Queens Family - November 2023

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Let's Go to the


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


Experience the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City


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100-00 Beach Channel Drive Rockaway Park, N.Y. 11694 Denise Harper-Richardson, Principal (718) 634-1970 CVSR.info

NEW STUDENT OPEN HOUSES Middle School Thursday October 26, 2023 Uniform required for all students Wednesday November 15, 2023 Saturday November 18, 2023

5pm 5pm 10am

ASD NEST information session for MS and HS students 11:00 am. Uniform required for all students

Middle School students should use code 262S on the Middle School Choice Application.

MIDDLE SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS • Sports - Dance, Soccer, Lacrosse, Basketball, Flag Football, Tennis, Baseball, Volleyball, Girls Volleyball, Boys Baseball & Basketball • Millennium After School Program • After School Academic Enrichment • Summer Bridge Program • Community Service Projects • Farm Trip • Gymnastics & Cheerleading • Marine Biology and Oceanography • Robotics and Engineering


High School Thursday October 26, 2023 Uniform required for all students Wednesday November 15, 2023 Saturday November 18, 2023

7 pm 7 pm 12pm

ASD NEST information session for MS and HS students 11:00 am. Uniform required for all students

High School students use code 97X (College Prep) or 97A (Research, Technology and Robotics) on the High School Application.

• 99% Graduation Rate • 100% Of Students Accepted To Colleges • Advanced Placement Courses • College Now, Internships • PSAL Sports - Baseball, Basketball, Football Volleyball, Tennis, Track, Lacrosse • 9th Grade Crew Camping Trip • Studio Art, Chorus, Instrumental & Marching Band • Computer Technology, Performing Arts • Marine Biology and Oceanography • Robotics and Engineering

Registration Preferred to attend the Open House at


Where your child’s education is secure with us... We are Rockaway’s best kept secret 3 November 2023 | Queens Family


NOVEMBER 2023 NewYorkFamily.com

pg. 38

pg. 26



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

6 | Editor’s Letter 8 | Mom Hacks What to do with your kids’ old toys

24 | Holiday Fun Our favorite things to do as the holiday season arrives

14 | Ask the Expert Your teen’s first gynecologist visit

25 | Special Child Tips and resources for emotional wellness for the parents and caregivers of kids with disabilities

18 | Family Day Out Courage to Act: New exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage is a must-see

26 | Cover How to navigate museums with a child with disabilities

22| Family Fun Cut-your-own Christmas tree farms near NYC

34 | Education Best Tutoring & Test Prep Resources

38 | Mom Stories One family’s intergenerational Thanksgiving customs

4 NewYorkFamily.com | November 2023

pg. 36

pg. 20

pg. 22

FAMILY FUN 36 | Calendar All the fun events and activities for November

DIRECTORIES 32 | Special Needs Listings

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


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 | Queens Family




Nina Gallo Photography


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 20), 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 36), Holiday Fun events (page 24), and where to cut your Christmas tree (page 22) 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 newyorkfamily.com 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 25). 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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GET IN TOUCH Share your feedback and ideas about family life in New York! Email us at editorial@newyorkfamily.com and tag us at #newyorkfamily

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






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November 2023 | Queens Family


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 shop.mattel.com 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 hasbrotoyrecycling.hasbro.com/en-us/toyrecycling 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 NewYorkFamily.com | November 2023

spaces, flower pots and park benches. Spin Master Free Recycling Program spinmaster.com 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 terracycle.com/en-US/pages/zero-waste-boxfaq 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

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are used to make new products. LEGO Replay lego.com 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 paintcare.org 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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Garden School


A Rich History and an Exciting Plan for the Future

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

12 NewYorkFamily.com | November 2023

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

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

November 2023 | Queens Family


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?

