New York Family - November 2023

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Donna & Mateo explore AMNH's Gilder Center and share on navigating museums with a child with disabilities


Thanksgiving A thankful daughter on continuing family traditions


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pg. 42

pg. 40

pg. 34

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pg. 24



16 | In the News How to explain the Israel-Palestine conflict to kids

6 | Editor’s Letter

20 | Travel Visiting charming Cooperstown, NY 23 | Special Child Tips and resources for emotional wellness for the parents and caregivers of kids with disabilities 24 | Cover How to navigate museums with a child with disabilities 34 | Parties Best Party Places 36 | Education Best Tutoring & Test Prep Resources 38 | Holiday Fun Our favorite things to do as the holiday season arrives

4 | November 2023

8 | Mom Hacks What to do with your kids’ old toys 12 | Ask the Expert Your teen’s first gynecologist visit 14 | Family Day Out Courage to Act: New exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage is a must-see 42 | Mom Stories One family’s intergenerational Thanksgiving customs

FAMILY FUN 40 | Calendar All the fun events and activities for November

DIRECTORIES 32 | Special Needs Listings

ON THE COVER Photo: Yumi Matsuo | Hair & Makeup: Buffy Hernandez | Cover location: Many thanks to Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History

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November 2023 | New York Family



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It’s been a heavy last few weeks in the world. We write for a diverse community at New York Family. The Israel-Palestine conflict is a complex and sensitive issue. We are all saddened about what is happening. When writing about war, How to Explain the IsraelPalestine Conflict to Kids (page tk), we aim to foster peaceful dialogue while respecting our community and holding onto hope for a better future for all families affected by this conflict. November is a busy month; the fall weather and upcoming holidays mean cool things to do and events are happening. Check out our calendar (page 40), Holiday Fun events (page 38), and where to cut your Christmas tree (page 16) to start mapping out your family excursions. Every November, we highlight ‘Special Child,’ where we share resources for kids with disabilities. And guess what? Our

cover is my son Mateo, age seven (and me holding on to him so he doesn’t tackle the art). Thankfully, The Gilder Center has unique interactive exhibitions! We adopted Mateo as a baby (happy National Adoption Month!), and he was diagnosed with ASD at a young age. You can read more about my journey at because this month’s issue isn’t about me. It is about the many New York families in the disability community and the challenges they face daily – many of whom want to get out and just Go to the Museum! (page 24). And we have them; we have listed our picks with the most accessibility so you can map out your family’s visit before you go and enjoy all the beauty these institutions provide us lucky New Yorkers!


PUBLISHER: Clifford Luster EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Donna Duarte-Ladd ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Erin Brof ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: Stacie Goldberg DEPUTY EDITOR: Jeannine Cintron DIGITAL EDITOR: Kaitlyn Riggio EVENTS MANAGER: Shara Levine REPORTER: Barbara Russo SENIOR ADVISER: Susan Weiss PARTNERSHIP MANAGERS: Lauren Alperin, Lauren Anchin, Joan Bergman, Mary Cassidy, Suzanne Cirigliano, Chris Cunnington, Lori Falco, Shelli Goldberg-Peck, LynnMarie Hanley, Lisa Herlihy, Janine Mulé, Nina Spiegelman, Gwen Tomaselli MARKETING & STRATEGY DIRECTOR: Rosalia Bobé SALES & MARKETING ASSISTANT: Elana Cantor MARKETING ASSISTANT: Tilejah Gilead MEDIA SALES ASSISTANT: Anastasia Aktipis ART DIRECTOR: Leah Mitch WEB DEVELOPER: Sylvan Migdal GRAPHIC DESIGNERS: Arthur Arutyunov, Connie Sulsenti EDITORS AT LARGE: Serena Norr, Cris Pearlstein EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS: Jana Beauchamp, Mia Salas EDITORIAL INTERNS: Marnie Dunbar


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mom hacks

What To Do With Your Kids’ Old Toys By BarBara russo


he arrival of fall means the holiday season is around the corner! It’ll soon be time to check off the items on your kids’ wishlists. But in the meantime, you might be wondering, “How will we have room for all these new toys?” Well don’t fret, because we put together a list of what to do with your kids’ old toys that they outgrew or just don’t play with anymore. From recycling programs to charitable donations, these suggestions will help ensure that the toys that brought your little ones so much joy will continue to do so for others. RECYCLING Mattel PlayBack Program This company has so many popular toys, including the famous Barbie! Its PlayBack program allows you to ship your kids’ Mattel toys–specifically Barbie, Fisher-Price, Matchbox and MEGA toys–back to the company, where they are then recycled and reused as contents in new products. (We know, it sounds sad, but it actually helps keep toys out of landfills.) To participate, go to the website and fill out a short form to receive a free prepaid shipping label. Package your toys, and then send ‘em on out. Hasbro Toy Recycling Mr. Potato Head. My Little Pony. Playskool. These are just a few popular Hasbro brands that you can send back as part of the company’s Toy Recycling program, which is a partnership with recycling company, TerraCycle. Once you send back your toys, the company recycles them into new materials and products, including play

8 | November 2023

spaces, flower pots and park benches. Spin Master Free Recycling Program Recycling is a popular suggestion on what to do with your kids’ old toys. Spin Master toys, which include PAW Patrol and Rubik’s Cube brands, can be recycled through the company’s free recycling program. The company, like Hasbro, does its toy recycling program in partnership with TerraCycle. Once you send back your Spin Master toys (you can see a full list of toys on its website), they’re cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled

products, such as park benches and picnic tables, instead of ending up in a landfill. Stuffed Animal Box Your kids aren’t playing with their stuffed animals anymore, but it might seem horrifying to think of these beloved plush companions winding up in the trash. Well there’s good news: They don’t have to! You can purchase a TerraCycle Zero Waste Box (prices start at $110), fill it with your stuffed animals and send them out. The toys are then sorted and processed into raw materials that


mention world’s largest collection DidDid we we mention the the world’s largest collection Did mention the world’s largest collection ofwe toys, dolls, and games? Pack your bags Did Did we we mention mention the the world’s world’s largest largest collection collection of toys, dolls, and games? Pack your bags and hit the road for an unforgettable of toys, dolls, and games? Pack your bags of of toys, toys, dolls, dolls, and and games? games? Pack Pack your your bags bags and hit the road for an unforgettable triptrip in ain a destination full of With fun for and the road an unforgettable trip in a and and hit hithit the the road road for forfor an ansurprises. unforgettable unforgettable trip in inaa destination full of surprises. With fun trip for every family, every season of the year, destination destination full full of of surprises. surprises. With With fun fun for for destination full of surprises. With fun for every family, every season of the year, playtime tends to last aof little longer in our every every family, family, every every season season of the the year, year, every family, every season of the year, playtime tends to last a little longer in our backyard. playtime playtime tends tends to toto last last aalittle little longer longer in inour our playtime tends last a little longer in our backyard. backyard. backyard. backyard. © Carol Cain/Brave World Media, George Eastman Museum, @sprungphotography, Jerome Davis/Wickham Farms © Carol Cain/Brave World Media, George Eastman Museum, @sprungphotography, Jim Montanus

©©Carol Carol Cain/Brave Cain/Brave World World Media, Media, George George Eastman Eastman Museum, Museum, @sprungphotography, @sprungphotography, Jim JimMontanus Montanus © Carol Cain/Brave World Media, George Eastman Museum, @sprungphotography, Jerome Davis/Wickham Farms

November 2023 | New York Family



are used to make new products. LEGO Replay If your kids are ready to move on from their LEGOs, you can pass forward these muchloved toy bricks to kids in need. Just box up your bricks, print out a label and ship them out. Kids will get a box filled with a variety of bricks and elements to play with, as well as a cool activity booklet with some fun building activities to try out! GivinG Back Charities If you’re looking for more answers on what to do with your kids’ old toys, consider donating them to charities! Many charities such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army will resell your donated items and use the money to support their causes. If you have a new, unwrapped toy that you’d like to give, Toys for Tots is another option. It’s run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and their mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them to less fortunate children at Christmas.

Ways to Recycle Other Items

Now that you have a few tips on what to do with your kids’ old toys, here are a few bonus ideas for recycling other household items, too: Umbrellas. Broken or unwanted umbrellas can be upcycled into tote bags. The metal spokes can be recycled at a scrap metal facility.

Homes and Shelters That adorable teddy bear and plush bunny, and those beautiful dolls in your child’s old toy chest will almost certainly bring joy to children going through a difficult time. Consider calling local children’s and women’s shelters to see if they’re accepting toys, and if so, how you can go about donating. Churches, Synagogues and Other Religious Organizations Consider contacting these organizations to see if they know of any families in need who

Pet food bags. Dry pet food bags, once empty, can be used as trash bags or upcycled into tote bags. Paint. Through the PaintCare program, many stores accept unwanted paint for paint recycling. Check out for a store locator and instructions on how to make your donation.

can use toys. Stuffed Animals For Emergencies (SAFE) This wonderful organization provides comfort for children in traumatic or emergency situations through donations of stuffed animals, blankets, books, children’s clothes and baby items. This beautiful mission gives you the opportunity to donate these beloved items so that they can be used to comfort kids who need them, and not thrown away.



