Westchester Family - June 2022

Page 1

june 2022


Oasis Park OasisSummer SummerCamp Campat atCentral Dobbs Ferry




PremierCamp, Camp,Uniquely UniquelyAffordable Affordable AAPremier Age-appropriate Expansive North Meadow Programs for Ages 3-15 Summer Private PlayẨ Specialized Athletics ground Program State of the art Air Expanded Visual Conditioned Premier and Performing Arts Indoor Program Exclusive Use Hands-on of Indoor Nature and Private Pool (Swim Science Program instruction)

Fun and Engaging Busing from Various Points Themed Special inWeekly Manhattan Events Wide Variety of Activities Including Arts andIndoor Crafts, Air Conditioned Sports, Theater, Swimming, and Lush Green Athletic and MartialFacilities Arts Outdoor

Instructional and 2-8 Flexible Enrollment Recreational Swim Weeks On-site At Our beautiful Carnival, Dress-up Days, Outdoor Pool Color war Daily Hot Lunch Included Daily Hot Lunch Included

Age-appropriate Programs Daily Travel Program for forTeen Ages 3-15 11-14 Ages

Athletics, Visual/ Performing Arts, Partnership with Central Enrichment, and Robotics Park Conservancy

Transportation Available Daily Travel program for Teens Ages 11-13

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Thornton-Donovan School’s

Summer Challenge An energetic, exciting and well-balanced summer activities program of sports, recreation and education designed to meet Challengers from ages 3–14.

Call for a Personal Tour! Program Dates:

July 5–August 19, 2022 8:30am–3:30pm • Ages 3–14 • Co-ed Rate: $650 per week. There will be a $325 discount on camp fees for all applications completed and paid in full by May 3rd for those signing up for six or seven weeks of camp. There will be a $100 total sibling discount on the 2nd (3rd and 4th) child in your family.

100 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle, NY | 914.632.8836 I www.td.edu June 2022 | Westchester Family



June 2022


pg. 36

pg. 22

pg. 50

FEATURES 22 | Birthdays Celebrate your child’s big day at these fun spots 26 | Special Needs What to do after your child gets diagnosed with a developmental disability 30 | Health Hepatitis in children and what parents need to know 50 | Cover – José Rolón of @nycgaydad On being a single parent, letting people see you in all your crazy glory and looking for love

Summer GUide 36 | Travel Family Road Trips 46 | To Do Summer Bucket List

WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

pg. 52

Family fun 52 | Calendar All the fun events and activities for June 54 | Summer Concerts Take in a show in Westchester this season

Stories & columns 6 | Editor’s Letter 8 | Camp Summer camp and your child’s mental health 12 | Education The benefits of preschool 32 | Family Day Out Head to the hit show Stranger Things’ Broooklyn pop-up


pg. 46

Directories 16 | Preschools Guide

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

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

@americandream • americandream.com 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

June 2022 | Westchester 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 36) and

because we like odd numbers — 57 Things To Do This Summer (page 46). Of course, Team NYF will be around all summer, so visit us online (westchesterfamily.com & nymetroparents.com) for all summer activities and events. Fathers are the best and we have one fantastic dad on the cover. José Rolón (page 50) 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

Contact Information

ADVERTISING: (718) 260-4554 Advertising@NewYorkFamily.com Circulation: (718) 260-8336 Tina@NewYorkFamily.com Address: New York Family Media/Schneps Media 1 MetroTech Center North, Third Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201

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

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


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

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

June 2022 | Westchester 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


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

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

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

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Mosholu Day Camp strictly adheres to American Camping Association, CDC & NYS DOH COVID-19 guidelines for summer camp safety! Mosholu Day Camp/MMCC Located at Lake Cohasset in Harriman State Park 261 Arden Valley Road, Southfields, NY 10975

CALL 845.243.0751�VISIT campmosholu.com�EMAIL mosholudaycamp@gmail.com June 2022 | Westchester Family



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

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


SUMMER CAMP Full & Half Day Camp Boys & Girls Ages 4–13 1-8 weeks available No experience necessary

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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.

WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

Register weekly or the entire summer

Camp Dates: Monday, 6/27 – Friday, 8/19

No experience necessary. Designed for ALL abilities.

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Scan below for more information about Summer Camp

The 176thDutchess County Fair Rhinebeck, NY

August 23 - August 28

Tuesday, August 23 • 7:30pm

Wednesday, August 24 • 7:30pm

Admission & Concert - $37 pre-sale. $42 day of concert.

FREE With Paid Admission



Thursday, August 25 • 7:30pm FREE With Paid Admission

Friday, August 26 • 7:30pm Admission & Concert - $42 pre-sale. $47 day of concert.


Sat. August 27 • Noon & 6pm & Sun. August 28 • 12 pm. $ 5 Adults. Children 6 & Under FREE

Advance Discount Tickets For Admission, Ride All Day Wristbands & Concerts Are Available At dutchessfair.com KIDS UNDER 11 FREE ADMISSION AT ALL TIMES FREE PARKING! June 2022 | Westchester 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


WestchesterFamily.com | 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

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June 2022 | Westchester 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.


WestchesterFamily.com | 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.”



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June 2022 | Westchester Family


Preschools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

A Child’s Dream

Blue Rock School

10 Mill Road, New Rochelle 914-633-4332 achildsdreamnursery.com A Child’s Dream goal is to create a secure and structured environment where your child will enjoy socializing and interacting with other children while learning. The curriculum includes, Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, Developing Motor and Social Skills. They offer Morning Sessions from 9am-11:30am for 2 and 3 year olds and 9am-12PM for 4 year olds. They also offer an afternoon session. Lunch Bunch and Enrichment Classes Available; Art, Soccer and Movement.

110 Demarest Mill Rd, West Nyack, NY 10994 845-535-3353 bluerockschool.org Blue Rock School has been fostering confident critical thinkers for over 30 years. Their hands-on curriculum is infused with art, nature, and play in small dynamic class settings from Kindergarten through Eighth grade. By nurturing children’s love of learning and encouraging deep thinking, Blue Rock School prepares them for a changing world.

Ann & Andy’s Childcare

Registration is now open for 2022–2023! For more info & to register, visit: www.ridgewaynsk.com or call 914-949-3134

Ardsley Community Nursery School 7/<3-+8 /1398 <3@/ s <.=6/C

(914) 693-4932



2170 Saw Mill River Road, Elmsford 914-592-3027 annandandychildcare.com Ann & Andy’s provides childcare for ages 2 months to 14 years old. Their center offers an infant, toddler, and preschool program, and an afterschool program for school-aged children. Regularly planned group activities meet the natural, physical, emotional and cognitive needs of children at play. Staff is trained to promote a positive environment and to keep a balanced routine that does not stress or overstimulate children.

Ardsley Community Nursery School

AM and PM classes for children 2-5 Enrichment programs in dance, music, art, science, nature and yoga Weekly and hourly rates Diaper friendly Beautiful outdoor play area Local field trips Summer Camp 16

WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

21 American Legion Dr., Ardsley 914-693-4932 Acns.us The Ardsley Community Nursery School is proud of its caring staff and dynamic enrichment program. Creative and developmentally appropriate academic activities are based on weekly themes and geared toward recognizing the talents of each child. A lovely playground and local field trips enhance programming. Soccer, dance and yoga classes are included with tuition. Summer camp offers water activities and air conditioning.

French-American School of New York Manor Campus (NurseryGrade 3) 111 Larchmont Avenue, Larchmont 914-250-0469 fasny.org FASNY’s bilingual preschool program begins at 3 years old and is play-based with an emphasis on language acquisition. The focus is on the development of fine and gross motor skills through targeted activities that are thematic and connect to the students’ developmental milestones. Through play, FASNY students learn skills and investigate problems.

German International School New York 50 Partridge Rd, White Plains, NY 914-948-6513 GISNY.org At GISNY, pre-k and kindergarten children are welcomed into a bright and nurturing environment and enjoy most of their school day outdoors exploring, learning, and playing on the beautiful 20-acre campus. Entering pre-k and kindergarten children are not required to speak or understand German and will build the foundation for being bilingual by first grade. GISNY is Pre-K to Grade 12.

