New York Family - June 2022

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June 2022 established 1986

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June 2022

pg. 38

pg. 16

pg. 62

FEATURES 12 | Special Needs What to do after your child gets diagnosed with a developmental disability 16 | Birthdays Celebrate your child’s big day at these fun spots 36 | Health Hepatitis in children and what parents need to know 62 | Cover – José Rolón of @nycgaydad On being a single parent, letting people see you in all your crazy glory and looking for love 54 | Real Estate The best places to live in New York

Stories & columns 6 | Editor’s Letter 8 | Camp Summer camp and your child’s mental health 20 | Neighborhood Guide: Explore Tribeca Have a family staycation in this bustling nook of NYC 24 | Education The benefits of preschool 32 | Travel Exploring St. Lucia at the Landings Resort & Spa

pg. 48

pg. 20

Summer GUide 38 | Travel Family Road Trips 48 | To Do Summer Bucket List

Family fun 66 | Calendar All the fun events and activities for June

Directories 28 | Preschools Guide

52 | Family Day Out Head to the hit show Stranger Things’ Broooklyn pop-up

on the Cover Photo: Ana Gambuto | Cover Illustration: Béatrice Hug Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | Produced by: Donna Duarte Ladd

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Advantage Day Camp—best day camp in NYC! • Every kind of fun imaginable, for campers 4 to 14 • Art, gym & field sports, enrichment, STEAM programs, chess & tennis • Starting 6/20, East Side only

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June 2022 | New York 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 8). If you didn’t notice by our fun cover, we’ve got you covered with summer fun with memorable Family Road Trips (page 38) and because we like odd numbers — 57 Things To Do This Summer (page 48).

Of course, Team NYF will be around all summer, so visit us online (newyorkfamily. com & for all summer activities and events. If you plan to go house hunting during the school break, we have The Best Places to Live In and Near New York (page 54). Lastly, fathers are the best, and we have one fantastic dad on the cover. José Rolón (page 62) 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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New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC. Reproduction of New York Family Media in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. ©2022 Queens Family Media, LLC

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June 2022 | New York Family



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

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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?

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“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.

June 2022 | New York Family


Special needS

Next Steps What to do after your child gets diagnosed with a developmental disability By Mia SalaS


f your child was recently diagnosed with Autism or another developmental disability, there’s probably a million things going through your head right now. Who should you contact? Do you need to change schools? Are there NYC programs that will help? We know how stressful and confusing this experience can be for parents. That’s why, we chatted with Lori Podvesker, Director of Disability and Education Policy at INCLUDEnyc and mother of a 19-yearold son with developmental disabilities, to learn more about NYC resources and support systems that might help you better navigate your situation. The key takeaway? You’re not alone. “The one thing that’s universal is that feeling of being alone, which is rooted in fear, and what you are going to do…There’s a lot of shame, there’s a lot of stigma,” says Podvesker. You may feel like you’re all by yourself at first, and perhaps you’re hesitant to tell other people outside your family because of the (problematic) stigmas and stereotypes surrounding disability. But we’re here to remind you that other families are feeling what you are feeling. Every experience is unique, but you are certainly not alone in your journey. Read on to learn more about the next steps after your child gets diagnosed with Autism or another developmental disability. Give yourself time to process A diagnosis is a lot to process as a parent— it weighs on you mentally, so be sure to take the time to wrap your head around it. Before you jump into learning the medical terms or deciding on therapies, take care of yourself and your relationship to your child. Podvesker explains: “It’s an ongoing process. It’s grieving, if you want to know the truth. I think at first, it’s like if you’ve ever had your heart broken. You kind of can’t believe it and you don’t know what to make of it, and I think that’s pretty common for most people.”

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Feeling shock, grief, and denial is perfectly normal, so let yourself understand these feelings towards the diagnosis, talk about them, and process them before you take action. In Autism Speaks’ “A Parent’s Guide to Autism”, Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty, mother of two sons on the Autism spectrum and an Autism Family Partner at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, recommends: “I can’t stress this one enough – take care of yourself, not just your kid. Autism is a marathon, not a sprint. You owe it to yourself and your child to be whole, healthy, and happy.” Take care of your mind and body not just during the initial stages of understanding the diagnosis, but throughout the journey. Don’t think too far ahead While it’s necessary to plan ahead for children with developmental disabilities, you also can’t look too far into the future. “No doctor is going to tell you the prognosis,” says Podvesker. “That’s the hardest part. Once

you get a diagnosis, you know the ‘it’ but you don’t know ‘what’ — what do we know now and what will it look like 5 years from now?” There is no one-size-fits-all for Autism and other developmental disabilities, so doctors have no way of knowing how your child will progress over the years. It’s natural to want to know, but “it’s not until time goes on that you see how things play out, that your family is going to be okay no matter what, but that takes time,” adds Podvesker. So focus on the present resources to help your child develop, learn, and grow, and try not to worry too much about (quite yet) about their later childhood or adult life. Talk with your family It is essential that you open up the conversation with your immediate family, whether that’s your partner or other children. You are all in this together, and everyone needs to be on the same page to best support your child with disabilities. “Many families are in denial at first. Dads may not see


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specIAl needs

things the same as moms,” says Podvesker. If you have a partner, make sure to give each other time and space to process, and then discuss how each other are feeling, what you’re thinking, and how you’d like to move forward. Autism Speaks’ “A Parent’s Guide to Autism” says: “You and your spouse may not react to your child’s diagnosis in the same way, but try to explain how you feel and listen carefully as your spouse shares his or her feelings as well.” Podvesker also explains how your situation can look different if you have more than one child. The family dynamic will likely shift, and it’s important that you not only learn how to parent a child with disabilities, but how to parent all of your children together. Autism Speaks’ “A Parent’s Guide to Autism” explains: “So much focus and attention is placed on the child with Autism, that it is common for parents to have little time or energy left to focus on their other children.” The guide suggests that you help your other children understand Autism with kid-friendly books and conversations. It also recommends teaching your kids how to play and interact with your child with Autism so that they can form a safe, loving, and genuine relationship. Research schools to find the best fit School is probably top of mind right now, because we all want our kids to have the best education they can. Especially for kids with disabilities, finding a school that supports your child’s needs is key for their growth and development. Podvesker recommends prioritizing: “For us, Jack is mostly nonverbal, so having a speech therapist was always a #1 or #2 priority.” Other factors you might consider, Podvesker mentions, are whether you want all your children to go to school together, what kind of school culture you’re looking for, and if the school will support the highest-priority needs of your child, whether that be socialization, speech, etc. If possible with your family’s schedule, explore schools outside your neighborhood, because there may be a better fit that’s a little further away. “When Jack was in first grade, he went to an approved private school. We live in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and he went to school in Long Island, 22 miles away. We weren’t thrilled about how far away it was, but the quality of the program was worth it for us,” explains Podvesker. It’s also okay not to know what kind of school you want for your child. After all, the research can take a lot of time and energy.

