We weren’t the best versions of ourselves when we were together (all the time). I love my daughter with every fiber of my being, but I did not love spending all day every day with her. It was just. too. much. I will admit that I’m not a very patient person, and I like to do things in a fast, efficient way. But if you’ve ever hung out with a toddler you know they are the opposite of fast and efficient. Now that I have time to myself during the day to recharge, run errands, write, work, whatever, when I pick her up from school my patience

When she started hugging our phones during FaceTime calls with family, I knew she was desperate for other people. I realized preschool was the right thing not only for my sanity, but for hers too. cup is full. I’m excited to see her because I genuinely miss her. It means she has the chance to miss me, too. We give each other the biggest hug, I pull her close and tight and kiss her neck. On the car ride home we talk about her day, who she played with, whether she climbed a tree at the park, and what songs they sang during circle time. When we were together all the time all I was doing was counting down the minutes until naptime, or thinking about when I could pawn her off to my husband, or waiting for the moment I could plop her on the couch in front of the TV—all so I could have a break. Take it from me, missing each other is way better than what I was feeling before. There was someone else. To put it bluntly, I missed my husband. It goes without saying that during the past year and a half many families have been short on childcare, and we were no exception. There were no playdates to pass the time, no grandparents to quarantine with, no babysitters to pay. My husband was working remotely, locked in our bedroom all day, while I was spending my time trying to entertain a toddler who requires constant attention and a seemingly endless amount of snacks. Him and I became passing ships, our only encounters were about meals or whether I needed to sneak into the bedroom to grab a pair of socks. By the end of the day, when we finally were alone, we were two zombies. Two zombies who needed to rest and recharge, but who also had to take care of all the administrative things being an adult requires like paying bills, making plans, and discussing all the million of things that need

to be discussed when you’re married and raising a kid. Once those things were done all we could do was veg out on the couch and watch too many hours of too many shows. We were two zombies too tired to do anything. I missed being alone and awake and a nonzombie adult with my husband. We kept trying to change each other. There is a common thread in most successful relationships: both partners accept each other for who they are. Trying to change a person you love can be a dangerous thing, as it often leads to conflict and chaos. Frankie and I were no different. While stuck in our apartment day after day I kept trying to engage her in calm, low-mess activities. I favored puzzles, coloring books, building blocks, and Disney movies. The problem is that my daughter is not a calm, lowmess kid. She has a ton of energy, a short attention span, and a hatred of sitting still. For her, coloring with crayons was boring, and watching Frozen meant too much time sitting in one spot. She loved puzzles but they were over too quick. For a two year old stuck inside, making a mess of toys and pillows and snacks and paint was much more appealing than playing quietly. I hate to admit it but looking back I realize I was stifling her. I kept trying to force her into activities that made the least amount of mess, with the least amount of chaos. And she kept testing my limits, too. She was operating like I was a laid-back, free-spirited mom, instead of a neat freak with a slightly uptight personality and a touch of OCD. But it’s not her fault that she’s a curious, active toddler, and it’s not my fault I am the way that I am either. We needed to accept each for who we are, but we didn’t have the tools to get there. I braced myself for the first day of preschool. I knew it was the right decision for our family, but my brain kept imagining the worst case scenario of my three year old screaming bloody murder, clutching my body, refusing to enter the kids paradise that was beyond the cheerful green door. I had to prepare myself for the worst mostly because I really didn’t know what to expect. Yes, she’s outgoing and super-friendly, but at that point thanks to the pandemic, she hadn’t spent any time away from us since she was a baby. When we walked up to the door on the first day her teachers greeted us, took her temperature, and made small talk. Next thing I know Frankie walked in through the green door, and didn’t even turn around to say goodbye. It was clear she had been waiting for this breakup, too. June 2021 | Queens Family

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Style

The Best Styles of Jeans for Moms

By Donna Duarte-LaDD

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his past year of living in a pandemic, many of us moms have found ourselves in multiple roles and wanting to be as comfortable AF. Now Summer is around the corner and with New York back open, we are shelving the sweats (kind of) and getting out. There is one style staple coming out strong, and this is the jean. But what is the best pair of jeans for you? Frankly, finding jeans this season has never been easier because they are everywhere. The challenging part is finding the right pair. When choosing the best jean, it should be about fit, budget, and what works for your day-to-day, especially if you will be wearing that new pair 24/7. Here are 5 styles perfect for moms right now.

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Straight Jeans If you have been feeling like you are living through the ’90s again. You’re not wrong. The 90s styles, especially in denim, are huge right now. And while this style can be pretty comfy, the best way to wear it IRL is to have it be a bit more streamlined. Meaning skip the jeans that hit the pavement and may pass as a skirt and choose a straight leg that works with your body type and life.