Hudson Country Montessori School 340 Quaker Ridge Road New Rochelle, NY 10804 914-636-6202 info@hudsoncountry.org Hudson Country Montessori

GERMAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL NEW YORK Virtual Open House June 2, 2022 at 3 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Registration for our next Open House or a private tour @ GISNY.ORG Open a world of opportunities for your child with a distinctive bilingual education and a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes the sciences. German International School New York, a Pre-K to Grade 12 college preparatory program, is the only school in the tristate area, where graduates earn the NYS High School Diploma and the German International Abitur, a globally recognized diploma that facilitates access to universities worldwide. Pre-K and Kindergarten children are welcomed into a bright, spacious, and nurturing environment, and with our Nature-Based Early Childhood Education Program our students enjoy most of their school day outdoors exploring, learning, and playing on our beautiful 20-acre campus. Children entering our Pre-K or Kindergarten programs are not required to speak or understand German and build the foundation of being bilingual by first grade. All nationalities are welcome!

| admissions@gisny.org | 50 Partridge Rd, White Plains, NY 10605 | (914) 948-6513 cognitive growthGISNY.ORG and positions them for long-term academic success.

Congratulations to the Class of 2022!!! “Off you go to Kindergarten “

You have made wonderful friends and learned so much.

A CHILD’s DREAM • 10 Mill Rd., New Rochelle, NY 10804 Achildsdream18@aol.com | 914-633-4332 | achildsdreamnursery.com

June 2022 | Westchester Family


Preschools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

46 Fox Meadow Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583

We nurture a love for learning. Trained professionals at Yellow Acorn use scientiic pedagogy to encourage social, emotional and cognitive development of children. In a joyous learning environment, children cultivate independent thought, foundational skills, empathy for others, social ease and conidence.

Now Enrolling For





Early Childhood (3-5 year olds)


Kiddie Academy of White Plains


(18 months - 36 months)

School inspires and promotes innate curiosity and a love of learning. HCMS also strives to help children grow into respectful, socially-adept and compassionate leaders. The curriculum is designed to empower students to become independent, creative thinkers and confident achievers. Private, co-educational school, toddlers (18 months) through 8th grade. Flexible scheduling, full & half-day sessions and extended hours.

YellowAcorn.org FOLLOW US

/YellowAcornMontessori /yellowacornmontessori

222 Bloomingdale Rd Suite 108, White Plains, NY 914-688-1600 kiddieacademy.com At Kiddie Academy, your child’s natural curiosity is nurtured to explore and investigate. With developmentally appropriate curriculum, character education, STEM-infused technology and health and fitness experiences fundamental to a child’s growth, they encourage inquisitiveness, creating momentum for learning that continues well after the child leaves the Academy. Care from 6:30am-6:30pm, nurturing staff, onsite kitchen, outdoor play areas, indoor playroom and private parking lot.

Liberty Montessori Schools

Give Your Child the Best in Early Childhood Education


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MONTESSORI SCHOOL in PELHAM A Tradition of Excellence since 1973


Register Now for 2022/2023 Call for Open House Dates

1415 Pelhamdale Ave. (at Shore Rd.) • Pelham, NY

914.738.1127 • montessorischoolpelhamny.com


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

155 Beechmont Dr., New Rochelle 914-636-3461 631 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck 914-777-1382 libertymontessorischools.com Liberty Montessori offers programs for up to grade 3 a unique enrichment curriculum that includes a special music program and the Challenger Program for advanced students. They also have special multilingual programs in Chinese, French, German, Spanish and Japanese. Call now to make an appointment, meet the school director, tour the facility and learn more.

Lightbridge Academy 529 Central Park Ave. Scarsdale, NY 10583 914-653-6719 lightbridgeAcademy.com Lightbridge Academy in Scarsdale is enrolling now for infant, toddler, preschool and pre-k from 6 weeks old through 5 years old. They are opening by the fall of 2022, so it’s time to save your spot. Call or schedule a virtual tour online to learn more about their programs.

