Bronx/Riverdale Family - March 2024

Page 1


Joelle Garguilo, mom of two and Emmy-winning reporter, on her love for small businesses, why you should give your dreams a chance and why there really is no place like New York

Why Kids Learn Lasting Lessons at CAMP

Spring Fun Blossoms!

Our bucket list guide to getting the most out of the season






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


• Talented and experienced staff

• Amazing and uplifting camp spirit

• Make new friends and build self-esteem

• Instructional swim lessons

All branches that host summer day camp are hosting open houses from 10 AM – 12 PM on APRIL 20 and MAY 11.


March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 3 Scan Here



Cover Story:

Produced by:



Jewelry credit: Poetry of Material Things, Katherine

4 | March 2024 MARCH 2024 CONTENTS pg. 34 pg. 32 pg. 24 pg. 36 pg. 28 FEATURES
| Tech Online safety 14 | Money The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act
| Mom Stories Raising Jewish kids
| Camp 20 lessons from camp we use every day 24 | Education The advantages of Charter Schools
| Career Pivots How to (re)light your fire
| Cover Joelle Garguilo and her big city dreams STORIES & COLUMNS 8 | Editor’s Letter 28 | Travel Family-friendly guide to Belize 26 | Family Fun Spring NYC bucket list 38 | Family Day Out Stunning sights at Edge FAMILY FUN 36 | Calendar All the fun activities for March DIRECTORIES 22 | Camp Listings ON THE COVER
Yumi Matsuo |
Ammy Chan |
& Makeup:
Cris Pearlstein
Duarte- Ladd
on location at: Edge, 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
credit: White dress & brown jacket @
Lincoln Jewelry
March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 5 Follow us @SBCSICA Elementary/ Middle School High School Annex Apply Online 718.292.5737 COMING BACK HOME TO BRUCKNER BLVD THIS FALL ! COMING BACK HOME TO BRUCKNER BLVD THIS FALL ! COMING BACK HOME TO BRUCKNER BLVD THIS FALL ! Daily expert art instruction with professional artists in dance, music, theater and visual arts. Dual Language Instruction Earn College Credits in High School Robotics, Tennis, Chess & More 164 Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10454 South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures & the arts RSVP for an Open House 3/20/24 @ 4:30 pm


To provide a rigorous college readiness program and career preparatory learning environment that provides students with a foundation of the necessary skills to pursue college or a career in the architecture, engineering, and the construction industries.


• 98% Graduation Rate

• Every student is provided with a free Chromebook to support college readiness

• Architectural Drawing, Dra ing, Revit, and AutoCad classes prepare students for certi cation exams in the architecture eld.

• Robust internships and partnerships provide our students with scholarships in the architecture eld.

• Six counselors on sta to support whole student development.

• AECI Core Values of Perseverance, Achievement, Integrity and Respect develop our students into young professionals.

earn up to 18 college credits at AECI • All dual-credit classes provided free of charge

Rigorous dual credit partnership with Syracuse University
ROBUST SPORTS PROGRAM • Soccer, Volleyball, Flag Football, Basketball, Cheerleading, Baseball, So ball, Track • All student-athletes must be academically eligible GRADUATION RATE 2018-2019 95% 2019-2020 98% 2021-2022 96% 2022-2023 96% VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO ENROLL NOW! – WWW.AECICHARTERHS.ORG – 646-400-5566 838 Brook Avenue, Bronx NY 10451 Contact Ms. Harrigan at 646-400-5566 x. 9001 AECI OPEN HOUSE: March 9th, 10am-1pm (bad weather date March 16th)
• Students


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


•Tasa de graduación del 98%

•Se proporciona un Chromebook gratuito a cada estudiante para apoyar la preparación universitaria.

•Las clases de Dibujo Arquitectónico, Dibujo, Revit y AutoCad preparan a los estudiantes para los exámenes de certificación en el campo de la arquitectura.

•Prácticas sólidas y asociaciones proporcionan a nuestros estudiantes becas en el campo de la arquitectura.

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

•Los Valores Fundamentales de AECI de Perseverancia, Logro, Integridad y Respeto desarrollan a nuestros estudiantes en jóvenes profesionales.


•Rigurosa asociación de crédito doble con la Universidad de Syracuse.

•Los estudiantes pueden ganar hasta 18 créditos universitarios en AECI.

•Todas las clases de doble crédito se proporcionan de forma gratuita.


•Fútbol, Voleibol, Fútbol Flag, Baloncesto, Cheerleading, Béisbol, Softbol, Atletismo.

