New York Family - April 2023

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April 2023 established 1986



Registration is now open for all YMCA Summer Day Camps at dozens of ��������������������������������������������������We’ve got camps for every child, including traditional camp and specialty camps offering everything from sports to STEAM! Swimming is available at most camps, and we’ll work with each camper to strengthen their swimming ability during their time at camp.


• Talented and experienced staff

• Amazing and uplifting camp spirit

• Healthy and clean environments

• Instructional swim lessons

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Plan the Best Spring Break Ever at American Dream

With Spring Break right around the corner, now is the time to start planning your travel itinerary. We have details on a one-of-a-kind destination that has something for everyone at every price point: American Dream!

This 3-million-square-foot entertainment retail center is just a few miles outside of NYC, located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. You’ll find world-class shopping, divine dining, unique birthday options, DreamWorks Water Park, Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park, and many more exciting attractions to explore. Plus, you can save big with the Spring Break Pass. Experience the magic of American Dream from April 1–May 12 for $165, which includes admission to the theme park and water park, an exclusive combo meal gift card, and a gift shop discount.

Don’t have time to map out a visit? We’ve created some sample itineraries so you can focus on making memories that last.

Spring Break Fun For Energetic Little Ones

Do you have children in preschool or kindergarten? We know how challenging it can be to plan a trip with little kids. Skip the stress with this toddler-friendly game plan:

11:30am: Fuel up for your jam-packed day with coffee and donuts from Dunkin’!

12pm: Get your thrills at the nation’s largest indoor theme park, Nickelodeon Universe, with plenty of rides and entertainment for the little ones.

2pm: Stop in for a delicious lunch at Five Guys.

3pm: Take a spin on the only observation ferris wheel in New Jersey, the Dream Wheel, which offers stunning views of NYC and fun experiences for the whole family.

4pm: Keep the energy up at IT’Sugar, the world’s first and only candy department store.

4:30pm: Shop Abercrombie Kids for all the little one’s clothing needs.

5pm: Head back to the city after a long day of family fun!

Spring Break Adventures With Your

Teens and Pre-Teens

Bigger kids in middle school and high

school are always looking for the next social-media worthy adventure. American Dream has plenty in store for the older kids crowd. From immersive rides to thought-provoking games, here’s your family itinerary for big kids and teens:

12pm: Satisfy your cravings at the only physical MrBeast Burger in the world, founded by the most popular YouTuber of all time, MrBeast!

1pm: Experience splashy fun at North America’s largest indoor water park, DreamWorks Water Park, with recordbreaking slides guaranteed to be a blast!

4pm: Speaking of blast, be sure to stop by Blast 7D, the world’s first fully interactive and fully immersive 7D ride!

5pm: Stock up on the latest fashion trends at the best prices at Primark.

6pm: Top off the day with a fun family activity at The Escape Game, where you will work together to find clues, solve puzzles, and ultimately complete a mission!

7pm: Head back to the city after your adventure-filled day!

Eats, Treats, and Retail-Therapy for Parents (Plus, An Attraction or Two)

If your game plan is to drop the kids at the parks and treat yourself to a day of shopping and dining, American Dream boasts some of the best stores and restaurant experiences in the country. Foodies, rejoice. This itinerary is great for parents traveling solo to enjoy some coveted “me time”:

10am: Fuel up for your jam-packed day with a coffee or refresher from Starbucks or Cortaditos.

10:30am: Shop the largest Primark on the East Coast- there’s something for everyone in the family!

11am: Stock up on basic essentials at Old Navy.

12pm: Satisfy your cravings at House of ‘Que, an authentic Austin barbecue restaurant that prepares their BBQ Texasstyle and provides fun entertainment with dueling pianos, country music, and sports game streaming.

2pm: Get your thrills at the largest indoor theme park, Nickelodeon Universe, with plenty of rides and entertainment that the whole family will love.

5pm: Challenge your putting skills at Angry Birds Mini Golf.

6pm: Treat yourselves to an elevated fare at Carpaccio, an Italian restaurant that offers traditional recipes revisited in a contemporary style where culinary techniques and simplicity of the ingredients merge to make the dishes enjoyable at the table!

8pm: Finish the day with something sweet from Lucciano’s, which serves the most delicious flavors and the finest artisanal experience.

Birthday Fun! Is your child’s birthday happening during the break? Get the kids together at one of American Dream’s famous attractions. Check out their birthday packages at americandream. com/birthdays!

Visit American Dream at 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073. For details on ground transportation, head over to

April 2023 | New York Family 3 NEW YORK FAMILY PARTNER

pg. 32


8 | Safety

e-Dangers: What to know about safely storing e-bikes and e-scooters and tips for the best way to charge lithium-ion batteries

10 | Spring

This season’s bucket list

48 | cover New York Family’s ultimate guide to birdwatching

SToRiES & colUmn S

6 | editor’s letter

14 | education

Bilingual education for kids

20 | n eighborhoods

Exploring Midtown — come to the center of it all, for an afternoon or a staycation

pg. 48

22 | c amp

New York Family partners tell us why camp is for everyone

24 | Spotlight

Katya libin, holistic leadership coach, advisor, and founder of K l &Co on offering support

28 | Travel Family fun aboard the MSC Meraviglia

Th E S pE ci A l child

32 | Special child

When the next step is an i Ep

34 | m om Stories

Things you may not know about that special needs parent

36 | Special child

6 ways to support siblings of kids with special needs

38 | Special child

learning disabilities in children — what parents need to know

pg. 10

pg. 56 pg. 14

42 | Special child

The benefits of horse therapy

44 | Special child

10 kids’ books starring protagonists with special Needs

46 | Special n eeds listings

FA mily F U n

56 | c alendar

Fun events and activities for April

58 | family Day o ut

Catch the Orchid Show in its 20th year

d i RE c To R i ES

18 | Bilingual listings

46 | Special n eeds listings

on The cover

Illustration: Beatrice.S.Hug |

Photo: Getty Images

Cover Story Written by: Barbara Russo

April 2023 April 2023



Advantage Day Camp—best day camp in NYC!

• Every kind of fun imaginable, for campers 5 to 14

• Arts & crafts, gym & field sports, enrichment, STEAM, chess, robotics, tennis, swimming (East Side) & more!

• Full days – Upper East & East Side

Advantage Junior Tennis Camp— best tennis camp in NYC!

• Players 7 to 17 focus on tennis, up close & all summer long!

• Drills, games & match play

• Full days – East Side, Half-days – West Side

Advantage QuickStart Tennis Camp— best introduction to tennis ever!

• Customized by age & ability, for campers 5 to 8

• Friendly atmosphere, specialized instruction

• Half-days – Upper East, East & West Side

Add on an afternoon of fun at the East Side/Roosevelt Island or Upper East Side/ Wagner Middle School Camps!

Exciting partners for 2023!

• Rigorous safety measures at all locations

• Flexibility – chose your week or individual days with a 10-pack** (Day Camps only)

• Convenience – full day camps enjoy early drop-off & late pickup at no extra charge! Pick your Camp. Pick your location.

Choose East Side/Roosevelt Island, West Side/Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club or Upper East Side/Wagner Middle School. Quick & easy to reach NYC locations!

Contact Bob Ingersole at or 212.935.0250

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April 2023 | New York Family 5
**Must be paid in full at sign up.

Birds of a Feather

This month we are all about guides and lists. Whether you’re wondering When the Next Step is an IEP (page 32), The Benefits of Horse Therapy (page 42), or 6 Ways to Support Siblings of Kids with Special Needs (page 36), we have these and other helpful articles in our Special Child Resource Guide that can be found starting on page 31.

Many of our kids have e-devices. Read up on What to Know about Safely Storing E-bikes and E-scooters (page 8.)

Check out our Spring Bucket List (page 10)! From rollerskating at Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace, to visiting Janes Carousel, to

heading to Coney Island — we are chock full of ideas for seasonal fun.

Lastly, while people travel worldwide to Birdwatch (page 48), many of us have been flocking (hee, hee) outdoors here in New York to check out the eclectic array of birds in our parks. And we’re here for it! This month’s cover features some of NYC’s best places to see birds. Our guide, written by NYF editor and lover of all birds and bunnies Barbara Russo, breaks down by park and which species can be found there. Enjoy!

Pu B li S her: Clifford luster

e xecuTive Direc Tor: Donna Duarte- l add

aSSociaTe Pu B li S her: Erin Brof

aDver Ti S ing Direc Tor: Stacie Goldberg

DePuT y eDiTor: Jeannine Cintron

DigiTal eDiTor: Kaitlyn riggio

e venTS manager: Shara levine

r e P or Ter: Barbara russo

Senior aDvi S er: Susan Weiss

Par Tner S hi P manager S :

l auren Alperin, l auren Anchin, Joan Bergman, Mary Cassidy, Chris Cunnington, lori Falco, Shelli

Goldberg-peck, lynnMarie Hanley, lisa

Herlihy, Janine Mulé, Cara roteman, Nina Spiegelman, Gwen Tomaselli

marke Ting & S TraTegy Direc Tor: rosalia Bobé

Sale S & marke Ting coor D inaTor: Mykael Fields

marke Ting aSS i STanT: Tilejah Gilead

ar T Direc Tor: leah Mitch

we B Develo P er: Sylvan Migdal

g raP hic De S igner S : Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti

eD iTor S aT large:

Serena Norr, Cris pearlstein

eD iTorial conTri B uTor S : Jana Beauchamp, Mia Salas

eD iTorial i nTern S : Bailey Germain, Brian Zhang

conTAc T inFoRm ATion

aDver Ti S ing : (718) 260-4554

circulaTion: (718) 260-8336

aDD re SS :

New York Family Media/Schneps Media

1 MetroTech Center North, Third Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201

Pre S i D enT: Victoria Schneps-Yunis

ceo : Joshua Schneps

coo : Clifford luster

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

New York Family is published monthly by Queens Family Media, LLC. Reproduction of New York Family Media in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. All rights reserved. ©2023 Queens Family Media, LLC

6 | April 2023 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
n ina g allo Photography 2022
April 2023 | New York Family 7 Experience
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Almost everywhere you look in NYC, someone uses an e-bike or e-scooter. Despite their popularity among New Yorkers of all ages, these devices contain lithiumion batteries that have caused a recent rash of raging, damaging — and in some cases deadly — fires around the city. You may be surprised to learn this, but you may have gear in your home that is being charged by lithium-ion batteries. As parents buy more e-scooters and VR systems for their kids — awareness of these batteries is a first step (for example, we had no idea we had one in our own home and only checked while this article was being written.) If you have an e-bike or e-scooter, knowing how to store them and charge their batteries safely is key to keeping your family and others safe.

What is a Lithium-ion Battery?

A lithium-ion battery is a type of energetic, rechargeable battery. They’re very popular lately because they have some advantages over other batteries. They’re lighter than other types of rechargeable batteries, they hold their charge and can handle hundreds of charge/discharge cycles. Certain smartphones and smart devices contain lithium-ion batteries, but e-bikes and e-scooters pose the biggest and most concerning threat when it comes to fire.

The problem with these batteries is that they store a large amount of energy in a small amount of space. When batteries aren’t used the right way, or if they’re defective, they can be quite dangerous, fire officials say. They can overheat, catch fire or even explode. When fires like this occur, they burn very hot and are difficult for firefighters to extinguish.

“They take a lot of amperage. Most people don’t have a 20-amp outlet that it needs for the charging, Stephen Berger, a volunteer firefighter and former fire chief from Nassau County, said. “So, the mistake people make

is they think it’s like a regular battery where you have a regular 15-amp outlet and charge it overnight. Then, it overheats and catches fire.”

E-bikes and similar devices still need to be charged in order to be used, of course. But it’s important to do so correctly and safely. For starters, never leave a charging device unattended.

“If you’re going to charge a lithium battery for an electric scooter or bike, charge it someplace where you can observe it. It should not be left unattended,” Berger said.

The dangers of lithium-ion batteries aren’t going unnoticed by lawmakers and authorities in city government. Officials including FDNY commissioner Laura Kavanagh are advocating for better regulation of e-bikes and e-scooters.

How to Safely Store e-Bikes and Charge Lithium-Ion Batteries

Fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters happen with some regularity. In fact, the FDNY reported more than 130 such fires in 2022, and the numbers are rising. Electric bike batteries were the cause of several recent fires in NYC this year, too.

“Lithium-ion batteries power many of the products we use in our daily lives, by and large functioning without issue,” Brian O’Connor, a technical services engineer at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), said. “At the same time, lithium-ion batteries do pose potential fire risks, so it’s important to use and maintain them properly, and to be able to recognize signs of malfunction. That level of awareness can go a long way toward minimizing the likelihood of a fire.”

Fire prevention experts also recommend charging your e-bike or e-scooter outside the house.

“They don’t recommend you charge it

inside the house, if possible. But if you do bring it in, sit there and watch it,” Berger explained.

Additional Safety Tips for Charging

Lithium-Ion Batteries:

The NFPA recommends these safety tips for charging e-bikes, e-scooters and similar devices with lithium-ion batteries:

• Purchase and use devices that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.

• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Only use the battery that is designed for the device.

• Put batteries in the device the right way.

• Only use the charging cord that came with the device.

• Do not charge a device under your pillow or on your bed or couch.

• Do not keep charging the device or device battery after it is fully charged.