14 NewYorkFamily.com | 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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The Kew-Forest School Preparing Students for a World of Possibilities Q: Ms. Trotter, what’s significant about being the 10th Head of School at KewForest? A: I am the second female and the first person of color to serve as Head of School at The Kew-Forest School. My 24+ years of working in independent schools, including four as the Head of Middle and Upper School at Kew-Forest, have been in preparation for this role. I am excited to be leading the school into the next century (as we began our 106th year in September); while we are rooted deeply in our tradition, we are poised to grow toward the future.

different communities around NYC when it comes to city planning and gentrification. The study will include three consecutive days of field trips to Chinatown, the Flatiron District, and East Harlem. Our upcoming Upper School international trip to Costa Rica, organized by our Upper School Spanish and Biology teachers, is cross-disciplinary and promotes language immersion, intercultural learning, and scientific exploration. IB’s emphasis on developing students as whole people is also matched by Kew-Forest’s use of Responsive Classroom practices in the Lower School and our school-wide adoption of Yale University’s RULER program to promote social-emotional learning. Q: What can you say about academics in the Upper School? A: The outcomes speak for themselves. The Class of 2023 received college acceptances to some of the most selective colleges in the world, including Barnard, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, and NYU. Our most recent AP test takers earned a mean score that was 20% above the national average. 80% of our senior class is enrolled in at least one AP class; several are enrolled in four or more of the dozen AP classes we offer. But our excellent program isn’t just academic. Students also engage in extracurriculars like Model UN and our Science Research Club, which partners with practicing scientists. Our Athletic program currently offers 7 mainstream sports including soccer, volleyball, cross country, basketball, tennis, and track, and we plan to revive specialized sports like archery, table tennis, and fencing.

Q: What’s a new initiative at the school that excites you? A: Kew-Forest is a candidate school for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) and Middle Years Program (MYP). We are pursuing authorization as an IB World School. IB World Schools share a common philosophy – a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education – that we believe is important for our students. Q: Does this mark a dramatic shift in curriculum for Kew-Forest for the Lower School and Middle School? A: Actually, no. Kew-Forest’s education and mission dovetail beautifully with those of IB. Our educational approach has been moving toward a more robust inter-disciplinary, hands-on, whole-student experience. In the Lower School, our teachers are terrific at fostering interdisciplinary learning. For example, in Grade 3 when working on the Migration and Movement unit, students read the book Front Desk by Kelly Yang, based on her experience as a child immigrating from China. Students carried over the learning about geography, woven into the unit, to their music class by writing and performing a song about latitude and longitude.

16 NewYorkFamily.com | November 2023

In our Middle School this year, the capstone project emphasizes experiential learning that pushes students to take their learning into the community. Eighth graders will be meeting weekly throughout the year to discuss and research this year’s theme, “progress” - how it gets determined, who benefits from it, and how it impacts

Q: How can one learn more about KewForest? A: I invite interested families to attend one of our upcoming In-Person Open Houses on Saturday, November 11 for Lower School and Saturday, December 2 for Middle & Upper School. To register, please visit kewforest.org/visit. I hope to see you there. Contact: Soraya Díaz Tamayo, Director of Enrollment & Tuition Assistance, (718) 5513125, admission@kewforest.org


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November 2023 | Queens Family


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,

18 NewYorkFamily.com | 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 mjhnyc.org.

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 Rockettes.com. Make the most of the holidays with the Christmas Spectacular. This is Christmas in New York City!

November 2023 | Queens Family


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: • kids.kiddle.co/Israeli-Palestinian_ conflict • reuters.com/world/middle-east/israelpalestinian-dispute-hinges-statehood-landjerusalem-refugees-2023-10-10/ • cfr.org/backgrounder/what-us-policyisraeli-palestinian-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

“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 (ujafedny.org) • Jewish National Fund-USA (jnf.org) • Mercy Chefs (give.mercychefs.com) • The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (donate.unrwa. org) • The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (jdc.org) • International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC.org) • World Central Kitchen (wck.org) November 2023 | Queens Family


