Bronx/Riverdale Family - June 2022

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June 2022

shop dine play dream Celebrate Summer with the whole family at American Dream. Enjoy larger-than-life attractions, elevated dining and the only Saks Fifth Avenue in New Jersey! Experience it all!

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FEATURES 28 | Cover – José Rolón of @nycgaydad On being a single parent, letting people see you in all your crazy glory and looking for love

Summer GUide

June 2022

Stories & columns 4 | Editor’s Letter 6 | Camp Summer camp and your child’s mental health

Family fun 30 | Calendar All the fun events and activities for June

10 | Education The benefits of preschool

on the Cover

14 | Travel Family Road Trips

Photo: Ana Gambuto |

24 | To Do Summer Bucket List

Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez |

Cover Illustration: Béatrice Hug Produced by: Donna Duarte Ladd

June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


Editor’s Note

Nina Gallo Photography

The Ultimate Summer Family Fun Guide It’s been a year, well, a school year, where there have been many tests—the pop quiz kind and then the COVID sort. But we got through it. Kids are champions, especially on how they have preserved with all that has come their way since this pandemic began— yay for the kids. If you are still searching for a summer camp, we have a helpful piece on The Advantages of Sending your Kids to Camp (page 6). If you didn’t notice by our fun cover, we’ve got you covered with summer fun with memorable Family Road Trips (page

14) and because we like odd numbers — 57 Things To Do This Summer (page 24). Of course, Team NYF will be around all summer, so visit us online (newyorkfamily. com & for all summer activities and events. Lastly, fathers are the best, and we have one fantastic dad on the cover. José Rolón (page 28) of @nycgaydad shares on being a single parent, letting people see you in all your crazy glory, and shares that he is ready for love! Donna and New York Family

Publisher: Clifford Luster Executive Director: Donna Duarte-Ladd Associate Publisher: Erin Brof Advertising Director: Stacie Goldberg Deputy Editor: Jeannine Cintron Digital Editor: Courtney Ingalls Events Manager: Shara Levine Reporter: Barbara Russo Senior Adviser: Susan Weiss Partnership Managers: Lauren Alperin, Lauren Anchin, Joan Bergman, Mary Cassidy, Lori Falco Shelli Goldberg-Peck, Annene Guertin, LynnMarie Hanley, Lisa Herlihy, Janine Mulé, Cara Roteman, Nina Spiegelman, Gwen Tomaselli Marketing & Strategy Director: Rosalia Bobé Sales & Marketing Coordinator: Mykael Fields Marketing Assistant: Tilejah Gilead Art Director: Leah Mitch Web Developer: Sylvan Migdal Graphic Designers: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti Editor at large: Cris Pearlstein Editorial Contributors: Jana Beauchamp, Mia Salas Editorial Interns: Océane Goriou, Kilani Sierra, Liana Vazquez

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Summer Camp & Your Child’s Mental Health The many cognitive advantages of sending your kids to camp By Jeannine Cintron


hen you think of summer camp, images of children playing sports, completing arts and crafts projects and splashing in pools come to mind. Those activities make for a very exciting summer, but camp is also a place where lifelong friendships are made and where a child can truly grow as a person during a crucial point in their young lives. Summer camp offers children the opportunity to focus instead of on their academic success but on their own personal identity and independence. With the school books put away, camp gives kids the freedom to work on themselves. We spoke with Alicia Skovera, Executive Director of the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey to learn how and why summer camp is

6 | June 2022

so important to a child’s mental health and internal development. Does camp help kids who have trouble making friends or experience social anxiety? Many children struggle with anxiety about going to camp, especially if it’s their first time. Children often feel more at ease when their feelings are normalized. Parents should explain to children that some of their peers may be feeling the same way but express it differently. I encourage parents to allow their children to be separated from their friends when attending camp. Camp tends to be a place where children get to be themselves and try on different parts of their personality, which can be easier when they do not know anyone to start. There’s an old adage at camps

that your camp friends become your best friends and your lifelong friends! What advice would you give to kids who are nervous or hesitant to start camp? Choosing the right camp for you is a crucial place to start. There are camps for everyone and it’s important to choose one that you are excited about and has the activities you are looking for. Set up a meeting to talk with the director before camp starts and take a tour of the property. Take the time to ask all of your questions before attending, especially about anything that worries you. See if the camp can introduce you to who your counselor is going to be ahead of the summer so you already know them on your first day. How do you think attending camp affects a child’s mental health in the short term and in the long term? Camp allows children to discover who they are and find out what they are good at. They get to try new things, meet new people, and overcome everyday challenges that help build self esteem and self-efficacy. This skill building helps to build confidence to try new things, which has a positive impact over a child’s mental health both in the short and long term. Research has shown there is a direct correla-

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tion between the time one spends in nature and the release of the stress hormone cortisol. The more time children spend outdoors and in the natural world, the less stress they tend to feel. We also know that children who play outdoors are more likely to help protect nature as an adult. Which camp activities have the best effects on a child’s mental and emotional health? There is no one activity that gives the best effect for a child’s mental and emotional health. Incorporating choice in activities allows children to follow their own interests and to have ownership in the activity. Some activities have inherently more challenges than others, like the ropes course or swimming, but it is important to positively encourage a child to try something new and not to force them to try it. Again, we know that spending time and/ or learning outdoors has a huge impact on a child’s stress levels and how they feel about the natural world when they become adults. How can parents ensure they are choosing a camp that will benefit their child’s mental health?

“Camp allows children to discover who they are and find out what they are good at. They get to try new things, meet new people, and overcome everyday challenges that help build self esteem and self-efficacy.” The AmericanCamp Academy encourages all parents to choose regulated camps that are ACA accredited. Accreditation and oversight from a regulatory body, like the Department of Health, are the best indicators that a camp will be physically and emotionally safe for every child. In addition, talk to your child about what they are feeling and what is most important to them. Get to know the camp nurse as well. Find out what the camp’s plan is for when a child needs help. What can parents do to encourage the mental and emotional growth of their child at summer camp? This may sound counterintuitive, but leave your children alone! Allow them to gain their independence without you. Write encouraging

letters to your child and let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that you believe in them. Do not include any information about home that would be perceived as stressful or that would have the child feel like they were “missing out” on something going on at home. When your child is talking to you about what happened at camp, ask questions about their day and when there is something they feel like they could have done better. Ask them what they could have done differently instead of telling them (this especially works for older children). Lastly, call the camp to check in about how your child is doing. Try not to demand to speak to the child on your terms or according to your schedule since often they will be pulled from an activity they enjoy and they rarely want to stop what they are doing.