Mazel Tots Early Childhood Program of Scarsdale Synagogue 2 Ogden Rd, Scarsdale, NY 10583 914-723-3001 mazeltots@sstte.org bit.ly/MTfamily The Mazel Tots program provides a warm, stimulating environment for newborn to kindergarten-bound children, encouraging children’s growth socially, emotionally, and intellectually, and featuring developmentally appropriate activities including sports, games, music, creative movement, sign language, nature, yoga, karate, science, and art. Spiritual growth is enriched by learning about Jewish holidays and values.

Montessori School of Pelham Manor 1415 Pelhamdale Avenue Bronx, New York 914-738-1127 pelhammontessori@gmail. com montessorischoolpelhamny. com The most crucial years in a child’s development are from birth to age 3. Montessori School of Pelham Manor has small class sizes which means lots of individualized attention. Your child will get the personalized attention they need to learn and grow at their own personal pace, with instructors who cater to your child’s unique learning needs. Developing confidence and a love of learning is the hallmark of Montessori education.

Learning Together with Wonder

Accepting Kindergarten Applications With our progressive approach to education, we have been fostering confident critical thinkers for over 30 years. Our hands-on curriculum, infused with the arts, nature, and play, nurtures children’s love of learning and prepares them for a changing world. Contact us to learn more or schedule a private tour

admissions@bluerockschool.org or 845-535-3353


Now performing performing Now

Now performing weekdays and weekdays and weekends weekends weekdays and weekends Learning is a passionate and Learning is a passionate and personal personal pursuit. pursuit. For For each each

child, child, it it carries carries its its own own momentum, momentum, power power and and rhythm. rhythm.

Learning is a passionate and personal pursuit. Confidence and creativity creativity grow in and and out out of the theFor each Confidence and grow in of we recognize that classroom, and atown Kiddie Academy®®,, we child, it carries itsat momentum, power and rhythm. recognize that classroom, and Kiddie Academy it’s to every learning Confidence andearly creativity grow in and out opportunity. of the it’s never never too too early to nurture nurture every learning opportunity. classroom, and at Kiddie Academy®, we recognize that kiddieacademy.com/white-plains kiddieacademy.com/white-plains it’s never too early to nurture every learning opportunity. (914) (914) 688-1600 688-1600

kiddieacademy.com/white-plains (914) 688-1600

Where Learning Comes Alive!

Independent K-8 School in West Nyack, NY

Kiddie Kiddie Academy Academy of of White White Plains Plains 222 222 Bloomingdale Bloomingdale Road, Road, White White Plains, Plains, NY NY 10605 10605


Kiddie Academy of White Plains 222 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains, NY 10605


*See center for details. Expires 6/30/22

529 Central Park Ave. Scarsdale, NY 10583


LightbridgeAcademy.com June 2022 | Westchester Family


Preschools Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

New Canaan Country School

Fall pRogRaM

Family owned & operated Since 1973 Experienced Teachers

• Serving Children 2 months–14 years • Field Trips • Stimulating Environment • Flexible Schedules • Beautiful Campus Setting



2170 Saw Mill River Rd, Elmsford, NY

Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont & Emanu-El 2 Ogden Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583

Nursery School & Summer Programs For Children 18 months through Age 5

bit.ly/MTfamily | 914-723-3001

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635 Frogtown Rd. New Canaan, CT 06840 203-972-0771 countryschool.net/academics/ 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.

Ridgeway Nursery School and Kindergarten 465 Ridgeway, White Plains, NY kemmert@ridgewaynsk.com RNSK offers early childhood programs designed to help children gain a positive selfimage while encouraging social, emotional, intellectual,

physical and spiritual development. 2’s, 3’s and 4’s classes recognize play and exploration as basic learning tools. RNSK’s NYS accredited kindergarten program tailors relevant curriculum according to the needs of each child.

Yellow Acorn Montessori 46 Fox Meadow Rd., Scarsdale, NY 914-725-2173 yellowacorn.org Yellow Acorn Montessori provides a comprehensive Montessori education, cultivating independent thought and foundational skills as well as awareness of their environment, empathy for others, and social ease and confidence. The Early Childhood Program (3-5 years) and Toddler Program (18mos-36 mos) include Language, Math, Science, Geography and Culture, Practical Life, Sensorial, Music and Art and more.