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ask the expert

Your Teen’s First Gynecologist Visit By Serena norr


re you wondering when it’s the right time to have “the talk” with your daughter about their first visit the Gynecologist? Or what how to the “right” Gynecologist or maybe wha to share what will happen during a visit. During a recent interview, we spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers, a board-certified OB/GYN who specializes in adolescent gynecology. Dr. Rodgers shared more about the importance of gynecologic care and how to open up the conversation as early as age 9. Read on to learn more about getting your teen ready for their first visit to a Gynecologist. Is there a “right” time to start talking to your kids about their first visit to a gynecologist? As a NYC-based board-certified OB/ GYN and mom of three, empowering young women and helping provide them with a supportive environment to start their gynecologic care is very important to me. Recently, as a result of the overturning of Roe vs Wade and the subsequent increased media coverage of reproductive health, more parents and teens have come to me to have a frank discussion about “hard to talk about” topics. A good initiation point (if your teen has not inquired prior) is when it is time for your child to get the HPV vaccine. This is approved for both boys and girls starting at age 9. Naturally, your child may wonder, “Why do I need this?.” This presents an opportunity to start the discussion about reproductive health and safety. From there, one can continue to address puberty and the changes that are happening to your child’s body. Education is essential here. I find that explaining the physiologic purpose of our period gives teens a better understanding of why it’s important to be safe once she becomes sexually active, even if they are still unsure of their sexual identity. It is also important to start this dialogue even if they are not sexually active, or planning on being sexually active in the near future, so that they are empowered with accurate information when the time does present itself. Many parents are concerned that bringing up these topics may encourage their child to have sex earlier, but the medical literature does not support this. What age do you recommend girls go for their first visit?

12 | November 2023

Ideally, they should see an OB/GYN prior to becoming sexually active or certainly by age 18. As a gynecologist, many adolescents come to me with irregular or painful periods. Prior to this, I educate them about the other areas of reproductive health including contraception and sexually transmitted infection prevention. What should parents look for when meeting a new Gynecologist for their daughter? It is important to find a provider that is comfortable with the adolescent patient population. Young patients often have different physical, social and emotional concerns that impact their reproductive health and decisions. What is a Gynecologist is looking for in young women? It is always important to take into account the whole patient when providing medical care. A medical provider should consider not only the physiologic findings, but also how the patient’s social and emotional life can impact their health. When I speak with a patient about birth control, I want to understand what is happening in their life – and it is not all about sex. I want to talk about the regularity of their period, if they suffer from acne, if they have bad cramping, and, ultimately, how their period impacts their quality of life.

Contraceptive advice Do you have anything else to add? All contraceptive options are not created equal, and there is not a one size fits all solution. A few years ago, with the help of a college-age intern, I created a tangible box. This includes samples of the various options so they can physically see the differences between each while we discuss the pros and cons. For many teens, the ease and accessibility of an over-the-counter birth control pill will be a great option. It has very few medical contraindications which makes it safe for many patients. This being said, I would like to note that the pill is 98% effective in PERFECT use. However, this requires the patient to be compliant with taking a pill each day. For many (especially teens), remembering to take a daily pill can be a burden. For this reason, I tend to recommend longacting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). These must be inserted by a medical provider, but do not require daily maintenance. They are available in hormonal and nonhormonal options and are effective for extended periods of time. For example, those who wish to avoid additional hormones, may want to consider Paragard. This IUD is effective for up to 10 years. As an OB/ GYN, I encourage patients to consider their options. Additionally, they should have a conversation about what is best for them with their health care provider.

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family day out

Courage to Act New exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage is a must-see


lthough kids learn about history in school, nothing will catch their attention quite like seeing it come to life right before their eyes. That’s why the latest exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark, is an absolute must-see for families. The eye-opening new exhibition simultaneously delivers a positive message while captivating viewers both young and old with its stunning visual effects and lifelike narrative. Courage to Act is now open and is for visitors ages 9 and up and explores the true meaning of community, inspiring people of all ages to reflect on the dangers of prejudice and their own potential for courageous and moral actions and citizenship. Using state-of-the-art technology and creative storytelling, Courage to Act immerses visitors in one of the most impressive acts of mass resistance in modern history. In the face of grave danger and under threat of deportations, both Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of all ages came together in 1943 to evacuate thousands of Jews in Denmark to safety in Sweden. Their collective action saved over 95% of Denmark’s Jewish population. The exhibition features interactive elements including Discovery Walls and hologram-like composite characters that help transport visitors to the world of 1943 Denmark. Maps, archival materials, a boat, photographs, and testimonials are showcased as well. Age-appropriate themes of separation,

14 | November 2023

The Museum of Jewish Heritage

bravery, and resilience help young people make connections to their own lives and reflect on the dangers of prejudice—as well as their own potential for compassionate, moral, and courageous collective action and upstanding. Fans of Lois Lowry’s popular historical fiction novel Number the Stars will feel a particularly special connection to the

exhibition. The award-winning book tells the story of the Danish Resistance in the words of a heroic 10-year-old girl who helped save her best friend from the Nazis in Denmark. It’s required reading for many middle schoolers, so there’s a good chance young museum visitors will already be familiar with the story behind Courage to Act – making it even more powerful of an experience. In a climate of widespread bigotry, antisemitism, and Holocaust denial, Courage to Act addresses a critical need by reaching younger children and emphasizing the importance of small and big acts of courage that each of us can take to make positive contributions to the world. Ticketing for Courage to Act is on a timed basis. The Museum is celebrating the Danish Rescue with programs throughout the year. New events will be added on an ongoing basis. Learn more at


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in the news

How to Explain the IsraelPalestine Conflict to Kids By Jeannine Cintron


n the innocent mind of a child, war is incomprehensible. Most young people, if they are fortunate enough to live in a safe place, are not able to grasp the horrors that war brings. The escalating brutality between Israel and Palestine is something even adults can hardly bear to hear, so it’s understandable that parents might need help explaining the situation to their impressionable children. We’ve broken it down for you below with tips from experts, extra resources for parents, and simple explanations for kids. Editors note: We at New York Family understand that this is a highly sensitive topic. Needless to say, we do not condone violence or terroristic acts of any kind. As a family publication, our goal is always to ensure that parents are equipped with the resources they need to raise children, which is why we are sharing this information for families to aid in coping and understanding a frightening situation for kids.

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Our thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East. Why are Israel and Palestine Fighting? Your kids might be asking what’s going on. It isn’t easy to simplify a conflict that dates back decades (technically centuries), especially one with such strongly opposing sides. But you don’t need to dust off a history textbook to explain to your kids why Israel and Palestine are at war with one another. In the country of Israel, located in the Middle East between Africa and Asia, lies territory that is desired by both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The region is also known as the Holy Land and is considered sacred among Jews, Christians and Muslims. Since the 20th century, ownership and occupation of this land has been a major source of conflict between Jewish and Arab nationalists, leading to prolonged violence and political uproar. Unfortunately, thousands of innocent civilians have been killed or injured as a

result of this ongoing dispute. Obviously, there is a lot more to it than that, but children may not understand and are likely going to be sensitive to the details. The experts we spoke to recommend parents not share the depraved actions of terrorist organizations with children, which is why we have provided this simple explanation. If you or your child are interested in a more detailed (and unbiased) explanation of the Israel-Palestine conflict, we recommend reading these articles together: • conflict • • What are the roots to the Israel/ Palestine conflict? While international affairs – even war – tend to be of little concern to most children, this particular situation, with its stomachchurning images of violence broadcasted live for the world to see, is likely to be more than just a passing topic at the dinner table. In the age of social media, the graphic footage is easily accessible to children. Whether your child has seen the





unsettling details or simply overheard adults talking about them, they might be confused and upset by it all. After polling our followers on New York Family’s Instagram, we learned that 75 percent of the parents who responded have children who are upset by what is going on in Israel. According to Lauren Tetenbaum, a Scarsdale-based social worker specializing in maternal mental health, the most important thing is to open the lines of communication with your kids, whatever age they are, and to make them feel comfortable coming to you for information – just not too much information. “I have elementary school aged kids and I keep it very direct with them, and honest, and I don’t give more information than the question requires,” she says. “For older kids, you should still be direct and honest, but you may be a little more proactive with them. You might want to reassure them that your job as their parent is to make sure that they feel safe and can come and talk to you about everything. And I think in general the message is always that we want peace and safety for everyone.” While we are very fortunate to not be near the violence, it’s still a very scary situation. So how do parents approach the conversation in a healthy way that is both truthful and comforting for kids? “It’s important to acknowledge their worry and also acknowledge yours. As parents, we feel like we have to be superheroes, but I think that it’s really important to show your kids that you are scared too, to a certain extent, but also emphasize that we’re safe here,” Tetenbaum explains. “I think it’s natural for kids to experience a level of anxiety,” she adds. “So I would encourage parents not to think that it’s abnormal unless it becomes excessive, in which case I would encourage them to reach out for professional support. But otherwise I would acknowledge the anxiety and say ‘Yes, this is an anxiety provoking situation. All war is terrible and sad and scary and we wish it weren’t happening. And I’m always here if you want to talk.’” “I would avoid details of the violence and be very matter of fact about it,” Tetenbaum continues. “It is a hard balance between teaching them about what’s going on and building empathy, but also not terrifying them. “Let them know there are ways to help. We can show support, we can donate medical supplies and things like that. Because a lot of kids and grownups, of course, feel very helpless