•Todos los estudiantes-atletas deben ser académicamente elegibles.


9 de marzo, de 10 am a 1

(fecha alternativa en caso de mal tiempo: 16 de marzo)

Escuela Secundaria Autónoma de la Ciudad de Nueva York para la Ingeniería Arquitectónica y las
Industrias de la Construcción
838 Brook Avenue, Bronx NY 10451


Winter finally showed up in New York, and while we still have chilly days ahead of us, March is a season of transition where warmer temperatures take us out of hibernation, and the city starts to bloom.

Warmer weather means summer will soon be here (really, remember when we were just talking about Back to School?!). We have a helpful list of Summer Camps(page 22) worth checking out for the kids!

Did someome say Dragon Fruit Mojito? If you are looking for a warm destination trip, check out our guide to Belize (page 28), where pristine beaches and rich cultural experiences make for a perfect family or solo vacation.

This month, it is International Women’s

Day on March 8th. We celebrate women every day, and in the spirit of transitions, we have a helpful piece (page 32) on Career Pivots and making changes, small or big.

Speaking of career shifts, our cover mom for March, Joelle Garguilo (page 34), WABC’s new Entertainment Reporter and mom of two, started her journey as an Emmy-Winning reporter with a wish she would whisper to herself her dream to work in television while working as an accountant. Joelle also shares about parenting her two daughters, supporting local businesses, and why you should give your dreams a chance.



Share your feedback and ideas about family life in New York!

Email us at and tag us at #newyorkfamily

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8 | March 2024 EDITOR’S NOTE
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. ©2024 Queens Family Media, LLC
Nina Gallo Photography






Tuition-free institution


Tuition-free institution

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

Tuition-free institution


Tuition-free institution

Tuition-free institution

2 Instructors per classroom

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

2 Instructors per classroom

Tuition-free institution

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

2 Instructors per classroom

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

2 Instructors per classroom


Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

2 Instructors per classroom

Growth for Success Plan

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

2 Instructors per classroom


Growth for Success Plan

2 Instructors per classroom

Tuition-free institution

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners


2 Instructors per classroom

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

Growth for Success Plan

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

Tuition-free institution

Growth for Success Plan

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

Growth for Success Plan

Tuition-free institution

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

Targeted instruction & extended day program

Growth for Success Plan

Growth for Success Plan

Targeted instruction & extended day program

Growth for Success Plan

2 Instructors per classroom

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

Targeted instruction & extended day program

Professional Development for Teachers & Instructors

Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

2 Instructors per classroom

Professional Development for Teachers & Instructors

Small group instruction to emphasize individual learning

Targeted instruction & extended day program

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

Targeted instruction & extended day program

Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

Reading Specialists

Targeted instruction & extended day program

Professional Development for Teachers & Instructors

2 Instructors per classroom

ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

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Targeted instruction & extended day program

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Growth for Success Plan

Targeted instruction & extended day program

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ELL Program for Multi-language Learners

Reading Specialists

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Discovery Program - Advanced learners with a focus on project-based learning

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Targeted instruction & extended day program

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Professional Development for Teachers & Instructors

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Reduced-cost afterschool program until 6pm

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Reduced-cost afterschool program until 6pm

On-site Mental Health Clinic providing student & family counseling services


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On-site Mental Health Clinic providing student & family counseling services

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Reduced-cost afterschool program until 6pm

Monthly school-wide events & activities

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Yellow Bus Transportation to those who qualify

Monthly school-wide events & activities

Free Field Trips

Reduced-cost afterschool program until 6pm

In-house De-Escalation Specialists

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In-house Social Work Team

Monthly school-wide events & activities

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Monthly school-wide events & activities

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Monthly school-wide events & activities

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In-house De-Escalation Specialists

Monthly school-wide events & activities

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Announcing the new Equality Charter Elementary School!

Equality Charter Elementary School (ECES)

801 Bartholdi Street, Bronx, NY 10467

We’ll open our FREE, public charter school in 2024 serving kindergarteners and first graders and then grow to serve K-5th


Equality Charter Middle School (ECMS)

4140 Hutchinson River Pkwy E, 3rd Floor, Bronx, NY 10475

Grades Served: 6th – 8th

Equality Charter High School (ECHS)

801 Bartholdi Street Bronx NY, 10467

Grades Served: 9th – 12 th

At Equality, we’re more than a school; we’re a close-knit family. Our dedicated scholars, teachers, and staff share a deep sense of unity. With stable leadership, we guarantee our students feel consistently cared for, supported, and part of something special

Equality is a free public school, and provides

• Equal emphasis on academics and social-emotional learning

• Scholar-centered approach, complete with a variety of extracurricular activities and hands-on learning experiences

• Comprehensive special education and English Language Learning services

• An active parent association that partners with school leadership throughout the year

• After school and summer programming to keep students engaged in meaningful experiences all year long!