• Keep batteries at room temperature when possible. Do not charge them at temperatures below 32°F (0°C) or above 105°F (40°C).

• Store batteries away from anything that can catch fire.

Additional Resources

The NFPA says to stop using a battery if you notice an odor, change in color, too much heat, change in shape, leaking or odd noises. If it’s safe to do so, move the device away from anything that can catch fire and call 911.

Never throw lithium-ion batteries in the trash. Take them to a battery recycling location. The NYC Department of Sanitation website has a lot of information on how to safely and legally dispose of batteries.

For more information about e-bike and fire prevention safety, visit or nfpa. org.

8 | April 2023
What to know about safely storing e-bikes and e-scooters and tips for the best way to charge lithium-ion batteries

Every age. Every stage. At East 53rd Street, we’re here for you.

Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health has a new home in Midtown.

At our new state-of-the-art facility, you’ll find top-quality care through every stage of life, from routine primary and OB/GYN care to cardiology, gastroenterology, dermatology, and other specialties.

We take a special interest in the complex OB/GYN needs of our patients at our centers dedicated to Midlife Health & Menopause, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Fertility, and Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Also, we provide on-site imaging services, including mammography, ultrasound, and bone density testing.

One convenient location in Midtown Manhattan, dedicated to meeting the many health needs of women. Make an appointment at

We are located at: 159 East 53rd Street New York, NY 10022

April 2023 | New York Family 9 #1 Hospital in New York, and Nationally Ranked in 14 Adult Specialties

Spring Bucket List �023

Spring brings a little step to us New Yorkers. It is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors such as strolling on one of our majestic bridges or heading indoors and visiting one of New York’s many iconic cultural institutions. The best part is you can mix it up with some of the many free things New york has to offer-Happy Spring!

1. Spend a morning at the New York Botanical Garden and roam the outdoor gardens and collections, including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden for *Free* on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

2 . Head to Goshen, NY and enjoy the Spring season of Legoland New York, now a

Certified Autism Center.

3. Long Island City, Queens is home to MoMA PS1’s where you’ll find current exhibitions, performances, events and more. Admission is FREE for all New York residents and suggested $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.

4 . Spend the day enjoying exhibitions, immersive experience, butterflies and more at the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation new exhibition. Opening this Spring, check website.

5. Enjoy Long Island’s Vanderbilt Museum in Long Island and enjoy the estate exploring the Memorial Wing, Habitat Wing, Nursery Wing and Hall of Fishes.

6 . Not traveling to another country anytime soon? Not a problem, head to The Met Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park with a gorgeous view of the Hudson River. You’ll be captivated by medieval art, renaissance Europe and more at this beautiful museum.

7. Check out the Cherry Blossoms throughout the city in spots such as Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Riverside Park, Central Park, and the famous New York Botanical Garden Cherry Blossoms Tree.

8 . Head to the Top of the Rock, where even the most seasoned New Yorker will be in awe of the views.

9. Walk over to Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, and enjoy a free Highline tour. Visit site for days and hours.

10 | April 2023
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10. Swap those ice skates for roller skates when Flipper’s Roller Boogie Palace takes over The Rink at Rockefeller Center for the warmer months.

11. Go bird watching in New York- we show and share what birds you may see in this issue!

12 . Jump on a ferry for the full New York experience and head to Brooklyn Bridge Park -don’t forget to visit Janes Carousel, have a picnic, and take a selfie with the bridge as a background.

13. Head to Coney Island for a wild day! See live sharks at the New York Aquarium and stop to ride the Cyclone on your way home.

14 . Tour real Naval ships and meet our country’s Armed Forces members during Fleet Week, which kicks off just before Memorial Day Weekend.

15. Travel to the islands! And by “islands,” we mean Roosevelt Island, Governors

Island, and Little Island. Have a barbeque at Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island, visit The Yard for unique unstructured play on Governors Island, and see the flowers in bloom on Little Island.

16 . New York has the best ice cream ( we love Oddfellows Ice Cream and Mikey Loves Ice Cream to name a few); grab a scoop and enjoy the city.

17. Walk through the streets of DUMBO and discover the diverse art. From the famed DUMBO Walls to the stained glass Watertower sculpture on top of 20 Jay Street, there is something to discover at almost every turn.

18 . Spend the day at Books of Wonder at 18 W.18th St with the most exquisite and curated children’s books

19. Enjoy one of the unique carousels in New York of fiberglass fish illuminated with color-changing LED light fixtures. The SeaGlass carousel is at the Battery

Conservancy, located at the park’s southern end.

20. Go wild at the Bronx Zoo when you visit with animals from around the world! Plus, take in unparalleled views of the park when you add the Nature Trek to your visit filled with wooden bridges and tunnels to cross.

21. Whether you live near or make a day trip of it, head to Shadmoor State Park in Montauk features a vast ocean, hiking trails, birdwatching-pack a picnic and enjoy.

22 . Spend the day at Far Rockaway Beach and enjoy the boardwalk; bring your skater (and safety gear)- enjoy the 15,700 square feet concrete park of stairs, rails, ledges and more.

23. Visit waterfalls in Central Park-there are five in total and you can find them in the Ravine, which is the stream valley section of the North Woods.

12 | April 2023
spring bucket list For more Informa ti on emai l: Kids Low tuition • No previous German necessary • Minimum age: 6 years • Manhattan location: Upper East Side • Locations also in Franklin Square • and Garden City (Long Island) German is for Everyone! After-School Program NY State Accredited Language Program ww w.G erman-American-S Welcome to German-American School Accredited For more Information email: Manhattan location: Upper East Side also Franklin t (Long German is for Everyone! Welcome to German-American School
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Bilingual Education for Kids

What parents need to know

As New York parents, we’re all too familiar with the many options for school. We know how overwhelming (and time-consuming) it can be to research the different options and find out what would work best for your child. That’s why we’re coming in clutch with your guide to all things bilingual education!

Bilingual education has become increasingly popular in New York and beyond, so we’ve got the scoop on why that is and how some of these programs are structured. If you’re considering sending your children to a school with a bilingual program, stop the oh-so-exhausting research process now and check out our brief (but informative, as always) summary about what to expect. Read on to find out if bilingual education is for your family.

History of Bilingual Education in New York

Bilingual education has been around for quite some time now. Private schools each have their own founding stories, many dating back to the early 20th century. But as for bilingual programs in New York public schools, bilingual and ESL education appeared in 1974 following a lawsuit against the NYC’s Board of Education for failing to educate Puerto Rican students with limited English skills. Since the implementation of the Aspira Consent Decree, New York ESL and Bilingual programs have expanded to serve students speaking over 145 languages. While bilingual education began primarily as a way for kids who speak their native language at home to learn English, it has since become attractive to parents of kids who already speak English natively. Why? Keep reading to find out!

Why Bilingual Education?

You may be wondering what all the hype is about bilingual education anyway. First and

foremost, bilingual learning not only connects students with another language but with that language’s culture as well. We all want to see our children grow into well-rounded adults with a strong education, but we also want them to accept difference, celebrate diversity, promote inclusion, and craft an open mind. Bilingual education shows kids from an early age that their own language and culture is not the only one, and it broadens their perspective from New York to the greater world in which we are all a part of.

Not only do kids develop more inclusive views early on, but bilingual education instills empathy. Think about this: your child is learning to speak both English and Italian.

All of their friends at school are too, but some of their friends in their neighborhood at home don’t go to a bilingual school. So your child has to think about this, and then decide to use English when communicating with these friends: in other words, they have to think about others before thinking about themself. While this quick decision-making process may seem trivial, it kick starts empathy, collaboration, and social emotional skills from a young age.

And finally, studies have shown that bilingual education accelerates and improves many academic skills (extending well beyond the classroom), such as reading levels, problemsolving, math competency, creative thinking,

14 | April 2023
April 2023 | New York Family 15 646 410 2238 #beyondbilingual Elementary & Middle School 1st Grade-8th Grade 111 East 22nd Street New York, NY 10010 Maternelle Pre-Nursery-Kindergarten 206 5th Avenue New York, NY 10010 The École is an independent, French-American bilingual school serving an international community of Maternelle-to-Middle School students in New York City’s Flatiron District. Contact us if you want to set up a private tour!

and more. Part of this is because learning two languages at once sharpens their memory, but it’s also because learning two languages shows kids that there is more than one way to approach something. Much like their decision to speak either language based on their situational context, they’ll likely look at challenges in the same way, whether that means coming up with multiple ways to build something STEM related or thinking about solving a math problem on a test in numerous ways.

Types of Bilingual Education

Now that we’ve covered our bases on why bilingual education is so popular let’s go over the types of bilingual education because there are even subcategories within the categories when it comes to New York education.

Public vs. Private : The first decision you have to make is whether you want to send your kids to a public or private bilingual school. Before that, you should consider what foreign language you want your kids to learn. Public schools offer many English-Spanish programs, but if you’re looking for Italian, German, or French bilingual education, you’ll

likely have more options with private schools. This isn’t to say that you can’t find programs with these languages in public schools: many public schools offer Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Bengali, French, and more. But the catch is that you’ll have to apply to attend that school if you don’t live in that district. As for private schools, your kids will likely have more focused attention on them and their language learning because of the smaller number of students. Many bilingual private schools have two teachers in every classroom — one who natively speaks English, and the other who natively speaks the other language that the school teaches. Both public and private schools have their pros, but if you are hesitant to browse private schools because of financial circumstances, be sure to check

out their admissions pages first. Many New York private bilingual schools offer generous financial aid and scholarships, so don’t let this deter you!

English as a Second Language vs. Dual Language : Does your child speak another language at home and you want them to learn English through school? If yes, then English as a Second Language (ESL) is the bilingual education format you want. If your goal is for your child to learn two languages simultaneously (half instruction in one language and half in another language), then Dual Language is the right fit.

Hopefully, this guide summed up bilingual education for you. If you’re considering sending your little one to a bilingual school.

16 | April 2023
Studies have shown that bilingual education accelerates and improves many academic skills (extending well beyond the classroom), such as reading levels, problem-solving, math competency, creative thinking, and more.
Previous knowledge of French is not needed for Nursery, PreK or Kindergarten.

having fun is a must, learning chinese is a PLUS!

having fun is a must, learning chinese is a PLUS!

having fun is a must, learning chinese is a PLUS!



把握时机学中文, 博学多语高一等!

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In our fun and engaging, 100% immersive Chinese classroom environment, your child will

In our fun and engaging, 100% immersive Chinese classroom environment, your child will

• achieve Mandarin fluency and speak like a native speaker

In our fun and engaging, 100% immersive Chinese classroom environment, your child will

• achieve Mandarin fluency and speak like a native speaker

• be confident to use Mandarin in real-life situations

• achieve Mandarin fluency and speak like a native speaker

• be confident to use Mandarin in real-life situations

• receive personalized attention with our low student-to-teacher ratios

• be confident to use Mandarin in real-life situations

• receive personalized attention with our low student-to-teacher ratios

• receive personalized attention with our low student-to-teacher ratios

adult and me • preschool prep

adult and me • preschool prep

preschool alternatives

preschool alternatives

afterschool core language classes




summer camp

summer camp

adult and me • preschool prep • preschool alternatives afterschool core language classes







April 2023 | New York Family 17
401 West End Avenue (80th Street) New York
1556 Third Avenue (87th Street) New
pinyin creative writing
NY 10024
York NY 10128
401 West End Avenue (80th Street) New York NY 10024 1556 Third Avenue (87th Street) New York NY 10128
• summer
creative writing
cooking •
• pinyin creative
401 West End Avenue (80th Street) New York NY 10024 1556 Third Avenue (87th Street) New York NY 10128
afterschool core language classes

china i nstitute children’s Program

100 Washington Street, New York, NY, 10006

Zeyu Feng: zfeng@

China institute advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, art, and business. China institute is the go-to resource on China—from ancient art to today’s business landscape and its rapidly shifting culture. Our programs, school, and gallery exhibitions bring to life the depth, complexity and dynamism of China.

collina i taliana i talian

l anguage and cultural center

1556 Third Avenue, Suite 602603, New York, NY 212-427-7770

At Collina italiana, the benefits of learning a foreign language are coupled with the passion of their native italian instructors to take your child on a beautiful journey with the italian language and culture. As an

immersive experience for kids of all language competency levels, summer camp is the perfect place to start. Children (ages 3-10) learn italian through games, music, dance, and much more. Can’t make it to camp? privates and group classes are available year-round!

The École

111 East 22nd Street New York, NY 10010 | 206 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010

located in New York’s vibrant Flatiron District, The École is an intimate and independent French-American school that cultivates an internationallyminded community of students from Maternelle to Middle School. At The École, the goal of education is to develop well-informed, well-rounded, responsible and compassionate students who can create and connect to a world filled with possibilities. This belief is at the heart of their uniquelydesigned bilingual program, in which students learn to not just speak, read, and write in two languages, but also to think,

feel, and act in ways that are informed by two cultures.

g erman a merican School

6 E 87th St #6F, New York, NY

German-American School offers an accredited after-school language program. The school has been teaching German since 1892 when it focused on children of German immigrants. Today it teaches children of all ethnicities.Students graduate with the NY State regents (Fl AC) exam. They also offer Ap German.

lycee francais de n ew york

505 East 75th Street 212-369-1400

la joie means joy in French, joy in learning and joy in growing at one of NYC’s (and the world’s) most renowned bilingual schools: lycée Français de New York. in Nursery, pre-K and Kindergarten, each class is taught by both a French-speaking and an English-speaking teacher throughout the day. preschoolers learn skills in reading, math


and writing; and self-expression through art, music, and movement---in French and in English, with plenty of time for play. Getting an early start makes all the difference in new language acquisition, and children (and families!) with no previous knowledge of French are welcome across their preschool.