18 | November 2023

“It is an extremely raw and current moment. Everyone’s processing a lot of emotions. It’s scary. It’s real time. So give yourself a break.” and giving back in any way that you can, can feel good and also, of course, is very much needed.” Not every kid is going to be upset or even aware of what is going on, which is a good thing. But should parents keep them in the dark if they are old enough to understand? Sort of, according to Tetenbaum. “It is an extremely raw and current moment,” she says. “So I would say to all parents don’t feel that you have to behave a certain way. Everyone’s processing a lot of emotions. It’s scary. It’s real time. So give yourself a break, if your kid isn’t asking about it right now. I think it’s fine to leave it alone to a certain extent. But you could make the statement ‘You know, there’s war and violence escalating in the Middle East. It’s terrible. Violence is never the answer. And if you have any questions, I’m happy to talk to you.’ And I think that that sets up children for success as empathetic human beings as global citizens because they should know what’s going on. But I don’t think you need to sit them down and hammer it home, especially when feelings are probably heightened for you as well right now.” Tetenbaum also stresses the importance of caring for yourself first. “Give yourself a break,” she offers. “I know that we’re all glued to the phones and the news. It’s not great for our mental health. And I know that to be able to turn it off is very much a privilege and obviously the closer you are to the conflict, you can’t. But to the extent that you can I would encourage it because it’s like constant trauma in your face, literally. And I would say volunteering and giving back and educating yourself on these issues are great action items that can make people feel a little bit better. But there’s no one right way to process any of this, so give yourself that kindness.” Tips for Parents to Help Kids Cope Experts from the apolitical organization NATAL, Israel’s leading trauma and resilience center, shared the following helpful advice on how to listen to and speak with children about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Be together and be present. It is important to be with our loved ones. Be present while with your children and communicate with them often. Call people you love on the phone and ask how they are doing. Tell your children phrases like, “We are together and taking care of each other.”

Provide information. Provide essential, reliable and focused information. It is important to help children understand what is happening and it is not recommended to hide information, but on the other hand, there is no need to go into too much detail. It is important to reduce children’s (and adults’) exposure to media, especially images and content that are inappropriate for their age, despite them being rapidly disseminated on many platforms. Leave only one device on in another room so you can be updated as needed. The news and social media are full of images and videos that are unsettling and can linger in our thoughts for an extended period. Despite the natural temptation to watch, it is important to be responsible with such media and not disseminate it. Normalize and accept. Explain that this situation arouses feelings of tension, apprehension and anxiety in everyone. Give legitimacy to everything they share with you – explain that physical and emotional reactions (fear, crying, tremors, confusion) are a normal reaction to this situation. Relax and ground yourselves. Inhale deeply, let your mind wander to happy places, and embrace one another. Engaging in physical activities such as stretching, yoga, jumping, strength training, or dancing can be significantly beneficial. Offering a helping hand and sharing a smile – even a forced one – are two powerful gestures that provide strength during challenging times. And lastly, don’t stay alone with your thoughts. How to Help Those Affected in this war: If you would like to donate to aid in relief efforts, here are some reputable charities to look into: • The United Jewish Appeal Israel Emergency Fund ( • Jewish National Fund-USA ( • Mercy Chefs ( • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (donate.unrwa. org) • The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee ( • International Committee of The Red Cross ( • World Central Kitchen (


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The Otesaga Resort Hotel

Visiting Charming Cooperstown, NY By Serena norr


e love weekend getaways as a way to explore more of New York with the kids. We recently enjoyed such a trip that was around 3.5 hours away from Westchester with a visit to Cooperstown, NY. Renowned as a baseball town, we enjoyed learning more about the sport as well as discovering many more things to do in this scenic area. Read on to learn more about our 48-hour Cooperstown adventure. Cooperstown Where to Stay The Otesaga Resort Hotel After our 3.5 hour drive, we were stunned as we pulled into the beautiful Otesaga Resort Hotel. Signified by a grand entrance with 30-foot columns, the property is located on Lake Otsego and surrounded by a lush and walkable landscape. A 132-room resort, during our stay we saw many weddings and parties take place in the lobby/nearby party rooms as people enjoyed breathtaking views of the lake. In between our adventures, we loved coming back to the Otsego for time in their heated pool or walks along the property. Other amenities include a spa, the 18-hole Leatherstocking Golf Course, and lake access where families can rent a canoe, paddle, or rowboat.

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The rooms were comfy and quiet with gorgeous views, overlooking the lake. Room amenities included a smart TV, stunning art from Fenimore Art Museum, bathrobes, and elegant decor that was welcoming and homey. We also loved starting our day enjoying a luxurious buffet-style breakfast. This included literally every kind of breakfast item you could imagine as we dined inside and later on the porch, overlooking the water. Another huge bonus is that the resort is within walking distance to the town for shopping and meals. I loved being able to walk and stroll around town with the kids as we soaked in the views and didn’t have to deal with a car. 60 Lake St, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Cooperstown Things To Do Rail Explorers We were incredibly excited about the Rail Explorers experience that would involve an eight-mile scenic pedaling tour. After a simple check-in and safety talk, we were guided to our carts as we enjoyed the Charlotte Valley Express tour. This took my three kids and I past a 200-foot long Portlandville Trestle, open fields, and lakes as we pedaled alongside the Susquehanna River. The ride was smooth and steady as we worked together to pedal and soak in the gorgeous views, which included small farms, forests, and mountains in the distance. Each

cart also has a simple electric pedal system with a break (if needed) to slow down or have distance between the other carts. After around four miles, our group enjoyed a 20-minute break as the team from Rail Explorers worked to turn our carts around. On the way back, my kids and I enjoyed soaking in the beauty of nature that brought us back in around 1.5 hours. In addition to the Charlotte Valley Express tour, they offer a two-hour Milford Track tour. This 12-mile round trip takes families through farm lands and forests along the Susquehanna River. Additionally, guests of all ages (and even pets!) can enjoy this tour. For pets, the welcome animals up to 40 pounds at no additional fee. In fact, previous pets have included dogs, cats, lizards, parrots, and even ducks. The experience is open for the season until October 31st, which would make for incredible views during fall foliage and the changing of the leaves. For more information, visit or call 877-833-8588. Reservations are highly recommended. Doubleday Field While visiting Cooperstown, take in a game at Doubleday Field. Games are held from April-October but you can also explore the grounds and/or take a tour. Check out the

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September schedule here. 1 Doubleday Court, Cooperstown, NY 13326. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Learn more about the history of baseball and its icons at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Featuring access to more than 40,000 artifacts, families can learn more about this national pastime and its story. This includes access to historic bats, balls, gloves, manuscripts, recorded media, scrapbooks, magazines, uniforms, and more. The Baseball Hame of Fame is open from 9:00am-7:00pm. 25 Main St, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Fenimore Art Museum Enjoy access to a collection of landscape exhibits, American folk art, the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, and a rotating collection of exhibits at the Fenimore Art Museum. During our visit, we enjoyed seeing the M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations exhibit with over 160 pieces from a private collection; the Day to Night: Photographs by Stephen Wilkes; and the Randy Johnson:

Storytelling with Photographs. This threefloor house-style museum also includes docent tours to learn more about its exhibits and collections and events. 5798 NY-80, Cooperstown, NY 13326. The Farmers’ Museum Learn more about rural life in the 19th century at the Farmers’ Museum. This walking museum includes access to exhibits, craft demonstrations and hands-on activities to learn more about what life was like on a farm. They also host specialized events throughout the year, such as the Harvest Festival, Blacksmithing Weekend, and Tractor Fest.5775 NY-80, Cooperstown, NY 13326 Cooperstown Food Bocca Osteria Enjoy delicious Italian food for lunch or dinner at Bocca Osteria. My kids and I loved this Italian eatery where you will find pizza, pastas, antipasti, soup, paninis, and more. They also have a bambini (kids menu) with classic options such as personal pizza, chicken

parm, steak, and chicken fingers. 5438 NY Route 28, Cooperstown, NY Mel’s at 22 For elevated American food, check out Mel’s at 22. This includes options for lunch and dinner where you will find burgers, salads, steaks, fish dishes, and more. 22 Chestnut St, Cooperstown, NY 13326. Schneider’s Bakery Before we hit the road to go home, we paid a visit to Schneider’s Bakery for some treats. A staple of Coooperstown since 1887, you’ll find baseball cookies, cupcakes, homemade donuts, freshly-baked bread, and so much more! 157 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY, 13326 Other dining options include Upstate Bar & Grill; Cooperstown Diner; Doubleday Café; or the The Hawkeye Bar and Grille. From incredible restaurants to tons of things to experience and do, Cooperstown offers families many options for a getaway with its historical ode to baseball–and beyond.