family fun

Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Farms Near NYC


f cutting your own tree is a family tradition (new or old!), check out this guide to Christmas tree farms near NYC! Bonus: These farms are all within a 1½-hour drive from Manhattan. Each farm has a selection of live Christmas trees and allows you to pick your own tree from its natural setting, cut it down, and cart it home. Species of Christmas trees you can buy include beautiful spruces and firs, and they’re all available at these local farms in a range of sizes sure to fit any home. Fraser firs, known for having that classic, full Christmas tree shape, tend to be one of the most popular trees to buy this time of year. Most Christmas tree farms in the New York City area are slated to open Thanksgiving weekend, but it’s a good idea to call to confirm dates and availability before visiting. Cut Your Own Tree in Westchester County, NY Stuart’s Farm 62 Granite Springs Road, Granite Springs 914-245-2784 Hours: Season opens late November. Price: Call for information Head north to Westchester to visit this nearby farm to choose your tree. There’s an on-site bakery that has hot and cold cider, fruit pies, fresh apple cider doughnuts, jams, and jellies. Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm 1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights 914-245-5111 Hours: Nov. 25 to mid-December, WednesdayMonday, 10am-4:30pm. Reservations required between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1. Price: Call for information This cut-your-own Christmas tree farm offers Douglas and Fraser fir trees, as well as some pre-cut Fraser firs. Enjoy a farm market, gift shop, and bakery at this Westchester Christmas tree farm near NYC. Customers get a free cup of hot apple cider with every tree purchase. Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Putnam County, NY Cockburn Farm 1611 Route 9, Garrison

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845-424-3574 Hours: Black Friday Nov. 24 through Christmas Eve Dec. 24, 9am-5pm. Price: $75 and up, depending on tree Bring your family to this popular Putnam County farm to cut-your-own Christmas tree. Choose from a variety of firs that range in size from 3 feet and taller. Hand saws are available to borrow. Handmade wreaths and grave blankets are for sale. Santa is sometimes on-site, but check his schedule on the website. Christmas Tree Farms in Orange County Emmerich Tree Farm 101 Sleepy Valley Road, Warwick 845-986-0151 Hours: Weekends beginning Friday, Nov. 24 from 9am-3:30pm by reservation only. Price: Call for information; $40 deposit required when making reservation, which will go toward

the purchase of your tree Free trimming, drilling, shaking, and baling. This year, the farm is offering more retail items for sale, including local merino wool yarn, home-made wood crafts, ornaments and more. Manza Family Farm 730 Route 211, Montgomery 845-692-4364 Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10am-5pm, FridaySunday; 10am-6pm. Price: Pre-cut trees $35 and up; Cut your own tree $70. Roping available. Pre-cut trees and wreaths for sale; outdoor gift shop on premises. Bring the whole family! Stone Oak Farm 207 Stony Bar Road, Slate Hill 845-355-4751

Hours: Weekends, beginning Saturday Nov. 25 – Sunday Dec. 12. 10am to Dusk. Price: $70 for trees up to 10ft. $5 extra for each additional foot. This cut-your-own Christmas tree farm in Orange County offers more than 8 acres of spruce and fir trees of all sizes.Staff will bundle your tree into netting for your trip home for a $5 charge. Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in Fairfield County, CT Jones Family Farm 606 Walnut Tree Hill Road, Shelton 203-929-8425 Hours: Nov. 18-Dec. 23, daily (except Thanksgiving Day), 9am-5:30pm. To harvest your own tree, arrive by 4pm. Reservations are required on most weekends. Check the website for more information. Price: Prices vary depending on size of the tree. Twine and tree baling services available. Holiday decorations and traditional crafts and ornaments for sale. Refreshments available. Leashed dogs are welcome during Christmas time, though they are not allowed in all areas. Maple Row Farm 555 North Park Avenue, Easton 203-261-9577 Hours: Nov. 18-Dec. 23, daily, 9am-4:30pm. Price: $128 on weekends for pre-cut trees. $12 off on weekdays. Cut-your-own and pre-cut trees available at this Connecticut farm. Tree baling and assistance provided. Saws are provided or bring your own (no chainsaws allowed). Wreaths, roping, and tree stands available. Holiday accessories are for sale. Paproski’s Castle Hill Farm 25 Sugar Lane, Newtown 203-426-5487 Hours: Tree season is Nov. 26-Dec. 23. Weekdays by appointment (pre-cut only), Saturday 9 am to 4:30 pm, Sunday 9 am to 3:30 pm. Price: Cut-your-own trees start at approximately $80. Cash or check only. Staff will provide assistance in wrapping and tying your tree to your car. Also offers pre-cut trees and handmade wreaths. New clearing section with tagged trees, allowing you to select your tree in advance. Fairview Tree Farm 2 Sawmill City Road, Shelton 203-944-9090 Hours: Nov. 25-Dec. 18, Friday to Sunday,