Planet h an

401 West End Ave., New York, NY

1556 Third Ave., New York, NY 212-724-2421

irene Coeny, Director

Since 2010, planet Han has made learning Mandarin fun for students in a fun and engaging,100% immersive classroom environment. Their proven Model-Action-Talk approach grows with your child. The school works to personalize each student’s learning experience so they continue to learn and thrive in Mandarin Chinese as they grow. Your child will achieve Mandarin fluency and speak like a native speaker, giving them the ability to communicate with Chinese speakers anywhere in the world!

18 | April 2023 Biling UA l Ed U c AT ion d i RE c T o R y | Special Advertising Supplement
per bambini?
Summer Camp
(ages 3-10) learn about all things Italian through games, music, dance, and many other educational activities in a fun and engrossing atmosphere!
Full-day (9am-3pm) and half-day (9am-12pm) options available. 1556 3rd Ave, Ste 602-603, NY 10128 • (212)427-7770 • •
we teach children Italian,
benefit from increased brain power, memory and critical thinking skills. And they discover the art,
and literature of
bellissima Italian culture!
Italian? Can't make it to camp? Private lessons, workshops, and more are offered year-round and offer flexible scheduling!
Si, si! Mini

Exploring Midtown

Midtown Manhattan is a unique neighborhood that has mostly been known as more of a business area but has become quite popular as a residential area. Explore the neighborhood, museums, theaters, and snack on fresh doughnuts available 24/7! Whether you stay nearby or hop on the train to play tourist, you’ll enjoy easy access to so many fun things to do with midtown as your starting point.


11 West 53 Street

Bring your little art lovers to explore modern and contemporary art at one of the most influential museums in the world. Children are invited to plug in to an audio guide made just for them where they can learn about what they’ll see in the galleries. Feeling inspired to create? Head to the Art Lab to draw, design emojis, work with wires, and more.

American Girl New York City

75 Rockefeller Plaza

Whether you’re looking to have a proper tea or just want to get dolled up, American Girl New York offers your child exclusive opportunities to dine, paint, and create with or without an American Girl doll.

The LEGO® Store Fifth Avenue

636 5th Ave.

LEGO fans of all ages will want to take their time exploring this 7,175 sq. ft, two-storey flagship store. Get an up close look at iconic New York City landmarks that have been given the LEGO treatment, examine The Tree of Discovery to find hidden details and secrets, bring your builds to life in The Brick Lab, interact with Lady Liberty, and so much more.


928 8th Avenue

Walk over a few avenues to this interactive and immersive museum dedicated to spycraft. You’ll have to avoid tripping lasers, pass a lie detector test, decode messages, solve puzzles and more. At the end of your visit you’ll come away with a personal profile assessing your skills and spy potential. Older kids will feel like James Bond after a visit to this museum.

Krispy Kreme Times Square

1601 Broadway

Not only will you be able to try these famed Original Glazed Doughnuts, but you’ll get to see how they’re made too! Put on a paper Krispy Kreme hat and watch the doughnut making process from start to finish.

Central Park

From midtown head to Columbus Circle (59th Street and 8th Ave)

Just north of midtown you’ll find that this iconic park has something for everyone: The Central Park Zoo, the Carousel, ice skating at Wollman Rink, boating, 21 playgrounds, and so much more. Pack a picnic and take your time to discover what this ultimate urban oasis has to offer.

Lincoln Center

20 Lincoln Center Plaza

Just a quick train ride away to the Upper West Side is Lincoln Center — the world’s leading performing arts center. Here you will fnd an array of events throughout the year from music, theater, dance, film, and more. Be sure to check their website for their series of family friendly performances.

Where to stay

Thompson Central Park New York

119 West 56th Street

The Thompson Central Park New York is a perfect spot to explore NYC with its proximity to the subway. The staff is very friendly and the check-in process is quick. The rooms are beautifully furnished and include fun details like a retro-designed radio. Kids will love gazing out the window and checking out the hustle and bustle of the city. Beds are plush, robes are cozy, aromatic bath amenities and skin care products, and in-room Nespresso machine are all welcomed amenities. Feeling hungry? The hotel has three restaurants on-site in addition to 24hour room service.

20 | April 2023
Come to the center of it all, for an afternoon or a staycation
Thompson Central Park New York Lego Store Fifth Avenue
April 2023 | New York Family 21 MARCH 4 - APRIL 30 8 WEEKS ONLY! “You have to love a family show that makes adults laugh, too.” “perfect for everyone” ® A Hilarious Heartfelt Family Adventure REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF DAV PILKEY TELECHARGE.COM 212-239-6200 DOGMANTHEMUSICAL.COM New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St.


Why Choose Camp?

New York Family partners tell us why camp is for everyone

With summer fast approaching, the time is now to find the perfect camp for your child where they will have the opportunity to grow on an individual and social level. We asked some of our partner camps why parents should consider a summer program for their child this year. Here’s what they had to say!

Why send a child to summer camp?

“Summer is the perfect time for kids to try something new and creative! It’s a time to give kids a chance to develop other interests outside of school and stimulate their minds in inventive ways.”

“Parents should consider sending their child to summer camp as another way to grow and learn. Like-minded campers bond through academic activities, physical activities, or random creative activities! As we have all learned through the pandemic years, there is no substitute for a child’s social interaction with their peers. Summer camp is one of the best ways to cultivate that interaction.”

“Students can lose up to 40% of what they learned over the course of the school year during the summer months. Camp

allows students the advantage of engaging academically and socially, giving them the skills needed to excel in their school year.”

— Deirdre Gibbons, Pilots Enrichment Program Program Director, Cardinal Spellman

“Sending your child to camp expands your child’s social skills and independence.Camp offers something for everyone, such as swimming, arts & crafts, playground time, and sports.”

— Effie DiPrenda, Summer Camp Director, Summer at St. Bart’s Camp

“Summer is a wonderful time to create new experiences and make new friends. Summer camp allows kids to learn about themselves through activities such as robotics, art, academic subjects and athletics.”

— Diane Raikes, Dean of Students, The Higher Achievement Program at St. Catharine’s

“Camp is a time for exploration and, most importantly, curiosity!”

— Susan Lyon, Vice Provost, Curiosity Camp at Simon’s Rock

How do kids flourish at summer camp?

“Kids flourish at camp when they master new skills by trying chess, learning tennis or doing arts and crafts projects. These challenges teach girls and boys to trust themselves to try new things, building confidence and curios-

ity. Through an engaging and encouraging camp environment, children become eager to explore new topics like coding and robotics. This boosts kids’ self-esteem and allows them to learn, grow, laugh and make new friends.”

— Bob Ingersole, Director, Advantage Camps

How important is keeping campers and staff safe from illnesses?

“Camps should be dedicated to providing a safe, secure, and friendly environment for students and extended community. Main safety precautions should include reduced capacity, increased hand hygiene and sanitation, and additional facility cleaning and disinfecting.”

— Patrizia Saglio, Founder & President, Collina Italiana Mini Summer Camp

What are some benefits of specialty camps?

“At culture-themed camps, language and history become a fun learning experience through hands-on activities, engaging games, arts and crafts, and cultural exploration. Campers discover architecture, fashion, entertainment, transportation, and more.”

— Irene Coeny, Director, Planet Han Summer Camp

“At theater camp, campers can learn at their own level and receive a lot of one-on-one attention from instructors. They can be challenged and inspired to become creative, confident and empathetic performers while gaining valuable life skills like public speaking, confidence, empathy, and collaboration.”

— Jill Moody, Artistic Director, Camp Imagine, Summer Musical Theatre Intensive at Imagine Works Youth Theatre

22 | April 2023
April 2023 | New York Family 23 Learn the sport of a lifetime this summer! Play at the state-of-the-art Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning and train with our former pros and national coaches! If you are new to tennis or a high performance player, no matter what, this is the place for you! All levels welcome; ages 5-18 To inquire for further details please email or visit 1720 Crotona Avenue Bronx, NY 10457 718-247-7420

Katya Libin Is Helping Women Thrive

The holistic leadership coach, advisor, and founder of KL&Co on offering support

The dynamics of work culture is shifting. A combination of slowing down/ working from home during COVID and embracing a new paradigm shift is providing a new pathway for women to succeed and create a life on their own terms.

Katya Libin, Westchester mom and co-founder of HeyMama and founder KL&Co, is passionate about this and wants to help women create and design the lives and companies of their dreams. Through her program at KL&Co, women and brands receive holistic coaching, heart-led leadership through one-on-one coaching, and a community-driven mastermind program. She also serves as an advisor to numerous brands and an inspirational speaker at events. Read on to learn more about her new company and how she can help you and your brand move past blocks to succeed.

Tell us more about how the idea of Katya Libin & Co came about?

Katya Libin & Co. came about after I had experienced firsthand the ups and downs of being a first time founder building a high growth startup. I met thousands of women in HeyMama and I saw that the experience was both exhilarating but overwhelming and isolating.

Coaching was something which personally changed my life and I knew that having a stronger support system earlier would have served me better. It was only when I noticed that the founders I sat on boards for needed a much more holistic approach than traditional executive coaching did I realize I wanted this to be my next chapter.

Can you clarify what it means as a holistic coach vs. regular business coach. Why is this work important to you?

Holistic coach means that I work pulling in modalities that would be historically considered in the spiritual or wellness realm.

It means that I’m looking at the well being of a founder across her body, mind and spirit, not just her professional skills. It allows me to pull in various foundational principles I work off of instead of looking at how to solve a business challenge, I can take a step back to explore other factors in someones energy, daily practices, health and mindset that will hold them back or move them forward.

How does this work different and/or compliments your work at HeyMama?

It’s deeper, and it’s felt really incredible to connect with women on an intimate level instead of for a few moments at an event. I

am definitely someone who likes to get in where it’s messy, and get to know people over a longer period of time, so it compliments it nicely as I’ve gotten to know so many powerhouses over the last eight years. Now, I get to be their coach to truly see them take off and achieve their goals and not burn out in the process.

The actual way I work has changed, because operating a business had me in my masculine energy field where this coaching practice keeps me in my feminine, deep presence, trust, love and connection are at the center. It’s been a huge breath of fresh air and I couldn’t have done this without that founder experience first.

Tell us more about your different services and how people/brands can work with you?

I provide four ways clients can work with me, starting with a Business Clarity

24 | April 2023

There’s so much to DISCOVER at Simon’s Rock. VISIT


Discovery Day

Saturday, April 22

TALK in person with students and faculty. LEARN how starting college early can help you innovate, accelerate, and excel. SEE our professors in action by joining a sample class. TOUR our campus. EXPLORE Simon’s Rock.

AUDITIONS for 6 to 10 year olds

Children are invited to audition for the world-renowned School of American Ballet as seen in the Disney+ docuseries ON POINTE.


Harlem April 22 FREE Chinatown April 29 FREE SAB (Lincoln Center) April 3-24*

*Select dates in April. All auditions at SAB have a fee of $38.50.



Classes begin in September | Substantial scholarship program for students with need | Students must be 6 by 9/1/23 to audition

April 2023 | New York Family 25
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, by an award from the
Endowment for the Arts, and by grants fro m the Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust and The Cestone Family Foundation.
Photos by Heather Toner and Rosalie O’Connor

Workshop, which helps break down the overwhelm and support women in career transition or startup mode to focus and stay accountable. Then I have two 1:1 coaching programs, my core 4 month program which provides a results focused holistic approach to designing your life, moving past blocks and undergoing an energetic and mindset transformation to set you up for a new version of success.

For founders interesting in a more in-depth experience, my mentorship program is six months long and includes strategy, game changing introductions, IRL workshops and more to support business goals in very tangible ways. Finally, I do take on a small number of brand partnerships to work with companies closely who are craving community building, speaking, and workshops.

What advice would you give to first-time and/or new founders who are trying to get their idea off the ground?

My advice would be to prioritize your mental heath, spiritual practices and

awareness so that you are building your business from a grounded place. It is easy to get swept up by fear, anxiety and overwhelm. The more you can look at building a business like a game that never ends, rather than one you have to win asap, the more you can enjoy and appreciate the pace you are at. My second piece of advice would be to not compare yourself to others. It’s really a trap, and will only lead you to get in a mindset that is not conducive for your radical brilliance to shine through.

SN: What are some of your favorite things to do in Westchester?

I have really enjoyed taking hikes at

Whipperpool Park, having breakfast at Bluestone Lane in Armonk, taking classes at Equinox, and enjoying the amazing coffee at Beescakes, and chocolate at Mast in Mount Kisco.

SN: As a mom/business woman, what do you do to recharge?

I crave connection with nature, but there are days where bed is the destination. Whether it’s listening to music, snuggling with my daughter, journaling or watching a show, I really love my body having downtime. Not to mention, that Theragun is a massage in your hand!

SN: Anything else to add?

I believe women are changing the way we work and are realizing that these systems aren’t working for us. I am passionate about furthering that conversation and normalizing a different way to work, a different way to approach entrepreneurship and love being a woman in her feminine power.