The Wide Leg Jean A big jean style comeback is a wide leg. A wide leg can feel a bit overwhelming, but simply put, it is the cut that is refined. Style the wide leg with everything from a basic tee and sandals or a flowery blouse and slides. Choose a wide leg at a medium to the high waist; this way, the style will elongate the legs, bring in the waist and hug in all the right spots.


Skinny/Slim Jeans First, the skinny is not over. Well, maybe it’s on pause, but it’s not goodbye. Sure it isn’t the hot thing right now, but it has earned its spot by being worn and adorn by many, especially moms. It deserves to be deemed a classic. To wear the skinny style now is to update it a bit in the current style you see in jean wearing. Choose a slim fit that is mid to high-waisted; this will create that long-leg look, and, as we mentioned before, the high waist will slim the waist a bit. An ankle cut or a slim cut that does not hug the bottom leg will flatter all body types.

The Mom Jean Circling back to 90s jeans, this is when a style that many have mocked (SNL) has now become a classic and a downright denim winner. There are many variations to the mom jean, but it is a high-waisted fit, roomy in the thigh area with a slightly tapered leg. It has a boyfriend jean vibe but with less of the slouch and is easier to dress down or up. This pair of jean is pretty popular and is here to stay.

Sustainable Jean Lines In high demand, denim takes a tremendous amount of water and chemicals, damaging to the environment. Many brands are now designing and producing jeans that make a smaller imprint on the environment. Whether it’s using less water or producing jeans made from recycled denim, these brands are committed to being eco-friendly. The best part is they are implementing a practice that other brands are starting to follow.

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family Day out

Top 13 Kid-Friendly Hikes Easy hiking trails for the whole family in New York and beyond By Patrick Delaney

Path, 1.7 miles

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A nice and easy loop in New York’s most famous park. Fit for all skill levels, it provides a beautiful view of the reservoir for which the path is named. If you do not have the opportunity to get out of the city but still want to get some exercise with your family, you cannot go wrong with the convenience the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir Running Path provides.

Greenbelt Conservancy – Staten Island, NY Recommended Trail: Nature Center Trail, 1 mile

New York Botanical Garden – Bronx, NY Recommended Trail: The whole garden! 1.8 miles Price: $35/adult, $32/student, $15 children 2-12

ake a trip with your family at one (or more!) of these easy and kid-friendly hiking trails. Ranging from 1-3 miles- some are close to home while others a bit of a distance. Whatever adventure you want to go on, and however challenging you want to make, we have a hike for you and the family this summer!

Like a lot of the parks on this list, there’s a lot of trails worth adventuring on, but the Nature Center Trail is the one best suited for young hikers. A lot of the park’s programs have been canceled due to Covid, but supposedly they’re being reinstated April 29, so be on the lookout for more information on that. Until then, they still allow solitary hikes with proper social distancing. Pelham Bay Park – Bronx, NY Recommended Trail: Kazimiroff Nature Trail, 1.2 miles

This trial is a hidden gem, and being familyfriendly is there trademark. Whether you’re a family that loves to hike together or a family that wants to start getting into it, you should visit this park and explore together. Storm King State Park – Cornwall-onHudson, NY Recommended Trail: North Point Summit, 1.3 miles Price: Varies by number of people in car

Explore the mountain as safely as possible with this easy 1.3 mile trail. You get all the breathtaking views without any of the difficulty of climbing a mountain so the whole family, no matter their limitations, can enjoy the experience. Storm King is requiring ticket reservation at this time so remember that before you trek on out there. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir – Central Park, NY Recommended Trial: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir Running

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The New York Botanical Garden has been going strong, hosting lots of different activities – both online and in person. More suited for strolling than for hiking, its beauty is undeniable and easily worth a trip for the whole family. Make sure you reserve a ticket before you go as they are very strict on the number of people allowed in at this time. Tenafly Nature Center Red, Yellow and White Trail Loop – Tenafly, NJ Recommended Trail: Red, Yellow and White Trail Loop, 2 miles

Travel right outside of the city and get this lost in nature. Tenafly has some fairly popular trails. Even though it’s a bit of a hike to get there, it’s worth it for the two mile loop of land free from the limitations of city regulation. Though technically not part of the easy New York hiking trails, it earns a spot on this list because of its proximity and its quality. Flat Rock Brook Nature Center – Englewood, NJ Recommended Trail: Flat Rock Brook Loop Trail, 2 miles

This trail is open to all skill levels, but be warned there can be some trying changes in elevation. Other than that it’s a perfectly pleasant hike and the Nature Center even hosts activities and camps, which you can check on their website for. Yet again, though not officially part of the easy New York hiking trails, once you get out there you’ll see why it earns a spot on this list.

