Queens Family - November 2022

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November 2022


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

+ Our Special Needs Guide


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Committed to providing psycho-educational and neuro-developmental evaluations for over 15 years Dr. Sanam Hafeez and her clinical team are renowned for their expertise in neuropsychological and psychiatric evaluations. The assessments performed at CCPS are tailored for extra time, treatment planning for medication and therapeutic recommendations, as well for private school placements. Parents are often so inspired that they make appointments for themselves seeing their children mirror their struggles. At CCPS, we strive to help the whole family achieve optimal success and wellness.

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November 2022 NewYorkFamily.com

pg. 36

pg. 20

pg. 32

pg. 12

pg. 34

FEATURES 16 | Special Needs 5 common myths about Autism Spectrum Disorder 20 | Special Needs The many benefits of OT and what parents need to know 24 | Health Rainbow Fentanyl, what parents need to know 32 | Family Day Out NYC Art Museums 30 | Holiday Highlights Start planning your seasonal celebrations 34 | Cover- Julee Wilson


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Stories & columns 6 | Editor’s Letter

Directories 22 | Special Needs Listings

8 | Family Day Out The best children’s museums in NYC 12 | Family Day Out Illuminate the Farm at Queens County Farm Museum

on the Cover

28| Spotlight Brooklyn Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn

Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | buffysaintmarie.com

36 | Calendar All the fun events and activities for November

Photo: Yumi Matsuo | yumimatsuostudio.com Hair: Anthony Dickey of Hair Rules | hairrules.com Cover Story: Cris Pearlstein | crispearlstein.com Produced by: Cris Pearlstein & Donna Duarte Ladd Clothing credits:

Family Shot: 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

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Editor’s Note


Nina Gallo Photography

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 8) and tips on navigating NYC Art Museums (page 32) 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 that will answer many of

your questions. Lastly, this month’s cover mom (page 34) Julee Wilson (and her gorgeous family) grace our cover. 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. Julee shares how she came to know her worth and her advice for other women trying to find their way in the world.

Publisher: Clifford Luster Executive Director: Donna Duarte-Ladd Associate Publisher: Erin Brof Advertising Director: Stacie Goldberg Deputy Editor: Jeannine Cintron Digital Editor: Kaitlyn Riggio Events Manager: Shara Levine Reporter: Barbara Russo Senior Adviser: Susan Weiss Partnership Managers: Lauren Alperin, Lauren Anchin, Joan Bergman, Mary Cassidy, Chris Cunningham, Lori Falco, Shelli Goldberg-Peck, 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: Tiana Henriquez, Adam Mobley, Campbell Schouten

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family fun

The Best Children’s Museums in NYC By Bella Kjellen


hether 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


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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, Collaborate. 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 centennial of women’s suffrage and teach children about the importance of voting; and Superpowered 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 programs while also addressing the educational needs of young children in the community. The creators understood that children are

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Family fun

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


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perfect place for young learners who are interested 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 spectacular 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!


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 VisitNJ.org

November 2022 | Queens Family


Family day out

Illuminate the Farm Head to Queens County Farm Museum for shiny family fun By Shara Levine


ring the family out for a magical night they won’t forget when the Queens County Farm Museum will once again be transformed into a wonderland of light! Beginning November 11th, the Farm will become an immersive experience that will leave you mesmerized by illuminated displays inspired by theme parks, Chinese myths and legends, along with illuminated Chinese lanterns crafted by over one hundred artists. Created by Kaleido Arts & Entertainment Group, the NYC Winter Lantern Festival, with three locations across the New York metro area, will feature over 10,000 LED Chinese-inspired artisan lanterns. “Lantern festivals have been a part of Chinese culture and history for thousands of years, honoring our ancestors and celebrating peace, prosperity, and good fortune,” said Haokun Liu, Partner of Kaleido Arts & Entertainment Group. “We are thrilled to bring back the NYC Winter Lantern Festival now its fourth year, expand to new locations, introduce all visitors to the beauty of these artisan installations, and have the show become part of New York’s cultural holiday tradition.” Take your time wandering through stunning illuminated tunnels, reach for the stars on illuminated swings, and take in the sights while also capturing memories with Insta-worthy photo ops. We think that this can be the start (or continuation) of a beautiful holiday tradition. What You Need To Know When? The festival runs November 11, 2022 through January 8, 2023. Visitors can attend Fridays-Sundays from 5-9pm, with additional daily hours from December 26-29. Where? The festival is located at Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway in Floral Park. How Much Are Tickets? $26.99 plus tax


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for adults and $17.99 plus tax for kids. Visit their website to purchase tickets and use code EARLYP now through November 11 for 30% off.