Learn more about

26 | April 2023
“I’m looking at the well being of a founder across her body, mind and spirit, not just her professional skills.”

The Blessings of a Rejection Letter

SHSAT results will be released this month. Some students will be accepted to their first choices, others to their last. This news will affect thousands of NYC middle school teens and families regardless of the results

Similarly, college acceptances will be released this month. Hundreds of thousands of high school seniors from all over the country — and much of the world- will receive college acceptance or rejection letters. Some will land a coveted seat at their dream school, and others will not be accepted to any of their top-choice schools.

Hunter High School Eligibility Letters will also be released this month. From a pool of 50,000 NYC 6th-grade students, only 3,000 will receive this letter, and only then will they be eligible to sit for a 3-hour exam that will only allow 125 students into their incoming class.

While we congratulate those who received acceptance offers to specialized high schools, the team at Kweller Prep is writing to remind our readers about the blessings of a rejection letter. There is a parents’ guidebook called “The Blessings of a Skinned Knee.” Here is a student’s guide called “The Blessings of a Non-Specialized High School.”

This may sound counter-intuitive, but not getting into a Specialized High School can be a blessing in disguise.

Students who prepare for the SHSAT to get into specialized high schools but go on to attend a non-specialized high

school will have a huge competitive advantage at these schools. The hours spent learning advanced reading, math, logic, and time management skills from SHSAT Test Prep will stay with them, no matter what schools they attend. They will glide through their 8th-grade courses and, come 9th grade, easily place at the top of their classes. These advanced learners are only going one way: up.

Once in high school, these students will ����������������������������������������� and enter Advanced Placement and College-Now courses at a non-specialized high school. At a specialized high school, competition for Advanced

Placement courses is sometimes so ���������������������������������� get into them. This is far less likely at non-specialized schools. There are other advantages, too. The dedication and determination these students have learned from completing SHSAT Test Prep courses will serve as a lifelong lesson in perseverance that they will return to when faced with a challenge.

College applications will recognize top performers at their high school. Top students at a nonspecialized school will check the best boxes on their college applications. Simply put, “failure” today will pave the way for guaranteed success tomorrow.

Parents, you will be surprised at how much stronger a top-choice high school rejection will mature your child. That rejection letter early on may be life-changing for good!

Despite the emotions a student may feel by not meeting the cut-off score to gain entry into a specialized high school, this rejection letter could be the best thing that ever happened to them. A student’s worth is not determined by one test, application, or interview but rather by a culmination of skills and tenacity cultivated and connected to morals, ethics, goals, and behavior.

Remember: Failure happens more often than not, but it is how you respond to setbacks that pave the way for your future success.

Believing in myself helped me empower others, regardless of the odds stacked against them.

I have a personal connection to this lesson. While I’m extremely thankful for the growth of Kweller Prep and the army of tutors, professionals, and support staff that have made this learning company what it is today, I failed many times before I succeeded. Each rejection shaped me and made me stronger, better, wiser, and more assertive. I learned to persevere, and I would not be who I am today — and Kweller Prep would not be where it is today — had I not experienced those failures.

In 2019, Kweller Prep student Sebastian Acevedo was one of only 33 Hispanics accepted to Stuyvesant. When interviewed by the NY Post, he revealed that he only scored a 14/100 ����������������������������������������� cried. His own middle school guidance counselor discouraged him from taking the SHSAT, citing that admission to a specialized high school was practically impossible, so why bother? What if ����������������������������������������� practice test? He would not be where he is today, a Stuyvesant graduate and an MIT admit.

The lessons we learn from failure shape us like no other. They are an opportunity to take stock of how far ����������������������������������� goals; failure reminds us of our goals. Students, in the weeks ahead, remember that the school you end up in will ����������������������������������������

This is your story. Your high school will be lucky to have you, not vice versa. Take advantage of the opportunities around you and know that this trial — as daunting as it may feel — is a stepping stone for your later success.

Throughout life, letdowns will happen more often than you’ll be able to count, but if you continue to hold your head high and stay hard-working and determined, you will go on to accomplish more than you can imagine. This journey is yours only, so make it what you want.

Article Written by Frances Kweller, Attorney at Law and Founder of Kweller Prep Tutoring and Educational Services. Learn more about Kweller Prep by visiting

April 2023 | New York Family 27
Frances Kweller with NYC Mayor Eric Adams Frances Kweller, Tutors and Daughters at Schneps Media’s Power Women of Queens Photos Courtesy Frances Kweller

Family Fun Aboard the MSC Meraviglia

The new cruise ship is child’s fantasy — and mom and dad’s, too

Why fly when you can take a cab to start your adventure on the high seas? You don’t have to head to Florida or other far-away ports to get onboard a cruise ship heading either north or south. Start right in Brooklyn for your sunny sailings.

For the first time, beginning this month, MSC Cruises – one of the world’s largest cruise lines – will sail year-round from the New York City area. They’ll offer six-to-11night family-friendly voyages to Bermuda, The Bahamas and Florida year-round. They’ll also do Fall foliage cruises to New England and Canada.

New York Family was invited along to preview a trip on the MSC Meraviglia, one of their newest ships.

The Details

Cruising is a kid’s fantasy….well, mom and dad’s, too. There’s so much to see and do, all under one roof. And if the kids are happy, so are the parents.

The Meraviglia is a floating, all-

inclusive resort that’s practically its own city. The benefit of a large ship (up to 4,500 passengers), is that there is always something going on, day and night, with a wide array of onboard activities for all ages.

Bring the Kids

Kids can play and explore in the kids’ club, with dedicated rooms by age, all free and included in your fare. Babies crawl on colorful floor mats and climb on toys before napping in a room just for them. Older kids participate in arts and crafts, sports, treasure hunts, organized games and even language and cooking lessons. (Don’t be surprised if they leave the ship speaking a few new Spanish phrases or knowing how to cook you breakfast!) And teens have dance parties and a lab with the newest technology to explore.

The whole area is sponsored by LEGO, including a tableau of life-sized LEGO kid sculptures that greet you as you enter the kid’s zone. It’s a perfect spot for selfies. And, of course, you’ll find tons of LEGOS for all ages to play with.

Head to the amusement arcade area when

the kid’s club is over. There you’ll find two F1 flight simulators, virtual-reality racing cars and a 4-D interactive theater where you can zap zombies and crazy clowns. Beware: each activity costs extra and you’ll likely be asked to try it all.

There’s a two-lane bowling alley and multi-use Sportsplex court used for basketball, tennis and soccer games.

Outdoor Fun

When the weather is good, head outdoors to the Polar Aqua Park. Little ones can run in the sprinklers, fill up water buckets and get sprayed by water cannons in the splash area. Older kids (adults, too) can ride three slides with many twists and turns, often in the dark.

Little Ninja Warrior-wannabes will love the Himalayan Ropes Course with swinging ladders (safely) hanging on the edge of the ship hundreds of feet above the sea. This is definitely not for the fainthearted.

When mom and dad need a break from all the togetherness, they can do their own thing at the Aurea spa. Luxury pampering includes Thai massage, anti-aging facials, sea salt body scrubs and even a signature treatment with shells. There are also salt,

28 | April 2023

aromatherapy and steam rooms and saunas. Or sweat it out in the ship’s well-equipped gym. There are classes in Pilates, yoga and group spinning (for an extra fee). There’s also a track on deck 16 for an early morning power walk.

Note: even on a ship with non-stop happenings, there are spots to escape the mayhem and find a quiet nook to read with a coffee or protein drink.

If you need more adult time, there’s a kidfree pool and whirlpool, too.

Eating on the Ship

All this activity is likely to make you hungry. Cruise buffets may have been invented by kids because there is so much to choose from, plus dessert at every meal. Even the pickiest of eaters should find something they love.

If you’re up late, there’s a midnight buffet from 10 pm-12 am with homemade pizzas, fruit and lots of sweets.

You can also order complimentary room service and have breakfast in bed or on your balcony overlooking the sea. There are many specialty restaurants (at an additional charge) where you can have sushi, steak, tacos and more.

Parents will find bars around every

corner. A virgin Miami Vice (half pina colada/half strawberry daiquiri) is a great grown-up treat for older kids. There’s also an ice cream bar and a chocolate shop.

The fun never stops

Evenings are perfect for a stroll along the Meraviglia’s central promenade, the ship’s lively social center. Along the two-deckhigh dining and shopping strip you’ll find restaurants, shops and bars, bands playing, people dancing and entertainers singing. It’s one giant street party on the sea.

Look further and you’ll find dance classes, quizzes, table tennis tournaments and karaoke.

Keep your eyes on the 262-foot domed ceiling where a continuous LED light show turns from night sky to swirling clouds, neon swirls and other kaleidoscope effects above.

Check out the interactive screens in key locations around the ship to make restaurant reservations, check out daily activities and find your way around.

Don’t forget to take a family portrait on the Swarovski crystal staircase. And be sure to pack a white outfit; there’s usually a “white” party around the main pool.

Hit the casino or one of the numerous

shows where they pull out all the stops. You can watch acrobats, Broadway singers, live magic shows, flamenco and much more.

Private Island Vibes

The highlight of a trip south aboard an MSC ship is a visit to their private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. But it’s much more than just beautiful beaches. It’s an environmental/conservation success story turned gorgeous port-of-call.

At the information center you’ll learn the story of the cruise line’s commitment to the environment. When MSC bought the island it was an industrial wasteland and dumping ground for mining equipment, polluting the ocean and killing sea life. After years of work and regeneration, they’ve revived the underwater seascape, protecting coral reefs and creating a gorgeous island of pristine white sandy beaches for their cruisers.

It’s the perfect all-day excursion, just steps from the ship’s dock. There’s plenty to keep kids happy, including organized games, volleyball and searching for shells; though most enjoy just playing in the waves, topped off with an ice cream cone at the Smiling Fish. Food trucks are serving cold drinks, delicious seafood and more, often at no extra charge.

Settle in on a lounge at one of the nearby beaches close to the ship or explore the 95acre island. You can hop on and off shuttles to take you to a more deserted area if you want to find a private spot.

See the colorful undersea marine life that’s returned by renting snorkel equipment or take out a kayak or paddleboard for some exercise. On my underwater adventures, I spotted many schools of fish, a sleeping nurse shark and an elegant stingray swim by with a gigantic wingspan.

Get in your steps by climbing to the top of the lighthouse (168 each way) for gorgeous views of the Bahamian blue seas.

Even though it’s a tourist destination, you can leave Ocean Cay knowing that the company’s conservation efforts are transforming the island and bringing the area back to its natural wonders. Learn more about it here: watch?v=8pQ51I-w90M

Ensure to be on an outside deck as the ship prepares to leave the harbor to catch the light show from the lighthouse. Music and lights flashing from the LED screens cover the building. It’s a pure spectacle and the perfect way to end your adventure and head home.

April 2023 | New York Family 29

First Time Home Buyer Tips: Check Out This Family-Friendly Town!

looking to buy your first family home?

Choosing the right home is important, because it’s where your children will grow up. We’ve got the town for you. Westfield, New Jersey! We chatted with Frank D. Isoldi of Coldwell Banker Realty to learn about this gem of a town as well as home buyer tips & tricks. The real estate expert shares, “Buying your first home can be extremely exciting and stressful at the same time. The key is to be as well prepared for the process as possible,” he says.

Buying Dream Home

You get the best of both worlds with Westfield, NJ– a cozy suburb just 22 miles from Manhattan. What families love most about Westfield is the award-winning schools! There’s also plenty for kids, “Every family has different priorities, but for most with young

children, the proximity to schools, parks, and playgrounds usually rank pretty high on the list,” Isoldi explains.

Westfield boasts beautiful homes that each have their unique charm. For example, 12 Fairhill Road is a beautiful 4-bed, 3.2-bath home in the sought-after Brightwood section of Westfield. You’ll love the den with vaulted ceiling and double sided fireplace, spacious

family room addition, gourmet kitchen with separate eating area and the primary bedroom with private bath and dual closets. Even if it’s love at first sight, Isoldi suggests doing a home inspection: “Even if you are in a multiple bid situation and limit your request options, I always suggest a general inspection, chimney inspection, oil tank sweep, and sewer scope.”

If you’re considering Westfield- “First step is finding a top agent that is the local expert in the area that you are looking. Your next step is to get pre-approved by a reputable mortgage advisor,” Isoldi recommends. “Having all of your finances in place before you begin looking is crucial.” Now you’re ready to navigate the home search like a pro! Frank D. Isoldi, Coldwell Banker Realty,, 908-787-5990,

FlatRate Moving Company: The Stress-Free Move You Deserve!

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30 | April 2023 New York FamilY partN er
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New York Special Need S r e S ource Guide

When the next step is an IEP

Missing milestones and an Individualized Educational Plan

Have you noticed your child struggling in school? Perhaps they are having a hard time learning to read, can’t grasp multi step math problems, or are having difficulty staying focused in class. Their self-esteem is plummeting as school work becomes increasingly challenging, and their struggles seem insurmountable. Your child may have special needs and, if so, the sooner you can identify these needs and address them, the better it will be for their overall confidence and academic performance. So what can you do?