Black Creek Preserve – Esopus, NY Recommended Trail: Yellow, Red, and Blue Trail, 2 miles

Despite there being a steep hill in the very beginning, it’s actually a pretty kid-friendly hike with lots of sights. There’s endangered species and the blueback herrings and alewives travel to Black Creek to deposit their eggs. If you’re even lucky, you could see a bald eagle! Once you get out of the city, it’s a little less than a two hour drive, so make sure you plan accordingly. Spook Rock via Gory Brook and Witch’s Spring Trail – Sleepy Hollow, NY Recommended Trail: With’s Spring Trail, 2 miles

Unsurprisingly, this path plays up the spookiness of being in Sleepy Hollow. On this hike you can explore the lore of Washington Irving’s writings and even come across a


witch’s shelter. It’s still at an okay skill level but a bit more of a moderate hike than the easier ones listed before. Tibbetts Brook Park Loop Trail – Yonkers, NY Recommended Trail: Loop Trail, 2.2 miles Price: $10 parking without pass

If you want a bit of a longer hike without having to travel far, then Tibbetts Brook Park has a wonderful trail for you. Though this park has a lot to offer with its bathhouse and aquatic complex, during the pandemic a leisurely but lengthy walk is always appreciated. Jack Harrington and White Plains Greenway – White Plains, NY Recommended Trail: Jack Harrington and White Plains Greenway ,2.5 miles

This path follows a railway, so it’s a simple straight shot. An easy there-and-back-again where its rudimentary structure is the appeal. You can even bring your dog with you, so long as you keep it on the leash. It’s not the most exciting park on this list, but if you are looking to try something new, then this is an appealing recommendation.

infrastructure… not to mention a great photo-op. Harriman State Park – Sloatsburg, NY Recommended Trail: Arden-Surebridge Trail, 3 miles

Croton Gorge Park – Cortlandt, NY Recommended Trail: Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, 26.5 miles Price: $10 parking without pass

Harriman State Park has lots of trails for hikers of all skill levels. The recommended Arden Surebridge Trail is three miles which might be pushing it for the little kids. But for those that are filled with energy, it’s still an easy hike. If you don’t decide on using this one, check out Harriman’s other numerous trails.

Croton Gorge Park is a sprawling 97 acres, so there’s plenty to explore and hike on. Marvel at the dam and spillway via the trail with direct access to New York State’s Old Croton Aqueduct. Obviously you don’t have to walk the whole 26.5 miles to enjoy it as every fraction of the route is gorgeous. It’s a pristine blend of natural beauty and human

And that’s the list of kid-friendly and easy New York hiking trails! Obviously there’s fun parks all around the state — some with trails and some just pleasant to peruse. The important thing is that you and your family go outside and have fun together. These are just some options that I hope you’ll consider! June 2021 | Queens Family

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TRAVEL

Sum�er Family

ROAD TRIPS Pack up the car, hop on a train and visit these fun spots! BY DONNA DUARTE�LADD

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e all have memories from our childhood of the trips we took with our family; being kids, we remember only the funny and good stuff. Now that we’re parents, we know that while road trips can be intense, especially with younger kids, this time together bonds us and will be part of the fabric of our children’s memories. A discovery we may have always known as we make our way out of the pandemic is that New York and the cities and states surrounding our hometown are full of beauty, history, and adventure. Here is to a summer of awe and travel with these must road trips for Summer 2021.

Catskills, NY A recent trip my family took was to the Catskills. There were a few things that went through my mind when I visited the Catskills. One, we need to do this more—two, what an easy trip it is. And three, Woah, can the Catskills be even more beautiful? And while New York is reopening and there are many things to do, why I loved our road trip to the Catskills was that it was something we could do even as the world was in a crazy state. Of course, it is always nice to visit places and try the food, but nature alone in the Catskills is a sight. First, we took a hike, literally. There are many hiking trails TRAVEL TIP: For a family-friendly in the Catskills, and my mom’s tip is to check hike, check out Mountain Top out the Great Northern Catskills’ website Arboretum, a public garden nestled (greatnortherncatskills.com) to find the trail in the Catskill Mountains where kids that works for your family. While nature is can explore native plant communisupreme in Greene County, I have a list of ties, natural meadows, wetlands, what we will be visiting this summer. Top and of course, hike the forest. on this list is horseback riding, more hiking trails, food tasting at the restaurants, and taking our oldest son on a camping trip or staying at one of the family resorts. Yay for summer upstate!