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“I can’t stress this one enough – take care of yourself, not just your kid. Autism is a marathon, not a sprint.” “Many families don’t know what they want other than their kid to be educated, safe, and happy,” says Podvesker. “Meetings happen, recommendations are made, and that’s when families reach out to organizations like us (INCLUDEnyc) to help them navigate.” If this is the case for your family, consider reaching out to a support organization or network, whether that be INCLUDEnyc, local support groups (see below), or your network of friends and family. Join a support group “The value of parents connecting with other parents is like nothing else,” says Podvesker. There are a number of support groups for parents of children with disabilities throughout NYC, and many of them are specific to the disability. Podvesker explains how support groups may help your family navigate raising a child with disabilities: “There’s not only the perspective, but the lived experience when you talk with another family…There’s so much value in community. Parents share what strategies have worked, what schools they’ve had bad experiences at, what dentist to go to that’s good for young kids with sensory issues.” Connecting with parents will not only provide you with inside knowledge about the do’s and don’ts, but it will remind you that you are not alone in your journey. Every family’s situation is different, so you should seek out a support group that best represents your own needs and priorities as a parent of a child with disabilities. “Cultural factors play into that,” says Podvesker. “We have the most amazing caregiver. Her daughter is 3 and was recently diagnosed to be on the spectrum, and I think: what is it like to be black, female, low income, and Autisic? That’s very different than if you’re a white boy from the Upper East Side who’s just been diagnosed with Autism.” Raising a child with disabilities is not a universal experience— there are many factors that influence what that looks like. That’s why, we recommend exploring a few different support

groups to find the one where you feel like you can relate and learn the most. You can also hop on social media to connect with other families– there are Facebook groups, Twitter threads, TikTok accounts, Instagram mommy influencers, and more. Of course, be careful not to believe everything you see here, but in our digital world, it’s now easier than ever to find and connect with the people we need. Try different at-home activities Outside of therapy sessions, there are at-home activities that you can try. Some of these may be recommended by your child’s doctor, specialist, or educator, but you can also get creative on your own. Whether it be arts & crafts, storytime, science experiments, or outdoor action, explore activities that you think your child may like. When planning activities, it’s best to create a daily schedule so that your child can have consistency and structure. INCLUDEnyc has a detailed guide for creating a schedule that may help you plan out your child’s days. Learn the vocabulary Although not something you should worry about right away, eventually it will make your process easier if you familiarize yourself with some of the medical jargon. New York Family’s glossary for families of kids with disabilities will help catch you up on the terms to know. “Navigating that stuff while simultaneously learning who your kid is is not easy,” says Podvesker. Between emotionally processing the diagnosis and being introduced to a plethora of educational and therapeutic options, it can be overwhelming to hear terms you don’t know. If you don’t have a ton of time to learn them, bring a printout of the glossary to your child’s doctor’s appointments as a cheat sheet! Seek out funding Funding is often a primary concern for families of kids with disabilities, but there are several resources available to you. OPWDD offers funding for services for New York residents with disabilities. NYC Health also provides a helpful guide (pages 7782) to charities and family reimbursement programs that will assist with related costs. “A Parent’s Guide to Autism” recommends, if you have healthcare, to look into how your medical insurance may reimburse you for therapy and treatment. We hope this guide gets you started in your journey. Remember— you are not alone.


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June 2022 | New York Family


Birthday Parties Celebrate your child’s big day in NYC with these venues, themes and more

By Jana Beauchamp


irthdays are back and better than ever! NYC has an endless list of unique birthday venues, creative themes, and parties to suit all families and whatever your birthday child can imagine. We found amazing options for fun at home; openair, outdoor celebrations; special in-person parties; and all birthday bashes in between so no matter how you celebrate your little loved one’s birthday, it will be the best. Bring on the birthday magic with these party options. Here are our picks for Kids’ Birthdays Parties , venues, themes and more in NYC. The Great Outdoors of Birthdays Create grand birthday moments at The Greens at The Rooftop at Pier 17 (The Rooftop at Pier 17, 89 South Street, NY). Each mini lawn offers unmatched views of the city skyline while providing a chic and intimate vibe. Guests can enjoy a thoughtfully curated food and beverage menu or enjoy a rooftop movie while taking in

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the breathtaking views. Individual lawn reservation fees are available for lunch and dinner and lawns fit up to 8 people with options to rent several lawns, depending on party size. The LeFrak Center at Lakeside (171 East Dr, Brooklyn, NY) provides families with several festive ways to celebrate their next birthday bash. Centrally located in the heart of Brooklyn in Prospect Park, Lakeside offers kids summer roller-skating birthday party options al fresco. Birthday party packages include admission and rentals to the skating rink, exclusive use of a private party room for your guests, skating instruction, delicious catered food selections and a dedicated event party planner to help ensure all have a memorable experience. The Skyline Drive-In (1 Oak St, Brooklyn, NY) is a drive-in (or walk-in) movie theater located right on the water in Brooklyn with an unbeatable view of the Manhattan skyline. You can climb out of your car and create your own perfect movie-watching set up. There’s also the option to bring in your own food – or load up on concessions. Watch the sunset at this

instagrammable spot, relax, watch a weekend blockbuster or cult classic, and celebrate! NYC Parks for Birthday Parties New York has many excellent parks to host a birthday party. Yes, there are some parks where you have to get there a bit early to claim your picnic table, but it is worth it once you are settled. They are also one of the ways to have a party in free space or keep costs down. A few of our favorite parks for parties are Brooklyn Bride Park (334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY), where you have plenty of room to sit on the grass, snag a table and have the kids hop on Jane’s Carousel. A fun thing to do is buy tickets in advance and have them to your party-goers when they arrive; not too far from the park, you’ll find Roller Skating at Pier 2. Skating at this park and skate rentals are reasonable, and the Roller Rink offers free admission skate time slots; check out the website for these designated times. Of course, Central Park is where you can plan treasure hunts or take the kids on a hike, go to the zoo, and then enjoy a picnic or play at

June 2022 | New York Family


birthday parties

one of the many playgrounds. Hint, Heckscher Playground is our favorite for little and big kids. Keep in mind, especially for the popular parks; it is good to obtain a permit via NYC Parks ($20) if you plan on having twenty or more people. Indoor/Outdoor Hybrid Birthday Bonanzas Graff Tours (282 Meserole St. Bushwick/ Brooklyn,NY) offers the coolest, most creative graffiti art birthday party. A birthday party includes a short street art tour of the Bushwick murals and is followed by a 1.5 hour unique hands-on graffiti workshop outside in their yard or inside the studio where kids learn the technique of aerosol art. Kids create their own graffiti projects to take home with the help of an authentic NYC graffiti artist. Learn the tips and techniques of aerosol art, from fill-ins to masterpieces, as birthday kids immerse themselves in graffiti art culture. Sweet and Special Celebrations American Girl ( is the destination for an unforgettable birthday with your birthday child (and their dolls). Celebrate with all-inclusive party packages designed to minimize stress and maximize fun/ Little ones will love these sweet parties and the themed packages like Deluxe Rainbow and Deluxe Sweet Sprinkles Birthday celebrations provide everything you need to make memories that will last a lifetime, including a delicious meal; signature cake and ice cream; digital invitations; special themed crafts and/or goody bags ad doll tiaras; and a special gift for the birthday girl. Private party rooms are available and take home celebrations are offered as well. There is nothing sweeter than enjoying a

The Greens at The Rooftop at Pier 17

Skyline Drive-In

birthday at the Museum Of Ice Cream (558 Broadway, New York, NY)! MOIC guides help create a fun and interactive way to explore 13 installations full of games and engaging activations in a completely immersive experience like enjoying a Sprinkle Pool sundae before diving into a pool full of sprinkles! They can accommodate an array of celebrations and events. “Ice cream for breakfast” morning/ daytime celebrations afford a group the entire

Make a day trip to a fun party destination! Palisades Climb Adventure 4590 Palisades Center Drive, W. Nyack, NY 10994 845-727-3500

Palisades Climb Adventure is the world’s tallest indoor ropes course, standing 85 feet tall, and featuring over 75 unique challenge elements designed for climbers of all ages and skill levels. A great venue for private events, such as birthday parties, team building challenges, school and youth field trips, and scouting events.

space privately one hour before Museum of Ice Cream opens to the public and evening celebrations allow a group to come in after the last public time slot and enjoy Museum of Ice Cream at their own pace. Guided tours and full buy-outs are also available with pricing based on the needs of the group. Adventurous Birthday Fun Area 53 NYC (616 Scholes Street, Williamsburg, NY) has tons of party booking options with two different locations – Laser Tag, Paintball, and their Adventure Park! The laser tag birthday parties include a sprawling arena in the style of an old factory basement with all sorts of dystopian-esque abandoned remains acting like obstacles. CAMP (110 5th Ave, New York, NY), the family experience store, is a magical space for a super fun birthday celebration. Their celebration packages include private access to Campitheater, which will act as the home-base for the duration of your party. Every celebration has a dedicated Party Captain to facilitate a fun and safe time. The captain will lead the CAMPers through crafting, games, a dance party, and of course, singing Happy Birthday! Additional Reporting: Donna Duarte-Ladd