Toddler through Pre-K 155 Beechmont Drive New Rochelle, NY 10804 (914) 636-3461 Toddler through Elementary 631 West Boston Post Road Mamaroneck, NY 10543 (914) 777-1382 libertymontessorischools.com

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June 2022 | Westchester Family


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

By Shana Liebman


irthdays are back and better than ever! Thankfully Westchester 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 to hold your babe’s special celebration. So no matter how you celebrate your little loved one’s birthday, it will be the best. Arty Kid’s Parties in Westchester Kids 4 and older can choose their own adventure in pottery-making at A Maze in Pottery (amazeinpottery.com) in Briarcliff Manor. Small groups learn how to make and paint pottery, or kids can listen to a story while they work with sponges, Q-tips, brushes and fingerprints. There are also Zoom parties and a take-home kit which provides everything you need to create ceramics at home. The Pottery Factory (thepotterfactory. com) in Mount Kisco has several party options: Kids can make and paint their own pottery (coffee cups, bowls, plates and figurines). They


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

can also learn how to paint a canvas, make candles or soap, or fuse glass into colorful collages. While the studio allows walk-ins for casual crafts, call ahead to book a party (which includes everything but the cake.) Chappaqua’s Scattered Books (scatteredbooks.com) store hosts customizable literary parties for kids — at your home or at the store. For example, kids can make and frame collages with cut-outs, stickers and stencils; create comic strips, autobiographies, fairy tales or action stories. Guests can also decorate cupcakes or make glitter slime. Contact the store to brainstorm — they will take care of setup and cleanup as well. Although you can’t plan a museum-sleepover (ala From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler), you can stage a private party at the Westchester Children’s Museum (discoverwcm.org/birthday-parties) in Rye. The party includes a STEAM-based workshop in the MakerSpace, plus free play with the wind tube challenge, roller coaster design zone, ping pong and keva planks. All parties are held on Sundays when the museum is closed to the public—so the space is yours!

Active Indoor Kid’s Parties in Westchester Chill out on the ice rink at Elmsford’s Westchester Skating Academy (skatewsa. com). Birthday parties here include skate rentals, pizza in a private room, and for an extra fee: ice skating lessons! The (other) inflatable party house, Elmsford’s BounceU (bounceu.com), offers largerthan-life bounce houses filled with inflatables, slides and games. Leave it to the BounceU pros to customize the party (in terms of games, food and favors) for the guest of honor — who even gets her own birthday throne. My Gym (mygym.com) has locations in Yorktown Heights, Dobbs Ferry, and Mamaroneck. My Gym celebrates your child’s birthday with age-appropriate games, relays, rides, songs, puppets and more. The staff handles every detail including paper goods, party favors and food – so parents can relax and focus on the feel-good moments of their kid’s special day. Additional reporting: Jana Beauchamp, Donna Duarte-Ladd

June 2022 | Westchester Family


Birthday parties

Local Favs We Love Evenements Event Planning Service 929-216-0885 Info@evenementsrsvp.com Événements is at your service to help plan your birthday, wedding, religious occasion and much more. They proudly service the Westchester and Connecticut areas and offer a free consultation.

Knockout Boxing & Karate Gym 236 North Ave, New Rochelle 914-740-4100 club7fitboxing@gmail.com Celebrate your child’s birthday with a high energy boxing birthday party where your child and their friends will have a blast during an exciting boxing class. A party typically consists of an hour long boxing lesson with our professional trainer followed by free time in the gym with cake, friends, food and more!

Monster Mini Golf Yonkers Ridge Hill Mall 221 Market St., Unit 2950, 2nd Floor, Yonkers, NY 914-346-5072 yonkers@monsterminigolf.com monsterminigolf.com/yonkers/ 49 East Midland Ave, Paramus NJ 201-261-0032 paramus@monsterminigolf.com monsterminigolf.com/paramus Monster Mini Golf is the planetary leader in Black Light entertainment. They feature 18 holes of indoor, monsterthemed, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, full arcade and redemption center, mini bowling, and more!! They offer a variety of monstrous party packages where their dedicated Memory Makers will turn wow moments into lasting memories.