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RISE TO THE CHALLENGE! June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family





very parent wants their child to have a great education. Elementary, high-school and college learning are all undoubtedly important, but the path to a successful education can start as early as the toddler years—long before a child steps into a kindergarten classroom. Preschool learning—also known as early childhood education—is a great option for many families, and can offer a strong foundation for a successful academic career. What is Preschool? It seems like a silly question, but it’s important to define what preschool actually means these days. In the past, preschool was considered by many to be just a time for children to play. Some critics have even referred to it as a form of “babysitting service.” While preschool can provide an excellent and enriching child-care opportunity for working parents, the belief

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that preschool is just a time for free play has changed. Nonetheless, play is extremely important for healthy child development. “Preschool should be a place for focusing on all the areas of development. Play is how children learn, interact with their environment and acquire new concepts and skills,” Jeannine DiBart, co-owner and co-director of Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center in Katonah, NY, said. “Play is essential in development, but only works this way if the preschool is planning, evaluating, and utilizing play with an educator’s eye. Play must give the children hands-on opportunities to learn and develop and the educators must set up purposeful experiences.” Benefits of Preschool Learning Some parents grapple over whether to send their child to preschool or keep them home in their toddler years. Of course, every family has its unique circumstances and their own factors to consider when making this

important decision. While there are definitely pluses to keeping your child at home, many social workers and education experts agree that preschool offers children many lasting benefits. In fact, children who attend highquality preschool programs reap benefits that can last through school and their lives, according to a review of research by the Learning Policy Institute, a Palo Alto, CA, nonprofit that conducts research in the field of education policy and practice. An overarching benefit of preschool is the vital role it plays in the development of the whole child. The pre-kindergarten years provide a time in a child’s life where social, emotional and cognitive development need to be nourished and developed equally, many educators say. It’s important to note that preschool is often the very first time a child is apart from his or her parents and in a group of peers, which as many parents know can be stressful for a child, but an experience that will pay off in the long run. “All preschools should have as much


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June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



of a focus on this social and emotional component as cognitive development. Preschool gives the child a chance to acquire interpersonal and language skills needed in order to function outside the family unit,” DiBart said. Another similar benefit preschool provides is an opportunity to socialize in a group setting, which is something that most likely can’t be achieved at home. “Preschool gives children an opportunity to practice social skills and develop those social skills in a real-world kind of way that also reflects what it’s going to be like once they enter into school,” Michelle Felder, LCSW, a parenting therapist and founder and CEO of Parenting Pathfinders, said. Problem-solving and negotiating are two important skills children start to acquire in preschool, Felder explained. Learning these two critically important skills at a young age will help provide a strong base for healthy and successful interpersonal, academic and professional relationships well into adolescence and adulthood. “Kids have the opportunity in preschool to practice negotiating time and space with other kids, which really helps them become more prepared when they enter kindergarten,” Felder said. “This sets a really wonderful foundation for learning how to interact with other people, how to negotiate, problem solve, cooperate and listen. Preschool also builds those foundational conversation skills for kids as they’re talking to peers and grown-ups. They get so much practice in preschool.” Another benefit of preschool learning is that professional teachers on staff are trained to identify problems a child may have— problems that might go unnoticed by parents. “There’s a difference when it’s your own child versus a teacher who is trained to spot areas of growth, things that your child might need support in and ways that they can be prepared for kindergarten in a way that a nanny or parent can’t do at home,” Lisa Samick, director of the Early Childhood Learning Center at Temple Israel of the City of New York, said. Preschool Learning: It’s Not Necessarily About Academics Parents shouldn’t expect their child to become a whiz at reading, writing and counting in preschool. Early childhood education is much more about socialization, cognitive and emotional development, curiosity and learning through play.

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“Kids have the opportunity in preschool to practice negotiating time and space with other kids, which really helps them become more prepared when they enter kindergarten.” Preschool also helps foster a child’s creativity, which is a big part of early childhood development. Teaching art to preschoolers nurtures an array of important skills. “Children feel a sense of emotional satisfaction when they are involved in making their own art and their self-esteem is boosted by giving them opportunities to express what they are thinking and feeling,” Gail Porter, who co-owns and directs alongside DiBart at Katonah Playcare Early Learning Center. “As well, art requires decision-making and self-evaluation when the children decide what to portray, the media to use, when they are finished, and how to evaluate their art.” While reading isn’t usually in a preschool curriculum, literacy skills are often taught through art. Since art is symbolic, children use art to represent real objects, events and feelings. “This use of symbols provides a foundation for children’s later use of letters and words to symbolize sounds, and words and sentences to symbolize objects and actions,” Porter explained. Tips for Choosing a Preschool Now that you have an overview of what preschool can offer, it’s time to choose a school. The search for the perfect preschool can be quite overwhelming, but our experts shared some tips to help make the process a little less daunting. To start, make sure the school aligns with what’s important to you as a parent, whether it offers indoor programming, opportunities for outside play, arts-and-crafts, among other activities. Many parents might also want to consider cost, location and teacher credentials. Other tips for choosing a preschool include: Visit the school in person. Parents should have a warm and welcoming feeling when visiting a school and should feel free to ask questions. Look at the student-teacher ratio. Consider how important class size is to you. Consider toys and materials. Ask the staff if there are toys available that encourage children to be creative. These can include