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ATTENTION PARENTS: Accepting applications now for 9th grade students for the 2022-2023 academic year

We congratulate our graduates on a job well done. 100% of them have been accepted to college in the fall! And we look forward to welcoming our new scholars in the fall. They have an exciting journey ahead of them at International Leadership Charter High School! For applications, please visit our website at

For application visit & For more information email June 2022 | New York Family


neighborhood guide

Explore TRibeCa Have a family staycation in this bustling nook of NYC By Shara Levine


ne thing many of us parents learned with the pandemic or were reminded is that there is so many opportunities for fun and adventure in our own backyard. Tribeca, which is an abbreviation for Triangle Below Canal Street, is located in Lower Manhattan and offers the ideal escape for families with its parks, shopping, restaurants, art galleries and more. Where to Stay

Smyth Tribeca Hotel 85 West Broadway

The newly opened Smyth Tribeca Hotel is chic, modern, and ready to welcome your family with their “The Kids Camp at Smyth” and “Keys to the Galleries” packages. The Camp package includes a complimentary gift and craft set from CAMP, a “Family Experience Company,” as well as an in-room fondue set for homemade s’mores, including chocolates, marshmallows and graham crackers. My son’s eyes lit up when he saw two bright colored boxes on the bed as soon as we walked through our hotel room door. Right away he started unpacking them and discovered crafts and activities that would keep him busy for hours! FYI- if you’re in his class, expect an original handcrafted beaded bracelet. At the end of a long day, these gifts from CAMP really helped my little guy unwind and kept him busy and entertained in his new home away from home. If you’re looking to infuse a little culture into your stay, then the “Keys to the Galleries” package is for you! Smyth Tribeca has partnered with ART SMART to offer families personalized art gallery tours and art experience that will be tailored to your budding art enthusiasts. What to do in Trbeca Pier 25 at Hudson River Park

Slather on the sunscreen and head on over to Hudson River Park along the West Side Highway for outdoor fun and activities that

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Smyth Tribeca Hotel

will satisfy everyone in the family. Kids can swing, climb, and spin to their heart’s content at the playground, show off their tricks at the skatepark, play a round of mini-golf, and enjoy a treat from Sweet Love Snack Bar, while taking in stunning views of sailboats, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Color Me Mine Tribeca 123 Baxter St.

Let your family unleash their inner artists! First painters will pick from a variety of ceramic pieces including dinnerware, children items, and seasonal pieces. Then they’ll get to work on what will surely become a masterpiece.

June 2022 | New York Family


neighborhood guide

9/11 Memorial 180 Greenwich St.

It’s been 20 years since the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001, and although our children are too young to remember the Twin Towers as they stood, this memorial will ensure that the towers and the victims will never be forgotten. The 9/11 Memorial consists of two reflecting pools formed in the footprints of the original Twin Towers with the names of the almost 3,000 victimes etched in bronze around them. The Oculus 50 Church St.

The Oculus is a magnificent structure both inside and out. Designed as part of the rebuilt World Trade Center master plan, “the structure’s white metal-clad steel ribs reach up and out in a monumental move symbolic of a hand releasing a dove.” When you step inside The Oculus, the sun filled building gives you access to 12 subway lines, the World Trade Center PATH station, shopping, dinning, special events, and more. If you visit on a Friday between 11am and 7pm make

sure to check out eats from over 20 local vendors taking part in Smorgasburg now through October 28.

unforgettable photos.

Two World Trade Center Murals Project From Church to Greenwich streets, between Vesey Street and the Oculus

You’ll recognize this iconic building from the original three Ghostbusters films and the 2016 reboot, but don’t worry- there’s no Stay Puft Marshmallow Man here. Instead, this still active firehouse is home to members of New York’s Bravest. So feel free to take selfies, but be ready to make way in the event of a real life emergency.

An international roster of artists contributed to this project using corrugated metal as their canvas. The results are exciting, bright, cutting edge designs that welcome visitors to admire and make the perfect backdrop for

Firehouse, Hook & Ladder Company 8 14 North Moore St.

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Early Childhood @ Manny Cantor Center is a responsive, progressive, and diverse preschool program offering full-day care for children ages 3 months to 5 years on the Lower East Side. Join our community and see your child thrive. September – July | 8:30am-5pm June 2022 | New York 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

24 | June 2022

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

Through our unique dual program, which incorporates both the French and American curricula, The École offers students the lifetime benefits of a bilingual education and empowers them to create and connect to a world filled with possibilities.

Pre-N, N, Pre-K, K

The École is offering a Pre-Nursery program! This class for two-year-olds is fully integrated into the bilingual program and constitutes the very first year of Maternelle.

Maternelle Building

206 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010

June 2022 | New York 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.

26 | June 2022

“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.”

PreSchool @ PreSchool @

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Dynamic early learning curriculum Dynamic early learning curriculum Full, half-day, and extended day programs Full, half-day, and extended day programs Frequent trips to Central Park Frequent trips to Central Park Small classes in an engaging independent school setting Small classes in an engaging independent school setting Art, Spanish, music, movement, and library classes Art, Spanish, music, movement, and library classes Age 2.8 (Nursery) and Age 4 (Pre-K) by September 1st Age 2.8 (Nursery) and Age 4 (Pre-K) by September 1st A hop, skip, and jump from the 86th Street B C A hop, skip, and jump from the 86th Street B C

1 West 88th Street @ CPW 1 West 88th Street @ CPW

ll ll

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212.426.3355 212.426.3355

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Trevor Day School’s preschool program encourages children to create, and engage with new Trevor Day School’scollaborate, preschool program encourages ideas. We cultivate natural curiosity and empower children to create, collaborate, and engage with new students explore natural creativecuriosity avenues and through ideas. Wetocultivate empower hands-on learning. students to explore creative avenues through hands-on learning. Two expert teachers in every classroom provide a nurturing for in early learners to encounter Two expertsetting teachers every classroom provide a foundational academic experiences and enrichment nurturing setting for early learners to encounter through the arts, play, physical activity, and foundational academic experiences and enrichment exploration and physical outside of the classroom. through theinside arts, play, activity, and exploration inside and outside of the classroom. Once students join the Trevor community, they are invited to growjoin withthe us through 12th gradethey in our Once students Trevor community, are college-preparatory school. invited to grow with us through 12th grade in our college-preparatory school.

■ June 2022 | New York Family 27 ■

Preschools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

BASIS Independent Manhattan 795 Columbus Avenue (UWS) 556 West 22nd Street (Chelsea) manhattan-admissions@ manhattan.basisindependent. com Students receive the best possible start to their education at BASIS Independent Manhattan, a PreK–12 private school. The Early Learning Program offers engages PreK and Kindergarten students in an advanced, comprehensive curriculum featuring Mandarin, STEM, literacy, music, art, and more. Students are led by nurturing, expert teachers who encourage intellectual curiosity, creativity, and independent thinking from day one.

Battery Park Montessori 21 S End Ave. New York NY 10280 212.235.2320

admissions.bpm@greenivy. com Battery Park Montessori is New York’s only trilingual Montessori school, offering Spanish and Mandarin language exposure. Montessori-trained teachers nurture each child’s social, emotional, cognitive, academic, and physical needs, fostering their independence, natural curiosity, and problem-solving abilities. Partnered with Learning Beautiful’s hands-on, tactile, and age-appropriate materials, students are introduced to STEM and coding without ever touching a computer.

Chelsea Day School 319 Fifth Ave, 2nd Fl. New York NY 10016 212- 675-8541 Admissions@ Play-based learning permeates all aspects of the program. Children play to

make sense of their world, to learn about themselves and each other, to develop language, to gain selfconfidence and self-control and to understand and express their feelings. The program provides a strong foundation for our children that will support future academic pursuits and a lifetime of learning.

The École 111 E. 22nd St., New York, NY 646-410-2238 The École is an independent, French-American bilingual school serving an international community of Maternelle-to-Middle School students in New York City’s Flatiron District. Through their unique dual program, which incorporates both the French and American curricula, The École offers students the lifetime benefits of a bilingual education, empowering them to create and connect to a

world filled with possibilities.