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Annapolis V—“—ăד

Resilient to the core, Annapolis has been redefining itself for nearly 400 years. This Navy town has a track record of rolling with the punches and emerging ever new. But don’t take our word for it. We invite you to hop in the car and drive to a place where life’s simple pleasures abound. Treat yourself to an afternoon of sailing or cruising the Chesapeake Bay. Dine and shop al fresco along centuries-old brick-lined streets. Bike or hike our miles of trails. Discover best kept secrets on a ghost or history tour before calling it a day at a historic inn or hotel. Discover Annapolis redefined.

P L A N YO U R S TAY AT V I S I TA N N A P O L I S . O R G June 2021 | Queens Family

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travel

Annapolis, Maryland Since the pandemic, one sneaky parenting move I have been doing with the kids is picking fun spots to visit that are also full of history. Annapolis is TrAvel Tip: Be sure to make time just the ticket. The to head over to the Bannekercar ride is about 3.5 Douglass Museum of African hours (starting from American history and culture, Midtown). Go for focusing on the history of Maryland. a long weekend or make it a family vacation and spend the week, as there’s plenty to do. We love to stay downtown at one of their charming beds, breakfasts, historic inns, or hotels. We park the car and explore on foot since Annapolis is a walkable town. First stop, City Dock. We enjoy watching the boats parade along Ego Alley. If your family loves being on the water, take a 40-minute harbor cruise or a sail on the historic skipjack, the Wilma Lee. For fun with the older kids, you can also rent kayaks or stand-up paddle boards. With 533 miles of shoreline, Annapolis and Anne Arundel County offer endless opportunities for on-the-water fun. When it’s time to feed the kids, hop aboard a water taxi for a quick ride to a delish meal along Restaurant Row and visit the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Park; it just reopened with a new state-of-theart exhibition, Our Changing Waterfront, that the kids the Declaration of Independence signer William Paca and adore. Don’t miss the Maryland State House – the oldest stop by for a tour of the U.S. Naval Academy! To plan your in continuous legislative use in the nation; the home of trip check out visitannapolis.org!

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Hudson County, NJ If looking for a day trip or a long weekend getaway with the fam this summer — you’re going to want to check out Hudson County, New Jersey. With education and history (and fun!) being a theme TrAvel Tip: If, like me, you of these road trips, Hudson County (NJ) appreciate a well-planned map, is on point. For your skater kid, head over you’ll love these helpful road to one of the many skate parks (Bayonne, trip itinerary maps that can be Hoboken, Jersey City, Union City, and downloaded. I have my eye on West New York) so they can show off the map that educates and traces their backside moves. There are plenty of New Jersey’s Black Heritage in gorgeous parks for the little ones — Pier A Northern New Jersey and the Hoboken, North Hudson Braddock Park, Warren Heritage and Western Hamilton Park Weehawken, to name just Highlands: New Jersey Scenic Byways, but there are plenty a few. My favorite for the entire family is more to choose from. Go to Liberty State Park, situated on the Hudson visithudson.org/nj-road-tripRiver. The family (bring the stroller for itinerary to pick your road map. the wee ones) can walk the two-mile Liberty Walk promenade with views of the One World Trade Center and Battery Park. When it’s time to rest or eat lunch, eat at the Liberty House Restaurant and take in the scene on the waterfront. And bringing that education and history theme into the trip, hop on a ferry via Statue Cruises and visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Liberty Science Center, the immersive, hands-on science museum is l. With so much to do in Hudson County, NJ — check out all the attractions, places to eat delicious food at visithudson.org.

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June 2021 | Queens Family

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travel

Poconos Mountains (northeast Pennsylvania’s Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne counties)

If looking for a summer trip in the mountains, a Poconos visit needs to be in your future. This beauty is right out of a fairytale book with non-stop TRavel TiP: Want to make more mountain terrain, of a commitment to your sumrivers, waterfalls, mer vacation in the Poconos and and woodlands. visit year-round? I can’t blame While popular you. The Sérénité (ownserenite. in the winter, the com) is a private residence club summer in Poconos at Camelback Mountain. The is just as gorgeous Sérénité has created a hybrid and fun. There are vacation program where your 261 miles of bike new vacation home includes and hiking trails as luxe amenities, a clubhouse, and well as fishing and more. Yes, please! boating. Families can also visit the nine state parks and two National Parks. There are many camping options for families to pitch a tent and enjoy the outdoors as well. If kids need a break from nature (yeesh, I know only kids would need a nature break), your youngest kids will love checking out the giraffes so much to do in the Poconos, so definitely check out at claws n paws or learning about the history of local poconomountains.com to map out your family road trip art at the Antoine Dutot Museum & Gallery. There is to the Poconos.