Tree Farm Tips

Here are a few good tips to keep in mind when choosing a tree: • Walking around a tree farm is fun, so take in the trees and find a tree that works with your home or apartment aesthetic. • Since you are cutting a tree, it’s pretty fresh, but make sure it has vibrant green needles that aren’t falling off. • Tree size matters, especially if you live in a small space. Be sure to choose a tree that will fit comfortably in your abode.

9am-5pm. Prices: Call for information Cut your own Christmas tree at this Fairfield County Christmas tree farm. The farm is also known for its seasoned firewood, great for wood-burning stoves or fireplaces. Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in New Jersey Barclay’s Christmas Tree Farm 35 Orchardside Drive, Cranbury 609-799-1855 Hours: Black Friday, Nov. 24-25, and Dec. 3-4. Call for hours. Price: $75-$150 Choose from Douglas, white, and fraser firs, as well as blue and Norway spruces at this New Jersey Christmas tree farm. Saws, rope, and netting are available for free. Simonson Farms 118-260 Dey Road, Cranbury 609-799-0140 Hours: Opening for the season on Black Friday. Check here for detailed hours. Price: $65-$100 Head to this third-generation cut-your-own Christmas tree farm in NJ to choose from pre-cut, choose-and-cut, balled, and burlap trees. Hidden Pond Tree Farm 4 W. Field Road, Mendham 973-865-6362 Hours: Opens daily 8am-5pm. Price: Call for pricing Pre-cut trees are also available. Refreshments available. Free hayrides (weather permitting). Marshmallow roasting around the bonfire. Christmas shop with wreaths, greenery, centerpieces, and other decorations. Cash or checks only. Rolling Green Farm 61 Hacklebarney Road, Long Valley

908-879-7457 Hours: Friday, Nov. 26, 10am-5pm; Nov. 27Dec. 25, Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5pm. Price: All cut-your-own trees $50. Wreaths and other items available for sale in the shop. The farm asks customers not to cut trees that are shorter than 6 feet. Pre-cut trees can be trimmed down. Holiday Tree Farm 44 Augusta Hill Road, Augusta 973-948-7488 Hours: Call for hours. Price: All trees $62 Trees range in size up to 9 feet at this NJ farm. Saws provided. Christmas shop on premises with wreaths and other holiday decorations for sale. No credit or debit cards. Shale Hills Farm 98 Pond School Road, Sussex 973-875-4231 Hours: After Thanksgiving Day: SaturdaySunday, 10am-4pm. Price: All trees $99 Santa will make appearances throughout the day. Christmas movies in the hayloft and a petting zoo full of animals in the barn. Stonerow Tree Farm 242 Wykertown Road, Branchville 973-875-7968 Instagram Hours: Starting Nov. 25, open SaturdaysSundays, 9am-4pm. Price: $65-$75 Spruces and firs available. Saws and twine available. Dogs are welcome on a leash. Evergreen Valley Christmas Tree Farm 77 Jackson Valley Road, Washington 908-835-0557 Hours: Nov. 25-Dec. 23, Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-4pm. Price: Tree prices start at approximately $45; vary by species. Browse thousands of Christmas trees of all kinds, and enjoy a free wagon ride. Hot chocolate available. Assistance provided. Wyckoff’s Christmas Tree Farm 246 County Road 519, Belvidere 908-475-4508 Hours: Starting Black Friday, SaturdaySunday from 8am-4:30pm; Monday-Friday from 10am-4:30pm. Prices: Tree prices start at around $14 per foot for cut-your-own trees. A favorite cut-your-own Christmas tree farm in NJ since 1958, Wyckoff has more than 5,000 trees available. Wreaths, grave blankets, green décor, and more are also for sale. November 2023 | Queens 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 stjohndivine.org/crafts-at-the-cathedral 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 stjohndivine.org. Legoland Bricktacular 39 Fitzgerald Street, Yonkers, NY 10710 914-775-6015 legolanddiscoverycenter.com/westchester 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 greenwichreindeerfestival.com 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 go-ridgehill.com/treelighting On Sunday November 19th from 4pm-6pm, Get in the holiday spirit and spread festive

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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 wwinterwonderland.com 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.