For information, and to learn more about additional locations like the one on Staten Island, visit nycwinterlanternfestival.com or follow the festival on Facebook or Instagram.

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Fall Activities at American Dream


merican 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 discount! 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 Nickelodeon 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 americandream.com!

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5 Common Myths About Autism Spectrum Disorder

There are a lot of stereotypes about autism that just aren’t true. Here’s what parents should know BY KATELIN WALLING


hile 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-


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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.

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Special needs

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 director 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 affectionate 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.


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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.” “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 communication 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 autism 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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special needs

Occupational Therapy The many benefits of OT and what parents need to know By Jeannine Cintron


very 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


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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 education 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 possible 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 Occupational 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 person’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 Occupational Therapy? It is beneficial to start therapy immediately once you notice there is a problem or delay in development. When your child is very young there isn’t much you can do to prepare them for occupational therapy. However, if

"Occupational therapy helps people live more independent lives and engage in everyday activities that are purposeful to them."

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 negative association with their therapist.

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

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

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 strengthening 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 selecting 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.

Autism/Behavioral Consulting Services • Staff Training • School-Based Consultation • FBA Assessment and BIP Implementation • ABA and Verbal Behavior Training Techniques • Behavior Management Strategies • Home/School Intensive Behavior Intervention Services • Crisis Intervention and Prevention • Home-Based Services and Parent Education Training • CPSE/CSE Advocacy & Meeting Attendance

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Karen Bottalico, SAS, SDA —NYS Certified School Psychologist—



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(516) 851-8330 November 2022 | Queens Family


Special needs Directory | Special Advertising Supplement

Autism Behavioral Consulting Services

Comprehensive Consultation

Karen Bottalico, SAS, SDA 516- 851-8330 kbottalico2002@yahoo.com An Educational Consultant serving Queens and Long Island and the NY Metro area. Working directly with families, services include: Evaluating placement and service options; Accompanying parents throughout the entire CPSE or CSE process which includes meetings, screenings, observations and extensive education history reviews. Other services include Staff Training, School-Based Consultation, FBA Assessment and BIP Implementation, ABA and Verbal Behavior Training Techniques, Behavior Management Strategies, Home/School Intensive Behavior Intervention Services, Crisis Intervention and Prevention, HomeBased Services and Parent Education Training. Call for more information.

114-20 Queens Blvd, Suite CS2, Forest Hills 180 East 79 St. Suite # 1C, New York, NY comprehendthemind.com Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. is a group of neuropsychologists who work as a team to help you understand your child’s functioning, from cognitive, to academic to neurological. They can properly diagnose ADHD from a learning disability, and anxiety from autism. They use highly sensitive tests and include parent and teacher data to support assessments.

2.8 to 11 years old who have a wide variety of languagebased and non-verbal learning disabilities. Their academictherapeutic program includes speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and social groups.

LearningSpring School 247 East 20th St., New York, NY 212-239-4926 learningspring.org 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.

The Gillen Brewer School 410 E. 92nd Street, New York, NY 212-831-3667 gillenbrewer.com admissions@gillenbrewer.com The Gillen Brewer School is a 12-month, special education program located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, serving children ages

Stepping Stones Day Schools 77-40 Vleigh Place, Kew Gardens 2826 Westchester Ave., Bronx steppingstonedayschool.com 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.

Suffolk Center for Speech 718-939-0306 familyspeechcenter.com familyspeechcenter@verizon. net Family Speech Center uses certified Speech-Language Pathologists who are trained to evaluate and diagnose adults and children with specific speech, language or swallowing difficulties. Services include speechlanguage evaluations and treatment for individuals with articulation and stuttering problems. Assessment procedures depend on the age of the client; very small children are assessed in an informal play-based environment.

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 • 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

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

www.steppingstonedayschool.com 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


NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022

The Gillen Brewer School since 1992

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

iss Contact Adm ions Today! Email: admissions@gillenbrewer.com Phone: 212-831-3667 Website: gillenbrewer.com/admissions Instagram: @gillenbrewer

LearningSpring School A PLACE FOR CHILDREN DIAGNOSED ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM TO LEARN, TO GROW AND TO BELONG 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: admissions@learningspring.org, (212) 239-4926 or visit our website at www.learningspring.org 247 E. 20th Street, New York, NY 10003

LearningSpring School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national, or ethnic origin.