Lycee Francais de New York 505 East 75th Street 212-369-1400 La joie means joy in French, joy in learning and joy in growing at one of NYC’s historic bilingual schools. In nursery, pre-k and kindergarten, each class is taught by both French- and English-speaking teachers. Preschoolers learn reading, math and writing; and selfexpression through art, music, and movement in both French and English, with plenty of time for play. Children do not need to speak French to enter the Lycée’s Preschool.

Manny Cantor Center (MCC) 197 East Broadway, New York 646-395-4187 Early Childhood @ MCC is an inspired, responsive, progressive program built on the principle that all children are competent, capable, and

DISCOVER THE LYCÉE DIFFERENCE A spark of creativity ignites in a child’s earliest years. A bilingual, Nursery* to 12th Grade education at our Lycée nurtures it, with joy, rigor and an open heart. Join our global community of families from 50+ nationalities. Visit to sign up for events and start your application. À bientôt ! *French not required to enter Nursery & Pre-K

505 East 75th Street in New York City | 212-439-3827

28 | June 2022

Lear� wi�

Pine Street School Pine Street School

International Baccalaureate with Spanish & Mandarin Immersion! Early Childhood


Middle School



6TH - 8TH GRADE • 347.237.7606



Pine Street Middle School Grades 6 to 8

International Baccalaureate with Spanish & Mandarin Immersion!

Inquire & Tour Now for Grade 6 • 2023-2024!

growwith us

Battery Park Montessori

Expansion Coming Soon!

Learn more at

Trilingual Montessori | English with Mandarin & Spanish Nursery thru Kindergarten | Ages 2 - 6

Green Ivy

SUMMER Camp! July 5 - Aug 26

Small, Safe, Fun & Enriching Summer Camp in Battery Park City for Ages 2-5! (must turn 2 by the start of their camp week)

June 2022 | New York Family


Preschools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

curious. Teachers create safe, joyful learning environments that foster inquiry, exploration, and reflection following a Reggio-Emila inspired emergent curriculum.

The Montessori School of New York International 347 E. 55th St., Sutton Place, Manhattan 212-223-4630 A multifaceted program that inspires curiosity and a love of learning, classes are equipped with didactic Montessori materials that encourage absorption of concepts through play, leading children to become well-rounded and confident. Program includes science, music, foreign languages, musical theatre, swimming, dance, yoga, chess, cultural events, and robotics!

New Canaan Country School 635 Frogtown Rd. New Canaan, CT 06840

203-972-0771 early-childhood New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students in pre-k (ages 3 & 4) through ninth grade living throughout Westchester and Fairfield counties. Graduates excel at top day, boarding and public secondary schools and go on to lead lives of impact and purpose. For more information about their Early Childhood program, please visit their website.

Pine Street School 25 Pine St. New York NY 10005 212-235-2325 Pine Street School is an International Baccalaureate World School with Spanish and Mandarin language immersion for students ages 2 through 8th Grade. Their curriculum embodies transdisciplinary learning and integrates voice, choice,

Wisdom through Knowledge Where Learning Comes to Life!

Pusteblume International Preschool 244 W 14th St New York, NY 212-206-1137 A licensed, non-profit, independent preschool for children ages 2 to 5 with German and Spanish language immersion. Dual language is an option as well. Our school also offers after-school and enrichment programs for all ages that are open to students from other schools.

Trevor Day School 1 West 88th Street and Central Park West 212.426.3355 Trevor’s Preschool welcomes children starting at age 2.8 for half day, full, day, and extended day programs. Two expert teachers in every classroom guide foundational and joyful learning experiences through music, exploration, art, and play.

Twin Parks Montessori Central Park Montessori -1 West 91st street Park West Montessori School 435 Central Park West Riverside Montessori School 202 Riverside Drive Twin Parks Montessori School serves families with children from 3 months to 5 years old. It is an accredited Montessori school, with three campuses on the Upper West Side. The schools are across the street from Central or Riverside Parks for daily play and exploration. Twin Parks Montessori Preschool offers summer and late-day programs.


The Montessori School of New York International

and agency into everything we do. Students are capable, confident, passionate, and compassionate changemakers embracing technology, intellectual rigor and a global perspective.

the excellence of a Montessori education

Nursery through Junior High (Ages 21/2 – 14)

Limited Availability for Fall 2022 • Half Days (9am to 12pm), Full Days (9am to 3:30pm) & Extended Days (8am to 6pm) for working parents • Accelerated Track for Gifted Children • Music, STEM, Art, Sign Language, Dance, Yoga • Summer Day Camp Programs

Infant • toddler early childhood 3 locations on the Upper West Side

347 East 55th Street • 212-223-4630

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30 | June 2022

I n t e r nat I o nal p r e s c h o o l

• Language Immersion Preschool (German, Spanish or Dual Language)

• After School, Enrichment Programs and Holiday Camps for children ages 3-12 — open to students from other schools • Inquiry and exploration based curriculum taught by native speaking faculty • Light filled, spacious facility in the heart of Chelsea

Schedule your virtual tour to find out what makes us so special. 244 West 14th Street, NYC, NY 10011 212-206-1137 school office 646-251-2179 mobile

Happy Anniversary Chelsea Day School! Early childhood program for children 2.3 to 5 years old Please join us for one of our Open Houses in the fall of 2021

Chelsea Day School

319 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016 June 2022 | New York Family



Exploring St. Lucia at the Landings Resort & Spa By Jeannine Cintron


ave you ever needed a vacation so badly you didn’t even notice your passport expired two years ago? This was the situation I found myself in upon receiving an invitation to St. Lucia to explore the Landings Resort and Spa recently. I’m a busy single mom, so vacationing is not always my top priority, but there was no way I was going to miss out on a kid-free vacation that included white sand, crystal clear water and a spa. So I forked over the extra $60 to expedite my passport, sent the kids off to their dad’s, and hopped aboard a 4.5-hour flight to the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Lucia. St. Lucia is a 238-square mile island located between Martinique and St. Vincent, not far from the northern coast of South America. Its coastline consists of sandy beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the calmer tides of the Caribbean to the west. At the center of the island lies tropical rainforests, jungles, waterfalls, mountains and volcanoes. I landed at the airport and hailed a cab to the resort’s location on Rodney Bay, a section of St. Lucia known for its immaculate beaches and sparkling, turquoise waters, The weather wasn’t fully cooperative throughout my stay, unfortunately, but it was far from a deal-breaker. You could hardly tell from my pictures that the days were overcast, and frankly the rain is super refreshing on

32 | June 2022

humid, 90-degree days. Plus, overcast or not, you’ll still get a tan! The Caribbean sun is very strong and you can always feel the heat on your skin, a constant reminder to reapply sunblock. Sunny days aren’t exactly sweltering, however. While the swaying palm trees dotting the resort make for a lovely photo backdrop, they also create a constant, cooling breeze. Thank you, nature’s air conditioner! The Landings Resort & Spa St. Lucia I arrived at The Landings Resort & Spa and was immediately greeted by the pleasant scent of lemongrass, which I learned grows in abundance on the island. The architectural design of the lobby itself is stunning, featuring grandiose ceilings, a sprawling staircase, cozy loungers and an open-air path to the resort’s private marina. From the moment I arrived, the staff was extremely warm, attentive and friendly. Once I checked in I headed up to my “room.” By room, I mean my 1,800-square foot Marina-view villa with three bedrooms, four bathrooms, a full living room and office area, a fully-stocked kitchen, large indoor and outdoor dining tables, two patios, a washer and dryer, a stove, a dishwasher and more. The space could easily accommodate a large family or two smaller ones. And with so many bathrooms, there should be no fighting to the death over who gets the first post-beach shower (or is it just my family?). The washer and dryer strategically located near the front

