Bronx/Riverdale Family - November 2022

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The Best Birthday Party Roundup! Our Special NeedS Guide+ Julee Wilson The beauty editor extraordinaire shares how she learned her worth and what advice she has for other women trying to find their way in the world NovemBer FuN! Great seasonal events, museums & more November 2022
Power starts here. Zeta Schools provide free, world-class Pre-K to 6th Grade education centered on the whole child. zetaschoo Apply for a Zeta seat
November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 3 Novem B e R 2022 NewYorkFamily.comcontents F e Atures 16 | Special Needs 5 common myths about Autism Spectrum Disorder 20 | Special Needs The many benefits of OT and what parents need to know 22 | Parties The Best Birthday Party Places 24 | family Day o ut NYC Art Museums and kids, a guide for parents 26 | cover- Julee wilson 30 | Holiday Highlights Start planning your seasonal celebrations stories & colum N s 6 | editor’s letter 10 | family Day o ut The best children’s museums in NYC FA mily F u N 28 | c alendar All the fun events and activities for November Directories 19 | Special Needs listings o N tH e cover Photo: Yumi Matsuo | Hair: Anthony Dickey of Hair Rules | Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | Cover Story: Cris Pearlstein | Produced by: Cris Pearlstein & Donna Duarte Ladd Clothing credits: JULee: Dressed in Joy “cora” blouse, eloquii sequin column skirt, eloquii faux leather moto jacket, nike sneakers, Gwen Beloti “nina” classic gold hoops. RAHsAAn: Zara shirt, Vintage jacket, Zara pants, nike sneakers. oRIon: Primark shirt, Janie and Jack pants, nike sneakers. nADIR: Primark shirt, Ade + Ayo jumper, Van sneakers pg. 26 pg. 28 pg. 24 pg. 20 pg. 22
4 | November 2022 WWW.AECICHARTERHS.ORG WWW.INTRAGRAM.COM/AECINYC WWW.TWITTER.COM/AECINYC ENROLLING FOR 2023-2024 SCHOOL YEAR NYC CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL FOR ARCHITECTURE ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES MISSION: To provide a rigorous college readiness program and career preparatory learning environment that provides students with a foundation of the necessary skills to pursue college or a career in the architecture, engineering, and the construction industries. INSTRUCTIONAL MODEL: •98% Graduation Rate •Rigorous college course sequence that allows students to earn college credits while attending AECI. •Architectural Drawing, Drafting, Revit, and AutoCad classes prepare students for certification exams in the architecture field. •Robust internships and partnerships provide our students with scholarships in the architecture field. •Six counselors on staff to support whole student development. •AECI Core Values of Perseverance, Achievement, Integrity and Respect develop our students into young professionals. HEALTH AND SAFETY •Use of UV Lighting to disinfect classrooms daily •HEPA Air Filtration units utilized in all AECI classrooms PPE Equipment (hand sanitizer, masks, disinfectant wipes) provided daily •Digital temperature scanning performed daily •Tri-Fold screens utilized at every student desk connectivity device to support our hybrid learning model LOCATION Community School District 7, South Bronx 838 Brook Avenue, Bronx NY 10451 GRADUATION RATE 2017-2018 95% 2018-2019 95% 2019-2020 98% 2021-2022 96% VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO ENROLL NOW! – WWW.AECICHARTERHS.ORG – 646-400-5566 LEARN ABOUT AECI. IN PERSON SCHOOL TOURS AVAILABLE BY APPT. Contact Ms. Harrigan at 646-400-5566 x. 3054 OPEN HOUSE: Jan. 14th, 10am-1pm (bad weather date Jan. 21st) Feb. 11th, 10am-1pm (bad weather date Feb. 18th) March 11th, 10am-1pm (bad weather date Mar. 25th)


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


•Tasa de graduación del 98%

•Secuencia de cursos universitarios rigurosos que permite a los estudiantes obtener créditos universitarios mientras asisten a AECI

•Las clases de dibujo arquitectónico, dibujo, Revit y AutoCad preparan a los

•Prácticas sólidas y las asociaciones brindan a nuestros estudiantes las herramientas necesarias en el campo de la arquitectura.

•Seis consejeras disponibles en el personal para apoyar el desarrollo integral del estudiante.

•Los valores fundamentales de AECI de perseverancia, logros, integridad y respeto convierten a nuestros estudiantes en jóvenes profesionales.


•Uso de iluminación

•Equipo de EPP (desinfectante de manos,

proporcionado diariamente


de clases a diario

y toallitas

ultravioleta para desinfectar los salones
de temperatura digital realizado diariamente •Pantallas de tres pliegues utilizadas en todos los escritorios •Cada estudiante se proporciona una computadora Chromebook de aprendizaje híbrido UBICACIÓN Distrito Escolar Comunitario 7, South Bronx 838 Brook Avenue, Bronx NY 10451 ¡VISITE NUESTRA PAGINA WEB PARA INSCRIBIRSE! – WWW.AECICHARTERHS.ORG – 646-400-5566 PARA MÁS INFORMACIÓN SOBRE AECI / VISITAS ESCOLARES EN PERSONA DISPONIBLE – CON CITA PREVIA Comuníquese con la Sra. Harrigan al 646-400-5566 x. 3054 GRADUATION RATE 2017-2018 95% 2018-2019 95% 2019-2020 98% 2021-2022 96% CASA ABIERTA: Jan. 14th, 10am-1pm (Fecha de mal tiempo 1/21) Feb. 11th, 10am-1pm (Fecha de mal tiempo 2/18) March 11th, 10am-1pm (Fecha de mal tiempo 3/25) Escuela Secundaria Autónoma de la Ciudad de Nueva York para la Ingeniería Arquitectónica y las Industrias de la Construcción

November Shifts

November is a gorgeous month for the weather shifts from warm days to crisp and chilly fluffy coat weather.

It is also a time when you may be looking for inside adventures- check out our roundup of our favorite Children’s Museums to visit (page 10) and tips on navigating NYC Art Museums (page 24) with kids!

On a special needs note, if you have been told your child may need OT, our expert piece on How Can Occupational Therapy Help My Child? (page 20), is informative on its many benefits and will answer many of your questions.

If your child’s birthday is coming up (or

you’re like me and plan in advance), we have a superb round-up of The 4 Best Birthday Party Places you must check out (page 22)!

Lastly, mom Julee Wilson (and her gorgeous family) grace our cover this month. Writer Cris Pearlstein chatted with this beauty editor extraordinaire and executive at BeautyUnited on how she learned early on that dimming your light to make others feel comfortable is no way to live (page 26). Julee shares how she came to know her worth and her advice for other women trying to find their way in the world.