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special child

EmpowEring musEum visits

How to navigate museums with a child with disabilities By Donna Duarte- LaDD


here are layers to being a parent of a child with a disability. As a mother of a 7-year-old who is Autistic, there are many challenges. One thing I have learned is that every parent’s journey can have similarities yet also look different. The truth is, there are times I ace parenting Mateo, who is considered severely ASD and is non-verbal, and then there are times my whole being is tested. One of these challenges is going somewhere unfamiliar, and museums are on this list. We’ll save airport and new city experiences for another issue. Lesson learned: a few years back, I took my son to a fantastic museum while we were visiting family in California, and while the museum was unique for kids, it was so overstimulating that there was frustration and tears all around. Most unknown spaces are still challenging to visit, but I have learned that having a game plan before we go somewhere new is essential and helps the entire family enjoy the experience. Things like having a map of the museum and picking out the area that will be safe and welcome are essential for us. If there is a quiet room or pockets of quiet nooks, that museum has visitors for life. We use the family bathrooms like an office; they are our saviors- we can regroup fast and not worry about our guy sprinting off. My family loves it when a museum has a social narrative; we can talk about the upcoming visit and what we will see and show him how to visit it. I also bring snacks, and I have never had a security guard make me toss a snack when I explain that my child will not eat the food at a museum cafe. Again, every family has different needs, but this is how we navigate visiting a museum with Mateo. We compiled a list of museums that we

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Photo by Yumi Matsuo

feel go the extra mile regarding accessibility for families with disabilities. If you do not see one of your favorite museums on this list, please visit their website to check that it has what you need to support your child on your next visit. You can also find more general museum

articles on, such as our favorite children’s museums, A Parents’ Guide to Navigating New York City Art Museums with Kids, 48 NYC Museums to Visit All Year Round with the Family. We love our museums, and so do kids with disabilities!

The American Museum of Natural History 200 Central Park West The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation 415 Columbus Ave AMNH is a museum that families visit regularly as it is never-ending in all it offers. This museum’s adventure is endless, from the Hall of North American Mammals to the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals and more. For people with disabilities, the museum provides much support, and we recommend visiting the accessibility section of its site to map out your visit. The services that stand out: service animals are welcome, and there are excellent tour programs. For Autism families, The Discovery Squad, in collaboration with the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, can, on specific Saturdays, explore activities related to the Museum halls before the museum opens. Science Sense Tours for blind or partially sighted visitors can check out this monthly tour, where specially trained museum tour guides spotlight specific themes and exhibits through descriptions and touchable objects. In circling back to mapping out your visit, the museum offers an actual route app for free. The Explorer app will help you to find accessible (with directions) routesand the best part is to see where the elevators are. Choose the accessible route and receive turnby-turn directions. And there is more. Your admission also works for AMNH’s newest addition, The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. Fun things you can do are bug out at the Susan and Peter J. Solomon Family Insectarium, gawk at the gorgeous architecture, and, for a fee, visit the gorgeous exhibits the Invisible Worlds and the Davis Family Butterfly Vivarium.

Museum Guide by Donna Duarte- LaDD & barbara russo

Manhattan Venues: DiMenna Children’s History Museum Located in the lower level of New York Historical Society 170 Central Park West at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street) Families can explore the nation’s historical narrative and the vibrant tapestry of New York City through captivating exhibits illuminating prominent historical figures’ life journeys from childhood to adulthood. The facilities, galleries, and auditorium are wheelchair accessible, with complimentary wheelchairs for visitors. For those who are blind or visually impaired, free verbaldescription docent-guided tours are available by appointment in conjunction with museum admission. For deaf or hard-of-hearing museum go-ers, most exhibitions are accessible for T-coil hearing aid users. T-coil compatible audio guides are available, also free of charge with admission. ASL interpreters are available but must be scheduled to accompany docent or educator-led group tours, such as school trips. Appointments for these services can be made by contacting The Guggenheim 1071 Fifth Avenue While the Guggenheim is an art space with its renowned modern and contemporary art collection, it is also one of the world’s most famous museums. Designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, its building is iconic. Although the building is stunning, it may feel out of reach if you are a parent of a child with disabilities. Thankfully, the museum has helpful resources to aid parents on their museum visit. There are ADA-compliant bathrooms located on Levels 1 and 7. There is plenty of room for wheelchairs; however, the High Gallery does not have wheelchair access. The space is quite open, so if your child is sensory sensitive, you may want to download the sensory map ( that maps out the areas (usually with seating) that tend to be quiet, less crowded, and low light. For your ASD child, there is also a social narrative map. For visitors with low vision or who are blind, Mind’s Eye Tours runs excellent tours that share through verbal descriptions, conversations, sensory experiences, and clever practices. These free tours should be emailed (access@guggenheim.

org or call 212 360 4355. a week before the program you would like to attend. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86, W 46th Street From checking out historic planes, a prototype Space Shuttle Enterprise, a diesel-electric powered submarine, and more, families can spend an entire day at this museum by discovering history through Interactive exhibits and artifacts through hands-on experiences while learning about American military and aerospace technology. The Intrepid Museum has a robust roster of programs for kids with disabilities -we recommend checking out their accessibility page for all their offerings. For blind and visually impaired visitors, there are verbal description and tactile guides that use raised images, Braille, and large print, as well as (ALDs) including stereo headphones, single-ear headphones, or T-coil compatible induction loops are available to borrow at no cost to something pretty cool like a talking pen. Autism kids aged 3 to 18 and their families can sign up for a free program called Early Morning Openings on Saturdays. There are also sensory-friendly evenings for teens (14+) and adults with Autism who can have a fun evening after hours. As we mentioned in the intro, it’s easy for sensory-sensitive kids to get overstimulated; before you start exploring the museum, pick up a sensory bag for noise-reduction headphones and fidgets. There are also visual vocabularies, checklists, scavenger hunts, and activity sheets for all public programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028 People worldwide visit The Met, one of New York’s most extensive museums. This is something to remember when visiting, as it can be overwhelming, especially for kids. The museum features gorgeous paintings from renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Vermeer. The Met houses sculptures where kids can look at Greek and Roman statues and contemporary pieces. There is also ancient, Asian, European Decorative, modern art, and more. The Met supports many people with different disabilities. On the museums’ visibility section, a parent can find helpful resources for visitors on the Autism Spectrum such as tips, social narrative, Tour Visual Checklist, Sensory Friendly Mapand more. There are also art workshops for kids, teens(and adults) who are Blind or Partially Sighted. Visitors can also find programs in November 2023 | New York Family


special child

American Sign Language, with Sign Language interpretation and real-time captioning. For caregivers of visitors with disabilities, head to the museum ticket counter, where you can pick up a free ticket. The Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St. MCNY is an excellent spot to visit and learn about the city’s history, starting from its colonial days. Visitors can view paintings, maps, art, decorative costumes, and more. The museum also hosts fun exhibitions, films, and immersive installations. If your child needs noise-reduction headphones, head to the front desk; if available, you can pick up a setfree of charge during your visit. A caregiver can receive free admission at the Museum Ticket Desk. Service dogs are welcomed, but emotional support animals need to stay home. Wheelchairs are accommodated at the museum, and if available, there are manual wheelchairs available. For large print and high-contrast transcripts of exhibition texts, head to the accessibility page on the Museum of the City of New York site. There is also a QR code in the Museum Guide that you can access once you’re there. Assistive listening devices are available for events, and you can find a form online for ASL interpretation guided tours on the accessibility page. MoMA 11 West 53 Street For modern and contemporary art lovers, New York (again) has one of the best in the world. From paintings by Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso, and Roy Lichtenstein to world-famous photographers (Irving Penn, anyone?), sculptures, film and media art, design and architecture, and more, MoMA is one outstanding institution to visit. For families with disabilities, you can find Sensory and Social guides. Guide dogs and trained service animals are welcome, and while the pet guinea pig may bring comfort, they must stay home. For wheelchair access, look for a security or a guest guide so you do not have to wait in line. MoMA works with Art inSight, and blind or low-vision visitors can download recorded verbal descriptions of several artworks on the free Bloomberg Connects app. Email AccessPrograms@moma. org at least two weeks in advance for a touch and description tour. Visitors with disabilities are eligible for a discounted admission of $18, and admission is free for an accompanied— care partner. A huge favorite the museum features are the QR codes placed throughout

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the Museum. These QR codes include maps, additional artwork information, verbal descriptions, and assistive listening for sound artworks created to enhance your visit. There is no sensory room if your child tends to be sensory sensitive, but on the MoMa site, you can find a sensory map of quiet spaces within the museum. Whitney 99 Gansevoort St · (212) 570-3600 There are many reasons to head to the West Village; one is to spend time at the iconic Whitney Museum. The Whitney focuses entirely on American art, with each floor presenting vibrant and unique art, such as Georgia O’Keefe Edward Hopper to Layla Ali. And for our kids with disabilities and challenges, this museum offers support. The Whitney gets very busy- for wheelchair visitors, there is a helpful map; for kids on the ASD spectrum, a social narrative can be downloaded (all of this can be found under the Accessibility tab on the museum’s site) to help with the visit before you arrive. Service animals are welcome at The Whitney, and if your child needs an ASL-English interpretation, Live captioning, or Verbal description for their public programs and events, these services can be requested in advance. Parents with Sensory Sensitive kids will appreciate that the museum offers sensory-friendly artmaking workshops on select Saturdays before the Museum opens. Visit their events pages for postings. 9/11 Museum 180 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007 The 9/11 museum opened on May 21, 2014, and is a place where visitors can learn about the 9/11 attacks on a September day in 1993. At this museum, there is understandably a lot to take in. This museum has many parts; the Exhibitions are where you can see core and special exhibits. The Collection shows a permanent collection such as material evidence and more. There are also programs and events, and tours are available. For kids with children with disabilities, services dogs are allowed. Keep in mind that there is limited seating at the 9/11 museum. If you need a quiet space or your child needs a sensory time out, there is a space called Reflecting on 9/11 Studio- look for a security guard or a staff member wearing a tan or blue vest to direct you to this room. Care partners are offered one free admission ticket- email for a ticket request. Entrances are wheelchair accessible, and all public restrooms have wheelchair-accessible stalls. Many services,