dolls and plush animals to foster imaginative play, LEGOs of preschool complexity levels, puppets for storytelling, easy-to-use drum sets, among many other options. Changing a Preschool Mid-Year Sometimes, despite your best efforts to find a school that suits your family’s needs, the one you chose just isn’t the right fit. While your child might be blissfully happy, it can also be the case that sometimes their school isn’t working and you may be considering a midyear jump to a new school. The first step to switching schools is to figure out what isn’t working. Reach out to your child’s teacher or school principal. Be honest that you’re considering a change of environment and bring up your concerns about the school. Keep in mind that you only see one side of the story as a parent and that they might have valuable insights to share about your child’s life at school. Once you’ve laid out your concerns, listen carefully to their response and ask them whether they have any suggestions for improving the situation. If you aren’t convinced that change will be possible and still have the same desire to make a move, ask what the process for leaving mid-year might be. If you’re at a private school, understand your billing notice period and how you will retrieve school records. Once a new school has been chosen, mentally prepare your child for the move. Alicia Sharpe, a New York City-based Education Consultant, says, “Mental preparation starts at home. Speak with your child about this new coming transition; even if the child is too young to communicate with you verbally, they will understand. If possible, bring your child to visit the new school,meet the teachers, and introduce them to their new classroom before the start of the new school term. If you have an older child, help them understand that moving schools are not abnormal, but it will be an exciting fresh start. Reassure them that it’s possible to maintain friendships even when they’re at a new school, and consider how you can help them to participate in activities that current friends take part in.”

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June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


Ultimate SUmmer Family FUn GUide in partnership with

Family Road Trips By Serena noor


id you know you can via a zipline through the Hudson Valley? Or see a calf be born? Visit the battlefield sites of the Civil War and Revolutionary War? The best part? These trips are only a car or train ride away. Our annual Road Trip Guide features something for the whole family with beaches, museums, fairs, waterparks, camping, hiking, outdoor adventures, beaches, and memories that will last a lifetime. Plan away!

Mood-Boosting Summer Adventures in New Jersey This summer take advantage of everything New Jersey has to offer! Not only is this neighboring state about an hour from New York City, but it’s also the ultimate summer getaway, offering 130 miles of serene, sunkissed coastline to ready-to-stroll boardwalks, amusement parks, outdoor adventures, and tons of family-friendly attractions. Some favorites include amusement and water parks, like Six Flags Great Adventure and Crystal Springs Family Water Park; zoos, such as Cape May County Park & Zoo and the Popcorn Park Animal Refuge; and aquariums, like Jenkins Aquarium and Adventure Aquarium, that will surely make for a fun summer weekend getaway. For water lovers, explore one of New Jersey’s many beaches and boardwalks, including Ocean City, Atlantic City, Wildwood, Belmar, Sea Isle City, Cape May, and so much more. Each town has its own charm, featuring special downtown areas and main streets dotted with boutiques, specialty shops, eateries, and more. There’s also plenty to do for adventure seekers who will enjoy access to kayaking, canoeing, hiking, biking, fishing, camping, and hot air ballooning. Some points of interest to explore include Apshawa Preserve, the Buttermilk Falls Trail, Hacklebarney State Park and lakeside adventures such as Camp Glen Gray, Mohican Outdoor Center, and the Turkey Swamp Park Campgrounds. In addition to these exciting attractions, New Jersey also has incredible dining options for all palates, including distinctive multi-

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cultural cuisine from iconic dining hot spots served indoors, outdoors and even on scenic rooftops. And don’t forget dessert! Ice cream lovers will delight in a visit to popular locales like Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream, Springer’s Homemade Ice Cream, and Torico Ice Cream, to name a few. New Jersey is also renowned for its bustling arts and music scene, featuring galleries, museums (e.g. Liberty Science Center, Montclair Art Museum, and Insectropolis) and concert venues. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities to learn all about the many historical and cultural touchstones in the area, including American Revolution and Black Heritage trip itineraries, among others. Whether it’s your first time visiting or your hundredth, New Jersey offers a little bit of everything for you and your family to explore, play, enjoy and soak up the sun.

June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


Ultimate SUmmer Family FUn GUide

Outdoor adventures and more in the Greater Northern Catskills of Greene County The Catskills is one of New York’s natural treasures. From hiking to boating to a bustling cultural scene, there is much to see and do in Greene County. Around three hours from New York City, the area offers access to many attractions, outdoor activities, the arts, camping, and more. Nature and adventure lovers will enjoy a visit to Mountain Top Arboretum, discovering 178 acres of plants, natural meadows, wetlands, and forests throughout its many trails and boardwalks. The top elevation of the arboretum reaches 2,400-feet where you and your family can enjoy breathtaking views. For even more hiking, explore one of the area’s many waterfall hikes such as Kaaterskill Falls, Plattekill Falls, Ashley Falls, and much more. There is also paddling, stand-up paddleboarding on the Hudson River, or canoeing at the Colgate Lake Wild Forest or Earlton Hill Campground & RV Park. And with over 1,000 camping options, you’ll find places for glamping, pitching a tent, camping with your RV, or a roofed cabin. Camping not your thing? No problem! Stay at one of Green County’s many family resorts such as vacation rentals, all-inclusive resorts, hotels, inns, and more. There are also tons of family-friendly attractions for you and your family to enjoy, including Bailiwick Ranch and Animal Park where you can see exotic and farm animals; the Zoom Flume Water Park, or the New York Adventure Zipline Adventure Tours at Hunter Mountain

where you’ll get the best views of the Catskill Mountains as you swing 600-feet above the ground. Older kids and their families can also try mountain biking where you can ride over 120 trails, including paths along historical railroad tracks to rocky loops. Wind down your adventurous day with a movie at the Greenville Drive-In or enjoy a cultural attraction such as the Thomas Cole National Historic Site where you can tour Cole’s studio as well as ongoing events and workshops.

Non-Stop Fun at Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark Enjoy the ultimate summer escape by staying at New York’s biggest indoor waterpark! Located in New York’s Sullivan County, Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark is all about the fun and non-stop activities for your kids with rides and slides, pools, and of course the lazy river. The indoor area is also heated at 84 degrees where you can get some sun without direct access. Rent a private cabana for some lounging – if your kids ever want to take a break – as well as access to a TV and a stocked mini-fridge. The property also has eight eateries and bars for quick bites and sitdown meals. Make sure you try the ice cream at Pop’s Sweet Shoppe, or cookies, brownies, and cakes at The Highline. In addition to the water fun, Kartrite also has tons of indoor activities such as their Hi-Tech Adventure Zone with bowling, laser tag, virtual reality zone, ropes course, rock climbing, and more. Over the summer, they also have special events such as BBQs, luaus, carnivals, DJ’s, bouncy houses, buffets, and games as well as live entertainment including magic shows, petting zoos, and bubble shows. When your kids are finally ready to relax, you’ll love staying right on the property with access to 324 modern suites for all family sizes, including bunk bed suites and two-and-three-bedroom suites.