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6 | November 2022 eDItoR ’s note Share your feedback and ideas about family life in New York! Email us at and tag us at #newyorkfamily get i N touch
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November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 7


AECI 2 Highlights:

• Intensive college preparation with yearly college visits

• College counseling at every grade level

• Social & emotional focus to support student daily needs

• Robust sports program (basketball, soccer, volleyball etc)

• Vibrant afterschool programming and student


• Every student is provided a

Wed. 11/9, Sat. 11/12, Wed. 12/14, Sat. 12/17, Wed. 02/01,

02/04, Wed. 3/01,

03/04, Wed. 03/08, Sat. 03/11, Wed. 3/15, Sat. 3/18, Wed. 3/22, Sat. 3/25,




- 1pm

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- 7pm

- 1pm 5pm - 7pm 10am - 1pm 5pm - 7pm 10am - 1pm

Computer Engineering & Innovation course work
Chr���������������������������� AECI 2 is a Computer Engineering & Innovation themed high school located in The Bronx school district 9. Through collaboration with industry partners, post-secondary institutions, apprenticeships and themed project-based learning, our students gain exposure to “real world” careers and college-preparatory learning experiences in the computer sciences. AECI 2 CHARTER
The culture of AECI2 school is driven by our Lottery applications due Saturday, March 25th Lottery date - Friday, March 31st commitment to the school’s Core Values: PERSEVERANCE ACHIEVEMENT INTERGRITY RESPECT 116-118 East 169 St. Bronx NY 10452 VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO APPLY NOW! (646) 741 7470 For the 2023-2024 school year, AECI 2 provides students with a rigorous program including Computer Science, Programming, Microsoft
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November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 9 AECI 2 CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL AECI 2 HIGH CHAR SCHOOL TER La cultura de nuestra escuela está impulsada por nuestro compromiso con los valores fundamentales de la escuela: ������������������� í�������� á ��������������� ó� ����������� ó�������������������������������������� ��������������� ���������� í������������������������������ �������� ����������������������������������������� ������������� �������������� í������������������������ ������������������������������� ����������������������������������������� ������������������������������������ �������������������������������������������������������� í�������� á ���� ���������� ó������������������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������������������������������ ���������������������������� é������������������������������������ ����� á �������������������� ó����������������������������������������� �� í�����������é�������������������������������������� á ����������������� ����������������á ����������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������� ������������� ����� ���������� ������� ¡ VISITE NUESTRO SITIO WEB PARA APLICAR AHORA! �������������������� ��������������� ����������������� ������������ ��������������������� UNASE A NOSOTROS PARA UN RECORRIDO POR EL CAMPUS AECI 2 El ultimo dia de someter la solicitud: 25 de marzo 2023 Fecha de Loteria: 31 de marzo 2023 ��������� ñ����������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������ ��������������� ó������������� ó��������������������� ó�� ���������ñ������ á ���������� �������������������������� ������������������������ ��������������������������� ������������������������ ��������������������������� ������������������������� �������������������������� ������������������������� ��������������������������� ������������������������� �������������������������� ������������������������ �������������������������� ������������������������

The Best Children’s Museums in NYC

Whether you are looking for a day of adventure and learning with the kids or are looking for a museum that has kids in mind, New York has the best offerings. While museums may sometimes be characterized as quiet spaces filled with dull exhibits, these museums are specifically created with kids in mind. Many of these picks boast highly interactive and sensoryenhancing exhibits designed for growing intellects. Whether your child is interested in art, science, history or anything in between, a children’s museum is sure to be perfect for you and your family.

Here’s a roundup of children’s museums in New York to visit with your family!

Brooklyn Children’s Museum

145 Brooklyn Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213

As the first children’s museum in the United States built in 1899, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum does not disappoint. The museum was designed to encourage little ones to explore a variety of senses and encourage social, physical and emotional development. With different exhibits like Totally Tots (which features nine different sensory play

areas) and The Nest on their rooftop terrace, kids have the opportunity to experience what the museum has to offer hands-on.

One of the museum’s most unique features is the World Brooklyn exhibit. This is the BCM’s very own mini Brooklyn with mini shops based on the real ones they would find across Brooklyn. Here they will have the chance to learn about the different parts of a community and what helps it thrive.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan 212 W 83rd St, New York, NY 10024

Over the years, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan has been a notable destination for thousands of kids, families and educators in the five boroughs and beyond. Here, discover what the museum has to offer, like their new exhibit, Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collabo rate. The interactive exhibition allows kids to engage with contemporary art and explore new ideas.

Other exhibits include Dynamic H2O, which allows kids to learn about New York City’s water system; Play Works; Right to Vote, a temporary exhibition to celebrate the centen nial of women’s suffrage and teach children about the importance of voting; and Super powered Metropolis, an immersive superhero-

themed exhibition. All of these offerings are curated for different ages and designed to teach kids important skills while having fun.

DiMenna Children’s History Museum 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street), New York, NY 10024

Part of the New York Historical Society museum, the DiMenna Children’s Museum allows families and children to connect with America’s past, present and future. Learn about the history of the country and New York City through exhibits that teach visitors about the lives of historical figures, from childhood to adulthood. Join along in singalongs, arts and crafts, and games scattered throughout the museum. Connect with our country’s past and have your kid engage in various interactive displays and lessons!

Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling

898 St. Nicholas Avenue at 155th Street New York, NY 10032

The Sugar Hill Museum was founded as a space for families to engage with cultural pro grams while also addressing the educational needs of young children in the community. The creators understood that children are

10 | November 2022
family fun
November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 11 18 MONTHS - 8TH GRADE 914.636.6202 www.hudsoncountry.orgSCHEDULE A PRIVATE TOUR TODAY! Celebrating Our 50th Anniversary! STILL ENROLLING FOR CURRENT 2022-23 SCHOOL YEAR! Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it also keeps you from spreading the flu to others who can get seriously ill — including pregnant people, young children, adults 65 years and older and people with chronic health conditions. For more information, call 311 or visit . Eric Adams Mayor Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD Commissioner “We got the flu vaccine …not the flu ‘‘ DOH_Flu-HalfPage-NewYorkFamily_7x4.6_V1_EN.indd 1 9/29/22 11:28 AM

natural artists, so it was created as a space where children could see art as well as share and create art from their own stories. Kids not only can explore art through the exhibitions or participate in the museum’s workshop and event offerings, like storytelling hours.

Jewish Children’s Museum

792 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn NY 11213

Take your child to learn about Jewish culture in a fun and immersive environment. At the Jewish Children’s Museum, relive famous biblical stories and interact with traditions and customs within the culture. Learn about major events in Jewish life in the Six Holes of Life mini golf course or have your kids try out the rock climbing wall, where they “climb through” important events in Jewish history.

The museum itself even features a Kosher Supermarket exhibit, where children can learn the ins and outs of what’s kosher.

New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th St, Queens, NY 11368

The New York Hall of Science in Queens is New York’s center for interactive science, and it’s the

perfect place for young learners who are inter ested in learning about science. This museum is home to a number of fascinating exhibits like the Happiness Experiment, a Design Lab, Connected Worlds and more. Explore the world and how it works from new perspectives. The Hall of Science will be closed for renovations for most of September, so make a trip there while you can, or plan an outing in October!

National Museum of Mathematics 11 E 26th St, New York, NY 10010

Numbers take on a new life in the National Museum of Mathematics. This museum highlights the role of math in the world around us. Within its dynamic exhibits, allow your kids to explore how math is all around them, in everything from logo designs to sports. The museum also features events, including a math book club that allows tweens and teens to keep learning about math even when they’re not at the museum.

American Museum of Natural History 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024

The American Museum of Natural History

brings excitement to learning about history, especially for families. Discover the world of sharks (running until September 4, 2023) in their new exhibit that focuses on these spec tacular and often misunderstood creatures. The museum is filled with incredible life sized skeletons, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex! While you’re there, be sure to reserve tickets for the Hayden Planetarium. You and your family will be blown away with what this museum has to offer.