Palisades Center 1000 Palisades Center Drive West Nyack, NY 10994

845-348-1000 palisadescenter.com/ birthdays-private-events Palisades Center has over 20 venues with designed experiences to make it easy for you to host your birthday. From glow-in-the-dark minigolf to go-kart racing, there’s something for everyone! Palisades Center’s birthday destinations have private rooms, offer party favors, and include food packages.

Sportime USA 2 Lawrence Street, Ardsley 914-592-2111 sportimeusa.com Westchester’s #1 Family Entertainment Center. With over 150 Arcade Games, laser tag, Super fly, Free fall, Rock Climbing Wall, Bumper Cars, Amusement Rides, Batting Cages, Billiard tables, Indoor Playground and Restaurant. Tons of Fun for the entire family! Celebrate your child’s next birthday party!

Palisades Climb Adventure 4590 Palisades Center Drive W. Nyack, NY 10994 845-727-3500 palisadesclimb.com 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.

World Cup Gymnastics 170 Joan Corwin Way, Chappaqua 914- 238-4967 worldcupgymnastics.com Jump on trampolines and air castles, flip on the Tumble Trak, swing into the foam and ball pits, and settle down in a private party room to enjoy more birthday fun with friends and family. There are two gyms … one is designed with special equipment for children age 3 and under and the other is for bigger kids.

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June 2022 | Westchester 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.”


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

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.


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

“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 | Westchester 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)


WestchesterFamily.com | 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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June 2022 | Westchester 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


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

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.

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

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

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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 feverup.com! The portal to the Upside Down will be opening in Duggal Greenhouse, 63 Flushing Ave, Bldg. 268 Brooklyn NY

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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

WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

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 americandream.com.

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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 | info@aupairinamerica.com

June 2022 | Westchester 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-


WestchesterFamily.com | 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.


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 | Westchester 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.


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

June 2022 | Westchester 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. visitrhodeisland.com.


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

A STORY WITH EVERY STEP 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.

visitfrederick.org • 800-999-3613 June 2022 | Westchester Family


Ultimate SUmmer Family FUn GUide

Celebrating Pride in NYC : NYCgo.com 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 NYCgo.com 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-

Cgo.com 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.


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022


Surprise yourself with summer wonders, or rediscover the places and faces you treasure most. 130 miles of serene, sun-kissed coastline. Ready-to-stroll boardwalks, amusement parks and family-friendly attractions. Distinctive dining, art, history and culture. Inspiring journeys, like our American Revolution and Black Heritage trip Itineraries. Get your free official travel guide and explore more at VisitNJ.org June 2022 | Westchester 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 putnamcountyny.com. July 15, 2022- July 17, 2022 Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park Gipsy Trail Road Carmel, NY 10512 putnamcountyny.com

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.


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

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 dutchessfair.com.

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 | Westchester 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 (seastreak.com)

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


WestchesterFamily.com | 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 | Westchester 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


WestchesterFamily.com | 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 | Westchester Family


José Rolón

of @nycgaydad

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


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


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

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

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

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

Photo by Ana Gambuto

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

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

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


calendar By Shara Levine

Experience the 2022 Asian American Heritage Festival at Kenisco Dam Plaza on June 4. LEGO NINJAGO - Ninja Training Camp WHEN: May 20- June 24, Monday-Friday, 125:30pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5:30pm WHERE: LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester, 39 Fitzgerald St., Yonkers AGES: 3-12 WHAT: Go on a quest and complete challenges to level up your Ninja skills in the virtues of courage, generosity, honesty, wisdom, balance, and curiosity. WANT TO GO?: $26.99. 914-775-6012. legolanddiscoverycenter.com/ westchester/whats-inside/ events/lego-ninjago-ninjatraining-camp/.