They also have a new lodge experience, which is beautifully set right amongst the mountains. Being in close proximity to the mountains, you can also enjoy access to six miles of hiking trails – making it the perfect family getaway that’s only 90-minutes from New York City.

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Surprise yourself with summer wonders, or rediscover the places and faces you treasure most. 130 miles of serene, sun-kissed coastline. Ready-to-stroll boardwalks, amusement parks and family-friendly attractions. Distinctive dining, art, history and culture. Inspiring journeys, like our American Revolution and Black Heritage trip Itineraries. Get your free official travel guide and explore more at June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


Ultimate SUmmer Family FUn GUide

A historical trip to Frederick County, Maryland Take a road trip to beautiful Frederick County, Maryland to soak in the beauty and history of this quaint area. Located just 45 minutes from Baltimore and Washington, DC and just south of Gettysburg, PA, Frederick County offers access to two National Scenic Byways, historic downtowns, local restaurants, parks, boutique shops, farms experiences, and much more. History lovers will enjoy learning more about Frederick’s part during the American Civil War, including battlefields, Monocacy National Battlefield and South Mountain State Battlefield. Families will love the area’s many adventurous offerings, such as hiking Chimney Rock in Catoctin Mountain Park or the beautiful Cunningham Falls State Park. Here, you’ll find Maryland’s largest cascading waterfall, swimming, picnicking, boating, playgrounds, and campsites. Additional attractions include the climbing adventures at Tree Trekkers, spending a day with animals at Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, or riding a themed train ride on Walkersville Southern Railroad. Rent a colorful electric bike to tour Downtown Frederick or

venture to the countryside and be sure to visit South Mountain Creamery. Here, you and your kids can watch the cows being milked, bottle feed calves, and enjoy some ice cream from the farm store! There are also 20 nationally-branded hotels for your getaway as well as options for camping. Check out their road trip guide to discover even more ideas to explore and enjoy the area.

Rhode Island: a seaside escape to “rhode” It’s all about fun in the sun during a road trip to Rhode Island. A short “Rhode” trip for New York City families, Rhode Island offers access to over 400 miles of New England’s beautiful coastline, including a beach escape for wave jumping, swimming, surfing, and sandcastle building. The area is also renowned for its cool public art, charming – and walkable – towns, rivers, local farms, and more! There’s an endless amount of familyfriendly activities in the area, including 50 museums, fishing, local farms and gardens, nature and hiking, biking on one of the 60 miles of pathways, or seeing WaterFire, an incredible 1.5 miles of lit fire that lines downtown Providence. For some indoor fun, check out the Providence Children’s Museum, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Biomes Marine Biology Center, and the Save the Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium. History lovers will enjoy learning more about the Gilded Age during a visit to Newport’s iconic mansions. Foodies will also not be disappointed that you can try some of the area’s incredible seafood, clam shacks, lobster stands, and more. In Providence, book a food tour with Rhode Island Red Food Tours. And you have to try Del’s Frozen Lemonade, a Rhode Island staple for a sweet treat to cool down with or one of the area’s many ice cream stands. Rhode Island is also home to numerous hotels and resorts from

family-friendly to ultra-luxury with properties such as Gurney’s Newport, Hotel Viking, Ocean House, The Chanler, The Beatrice, The Graduate, and Aloft Downtown Providence, to name a few. Looking for something a little more remote? Check out Block Island, a private island that’s only accessible by boat. Here, you’ll find dining, shopping, attractions, activities, and beaches. For more information and to book your trip to Rhode Island visit, https://www.

18 | June 2022

Your Next Family-Fun Getaway... is just 30 minutes away!

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy the beauty of the Hudson Valley. Rockland County offers a wealth of attractions and activities easily reached by car, train, or boat. With a mix of bustling towns, great outdoor adventure, creative culture and more, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.


June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


Ultimate SUmmer Family FUn GUide

Celebrating Pride in NYC : With pride month right around the corner, NYC is getting ready to celebrate in classic city fashion: a ton of events. Known for its inclusive and welcoming spirit, NYC boasts some of the best LGBTQ+ activities in June and year-round. But for families trying to plan ahead, finding out what’s happening and where to go can be difficult. Luckily, NYCgo. com serves up the official guide parents need to navigate LGBTQ+ in the city. Many of the events are kid-friendly and encourage families to come out and support this underrepresented group. For example, there’s “Youth Pride” in Central Park on June 25: a free event for LGBTQ+ kids, teens, and their allies to listen to influencers, activists, and great music. “Pride Family Movie Night” on June 15 in the West Village is also perfect (and free!) for families to take part in the LGBTQ+ activities. The best part about is that every NYC borough is represented– from Queens Pride to Brooklyn Pride to Staten Island PrideFest, families can find Pride celebrations in their local area. And for families visiting the city in the summer, NY- makes it easy to see exactly where to go to join in on the fun. Sign up now to get the latest on new LGBTQ+ NYC events, activities, and offers.

Explore New York’s Backyard in Rockland County Rockland County is a hidden New York gem that’s only 30 miles north of New York City. Offering stunning views of Hudson River as well as access to quaint villages, outdoor activities, a bustling craft food and beverage scene, rich history, and non-stop shopping and entertainment, there’s something for everyone in Rockland County. Start your day by walking or biking across the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. With access and parking points in Westchester and Nyack, you and your family can enjoy six scenic overlook points, public art across the path and historic touchpoints. At 3.6 miles and the longest biking and pedestrian path in the county, the path is also a great way to get in some exercise. For a connection to nature, enjoy access to over 200 miles of trails and parks. Great for hiking, exploring, and swimming as well as boating, kayaking, watersports, and fishing in Nyack, Piermont, Haverstraw, or Stony Point. Take in a game and enjoy some baseball fare by watching the New York Boulders, a professional minor league baseball team with a stadium right in Rockland. Add some history to your trip by checking out the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site. This is the location of the last major Revolutionary War battle in the north with a museum, interactive programs, reenactments of battles, cannon musket firing, and more. This is also the location of the Stony Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River.