Museum of Moving Image

36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11106

Discover the history of film at the Museum of Moving Image, a hidden gem located in Queens. While the whole museum isn’t appropriate for children (with some scarier films featured throughout)), they have curated areas specifically for families to enjoy! Enjoy hands-on learning experiences like the animation table where you can create your own stop motion videos, or the Jim Henson Exhibit that explores the puppeteer film director’s well-known characters like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Elmo and more!

12 | November 2022
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to 5

Qualified Providers for Infants & Toddlers. 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

US: Gilda Morales-Aleman & Alexander Martinez Phone: 718-993-7700 ext. 915 & 924 Email: &

November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 13 Our programs include access to community based organizations focused on mentoring and college, adult civics classes, adult ESL classes, after school and Saturday tutoring, engaging online platforms to increase student learning , music classes, and softball & basketball. We will also provide transportation via MetroCards for all eligible students. For more information, please contact Erica Flores at or 718-991-9139 1260 Franklin Ave., Bronx, NY 10456 • RISE TO THE CHALLENGE! The Mott Hall Charter School is Accepting Applications for the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade! Scan code or go to to apply The mission of the Mott Hall Charter School is to prepare our scholars in mind, body, and character to succeed in top high schools, colleges, and careers by becoming inquisitive, open minded, and compassionate citizens of the world. Scan here to apply Accepting applications throughout the year We offer Early Head Start, Head Start, DOE UPK and Family Child Care programs within the Bronx. Low-income families are eligible. Our Services include programs for pregnant women, free full-day childcare for children ages birth to 3 years old and Center Based programs for children 3-5 years old. • Free Full Day Program • Qualified Staff • Nutritious Meals (Breakfast & Lunch Provided) • Safe Environment (We follow all CDC COVID guidelines) • Promote School Readiness • Family Support • Fatherhood Support • Children Birth
Years Old • Pregnant Women • Free Early Head Start Services with
• DOE UPK and Family Child Care Programs • Bilingual Programs contact

Fall Activities at American Dream

american Dream is the ultimate destination for indoor fun and action-packed attractions for kids of all ages. Home to the DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, Black Light Mini Golf, Angry Bird Mini Golf, Big SNOW, The Rink, SEA LIFE Aquarium, the fun doesn’t stop there!

Shop at North America’s largest Zara, Lululemon, Saks Fifth Avenue and more! Don’t forget to stop by the first-ever MrBeast Burger, House of ‘Que – BBQ prepared Texas Style, and fine-dining Italian by Carpaccio.

This fall, you’ll also find tons of special events and activities that will truly be a dream for you and your family.

Dream Day Sundays – The Ultimate Fan Zone

Watch football with your family every Sunday at House of ‘Que. Wear your

favorite jersey for an all-day indoor tailgating experience.

Women’s Pro Hockey Skates Into American Dream

See The Metropolitan Riveters take the ice at American Dream this fall. This women’s team from the Premier Hockey Federation will be playing on The Rink during opening weekend on November 19th at 1:00pm and 20th at noon.

Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

Experience the artistic wonders of Van Gogh through this immersive experience. Kicking off on December 1st, the exhibit features the use of cutting-edge technology and original music that breathes new life into 300 of his paintings. Guests will love walking through this 30,000-square-foot space, soaking in the fusion of art and technology.

Get a Dream Pass and Season Pass

Enjoy all of the awesome experiences at American Dream – for both parks at a dis count! Dream Passes allow you and your kids to experience the fun of DreamWorks Water Park and Nickelodeon Universe this fall and winter at a discount. The Season Splash Pass for DreamWorks Water Park cost $179 per person and the Season Thrill Pass for Nickel odeon Universe is $125 per person.

Soaring Skies Bundle

Save on a thrilling adventure to American Dream with a Soaring Skies Bundle. The bundle combines a day pass to Nickelodeon Universe and a pass to Dream Wheel, NJ’s only observation wheel for $89 per person. Passes can be used for one day or over two days.

Check out the full experience at!

14 | November 2022 New York FamilY partN er
November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 15 @americandream • • 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073 Plan an epic Birthday today Book a Better Birthday at American Dream! Reserve one of our exclusive, world-renowned indoor attractions for your next birthday.

Common Myths

Autism Spectrum Disorder

While the awareness of autism spectrum disorder has grown due to social media, increased research, Autism Awareness Month, and more, there are still many misconceptions about ASD, from its causes to the characteristics and abilities of those on the spectrum.

As its name denotes, autism is a spec-

trum, meaning not everyone diagnosed with autism displays the same traits, exhibits the same behaviors, or has the same abilities— just like you or me. So applying blanket statements to those on the spectrum would be like saying girls can’t throw or boys don’t cry.

We spoke to experts about stereotypes of ASD, and uncovered the truth behind five big misconceptions about the disorder and those diagnosed with it.

Myth 1: Vaccines cause autism. Unfortunately we do still hear the misconception that autism is related to vaccinations, commonly the measles, mumps, rubella vaccination, says Sarah Kuriakose, Ph.D., BCBAD, clinical assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. “Not only was the initial study that showed that a fraudulent study, but follow-up studies have debunked that many times,” she explains.

16 | November 2022
There are a lot of stereotypes about autism that just aren’t true. Here’s what parents should know
November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 17 LearningSpring School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, or ethnic origin. LearningSpring School A PLACE FOR CHILDREN DIAGNOSED ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM TO LEARN, TO GROW AND TO BELONG 247 E. 20th Street, New York, NY 10003 Accepting placement applications for the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 school years Student ages 4.9–14 years old A sensory and eco-friendly facility with a safe and secure rooftop playground Speech/language therapy, occupational and physical therapy, social skills, counseling, and Relationship Development Intervention® (RDI) Small, structured classes with ratios of 8:1:2 for our lower school and 12:1:2 for our upper school For more information, contact us at:, (212) 239-4926 or visit our website at STEPPINGSTONE DAY SCHOOL, INC. A Preschool Program for Children With and Without Disabilities Not for Profit — Established in 1983 Queens/Bronx Preschool Programs ‑ CPSE Evaluations Speech/Language, Occupational, Physical Therapy & Counseling Services Family Support Services To find out more about SteppingStone Day School For the Queens location, call Michele LaBarr-Haynes 718-591-9093 • For the Bronx location, call Brooke Abrams 718-554-2025 SteppingStone Day School’s Preschool Program is Funded and Regulated By The New York State Department of Education, The New York City Department of Education and Licensed by The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Daycare • Preschool self-contained and integrated classrooms; Pre-K and 3K for All in Queens site • Nurturing, child-friendly learning environments • Ongoing communication between parents and professionals • Meeting the needs of the families through concrete and social work services

There are other concerns that autism is caused by “various environmental factors that a pregnant mother may be exposed to and in utero some of those environmental causative factors may have somehow affected the fetus,” says John Pfeifer, senior director of Clinical Services and the Family Center for Autism, part of Life’s WORC, a Long Island nonprofit that supports people with developmental disabilities and autism. “There’s still ongoing research about the expansion of electromagnetic technology and various environmental chemicals and such that may be at play, but not knowing everything in the environment that may be affecting a fetus, either seen or unseen, makes it hard to decipher that.”