For starters, if you see your child struggling, talk to their doctor and teacher. Discuss milestones they may or may not have met and determine if their teacher notices the same challenges you see at home. If you feel these struggles are getting worse or think they may benefit from additional accommodations at school, you might consider having them tested. This testing can be done for free either through your state’s early intervention program (if your child is under age three) or through your child’s school district. The evaluation and specific tests administered may range, but evaluators will typically test your child’s IQ and will likely also test language, motor, behavior, and achievement skills.

IEP or 504 plan

Depending on the evaluation results and your child’s needs, your child may qualify for either an IEP or a 504 plan. An IEP details your child’s specific goals and a plan for what your school will do to help meet those goals, including specific services, like speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and academic support. A 504 plan helps provide accommodations for support within the classroom, such as additional time on tests, an aide in the classroom, preferential seating, and/or modified homework. Typically students

who have a less severe disability (like anxiety, ADHD, etc.) and not a diagnosed learning disability will receive a 504. Students who need more services, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, special education teacher support services, etc., would receive an IEP. Note: School-aged children in private schools have a right to an evaluation if a disability is suspected. Work with your child’s teacher or school director to help you coordinate an assessment via the state.

Know Your Rights

Federal law indicates that every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment possible. Three specific federal laws apply to children with special needs, including the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Ace, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These laws’ specifics can vary by state, so it’s important for you to understand the procedures and criteria specific to your state.

IDEA stipulates that a child’s issues must fall into one of 13 categories to be eligible for special education services. Section 504 mandates that schools cannot discriminate again students who have disabilities and are required to provide appropriate accommodations to them. Students covered under Section 504 usually have less severe disabilities or do not

fall into one of the categories stipulated under IDEA. The ADA indicates that children with special needs cannot be discriminated against and must be provided appropriate services and programs suitable to their needs. If your school district refuses to provide appropriate services to your child, you may initiate a due process hearing to challenge their decision.

Focus on Your Child’s Strengths

It is easy to go into a bit of negative space when dealing with your child’s educational support. Remember to focus on your child’s strengths; they may struggle with reading and writing but may excel with math computation. Or maybe your child is incredibly social, empathetic, and kind. Perhaps they are a beautiful artist, a great storyteller, or a whiz at building Legos. Praise your child for small accomplishments, like sitting next to a friend at lunch who seemed sad, drawing a beautiful flower, or creating an elaborate Lego tower. As you help your child academically with areas where they may struggle, continue to build their self-esteem, and explain that no one is perfect. We all have strengths and weaknesses, as well as areas we need to work on improving. Your special needs child can still have dreams and aspirations that can be achieved with support and guidance.

32 | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus
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Things You May Not Know About That Special Needs Parent

Iwas at a restaurant the other night. We made the reservation early as we brought our 6-year-old to a large family dinner. Mateo is autistic and early hours are better for a number of reasons, for restaurants are one of the most challenging places for us to take him. When my son started stimming (redundant or unusual movements or noises that help handle emotions like excitement, anger, anxiety and fear), a family at a table on the other side of the restaurant began to stare. They continued to gape, including the mother, who could not stop staring at me I tried to contain my anxiety as the looks were not ‘ah, we get it’ gazes; they were more like ‘his noise is making me uncomfortable — get him to stop’ looks. Urgh, here we go again. Four years ago, when being a mother of a special needs child was new, I would apologize, red flames moving upwards through my body from embarrassment. If there were a way out, I would take it, folding my body and my son’s into an invisible ball of shame as we quickly took the first exit. Pangs of guilt would pierce through me for failing to ‘make’ my son normal so all around us would feel comfortable.

Now, fast forward to that moment at the restaurant. I am fierce now; most special needs parents are, as we do not have a choice. We have years ahead of us of advocating for our child one way or another. I did not dash away with my child; we let him stim, no shhhhs from us; he was happy with all his relatives around him. I have accepted that I cannot change how people process or receive my child, but I can protect him. You can give me all the side eyes you want, but I now know my only job is that my child has a beautiful life.

Of course, I wish for more people to understand a special needs parent, for there are numerous things you cannot see. Many

do not see the hours we spend advocating for our children while holding full-time jobs. They sometimes end up in the hospital, for their immune systems are vulnerable, depending on their disability. We get blamed for them not acting like ‘other’ kids. We may even get blamed for them being in the hospital. The paperwork we fill out is endless. We have to call the school bus because they may be getting bullied. If they are non-verbal, we are their voice. We cry in the shower. We cry at the supermarket. We scream into our pillows.

What I would have wished the other evening at the restaurant was for that family not to have missed a teachable moment. I often have to share that my son

is special needs with pretty young kids at the playground to explain his lack of social skills. They never miss a beat; they absorb the information and are gentler around my son.

One day as inclusivity is more woven into the world, most (hopefully) will not give a person different from them a second glance. And that mother at the table will be educated by her kids and their ‘normal’ experiences. She may understand more that a parent may be struggling at that moment, and a simple smile may help them get through that awkward moment they are experiencing. None of us know everything, and that person may just be a special need parent quietly holding her family — and herself — together.

34 | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus
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6 Ways to Support Siblings of Kids with Special Needs

So often, parents feel like they’re not doing enough for their kids. When you’re the parent of a child with special needs, that worry is taken to a different level as you work to make sure your child is getting everything they need to thrive. Another big concern? The impact your efforts to help your child with special needs thrive is having on your other children.

“When a child has special needs, parents have to learn to balance both the needs of that child and the needs of siblings,” explains Melissa Packwood, an educational consultant, certified teacher, and a mother to multiple children with special needs. “It can seem like the child with special needs gets special treatment when parents are simply meeting the child’s needs and making appropriate accommodations for that child.”

So, how can you make sure all of your kids are getting the love and support they need?

Supporting Siblings of Kids with Special Needs

Here are some tips to get you started.

Acknowledge it’s hard . Talk openly with your children about the challenges of having a sibling with special needs, recommends Emily Holl, director of The Sibling Support Project. Not only is it important to allow children to express how they are feeling, but it will also allow you to implement changes that help all kids in the family feel more included and supported.

Create small moments with each child . As the saying goes, quality over quantity. Simply create opportunities—10-15 minutes is enough—where each child has some time with you, recommends April J. Lisbon, Ed.D., an autism workplace advocate at Running

Your Race Enterprises and a mother of three, including one child on the autism spectrum. “Nothing fancy: It can be making a meal or playing a board game together.”

Make it a group effort . Create activities that can involve all of your kids, says Daniel Koffler of New Frontiers. This can include things like preparing for meals, getting ready for school, story time, board or video games, drawing, and more. “By including everyone, you can still give the added attention needed to your special needs children, but it helps parents with the balancing act by having everyone together,” Koffler says.

Keep communication open . Kathy Heath, an autism awareness advocate behind The Autism Edit and mom of three children, including one on the autism spectrum, makes sure to let all of her kids know that she and her husband are open to answering any of their questions—and nothing is off limits. “If they feel uncomfortable or treated unfairly, the door is always open to tell us where we are not meeting their needs and how we can

improve our relationship with them,” she explains.

Avoid expectations . While some kids may gravitate toward a helping role, especially as they get older, it’s not fair or reasonable to expect them to always drop what they are doing in order to manage their sibling’s needs. “Parents are wise to be aware of how much they are relying on their kids to act as a parent or replace their leisure time with sibling care, as it can lead to resentment of the special needs sibling as well as parents,” Holl warns.

Give yourself a break . Realize that there is no manual to creating balance at home. Give yourself grace when things don’t go according to plan, Dr. Lisbon says.

Linda DiProperzio has written extensively on parenting issues for Parents, American Baby, Parenting, and Family Circle, among others. She lives in New York with her husband and two sons. * This piece was originally posted on our sister site

36 | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus
April 2023 | New York Family 37

Learning Disabilities in Children

The most inspirational stories are often the kind where those at a disadvantage overcome obstacles and emerge victorious in spite of – and because of – the challenges they were faced with. Such is the case for Emily Yudofsky and Stefan Bauer, who were both diagnosed with dyslexia as children. After watching their own parents struggle to get the support they needed growing up, the pair teamed up to start Marker Learning, an organization dedicated to helping children with learning disabilities receive the diagnosis and resources they need to thrive in school.

We chatted with Stefan and Emily to delve into how their own experiences led them to start Marker and what parents can do if they suspect their child might have a learning disability.

Q: What are the signs of a learning disability parents should look for in their

kids? What are the signs of dyslexia, specifically, that parents should look for?

Emily: Learning and attention disabilities can present in a myriad ways. For example, a student with ADHD and executive functioning challenges may not be able to manage their time effectively, stay organized or prioritize multiple tasks.

With dyslexia, it can present in struggling to sound out words, substituting words, or even avoiding reading at all costs. We commonly see young children who are able to answer questions accurately when they are verbalizing, but have difficulty when they are writing out responses. Across the board, we find that for most students with learning challenges, they’ve lost a lot of confidence as they see their peers advancing and feel stuck. As a parent, it’s critical to notice some of the social and emotional challenges that might be manifesting because of a learning challenge.

Q: What are some of the types of learning disabilities you often see in children you

work with?

Stefan: We see a range of learning challenges in the children we work with, from reading, writing and math disorders like dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, and attention disorders like ADHD which manifest in executive functioning issues.

Q: Is there anything parents can do to prevent learning disabilities?

Emily: The truth is learning disabilities cannot be prevented – we’re born with them and they last a lifetime. Many learning disorders are actually known to be genetic, running in families. So the question isn’t as much about prevention as it is about intervention, and the earlier, the better. This means pursuing a formal psychoeducational evaluation to understand what a child’s strengths and weaknesses are, and what services and accommodations they will need for long-term success. Then it’s all about providing evidence-based approaches to refine skills and get back on track.

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Q: Tell us about Marker and what inspired you to start it?

Stefan: Our mission at Marker Learning has always been a very personal one. In elementary school, I really struggled with reading and was placed in special education. My mom knew something wasn’t right and fiercely advocated for me, quitting her job to ensure I had the support I needed to succeed, and paying thousands of dollars for a learning disability evaluation. I ended up getting diagnosed with dyslexia. By receiving this diagnosis and documentation, I was able to unlock accommodations in school that fundamentally transformed my trajectory in life. My co-founder, Emily Yudofsky, who is also dyslexic, had a similar experience as a kid.

Unfortunately, many families do not have access to evaluation. While K-12 students are legally entitled to learning disability assessments in public schools, diagnoses are often delayed or missed entirely due to unprecedented staffing shortages and backlogs. Private evaluators, meanwhile, can have months-long wait times and charge

exorbitant amounts of fees, often costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Our mission was inspired by these experiences. Our goal is to provide clear diagnosis and certified documentation for anyone who is dealing with a learning or attention disability – all for a much more affordable price and faster timeline.

Q: What work do you do in schools?

Stefan: We’re very excited to partner with a range of schools across the country (including some in New York). In fact, we already reach more than 1 million students through these partnerships. We work with

school district special education staff to manage caseloads and act as an extension of school psychologist teams. We want to help schools retain their staff and prioritize dayto-day student care.

Q: What steps do you recommend parents take after their child is diagnosed with dyslexia or another learning disability?

Emily: Once you have that diagnosis and documentation, it’s then really about advocating for your child to get the support they need at school. Ensure your child is set up with an IEP or 504 plan, a written roadmap ensuring your child receives special education services tailored to meet their unique needs. This will follow them through school, and staff should reassess needs over time as your child develops. Communicate frequently and directly to gain clarity about how your child is doing in the classroom, and what’s being done to support them. And be sure to ask your child how they’re doing, ensuring they know there’s nothing wrong with them. They have so many amazing strengths and everyone learns differently.

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The Benefits of Horse therapy

for a child with special needs

The bond between humans and horses is incredible. For children with special needs, horse therapy can greatly help with many physical, mental, and emotional needs in a safe and loving environment. This modality can help children with ADD/ ADHD, autism, visual impairments, Down’s Syndrome, cerebral palsy, MS, learning and behavioral disabilities, and much more.

Path International ( states, “Therapeutic/adaptive horsemanship contributes to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with disabilities.”

Understandably, wanting to learn more and understand the best way to approach horse therapy may be unknown to most. We recommend checking out The New York State Horse Council (NYSHC). This nonprofit organization provides information on horses and horserelated activities within or affecting the state of New York. There is also a handy guide to Therapeutic Riding Programs in New York.

Over time, horse therapy can improve balance and posture, muscle strength and posture, joint movement, communication, and more as your child forges a special bond with this beloved animal. Below are a few places in NYC, Long Island, and Westchester where your child can begin their horse therapy journey.

New York Cit Y

Flying Manes Therapeutic Riding, Inc.

Flying Manes Therapeutic Riding provides therapeutic riding lessons and other equineassisted activities and therapies to children ages four and up with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. Lessons help kids build their coordination and strength and improve cognitive, emotional, and social skills through exercises, games, and horsemanship skills. 6100 Mosholu Ave, The Bronx, NY 10471. 917- 524-6648,


GallopNYC offers therapeutic horsemanship programs to aid kids who have developmental, emotional, social and physical disabilities. Their program helps riders learn new skills such as walking, talking, learning, having fun, and bonding with their horse. Locations in Forest Hills and Howard Beach. Programs are offered quarterly and riders who have physical disabilities will be evaluated by their physical therapist. Lessons cost $60 for a 30-minute group lesson and $65 for a 30-minute private lesson. GallopNYC Forest Hills, 88-03 70th Road, Forest Hills, NY 11375 and GallopNYC Sunrise Stables, 80-98 Linden Blvd, Howard Beach, NY 11414, 855-925-5661,

Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding, Inc.