Music in the Streets WHEN: June 3- July 29, Fridays, 7-9pm


WHERE: Ridge Hill, 1 Ridge Hill Blvd., Yonkers AGES: All WHAT: Every Friday, enjoy rock, funk, soul, and much more while grabbing dinner and drinks outside, or simply pause and take in the sounds. WANT TO GO?: 914-207-2900. ridgehill.com/event/Music-inthe-streets/2145560470

2022 Asian American Heritage Festival WHEN: Saturday, June 4, 12-6pm WHERE: Kensico Dam Plaza, 1 Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla AGES: All WHAT: Experience an afternoon of entertainment featuring experts in traditional Asian dance and song and masters of the martial arts, activities for children, vendors,

WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

and more. WANT TO GO?: oca-whv.org/ programs/ahf2022/

The White Plains Outdoor Arts Festival WHEN: June 4-5, 10am-5pm WHERE: Tibbets Park, 1 North Broadway at Main St., White Plains AGES: All WHAT: Discover emerging artists, check out the free children’s art workshop, and shop for one-of-a-kind goods. WANT TO GO?: 866-210-7137. whiteplainsoutdoorartsfestival. com/.

Westchester Pride WHEN: Sunday, June 5, 11:30am-5pm WHERE: Downtown White Plains, Court Street between

Martine and Main, White Plains AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate Pride with an official flag-raising, a Pet Parade, musical performances, a Family Zone for fun-filled activities, games, treats, and more! WANT TO GO?: 914-948-2932. loftgaycenter.org/event_line_ up_westchester_pride_2022.

Tarrytown Street Fair WHEN: Sunday, June 5, 10am-4pm WHERE: Sleepy Hollow Tarrytown Chamber of Commerce, Main Street, Tarrytown AGES: All WHAT: Main Street transforms into an outdoor market with food, music, local retailers, arts & craft, souvenirs and more! WANT TO GO?: 914-631-1705.




T H A N EV E R !


Celebrate Juneteenth with Jeremiah Abiah at Caramoor on June 19. visitsleepyhollow.com/event/ tarrytown-street-fair/.

Father’s Day Workshop WHEN: Sunday, June 12, 1-2:15pm WHERE: Pelham Art Center, 155 Fifth Ave., Pelham AGES: 3-12 WHAT: Create a fun Father’s Day gift that dad will treasure forever. In this workshop, students will create wearable neckties and a Father’s Day card to go along with it. WANT TO GO?: $25. 914-7382525. pelhamartcenter.org/ education/class/fathers-dayworkshop/.

Celebrate Juneteenth WHEN: Sunday, June 19, 3pm WHERE: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, 149 Girdle Ridge Rd., Katonah AGES: All WHAT: Enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities, including a performance by Jeremiah Abiah, internationally acclaimed recording artist, vocal coach, and songwriter. WANT TO GO?: 914-232-1252. caramoor.org

The Rock and Roll Playhouse: Music of Bob Marley for Kids WHEN: Sunday, June 19, 2pm WHERE: Garcia’s At The Capitol Theatre, 149 Westchester Avenue, Port Chester AGES: Newborn-5 WHAT: This concert for kids and families shares the music of Bob Marley with a new generation of music lovers. WANT TO GO?: $20; $15 in advance. 914-937-4126. thecapitoltheatre.com/events/ detail/music-of-bob-marleyfor-kids-g5vvz9ahnx3pr.


Ramblin’ Dan’s Freewheelin’ Band WHEN: Saturday, June 25, 1:30pm WHERE: Main Street School Lawn, 101 Main St., Irvington AGES: 3-8 WHAT: Join Irvington Theater and Ramblin’ Dan’s Freewheelin’ Band for an afternoon of live music and activities outdoors. WANT TO GO?: $8. 914-5916602. irvingtontheater.com.