“What we do know about autism is there seems to be a genetic component, and about ten to twenty percent of cases with ASD are linked to an identified genetic disorder,” says Dr. Kuriakose, who is also senior director of the NYU Langone Autism and Developmental Neuroscience Initiative and the clinical direc tor of the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical and Research Program at NYU’s Child Study Center. “We anticipate that that number will go up with more genetics research. But even in identical twins, the concordance rate is not one-hundred percent, so we know there is some factor that is not genetic as well.”

Myth 2: People on the spectrum are anti-social and don’t have feelings. Dr. Kuriakose says parents, teachers, and even doctors will tell her things like, “that child can’t have autism because…he’s affectionate, …she makes eye contact, or …he’s interested in other kids.”

“So what can end up happening is people have this very black-and-white picture that a person with autism is someone who is anti-social and isn’t interested in other people,” she says. “We know that those aren’t necessarily true.” Yet thanks to this persistent myth, a child who does have autism might not be given a diagnosis—his parents may be hanging on to the fact that their child is affec tionate though he is struggling in other ways.

“It is often thought that people with autism don’t have feelings, which is a very sad misconception and very far from the truth,” adds Janet Koch, CEO of Life’s WORC. “They are capable of having loving relationships with family members and friends.”

Myth 3: People with autism exhibit challenging and/or maladaptive behaviors.

“It’s not fair to say that challenging behaviors are inherent in the diagnosis,” Pfeifer says. “They are often a byproduct of ineffective treatment of some of the things that are inherent in the diagnosis, which are communication and socialization difficulties.” These behaviors could include flapping hands, rocking, or other selfstimulatory behaviors.

“We still unfortunately have the misconception from previous media portrayals that kids with autism are nonverbal, are going to sit in the corner, and just rock or flap their hands,” Dr. Kuriakose says.

As society becomes more educated about autism, people are learning about adapting communication efforts. “I have young children, and they’re learning in integrated classrooms about what these behaviors may mean. It could actually help a person [on the spectrum] to not escalate to such a significant behavior because they’ll be able to communicate more easily with people who have been taught how to communicate with them,” Koch says.

Myth 4: Those on the spectrum are savants and/or are fixated on one topic.

The media commonly portrays those with autism as being savants or having restricted interest in a singular subject area: Sam Gardner in Netflix’s Atypical and Shaun Murphy in ABC’s The Good Doctor are two recent portrayals. “Certainly we have kids and adults with autism who have an amazing depth of knowledge in a particular area, incredible memory, incredible pattern recognition skills, things like that that are going to set them up for a particular career,” Dr. Kuriakose says, but not all people on the spectrum show these characteristics.

In fact, the most recent criteria for an ASD diagnosis from the Diagnostic and

Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fall into two categories: social communication and restricted, repetitive behaviors (RRB). There are four traits that fall under the RRB category—repetitive speech or behavior/ mannerisms, restricted interest, sensory challenges, and difficulty with transitions or insistence on sameness—and a person needs to only exhibit two of the RRB traits (and meet criteria from the social communication category) to receive a diagnosis of autism, according to Dr. Kuriakose. “So you could have a kid who has some sensory challenges and insistence on sameness without any restricted interest at all and you could still have the diagnosis,” she says.

Myth 5: People with ASD can’t go to college, have jobs, or get married. Because some people with autism may struggle with social situations, have commu nication challenges, and have difficulty with flexibility, there’s the misconception that they will not be able to attend higher education, have a job, or get married and have kids.

“There are lots of examples of folks with au tism who do successfully do those things, and the big thing that’s important is it’s all about the supports the environment can provide,” Dr. Kuriakose says.

When working with a patient who is looking at colleges or employment opportunities, Dr. Kuriakose looks for a setting that is supportive of that patient’s strengths and challenges. In fact, “a lot of individuals with autism are actually really great, dedicated, passionate employees, but it has to be a setting that can understand that they might process information and interact in ways that are slightly different from typical.”

In terms of getting married, Dr. Kuriakose says there are quite a few instances where she’s diagnosed a child with autism, and a few months later their parent will observe that they’re seeing some of the same characteristics in themselves or another family member. “And these are all people who had families,” she says.

Combatting the myths So how can we continue to combat these and other myths about people on the spectrum? “Just like with any other group, you shed your misconceptions when you have more close relationships with people in that group,” Dr. Kuriakose says. “And so I really would encourage people to engage with lots of individuals with autism.”

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“It is often thought that people with autism don’t have feelings, which is a very sad misconception and very far from the truth.”
sPecIAL neeDs

learningSpring School 247 East 20th St., New York, NY 212-239-4926

LearningSpring School, for students diagnosed on the autism spectrum, is accepting applications for immediate enrollment, as well as for the 2023-2024 school year. It is a wonderful place for children ages 4.9 to 14 to learn, to grow and to belong.

Stepping Stones Day Schools

77-40 Vleigh Place, Kew Gardens 2826 Westchester Ave., Bronx

Steppingstone Day School, established in 1983, is a private, not for profit preschool program and evaluation site for children with and without special needs. Their mission is to provide collaborative

evaluation, education, therapy and family support services so that young children can develop to their full potential and join with their families and friends as members of the community.

the g illen b rewer School 410 E. 92nd Street, New York, NY, 212-831-3667

The Gillen Brewer School is a 12-month, special education program located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, serving children ages 2.8 to 11 years old who have a wide variety of language-based and non-verbal learning disabilities. Their academictherapeutic program includes speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and social groups.

Master Teachers


The Gillen Brewer School

since 1992

November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 19
A special education program for children ages 2.8 - 11 years old with an integrated academic-therapeutic model that includes speech & language therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and social groups Contact Admissions Today! Email: Phone: 212-831-3667 Website: Instagram: @gillenbrewer
Infant & Toddler Teachers Home Visitors Program Administrators Assistant Program Administrators Education Specialists/Family Child Care Family Workers/Advocates Health & Nutrition Specialist/Family Child Care Health Nutrition & Safety Monitor Custodians Cooks CMCS provides services throughout the Bronx. WE ARE HIRING!! SEND RESUME TO MYRIAM SANABRIA
406 5331 s peci A l N ee D s Directory Special Advertising Supplement

Occupational Therapy

“Every child develops at their own pace.” I have repeated this (absolutely true) statement countless times before, always in an effort to comfort a concerned friend or relative who is wondering why their child isn’t walking yet, talking yet, playing yet or reaching any number of milestones a parent will anxiously await when their kids are young. I’ve even said it to myself a few times. A parent’s job is to worry, right?

But what happens when it becomes apparent that “their own pace” is nowhere near that of other children their age? Words of comfort from a friend should be replaced by the advice of a professional, which is when the occupational therapist might come in.

We chatted with Nicole Benedicks, a school-based certified Occupational Therapist, who shared with us what the OT

does and what a parent should expect if their child is starting this kind of therapy.

What does an Occupational Therapist do?

Generally, occupational therapists work with people of all ages in a variety of settings to enhance or recover function, teach or modify a skill, or adapt a task or the environment to promote independence. Occupational therapy helps people live more independent lives and engage in everyday activities that are purposeful to them.

I work with children in a special educa tion school environment (K-5) to support and enhance students’ school-based skills. I work with a team, which can include the teacher, speech therapist, and physical therapist, guidance counselor and/or social worker. I typically work with students 1:1 or in a small group to develop or enhance skills to help them function and be as independent as pos sible within the school environment. Areas of

focus can include writing, cutting, dressing, feeding, visual perceptual skills (e.g. puzzles), and visual motor skills.