Rockland County, NY When you live in the city, a road trip can also mean a day trip. And after one crazy year, re-exploring is on the top of so many of our to-do lists this summer. Rockland is only one hour away from the city by car. You can also go by bus in the same amount of time. The first stop you should check out is beautiful Piermont, where I would immediately be happy to move to ASAP and live the rest of my years in this scenic town. Located on the riverside, kids will love the Piermont Piers. You can make an appointment at Paradise Canoe and Kayak. com/for a guided tour or sailing lesson in July and August (paradisecanoeandkayak.com). Although the vibe is a small town, there are amazing restaurants and quaint shopping in Piermont; if looking TRavel TiP: Right over the Mario Cuomo Bridge is to engross the family in nature, West Nyack, where the popular Palisades Center can head over to Harriman State be found. With safety measures in place, this four-level Park, where you’ll find 31 lakes shopping center offers 225 brands all in one spot. I can and reservoirs, hiking trails, find all my favorites here (Sephora, Zara, and H&M) as beaches, and camping sites. For well as my go-to stores for the kids (Target, Vans, and the big kids, walk the new 12Old Navy), which means hello back to school shopping. foot wide path at the Governor And now that Covid restrictions are opening back up, Mario M. Cuomo bridge. There here are some of the activity places now open: 5 Wits, are six scenic overlooks to take Aim Point, AMC Theatres, Autobahn Indoor Speedway, in, and the path is 3.1 miles. And Billy Beez, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Palisades Center before heading out on your trip Carousel, Color Me Mine, Palisades Center Ferris check out nyboulders.com to see Wheel, Game Show Room, Glitter & Glam, Levity Live, Mystery Room, OMG Entertainment, Palisades Ice Rink, if there is a game on the schedule Palisades Climb Adventure/Sky Tykes Ropes Course, of The New York BouldersSpace Adventure Glow in the Dark Mini Golf, Spin Zone Rockland’s own American inand opening Soon - Lucky Strike and Exo Drome. dependent professional baseball team!

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Only in Hudson County NJ

Liberty State Park Statue of Liberty Liberty Science Center Ellis Island American Dream

Liberty State Park, in Jersey City, is a 1,200-acre green space with Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. Liberty Science Center is a 300,000 square foot science experience which is ideal for all ages, featuring the western hemisphere’s largest IMAX dome planetarium, a 3D theater, 110 species of live animals, hurricane and tornado-force wind simulators, live simulcast surgeries and many travelling museum exhibits. Statue Cruises ferry service departs daily from Liberty State Park for the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. The ferry is located next to the historic Central Terminal building. Ferries depart from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m and approximately every hour. Departure area is accessible from Liberty State Park Light Rail Station and there is plenty of visitor parking American Dream near the MetLife Stadium complex is at once an attraction, shopping and dining mecca. A colossal Garden State attraction, this 3 million square foot experience center in East Rutherford, is two miles from an array of hotels in Secaucus, and offers an exciting new entertainment and shopping experience. Stop by our website at www.visithudson.org. See you soon!

MetLife Stadium Statue Cruises

Supported in part by a grant from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism

FOLLOW US: @visithudsonNJ

June 2021 | Queens Family

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family fun

16 Inclusive Playgrounds New York spots with features for kids with special needs

the nature surrounding the park. Everything is very accessible including a basketball court and walking area, making it a place everyone in the family can enjoy. Matthew P. Sapolin Playground W 70th St, New York, NY,

Jurassic Playground Meadow Lake Dr. & Meadow Lake Trail Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Forest Hills, NY

Formerly called Playground 70, the Matthew P. Sapolin Playground is a fully accessible park that kids can enjoy no matter what capabilities they have. It has a children’s garden with accessible bridges, musical instruments built into the play area, and basketball hoops with adjustable backstops for those in wheelchairs. It’s one of the top inclusive playgrounds in the city, and will be a joy for any family to visit.

If your kids love dinosaurs and want to go to the park, this is the perfect combination that anyone can enjoy. Jurassic Playground honors the Jurassic period for which it’s named with images and structures dedicated to all kinds of dinosaurs. The playground is also equipped with safety surfacing and other play equipment that makes the park accessible to most any kid.