10 | March 2024
� /equalitycharterschool � @equalitycharterschool ��������


¡Anunciando el nuevo Escuela Primaria de Equality!

Equality Charter Elementary School (ECES) 801 Bartholdi Street, Bronx, NY 10467

Abriremos nuestra ESCUELA GRATUITA en 2024, sirviendo estudiantes de el kindergarten y grado y luego crecen para servir desde el kindergarten hasta 5.o grado.


Equality Charter Middle School (ECMS)

4140 Hutchinson River Pkwy E, 3rd Floor, Bronx, NY 10475

Grados servidos: 6.º a 8.º

Equality Charter High School (ECHS)

801 Bartholdi Street Bronx NY, 10467

Grados servidos: 9.º-12.º

En Equality somos más que una escuela; somos una familia muy unida. Nuestros dedicados académicos, maestros y personal comparten un profundo sentido de unidad. Con un liderazgo estable, garantizamos que nuestros estudiantes se sientan constantemente cuidados, apoyados y parte de algo especial.

Equality es una escuela pública y gratuita y se ofrece:

• Igual énfasis en lo académico y el aprendizaje socioemocional.

• Enfoque centrado en el estudiante, completo con una variedad de actividades extracurriculares y experiencias de aprendizaje prácticas.

• Servicios integrales de educación especial y aprendizaje del idioma inglés

• Una asociación de padres activa que colabora con el liderazgo escolar durante todo el año

• ¡Programación después de clases y de verano para mantener a los estudiantes involucrados en experiencias significativas durante todo el año!

escanear para aplicar ahora

March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 11
� /equalitycharterschool � @equalitycharterschool ��������

A Guide to Staying Safe Online

In this day and age, the internet is pretty inescapable. Kids are starting to go online at younger and younger ages. With this in mind, staying safe on the internet is more important than ever.

The idea of letting kids go on the internet can be pretty nerve-wracking, especially when the internet is so huge and there’s so much out of our control. But there are ways to make surfing the web safer for kids and steps you can take as a parent to make the experience safer.

Here are some tips for parents to help their kids stay safe online.

Set Guidelines For Your Child’s Internet Use

In your house, you’re the internet service provider for your young children. When your children are first starting to use the internet, set guidelines for what sites or programs they’re allowed to use, when they’re allowed to be online and who they’re allowed to connect with.

This can (and should) become more flexible as they get older, but it’s good to have a framework when young children are first starting to go online.

Review Apps and Sites Before Your Kids Use Them

It’s a good idea to vet websites and apps before your young children use them. Establish an expectation that young children ask permission before visiting a website or downloading an app and then review them before giving them permission.

Many app stores, like Apple’s App Store or Google Play, have the ability to passwordprotect app downloading. This can add an extra layer of security to make sure you can review apps before your kids download them.

Put Limits on Screen Time

Limits on screen time can be beneficial for everyone: children, teens and adults. Many devices come equipped with features that track and limit screen time.

Encourage your kids to have fun with

activities that don’t involve a screen, and try to phrase screens out before bedtime every night. And lead by example by encouraging family time that doesn’t revolve around a screen.

Establish an Open Line of Communication

Have conversations with your kids about what they’re doing and who they’re communicating with online, and keep these conversations going as your kids get older.

If you establish this open communication now, your kids will be more likely to come to you for help later if they need help with a situation online.

Monitor Internet Use When Possible

A simple way to monitor internet use for young children is to set up the family computer in the living room or another common space. But if your child has a tablet of their own, this can get more complicated.

Depending on the age of the child, you can establish rules about where they’re allowed to use the tablet. There are also apps you can install to monitor the tablet’s usage. While these rules will ease as your kids get older, it’s a good idea to monitor their internet use when they’re young.

Make Use of Parental Controls

Learn about the parental controls available on different apps, web browsers and devices. Turn on options like SafeSearch on Google to limit what search results get kicked back to your child, or teach them about child-friendly search engines like Swiggle or Kids-search.