such as sign language interpretation and verbal description guided tours- learn more on the 9/11 accessibility page, are available. Bronx Venues: Bronx Zoo 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY Visiting the zoo, especially in New York, is both a fun and educational experience. It also can be an all-day excursion as there is a lot of ground to cover. First, zoos can be pretty noisy, and the areas that tend to get congested are Bug Carousel, Wild Asia Monorail, Children’s Zoo, and Budgie Landing. Rhino Garden and Zebra Hill are quiet zones if you need quiet time. Working with KultureCity, you will find signage identifying quiet zones; pick up a complimentary (to be used during your visit) sensory bag that contains fidget tools, noise-reducing headphones, and more. Trained service dogs are welcome, but remember to check in with admissions when you arrive for a service dig admission pass. If you or your child needs a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) to experience the zoo, please go online to the site’s accessibility page to learn how to request a PCA in advance. All buildings are wheelchair accessible; however, certain areas require size, such as the Wild Asia Monorail. (open from May to Oct), it is accessible for manual wheelchairs up to 26 inches wide. Still, motorized scooters or wheelchairs more than 26 inches wide will need (with assistance, the staff is not allowed to transfer guests physically) to use an appropriate-sized wheelchair (available at Monorail platform) or onto a Monorail seat. We recommend downloading the access map on the Accessibility page of the Bronx Zoo’s website, as it provides helpful information from accessible routes, low-light exhibits, touch exhibits, and more. The New York Botanical Garden 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458 The NYBG is a true gem for New Yorkers at 250 acres, and as one of the world’s most extensive and known botanical gardens, it is perfect for families to visit. It is also rich in history, where you can explore plant collections and learn about culture, conservation, and more. It is also home to the famous (usually March) Orchid and Train (November) show. For people with disabilities, you will find that ticketing booths and trams are equipped with T-coil-compatible induction loops. For large-print and regular-print transcripts of the audio tours, head to the visitor center’s information booth to pick these up. Trained Service animals are welcomed; for a

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service dog, you must obtain a Service Dog Admission Pass. Power-driven Wheelchairs, scooters, and power-driven mobility devices are permitted, and manual wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. On the NYBG website, you can download the accessibility guide for wheelchair routes, a social guide to prepare your child before your visit. You can also pick the guides up in the Garden. Check out the accessibility page for free upcoming tours for people with disabilities, such as ASL and sensory experience tours. Brooklyn Venues: Brooklyn Children’s Museum 145 Brooklyn Ave., Brooklyn Groups of 10 or more can access the museum on Tuesdays when it is uncrowded, as it’s closed to the general public. Service animals are permitted. Check the website for more information about the museum. Brooklyn Botanic Garden 150 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn Explore this urban botanic garden, designed to connect people to the world of plants. The grounds are accessible by paved pathways throughout the garden. But keep in mind that due to the historic nature of the garden, specific paths may be narrow, rough, uneven or steep. Accommodations for programs for visitors with disabilities can be arranged with two weeks advance notice. Contact to request accommodations. Periodically, the garden offers special earlymorning programs of facilitated, multisensory activities in the Discovery Garden for families who have children with disabilities. It also periodically offers free special guided tours designed for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers and free group tours for caregivers only. Service animals consistent with ADA are allowed onto the premises. New York Transit Museum 99 Schermerhorn St., Brooklyn The New York Transit Museum is one of the most tactile museums in the city. Most objects, including vintage train cars, can be touched. Visitors can borrow a tactile guide with graphics and images in raised-line formats and braille and a smart pen with audio descriptions. These can be requested at the admission booth or visitors can email access@ to request a tactile guide in advance of their visit. Sensory-friendly toolkits, including noise-quieting headphones, a visual schedule, and list of quieter spaces, can be checked out free of charge. It’s good to note

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that the best time to visit the museum when it is quiet is between 1-4 pm on Thursdays and Fridays. Service animals are welcome.

museum with the lights and sounds turned down. Service animals are permitted on site.

Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium 602 Surf Ave., Brooklyn You’ll have an aquatic adventure at the New York Aquarium because so many amazing animals live here, including penguins, sea lions, sharks, and many others. In addition to being wheelchair-accessible, the aquarium has a partnership with KultureCity to improve the park’s ability to assist and accommodate visitors with sensory processing needs. Sensory bags containing fidget tools, noise-canceling headphones, and other resources are available for checkout at the lobby (there’s no charge, but you have to leave an ID). Service animals in accordance with the ADA are allowed in.

Queens Museum New York City Building Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY This wheelchair-accessible museum has some fun history as it was initially built for the 1964 World’s Fair and housed the New York City Pavilion. Post-fair, it was turned into the Queens Center for Art and Culture but is now known as the Queens Museum. You will find beautiful art and cultural artifacts tied to the history and Queens community at this museum. For children (and families) with disabilities, you can find at the information desk large-print labels listening devices. Service animals are permitted, but not emotional support animals. A social narrative is available online. You can find more information on the museum’s accessibility initiatives can also be found on the website.

Queens Venues: Museum of the Moving Image 36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11106 For the film buffs in the family, you’ll want to head to the MoMI, where all things art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media come together. Guide dogs and therapy animals are welcome. This museum is fully accessible by wheelchair and is also available for free. On the first Saturday of each month until May 2024) there are free Access Mornings for families with children on the autism spectrum workshops where the kids can craft and explore the museum before it opens. A big plus is the reduced volume; videos not part of the workshop are not on. Call the museum for more info at 718 -777 6800.

Queens Botanical Garden 43-50 Main St., Flushing Escape from the city into this beautiful urban oasis of gardens where you’ll get immersed in nature. Since most of the pathways are paved, and the topography is flat, the Queens Botanical Garden is a great destination for kids and adults with ambulatory disabilities. But still, there are just a few periphery pathways that are not paved, so use discretion before navigating them. Braille signage is used throughout the visitor and administration building, and many learning opportunities are available for students of all abilities. Service animals in compliance with ADA are permitted.

New York Hall of Science 47-01 111 St., Corona Founded at the 1964-65 World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science has evolved into a center for interactive science, featuring an array of exhibits and programs. The exhibit spaces, theaters, party rooms, cafe, store, and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Remember that the doors here are not automatic, though there is ramp and elevator access. If you need a wheelchair when you arrive, a limited number of them are available for loan, free of charge, at the main entrance. The museum provides sensory gear for children with sensory needs, including sunglasses, noise-canceling earmuffs, and fidget toys. Sensory Saturdays are every Saturday, from 10-11am, which is a time when people with sensory issues can enjoy the

Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo 53-51 111 St., Corona This NYC hidden gem has a national park feel and is home to animals native to North and South America, including sea lions, Andean bears, pudu (the world’s smallest deer), sun conures and other birds, and more. The zoo is wheelchair accessible, but some exhibit areas have a bit of rough terrain, including the lynx, puma, owl and coyote exhibits. Also, the zoo’s aviary–though beautiful–has steep hills, so be prepared before navigating. The zoo is compact, so most areas have noise and activity. However, there are benches near the aviary at the Nature Play area and in the farm area behind the cottage that typically have less activity and are great places to sit and regroup. Service animals in accordance with ADA are permitted.

November 2023 | New York Family


special child

Caring for the Caregiver Tips and resources for emotional wellness and healthier wellbeing of the parents and caregivers of kids with disabilities By INCLUDENyC


s caregivers, we all grapple with the impact of stress in our lives, and how we experience, respond to, and manage it can vary greatly. This is no different for children, teenagers, and young adults. Stress management influences our well-being and profoundly affects the children under our care. In the following, we present some fundamental guidelines to help you navigate the effects of stress in your life, along with valuable resources for local mental health support. Stay connected with the people who matter and support you. Be mindful of the time spent on social media or news sources that may overwhelm or drain your energy. Dedicate daily moments to enjoyable activities! Whether through exercise, playing sports, board games, or planning quality time

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with your children and family. Create a space for daily tranquility to allow your mind to relax. Be a role model for positive selfcare practices, including taking breaks, nourishing your body with healthy food, staying hydrated, engaging in regular physical activity, and ensuring adequate sleep. These practices should benefit not only yourself but also your children and loved ones. Remember, taking care of your emotional well-being is vital for your sake and those you care for. Mental Health Resources NYC Well provides free, confidential crisis counseling, mental health, and substance misuse support, information, and referrals. You can reach the toll-free helpline 24/7 by phone, text, and online chat. Mental health professionals there can connect you to the services you need. To contact NYC Well, call:

1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355) 1-888-692-9355 (Español) 711 (TTY for hearing impaired) You can also reach NYC Well by texting “WELL” to 651-73 or visit their website for more information. NYC Well counselors are available 24/7. They can provide bilingual help in Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Additionally, NYC Well offers translation services in more than 200 languages. Health insurance is not required. Depending on your phone/text service, you may be charged a fee. NAMI-NYC ( supports families and adults affected by mental illness, including classes, 30+ support groups, family mentoring, and a Helpline. Their Helpline can be reached at (212) 684-3264. Vibrant Emotional Health ( provides people with emotional support and care. It runs innovative community programs for people at all stages of life and crisis lines, like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. INCLUDEnyc ( provides information and support to families of children with disabilities or delays, helping caregivers understand available resources and navigate special education, health services, and other support systems. Parents can also find peer support through INCLUDEnyc support groups in English and Spanish.