door means no mess left behind when kids (or grownups) strip off their sandy bathing suits after a long day at the beach. The resort has 950- to 2,300-square foot suites available, and you can even spring for oceanfront villas which lead straight to the beach and come equipped with a private butler. Like a tropical Mr. Belvedere of some sort. Dining at the Landings Resort and Spa There are three restaurants from which to dine at the Landings Resort and Spa (endlessly if you choose an all-inclusive package): The Palms, where you’ll enjoy an upscale, four-course meal; The Beach Club, a more casual dining experience where impromptu dance parties break out by night, and a breakfast buffet is served in the

morning; and Callaloo, where you can enjoy a delicious beachside lunch. Stargazing You can dine under the starlit sky at any of the resort’s restaurants, but if you want to incorporate a little more astronomy in your stay, you can book a guided stargazing experience on a luxurious yacht with your family. You can also have a telescope set up in your room where you may view the whole galaxy at your leisure. Well, not the whole galaxy, but on clear nights you can spot planets, constellations and even the Milky Way from St. Lucia. Kids’ Activities The resort offers a complimentary Kids Club to all guests, consisting of daily staff-led activi-

ties for kids who are 4 and older where parents can drop off their children while they set out on an off-resort adventure or enjoy a relaxing day at the beach or one of the four pools. While mom and dad do their thing, kids do crafts (coconut carving, anyone?), interact with costumed-characters and enjoy other kid-friendly, themed entertainment. Babysitting services are available for families traveling with very young children, and you can even have your room baby-proofed prior to your arrival. Snorkels can be rented for those looking to spot marine life swimming near the shore, and I can still hear the echoes of excitement from children running across the sand to report their sightings back to their parents. For a more in-depth look at the ocean floor, you can book a scuba diving excursion at a number of picturesque undersea locations on the island.

Teens, tweens and adults have access to myriad adventures on the water, including sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, and tube rides. Lessons are available in the morning and afternoons. The Spa Vacations are for relaxing, and it’s important to set aside time for it. The resort features a 7,000-square foot spa open daily to guests, offering soothing massages, facials, mani/pedis, waxing treatments, wet therapy and more, as well as the Health Club, a large fitness room featuring top-of-the-line workout equipment. Off-Resort Excursions in St. Lucia Admittedly, I would have been quite content sunbathing and sipping frozen cocktails on the beach all day long in St. Lucia. I mean, June 2022 | New York Family



how else does one snap the quintessential (fine, cliche) crossed-feet-by-the-ocean photo for the ‘gram? But I was there to see all of St. Lucia, not just the small (but gorgeous) piece of land the Landings Resort and Spa was nestled on. So although the resort’s signature rum punch was calling my name, I threw on some sneakers and went exploring. Hiking in St. Lucia My first stop was Pigeon Island, a 44-acre historic landmark and living museum just a short walk from the resort, to hike up a mountain. I’m more of a leisurely-stroll kind of girl, so I wasn’t exactly in my comfort zone trekking up an actual mountain for fun. But the view from the top was well worth it, so I’m glad Terry, our guide (and possibly the happiest guy in all of St. Lucia), kept me going with words of encouragement and distracting tidbits of history along the way. Did you know France and Britain fought 14 battles over the island, with the English emerging victorious in the final battle? That’s why you will find both French and British influences in the Lucian culture. Here’s another cool fact: St. Lucia is one of only two sovereign states in the world named after a woman, and the only one named after an actual historical female figure. The other is Ireland, in case you’re wondering. Ambitious hikers can also climb one or both of the Pitons, a pair of trademark peaks on the island’s south shore. I can’t say I was up for the challenge myself, but rumor has it you can see almost the entire island from the top of Gros Piton, the larger of the two at a lengthy 2,530 meters high. High risk, high reward, amiright? Soufriere My next stop was Soufriere, where I soaked in a mineral-rich mud bath known to give skin the “Benjamin Button effect,” according to our hilarious tour guide, by applying the volcanic mud to your body and taking a dip in a hot spring to wash it off. Truthfully, I envisioned more of a spa setting when I heard mud baths were on the itinerary, but this was a fun and very different kind of activity, one I’m sure younger visitors would get a kick out of. In fact, while I was there I watched a large, jovial group painting each other with dark mud like war paint, then posing for an undoubtedly memorable family photo. I think my kids would be all for it.

sugar cane and cocoa plantation and watched the process of creating chocolate to be shipped off to Hershey, PA, (a large amount of Hershey chocolate comes from St. Lucia). I also strolled through the rainforest to observe tropical plants and exotic flora, then met a guy who carved an impressive five coconuts in under five minutes! If you’ve ever tried to crack open a coconut, you understand what a difficult feat that is. People have surely landed in the hospital trying, so this guy was pretty epic in my book. As beautiful as the estate grounds are, visitors will enjoy an even more breathtaking view from above on a ziplining excursion or rope bridge walk. In fact, ziplining is one of St. Lucia’s most popular attractions, which is understandable – you can literally glide over a jungle from 800 feet in the air! Next I visited Fond Doux (sadly, no relation to cheese), an eco resort located on a cocoa plantation where British royals had dined the previous day. The restaurant served up a tasty array of local cuisine like kingfish, fried plantains, lentils and more. My travel companions and I chatted over our meal about everything from the country’s culture and history to the many movies and tv shows filmed on the island and which celebrities visit often. My boyfriend will never forgive me if I fail to mention that the iconic scene in Superman 2, when the superhero picks a beautiful flower for Lois Lane, was shot in St. Lucia. You can visit the waterfalls pictured in the scene, which is now called – you guessed it – Superman Waterfalls.

A Tour Kids Will Find Sweet While on Soufriere I visited the Morne Coubaril Estate, where I toured an 18th-century

Family-Friendly Festivals in St. Lucia St. Lucia hosts a number of family-friendly

34 | June 2022

festivals throughout the year, and the island truly comes alive during these times. Although most events were canceled due to Covid in the past two years, many are returning for 2022. Most notable is Carnival (pronounced car-ni-VAL), a vibrant summertime celebration that draws huge crowds in many countries around the world, and St. Lucia’s Carnival is arguably the best in the Caribbean. Held in July, the weeklong event culminates in a two-day parade of music and nonstop entertainment, and the streets fill with party-goers donning highly creative and elaborate costumes as far as the eye can see. Many hotels – the Landings Resort and Spa included – decorate accordingly and hold festive, Carnivalthemed activities throughout the season. Covid Precautions in St. Lucia St. Lucia takes Covid seriously. Masks are required in all indoor public areas at the resort and on most parts of the island. I was required to sanitize my hands before entering all eateries and establishments (even outdoors). As of April 2022, there is no requirement for pre-travel Covid testing or quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers, but a valid vaccination record is required for entry to the country. Unvaccinated travelers over age 5 must have a negative PCR test done within five days before arriving. In addition, travelers are required to test again less than one day prior to checking out of the resort. For more information about St. Lucia, visit To book a stay or learn more about the Landings Resort and Spa, go to

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What is an Au Pair? By: Mia Salas Navigating child care options is no easy task. Every parent wants their child to feel safe, secure, and loved. Au pairs have become an increasingly popular child care choice – and for good reasons. With au pairs, parents know that their little one is in good hands because they become a part of the family.

Au pairs are typically young women who travel from another country to live with a host family. Au Pair in America, the nation’s first and largest au pair program, has placed au pairs with hundreds of thousands of families in 43 states since 1986. With a global recruitment network spanning nearly 60 countries on six continents, the cultural exchange experience is an integral part of the Au Pair in America program. Host children get introduced to another culture and language from a young age, which helps them develop an appreciation for diversity and inclusion. It’s also a great way for children to learn another language in a non-academic setting. One of the most important ways that the au pair program differs from other forms of child care? The flexibility. The Au Pair in America program offers up to 45 hours of customizable child care each week. Because an au pair lives in a family’s home, they can more easily support busy schedules. Whether it’s after-school homework, drop-off and pick-up at school, or prepping your child’s favorite dinner, an au pair is there to help.

Speaking of flexibility, a one-size-fitsall approach doesn’t work for child care. That’s why Au Pair in America offers three unique program options to meet your family’s needs. Whether your children are infants or school-aged, Au Pair in America has the solution for your family.