For some indoor fun, visit Palisades Center and enjoy tons of activities and entertainment, such as Space Adventure Glow in the Dark Mini Golf, Palisades Climb Adventure, Autobahn Raceway, 5 Wits Escape Room, the Palisades Climb Adventure Ropes Course, ice skating, movie theater, bowling at Lucky Strike, and tons more. Make sure to include walking through one of their many waterfront villages as a part of your trip as you check out a waterfront restaurant, breweries, boutiques, and Torne Valley Vineyards, Rockland’s only winery. Located in the Ramapo Mountains, this quaint winery offers tastings, live music and Friday night concerts in the summer. Complete your stay with a great night of sleep at one of the area’s sweet bed and breakfasts, hotel, or local inn.

20 | June 2022


Make moments that matter in hip & historic Frederick County, Maryland. Wander historic downtowns with locally-owned specialty shops, galleries, and theaters. Venture outdoors in National & State Parks and experience our storied past at Civil War battlefields. Indulge in world-class restaurants and unwind at dozens of tasting rooms. • 800-999-3613 June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


Ultimate SUmmer Family FUn GUide

Fun in the Sun at the Putnam County Country Fest & 4-H Showcase Summer is all about enjoying live, outdoor music and Putnam County has some of the best at the Putnam County Country Fest & 4-H Showcase. Held from July 15th-17th at Veterans Memorial Park, this country festival offers food trucks, treats, country-themed vendors, tons of games, demos, and exhibits. The event also includes horse showmanship and demonstrations, magic shows, inflatables and much more! Music takes place on Friday and Saturday nights with concerts under the stars, featuring High Noon: A Tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd & Southern Rock on Friday. Come back on Sunday to view the NY Cruisers’ classic car show and the Duck Derby. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen, chairs, or blankets for a day of relaxation and fun. Get your tickets at July 15, 2022- July 17, 2022 Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park Gipsy Trail Road Carmel, NY 10512

The Fair We Wait all Year For: <3E G=@9 4/;7:G >/@B<3@ Dutchess County Fair This summer, spend a day – or more – at the 176th Dutchess County Fair. Running from August 23rd-August 28th in Rhinebeck, New York, this affordable family adventure is impressively also the largest agricultural six-day fair in New York State. At the fair, families will enjoy thrilling and kiddie rides, may as Angry Birds Mini Golf, conquerdeliciousKids food, andcelebrate free entertainment. This school’s out Commerford’s for the summer,Petting Zoo, ing the Mirror Maze, or playing includes music, butpigs, parents…not so much. the newly opened Escape Game, racing juggling, and more. There areis only ways for farmers NJ’s #1 escape room, you’ll find The fair also so an many opportunity to entertain your kids. If you’re excitement at every corner. to showcase their livestock where fairgoers worried about keeping them while being Besides attractions, there’s can learn more about agriculture smiling thisfood summer, look no plenty of stores to shop for men’s, educated about and where it comes from. than Dream exhibitors, women’s, and children’s apparel, Thisfurther includes overAmerican 1,000 individual in farmers East Rutherford, footwear, electronics, and much where showcaseNJ. their cows, horses, A quicksheep, drive and fromgoats. NYC,You’ll be more. And when you need a pigs, chickens, this amusement park has bite to eat, head over to one of able to see milking demonstrations, sheep something for everyone. Theof a live calf! the many delicious restaurants: shearing, and even the birthing Nickelodeon Universe Theme Yard House for adults, the Oreo There is also a horticulture building at the fair Park has Blue’sshowcase Clues-themed Café for kids, and Five Guys or where landscapers their talents in rides for your little 36’’ riders, snow largest indoor water park in Popeyes for the family. breathtaking garden displays. Guests will alsoresort, is also now open andtoSpongeBob-themed again! North America, is a familyIf your kids are off from be able participate as you cast your vote in roller coasters forAwards” your bigcompetition. kid The best part about Amerifavorite. DreamWorks features camp for the weekend, plan your the “People’s Choice thrill-seekers. Bigbe Snow, Northselling can Dream is that there are so the biggest indoor wave pool, trip to American Dream today. Vendors will also on hand, their America’s and only indoor, many to buildings explore. record-breaking Check out the full experience artisanal jams first and jellies, quilts and fine arts attractions in the many And we can’tslides, forgetand theeven food. From tunnel cakes to sundaes at to year-round ski and fromDreamWorks Water Park, theover fried a lazypickles river. Whether it’slegs, playing and real-snow, kiosks. This includes vendors the Hudson Valley and all to turkey you’ll have your fill of some delicious fare. the U.S. Advance discount tickets can be purchased at

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22 | June 2022

June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



SUMMER BUCKET LIST 57 family-friendly things to do this season in the city and beyond



ummer is here, and there is nothing more we enjoy doing than exploring our city and beyond. Whether it is jumping on the subway for a day trip or hopping in the car for a road trip to one of NY’s many surrounding neighbors, there is a lot New York has to offer. So this summer, visit one of the city’s incredible parks, take in a movie under the stars, head to an amusement park, or do anything on our list for this Ultimate Summer Bucket List is for the entire family! 1. Visit the Bronx Zoo on a Wednesday for

FREE admission; reserve your tickets (up to 4!) online 2. Take a Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise,

Seal and Bird Eco-Cruise, Staten Island Historical Cruise, Whale Watching and more on the Seastreak (

7. Midway rides, petting zoos, carnival treats

and more await at the annual Duchess Fair August 23-28. Kids under 11 are always free! 8. Take a dip in one of the many Free Outdoor