June 2022 | Westchester Family


family fun

Summer Concerts! By Serena Norr


t’s not always easy to get into the city to check out a concert. Luckily, there’s quite an impressive music scene going on in Westchester where you and your family can check out live jazz, up-and-coming artists, and even seasoned performers. Below, we’re sharing a list of what’s coming up this summer, including lots of free, outdoor shows. Keep it rocking! Scarsdale Music Festival Saturday, June 4 from 12:00pm–6:00pm

Get ready to rock out in Scarsdale this June at the Scarsdale Music Festival. The festival includes live music throughout the day, activities in their family fun zone, food from delicious local food vendors, and a spirits tent and beer garden. The organizers are also giving back a portion of the proceeds from the festival to Feeding Westchester. Scarsdale Village Center, 1001 Post Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583. Kenisco Dam Summer Concert Series ​​Thursday, July 21; Tuesday, July 26; Saturday, Aug. 13 and Friday, Aug. 26 from 7:00pm–9:00pm

Kensico Dam Plaza is one cool spot to check out some live music. This summer, the line-up includes Garcia’s presents Dead Meat, The Nerds, Songs in the Attic, and Riots and SAGE. Be sure to bring snacks, chairs, and anything else you and your family need for a rockin’ night out. Tickets are $10 per person. 1 Bronx River Parkway Road, Valhalla, NY 10595. Yorktown Heights Summer Concert Series Sundays, June 26 – Aug. 21 at 6:00pm

Join the Yorktown Parks and Recreation Department and the Yorktown Lions Club for their free summer concert series. Concerts include: AACCCC Andrea and the Armenian Rug Riders; The Showtime Dance Band; The Rave-Ons’ Early Rock & Roll Radio Review; Danny V’s 52nd Street, a tribute to Billy Joel;


WestchesterFamily.com | June 2022

and Tramps Like Us, a Bruce Springsteen tribute. Concerts are rain or shine. Jack DeVito Veterans Memorial Track & Field, 208-264 Veterans Road, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. 22nd Annual Dobbs Ferry Summer Music Series Wednesdays, July 6 - Aug. 24 from 6:30pm-8:30pm

Bring a blanket, some chairs, and dinner and enjoy live jazz right at Waterfront Park in Dobbs Ferry. The weekly concert series includes the Corinne Mammana Group, the Rocky Middleton Quartet, Vanderlei Pereira, Valery Ponomarev Sextet, and many others. Waterfront Park, 87 Ogden Park, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522. The Pleasantville Music Festival July 9

Enjoy fun in the sun right in New York’s backyard with the Pleasantville Music Festival. Held on June 9th, the fun line up includes Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, Paula Cole, 10,000 Maniacs, X Ambassadors, and more! The outdoor festival also offers tons of activities for the kids, food, and a beer/wine garden for adults. Parkway Field, 44-98 Marble Avenue, Pleasantville, NY 10570. Music in the Square Third Thursdays, July 22 - September 3

Enjoy live music in the Gazebo as a part of Armonk’s Music in the Square Summer concert series. This includes live jazz, music from School of Rock, and more! Armonk Square, 44 Bedford Road, Armonk, NY 10504. Caramoor Various dates and times

Caramoor is the place to be over the summer

for live music, sightseeing, walking, and even tea. They have quite an impressive summer line-up, including Dan + Claudia Zanes, Yo-Yo Ma & The Knights, the American Roots Music Festival, and Jazz Festival. They even have free events throughout the summer, including a celebration of Juneteenth and Soundscapes. 149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah, NY 10536. Tarrytown Music Hall Various dates and times

There’s always something fun going on at Tarrytown Music Hall. This iconic location offers concerts for the whole family such as Melissa Etheridge, Tusk - The World’s #1 Fleetwood Mac Tribute, Buddy Guy, and more. Check back often for their latest concerts. 13 Main Street, Tarrytown, NY 10591. Emelin Theatre Various dates and times

Located in Mamaroneck, there’s a lot of fun events and music going on at the Emelin Theatre. The current roster includes Bria Skonberg and their upcoming Juneteenth Celebration in Music and Word from Copland House. They will also be re-launching their family programming in the fall, which in the past included shows like “Pete the Cat.” 153 Library Lane, Mamaroneck, NY 10543. The Capitol Theater Various dates and times

The iconic Cap recently celebrated their 35th anniversary and are back rockin’ with an impressive line-up. Experience your favorite band with your tween or teen, or visit Garica’s (next door) for their Sunday School of Rock concerts. 149 Westchester Avenue, Port Chester, NY 10573.

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