The key takeaway here is that au pairs meet families where they are. From helping in the evenings so parents can enjoy me-time and date nights, to daily support so parents can accomplish their career and life goals, the au pair program is one of the most convenient and rewarding child care options.

Au Pair in America, 1 High Ridge Park, Stamford, CT 06905 Phone: toll free - (800) 928-7247, direct - (203) 399-5419 |

June 2022 | New York Family


ask the expert

Hepatitis in Children What parents needs to know By Donna Duarte LaDD


f you are a parent, you may be freaking out about the latest health scare involving kids, Hepatitis. And while we read and listen to the daily news reports on cases, many of us may be wondering what do we need to know about Hepatitis — especially Hepatitis in children. We chatted with Dr. Karen Acker, pediatric infectious diseases specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine. What is Hepatitis? Hepatitis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis has multiple potential causes including infection, medications (most commonly Tylenol), alcohol, and autoimmune conditions. Hepatitis is most commonly caused by viruses, and the particular viruses that we associate with hepatitis most often are Hepatitis A, B, and C (hence their names). Other viruses we also associate with hepatitis, albeit typically much milder than the Hepatitis viruses, are Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus which cause infectious mononucleosis (“mono”). The liver inflammation in children with mono is usually mild and resolves on its own. Previously, adenoviruses were not typically associated with hepatitis in previously healthy children. What does the medical profession know so far about the current outbreak? The common link in many of these cases of hepatitis was the detection of adenovirus 41. Adenovirus 41 is a strain of adenovirus that causes vomiting and diarrhea, most commonly in young children. Adenovirus infections are not typically associated with hepatitis which is a reason why these cases have prompted further investigation. Yet, we still do not know conclusively if all of these cases are linked or caused by adenovirus. The World Health Organization (WHO)

36 | June 2022

first reported cases of acute hepatitis without a known cause on April 15, 2022. As of April 21, the WHO reported 169 cases in children age 1 month to 16 years. Many had abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea prior to presenting with hepatitis, as manifested by an increase level in liver enzymes or jaundice (yellowing of the skin). The CDC posted a health advisory on April 21 notifying the public that nine patients had been identified in a large hospital in Alabama between October 2021 to February 2022 who were treated for hepatitis and found to have evidence of adenovirus infection. They advised physicians to consider adenovirus testing in patients presenting with hepatitis and unclear cause, and recommended that local departments of health report cases of hepatitis without a clear etiology.

an unknown cause, further investigation is needed. These alerts and warnings are meant to ensure that we keep a close eye on new potential cases. Parents should reach out to their pediatricians if they think their child may have symptoms consistent with hepatitis, such as severe abdominal pain with vomiting and diarrhea, or yellow eyes or skin.

What do parents need to know about the increase in unexplained Hepatitis cases that seem to be affecting young children? These reports should not create increased alarm in parents as these cases are very rare and still require further investigation. These reports do not necessarily indicate that we are seeing more hepatitis than before or that there is necessarily an outbreak of adenovirus. Whenever a cluster of cases that appear to have a common link or have

What are the signs or symptoms that parents should look out for? Symptoms of hepatitis can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, yellow skin (jaundice), yellow eyes. If a child has worsening increasingly worsening abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, or if they have jaundice, they should see their child’s pediatrician for evaluation. In these cases, their pediatrician may test their child’s liver enzymes to see if they are elevated.

What are the children’s ages that seem to be affected by Hepatitis? Most of the children affected are less than 10 years old, although cases range from children age 1-16. Is this COVID-19 related? We do not know if these cases are COVID-19 related but this is also being looked into.

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/[S`WQO\ 2`SO[( 3OaWZg 3\bS`bOW\ G]c` 9WRa /ZZ Ac[[S` :]\U Kids may celebrate as school’s out for the summer, but parents…not so much. There are only so many ways to entertain your kids. If you’re worried about keeping them smiling this summer, look no further than American Dream in East Rutherford, NJ. A quick drive from NYC, this amusement park has something for everyone. The Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park has Blue’s Clues-themed rides for your little 36’’ riders, and SpongeBob-themed roller coasters for your big kid thrill-seekers. Big Snow, North America’s first and only indoor, real-snow, year-round ski and

snow resort, is also now open again! The best part about American Dream is that there are so many attractions to explore. DreamWorks Water Park, the

largest indoor water park in North America, is a familyfavorite. DreamWorks features the biggest indoor wave pool, record-breaking slides, and even a lazy river. Whether it’s playing

Angry Birds Mini Golf, conquering the Mirror Maze, or playing the newly opened Escape Game, NJ’s #1 escape room, you’ll find excitement at every corner. Besides attractions, there’s plenty of stores to shop for men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, footwear, electronics, and much more. And when you need a bite to eat, head over to one of the many delicious restaurants: Yard House for adults, the Oreo Café for kids, and Five Guys or Popeyes for the family. If your kids are off from camp for the weekend, plan your trip to American Dream today. Check out the full experience at


storytime for babies & toddlers



after school support & activities for kids ages 6–12

June 2022 | New York 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-

38 | June 2022

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.


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 | New York 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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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 | New York 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.

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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

June 2022 | New York 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.

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June 2022 | New York 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: 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, delicious food, and free entertainment. This includes music, Commerford’s Petting Zoo, racing pigs, juggling, and more. The fair is also an opportunity for farmers to showcase their livestock where fairgoers can learn more about agriculture while being educated about food and where it comes from. This includes over 1,000 individual exhibitors, where farmers showcase their cows, horses, pigs, chickens, sheep, and goats. You’ll be able to see milking demonstrations, sheep shearing, and even the birthing of a live calf! There is also a horticulture building at the fair where landscapers showcase their talents in breathtaking garden displays. Guests will also be able to participate as you cast your vote in the “People’s Choice Awards” competition. Vendors will also be on hand, selling their artisanal jams and jellies, quilts and fine arts in the many buildings and kiosks. This includes vendors from the Hudson Valley and all over the U.S.

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And we can’t forget the food. From tunnel cakes to sundaes to fried pickles to turkey legs, you’ll have your fill of some delicious fare. Advance discount tickets can be purchased at

Well. This is different. NY’s newest and biggest indoor waterpark. Modern and stylish suites. Hi Tech Adventure Zone. 8 eclectic eateries and bars. Daily activites. Gorgeous hiking trails. 11,000 square feet of meeting space to accommodate large or small groups. And much, much more. Just a short walk to the spectacular Resorts World Catskills Casino Resort. Relax. Enjoy. We’ve got this. Located in the heart of the beautiful Sullivan, Catskills. June 2022 | New York 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

48 | 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 | New York 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

50 | 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

June 2022 | New York Family


family day out

Getting ‘Stranger’ Head to the 80’s with the hit show’s Broooklyn pop-up Netflix

By Courtney Ingalls


tranger Things has taken the world (and our tweens TV’s and laptops) by storm over the last couple years and now you can step into this crazy sci-fi world at Stranger Things The Experience! This pop-up which is at Duggal Greenhouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and is co-hosted by Netflix and Fever. Fans will be immersed in this interactive experience that will transport you back into the 80’s and will bring the town of Hawkins to life. Guests are even encourage to wear your 80’s-inspired wardrobe!

Guests will start the experience off in Hawkins Lab where you will then wind up in the Upside Down. From there, you will have to use your skills and imagination to help get you and your friends out of the Upside Down and to say the town altogether! Kids and parents will have a blast testing their knowledge and working together while also feeling like they are characters in the show! Once you can complete the mission (which is about an hour), the experience doesn’t stop there! Guests will then be sent to the The Mix-Tape Area where they will

be able to explore a collection of the show’s greatest hits and locations. And while the exhibit isn’t scary, it may be best suited for the recommended age of 13 + (kids under age 5 are not allowed). When you’re done don’t forget to grab food and drinks that are themed after the show! Stranger Things The Experience runs until July 17th and tickets can be purchased now at! The portal to the Upside Down will be opening in Duggal Greenhouse, 63 Flushing Ave, Bldg. 268 Brooklyn NY







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Confidence. It’s built over time. Our students graduate with the courage to have a point of view and the skills to express it, honed through years of practice.