NYC Parks Pools 9. Pack up the car for a family fun day and head

to Adventureland Amusement Park in Long Island to ride the jaw-dropping coaster Fireball, plus Bumper Cars, the Wave Swing, the Turbulence Coaster and more 10. Go fly a kite at Central Park

at Brooklyn Botanic Garden with its scenic wooden bridges, stone lanterns, a viewing pavilion and more 16. Plan an outdoor day trip to New Hamp-

shire’s East Hill Farm for comfy accommodations, home-cooked food, boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, water swimming, crafts, campfires and more 17. Spend the day at the Long Island

Aquarium to view one of the largest all-living coral displays in the Western Hemisphere, plus a 120,000-gallon shark habitat, sea lions, touch tanks and more

11. Head to the new outdoor adventure at

WildPlay Jones Beach (between fields 4 and 5), where you’ll find ziplines, high ropes courses, and freefall jumps. Take in the view of New York City while you soar down a 700-ft, high-speed zipline (for ages 5 and up)

18. Enjoy weekly concerts, food, movie nights

and kids programming at Backyard at Hudson Yards 19. Spend the day at Coney Island on the

beach, ride the Wonderwheel, walk the boardwalk and eat a Nathan’s hotdog!

12. Tour the Grand Central Terminal. Check 3. Take in the view and fun, and park at

Domino Park

out the oak leaves and acorn architectural details, the zodiac ceiling in the main concourse and the famed glass clock

4. While at Domino, eat the world-famous

Roberta’s Pizza 5. Mark this one on the calendar for NYC

Pride March “Unapologetically Us,” is June 26th; see you there! 6. Head to your nearest Urban Air Active

for play, next-level trampoline park, cool summer birthdays for ultimate kid joy

24 | June 2022

20. Check out the gorgeous views, sit for a

picnic at the new Pier 57 rooftop (the largest in NYC!) at the Hudson River Park

13. Head to New Jersey to American Dream for

the DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Angry Bird mini-golf shopping, delicious dining options and more 14. Explore the Hudson River via kayak 15. Stroll the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

21. Hop on a quick ferry ride to Governor’s

Island, camp out at the Collective Retreats, and explore the Island – don’t forget to visit Slide Hill! 22. Ride the iconic Prospect Park’s Carousel,

located at the Children’s Corner, where your kids will love all the magical rides


23. Visit the world’s tallest indoor ropes

course at Palisades Climb Adventure. Little ones (ages 2 to 7) can ride Sky Tykes, a ropes course just for kids 24. Take the kids (5 years and up) to the

Astor Place Theatre and laugh at the Blue Men and their crazy shenanigans.

NYC and spend the day exploring the Little Island at Pier 55

adaptation of the beloved comic strip (starting June 18th and running for six weeks).

27. Take a family road trip to New City and

check out the New City Bowling & Batting Cages. Kids will love the full-service snack bar, lounge pool table, and more

30. Pack up the kids and head to Rye, NY to

spend the day at Playland, the iconic amusement park, the Playland Pool and Beach and The Boardwalk at Playland Lake

28. The American Natural Museum is 25. Visit the iconic Flagship New York Public

Library to check out books and the Beaux-Arts architecture building

ALWAYS a good idea. Be sure to check out their new Sharks exhibit.

31. Take on NYC’s only jet-powered speed

boat attraction The Beast at West 42nd St. and 12th Avenue

29. See Winnie the Pooh and his whole crew 26. Head over to the other island here in

at the Hundred Acre Theatre for a musical

32. Head to 32nd Street and 6th Avenue to June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family



satisfy your sweet tooth at the fun and interactive Candytopia 33. Visit the magical world of Harry Potter at

935 Broadway; remember to go online to sign up via the virtual queue 34. Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park for a delish

Lobster Roll at Luke’s Lobster 35. For a fun day trip (50 miles north of NYC),

check out Museum Village and experience what life was like in the 1800s WildPlay Jones Beach

36. Hop on the Staten Island Ferry (it’s free),

get a gorgeous view of the Statue of Liberty, then spend the afternoon shopping at Empire Outlets 37. Ride the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Once

there, visit Blackwell House (free), the sixth oldest farmhouse in NYC. Four Freedoms State Park and The Lighthouse 38. Pack up the beach bag and head to (an

hour car ride or an hour and a half subway ride) NY’s surfer destination Rockaway Beach


Urban Air Adventure

39. Munch on the world-famous Banana Pud-

ding at Magnolia Bakery 40. Escape the heat and head over to West Ny-

ack, NY. Watch a movie, do some shopping, go bowling and eat delicious food! 41. Bring the kids to any of the free outdoor

movies offered around the city, such as the Intrepid Museum Summer Movie Series, the Bryant Park Film Festival, and Movies Under the Stars at NYC Parks 42. Head to the 86th floor and the 102nd floor

of the Empire State Building

46. Looking for some excitement? Head to the

52. Visit the New York Aquarium to see Spine-

Alley Pond Park Adventure Course on Sundays for a free program for families with children ages eight and older, where you’ll test your skills and mettle with obstacles like the Human Swingshot, Wild Woosey, Zip Line, Climbing Wall, and more.

less, the popular “bizarre but breathtaking” invertebrates exhibit. 53. There is nothing like seeing the Yankees

or Mets play America’s favorite pastime in their home stadiums, no matter who you root for

47. Hop aboard RiseNY and virtually glide

over NYC’s skyline and landmarks while suspended 30 feet in the air! 48. Head to Rockaway Beach with the family

54. Skate your way to summer fun at The Roll-

A-Rama at JFK airport, the Roller Rink at the Standard Plaza, United Skates at Atlas Park, and more

and learn to surf at New York Surf School 55. Make your way to Splish Splash Water Park

43. History buffs will want to visit The

Orangetown Historical Museum and Archives, where you’ll find children’s crafts, storytime and yoga

49. Head to L&B Spumoni Gardens in

Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, for a slice of their famous Sicilian-style pizza and some refreshing spumoni ice cream for dessert.

for a day of water rides for the whole family, including a special section for the little ones 56. Catch a flick at Midtown’s Rooftop

Cinema Club 44. Broadway is back! Check out shows like

Beetlejuice, Aladdin and more 45. The Madison Theatre at Molloy College

in Long Island will be showcasing In The Heights & Xanadu in June, and in July you can see All Shook Up, and in August watch Freda Payne as the titular role in Ella, First Lady of Song