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iss Contact Adm ions Today! Email: Phone: 212-831-3667 Website: Instagram: @gillenbrewer November 2023 | New York Family


SPECIAL CHILD DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement

Atlas Foundation for Autism 252 W 29th Street, 3rd Fl., NY 212-256-0846 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!

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.

The Gillen Brewer School 410 E. 92nd Street, New York 212-831-3667 A 12-month, special education program located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, serving children ages 2.8 to 11 years old who have a wide variety of language-based and non-verbal learning disabilities. Their academictherapeutic program includes speech and language therapy, occupational therapy,

counseling, and social groups. GBS currently serves children Pre-K-age 11 and is expanding in the Fall of 2024 to include middle school.

The IDEAL School of Manhattan 5 Hanover Square, New York 212-769-1699 The IDEAL School of Manhattan, New York’s only K-12+ independent inclusion school, is now located at 5 Hanover Square in the Financial District. IDEAL students thrive in a diverse and nurturing learning community where a robust academic program teaches them to recognize their potential to effect change, seek out difference, advocate for themselves, stand behind others, and know that a strong, diverse, caring community is the IDEAL. Learn more at an open house or email admissions.

Robert Louis Stevenson School 24 West 74th Street, New York, 212-787-6400 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, intensive advisor support, and on-demand access to a fully staffed Counseling Center throughout each day. Furthermore, their Transition Coaching Program helps to promote post-secondary success.. Apply today.

SUNY College of Optometry University Eye Center 33 West 42nd St New York, NY The University Eye Center provides top quality eye care through over 60,000 on-site patient encounters, free patient screenings, and

ho we are Winston Preparatory School is a leading school network for students with learning differences, including dyslexia, executive functioning difficulties (ADHD), and nonverbal learning disorders (NVLD). Winston Prep New York offers Rolling Admission

inston Prep by the Numbers hours


Average Time Spent in one-to-one Focus Program Each Week

3 0

Overall Faculty to Student Ratio

Average Number of Students in Each Class

Learn more at

New York Campus 32 | November 2023

Scan the QR code to visit our NY Campus

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 888-4169933.

Westchester School

The Windward School 1275 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains - Lower School 40 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains - Middle School 914 949 6968 212 E. 93rd St, NYC – Lower and Middle Schools 212 222 8628 A coeducational, independent day school for children in grades 1 through 9 with languagebased learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Windward remediates students’ skill deficits through a proven instructional program— combined with opportunities for social and emotional growth—to enable students to understand their learning differences, build confidence, and develop self-advocacy skills. Visit our website to sign up for an information session!

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 RLSS-AD3.35x4.6(23).qxp_Layout 1 10/10/23 10:53 AM Page 1


Our program is designed so that children with anxiety, depression, and other emotional complexities can thrive, succeed, and prepare for college. Stevenson provides integrated therapeutic support that informs every aspect of our work with students in grades 8-12. We have rolling admissions. To nd out more about our school, contact us at or 212.787.6400. 212.787.6400

Camp Lee Mar

Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disability, and Preschool Student with a Disability.

24 West 74th Street New York, NY 10023


Camp Lee Mar, located in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, is a coed overnight camp for children and teenagers (from 7 to 21) with mild to moderate developmental challenges.



2024 Dates: June 22 - August 5 Please visit our website! • Fun traditional summer camp activities • Academics • Speech and language therapy • Daily living skills • Teenage campers enjoy social dancing every week with an end-of-summer "Prom" • Optional trips during the summer • Exceptional facilities featuring air conditioned bunks and buildings • Junior Olympic heated pool • Caring Nurturing Staff • Lee Mar L.I.F.E. (Living Independently Functional Education) Program. The unique feature of our L.I.F.E. Program is that it incorporates everyday living skills into a personalized daily program. We have a fully functional apartment specifically for this program with a large kitchen, washer and dryer, two bathrooms, a living room and bedroom.

Winter Office: Camp Lee Mar Ph: 215-658-1708 Fax: 215-658-1710 Email: Like us on Facebook Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. On YouTube you can view parents and campers talking about their experiences at Lee Mar. November 2023 | New York Family




Birthday Party Places BY NEW YORK FAMILY


earching for a birthday party should not be stressful; it is all about fun, right? But when it comes to our kids, we parents want them to experience the most memorable birthday that will provide memories for years. So, yes, there is a bit of pressure as birthdays are a big deal, especially for our kids. This is why we have found party spots for

34 | November 2023

you that do all the work. This way, you can enjoy the day along with everyone else. From spots perfect for little ones to middle schoolage kids to those picky tweens and teens, we have some great party recommendations. All you need to do is choose the one that works for you, and it’s all a cakewalk from here. Happy festivities! Blue Man Group Astor Place Theatre

434 Lafayette Street 800-BLUE-MAN Want to party like a Blue Man? Whether you’re celebrating a 5th or 50th, Blue Man Group’s birthday packages promise an unforgettable experience. For groups of 10 or more, get the ultimate ultra-cool gift for the birthday child and guests to create a memorable adventure. Their birthday packages include party bags, a photo with Blue Man, one canvas spin art (for the birthday child) and a personal birthday greeting on LED board. Don’t miss your opportunity to rock, laugh and party with Blue Man Group! Dance Workshop 154 East 64th Street, New York, NY 917-388-2013 With an energetic staff ready to bring the best dance party ever, Dance Workshop is the spot for your child’s next birthday party! Guests will learn trendy Hip-Hop/ Pop dances, play some of the coolest games,

and have playlists curated specifically to the birthday king or queen! The party child chooses the theme and a few of their favorite musical artists, and the Dance Workshop makes their dreams come true! Dance Workshop handles the setup and teardown, provides themed decorations (specified by the client), and orders food and beverages for party guests. They have all of your party planning details covered. Soccer Stars Soccer Stars, a top youth soccer program in NYC for over 20 years, offers fun and exciting birthday parties for kids ages 1-12. Their premier location is the largest indoor turf field on the UWS. Choose from seven Manhattan locations or have Soccer Stars coaches come to you at the party destination of your choosing. Whether your child is a soccer expert or an enthusiastic beginner, their coaches turn your child’s birthday into an unforgettable soccer extravaganza! Everyone, even non-soccer players, get in on the fun with movement exploration through

imaginative group activities. Your party will be custom fit for your needs, delivering fun and age-appropriate games for all while you sit back and enjoy the fun! Soccer Stars party coordinators manage every step of the process for you. Choose from multiple packages including custom add-ons, favors, decorations, and more. Urban Air Brooklyn 4422 2nd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 347-732-5438 Urban Air Brooklyn takes your child’s birthday party to new heights! Spend a day of fun with the family and you’ll see why Urban Air Brooklyn is the best place for jumping, climbing, riding, playing, and fun for all ages! Kids’ birthday parties at Urban Air are a fun way to celebrate with friends and family, especially if you want to host a party they’ll be talking about for a long time. To make things easy, a party host, balloons, plates, napkins, and forks are included to make for a stellar party.

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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

Urban Air Brooklyn has it all, making it a top choice for kids’ birthday parties. Start planning your epic party today! Wildlife Conservation Society 2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx NY Planning a wildly fun birthday party is easy with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s experienced team! WCS’s aquarium and zoos each offer different educational birthday party packages catered to your needs. Parties include park admission for your group, a private party room, guided exhibit experiences, up-close encounters with animals and more. Dedicated educators bring learning to life with fun hands-on activities that keep kids engaged. From party prep to goodie bags, they’re with you each step of the way. Party package themes, prices, availability, and offerings vary at each park. Explore different packages at the zoos and aquarium to plan the best birthday for your party animal. Get the party started at the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, or New York Aquarium!


Special Birthday Packages for Groups of 10+. WWW.BLUEMAN.COM/GROUPS

November 2023 | New York Family




Tutoring & Test Prep Resources

By New york Family


roviding our children with the best possible support is paramount in the ever-evolving education landscape. Whether mastering academic subjects, preparing for standardized tests, or cultivating critical learning skills, the right resources can make all the difference. Finding the perfect blend of guidance and resources is crucial, as every student’s needs and goals are unique. From one-on-one tutoring to cuttingedge digital platforms, we have trusted resources throughout New York that can shape a brighter future for your child. Check them out!