Robert Bendheim Playground 1184 5th Ave, New York, NY

Laurelton Playground 136-20 Brookville Blvd, Jamaica, NY

The Robert Bendheim Playground is located in Central Park, and has been recently renovated to better meet safety and accessibility standards. It has many inclusive features including adaptive swings, water features, sand tables, and sound generating play structures to help stimulate kids’ senses. Everything there is meant to be universally accessible for any kid to enjoy.

Laurelton Playground is a brightly colored park with play cars and structures that everyone can enjoy. The padded ground and flat surfaces make the area accessible for any kid to play in. It has several sensory activities and cars that will make kids feel like they’re on a real road. The car theme opens your kids’ imagination and allows them to explore the park in a more unique way.

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BRooKLyn

Dutch Kills Playground 36th Avenue &, Crescent St, LIC, NY

Elizabeth Stroud Playground Stuyvesant Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Dutch Kills Playground is an excellent location to take kids, especially those who need more open space or sensory activities. This playground includes several spinning features as well as things your kids can touch and learn from. It has padded flooring to avoid injuries and also features open spaces where your kids can run and create their own fun.

Elizabeth Stroud Playground is a bright boat themed park that will stimulate your kids creativity and allow them to play no matter what their accessibility limits are. It is full of interactive gears and the entire play structure is shaped like a boat allowing your kids to be pirates and sailors. Your kids will have a great time in this playground with endless ways to be entertained.

By AnAliese DoDD

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ith Summer around the corner you may be finding yourself at the park more than ever. If a parent with a child with special needs we put together a round-up of inclusive playgrounds where your kids will be able to enjoy the outdoors. These playgrounds all have features that are accessible that all kids can enjoy. They provides safety features to minimize injuries and allow everyone to enjoy their trip. Their play structures will stimulate your kids creativity and give them a fun activity where they can safely be themselves and run free. Manhattan

Bloomingdale Park 907 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY

Bloomingdale Park is praised as one of the best inclusive playgrounds in all of New York. It has a large flat playground with cushioned flooring and safety fences. The beautiful train shaped play area is full of exciting sensory activities that are available to all kids with a splash area nearby. There is also a basketball court and grass area open for every kid to enjoy. East 110th Street Playground 14 East 60th St, New York

East 110th Street has a simple flat playground that every kid can easily have access to. This Central Park playground is focused on fostering imagination and creativity with its simple wooden structures and water displays that can become anything in your kids’ minds. The structures have accessible ramps and a layout that make it exciting for any kid to play around in. Little Flower Playground Madison St. &, Jefferson St, New York

The Little Flower Playground is the perfect place to take your kids out for some beautiful scenery to accompany their playing. The playground is surrounded by lovely trees, and the design of the play structures also honors

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cognitive, sensory and motor activity for every kid.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park: Playground for all Children 11101 Corona Ave., Corona, NY

Sandbox Village at Pier 6 334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY

The Playground for All Children was one of the first inclusive playgrounds constructed in the United States, and has been the model for many more after it. The playground was designed to accommodate children using wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and more. It also has play structures that stimulate social,

If your kids love playing in the sand and you want to see what other kinds of inclusive playgrounds are in the city, this play area will entertain them for hours with tons of fun sand activities. This soft sand will engage your kids’ senses and allow them to let out their creativity with the freedom to form


anything they can make up in their minds. There are plenty of water elements and fun structures to give kids a fun day out. the Bronx the Imagination Playground 145th Street & St. Ann’s Avenue, Bronx, NY

The Imagination Playground is a revolutionary idea thought of by architect David Rockwell to foster creativity and individuality. The playground was designed to be like a trunk full of treasures with playing blocks and other movable objects so your kids can make the experience fun for them. There are several Imagination Playgrounds in every borough, so you’ll be sure to find one close to your area. Pelham Bay Park: Playground for All Children 5001, 3533 Bruckner Blvd, The Bronx, NY

Similar to the playground in Flushing

Meadows Corona Park, this Playground for All Children was created specifically to accommodate kids who are in need of inclusive playgrounds. This location has several sensory activities for kids to get involved with, and easy access for kids with wheelchairs and crutches. They also have adjustable basketball hoops, water features, and beautiful scenery to make the trip fun for everyone.

Bay Park 199 4th Ave, East Rockaway, NY

Bay Park was recently renovated in 2014 following superstorm Sandy, and has included accessibility features to make their playground available to everyone. They have a spray area and several sensory play features that will stimulate your kids’ mind while they have loads of fun. The ground is flat with no lips in order to allow wheelchairs easy access to all features.