26 | June 2022

50. Stop by the annual Our Lady of Mount

Carmel Feast of the Giglio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for rides, games, and classic Italian treats this July 51. Head to Downtown Manhattan to visit the

new Battery Playscape, an eco-inspired playground featuring twisty slides, tree houses, a puppet theater and more

57. Work on your golf swing at Monster Mini

Golf (Westchester and Rockland), an indoor facility with an 18-hole glow-inthe-dark mini-golf course, full arcade, two lanes of mini bowling, and more Reporting by Jeannine Cintron, Donna DuarteLadd, Shara Levine and Courtney Ingalls

The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning offers a full range of Junior Pathway Programs for kids ages 5-18. Each program is designed to improve player skills using age appropriate equipment, and ensures transition throughout the NYJTL pathway.

Learn the sport of a lifetime this summer! Play at the state-of-the-art Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning situated in Crotona Park, conveniently located in NYC.

1720 Crotona Avenue Bronx, NY 10457 718-247-7420

All levels welcome! (ages 5-18)


storytime for babies & toddlers



after school support & activities for kids ages 6–12

June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


José Rolón

of @nycgaydad

On being a single parent, letting people see you in all your crazy glory and looking for love By Donna Duarte-LaDD


hoosing a cover is always fun here at New York Family, and we’ve wanted to feature a dad for quite some time. We have, of course, had dads on our covers, but the pandemic, as we all know, threw us a few curveballs. Finally, after a year plus of catching up on canceled photoshoots, we were ready for our dad. There is no top-secret system for choosing a cover parent. They happen pretty naturally — but I knew I wanted a New York dad. José Rolón came into the mix one day while on a walk in Paris (I know this part sounds rather dreamy); with Alexis Barad-Cutler (of @ notsafeformomgroup and former NYF cover mom). Alexis reminded me of her friend José. José, a wedding planner, became a single father when his husband, Tim, suddenly passed away. Not only did he lose his partner and become a widower overnight, he became a single father to then eight-month-old Avery, with twins via surrogate on the way! Now nine years in on this parenting journey, José is known for sharing his life with his three kids Avery, now age 9, and twins Lilah and London, ages 8, via his IG media handle @ nycgaydad. He is also known worldwide for his TikTok fame; He started sharing videos at the height of the pandemic as a relief from the grind of homeschooling and running a business. What I admire most about José and his influencer fame is how he reframes and shows thousands (almost 400,000 followers!) what parenting looks like as a single, LGBTQ Latinx dad raising three kids. Hint, it is not so different from what it looks like for you or me— just perhaps with more humor, a reminder to all us parents that we can use a slice of daily comedy. If you haven’t checked out @nycgaydad, please do! It is gold, and it is something we all didn’t know we needed.

28 | June 2022

When your late husband Tim passed away -you became a single father overnight with your surrogate pregnant with 11-week twins. How the heck did you get through those early years? Honestly, by saying yes to anyone who offered help. Every. Single. Time. We already had our incredible nanny, Leti, who was truly our savior, but because I had announced we were 11 weeks pregnant while giving Tim’s eulogy right away, we gained a strong support system. Here’s what I have found as I have this conversation often. I find single mothers have a lot of trouble asking for help. This is partly because in our society, women have the pressure of high expectations that they should innately know what to do, when the truth is, it’s hard no matter which way you slice it. Me as a single father, nobody, assumed I knew what I was doing. This worked to my benefit. I believe we’ve had a bigger support system than most two-parent households. The problem with us parents, moms in particular, is we often don’t want people in because we don’t want them to see the house is a mess or see us yelling. After all, we’re supposed to have it together. I’d say put your ego and pride aside, let them in — see you in all your crazy glory. We need to stop trying to be superheroes. Parenting burnout is real. So whatever we can do to minimize the gaps between those moments, the better. As a fellow Latino, I fully get “machismo.” How have you reversed this cultural trait in your life; how are you parenting differently as a single dad? My father, a firefighter and a marine was the epitome of machismo. Strict in every way, never talked about his feelings, and tried to enforce on what a man should be and how I should act. Clearly, this didn’t work on me. For me, it’s important to show a lot of love and

affection to my kids. Talking about feelings is incredibly important. They’ve seen me cry and understand what a happy cry looks like. With the world constantly changing politically, it’s important to model what it means to be compassionate, respectful, and empathetic. In my mind, this is what the modern dad should teach and emulate. LGBTQ community is important to you. How has the community helped you in parenting? It has helped me! More specifically, dads within the LGBTQ community. Sometimes I get the question, “why do you have to be a gay dad, why can’t you just be a dad?” referencing my username, @nycgaydad. You know being dad without labels is the goal, but we’re not there yet. The current climate with bills being passed in states like Florida where kids of the LGBTQ community can’t even bring in a family photo proves just that. When I scored the username nine years ago, I did this (and used hashtags like #gaydads) as a way to find and be easily found by other gay dads because I had only known a small handful. It’s unbelievable how many of us have discovered each other. I started a brunch for Father’s Day 6 years ago for other gay dads as a way to say thank you for the community that gave so much back to me. We are now 100+ every year now. What does your support system look like? My current support system is beautiful and plentiful. Almost everyone close in our lives is an uncle or titi, or cousin, but Uncle Ryan, Uncle Dave, and Titi Christine are consistent mainstays who keep me in check at my best and worst. PS8 in Brooklyn Heights, where we live, has been a phenomenal support system for my children. From the top-down, they’ve had our best interest at heart, making sure we feel welcomed in every way. And there’s not a single teacher my children have

real weddings from around the globe. Being a single dad and being a wedding planner go hand in hand. I have a reputation in the industry for being calm under pressure. When you’re a single parent of three, there’s nothing the industry can throw at me that’ll phase me. Our industry also has a lot of personalities to sometimes manage, and when I’ve got three big ones at home, everyone else is a walk in the park. I love what I do. Which makes coming home even sweeter. I feel like they both feed each other in the best ways possible. You became an influencer during the pandemic with now almost half a million followers, how was it been for you and the kids? It’s crazy. It wasn’t intentional. It really happened in this organic way. I made silly videos with my kids during the pandemic for my own sanity. There were dark things happening (and still) in our world, and people wanted to see positive and wholesome content. So some of our videos started to go viral. Then the mainstream media got a hold of us. I think being Latinx and LGBTQ with my own personal journey checked off a lot of boxes for them when they were looking for inspiring stories. I’ts a case of being at the right place at the right time. The core of our message has been showing folks our family is no different than theirs… we are just a little more colorful. NYC Gay Dad is now a family business with fun projects ahead. I mean, we even have a merch store as the kids like to say. Truly unbelievable.