Seaside 4 Therapeutic Riding is a non-profit organization and PATH Internationalcertified therapeutic horseback riding center dedicated to working with adults and kids

with disabilities and special needs. The program offers both indoor and outdoor training and aid work with riders based on a family’s specific needs. The program can help improve muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, increase self-esteem, confidence, mobility, and coordination, and improve concentration, communication, and more. The grounds also have a wheelchairaccessible restaurant and bathrooms. Lessons are $50 each, which includes 25 minutes of saddle time as well as time for mounting and dismounting. 116 Canton Ct, Brooklyn, NY 11229, 646-831-6256,


Great Strides Long Island

During the lessons at Great Strides, kids will learn how to improve balance, strengthen their muscles, flexibility and joints, and balance and posture. The team works with kids who have autism, brain damage, Down Syndrome, developmental disorders, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia,

42 | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus

and learning disabilities as well as kids with emotional, social and psychological disorders. Lessons are $60 for a 30-minute private lesson; $75 for a 45-minute private lesson; and $90 for a 60-minute private lesson. 41 Coram Swezeytown Rd, Middle Island, NY 11953, 631786-9708,

Center for Therapeutic Riding of the East End

The Center for Therapeutic Riding of the East End’s mission is to ‘transform lives through the therapeutic power of horses.’ This non-profit organization is PATH certified and provides services to kids and adults with emotional, cognitive, and physical disabilities. Participants have to apply and be brought in for an evaluation before working at the center. 93 Merchants Path, Sagaponack, NY 11962, 631.779.2835,


HorseAbility offers adaptive learning, which can help riders with physical, emotional and mental well-being as well as hippotherapy with Physical Therapists, Occupational

therapists, and Speech Language Pathologists. Hippotherapy provides physical, occupational and speech-language pathology to kids to help with their sensory,neuromotor and cognitive systems. Participants have to fill out a form to apply for these services. 223 Store Hill Rd, Old Westbury, NY 11568, 516-333-6151


Access Equestrian

Access Equestrian offers adaptive riding and hippotherapy for kids with physical and mental limitations. This non-profit organization offers both group and private lessons that include groundwork, warmup exercises, skills development, activities, games, and trail rides. Programs help build students’ self-esteem, concentration, confidence, coordination, and more. 1 Succabone Road, Mount Kisco, NY 10549, 914234-9000,

Endeavor Therapeutic

Horsemanship, Inc.

The Therapeutic Horsemanship program at Endeavor offers clinical programs to kids

of different levels and abilities. Participants in the therapeutic program have to be four years old and up. Kids will learn mounting, steering, groundsmanship, grooming, anatomy of the horse, posing, half-seat, leg yields, and much more. Over time, kids develop improved fine motor skills, increased confidence, and ability to take multi-step directions. Families must submit paperwork to work with Endeavor, where participants will be asked to come in for an evaluation.

556 Croton Lake Rd, Mt Kisco, NY 10549, 914241-0211.


Located on 22 acres with seven sensory trails, Pegasus offers therapeutic horsemanship for kids with special needs from PATHcertified instructors. Programs provide basic riding, ground horsemanship, and exercises to improve balance, posture, mobility, and concentration, create the mind/muscle connection, and more. Participants have to fill out a form and pay a $55 evaluation fee. 310 Peach Lake Road Brewster, NY 10509, 845669-8235 x115,

April 2023 | New York Family 43

10 Kids’ Books That Star Protagonists with Special Needs

Representation is hugely important in kids’ and young adult fiction. Unfortunately, it can seem like the selections that star kids with special needs as main characters–not sidekicks–are few and far between. If you have a kid that would love to read about a character like him–or would just like to see the world from a different perspective–this can be discouraging. So we’ve rounded up 10 titles whose protagonists have special needs, and that fall under every genre of fiction, so your child can see herself represented in works that might become some of her favorite reads.

Roll With It

This novel stars

Ellie, a sassy, take-no-prisoners 12-year-old who wants to be a professional baker and who happens to get around in a wheelchair.

When she and her mom move to a new town to help her grandma out, readers will get an inside look at what it means to navigate school, friends, and family with a physical disability. Roll With It is funny, poignant, and real.

Bouncing Back

Carlos Cooper used to own the basketball court, but now, after the accident, can’t find his way on the wheelchair basketball court. He’s still learning the ropes when the corrupt mayor threatens to demolish

the wheelchair team’s practice court, but when the game he loves is threatened, Carlos realizes he has to get it together or leave basketball behind. This book brings kids into the wild world of wheelchair basketball.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

This is a classic that your child might be required to read in high school. But if he’d like a head start, he’ll be enthralled by the narration of Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old with a superbly logical brain. Christopher relates well to animals, but not to humans. He knows all of the countries of the world and their capitals, but cannot stand to be touched. It’s Christopher’s penchant for rules and patterns that leads him to be the hero of the story, attempting to solve the murder of his neighbor’s beloved dog, Wellington. Christopher experiences the world completely differently than many kids, which is exactly why yours should read this book.

Wonder by R.J.

August “Auggie” Pullman just wants to be ordinary, but he was born with a facial difference that classmates at his new school just can’t seem to get over. The book switches from Auggie’s hilarious perspective to his classmate’s, his sister’s, her boyfriend’s, and more to paint a portrait of a whole town

learning how to be accepting. It’s a must-read to teach tolerance, kindness, and perspective.

Flying to the Light

This novel gives kids a chance to experience the perspective of a teenager who has a sibling with special needs. Michael Anderson and his little brother Danny, who is deaf, are faced with mortal danger after their parents are kidnapped and the brothers find themselves on the run from a truly creepy villain. When Michael figures out that Danny has a special gift, he must figure out how to protect him from those who might want to abuse it. Flying gives voice to a character many readers who have siblings with disabilities might relate to.

We’ll Paint the Octopus Red

Six-year-old Emma can’t wait for all the things she’ll be able to do with her baby brother, Isaac. When she learns he has Down syndrome, she starts thinking in terms of what Isaac can’t do. But with the help of her dad, Emma learns to be patient with Isaac, and discovers that with compassion (and a good big sister!), Isaac can do anything. This is perfect for little readers ages 3-7 and showcases the power of compassion and acceptance–and because of that, is a great read for kids of all ages.

Anything but Typical

Jason is a 12-yearold with autism who doesn’t feel like he belongs in the neurotypical world. But that begins to

44 | April 2023 The special child | Special Needs Focus

change when he meets PhoenixBird–aka Rebecca–online, posting stories to the same site he does. Jason can finally be himself. He thinks Rebecca could be his first real friend, but is terrified that if they meet in person, Rebecca won’t be able to see past Jason’s disability. This novel is an eye-opener into differences, acceptance, and what it means to be yourself.

Wilma Jean the Worry Machine

Anxiety in kids often goes misdiagnosed, but worriers will definitely see themselves in Wilma Jean, a little girl who sometimes finds her anxiety impeding her life. The book aims to normalize anxiety for kids, give kids the tools to feel more in control, and provide parents with tips for lessening the

severity of their child’s anxiety–all while telling a funny and relatable story.

Counting to D by Kate Scott Sam is dyslexic, smart, and can’t read–so kids at her old school never knew how to treat her. When Sam moves to a new city and falls in with the Brain Trust, a group of über-competitive smart kids that includes her new crush, she decides to keep her learning disability a secret. But the odds of getting the guy, the grades, and more are stacked against her. Readers who have learning disabilities of their own–and really any reader–can relate to Sam’s challenges and triumphs.

My Brother Sammy is Special by Becky Edwards and David


Younger kids who have siblings with special needs might see themselves in Sammy’s brother, who gets frustrated by all the things Sammy cannot do–like take the same school bus, play in the park, or be a “normal” brother.

But just as Sammy’s brother learns that Sammy’s autism doesn’t mean he can’t be a good brother, readers will learn an important lesson about acceptance, differences, and the power of family.

Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. This article was originally posted on our sister site,

April 2023 | New York Family 45

Par�ner wi�h Us

Atlas Foundation for Autism

252 W 29th Street, 3rd Fl., NY


Atlas is a comprehensive community-building program that includes the Atlas School as well as Health & Wellness and Creative Arts Community Classes that are designed for anyone interested in increasing their skills and passions in art, music, health and fitness, and growth to keep students connected and engaged in their interests and each other! Atlas is different in its approach to working within modalities that promote empowered communication and overall self-esteem!

Academy for Young Minds

11-20 46th Road, Long Island City


AYM is an independent private school for midhigh functioning children on the autism spectrum. Led by Board-Certified Behavior Analysts®, AYM focuses on social and functional language skills and provides personalized, rigorous curriculum using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Camp Lee Mar

450 Route 590, Lackawaxen, PA

Winter: 215-658-1708

Summer: 570-685-7188

A private, seven-week residential summer program offering a unique curriculum incorporating a strong Academic and Speech program with traditional camp activities. Campers flourish at Lee Mar due to the structured environment provided allowing campers to feel comfortable and secure. Careful study is made of parent input, school (IEPs), camper interview, etc., so that the interests and needs of each child can be determined for suitable grouping prior arrival. At Lee Mar the children find comfort and friendship with children of similar age and

functioning level.

EBL Coaching

17 East 89th Street, Suite 1D, NY


EBL Coaching specializes in one-on-one home and virtual tutoring for students in grades pre-K-12 with learning needs. They use research-based, multisensory techniques to develop students’ reading, writing, math, note taking, test taking, and executive functioning skills. Under Director Dr. Emily Levy, each student is evaluated to determine their specific needs and is matched with a learning specialist and an individualized learning plan. EBL offers specialized instruction for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, and ADHD using the Orton Gillingham method and other research-based techniques.

The Gillen Brewer School

410 E. 92nd Street, New York, 212-831-3667

The Gillen Brewer School is a 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 nonverbal learning disabilities. Their academic-therapeutic program includes speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and counseling. As part of their robust academic program, students also participate in art, science, and music classes, and explore the rich cultural resources of New York City.

The IDEAL School

314 W. 91st Street, New York NY (Relocating to 5 Hanover Square, Sept. 2023)

The IDEAL School Is a small school that’s BIG on inclusion. It is NYC’s only K-12+ independent inclusion school. At IDEAL, they believe that differentiated learning is the key to academic excellence. They offer a

46 | April 2023 Special Need S d irec T or Y | Special Advertising Supplement
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Collaborate with the New York Family Media team to spread the word about your launches, promotions and news. Reach us by emailing or calling 718.260.4554

supportive environment where all children are valued and celebrated. Contact admissions@theidealschool. org to learn more about their unique inclusion program.

Richmond Behavioral Associates

260 Christopher Lane, Staten Island NY


Richmond Behavioral Associates (RBA) was founded to conduct safe, precise, well controlled clinical research with potential new and existing medications. RBA is currently looking for people to participate in clinical trials for conditions such as Autism, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Richmond Behavioral Associates is located near the south end of Staten Island, and may provide transportation if needed. Call or visit their website to learn more and to see if you or a loved one may qualify for one of these trials.

Robert Louis Stevenson School

24 West 74th Street New York, NY


Stevenson is Manhattan’s therapeutic college preparatory independent school. Their proven track record of academic and therapeutic progress begins with their unique program. Stevenson students receive small classroom instruction, ongoing advisor support, and access to a fully staffed Counseling Center throughout each day. Their Transition Coaching Program helps to ensure ongoing post-secondary success. Anxiety and depression aren’t locked into a calendar. They say neither is their admissions.

SUNY College of Optometry University Eye


33 West 42nd St New York, NY 10036

The University Eye Center provides top quality eye care through over 60,000 on-site patient encounters, free patient screenings, and community partnerships. Eye doctors access state of the art equipment and diagnostic tools to ensure maximum eye health for patients ages 6 months to 100+ including special populations and children with special needs. Schedule an appointment today by calling 888-416-9933.

Westchester School

45 Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 520 Route 22,North Salem,NY 33 Seymour St., Yonkers NY (Pre-K) 914-376-4300

A New York State approved, non-public school that provides educational and therapeutic services to students from Long Island, New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Connecticut. With campuses in Yonkers and North Salem, NY the program provides services to over 300 students with the classifications of Autism, Intellectual Disability, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disability, and Preschool Student with a Disability.

Winston Transitions New York City

240 Madison Avenue, NY 646-869-4600

Lauren Kellner, Director of Admissions, lkellner@

Winston Transitions New York City offers a highly individualized program for students ages 17 to 21+ with learning differences such as dyslexia, ADHD, and nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD). Their unique education model provides intense skill remediation while encouraging students to build independence, resilience, responsibility, self-awareness, and self-advocacy. Learn more about Winston Transitions and register for an open house at: our-campuses/transitionsnyc.

April 2023 | New York Family 47
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Birdwatching New York Family’s Ultimate Guide to

NYC has an oasis of birds right in our own backyard — here’s where to find them

New Yorkers and tourists have been flocking to Central Park, hoping to get a glimpse of Flaco, the now-famous owl who flew from his enclosure at the Central Park Zoo in February. After zookeepers gave up their efforts to recover him, the free bird has become a sight to see in the wild. But did you know you can see equally majestic birds all throughout NYC? It’s true! There are so many places to enjoy birdwatching in NYC, including parks, shorelines, even your own backyard.