Look into options like YouTube Kids, which offer more contained environments. Save your child’s favorite websites to the favorites tab so they can navigate to them on their own. While not foolproof, using these controls can make the internet a little more contained for your kids.

Emphasize Password Safety

As your children get old enough to have their own passwords, teach them about the importance of keeping their passwords secure.

Explain to them why passwords are important tools against identity theft and that they shouldn’t be shared with anyone, even someone who you think is your best friend. Try to avoid saving passwords to devices when possible.

Use Social Networks Safely

When your child gets old enough to have their own social media accounts, help them make them to ensure they’re set up for a safe experience. Have your children use privacy settings, and add your children as friends from your own profile. Occasionally take a look at your kid’s friend’s list to make sure they aren’t being added by strangers.

Watch What You Post

Teach your children to not post personal information online, like their full name, age, birthday, phone number, where they live and more.

And this is a good rule to follow as an adult, too. Lead by example by checking to make sure the things you post online don’t contain any identifying information.

Watch Your Family’s Digital Footprint

It’s important to remember that the internet is forever, and that anything posted can’t be truly erased. Children and teens need to be taught to be smart about the information and images they post online.

And this is also true for parents who post pictures of their children online regularly. Stay in control of your digital footprint by only sharing things online with people you know and trust, and teach your children to do the same.

Helpful resource net-safety

12 | March 2024
“I truly believe that had I gone to a different school, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.



March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 13
ELIJAH WESTBROOK, Emmy Award Winning Journalist, CBS New York I KIPP STAR Charter School Alumnus

What is the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act?

We break down the 2024 plan

We all are experincing higher grocery bills, kids’ clothing costs have increased, many essential cost of living expenses continue to go up. With inflation still increasing and not many families receiving pay raises to cover the cost of living, many parents wonder if a new federal child tax credit may return. The tax relief you may be hearing about is similar to the one from 2021 that helped struggling families across the country, and it might return, maybe, if a new bipartisan proposal comes to life. For many families, this will provide some much-needed financial assistance. Here’s what parents need to know.

The proposal is a joint Democrat and Republican effort (yes, you heard that right ) to help lower-income families, but it also includes support for businesses. At press time the bill was passed by the US House of Representetives. The next step would be for the Senate to pass the bill. If it goes into law, it would revive the child tax credit from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, according to The Economic Times.

Here are some highlights of the plan, which is called the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, according to a press release from the U.S. Senate:

• Supports working families with an enhanced child tax credit

• Expands innovation and competitiveness with economic policies like research and development expensing

• Rebuild communities struck by disasters with tax relief

• Enhances the low-income housing tax credit

• Eliminates fraud and waste by ending the Employee Retention Tax Credit program

“American families will benefit from this bipartisan agreement that provides greater tax relief, strengthens Main Street businesses, boosts our competitiveness with China, and creates jobs,” Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith, (R-MO), said. “We even provide disaster relief and cut red tape for small businesses, while ending a COVID-era program that’s costing taxpayers billions in fraud.”

How will it help families?

The proposed tax credit most likely won’t be exactly like the original. But there are elements to the plan that will help lowerincome families.

First, the deal would expand access to child tax credit. There would be phased increases to the refundable portion of the child tax credit for 2023, 2024 and 2025. There would be no penalties for larger families (thus ensuring the credit phase-in is applied fairly to families with multiple children).

Under current law, the maximum refundable child tax credit is limited to

$1,600 per child for 2023. This proposed deal would increase the maximum refundable amount per child to $1,800 in tax year 2023, $1,900 in tax year 2024, and $2,000 in tax year 2025.

The plan also details that there would be flexibility for taxpayers. They could use either current or prior-year income to calculate the child tax credit in 2024 or 2025.

The credit would also be adjusted for inflation starting in 2024.

“Sixteen million kids from low-income families will be better off as a result of this plan, and given today’s miserable political climate, it’s a big deal to have this opportunity to pass pro-family policy that helps so many kids get ahead,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), said.

For more information, visit senate finance website, which provides technical information about the plan.

A dditional reporting by Donna DuarteLadd

14 | March 2024
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Raising Jewish Kids

My son’s name, “Ness,” means “miracle.” He’s six and a half. His existence, like that of many Jews alive today, is miraculous. And I know that sounds like hyperbole. But when you look at my family line, it’s clear.

My maternal grandparents survived the Holocaust. How? I’ll never know. Their stories of survival, having each lost their mothers to the war, was something they kept inside their entire lives.. In the nearly 100 years of each of their lives, they couldn’t ever utter their own stories. My father is a Yom Kippur War veteran who lost his best friends and first cousin fighting for Israel. He narrowly survived. When I say my life and my children’s lives are miracles, I mean it. The other miracle is that my son is steadfast in his Judaism, even though I often waver.