November 2022 | Queens Family



Rainbow Fentanyl What parents need to know By BarBara russo


deadly new drug is on the rise in the United States, and it’s designed to look like candy to appeal to kids. Dubbed unofficially as “rainbow fentanyl,” this dangerous combination of manufactured chemicals is making its way into communities around the country in the form of small, colorful pills that resemble Skittles, Smarties or other popular candy products often given out during Halloween. “Rainbow fentanyl—fentanyl pills and powder that come in a variety of bright colors, shapes and sizes—is a deliberate effort by drug traffickers to drive addiction amongst kids and young adults,” Anne Milgram, DEA administrator, said. Fentanyl, which started showing up on the West Coast earlier this year, is now making headlines in NYC. Last month, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and law enforcement partners seized 15,000 of the colorful pills in Manhattan. The significant seizure, the largest to date in New York City, signals more widespread distribution of the pills. The case highlights Mexican cartels’ most recent tactics to attract the public while deceiving them about the lethal drugs, the DEA said. “Rainbow fentanyl is a clear and present danger, and it is here in New York City,” Frank Tarentino, DEA Special Agent in Charge, said. “Approximately 40% of the pills we analyze in our lab contain a lethal dose. And in a recent 15-week enforcement operation, DEA New York seized half a million lethal pills.” Fentanyl is relatively cheap for drug dealers and their lab cronies to make. In fact, the pills are often made to look like real prescription opioids, such as Oxycontin or Xanax. So, anyone who thinks they’re buying an Oxycontin can very well be getting fentanyl, which is far more potent, and far more deadly. According to the DEA, fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, which is equal to 10-15 grains of


NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022

table salt, is considered a lethal dose. Without laboratory testing, there is no way to know how much fentanyl is concentrated in a pill or powder. To recap, fentanyl is not often a drug that tweens and teens are seeking out. Instead, it’s often in the other drugs kids are using. “Teens for the most part understand how dangerous fentanyl is but rarely understand that it can be mixed into other drugs that they feel are ‘safer,’” Keri Cooper, LCSW, and author of Mental Health Uncensored: 10 Foundations Every Parent Needs to Know, explained. “Parents need to have honest conversations about drugs and how they are made and how buying pills off the street may likely have fentanyl mixed in them. It is never safe to be buying a drug that is made in

someone’s basement. Anything can be in it.” It’s also possible for marijuana to be laced with fentanyl. “While kids might not be directly exposed to fentanyl, they might be offered something like marijuana that could very well be laced with fentanyl,” Lisa Bonaviso, Ph.D., and licensed mental health counselor at Pleasantville Wellness Group, Westchester, said. Here is some more information on what parents need to know about fentanyl and how they can help keep their kids safe: What is fentanyl? Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. There are two types: Pharmaceutical fentanyl and illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Both are considered

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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 nyc.gov/flu. DOH_Flu-HalfPage-NewYorkFamily_7x4.6_V1_EN.indd 1

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MommyBites.com We can’t wait to see you there! November 2022 | Queens Family



synthetic opioids. Under controlled circumstances, pharmaceutical fentanyl is an effective medicine approved for treating severe pain. Doctors use it to relieve pain in patients during and after surgery. Fentanylrelated overdoses are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl. What makes fentanyl so deadly? It’s a more potent drug than many others and can easily be disguised to look like a painkiller or party drug. It is 50 times stronger than heroin, and just a small amount is considered a lethal dose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the drug depresses the central nervous system and respiratory function. It can cause breathing to stop. How would a parent know if their child has taken fentanyl? There’s no way to tell if a pill or powder contains fentanyl just by looking at it, so the best thing to do is to not take any illegal drug. Test strips can tell you if a drug contains fentanyl, but not how much is in it.