GO BOLDLY. 635 Frogtown Rd, New Canaan, CT • (203) 801-5608 New Canaan Country School is a co-ed, independent day school for students in Pre-K (ages 3 & 4) through Grade 9 ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� June 2022 | New York Family


real estate

The Best Places to Live In & Near NYC By BarBara russo & Donna Duarte- LaDD


hhh New York...and nearby! There’s something here for everyone, especially when it comes to real estate. The metro area, which is the most populous in the United States, is home to family-friendly communities of all kinds—from city neighborhoods such as Crown Heights and Park Slope in Brooklyn to quaint towns in Long Island and Connecticut. The options are endless when it comes to home buying in and near NYC. And the best part is, each community has its own unique feel and charm while offering an easy commute to the heart of the Big Apple. To get you started on your househunting journey, we’ve highlighted a few local neighborhoods with our top picks for real estate within each one. Browse our list, delve deeper into each town, and be on your way to finding your dream home!

Scotch Plains, New Jersey Families looking for space and a desire to live at a close distance from NYC need to consider beautiful Scotch Plains. Most homes are nestled on sprawling properties which means the kids will have the great outdoors at their beck and call. Parents will appreciate the excellent schools and parks and recreation activities. The town has a strong sense of community and hosts events to support residents, small-business owners, the local police department and more. Locals work within New Jersey, but many also travel to NYC. The easy commute to NYC also gives parents opportunities for family fun in the city on the weekends! Pictured: 1371 Rahway Road, Scotch Plains, New Jersey 5 Bedrooms / 3.5 Baths / $1,395,000

This home sits on over 4 acres with gorgeous landscaped grounds. While the house is ready for your family to move in, there is plenty of space to add your decorative touches. With five bedrooms and 3.2 baths, this home is ideal for large and growing families. If nature is one of the musts on your home searching lists, this home is practically a private park; however, it is close to

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the Ponderosa Farm Park, a Scotch Plains jewel! Contact: Frank D. Isoldi,, Coldwell Banker Cell: 908-787-5990 Direct: 908-301-2038

Fall in Love with New Canaan

Leaving the City is a tough decision. 11 years ago my family headed to the grassy hills of New Canaan in Fairfield County. Not knowing a soul in CT but encouraged by New Canaan’s stellar reputation and a desire for space we made the leap. Over a decade later, we feel it was the best decision we could ever have made for our family and ourselves. Let me help with your transition to the country.

Christa Kenin

O 203.889.5580 M 917.880.9023 199 Elm Street New Canaan, CT 06840

Christa is a former Marketing Executive at a worldwide ad agency, elected Town Council member and New Canaan Newcomers Club President.


June 2022 | New York Family


Real estate

Pelham, New York If you're looking for a home where community is part of the town's culture- Pelham offers this and more. Located in Westchester County, the area is bustling with families of kids of all ages, and with great school, after-school options and weekend activities. Pelham offers an array of lovely homes in suburban neighborhoods. With around 12,000 residents, the it has a small-town vibe. It’s hard to believe Midtown Manhattan is just a 30-minute train ride away! Parents will love that the local parks aren’t overcrowded and that the town feels quaint, the kind of neighborhood where the kids have an easy walk to school. But don't mistake charming for ‘out of touch;’ Pelham is rich with diversity and a mixture of cultures you love about city life is something you’ll find here. Pictured: 444 Wolf's Lane, Pelham, New York 3 Bedrooms / 2 Baths / $969,000

country kitchen and a sitting room, plus 3 bedrooms, including an oversize suite with an alcove for an office, workout area or dressing room. A convenient location and quick commute to NYC make this property a must-see.

This side entry Colonial is perfect for buyers seeking charm, space, a ton of light and a big backyard. It features a large living room with a wood-burning fireplace, a grand formal dining room, a

Contact: April Monaco, Houlihan Lawrence 914-548-8350

Maplewood/South Orange, New Jersey These twin towns–often known as SOMA–offer lots of diversity and a school district that has been nationally recognized as one of the top 100 communities for music education four years in a row. Five of the district’s elementary schools have been named Let’s Move Active Schools, a national initiative that works to ensure 60 minutes of physical activity a day is the norm in K-12 schools across the country. There’s certainly a lot for parents, students and educators to be proud of in this school district. SOMA residents enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities in both towns, including kids’ camps in the summer, arts-and-craftsclasses, a public pool and seasonal farmers’ market. A local favorite is the Maplewoodstock Music and Arts Festival held in the summer featuring a variety of bands and musical styles. Maplewood specifically is reminiscent of many trendy NYC neighborhoods—like Industry City and Park Slope—but has a small-town feel. In fact, many New Yorkers, including Brooklynites, have moved to this New Jersey town for many reasons, including the fact that it’s recognized for being widely diverse. Easily accessible by its throughways and the New Jersey Transit, it’s no surprise SOMA’s towns have been ranked several times as one of the most desirable places to live in America by a number of surveys and won several recent awards as a best place to live and award winning downtown.

burning fireplace, and a former dining room and more. There are enough rooms to convert one into an office or a playroom. There are also perks a family will cherish, such as tons of storage, a laundry room and a fenced-in yard for the kids.

Pictured: 11 University Court, South Orange, New Jersey 4 Bedrooms / 2.5 Bathrooms / Asking $650,000

This classic side hall colonial features plentiful sunlight, a wood-

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Contact: Mark Slade, The Slade Team, Keller Williams 917-797-5059








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Source: OKMLS 1/1/2021-12/31/2021, total volume sold by agent, Westchester County, single family, coop, condominium and multi-family. Houlihan Lawrence Transactions Database: 1/1/21-12/31/2021 total volume sold both on and off market

June 2022 | New York Family


Real estate

Syosset, New York When we think of Syosset, family-oriented is the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, Niche ranked Syosset as the #2 place to raise a family in New York in 2022. Located on the North Shore of Long Island, the town and its surrounding areas - Jericho, The Brookvilles, Woodbury and Plainview/ Old Bethpage - is a highly desirable spot for house hunters, largely because beautiful and affordable homes can be found at all price levels. Another appeal of Syosset is its awardwinning school district. The Syosset High School was designated a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, an honor bestowed on public and private schools throughout the country for academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The school district also offers broad programming for all students, including great sports programs, music programs and extracurricular programs. Syosset is a tight-knit, thriving community with many restaurants, retail stores and professional services. All of your shopping and dining needs are nearby, along with picturesque parks, beaches, hiking, and biking trails for outdoor adventures.

Crown Heights, Brooklyn Architecture in Crown Heights is frankly gorgeous- families can find homes that work with their aesthetic and budget. Single-family Victorian homes. Historic brownstones. Condo and co-op buildings. These are just some of the beautiful real estate options in this up-and-coming part of Brooklyn.Culture is at the epicenter of Crown Heights. It’s home to the worldfamous West Indian Parade, has one of the largest Hasidic communities, and offers lots of restaurants and dining establishments that serve a variety of ethnic cuisine. Another huge plus of Crown Heights is that it’s located on the east side of beautiful Prospect Park, where real estate is more affordable than on the west side. Although Crown Heights is very accessible to Manhattan, there’s so much for residents to enjoy within their own neighborhood and nearby without even stepping on to a train. Families often frequent the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Even the park itself is home to fun attractions that kids love, including the Prospect Park Zoo, the gorgeous Prospect Park Carousel, and so much more. Pictured: 1769 E 13th St, Unit 3B Millwood/Homecrest, Brooklyn 2 Bedrooms / 2 Bathrooms / $749,000 Maintenance $1026/mo; Taxes abated until 2033!