What is the difference between Occupation al Therapy and Physical Therapy?

There is a lot of overlap between the two professions. The most common assumption is that occupational therapists focus on the upper extremities and that physical therapists focus on the lower extremities, but that is not always the case. Both professions focus on the entire body and movement, but occupational therapy typically focuses on improving a person’s ability to engage in everyday activities, and evaluates limitations that might be affecting their daily performance. Physical therapy, on the other hand, focuses on movement, specifically a per son’s physical abilities and limitations in their mobility, strength and range of motion, and evaluates their movement dysfunction.

How can you prepare your child for Occupa tional Therapy?

It is beneficial to start therapy immedi ately once you notice there is a problem or de lay in development. When your child is very young there isn’t much you can do to prepare them for occupational therapy. However, if

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special needs
The many benefits of OT and what parents need to know

therapy begins when your child is old enough to understand that they are meeting someone new, preparation will depend on your child’s age and level of cognition.

Typically, OT sessions include play activities, so explaining to your child that someone new will be coming to play with them may help to prepare for their session. I typically recommend having a child’s sessions scheduled for an optimal time of day where you would expect them to perform their best (i.e., not too tired, not overstimulated). Avoid allowing them to be engaged in a desired task (e.g., playing with a tablet, watching television) just before their scheduled session because removing the desired item can lead to a meltdown and your child may make a nega tive association with their therapist.

How long can treatment last?

The length of time a child receives treatment varies based on the child’s needs. Treatment can be on a consultative level where a child may not receive direct services and an OT can provide useful information and strategies that families can implement

and use in their everyday lives. For children with more severe cognitive and/or physical deficits, treatment can last through child hood into adulthood.

What does treatment look like for a child who mildly needs OT versus a child who has a disability?

Typically, treatment for a child with mild delays focuses on specific areas of deficit and the OT will work to develop those problem areas to promote independence.

When a child has a more severe disability, an OT will typically work on a range of skills focusing on helping children play and learn in a purposeful way. When physical disabilities are involved, treatment can include strength ening tasks, fine motor muscle development, improving dexterity, and adapting a task or the environment so they can engage in tasks in a modified way.

What should a parent consider when select ing the right OT professional for their child?

I would recommend finding a therapist that works mostly with children, and more specifically, if your child has a diagnosis (e.g., autism, cerebral palsy), finding a therapist that has a lot of experience working with that population. You might want to schedule a “trial” session before making a decision to see how well your child responds to them.

You should also consider what works best for your family and your schedule. Children can be seen in their home, at school or in a clinic-based setting. Finding what works best for your child is really going to differ from one family to the next.

November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 21
"Occupational therapy helps people live more independent lives and engage in everyday activities that are purposeful to them." provides expertly curated resources for all parents in the New York area, including our most popular feature — our mom-generated nanny board — the best online source for parents to find vetted (by other parents), experienced nannies and childcare providers who want to work in New York City, Westchester, Long Island and Northern New Jersey. We
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Birthday Party Places

Birthday Party planning can be right up there with trying to find the right

daycare provider. Ok, fine, they aren’t that stressful. Yet, we want our kids to have a fantastic birthday experience, and if your kids are like ours, they may start bringing up

their birthday at least ten months before the big day. So yes, there is a bit of pressure. And, of course, all parents want their kids to have a fantastic birthday experience. Fortunately, we got you covered! What if we told you we could take a large chunk of that worry from your to-do list? We can, as we have 4 of our favorite spots to throw a party in and around the Bronx! From taking a daytrip to American Dream to hosting a Ninja party — you’ll want to check out these spots!

american Dream

Head to this fun spot for a memorable birthday party at the world-renowned indoor attraction American Dream for your child’s next birthday. Stay cool by the pool at DreamWorks Water Park or coast into thrills at Nickelodeon Universe! At the American

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Dream fun destination- the birthday possibilities are endless. Kids can enjoy visits with their favorite characters, customizable food & drink menus, face painting & glitter tattoos, Magic Memories photo & party favor packages, Candy raid, Graffiti wall and more. 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073, 833-263-7326, americandream. com/locations, birthdays

Dream w heel NJ

The new Dream Wheel NJ, at The American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, NJ (a quick 20 minutes from Manhattan), offers a wide range of kids’ birthday party packages to make the special day unique and unforgettable! Private areas and café space paired with private “gondolas” to experience amazing views of the NYC skyline from almost 300 feet in the air. For yummy food, partygoers can eat at Deep Fried Love; the in-house carnival-type treats café. Munch on Deep Fried Oreos, Corndogs and cotton candy, and it is not a party if you don’t have four choices of flavored lemonade. Your

party kid and friends will make memories that last forever! Dream Wheel NJ, 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073, 201-800-4261,,

gym c ats gymnastics GymCats Gymnastics is famous for its funfilled birthday parties. Their energetic staff and dazzling facility make every birthday party experience memorable. Children start the party with an exciting warm-up and move on to an awesome obstacle course. After jumping, swinging, and rolling through the obstacle course, children move on to their trampoline and foam-filled pit. Then, they get to climb up and slide down their giant air-filled slide (ages 4 & up) and jump around in their inflatable castle. After an hour of action-packed activities, the guests spend 30 minutes in the party room. Ages 3 and 4-year-old partygoers spend 45 minutes on the floor and 45 minutes in the party room. GymCats Gymnastics, At Equalize Fitness, 1 Odell Plaza, Yonkers, 914-965-7676,


Ninja gymnastics factory Head to this popular spot for the ultimate Ninja birthday party. A party package includes a 90-minute birthday party with 60 minutes of gym play where depending on the children, they can run various games and activities. They can also have free play the entire time (there is a Bounce House for the ages 7 years & under partygoers!). Kids have 30 minutes to munch on pizza, juice or water. Parties are private and up to 15 party participants can join. If you have more than 15 ninjas, an extra $25 a child can be added for up to 25 participants. These parties are full service — staff serves the food and will set up, clean up, and prep any additional decorations or goodie bags. Coach Cristian says, “We want you to enjoy your party, so we provide a completely hands-off experience. We will do all the work so the parents can have fun too.” Ninja Gymnastics Factory, 3660 Waldo Street (elevator entrance), Bronx, NY 10463, 914343-3903, .

November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 23
3660 Waldo Avenue, Bronx NY 914-343-3903

A pA rents guide to n Avig Ating them with kids NYC Art Museums

We have all been there- you decide to spend the day at one of the many museums in the city, as NYC has no shortage of art museums. Perhaps you want to check out an exhibit or have you and the kids stare away at a Monet. And we are lucky- our city is full of the best museums in the world and visiting one is an educational day out for all. Plus, bringing your kids to museums comes with a whole host of benefits. It encourages a love of learning, develops their curiosity and critical thinking skills and inspires them to create independently!

But also, kids are kids and not all want to hang out for hours. This is why we have our own personal tips coupled with representa tives (from the most visited art museums in New York City) insider tips. We’ve gathered these helpful tips as well as the best offerings/ programs for families and kids to ensure you get the most out of your visit.

Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue

Open Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday, 10 am to 5 pm; Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 9 pm

A New York staple, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) showcases over 5,000 years of art from around the world. The Met has a wide variety of programs for kids and their families to help them engage with the art, like story times, art treks around the museum, family afternoons and more. They also offer an audio guide for kids, which includes thirteen tours with kid-targeted messages for artworks throughout the major areas of the museum.

The Met is pretty vast and if you have young kids they may get a bit exhausted, we suggest checking online and mapping out what floors and wings you would like to visit. A few favorites are the Egyptian Art Wing, European Paintings and not to be miss is the Kimono

Style: The John C. Weber Collection (until February 20, 2023)- a gorgeous exhibit of kimonos from the late Edo period through the early 20th century and runs until February.

Your kids can even explore the Met from home! #MetKids is a digital feature where kids can learn about the museum’s works of art, watch behind the scenes videos and even get inspired to make art of their own.

Tip: Tickets for New York State residents and New York, New Jersey and Connecticut students are pay what you wish!

Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53 Street

Open Sunday through Friday, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm; Saturday 10:30 am to 7 pm , Kids under age 16 are free

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is com mitted to sharing modern and contemporary art with visitors. When visiting galleries as a family with kids, try turning your visit into a search-and-find experience. Look for people and places on Floor 5, lines, shapes and colors on Floor 4 and interesting materials on Floor 2.

The MoMA, while rich with art that adults appreciate, can be a lot for kids especially young ones. This doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy this amazing museum. We suggest you stay for a short time if bringing young kids and sticking to art that they may gravitate towards like Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night and Pablo Picasso’s Girl before a Mirror– both on the 5th floor. Since kids under age 16 are free you can visit this museum a few times a year and explore a new section at each visit! Definitely check out the MoMA’s Kid’s Activity Guide. They offer movement, writing and drawing activities to do in front of artworks.

While you’re visiting, be sure to visit the Heyman Family Art Lab, where families can create art by drawing, working with wire, engaging in light-box play and more.

Tip: Looking to take a break during your visit? Spend some time in the Sculpture Garden or in the lounges throughout the museum.

Whitney Museum of American Art 99 Gansevoort Street

Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10:30 am to 6 pm; Friday, 10:30 am to 10 pm; Saturday and Sunday 11 am to 6 pm. Kids admission is free Located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, the Whitney Museum of American Art displays a collection of twentiethcentury and contemporary American art. One of the ways that the Whitney strives to make their collection more accessible to children is through their kids guides. Available in English and Spanish, the guides contain descriptions of artworks that could be interesting to children. They share information about the art (including the title, artist and what the piece is about) and invite visitors, especially children, to imagine themselves as an artist by thinking about questions and even giving them the opportunity to create artwork of their own.

Whether you are visiting for the first time or the tenth, the views from the terraces as well as from the picturesque widows within the museum are pure wow!

Additionally, the Whitney has an ongoing program called Open Studio for kids. Families and kids have the opportunity to create their own works inspired by what’s on view in the museum.

Tip: Cris Scorza, head of education at the Whitney, says families should bring a snack, maybe a pack of colored pencils and a notepad and, most importantly, an open mind when visiting as a family.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave,

Open Sunday through Monday and Wednesday through Friday, 11 am to 6 pm; Saturday 11 am to 8 pm

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum collects, preserves and interprets modern and contemporary art. The Guggenheim offers

24 | November 2022
family day out

programming for children and families. For example, students in third to fifth grades can explore and create art in the Art After School program. There’s programming for older kids too. GuggTeens give teens the opportunity to learn about museum operations from a variety of different perspectives. Families visiting can use the kids audio guides to learn about different artworks.

Tip: Download family-friendly Art Kit activity sheets to encourage your kids to create their own art!

Frick Collection

Temporary home: 945 Madison Avenue

Open Thursday through Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm

While the Frick Collection’s historic buildings are closed for renovation for the time being, you can still visit Frick Madison to explore artworks from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. This is a great choice if you’re looking for something to do with older kids– children under 10 are not admitted.

Tip: The Frick Collection offers pay what you will admission on Thursday evenings from 4 pm to 6 pm!

Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Parkway

Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm

The Brooklyn Museum’s mission is to

include tables with intergenerational games, like skelzies and dominoes, that invite visitors to relax and play as part of the exhibition. It will be on view from Oct. 26 through April 30.

Tip: Admission is always free!

Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave

Open Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm; Friday through Monday, 10 am through 5 pm

The Museum of the City of New York gives visitors the opportunity to celebrate the city’s past, present and future. They offer programming for families, like the upcoming Movies for Minis event. Exhibitions on view will give kids an opportunity to learn about the city. There’s also a Kids Create series, where kids have the chance to take part in interactive art-making activities.

Tip: If you’re looking for a unique tour, check out the 80s-themed scavenger hunt that will take you and your family through all three floors of the museum.

connect visitors with art in a way that changes how they see themselves and the world. First Saturdays are a staple. Visitors of all ages from Brooklyn and beyond can enjoy free programming once a month. Other programming options include Yoga on the Stoop, where attendees of all ages can enjoy a relaxing outdoor yoga session. Keep an eye out for Stroller Tours, an interactive strollerfriendly tour designed for children up to 24 months old. It features touchable objects, music and an opportunity for parents to connect with each other.

Current exhibits the family will enjoy Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” and Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe (January 29, 2023).

Tip: Looking for a way to enhance your day in Brooklyn? Stop by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden after visiting the Brooklyn Museum! Buy a Museum & Garden Pass to visit both spots on the same day.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts 1040 Grand Concourse

Open Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 6 pm The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ collection includes over two thousand works of art. The upcoming exhibition, “Swagger and Tender ness: The South Bronx Portraits by John Aheam and Rigoberto Torres,” is sure to be a great experience for the whole family. It will

New Museum of Contemporary Art 235 Bowery Open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm The New Museum is a contemporary art museum in Manhattan’s lower east side. Their goal is to create a dialogue between the public and contemporary artists. “Off Grid” by artist Kapwani Kiwanga is a great exhibition for kids and families on display through October of this year. Kids can enjoy the exhibition’s colors, shapes and natural lights and adults can enjoy engaging with Kiwanga’s ideas about how bodies experience and inhabit structures of power.

While you’re there, also be sure to check out the 7th floor Sky Room. The floor to ceiling windows and balcony offer beautiful views of Downtown Manhattan that anyone of any age can enjoy.

Keep an eye out for the museum’s Family Days! These events include free admission to all exhibitions for kids and two adults per family and art-making activities at extended morning hours. If you can’t make it on Fam ily Day, don’t worry: entry to the New Mu seum is always free for anyone under 18. The museum also offers a Kids Menu newsletter, so you can keep up to date with all of the museum’s offerings for kids and families.

Tip: Visit the galleries on weekdays for a quieter, more intimate experience. Go to the front desk for packets that include large print wall labels and stools.