What can a person do to help someone who is overdosing? Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths. Over 150 people die every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to the CDC. If you think someone is overdosing, the CDC recommends treating it like and overdose, and call 911 immediately. Also administer naloxone if it’s available. Try to keep the person awake and breathing. Lay the person on their side to prevent choking. Children should always know that if they or a friend are seeming sick after using drugs, they can’t be afraid to immediately reach out for help, Cooper explained. “Parents need to let their kids know that their life is more important than their fear of getting in trouble,” she said. How can parents talk to their kids about drugs and peer pressure? Parents need to acknowledge that all kids just want to fit in. It’s normal, and it’s not always easy to do something different from the

crowd, Cooper said. “In saying that, parents need to have conversations with their kids about which friends would support their decisions, who are good friends and talk about what positive friendships look like,” Cooper explained. “There are many kids who don’t do drugs and sometimes it’s just about finding one or two other kids to stand up together.” Bonaviso underscored the importance of talking to kids about drugs and keeping the lines of communication open. Informing them is key. Not to scare them, but to let them know the realities of fentanyl or drug use overall. “Children are very curious. So it’s natural that they’d want to explore or experiment,” Bonaviso said. “But, parents giving them the reality of the long- and short-term effects of drugs might make them think twice before trying it.” She added that it’s important for parents to remind their children that illegal drugs are not controlled. “They’re coming from the streets, so you don’t know what people are contaminating them with,” Bonaviso said.



(718) 939-0306 www.Familyspeechcenter.com Familyspeechcenter@verizon.net We accept most insurance plans

Check us out Online! We’re the #1 print & digital lifestyle platform for engaged parents in New York.

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NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022


Countryside Montessori School

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Our fully-equipped, spacious classrooms offer the most enriched curriculum available for 18 mos – 6 yrs Fully affiliated with the American Montessori Society since 1988

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Despina Pappas D.D.S Elayne Pappas D.D.S. 215-41 23rd Road Bayside, NY 11360 718 224-0443 November 2022 | Queens Family



Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn Brooklyn Assemblymember is pioneering equitable maternal healthcare By Mia SalaS


e’re always on the lookout for NYC mamas (and soon-to-be mamas) who inspire us. Whether it’s small business owners who encourage us to follow our passion or fashion-forward influencers who give us confidence in our bodies, we highlight mamas doing great things. So when we got in touch with the incredibly strong and beautiful Brooklyn Assemblymember who’s innovating and advocating for equitable maternal healthcare, we wanted to share her story. Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn is the Assemblywoman for New York State’s 42nd Assembly District representing Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood and Ditmas Park in Brooklyn. Rodneyse is also the Brooklyn Democratic Chair, the first woman and first Black woman to be one. She is first Haitian American woman elected in NYC and is currently pregnant with her own child, but her passion for maternal healthcare long preceded her current pregnancy. About 6 years ago, Rodneyse experienced a pre-term pregnancy loss. Although the loss came down to many factors, the key one was that maternal healthcare, healthcare transparency, and access to providers who put both mothers and their babies first, was severely lacking. Rodneyse was high-risk and had several complications, some of which were not detected or not properly communicated, leading to her being rushed to Columbia Medical Center where she was told the only solution was to rid her of her baby. “I wanted the doctors to do everything they needed to save me and my baby,” she said. Eventually, Rodneyse delivered her child, Jonah, at another hospital in Brooklyn- Wyckoff Hospital, where he lived for less than two hours. “It was probably the saddest day of my


NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022

Candace Howe Studios-NYC

life,” she explained. “That’s when I decided to really focus on maternal healthcare bills.” And she did. Rodneyse drove the “Jonah Bichotte Cowan Law” in her son’s name, which establishes requirements for treatment when an expecting mother comes to a hospital with concerns about pre-term labor. Because of Rodneyse’s policy work, NYC soon-to-be mamas will have their medical concerns taken seriously. But her innovation in maternal healthcare doesn’t stop there. Amidst the heartbreaking Roe v. Wade turnover, Rodneyse took action. After learning about how NY healthcare providers don’t always prioritize removing a dead fetus from a woman’s belly, implicating emotional trauma for mothers who carry their passed baby, she introduced “Mickie’s Law”. The law would require, per the woman’s consent, providers to remove the dead fetus in a timely manner.

“I’ve really been at the forefront helping as many women as possible to be safe and understand that there are resources out there,” Rodneyse said. “Most recently, I opened up a health clinic and dedicated the second floor as a maternal health center.” After experiencing such a painful loss of her own, Rodneyse translated, and continues to translate, her experience into policies that will hopefully prevent the same thing from happening to other women. Knowing what she does now, Rodneyse has taken extra precautions with her current pregnancy. “I’m excited that I was able to get a second chance not only in life, but a second chance to give life.” We wish Rodneyse a healthy birth and smooth transition into motherhood, and we encourage our NYC mamas out there to join Rodneyse in the fight for equitable, transparent maternal healthcare!