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The commute to NYC is easily accessible, with two convenient LIRR stations nearby, including one right in the heart of Syosset, allowing for less travel time and more family time. Contact: Linda Freeman, Douglas Elliman 917-743-2724

This Modern luxury two-bedroom, the two-bathroom condo includes two balconies, private storage, plus a common roof deck and spa with a pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Families will love the luminous floor-through the apartment, bretahtaking interiors including a grand open concept living room, dining room and kitchen with floor-to-ceiling windows. A generously sized main bedroom features an entire wall of windows. An en-suite master bathroom with sleek modern finishes and a bright second bedroom and adjacent large guest bathroom with a soaking tub are just a few of the gems of homes you can find in Crown Heights. Contact: Elizabeth Alicea, Compass Realty 696-966-2479

About Lia Wiedemann Licensed Real Estate Salesperson M: 917-538-7449 Lia Wiedemann has purchased and renovated multiple homes of her own and uses her design skills to identify the pros and cons in properties. When working with sellers, Lia confidently prices and stages homes for maximum profit and guides all her clients with warmth and compassion.

«Lia Wiedemann was exceptional and crucial to our 2 year search for a Brooklyn home. In a completely chaotic pandemic-fired housing market, Lia’s calm demeanor, expert guidance, candor, and smooth navigation of offer politics was like a miraculous life raft. In the most pressurized and competitive environment one could imagine, Lia offers authentic support and delivers excellent results.» Risha L.

About The Lia Wiedemann Team The Lia Wiedemann Team is a vibrant, creative, and authentic group of real estate agents based in Brooklyn, NY. With 25 years of combined experience and over $200M in closed sales, we pride ourselves on making the process of buying, selling and renting homes a memorable experience for the right reasons. Compass | The Lia Wiedemann Team, 514 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215

June 2022 | New York Family


Real estate

Park Slope/Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn These two Brooklyn neighborhoods are—in a word—beautiful. And even more than that, both Park Slope and Windsor Terrace are very family-friendly and provide a perfect locale for home owners who want a more low-key city atmosphere. They are close to bustling Manhattan without actually being in it! Park Slope is considered one of the most desirable places to live in NYC. While many homes here are limited in terms of yard space, the neighborhood makes up for it by offering parks and other ways to embrace nature. The 526-acre Prospect Park has hiking trails, amazing trees, sprawling fields (with off-leash hours for dog owners), the Prospect Park Zoo and other ways to spend time in the great outdoors. Living in Park Slope or Windsor Terrace will immerse you in arts and culture. Park Slope is home to a variety of religious institutions, including churches and synagogues—many of which are housed in historic buildings. Families enjoy visiting nearby cultural institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Pictured: 16 Prospect Park Southwest, #53, Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn 2 Bedrooms / 1 Bathrooms / Asking $799,000 (in Contract)

This Windsor Terrace 2 Bedroom, 1 bathroom is a sample of the styles of homes, apartments, and brownstones you’ll find in Park Slope/Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. Next to Prospect Park,

New Canaan, Connecticut At only an hour away from NYC- New Canaan is still accessible to the city-yet once you arrive home, it is pure charm. This friendly town is known for supporting its community and being diverse. Parents chose to live in New Canaan for its excellent schools. The school system includes five public schools in the district and three private schools. The downtown area is quaint but thriving, especially on weekends when you will likely run into friends shopping in the local shops. Cafes are unique and delicious, and the restaurants in New Canaan serve Top Chef-worthy cuisine. The charming New Canaan Library on Main Street is the perfect spot for playdates, storytimes, music, and events. Summer thrives in New Canaan. Outdoor events and activities such as the Family Fourth Fireworks at Waveny Park and firefly viewing at the New Canaan Land Trust are favorites among locals. And with classic architectural touches woven throughout the town -it is picture-perfect throughout the year. Pictured: 43 Bartling Drive. New Canaan CT 5 Bedrooms | 4.5 Baths |

This 5-bedroom, 4 1/2 bath Colonial provides sun-filled rooms all day long. There is a spacious sunken family room. High-end

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excellent schools, close to the subway and shopping destinations, all located in what is considered the true gem of Brooklyn. Contact: Lia Wiedemann, The Lia Wiedemann Team, Compass Realty 917-538-7449

appliances in the kitchen will bring joy. Located on 2.3 acres located on a quiet cul-de-sac. A deck and slate patio looks over a private backyard. If space in a home is top on your real estate needs -the large primary bedroom suite features his and her bathrooms and closets. No more shoes all over the house- there is a large mudroom for the entire family. Contact: Christa Kenin, Douglas Elliman 917-880-9023

Moving to Long Island? The Right Agent Makes All the Difference


Homes Sold Since 2009*

As one of Long Island’s most accomplished brokers, Linda can expertly guide you through the stages of buying your new home. So if you’ve been dreaming of living on Long Island, let her experience move you in the right direction.


in Closed Sales Volume Since 2009*

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Linda Freedman

Ranked #1 in the Syosset Office**

Lic. Assoc. R. E. Broker



June 2022 | New York 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

62 | June 2022

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. 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.

Photo by Ana Gambuto

June 2022 | New York Family


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 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. After your cover shoot, you went on a daddaughter date with London-how do one on one with each kid? I did! I took London to go see Beetlejuice on Broadway. When you have three—especially twins, it’s easy to always lump them together for family outings. But they have three very different personalities and interests. Having a one-on-one with them allows me to see them in their most authentic selves without the distraction of their siblings. And in turn, they see their papa is paying attention, meeting them where they’re at with their interests, and creating sweet memories that belong to them alone. 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 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 hap-

64 | June 2022

Photo by Ana Gambuto

pened 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. 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.


A Unique Getaway in the Catskills Transport Your Kids Back to Simpler Times with a Farm-Stay Vacation!



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718.247.7420 June 2022 | New York Family


calendar By Shara Levine

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

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.

Summer on the Hudson: Locomotive Lawn Live! WHEN: May 5- June 30, Thursdays, 10:30-11:15am WHERE: Locomotive Lawn at Riverside Park, Enter at West 79th Street Boat Basin Rotunda, Upper West Side AGES: Newborn-5 WHAT: Moosiki Kids Musical Storytime fosters a love of reading at a young age with musical stories, interactive musical storyboard, and danceable original Moosiki music. WANT TO GO?: 212-870-3089.

Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster WHEN: June 4-26, Show times vary; check the schedule on the website WHERE: New Victory Theater, 209 W 42nd St., Theater District AGES: 3-8 WHAT: With puppets, projections, live music and a story by Mo Willems, this performance will surprise you with its cinema-sized story about fright, feelings and friendship. WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $25. 646-223-3010.


The Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas Street Festival comes to the Lower East Side on June 26. Intrepid Family Day Celebrates Pride! WHEN: Saturday, June 11, 1-4pm WHERE: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, West 46th Street at Twelth Avenue, Hell’s Kitchen AGES: All WHAT: Learn about how sailors expressed themselves through art-making activities and storytelling!? WANT TO GO?: 212-245-0072.

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?: | June 2022

DiscOasis WHEN: June 16- July 31, 10am-4:30pm, daytime skate sessions; 5:30-10pm, nighttime experience WHERE: Central Park Wollman Rink ??, 830 5th Ave., Upper East Side AGES: All WHAT: ill find yourself dancing and skating your way through a glittering sonic fantasia for the soul with a soundscape curated by our Groovemaster, disco and funk legend Nile Rodgers. WANT TO GO?: Daytime tickets start at $17 for children and $23 for adults; Evening tickets start at $29; $10 skate rental.

Think ‘N’ Fun NYC Father’s Day Dash 2022 WHEN: Sunday, June 19, 10:30am WHERE: Riverside Park, West 74th Street Lawn, Upper West Side AGES: All

WHAT: This Father’s Day, introduce the concept of (fun) races to your little ones plus a special keepsake make-n-take craft, official race medal and recovery snacks. WANT TO GO?: $25 per each child/adult team. $10 each additional child running with the same ticketed father.. 917-8306485.

Egg Rolls, Egg Creams, and Empanadas Street Festival WHEN: Sunday, June 26, 12-4pm WHERE: Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street, Lower East Side AGES: All WHAT: Experience the spirit of the ever-changing Lower East Side and the immigrant experience in New York City today through music, dance, crafts, cultural practices, foodways, and more! WANT TO GO?: 212-219-0888.



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