Ness is proud of his name. And his Judaism. He’s proud of his Sabba, my father, who speaks English with a thick Israeli accent. He is proud to celebrate Chanuka instead of Christmas. He has always been that way. He never seemed to struggle with

religion the way I did and the way I still do today. (A very Jewish thing indeed. The very name “Israel” means to struggle with God.) I wish I had his conviction.

As a toddler, my son used to play with a small Israeli flag. Waving it and dancing. I don’t know where he got it, but it was his favorite toy. In May 2021, amidst ongoing fighting between Gaza and Israel, he sweetly tried to bring it into his Montessori preschool. I didn’t realize it before but when the pink-haired school teacher opened the door to greet us, I panicked. A week earlier this teacher felt like my people — progressive, liberal, wildly creative. And now, with the rise of blatant antisemitism on my beloved Left, this pink-haired young teacher could be someone who hates me, a Jewish woman of Israeli descent. So, I ripped the flag out of his little hand. He cried, and I joked, “the Jewish people have been through worse!” I was afraid for him, my then four-year-old.

At the time, during this flare-up in Israel, I was seeing on social media (where I do much of my work) what the world really thought of us: “colonizers,” “baby killers,” “evil Zionists,” etc., etc. etc. I just didn’t want

my little boy associated with any of that. How would they treat him in school if they believed his family to be the absolute worst of society?

That year, we went to the craft store Michael’s to get art supplies. They had a Star of David Wreath, and Ness begged me to buy it. I did. His enthusiasm was so cute! But when he asked me to put it up on the front door of our apartment, I drew the line. I had to do this for our safety.

Nessy’s affinity for Judaism, Hebrew, and Israel has remained strong even when my own faith has wavered. In fact, his Hebrew school teacher confided in me, saying we may have a Rabbi on our hands. I think he may be right. The boy’s got charm and an understanding of life like he’s been here before. But most of all, he has Jewish Pride.

I picked him up from school the other day. He goes to public school now. He pointed to a painting he made in class. A Chanukia (8 candles and the Shamash) with four Stars of David in the background. I asked him why he made it. “Because we’re Jewish!” he said as two assistant teachers passed wearing Kafiyas. The naches (a Yiddish word that means a special brand of heart-clenching Jewish pride and joy). And slight panic. I was raised on the stories of the Holocaust. I knew all about Chanoch, my father’s 19-year-old cousin who

16 | March 2024

died in his arms in the Yom Kippur War. The television stayed on for weeks when Rabin was assassinated. There is enough Jewish trauma to last lifetimes. I know that Ness will find this out for himself in time. And when he does, it will be a shock either way, won’t it? I’m 39 years old and I still can’t wrap my head around antisemitism. It just doesn’t make sense, despite the fact that I know very well that it exists. There are parents, I know, who tell their kids early and often that people don’t like Jews. And they are so smart, and I envy their ease in that conversation. But for me, I’ll wait to break the news, which I know could take his innocence from him. For now, Ness is working on his foundation. His core. He is rooted in the love of his culture, and I’m just not ready to rip the flag out of his hand again.

One practical bit of advice I can relay is that I don’t allow Ness to wear his Star of David necklace anymore. The one my dad gave him. Or the necklace with his name in Hebrew. I’m not with him all day, so I can’t protect him from the crazies. And I haven’t told him why. I know some parenting experts

I’ll let him know that his love and pride, and joy in being Jewish is the important thing.

might scoff at that but I’m not regulated enough around this issue to convey a sense of calm and safety. When I do I’ll let him know that antisemitism is a “them” problem. A sickness, like any deep-seated hate, that is not his riddle to solve. I’ll let him know that his love and pride, and joy in being Jewish is the important thing. And that he has in spades.

In the Vedas, the ancient Indian texts, I learned about something called “valid inquiry.” The teaching suggests not sharing precious knowledge until an individual expresses “valid inquiry,” meaning they’re ready, willing, and able to receive the download. In the case of antisemitism and my young children, I’d add, “is it necessary?” When they see cop cars outside of the synagogue, do they ask questions about our

safety? No. We live in New York City. Cop cars don’t phase them. Ok. Well, what if they see antisemitic graffiti, and I’m visibly upset? Well then, perhaps it’s time to have an ageappropriate chat.