New York FamilY partNer

The Kew-Forest School


Fostering a Community of Life-Long Learners

inding the right school for your child is no easy feat. Whether you’re embarking on your child’s educational journey as a pre-school parent, a highschool parent or somewhere in between, it’s important to find a school that fosters a lifetime of learning, a rich community, and offers incredible academic and extracurricular opportunities. Enter The Kew-Forest School, the oldest independent, coed, college preparatory school in Queens for students in preschool through grade 12, including international students. Opened in 1918, The Kew-Forest School is currently in their 105th year of education with an exciting new phase in its history, starting with their Campus Master Plan. According to Interim Head of School, Tiffany D. Trotter, this includes updates to its facilities, both internally and externally, as well as its curriculum, based on feedback from the school community. Students at The Kew-Forest School enjoy small classes with a 6-to-1 studentto-teacher ratio in the Middle & Upper School. Lower School students enjoy class sizes of 16 or less with experienced teachers holding advanced degrees. As a small school, students and teachers naturally form a tight-knit community. All seven classrooms of the Lower School are located on one floor where students see each other throughout the day. Community is also fostered at a young age via their Buddy System. Karin Bernstein, Head of Lower School, noted, “Every year, one grade is paired with students from another grade. This year, kindergarteners were paired with 4th graders. Throughout the year, students participate in Buddy Assemblies, encouraging crossgrade interaction and connection as they work together on enriching activities.” The rich community continues into the Middle School and Upper School. Michelle J. Vessio, Interim Head of Middle and Upper School, teacher, and alum noted “Since we are small, we can give quality feedback. We don’t just give a letter grade but go into detail about their work. We also get to know our students on an individual level both academically and personally.”

The curriculum in the Upper School provides a rigorous college preparatory academic program, along with cocurricular options. Michelle noted, “We are very student-centered and encourage students to take control of their own learning.” Students have a consistent Advanced Placement (AP) pass rate 20%+ over the national average. The Kew-Forest School also prepares its students for college, starting in 9th grade, with their college counseling curriculum. Incredibly, 100% of students are accepted to a wide range of four-year colleges and universities, including many top universities. Co-curricular offerings are also a dynamic part of The Kew-Forest School experience. Upper School students can participate in programs such as Model UN, Mock Trial, and the Science Research

Club. They also offer student-led clubs such as Games & Strategy, Film Club, American Mathematics Competition Club, and Anime, and sports including soccer, tennis, volleyball, and basketball. The Kew-Forest School offers an evergreen admission policy. Once families are enrolled, they can return and don’t have to apply again. Soraya Díaz Tamayo, Director of Admissions, noted some of the advantages from the recent pandemic. She added, “virtual events such as parent meetings and student interviews are staying, offering more accessibility to a broader range of families as well as virtual information sessions.” Additionally, the application is all online and features a personalized and user-friendly platform for tuition assistance. Interested in learning more? Attend an on-campus Open House. For Lower School (Preschool to Grade 5), the Open House will be held Saturday, Nov. 12, 1-3pm. For Middle & Upper School (Grades 6-12), the Open House will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, 1-3pm. To register for an Admissions Event, please visit kewforest.org/visit. The Kew-Forest School is located at 11917 Union Turnpike in Forest Hills, Queens. For more information, call 718-268-4667, visit kewforest.org or email admission@ kewforest.org

November 2022 | Queens Family


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By Jeannine Cintron & new york Family advertising Partners


or 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 NewYorkFamily.com all season long for TONS more holly jolly fun! HERSHEY’S Melted Hot Chocolate Hershey’s Chocolate World Times Square, 47th St & 7th Ave chocolateworld.com/locations/times-square.html 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. Santa Parade & Ribbon Cutting Queens Center Mall 90-15 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst, NY 11373 shopqueenscenter.com/Events/SantaParade November 19, from 1 PM to 3 PM, visit Level 3 of the Mall for our Santa Parade and Holiday Kick-Off event. There will be costumed characters, music, performances, and of course a visit from Santa! American Dream 1 American Dream Wy, East Rutherford, NJ www.americandream.com 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


NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022

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 finedining Italian by Carpaccio. This holiday season, you’ll also find tons of special events and activities that will truly be a dream for you and your family. Elf the Musical at Madison Theatre 1000 Hempstead Ave, Rockville Centre, NY 11570 (516) 323-4444 madisontheatreny.org Go to the Madison Theatre on December 17-23 for this holiday classic the whole family will enjoy! Elf the Musical is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back

to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toymaking abilities cause him to face the truth. Girl Scouts of Suffolk County’s Holiday Light Show and Enchanted Forest Smith Point County Park, Shirley Southaven County Park, Yaphank gssclightshow.org November 26 to December 30, the dazzling displays of Girl Scouts of Suffolk County’s Holiday Light Show are back and better than ever. This year, the celebration is offered as two family-fun experiences, the drivethru Holiday Light Show at Smith Point County Park in Shirley, and a new walkthru Enchanted Forest Holiday Village at Southaven County Park in Yaphank. Visit the website for tickets and early bird pricing.

New York FamilY partNer

Garden School


A Rich History and an Exciting Plan for the Future

arden School has transformed the lives of children in Queens since 1923, and they have ambitious plans as they head into its centennial. Garden’s story began in an apartment in the new neighborhood of Jackson Heights. Back then, northwest Queens, just two subway stops out of Manhattan, was bucolic and the school was the sole independent option. Fast forward 99 years and the sleepy neighborhood has become one of the most exciting and dynamic places on earth – the most diverse zip code in the nation. Through a century of dramatic change, the school has continued to meet the community’s evolving needs, remaining a relevant and vital partner. Garden was founded as a Country Day School and though much has changed around it, Garden is a stable and nurturing sanctuary in our bustling city, serving children in grades N-12. Walking by, you could miss the small campus that opens right into Travers Park. But beneath the cupola and inside the charming post-war main entrance, lies a school full of energetic students and an exciting team incubating new ideas. Garden is seething with entrepreneurship these days as they execute on their plan for the school’s future. Under new leadership, the school recently adopted a strategic plan that strikes an important balance – honoring the rich history of a 100-year tradition while seizing on the opportunity for growth. With an impressive college list, full of Ivies and top tier programs, and alumni who have made profound impacts on the world, the school has a lot to be proud of. Simultaneously, they are focused on ushering in a period of innovative practices, so students continue to thrive by pursuing interests and exploring talents in increasingly individualized ways. Garden’s recently adopted strategic plan called for new programs in Robotics and Engineering, and Visual and Performing Arts, along with growth in programs for Wellness and Athletics, World Languages, and a focus on what they call the “Three ‘I’s”, new coursework that is intentionally innovative, interdisciplinary, and immersive. This

program growth has enabled students to pursue passions, de-silo thinking, and collaborate while still filling up transcripts with AP classes in lab sciences, Calculus, and more. To bring this vision to life, the school has undertaken exciting capital projects, a renovation of their high school, the construction of the Mitchell Slater ’79 Fitness & Wellness Center, a beautiful student lounge, the Michael Ricatto ’74 Science Lab, and the addition of new tech tools to enhance teaching and learning. They recently received a prestigious EE Ford Grant to fund the redesign of all Visual and Performing Arts spaces. Work begins this spring with several new studios opening for the start of Garden’s centennial year. When asked about Garden’s progress, their Head of School, Chris Herman, said, “This is Garden’s Renaissance. We were

once known as the ‘best kept secret in Queens’ and now we are taking our rightful place as the school where serious students come to thrive, serious artists come to create, serious athletes come to compete, and where serious educators come to make a deep and meaningful impact.” Garden School has been featured by several high-profile organizations for its business model – one which funds progress but keeps tuition at half the cost of a typical NYC independent education. This is built on a foundation of auxiliary programs, deep community ties, and partnerships. With a legacy of decades of accessibility for families from the most diverse communities, this school’s commitment to access and diversity remains a backbone of its ethos. Contact Kat Sullivan, Director of Enrollment Managing and Marketing at 718-335-6363 admissions@gardenschool.org

November 2022 | Queens Family


family day out

NYC Art Museums A pArents guide to nAvigAting them with kids

By Kaitlyn Riggio & Donna DuaRte-laDD


e 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 representatives (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 metmuseum.org 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


NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022

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 moma.org 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 committed 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 whitney.org 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, guggenheim.org 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

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 mcny.org 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.