In celebration of birds, we did some research, spoke to several bird and nature experts and visited lots of local parks to create this guide to some of the best places to see birds in springtime and throughout the year in NYC.

The guide is broken down by borough, park and species, so you can take it with you on your next birding adventure. And whooo knows, you might even run into Flaco along your travels!

Birdwatching in NYC: A Fun Family Activity

Birdwatching is a great way to get in touch with nature. It’s also an activity that everyone in the family can enjoy together.

“Anyone can bird,” Roslyn Rivas, public programs manager for NYC Audubon, said. “Just being connected with nature is such a positive thing for individuals, but to share it with someone else really can foster a sense of community. You can all learn together. And the more eyes you have when you’re birding, the more likely you’ll see birds.”

And birding in NYC can be very fun. Despite the Big Apple being a bustling

metropolis, there are still lots of places to see nature, including birds. See, our city is located along the Atlantic Flyway, which is sort of like the I-95 highway for migratory birds. They fly from areas near and far all year long, especially during spring, so they need places to rest and refresh. (Whereas we humans like to stop at Starbucks or Applebee’s on long family road trips, migratory birds use New York City as one of their favorite rest stops!)

So, what is about NYC that’s so appealing to migratory birds? Basically, the habitat here is lush and diverse, providing ideal living quarters for so many traveling bird species.

“New York is so heavily urbanized but we have a lot of great green spaces,” Rivas said, adding that green roofs throughout the city also help provide habitat for birds.

In fact, Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Green Roof is 6.75 acres and one of the largest in the country. It’s basically a wildlife sanctuary for lots of local and migratory birds. The center works with NYC Audubon to monitor and study the many birds that utilize the roof.

Over in Staten Island, which is also known as the borough of parks, habitat is diverse and plentiful for migrating birds, too.

“Staten Island is an extraordinary place to go birdwatching,” said Cliff Hagen, president of Protectors of Pine Oak Woods, an organization that works to save the borough’s natural heritage and open spaces. “If you were to go up 30,000 feet and look down at New York City, you have the Hudson River, Long Island Sound in Long Island, and it all converges on Staten Island. Hundreds of species of birds migrate through Staten Island as they’re going north and south every year. The topography of Staten Island lends itself to

bird migration.”

Of course, not all birds are just passing through the city. Some live here all year long (these are called “resident birds”). NYC resident birds include bluejays, mourning doves, pigeons, mallards and many others that live in parks, your backyard, or really anywhere birds fly.

If you’re wondering if the migrant birds get along with the resident birds--for the most part, they do!

“The birds that are here all year round expect the visitors now,” Rivas explained. “Of course, whenever you have new individuals in any kind of environment, they’ll have competition for resources. The influx of new bird species makes it a bit harder for certain birds that are comfortable in their niches. But, that’s why it’s so important to preserve our green spaces so we can have enough habitat.”

Now, squabbles at backyard bird feeders—that might be a different story!

Your Guide to Birdwatching in NYC Listed here are popular parks around the city for birdwatching. Keep in mind there are plenty more places to see birds, of course. Birders throughout the city have seen and identified the birds in this guide.

It’s important to mention that it’s never guaranteed that you’ll see any or all of these feathered friends when you’re birdwatching, but half the fun is in trying to spot them! To learn more about birdwatching, bird species and more, there’s so much information online. Some of our favorite sites include:

• Protectors of Pine Oak Woods :

• NYC Audubon:

• NYC Parks:

48 | April 2023

The Bronx

Pelham Bay Park

Bruckner Boulevard, Eastchester, Hutchinson

Let’s start up north in The Bronx’s Pelham Bay Park. This park is quite large. At three times the size of Central Park, Pelham Bay Park is the city’s largest park property. Designated an Important Bird Area by National Audubon, over 250 species have been recorded here.

Birds to look for include:

Spring: Black vulture, northern

gannet, American woodcock, warblers and other songbirds, shorebirds

Summer: Clapper rail, wading birds, wild turkey

Fall: Raptor, shorebirds, kinglets, warblers, sparrows

Winter: Snow bunting, owls, accipiters, Canada goose, great blue heron, swan

Year-round: Peregrine falcon, great horned owl, merlin, red-tailed hawk, woodpeckers

Van Cortlandt Park

Broadway, Jerome Avenue, City Line, Van Cortlandt Pk S

Continuing through The Bronx is another big park. At more than 1,000 acres, Van Cortlandt Park has lots of natural habitat that birds love.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, swallows, waterfowl

Summer: Nesting wood duck, wild turkey, hairy woodpecker

Fall : Raptors, warblers, American pipit, sparrows

Winter : Owls, accipiters

Year-round : Great horned owl, red-tailed hawk, woodpeckers

New York Botanical Garden

2900 Southern Blvd.

In addition to seeing beautiful plants and flowers, you can see birds here too. The property’s diverse habitats have attracted

April 2023 | New York Family 49

a reported 229 bird species and make it a migrant bird hotspot!

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks, orioles and other songbirds

Summer : Nesting wood duck, green heron, red-tail hawk, ruby-throated hummingbird

Fall : Raptors, ruby-throated hummingbird, warblers, sparrows

Winter : Owls, woodpeckers, rusty blackbird, mixed songbird feeding flocks

Year-round : Resident wood ducks, red-tailed hawks


Central Park

Fifth Avenue to Central Park W., 59 Street to 110 Street

As busy and bustling as Manhattan is, the city’s geographically smallest borough offers lots of opportunities for Birdwatching in NYC. One of the most famous parks in the world, Central Park provides habitat for lots of migratory birds. On a side note: Have your camera ready, because there are lots of Instagram opportunities located throughout this iconic park!

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, vireos, kinglets, tanagers, grosbeaks, wading birds and waterfowl, freshwater sandpipers

Summer: Nesting red-tailed hawk, Baltimore oriole, foraging wading birds

Fall : Warblers, thrushes, sparrows, raptors

Winter : Mixed songbird flocks, owls, accipiters, wintering waterfowl and gulls

Year-round : Red-tailed hawk, Peregrine falcon, common woodpeckers

Inwood Hill Park

Dyckman Street, Hudson River, Harlem River S.

Located at the northern tip of Manhattan, Inwood Hill Park’s oak and tulip poplar forests attract lots of songbirds during migration. Grab your binoculars, take in the park’s gorgeous views, and

look for lots of different colorful birds.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Wild turkey, rusty blackbird, warblers and other songbirds, American woodcock, shorebirds

Summer : Louisiana waterthrush, green heron, orchard and Baltimore orioles, red-tailed hawk, warbling vireos, hairy woodpecker

Fall : Northern harrier, raptors, shorebirds, kinglets, warblers, sparrows

Winter : Owls, accipiters, mixed songbird feeding flocks

Year-round : Red-tailed hawk, gulls, woodpeckers

Governors Island

Accessible by ferry from Lower Manhattan

Located right in the middle of the New York Harbor, Governors Island serves as a great resting spot for migrant birds.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Owls, gulls, woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers, tanagers, orioles, and grassland birds

Summer : Black skimmer, purple martin, nesting common tern, herring and great black-backed gulls, fish crow, eastern kingbird

Fall : Raptors, freshwater sandpipers, woodpeckers, flycatchers, grassland birds, warblers, and other songbirds

Winter : Owls, accipiters, diving birds, songbird feeding flocks

Year-round : Gulls, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, fish crow


Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

This beautiful natural area, part of the National Park Service, is a marshy estuary shared by Queens and Brooklyn. It’s a very important stopover site for migrating shorebirds.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Shorebirds, wading

birds, terns, orchard oriole, rusty blackbird, courting American woodcock, flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, and tanagers

Summer : Nesting willet, American oystercatcher, clapper rail, osprey, rubythroated hummingbird

Fall : Shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, flycatchers

Winter : American crow, rock pigeon, wintering waterfowl, accipiters, northern harrier

Year-round : Peregrine falcon, barn owl, great horned owl, bald eagle

Alley Pond Park

Little Neck Bay to Springfield Boulevard, Union Turnpike

In the northeast corner of Queens is Alley Pond Park, which features several different habitats, including tidal marsh, oak and beech forest, and freshwater wetlands that drain into Little Neck Bay to the north. The forest and meadows here are great spots for birdwatching.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Flycatchers, vireos, warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks and other songbirds, American woodcock, shorebirds, waders

Summer : Nesting osprey, foraging wading birds

Fall : Raptors, shorebirds, ruby-throated hummingbird, kinglets, thrushes, warblers, sparrows

Winter : Woodpeckers, American crow, ducks, owls, accipiters, sparrows and songbirds

Year-round : Great horned owl, red-tailed hawk, woodpeckers, belted kingfisher

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway

In the heart of bustling Queens and surrounded by major highways with rushing city traffic, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a classic urban park that offers some great spots for birdwatching!

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Waterfowl, freshwater shorebirds, and

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terns; warblers, sparrows, and other land birds

Summer : Foraging common and Forster’s terns, egrets, osprey, chimney swift, nesting eastern kingbird, warbling vireo

Fall : Waterfowl, freshwater shorebirds, wading birds, warblers, kinglets, and other songbirds

Winter : Waterfowl, accipiters, sparrow feeding flocks

Year-round : Red-tailed hawk, bald eagle, great blue heron, black-crowned nightheron, gulls, killdeer, waterfowl

Forest Park

Myrtle Avenue, Union Turnpike, Park Lane S.

Enjoy a peaceful birdwatching experience at this Queens park.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, thrushes, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds, waders and possible freshwater waterfowl and shorebirds

Summer : Possible nesting species, waders

Fall : Flycatchers, kinglets, thrushes, warblers, sparrows, possible rusty blackbird; waders, waterfowl

Winter : Accipiters, owls, yellow-bellied sapsucker, winter wren, mixed songbird feeding flocks, sparrows

Year-round : Red-tailed hawk, woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatch, black-capped chickadee, Carolina wren, waterfowl

The Rockaways

Beach 3 to Beach 153 Streets and Boardwa lk to Atlantic Ocean

The Rockaway beaches are great to visit in the summer, or any time of year. The area is home to important nesting sites for many threatened bird species. The waters on both bay and beach side attract lots of wintering sea birds, too.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Lingering waterfowl, northern gannet, shorebirds, flycatchers, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and other land birds

Summer : Beach-nesting black skimmers, common and least terns, American

oystercatchers, and piping plovers; osprey, migrating shorebirds

Fall : Accipiters, falcons, buteos, shorebirds, warblers, thrushes, sparrows

Winter : Wintering sea ducks, grebes and loons, northern gannet, pelagic birds, purple sandpiper

Year-round : Peregrine falcon, gulls


Floyd Bennett Field

Floyd Bennett Field is one of the best places in NYC to see gorgeous snowy owls with their striking white plumage. And they make quite a trip to the city, all the way from the Arctic Circle! (They often come here when their food sources run low up north.)

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Flycatchers, purple martin, black-billed cuckoo, warblers and other songbirds; lingering waterfowl, American Woodcock

Summer : Nesting American woodcock, killdeer, willet, great crested flycatcher, eastern kingbird, willow flycatcher, whiteeyed vireo, tree swallow, cedar waxwing, yellow warbler, American redstart, Baltimore and orchard oriole

Fall : Raptors, warblers, thrushes, sparrows

Winter : Snowy owl, horned lark, snow buntings, lapland longspurs, loons, ducks

Year-round : Peregrine falcon, grassland birds, sparrows, great horned owl, American kestrel, northern harrier

Prospect Park and Brooklyn Botanic Garden

You can spend a whole day exploring these two Brooklyn venues. The diverse habitat of woodlands, gardens, meadows, lakes and streams here is attractive to migrating birds during spring and fall. Birders have recorded 289 species in Prospect Park, which has been designated an Important Bird Area by National Audubon.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds

Summer : Nesting species including possible green heron, Cooper’s hawk, Acadian flycatcher

Fall : Raptors, kinglets, warblers, sparrows

Winter : Waterfowl, accipiters, owls, songbirds

Year-round : Peregrine falcon, great horned owl, merlin, red-tailed hawk, woodpeckers

Green-Wood Cemetery

500 25th St.

This National Historic Landmark in Brooklyn is another green space that’s popular with both birds and birders. The beautiful cemetery is well known for the monk parakeets that nest upon its gates, but many other species live here, too.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds; spotted and solitary sandpiper

Summer : Eastern kingbird, warbling vireo, cedar waxwing, Baltimore oriole, wading birds

Fall : Raptors; warblers, kinglets, thrushes, and other songbirds

Winter : Accipiters, owls, mixed songbird feeding flocks, waterfowl

Year-round : Monk parakeets, red tailed hawk, woodpeckers, wood duck, belted kingfisher

Shirley Chisholm State Park

950 Fountain Ave.

This beautiful state park is named in honor of Brooklyn-born Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African American Congresswoman. The park offers biking, fishing, hiking, and of course, lots of opportunities for bird watching!