Online SBT Spanish Academy SBT Spanish Academy empowers teenagers for success in the AP® Spanish Language and Culture Exam with their specialized online lessons. Experienced instructors are dedicated to guiding young learners through the intricacies of the exam’s curriculum. SBT Spanish Academy offers premium 1-on-1 online tutoring designed to meet the unique needs of teenagers preparing for this challenging test. With flexible scheduling and personalized guidance from their native-speaking educators, students can confidently master Spanish. Begin the journey to exam success today. Contact them at 516-360-9963 or visit for a complimentary demo lesson. Achieve your language goals with their unwavering support. Queens Ivy Prep 108-21 72nd Ave, Forest Hills, NY 718-261-4882

36 | November 2023 Ivy Prep is a prestigious 30year private tutoring school dedicated to achieving top standardized test scores and academic excellence. We help students for admission to elite high schools, Ivy League universities, and gifted programs. Our comprehensive offerings include SAT, PSAT, ACT, APs, SHSAT, SSAT, Hunter High school exam, and college application guidance. We are experienced teachers, college professors or licensed high school educators from esteemed institutions, offering flexible small group or one-on-one, in-person or online lessons tailored to each student’s needs.

Long Island Sylvan Learning of Mineola 393 Jericho Turnpike Mineola, NY 11501 516- 368-0823 We know how hard you’re working to help get your child’s skills and grades up. If you don’t see a difference, turn to Sylvan. They can help you get beyond the symptoms and find out what’s going on. Sylvan offers support in reading, writing, math, and SAT Prep. Their assessments pinpoint precisely where to focus to make the most significant difference, and their teachers are experts in today’s teaching methods. They can guide your child through their learning plan so you quickly see a change. You aren’t in this alone! Sylvan is here for you. Call them today. Bronx/Westchester Sylvan Learning Centers 850 Bronx River Rd, Bronxville 914 -327-2926 57 Wheeler Avenue, Pleasantville

914- 313-8007 Sylvan Learning is the industry leader in providing supplemental education to prekindergarten through 12th-grade children in Reading, Writing, Math, SAT/ACT Prep, and homework support. Sylvan’s teachers are certified and specially trained to provide the best-individualized instruction to each student using SylvanSync™ technology for a truly engaging learning experience. The Sylvan approach is designed to help each student grow in knowledge and confidence. There are programs to fit every family’s busy schedule and budget. For more information, call (914) 579-2584 for the Pleasantville location or (914) 327-2926 for the Bronxville location. Ask about New Family savings on a Sylvan Insight Assessment.


FREE Parenting Webinars Sign up now!




LESSONS 100% ONLINE Custom made experience | Native & experienced tutors 516-360-9963

The Future is Now: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of AI and What to Do About Christine Rosen, Ph.D. Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, 4 p.m. ET

Unplug and Rewire: Raising Screen-Savvy Kids in the Tech Era Joe Clement and Matt Miles Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, 4pm ET.


Register for FREE at November 2023 | New York Family


family day out

Festive Holiday Fun


ue the hot chocolate, bring on family time, holiday lights for however you celebrate- the holiday season starts now. We are excited to share the events our amazing partners are holding this season! So dress warmly and remember to take a pic or two! Christmas Spectacular Radio City Music Hall, NY, NY Make this holiday season truly unforgettable. See the Rockettes live in the Christmas Spectacular, debuting on November 17 at Radio City Music Hall. Secure your tickets now and begin creating cherished memories. Crafts At The Cathedral 1047 Amsterdam Ave. 112 Street, NYC 845-661-1221 Visit Crafts at the Cathedral of St. John The Divine will return with 85 curated crafts artists from 15 states presenting. their finest original works in clay, wood, metal, paper, fiber, fashion, blown glass and mixed media. Show is from Dec 1-3. For tickets and show hours, admission and directions visit Legoland Bricktacular 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710 914-775-6015 Ho-Ho-Whoa! Budding builders can get in the holiday spirit with LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester’s Holiday Bricktacular event starting this November! From November 25th to January 1st, LEGO lovers of all ages can witness each attraction transform into a winter wonderland, full of holiday LEGO creations, merry LEGO experiences and holly-jolly surprises that are sure to delight.

to Greenwich for the 15th year. Meet the reindeer, get your child’s photo with Santa (that benefits kids in crisis), write letters to Santa, enjoy the reindeer coloring station, and participate in the two Mercedes-Benz kids electric car raffles. Visit the beautiful Christmas shop and get your Christmas tree at Sam Bridge Nursery!

The 15th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop presented by Jenny Allen / Compass Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses, “North Pole on North Street,” 437 North Street, Greenwich, CT 06830 Santa and his three live reindeer return

The Lighting of Ridge Hill Town Square One Ridge Hill Boulevard Yonkers, NY 914-207-2903 On Sunday November 19th from 4pm-6pm, Get in the holiday spirit and spread festive

38 | November 2023

cheer during the annual Lighting of Ridge Hill. Featuring holiday performances, musical entertainment, family friendly activities, and the magical arrival of Santa, this unforgettable evening has something for everyone! Westchester’s Winter Wonderland 1 Bronx River Pkwy, Valhalla, NY 10595 Westchester’s Winter Wonderland, will return to Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla from November 24 through December 31, 2023. Check out electrifying lights, fan-favorite holiday scenes and the best LIVE Santa Claus in Westchester all conveniently located close to home and from the warmth and comfort of your own car.

New York FamilY partNer


Family- Friendly Mount Vernon

ount Vernon is a special place. For starters, it is a pretty sizeable spot -adjacent to Pelham. An appealing area for families looking to move from the city, this community boasts a range of neighborhoods, excellent schools, and multiple parks. New residents will find family-friendly events, festivals, and gatherings in this diverse community. This neighborhood exemplifies a tight-knit, 103 Hillcrest Rd. Mount Vernon, NY - $610,000 supportive community where families can flourish and create lasting memories. A big plus, of course, 103 Hillcrest Rd. is its closeness to the city- as the first Warm and charming, this unique stop in Westchester on the New Haven Mediterranean-style home is beautifully Line, making for a speedy commute to situated on a large corner lot, punctuated the city’s bustling center. With its blend by front and rear gardens and a lovely of affordable homes, shopping, and a covered patio steps from the front door. welcoming atmosphere, Mount Vernon is a Once inside, you’ll be transported and wonderful place for families to call home. charmed by its eclectic style and terrific

flow. The living room is an ample and welcoming space with a fireplace segueing seamlessly to the well-sized dining room and bright and friendly kitchen — the perfect space to whip up all kinds of culinary delights. Once upstairs, you’ll find three nicely sized bedrooms, including a double-sized primary with a walk-in closet. And wait for a sweet, pleasant surprise: A private terrace off one of the spare rooms. A truly special space to relax, work, or watch the day go by. The attic offers storage, and the walkout basement is the perfect space for more possibilities! Enjoy the fenced-in yard, the convenience and efficiency of all new windows, and you just found the place to call home! April H. Monaco, Houlihan Lawrence 914-548-8350

New York FamilY partNer

Find Home in Charming Westfield, NJ


estfield, NJ is the perfect haven for families seeking a welcoming community and endless activities. Kids will adore the vibrant parks, such as Tamaques Park, a local gem sprawling across 106 acres. If craving a close-knit Community is huge on your new home bucket list, you’ll appreciate that Westfield’s allure extends beyond its parks, offering something Recently under contract- 222 Delaware Street, special for every family member. Westfield, NJ, $799,900 Explore charming mom-and-pop shops, incredible restaurants and absorb the culture this town offers, such as shares that families looking to move in this live jazz music and the world of books at loarea will find a range of charming Cape cal libraries and bookstores. Cod homes to stately traditional Colonials, Here in Westfield there are top-rated whimsical storybook Tudors to majestic schools known for their exceptional academVictorians, and even modern new construcics and diverse extracurricular offerings. tions making this an exceptional choice for Broker Sales Associate of Coldwell families. Banker and Westfield expert Frank D. Isoldi Newly listed, this charming 3-bedroom

home is ready for your family to move into, nestled on a beautiful quarter-acre lot. As you step inside, you’ll discover a cozy living room, a formal dining area perfect for hosting gatherings, and a well-equipped Eat-In-Kitchen with a handy breakfast bar and pantry. Heading upstairs, you’ll find three spacious bedrooms and one and a half baths. On the ground level, there’s a family room with custom built-ins, a laundry room for added convenience, and a powder room for guests. The basement features a workshop and a recreation room for family fun and relaxation. This home is in excellent condition and offers plenty of living space, all on a peaceful quarter-acre lot. It’s a special find in today’s real estate market, and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to make it your own. Frank D. Isoldi. Coldwell Banker 908-301-2038

November 2023 | New York Family




Fall Fun Community Day WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 4, 12 – 3 pm WHERE: Jackie Robinson Museum, 75 Varick St., Tribeca AGES: 5 – 12 WHAT: Enjoy a special story time with Sonya Pankey, Jackie and Rachel Robinson’s granddaughter, hands-on craft activities, and more. WANT TO GO?: Included with admission: $15-18; free for children younger than 5.

Family Sundays: Dazzling Diyas WHEN: Nov. 5-26, Sundays, 1 – 3 pm WHERE: The Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th St., Chelsea AGES: All WHAT: In honor of Diwali, reflect on the light you bring to the world as you sculpt your own radiant diya (lamp), illuminated with LED lights. WANT TO GO?: Free. (212) 620–5000,

Card Ninja WHEN: Nov. 6-24 Fridays, 7 pm, Saturdays, 2 pm, Sundays, 12 pm and 5 pm, and Nov. 24, 2 pm. WHERE: Stage 42, 422 W. 42nd Street, Midtown AGES: All WHAT: Stand-up comedy meets standout card tricks when the Card Ninja captivates the audience with wry wisecracks and dazzling displays of dexterity. WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $24. (646) 223–3042,

The New York City Veterans Day Parade WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 11, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm WHERE: Begins at 26th Street

Circus Vazquez brings its tent to Randalls Island this month. and Fifth Avenue, Chelsea AGES: All WHAT: Witness the largest Veterans Day commemoration in the nation. Nearly 20,000 marchers and 150+ vehicles proceed up NYC’s iconic Fifth Avenue in the heart of Manhattan: America’s Most Patriotic mile! WANT TO GO?: Free. parade.