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 frick.org 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 brooklynmuseum.org Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm The Brooklyn Museum’s mission is to

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 bronxmuseum.org 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 Tenderness: 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 newmuseum.org 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 Family Day, don’t worry: entry to the New Museum 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 | Queens Family


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 By Cris Pearlstein


ull 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 forget, 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 editor powerhouse, and why she never lets a day


NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022

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 Program 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 consequences 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 having 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 function of age, and again, the journey of continuing to know your worth, right? When I went into

Photo by Yumi Matsuo

that interview with Cosmo, I was very self assured 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 celebratory 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 Newyorkfamily.com. November 2022 | Queens Family


calendar By Shara Levine

Learn about bears and more at Pajama Story Time at the Queens Zoo on Nov. 4.

Queens Pajama Story Time: Parrots, Bears and LLamas Oh My! - Loros, osos, y llama oh mi! WHEN: Friday, Nov. 4, 5-8pm WHERE: Queens Zoo, 53-51 111th Street, Corona AGES: 3 and older WHAT: Have fun learning about the animals of Latin America, meet some up-close, and create your own animal mask! WANT TO GO?: $20; $16 members. 800-433-4149, queenszoo.com

Diwali Festival WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 5, 11am WHERE: Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd, Flushing AGES: All


WHAT: Celebrate Diwali at this festival and dance party where you’ll learn traditional and contemporary dance moves, explore rangoli design, taste Indian foods, discover ayurvedic treatments and more. WANT TO GO?: $15; $10 Members & Children. 718-4637700, flushingtownhall.org

Día De Muertos: Mexican Myth, Legend & Ancestry WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 6, 3pm WHERE: Kupferberg Center for the Arts, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Queens AGES: All WHAT: This bilingual, family friendly, interactive multimedia performance interweaves traditional Mexican music and dance with stories, myths, and

NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022

legends. WANT TO GO?: $15. 718-7938080, kupferbergcenter.org

Autumn Dance Celebration WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 13, Farm grounds & Native American Craft Market, 11am-4pm; Dance performances, 2-3:30pm WHERE: Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate American Indian Culture through music and dance! WANT TO GO?: FREE admission to Farm Grounds & Market; Tickets required for performances. Online tickets: $15; $10 ages 4-11. 718-3473276, queensfarm.org

Hands-On History: Queens Hip-Hop WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 19, 1-4pm WHERE: King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica AGES: All WHAT: For National HipHop Month, the museum will be celebrating several ‘90s Queens hip-hop artists with music, craft microphonemaking, and take-home trading cards! WANT TO GO?: 718-206-0545, kingmanor.org

Pre-Thanksgiving Nature Walk WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 20, 1-2:30pm WHERE: Alley Pond Environmental Center, 224-65



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76th Ave., Oakland Gardens AGES: All WHAT: Take some time to unplug and be grateful for family, nature, and all things close to your heart. WANT TO GO?: $15. 718-2294000, alleypond.org

Amaze Light Festival WHEN: Nov. 20 - Jan. 8, 4-10pm WHERE: Citi Field, 120-01 Roosevelt Ave., Corona AGES: All WHAT: This all-immersive storybook experience highlights five-themed worlds of displays and activities with 3D lighted decor and photo opportunities around every corner from dancing with festive trees to holiday music and dynamic live performances. WANT TO GO?: $44; $36 child. VIP: $94; $86 child, amazelightfestival.com

MANHATTAN 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, bigapplecircus.com

Celebrate Día De Muertos at Kupferberg Center for the Arts on Nov. 6. 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?: macys.com/ social/parade

BRONX 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, bronxzoo.com

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

The Queens County Farm Museum holds its Autumn Dance Celebration on Nov. 13.


NewYorkFamily.com | November 2022

ages 2-12; free admission for children younger than 2. 718817-8700, nybg.org

BROOKLYN Sixteenth Annual Brooklyn Children’s Book Fair WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 13, 11am-4pm WHERE: Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights AGES: All WHAT: From picture books to graphic novels and from preschool through the middle grades, children can enjoy a chat with an author or illustrator, get a book signed, and have fun drawing and coloring. WANT TO GO?: 718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org

Lightscape WHEN: Nov. 16 - Jan. 8, Open from 4:30-8:45pm. See website for exact dates. Closed November 21-22, 24, 28-29; December 5-7, 12, and 25; and January 3. WHERE: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Crown Heights AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate the beauty of nature in winter with family and friends on an enchanting trail featuring over a million dazzling lights. WANT TO GO?: $40; $20 ages 3-12; free for children younger than 3. 718-623-7200, bbg.org.

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