Long IsLAnd Andrew J. Parise Park: Boundless Playground 257 Cedarhurst Ave, Cedarhurst, NY

eisenhower Park: Let All the Children Play Accessible Playground 1899 Park Blvd, Westbury, NY This

The Boundless Playground at Andrew J. Parise Park is one of the inclusive playgrounds that focuses on safety and fun for everyone. They have an accessible sprinkler area and ramps on all of their play structures to make sure kids can have limitless fun. They also have a small rock climbing wall, interactive play features, and other ground level play structures that kids can enjoy.

accessible playground is one of the largest in the area where every kid can have a good time. This park has dozens of brightly colored play structures meant to be inclusive for all while giving them tons of fun options. There’s a wheelchair accessible merry-goround, adaptive swings, climbing structures and plenty of other fun activities to give your kids a full day of fun. June 2021 | Queens Family

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Janet Bloom of Curious G and Me

On curiosity, diversity, and the kid-friendly spots you’ll need for an adventure-filled summer By Mia SalaS

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ummer is back on here in New York! For this issue, we spent a fun day on Coney Island with Janet Bloom of Curious G and Me. Janet is an NYC mother, digital creator, and communications consultant, and she and her family are all about trying new things. I love that Janet inspires readers of her website and Instagram to get out and have fun with educational kid-friendly adventures. Janet, her hubs of 10 years, Josh, and daughter G, share everything from NYC must-visits to style-inspo and even delicious eats and treats, all packed with personal stories that bring these guides to life. Janet also shares why she enjoys living and raising her daughter in such a diverse city. She talks about how the current turmoil of racism against the AAPI community affects her family and then how she explains the violence to her daughter. I chatted with Janet on her NYC adventures, the creative and engaging ways she shares these experiences, and why they are so important for kids and adults alike. With all the fun adventures you and your daughter go on in NYC, we’re sure you have a lot planned for the summer as things start to open more here. Can you share with us some of your NYC summer plans? This will be the summer of NYC outdoors! Much like last summer, people want to get out and soak up some sun after the long and harsh winter that we had. I usually add the hashtag #nycoutdoors when I post about our outdoor urban adventures. We just previewed Little Island, the new green space-outdoor visual and performing

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arts space designed by Thomas Heatherwick (of The Vessel fame), and it was divine. We really love urban settings where we can lounge with some snacks and drinks (the onsite food trucks offer an awesome selection of snacks, meals, and adult beverages), while the kids run around on the grass and explore. NYC is full of these spaces where we can casually spend a fun Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The glory of Little Island is that you can also roll it into multiple stops along Hudson River Park. I mean, where do I even begin with Hudson River Park? If we start from the area north of Chelsea Piers, there is the carousel (now reopened!) and skatepark on Pier 62; mini golf, volleyball courts, Grand Banks, and a playground with one of the city’s best splashpads on pier 25. There are two City Wineries along the way. And the jewel of the crown-Battery Park City. I love all of the food, and the playgrounds, and the sprawling lawns, and the gorgeous river views that you can bask in all day in Battery Park City. If you round the bend that we call the southernmost tip of Manhattan you can also catch a ride on the magical Seaglass Carousel, hit up the playgrounds and shops in South Street Seaport, and dine at one of many fun restaurants on Pier 17 (try the “green Bloody Mary” at Malibu Farm because tequila and kale juice go hand in hand, who knew?!) Just walking around outside in NYC in the summertime is such a vibe for us. You can have an instant dance party just from all the different music blasting from cars cruising by with their windows down! Explaining to kids what systemic racism is and the various social movements/

diversity & inclusion efforts in place to combat it can be really difficult. In an Instagram post you wrote: “It’s scary to hope that nobody targets your child or your parents- or your friends and family members. #stopAsianHate”. What does #stopAsianHate mean to you and how do you talk to your daughter about it? Stop Asian Hate to me is about giving a voice to the AAPI community, which has been silent about outright attacks and microagressions for so long. I was recently chatting with one of my closest friends, who is the Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at a huge corporation, and she mentioned how as a community people of AAPI descent often just shrug off racism against us and accept it as the status quo. We sometimes compare our plight to that of other races and just tell ourselves that our situation is not as dire. But we shouldn’t have to lower our standards and just shoulder to pain of being marginalized. I don’t want G to ever feel like she matters less than other people. When I posted about how scary it is to feel like a target, I was at a point where I was scared. Plain and simple. I was actually scared for myself, my family, and worst of all for G. From the start of the pandemic there was a lot of racial bias directed at Asian people. Some of my friends experienced it first hand, some were even so traumatized that they did not leave their apartments alone. I was so consumed with keeping us all healthy that the fear of being racially targeted wasn’t front of mind. But after the attacks became more frequent, and the horrific murders in Georgia, my fear heightened and there were times when I would be walking down the street while devising different ways to