KIDZ BOP Never Stop Live Tour WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 15, 7 pm WHERE: Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway, Upper West Side AGES: All WHAT: Sing and dance along with the KIDZ BOP Kids as they perform today’s biggest hits, live on stage including “AntiHero,” “CUFF IT,” “As It Was,” and many more. WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $54.

40 | November 2023

Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes WHEN: Nov. 17-Jan. 1, See website for complete schedule WHERE: Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, Midtown AGES: All WHAT: Embrace the festive spirit and experience the heartwarming joy of the season while making cherished memories at New York City’s favorite holiday tradition! WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $49.

Circus Vazquez WHEN: Nov. 17-Dec. 4, Weekdays, 7:30 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm WHERE: Icahn Stadium, 20 Randall’s Island AGES: All WHAT: This awe-inspiring,

death-defying, hilarious live circus experience is unforgettable fun for the entire family. WANT TO GO?: $30-$90.

PaleyLand WHEN: Nov. 25-Jan. 7, Wednesdays – Sundays, 12 – 5:30 pm. WHERE: The Paley Museum, 25 W 52nd St., Midtown AGES: All ages WHAT: It’s festive fun with photos with Santa, meet-andgreets with beloved costumed characters, classic holiday programs, exclusive previews, arts and crafts, and a magical holiday train display. WANT TO GO?: $11-$21.50.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 23, 9 am – noon

NOVEMBER WHERE: Macy’s, 151 W 34th St., Herald Square AGES: All WHAT: Giant balloons, fabulous floats, exciting entertainers & more are joining this all-star celebration of Thanksgiving! WANT TO GO?: Free. macys. com

signed, participate in bookrelated art projects, and more. WANT TO GO?: Free. (718) 638– 5000,

Lightscape WHEN: Nov. 17-Jan. 1, See website for complete schedule WHERE: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Crown Heights AGES: All WHAT: Explore the beauty of the Garden under moonlight while enjoying seasonal treats and festive music. WANT TO GO?: $17-$39. bbg. org

Manhattan West Winter Fest WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 28, 4 – 8 pm WHERE: Manhattan West Plaza, 385 Ninth Avenue, Midtown AGES: All WHAT: Kick off the holiday season with a full schedule of activities that includes free ice skating, live performances, exclusive offers, sweet treats and hot beverages, and delightful surprises! WANT TO GO?: Free.

Coney Island Yo-Yo Fling WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 18, 11 am WHERE: Sideshows by the Seashore, 1208 Surf Avenue, Coney Island AGES: All WHAT: Learn some tricks, view the exciting ups and downs of the competition, or just soak in the unique culture of yo-yo. WANT TO GO?: $30 competitor; $25 spectator; $10 children younger than 12.

BRONX Holiday Train Show WHEN: Nov. 17-Jan. 15, Tuesdays – Sundays, 10 am – 6 pm. WHERE: New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Watch model trains zip past nearly 200 famous New York landmarks and capture your perfect holiday photos at an all new outdoor mountainscape. WANT TO GO?: $20-$35. (718) 817–8700,

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights WHEN: Nov. 17-Jan. 7, Fridays


The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9 am. – Sundays, 3 – 9 pm, and Nov. 30, 3 – 9 pm. WHERE: Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx AGES: All WHAT: The Bronx Zoo comes to life with holiday cheer as immersive light displays, custom-designed animal lanterns and animated light shows sparkle across the zoo. WANT TO GO?: Tickets start $26.95; free for children 2 and younger.

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BROOKLYN Brooklyn Children’s Book Fair

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s Día de los Muertos

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 12, 11 am – 3:30 pm WHERE: Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Pkwy, Prospect Heights AGES: All WHAT: Children can chat with local authors and illustrators, listen to readings and watch artists sketch, get books

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 4, 3 pm. WHERE: Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave South, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park AGES: All WHAT: A timeless love story full of rich Mexican tradition told through dance and music. WANT TO GO?: $30-$40.

Discover a private high school unlike any other Attend our Open House Saturday, October 28 WESTCHESTER, NY 60+ NATIONALITIES • DAY • BOARDING

November 2023 | New York Family


mom stories

Family Traditions One family’s intergenerational Thanksgiving customs By Drew Kramer


ifting a turkey is a big event,” my mother admits. She accepted the responsibility of hosting Thanksgiving this year, a holiday she owned every year since I was a child. Growing up, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. My older cousins made their pilgrimage from upstate New York to stay with us for the long weekend. Our family came together from all corners of Long Island to honor a day celebrating gluttony and our country’s complicated colonial history. Like good Americans, in the kitchen we trust. In the wee morning hours, during the “ugly phase” of the holiday preparation, the ritual dressing of the bird took center stage. “18 pounds of pure poultry,” my mother announced in her annual impersonation of Julia Child, your French chef. As the years went by, the size of the bird ebbed and flowed with the loss and gain of family. In recent years, with the expansion of our modern family to include step-brothers, in-laws, and 10 grandchildren, the invite list hovers around 30. After raising her hand to host in a family group text, I messaged my mother separately to assure her that I was up to the task if she decided she wasn’t, even the day before. Since moving to suburbia four years ago, I’ve stepped up to bring family together when she could not. My mother is a caretaker. In the 20 years since my stepfather’s Parkinsons diagnosis, my mother’s capacity to find joy in the manual labor of the holidays waned. “I feel like I have reached a point in my life where I recognize that, mentally and physically, I cannot do what I used to do. My husband is ill. I find myself anxious at the thought of a big event,” she acknowledged. In the irreverent, dark humor we share, she declares, “I pass the torch. The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.” When I mention my 30 person holiday guest list, people are shocked by my appetite to take on extra work while raising two young

42 | November 2023

boys. Yes, the torch comes with domestic responsibility, but with great responsibility comes great purpose. Like my mother, I feel the magic in bringing family together for joy. It is important to me to bring familiar faces and flavors to my table in the name of tradition and kinship. It is important to me to provide a forum for cousins to come together for mischief and forward momentum. If their relationships fade, so too do the ties that connect our people for generations to come. Someday, when I’ve passed the torch to my children and theirs, I hope they’ll draw from the menu of family recipes that filled our bellies and hearts in the warmest moments of a calendar year: Cousin Dineen’s kugel; my late Aunt Debbie’s carrot soufflé; my mother’s turkey. These are the flavors that bind. Everyone does their part to keep the party alive. As a spectator, my mother is happy to bring whatever she can to ease the pain of hosting the holidays. She delights in making her signature dishes the family craves without the stress of planning and cleaning. In corners of my basement, I squirrel away folding tables and chairs. I Pinterest compostable tablescapes because I cannot sacrifice style or sustainability, while prioritizing ease in executing a celebration for 30. My family comes with food in hand, rolling up their sleeves to clean a platter and unclog the drain. The holidays teach me that

I am not alone in this. In the wake of Covid isolation, I am a conduit for connection. After years of uncomfortable distance, we are all making up for lost time. In this season of my life, I find purpose in bringing people together. As my Millennial generation grows into middle adulthood, our Boomer parents move into their golden years. This holiday season, many of us are grappling with the weight of the torch we’ve inherited. As a family leader, sandwiched between young children and aging parents, I urge you to rise to the occasion. Fight through the host anxiety, culinary pressure and cleaning exhaustion for the important milestones of the year. Let people bring food and pull up their sleeves in the kitchen. Use paper plates. Ask for help and watch relationships grow through the shared creation of this beautiful moment. When the dishes are cleared, the leftovers stored, and the grandchildren are taking apart your couch to erect a fort, sit back with your wine and know that you too are building something. Feel gratitude and connection to the generations of family that roasted the turkeys that brought all of you to this day. Know that someday, when the pounds of pure poultry become too great for you to carry, you will lean on the foundation you and generations of others established to keep the family flame ablaze.

New York FamilY partNer

MSG Entertainment

Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes© t here is nothing quite like Christmas in the Big Apple, and no holiday trip to New York City is complete without a visit to Radio City Music Hall to take part in the iconic holiday tradition that is the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes© presented by QVC. This awe-inspiring production features intricate choreography and thrilling performances by the renowned Rockettes that will leave you with a sense of wonder and amazement. While the production is an annual tradition eagerly anticipated by both New Yorkers and visitors, each year’s performance also brings a fresh perspective to the timeless classics. This year’s production features classics such as “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” and “New York at

MSG Entertainment

MSG Entertainment

Christmas” as well as new favorites. The newly reimagined scene “Dance of the Frost Fairies©” transforms the Rockettes into fantastical winged fairies as even more fairy friends fly high above the audience. The Christmas Spectacular runs for 90

minutes with no intermission. Audiences can experience the immersive magic at the iconic Radio City Music Hall, opening November 17th. Tickets are available at Make the most of the holidays with the Christmas Spectacular. This is Christmas in New York City!


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