November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 25

Full disclosure: I’ve known Julee Wilson since 2007, when we were both young, hard-working magazine editors trying to find our way in the fashion industry. I liked her from the day we met. She was outgoing, confident as hell, really funny, and always kept it real. She had a magnetism to her that drew you in—when she told a story, people hung on every word. I need to tell you before I go any further with this piece that she is the same exact way today, 15 years later. Except today she has two beautiful sons (Orion, 8, and Nadir, 21 months), a rockstar of a husband, and almost 72K followers on Instagram—who also hang on her every word. She still keeps it real, sharing the highs and lows of her life with an openness and vulnerability that Instagram could frankly use more of (everything from pep talks she gives to herself when she’s having a bad day, to being open about her diastasis recti and how she has not “snapped back” after having kids). Since those days of hustling as a young editor, Julee left fashion behind and has become a force in the beauty industry, making a major impact from the inside out (she counts publishing a story in Cosmo about how Black women interact with beauty as one of her proudest moments). You can also rely on her to introduce you to all the other smart, successful women in her life (and there are many) because she believes in lifting women up, and helping them to shine their light. Oh and let’s not for get, her feed is full of photos of her absolutely adorable boys (if you haven’t clicked on the hashtag #wombfire yet, do yourself a favor). So, dear reader, do you now understand why I’ve been manifesting this cover story for so long?

I knew you would love her. I knew you would learn from her. And, most of all, I knew you would want to know her. Read on to hear about how she got her start as a young Black woman in publishing, her incredible rise to beauty edi tor powerhouse, and why she never lets a day

go by without being grateful for the family she came from and the family she has now.

CP: Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself, and how you ended up where you are today?

JW: So my professional journey kind of actually started in college, when I decided I wanted to write fashion. That was when I was laser focused on getting the type of experience I needed in order to break into this industry. I knew being a young Black woman that I didn’t see much of myself in the industry, so I knew I had to start early. Most people do internships between their junior and senior years, I started interning after my freshman year. I interned at Bergdorf Goodman, because the father of one of the girls who went to my high school was a senior vice president there.That was my first “in”. After that experience I interned at Vibe magazine, then, between my junior and senior year, I got into the Condé Nast Internship Pro gram and was at Condé Nast Traveler magazine. It was exciting because I was able to write so I had bylines. I was able to go to the newsstand and pick up the magazines and see my name in print, which was crazy. Later I found my fulltime job at Real Simple, and then that started my real journey. I stayed there for six and a half years. It was great. I feel like it was such a strong brand during that time. The magazine was thick, they had international editions. It was so sick. I was traveling, I did media training, I was able to go on the Today Show. I’m like, 24 years old going on the Today Show doing segments, it was amazing. They really trusted me. But by the time 2011 rolled around magazines were folding and keeping their websites it was very clear that digital was about to take over. HuffPost reached out to me about Black Voices and I was like, why not? I got the job and it was a turning point. I’ve had very challenging jobs before, but I always say I went from a monthly to a minutely. I used to work on three to four stories a month. Now I was writing three to four stories a day. Writing

three to four fashion stories a day was a lot, so when they added beauty it really helped diversify my content and my voice and I just started to fall in love with beauty. It feels more universal. It feels like an industry that I can really make a difference in. But the real turning point in my career was when Essence reached out to me to write a cover story.

CP: I’ll never forget something you said to me back then: “Don’t let anyone dim your light” or “They will not dim my light.” And I think for you that was really it.

JW: I mean, look, people get threatened by what you have to offer. And to me, everyone has magical talents and traits. I’m just here to show mine off, you show yours off too. But whatever relationships I had or personality that I had that was exciting, or drew people or whatever, they would see it as some type of indictment on their own light. And I’m like, that’s got nothing to do with you. That’s just me being Julee. But I do stand by that today: Don’t let anyone dim your light. I used to dim my own light to make others around me feel comfortable. I have learned over the years— and I wish I had learned it sooner—that I am not responsible for how those people feel when I’m shining my light. And whatever conse quences come from that, I just have to ride with it. If that means them being, you know, cruel or bullying me and passive aggressive, I just have to eat it and know that what’s to come is better. Because yeah, it takes a lot of energy, stressed anxiety to dim your own light—while also hav ing their hand on the knob dimming you.

CP: So tell me about being a Black beauty director at a legendary brand that is not maybe known for its coverage of diversity. And tell me about the importance for you of your impact there and your mission.

JW: I first got hired…this is another func tion of age, and again, the journey of continuing to know your worth, right? When I went into

26 | November 2022
Shining Bright
Julee Wilson, @missjulee, beauty editor extraordinaire, shares how she learned her worth and what advice she has for other women trying to find their way in the world

that interview with Cosmo, I was very self as sured and very aware of who I am, what I bring to the table. I never was like that in interviews before. It was always like, what do they want? What do they want to hear? Like, how do you want me to fit into this box? And I’m telling you every year that has gone by, I’ve been more like, this is who I am. I literally remember saying this to Jess Pels, in that interview. I was like, “I am a Black woman, but my superpower is the fact that I tell stories from that lens. And that I can know about everyone’s beauty, too.” Because I’ve had to know about everyone’s beauty. My white counterparts have not had to learn about me, they can be like, oh, that’s a Black girl thing. I have to write about me, I have to write about you, I have to write about our Asian brothers and sisters. I’m a true expert in this thing. And the fact that I tell stories through my lens, a lot of my story ideas and the things I want to talk about are Black, Black, blackity, Black. And I can’t hide that. And in fact, I don’t want to, I actually want it to be celebrated. So if you are down for that, and that is something that you see in Cosmo’s future, then I’m your girl. If it’s not, no hard feelings. But that is the space I need to live in, and if that is not something you’re down for, I will not take it personally, but this partner

ship won’t work out. And she was just like, “No, I love this!” And speaking to your light dimmer thing, Cris, I hand to God, I literally said to her in the interview, I was like, “I’ve worked for a lot of light dimmers. That’s my question to you, how do you interact with your talent and your leaders on staff? Are you someone that uplifts them and pushes them to greater things? Are you happy when you have stars on your team?” I was like, “I’m the type of manager that I want stars. It only makes me look better. I’m not here to dim people’s lights, I’m here to make them better.” We literally had this conversation. And she was like, “No, I love that. I’m not a light dimmer. I want everyone to be great.” And she’s proven that to me, she has pushed me in every way and has allowed me space and grace to be me, so I’m so grateful for that. I wrote a whole story about how Black women interact with beauty and how the world should take note. I’ve written about headscarves and bonnets.

CP: So what’s next for you?

JW: A few months ago, I got a new job. I am now the executive director of BeautyUnited. My part-time job is being editor-at-large at Cosmo. I am very grateful for that. Cosmo made a way that I could stay but also run this non-profit. So

the future is full and exciting! I get to still be an editor, I get to run a non-profit that I really, truly believe in. I have the freedom now to say, yes, no, maybe. Every day offers a new opportunity that I get to either say yes to and dream around, or say no, that’s not right for me right now. And even that feels magical.

CP: What’s your advice to someone who may be struggling with impostor syndrome and knowing their worth?

JW: Surround yourself with people that do know your worth and will constantly tell you in a real authentic way like, you can share your woes and your wells with them. And they will tell you the truth, they will be the battery in your back. They will tell you you’re being silly. Or they’ll tell you that, no, you’re right. Just a village of people that remind you of who you are. Whether that is a difficult conversation or a cel ebratory conversation. Also, don’t beat yourself up, don’t take yourself too seriously. And every year, know you’re going to get closer and closer to the ultimate you.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. To read the full version, please visit us online at

November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 27
Photo by Yumi Matsuo

B R o Nx

family art Project: fall leaf luminaries

wHeN: Nov. 5 -6, Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-1pm

wHere : Wave Hill, West 249th Street and Independence Avenue, Bronx ageS: All wHat: Delve into the season and its freshly fallen autumn foliage with their vivid colors, and design a lantern inspired by the form and texture of the leaves.

waNt to go?: Included with admission: $10; $6 students and seniors 65 and older; $4 ages 6 and older. 718-5493200.