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 newyorkfamily.com, 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 access@nyhistory.org. 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 (guggenheim.org/accessibility) 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 | Queens 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 access@911memorial.org 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

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 visitorservices@bbg.org 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@ nytransitmuseum.org 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

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 | Queens 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

30 NewYorkFamily.com | November 2023

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 (naminycmetro.org) 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 (vibrant.org) 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 (includenyc.org) 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.

Is your child struggling with: School? Attention? Socializing? Tantrums? The clinical team at CCPS can help. AREAS OF SPECIALTY • Learning Disabilities • ADHD • Autism • Developmental Delays

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• Anxiety, Depression, behavioral issues • Families in court over custody, education or legal reasons

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Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a renowned and widely sought expert in the field of mental health and neuropsychology, leads the clinical team at CCPS. Our doctors are trained to help not only the child but their ecosystem in supporting their needs. Well-being, emotional and academic, goes hand in hand, and we can guide you to both. Please call or visit our website to learn more.

We accept all major insurances GHI, UnitedHealthCare, Oxford, Cigna, MagnaCare, BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) All major credit cards, Cash, and PayPal accepted

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November 2023 | Queens Family


SPECIAL CHILD DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement

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

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

The Gillen Brewer School 410 E. 92nd Street, New York 212-831-3667 gillenbrewer.com admissions@gillenbrewer.com The Gillen Brewer School is a 12-month, special education program located

on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, serving children ages 2.8 to 11 years old who have a wide variety of languagebased and non-verbal learning disabilities. Their academictherapeutic program includes speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and social groups. GBS currently serves children Pre-K-age 11 and is expanding in the Fall of 2024 to include middle school.

Long Island Speech Nine locations lispeech.com Long Island Speech Long Island Speech is the leading speech therapy provider on Long Island with 9 locations in Nassau and Suffolk County. They specialize in Myofunctional Therapy, PROMPT, Voice Disorders, Fluency, Augmentative Communications, Articulation, Feeding Therapy, Auditory

Processing, Expressive/ Receptive Language Disorders and so much more. Long Island Speech participates with most major health insurance companies and offers evening and weekend hours. Call 844-5-SPEECH to schedule your first appointment, or visit LISpeech.com.

Stepping Stones Day School 77-40 Vleigh Place Kew Gardens Hills 718 591-9093 steppingstonedayschool.com 37 years ago SSDS opened its doors to provide services to children. The schools have remained true to the original vision which embraced the sentiment that “All children can”. SSDS continues to be at the forefront of best practices in early childhood services.

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32 NewYorkFamily.com | November 2023

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Since 1992

The Gillen Brewer School

Still searching for the right special education program for your child?

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November 2023 | Queens 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 sbtspanish.com contact@sbtspanish.com 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 sbtspanish.com 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 ivyprepschool.com

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info@ivyprepschool.com 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 locations.sylvanlearning.com/us/mineola-ny sylvanofmineola@gmail.com 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 sylvanlearning.com/bronxvilleny 57 Wheeler Avenue, Pleasantville

914- 313-8007 sylvanlearning.com/pleasantvilleny 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.

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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 info@newyorkfamily.com or calling 718.260.4554 November 2023 | Queens Family




Day of the Dead Celebration WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 2, 4 – 6:30 pm WHERE: Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate Day of the Dead with live performances, face-painting sessions inspired by historical characters from Día de Muertos, poetry, and more. WANT TO GO?: Free. (718) 777–6800, movingimage.us

Astoria Park Pumpkin Smash WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 4, 1 – 3 pm WHERE: Astoria Park, 19 19th St, Astoria AGES: All WHAT: Sling your pumpkin across the park using a giant slingshot, enjoy potato sack races, face painting, and more! WANT TO GO?: Free. astoriaparkalliance.org