defend myself if I had to. And that’s scary and stressful. But I was raised to internalize my fears rather than expressing them, and this form of introversion can be very dangerous. So when I talk about stopping Asian hate with G, I tell her that she has to speak up for herself. The history of discrimination against Asians in this country traces back to the 1800’s when the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. Then, the Immigration Act of 1917 barred Asians from entering the U.S. Fast forward to 2021, when over 6,000 anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported in the last year. Biden just signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act bill, which orders the Justice Department to review all hate crimes, including those against the AAPI community. Stop AAPI Hate, the organization that started tracking and reporting the incidents of hate, violence, and discrimination shortly after the pandemic started and many Asian Americans were being targeted as scapegoats for the virus, was a major catalyst for this development and you can donate to their cause via their website: stopaapihate.com. We need our voices to be heard. One of the questions that G always asks is “Why?”. Why do people say and do racist things? And this is a good opportunity to raise the importance of education. As children and adults, we must learn the history of racism, and very importantly, listen to the people who have experienced it and hear what they have to say with an open heart and an open mind. Children have the advantage of seeing things from the human side without the baggage of politics. Educating our children about treating everyone equally and advocating for the people who need our help is the best that we can do as parents to create change and raise compassionate citizens. Two books that we have read from an early age have been very helpful. They are both from the Ordinary People Change the World series by Brad Meltzer. I am Rosa Parks is a book that G likes to read often, and I am Abraham Lincoln promotes advocating for those who need our help. Let The Children March by Monica Clark-Robinson and The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita L. Hubbard are two more very powerful books that have made an impact on G. So, when G ask me why people are racist, I tell her that racism is a learned behavior and we must always continue to educate ourselves. Photo by Yumi Matsuo

For the entire cover story please visit newyorkfamily.com. June 2021 | Queens Family

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tech

New Instagram for Kids in the Works As Facebook announces a controversial new app, here’s what parents should know By AnAliese DoDD & DonnA DuArte-lADD

F

acebook has recently announced they will be expanding their popular photosharing app by launching an Instagram for kids under the age of 13. This new version of the app will encourage kids to create their own safe experience where they can share posts with their friends. We’re looking at the plan for this new app and some of the concerns parents should be aware of before signing their kids up for this new experience. What is Different About this New Instagram for Kids? As of now, Instagram doesn’t allow users under the age of 13 in order to protect kids’ privacy. This new Instagram for kids (under 13 years old) will allow kids to communicate with one another while limiting their access. The program is led by Pavni Diwanji who has overseen many children focused projects for Google including YouTube Kids. The exact layout of the kid’s app hasn’t been specified as the program is still in early development. Instagram has said they need to do more to protect its younger users from some of the dangers that come with social media. In particular, they are looking into ways to prevent the bullying, predation, and abuse that sometimes finds kids on their app. This new version of Instagram will severely limit access to these kinds of environments, and will give parents control or transparency over what’s happening on their child’s account. What Are Some Concerns Over the App? While this new version of the app may invite kids to engage with one another, parents should still be wary of the new experience. Despite Instagram’s assurance that the app will be secure, there are still risks with getting young kids involved with this kind of social media. Sometimes when kids get involved with apps like YouTube Kids and other kid versions of apps they transition quickly to the adult versions of the app.

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This new Instagram for kids app has not been fully developed or tested, but it might be best to keep as updated as possible while more information comes in. This new Instagram can be a great thing for kids in moderation, but it is easy for them to get consumed by it. Each family should make their own choice when it comes to downloading the app and deciding the parental controls that are appropriate for each individual child. As recently as May 10, 2021 – Attorney generals from 44 states and territories issued a letter to Mr. Zuckerburg urging Facebook to drop its plan to create Instagram for kids. The letter also stated “One study found that frequently viewing selfies led to “decreased self-esteem” and “decreased life satisfaction,” (ref: Wang, R., et al. Let me take a selfie: Exploring the psychological). The letter also

states “Third, Facebook has a record of failing to protect the safety and privacy of children on its platform, despite claims that its products have strict privacy controls. Reports from 2019 showed that Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, intended for kids between the ages of six and 12, contained a significant design flaw that allowed children to circumvent restrictions on online interactions and join group chats with strangers that were not previously approved by the children’s parents.”(ref:5 Russell Brandom, “Facebook design flaw let thousands of kids join chats with unauthorized users,” The Verge (Jul. 22, 2019). So plan for this topic to be ongoing for some time. In the end, if the app does come to fruition parents will have all the pros and cons to make the decision for their children.


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