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Black skimmer, blue heron, Baltimore oriole, Louisiana waterthrush, house wren

Summer : Willow flycatcher, Forster’s tern, osprey, herons

Fall : Shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, flycatchers

Winter : Waterfowl including swan, accipiters, short-eared owl, snow buntings,

52 | April 2023

The Habits of Highly Effective Adolescents

With Christine Carter, Ph.D. and Laura Kastner, Ph.D.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023, 5 p.m. ET

In this interactive talk, acclaimed sociologist and leadership coach (and mother of four teenagers!) Christine Carter, Ph.D., will draw on scientific research to outline realistic ways parents and educators can help preteens, teens and college students find focus and fulfillment through the development of effective habit formation, goal-setting and authentic leadership skills.

Transforming Trauma and Navigating Overwhelm

With trauma specialist and author Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

Tuesday, May 4, 2023, 4 p.m. ET

In this interactive talk, trauma exposure pioneer Laura van Dernoot Lipsky will offer practical tools to help us sustain, individually and collectively, in the face of trauma, secondary trauma and overwhelm. She will discuss what the consequences of trauma are as well as strategies for supporting ourselves and each other.

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horned larks

Year-round : Peregrine falcon, northern harrier, American kestrel, gulls

Marine Park

Flatbush, Gerritsen and Fillmore Avenues, Jamaica Bay

This 530-acre park offers lots of opportunities for birdwatching.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Flycatchers, cuckoos, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks, and other songbirds; shorebirds, wading birds

Summer : Nesting killdeer, willet, clapper rail, osprey, willow flycatcher, cedar waxwing, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, boat-tailed grackle

Fall : Shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, flycatchers, songbirds

Winter: Waterfowl, American crow, downy woodpecker, accipiters, northern harrier, songbirds

Year-round : Peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel; gulls

Staten I S land

Mount Loretto Unique Area

Staten Island’s South Shore, Hylan Boulevard

This sprawling natural area encapsulates many different kinds of habitat, including beach, forests, wetlands and more, all of which supply everything local wildlife and plants need to survive. Plus, there’s easy parking and cleared paths to walk along during your birdwatching adventure.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Herons, woodpeckers, eastern screech owl, northern gannet, American oystercatcher, sparrows, common merganser

Summer : Wading birds, gulls, terns, American oystercatcher, osprey, shorebirds, killdeer, eastern kingbird, orchard and Baltimore oriole, indigo bunting, cedar waxwing, swallows, brown thrasher

Fall : Shorebirds, raptors, warblers, thrushes, sparrows and other songbirds

Winter : Waterfowl, gulls, alcids, northern gannet

Year-round : Bald eagle, waterfowl, gulls

Great Kills Park

Staten Island’s South Shore, Hylan Boulevard

Part of the Staten Island unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, this park is 523 acres and great for birdwatching.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Shorebirds, waders, northern gannet, warblers and other land birds

Summer: Wading birds, gulls, terns, American oystercatcher, osprey, migrating shorebirds, nesting killdeer, fish crow, swallows, yellow warbler, cedar waxwing, orchard and Baltimore oriole, boat-tailed grackle

Fall : Shorebirds, raptors, warblers, sparrows and other songbirds

Winter : Hairy woodpecker, waterfowl, gulls, alcids, purple sandpiper, northern gannet, yellow-rumped warbler

Year-round : Bald eagle, gulls

Conference House Park 7455 Hylan Blvd.

Located at the southernmost tip of Staten Island–not to mention the southernmost tip of NYC- is Conference House Park. This waterside park, where the Arthur Kill joins Raritan Bay, has dunes, beaches, wetlands, meadows and wooded bluffs that birds love.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Shorebirds, waders, northern gannet, flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers and other land birds

Summer: Wading birds, gulls, terns, American oystercatcher, osprey, shorebirds, orchard and Baltimore orioles

Fall : Shorebirds, raptors, chimney swift, land birds

Winter: Hairy woodpecker, waterfowl, wild turkey, gulls, alcids, purple sandpiper, northern gannet, sparrows

Year-round : Bald eagle, gulls, woodpeckers, songbirds

Clove Lakes Park

Forest Avenue, Victory Boulevard bet. Clove Road and Brookside Avenue, Royal Oak Road

This city park is a protected Forever Wild site because of its ecologically valuable lands. Staten Island families flock to Clove Lakes Park to enjoy many outdoor activities, including birdwatching.

Birds to look for include:

Spring : Warblers, songbirds, bank swallow, grosbeak, orchard oriole

Summer : Egrets, great blue heron, green heron, Baltimore oriole, Cooper’s hawk

Fall : Kinglets, raptors, sparrows

Winter : Waterfowl, accipiters, owls, songbirds

Year-round : Owls, red-tail hawk, woodpeckers

The Staten Island Greenbelt 700 Rockland Ave.

The Greenbelt is a major attraction for Staten Islanders. It’s a nature lover’s delight, and there are plenty of outdoor activities for families to enjoy, including birdwatching.

Birds to look for include:

Spring: Waterbirds, thrushes, kinglets, warblers, tanagers, orioles, grosbeaks

Summer : Lots of forest birds, wading birds

Fall : Kinglets, warblers, sparrows, raptors

Winter : Waterfowl, accipiters, songbirds

Year-round : Turkey vulture, red-tail hawk, owls, woodpeckers

The Staten Island Turkeys

These gorgeous birds live all over the island, but their headquarters seem to be in the borough’s Dongan HillsOld Town neighborhoods. You never know when or where you’ll encounter them!

54 | April 2023
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Zephyr Cirque Mechanics

WHEN: March 24-April 16, Fridays and Saturdays, 7 pm, Saturdays, 2 pm, Sundays, 5 pm, through April 16; Sundays, 2 pm, April 12 – 14, 2 pm.

WHERE: The New Victory Theater, 209 W 42nd Street, Midtown

AGES: 5 and up

WHAT: This whirlwind of circus will blow you away with a 20-foot-tall windmill as the star of the show.

WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $20.

2003 Macy’s Flower Show

WHEN: Mondays – Saturdays, 10 am – 9 pm, Sundays, 11 am –9 pm, through April 10.

WHERE: Macy’s Herald Square, 151 W. 34th Street, Midtown


WHAT: See the famed department store transformed into a lavishly romantic dreamscape with thousands of beautiful blooms.

WANT TO GO?: Free. macys. com

The New York International Auto Show

WHEN: Starting April 7, Mondays – Saturdays, 10 am –10 pm, through April 16.

WHERE: Jacob Javits Center, 655 W. 34th St. Chelsea


WHAT: The Auto Show offers exciting and unique ways for families to explore the latest in auto innovations with immersive and interactive exhibits.

WANT TO GO?: $21; $7 ages 12 and younger.

TNF Egg Hunt and Bunny Fun

WHEN: April 8, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm & 2:30 pm.

WHERE: Riverside Park, West 74th Street Lawn, Upper West Side


WHAT: Get egg-cited to hunt for eggs, take photos with the Easter Bunny, and more!

WANT TO GO?: $30 per egg collecting child; $15 per nonwalking under 1-year-old; Day of Tickets at the Park are $20$40.

The Uptown Night Market

WHEN: April 13, 4 – 10 pm.

WHERE: Under the Arches in West Harlem, 133rd St and 12th Ave, West Harlem


WHAT: Come out to try new cuisines, take part in family activities, and to check out live


WANT TO GO?: Admission is free.

Earth Day 2023 Festival

WHEN: April 16, noon – 6 pm

WHERE: Park Avenue South and East 17th Street, Union Square


WHAT: Celebrate our planet with dozens of environmental organizations and climate campaigns, kids’ activities, and more.


Dr. Kaboom & The Wheel of Science

WHEN: April 16, 2 pm

WHERE: BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., Tribeca

AGES: 8 and older

WHAT: Help Doktor Kaboom pick science demonstrations in this exciting and interactive stage show.

WANT TO GO?: $30.

PAW Patrol Live! Heroes Unite

WHEN: April 22 & 23, 10:30 am, 2 pm & 5:30 pm.

WHERE: The Theater at Madison Square Garden, 4 Penn Plaza, Midtown


WHAT: This brand-new interactive live stage show features stunning visual effects,

56 | April 2023
dr. Kaboom will experiment at the bMcc tribeca performing a rts center on a pril 16.

captivating storytelling and a vibrant musical score.

WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $50.


State Ballet of Georgia

WHEN: April 16, 6 pm

WHERE: Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx


WHAT: See a rare U.S. performance from this world famous company!

WANT TO GO?: $32-$83. (718) 960–8833,

The Bronx River Open House

WHEN: April 22, noon – 4 pm

WHERE: Bronx River Alliance, 1490 Sheridan Boulevard, Bronx


WHAT: Bring the family out for canoe paddling, kid-friendly educational activities and workshops, pop-up bike repair station, and more!

WANT TO GO?: Free.

Family Art Project: Barking up a Wave Hill Tree

WHEN: Starting April 29, Daily, 10 am – 1 pm, through April 30.

WHERE: Wave Hill, 4900 Independence Ave. The Bronx


WHAT: Visit some of Wave Hill’s treasured trees and have a tactile experience making

simple but rich bark rubbings to decorate and frame.

WANT TO GO?: Included with admission: $10; $6 students and seniors 65 and older; $4 children 6 and older; free for members. (718) 549–3200,


Spring Opening at the Audubon Center

WHEN: April 8, 10 am – 1 pm

WHERE: Prospect Park Audubon Center, 101 East Drive, Prospect Lefferts Garden


WHAT: Kick off the spring season with interactive games,

animal encounters and much more.

WANT TO GO?: Free.

Stroller Tour at the Brooklyn Museum

WHEN: Wednesday, April 12, 10 – 11:30 am

WHERE: Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights

AGES: 2 and under WHAT: This interactive, strollerfriendly tour features touchable objects, songs, exploration of artworks, and an opportunity to connect with other adults.

WANT TO GO?: $29 per adult. (718) 638–5000,

Farmhouse Family Day: Working with Wood

WHEN: April 15, 11 am – 3 pm

WHERE: Wyckoff House Museum, 5816 Clarendon Road, East Flatbush

AGES: 4 - 10

WHAT: Celebrate Earth Day by learning all about trees and creating your own personalized wooden coasters.

WANT TO GO?: Free.

Queen S

The Peking Acrobats Featuring the Shanghai Circus

WHEN: April 7, 8 pm

WHERE: Queensborough Performing Arts Center, 222-05 56th Avenue, Oakland Gardens


WHAT: Witness a limit pushing performance that will have you on the edge of your seat.

WANT TO GO?: $33 - $58.

Hands On History: Jackie in Queens

WHEN: April 15, 1 – 4 pm

WHERE: King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Ave. Jamaica

AGES: 3 – 12

WHAT: Celebrate the legacy of one of baseball’s brightest stars, learn about his time in Queens, and design your own baseball pennant.

WANT TO GO?: Free. (718) 206–0545,

Apple Blossom Carnival

WHEN: April 22-40, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am – 6 pm; Friday, April 28, 5:30 – 8:30 pm.

WHERE: Queens County Farm Museum, 75-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks


WHAT: Celebrate the season with carnival rides, hayrides, midway games, local food, and visit with some farm animals!

WANT TO GO?: $25 per person; free for ages 0-2. (718) 347–3276,

April 2023 | New York Family 57 April calendar
celebrate Earth day in Union s quare on a pril 16. paw patrol live comes to Madison square garden on april 22 and 23.

Catch the Orchid Show in its 20th Year

The 20th iteration of the annual Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden will be wrapping up April 23rd. Head over to The Orchid Show: Natural Heritage, designed by landscape artist Lily Kwong- featuring immersive installations with thousands of orchids.

Through Kwong’s design inspired by Chinese garden design and artistic principals, visitors will be transported and immersed in the magic.

Kwong’s design for Natural Heritage was inspired by her own culture and heritage.

“This exhibition’s design is my most autobiographical work to date,” Kwong said in a press release. “And the piece took shape through meditation and exploration of my ancestral roots stretching back generations to Shanghai.”

Utilizing a variety of orchids and inspired by classic Chinese mountainscape paintings passed down through her family from Shanghai, Kwong creates towering figures that envelop visitors and blend ecology, culture and fantasy.

Through the combination of Kwong’s heritage, medicinal traditions and the idea of nature as a healing force, Natural Heritage brings visitors into a world where nature and humanity coexist in harmony.

The horticulturalists and exhibitions staff members at NYBG have worked with Kwong to bring her vision to life by assembling selections of orchids native to Asian countries and companion plantings.

These displays are meant to be emotionally evocative and inspire visitors to reflect on their own plant heritage and ancestry.

“At a time when we are all starved for connection, the prayer of this installation is

to offer a sense of community, reciprocity, and grounding into ancient wisdom and traditions that have guided us for millennia,” Kwong said. “Orchids are the perfect plant to draw people into the complexities of our relationships with the natural world and our vital roles nourishing those connections.”

Kwong is the first woman of color to take on the role of guest designer for the Garden’s Orchid Show, and she said because of this “it felt urgent to celebrate an Asian-centered perspective in the midst of this charged and precarious moment.”

“The piece is meant to offer a bridge of cultural understanding across the valley between us, and act as an invitation to celebrate the diverse lineages that make up our country,” Kwong said.

If you’re looking for a parents’ night out, see The Orchid Show on an Orchid Night, select evenings (head to the site for days and times) where adults over 21 can experience the exhibition with music, cash bars and food.

The New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10458. A ticket provides daytime entry to The Orchid Show in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and to NYBG’s outdoor gardens and collections. A separate ticket is required for access to Orchid Evenings.

58 | April 2023
family day out
l andscape artist l ily Kwong
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