Nyc Parks Presents: Skate Night at Poe Park

wHeN: Saturday, Nov. 12, 12-3pm

wHere : Poe Park, Grand Concourse bet. E. 192 St. and E. Kingsbridge , Bronx ageS: All wHat: Come out and enjoy an evening of music, dancing, and skating. Skates will be provided while supplies last or, feel free to bring your own.

waNt to go?: 718-365-5516,

Native american Heritage month celebration

wHeN: Saturday, Nov. 12, 12-4pm

wHere : Bartow-Pell Mansion, 895 Shore Road, Bronx ageS: All wHat: Celebrate Native American Heritage Month with the viewing of historical documents, art exhibition, and a special performance by the Ramapough-Munsee Spirit of the Mountain Singers and Drummers. waNt to go?: 718-885-1461,

Holiday lights

wHeN: Nov. 18 - Jan. 8, See website for schedule wHere : Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx ageS: All wHat: Explore immersive light

displays, custom-designed animal lanterns, festive entertainment, seasonal treats, the Holiday Train, classic holiday music, and more. waNt to go?: $39.95; $34.95 seniors 65 and older; $24.95 ages 3-12. 718-220-5100,

bronx Night market

wHeN: Saturday, Nov. 19, 1-7pm

wHere : Fordham Plaza, 1 Fordham Plaza, Bronx ageS: All wHat: Come out to the largest family friendly foodie celebration in the Bronx complete with food vendors, kid zone, education booths, and more.

28 | November 2022
t he beloved Holiday train s how returns to the new York Botanical Garden starting nove. 19.
N ybg

waNt to go?:

Holiday train Show

wHeN: Nov. 19 - Jan. 16, Tuesdays-Sundays and Monday federal holidays, 10am-6pm

wHere : The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx ageS: All wHat: See model trains zip through an enchanting display of more than 190 replicas of New York landmarks, each delightfully re-created from natural materials such as birch bark, lotus pods, and cinnamon sticks.

waNt to go?: $35; $31 seniors 65 and older and students with valid ID; $20 ages 2-12; free admission for children younger than 2. 718817-8700,

ma N haTTa N

big apple circus

wHeN: Nov. 9 - Jan. 1, See website for schedule

wHere : Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, Amsterdam Avenue and West 62nd Street, Upper West Side ageS: All wHat: Experience the excitement of DREAM BIG! featuring performances from King of the High Wire Nik Wallenda, comic daredevil Johnny Rockett, trapeze artist Elli Huber, and more.

waNt to go?: Tickets start at $29.95. 646-491-8941,

macy’s thanksgiving Day Parade

wHeN: Thursday, Nov. 24, 9am-12pm

wHere : Macy’s Herald Square, 151 W. 34th Street, Midtown ageS: All wHat: Kick off the holiday season with this New York tradition featuring giant balloons, elaborate floats, and lots of entertainment.

waNt to go?: social/parade

What the Neuroscience of Spirituality Reveals About Our Capacity for Health, Happiness and Resilience

With author Lisa Miller, Ph.D. Tuesday, Nov.1, 2022, 4 p.m. ET

Curious Children, Wise Elders: How Childhood and Elderhood Shape Intelligence and Learning With Alison Gopnik, Ph.D. Tuesday, Nov.17, 2022, 4 p.m. ET


November 2022 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 29 Presents
Register for FREE at
Clowns • Characters Face Painting • Balloon Art • Magic Games • Cotton Candy • Popcorn Paint Nites for Adults & Kids too! Party Room available for Birthday & Baby Shower Celebrations! Call (917) 579-0867 to book your party today! /ConfettiPartyPlace /ConfettiPartyPlace 3190 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461 try an art project with fall leaves at Wave Hill on nov. 5 and 6.

Holiday Highlights

For some, the holiday season does not truly begin until the Thanksgiving turkey is carved and eaten. For others, the magic begins the moment the Halloween decorations come down. We here at New York Family are definitely more the latter (we’ve already swapped out the apple cider for some eggnog). So although it’s still early, we just had to reach out to some of our partners to find out what they have in store for the most wonderful time of the year. Check out their holiday highlights below and be sure to stop by all season long for TONS more holly jolly fun!

14th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop

Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses 437 North Street, Greenwich, CT 06830 203-869-3418

Every day from November 25th through December 24th, enjoy a holiday wonderland with three LIVE reindeer and photos with Santa Claus! Proceeds benefit Kids in Crisis. Get a photo taken with Santa and receive a complimentary gift bag.

HERSHEY’S Melted Hot Chocolate

Hershey’s Chocolate World Times Square, 47th St & 7th Ave

Warm up the holidays with a HERSHEY’S Melted Hot Chocolate. The signature recipe uses a full HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate bar mixed with white milk and topped with whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, chocolate chips and a snack-sized HERSHEY’S Bar.

Holiday Events at Cross County Center

8000 Mall Walk, Yonkers, NY 10704 914- 968-9570

Cross County Center offers an action-packed lineup of holiday events for everyone! Stop by this holiday season and enjoy photos with Santa, a pop up Ice Skating Rink, Holiday Food Truck Market and the largest Christmas Tree in Westchester that you can walk thru!

Westchester’s Winter Wonderland Drive Thru Holiday Light Extravaganza

Kensico Dam Plaza, 1 Bronx River Pkwy Rd, Valhalla, NY 10595

Guests will be dazzled and delighted along the 1.2 miles of holiday lights by several new addi tions for 2022, including a new North Pole and live Santa display; breathtaking Kaleidoscope Corrido; cheerful Snowmen Caroling Corner; more electrifying lights surrounding the largest holiday Christmas tree in Westchester and a new 30-foot glistening star guests will be able to make their New Year’s wish upon! Tickets

are $25 weekdays, $35 weekends per vehicle.

Holiday Fair & Craft Sale Hand and Hoe Lot 241 Hungry Hollow Road Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977 The Fair and Craft Sale will be held mostly outdoors, with the nostalgic feel of a Winter Street Fair - Christmas trees, cider & chestnuts, holiday treats, children’s activities, festive music and caroling, puppet shows, a silent auc tion, and a wide array of beautiful and unique handmade gifts, crystals, candles, and more.

Holiday Fun at Palisades Center 1000 Palisades Center Drive, West Nyack, NY Holiday events are taking place at Palisades Center! Be on the lookout for information about Santafest, Pets Night, and Santa Care Night, and visit for details.

30 | November 2022
sP onsoReD content

Fall in Love with Rockland County!

Explore our village shops and restaurants. Experience the natural splendor of the Hudson Valley. Enjoy fabulous fall golf, hiking, camping, and more! For a Great Getaway that’s not far away, make your next...


Welcome winter in New Jersey—from candlelight tours in Cape May to snow tubing in the Skylands. View dazzling light shows and live performances of The Nutcracker and other classics. Experience Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Great Adventure and shopping at Palmer Square in Princeton. Discover museums like the Liberty Science Center and enjoy journeys with American Revolution and Black Heritage Itineraries.

Get your free official travel guide and discover more at

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