Photo by Ana Gambuto

had I haven’t been obsessed with. Then there are the parents in our neighborhood. I’ve been in one too many unpredictable close calls that have been saved by calling a few of my neighborhood parents to bail me out. You’re about to tape a wedding show? Can you share what the show is about and how

it is to be a single dad and be a wedding planner? Ah, yes! I’m stoked to be hosting a new show, “Wedding Talk,” with Tara Lipinski airing on the Crackle Plus networks in October. The show celebrates all of the heartfelt, memorable, and fun moments of a wedding and features video footage from some truly inspiring

Lastly, you are looking for love (whoo hoo). What does the ideal partner look like for José and kids? Ay Ay Ay. This has been a bit of a challenge. I’ve had a couple of relationships since Tim passed, so it’s possible. My schedule has been so crazy lately with these great opportunities, so dating has been more challenging than usual, but this, for me currently, is the one missing piece. I find I’m my best self when I’m in a healthy relationship. I’m looking for someone who is OK with three things; being with a creative whose schedule is not your typical 9-5, enjoys being around three beautiful little humans, and has their mental faculties checked. Lol. If they can cook, that’s a bonus. Most people wouldn’t guess; my happy place is being on the couch as many nights as possible after 8 PM when kids are in bed with a good show and some good Puerto Rican comfort food. Follow Jose on IG and TikTok @nycgaydad. June 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family


calendar By Shara Levine


Around NYC

Bronx Children’s Museum - La Música Importa- Music Matters Concert

65th Annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade WHEN: Sunday, June 12, 11am WHERE: Fifth Avenue, 5th Avenue, from 43rd Street to 79th Street, Midtown AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate the best of Puerto Rican culture, achievement and legacy with music, dance and colorful displays of cultural pride. WANT TO GO?:

WHEN: June 4-11, Saturdays, 1-3pm WHERE: Mill Pond Park, Exterior St. & E 150th St., Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate the rich musical culture of the Bronx with a music and dance concert featuring ¡Retumba!- an exciting music and dance ensemble showcasing folkloric and contemporary dances. WANT TO GO?: nycgovparks. org

South Street Seaport Museum Seaport Discovery: Exploring Our Waters with Eric Carle

Tie-Dye Event WHEN: Thursday, June 16, 3:305:30pm WHERE: Pulaski Park, Bruckner Boulevard & Willis Avenue Bridge, Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Take your plain white-t’s (or anything else) and give them a colorful make over! WANT TO GO?: 718-4025155. events/2022/06/16/join-bronxrecreation-for-a-tiedye-event

NYC Parks Presents: Skate Night at Haffen Park WHEN: Friday, June 17, 4-7:30pm WHERE: Haffen Park, Hammersley Avenue, Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Join NYC Parks and Council Member Kevin Riley for a fun skate night at the park. Dance and enjoy an outdoor roller-skating night with the community. WANT TO GO?: 718-430-1831.

Family Fun Hikes: Happy Father’s Day!

The Bronx Night Market comes to Fordham Plaza on June 25. 10am-12pm WHERE: Van Cortlandt Golf House, Van Cortlandt Park South & Bailey Avenue, Bronx AGES: 2-6 WHAT: Celebrate dad by creating fun and unique portraits using items found on your walk through the woods. WANT TO GO?: $15; $5 per child. 718-601-1553.

WHEN: Saturday, June 25, 1-7pm WHERE: Fordham Plaza, 1 Fordham Plaza, Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Come out to the largest family friendly foodie celebration in the Bronx complete with food vendors, kid zone, education booths, and more. WANT TO GO?:

2nd Annual Juneteenth Family Day

Family Fitness Festival

WHEN: Sunday, June 19, 11am4pm WHERE: Pelham Bay Park, Middletown Road & Stadium Avenue, Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Come together to celebrate Juneteenth with fun family friendly activities. WANT TO GO?: e/2nd-annual-juneteenth-familyday-registration-335825391787

WHEN: Saturday, June 25, 1-3pm WHERE: Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center, 3225 Reservoir Oval E., Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Bring the family out for fitness and food demos, arts and crafts, games, raffles and more! WANT TO GO?: 718-5438767. events/2022/06/25/familyfitness-festival

WHEN: Saturday, June 18,

30 | June 2022

Bronx Night Market

WHEN: April 15-June 30, Wednesdays-Sundays, 11am-5pm WHERE: South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton Street, New York AGES: Newborn-5 WHAT: Immerse yourself in the world of Eric Carle with activities, driving ferries on a giant play-table, learning about cargo ships through the eyes of a rubber duck., and more- all while exploring Carle’s use of color and pattern. WANT TO GO?: $5 ages 1-12; free for accompanying adult. 646-765-4773.

Inti Raymi Sun Festival WHEN: Saturday, June 18, 12-4:30pm WHERE: Queens Museum, 111-01 Corona Ave., Flushing AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate Inti Raymi, or Sun Festival, with a ceremony by Abya Yala Arte y Cultura, art making for the whole family, and dance performances from the Andes. WANT TO GO?: 718-592-9700.



39 39






Find Your

Summer is waiting in the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County. Imagine sunlit swimming spots and hiking under shade-green trees on trails that lead to as-far-as-the-eye-can-see views. This is summer in America’s first vacation destination, and it doesn’t disappoint. From glamping destinations that don’t skimp on views or creature comforts, to biking downtown and down the mountains, this season, we’re all about feeling free. #LetsGoGreene