Paws-on History: Puff Paint Cats! WHEN: Saturday. Nov. 4, 1 – 4 pm WHERE: King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate National Cat Day (October 29th), when you use puff paint to create one-ofa-kind, colorful cat works of art. WANT TO GO?: Free. (718) 206–0545, kingmanor.org

Harvest Dance Celebration WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 12, 11 am – 4 pm WHERE: Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, Glen Oaks AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate American

Julie Larsen Maher

Meet the creatures of the night at the Queens Zoo on November 17. Indian Culture through music and dance! This event also features a Native American Craft & Food Market with authentic art, jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and more. WANT TO GO?: Farm Grounds & Market Admission: Free; Performance Area requires tickets: $17; $12 (ages 4-11) Ages 3 & under free (no ticket required). queensfarm.org

Night-Time CrittersCriaturas Nocturnas WHEN: Friday, Nov. 17, 5 – 8 pm WHERE: Queens Zoo, 53-51 111th St., Flushing AGES: 2 and older WHAT: Grab your favorite pjs and head to the zoo for a family-friendly evening filled with animal encounters, craftmaking, and engaging stories. WANT TO GO?: $30; $24 members. queenszoo.com

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NYC Winter Lantern Festival WHEN: Nov. 17-Jan 7, See website for complete schedule. WHERE: Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy, Glen Oaks AGES: All WHAT: Enter a spectacular world glowing with more than 1,000 handmade Chinese lanterns and lights creating an unforgettable experience for all. WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $17.99 for children and $21.99 for adults. winterlanternfestival. com

9th Annual Diwali Festival WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 19, 12 – 4 pm WHERE: Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing AGES: All WHAT: Celebrate Diwali with a dance party, classical and folk

dance performances, Indian block printing, henna, Indian food and recipes and so much more. WANT TO GO?: $20; $15 members; $8 children. flushingtownhall.org

Astra Lumina WHEN: Nov. 24-Jan. 1, See website for complete schedule WHERE: Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing AGES: All WHAT: This stellar journey invites stargazers to set off across the garden’s celestial pathway to encounter the wonder of the stars and embrace their own human light. WANT TO GO?: Ticket prices start from $22 for children and $29 for adults. astralumina.com

Honk! JR. WHEN: Nov. 30-Dec. 10,

NOVEMBER Thursdays – Sundays, 7 pm WHERE: The Secret Theatre, 38-02 61st St., Woodside AGES: All WHAT: This charming retelling of the Ugly Duckling is a heartwarming celebration of being different that is both witty and hilarious, but also deeply moving. WANT TO GO?: $25; $18 seniors; $15 ages 3 and older. secrettheatre.com/

MANHATTAN 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, newvictory.org

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

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

BRONX Fl!p Circus WHEN: Weekdays, 7:30 pm, Saturdays and Sundays, 1 pm, 4 pm, and 7 pm, through Nov. 19. WHERE: The Mall at Bay Plaza, 200 Baychester Avenue, Bronx AGES: All WHAT: Fl!p Circus celebrates the great American circus tradition with an all-new production featuring an incredible assemblage of international acts that are guaranteed to amaze. WANT TO GO?: $30-$80. Flipcircus.com

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

Flushing Town Hall hosts a Diwali Festival on November 19. mountainscape. WANT TO GO?: $20-$35. (718) 817–8700, nybg.org

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights WHEN: Nov. 17-Jan. 7, Fridays – Sundays, 3 – 9 pm, and Nov. 30, 3 – 9 pm. WHERE: Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx AGES: All WHAT: During the evenings, 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. bronxzoo.com

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

Coney Island Yo-Yo Fling

BROOKLYN Seventeenth Annual Brooklyn Children’s Book Fair

The NYC Winter Lantern Festival at Queens County Farm begins November 17.

listen to readings and watch artists sketch, get books signed, participate in bookrelated art projects, and more. WANT TO GO?: Free. (718) 638–5000, brooklynmuseum. org

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,

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. coneyisland.com

November 2023 | Queens 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

38 NewYorkFamily.com | 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.

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