For the non-Jewish reader: first, thank you for your care in reading. You may not know the cellular feeling of having been hunted down like prey for thousands of years. Likely you do not. I do though. It isn’t present for me all the time. It turns on when I hear Hamas leaders tell the world of their mission to rid the world of Jews. And it’ll turn on for my kids when they learn of the Holocaust in their fifth-grade public school class. This is how epigenetics work. Epigenetics is the study of inherited trauma as well as inherited resilience. So I have a few years to marinate in the joys of Judaism with Ness. And since I know he is with safe adults at all times at school or camp, I’ll let him be blissfully ignorant. So that his brain and body can feel as safe in the world as humanly possible. That, I believe, will set him up for success in life. Not the awareness of threat but the solid sense of safety.

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March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 17

20 Lessons from Camp We Use Every Day

If you’ve ever been a camper, counselor, worked at a camp, or knew someone who did, you know there’s something special about the anticipation of summer camp. Many live 10 months for two, waiting for the minute they can fling off their school backpacks and run full speed ahead toward their summer home. Sleepaway evenings are spent around a campfire. Day camp afternoons are filled with special activities and snack-time galore. There’s canteen and cabin nights, swimming and sports competitions, whimsical adventure and waterfront fun.

Ask those of us who went to camp (no matter how long ago it was) and you’ll find smiles, friendships cultivated, and words to songs that we can sing at a moment’s notice. We can tell you about our beloved counselors, reminisce about a shared past, and recall our fondest camp memories. We went to camp, our lives have been enriched, and we want others to share the same experience. There’s wisdom in summer camp and it seems that it’s not until we leave that we realize the weight of so many of its gifts.

Today, there are lessons from camp I use every day. There were, of course, the tangible lessons, such as learning to swim and clearing your plate from the table, but the most important lessons may be the ones you can’t see.

Be the Change

Spending time with people from different places provides a time to share stories and hear various ways of life. At camp, kids learn that if there is an unfair practice somewhere (whether it’s how the captains for a team are picked or that a friend might struggle with a difficult home life), the way to make a difference is to listen, get involved, and act with a kind heart.

Have Patience

In my Counselor-In-Training program, we did many activities that continue to apply to life

today. One was an exercise in giving directions. While some had to write directions, others had to draw a map. It showed us how people view things, learn, and deliver information differently.

Include and Value People

Whether it’s day or sleepaway, camp showcases fun and inclusivity for all. Regardless of the activity or role, kids quickly learn there is a vital place for everyone. There are the experts at storytelling, acting, geocaching, swimming, arts and crafts, sports, and ropes courses, and others who are able to have their firsts in these experiences. There are cooks and maintenance workers, nurses and swim staff, directors and CITs, bus drivers and office staff, and campers and counselors from every walk of life—and everyone plays a vital role in making camp the special space it is. Knowing she is valued and that she matters is something your child takes with her when the camp gates close at the end of the summer.

Embrace Diversity and Don’t Judge

At camp, I met counselors from Camp

America (a camp counselor exchange program) whose accents and histories were different from mine. My friends and fellow campers all had different religions and came from varying socio-economic backgrounds. Whether listening to stories around the fire or having snack time chats with counselors, the message gets across: Each upbringing is different and each struggle or triumph should be valued equally.

Laugh, Sing, Dance, and Dream

Whether he’s laughing at a friend’s story, finding his feet in a new choreographed move, working his lungs in the talent show, or staring at the lake dreaming of what’s to come, camp offers your child the magic of creativity, wonder, and imagination. With much needed downtime away from the stressors of school and the pull of screens, parts of the brain awaken that foster the artist and dreamer in him.

Cultivate Independence

Camp helps kids find themselves. She’s away from home, but cared for, fed, and provided

18 | March 2024
March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 19 121 6th Ave, New York, NY 10013 • 212-453-0295 Charter high SChool

with a safe space. Little by little, she takes her first steps at independence. With each summer, the scary becomes less so and her confidence builds. Cultivating your child’s independence in a safe environment at an early age leads to strong personal development and continued growth.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Whatever it was that seems different, terrifying, or impossible is achievable at camp. I learned to swim at camp and later became a lifeguard and aquatics director. I was petrified of spiders and have subsequently gone bush camping in subSaharan Africa and the Australian Outback. Leaving home for camp was difficult the first time, but it made going away to college that much easier. He’ll learn that although experiences may be filled with nervous anticipation at the start, what he gets when he reaches the other side of that fear is priceless.

Be True to Yourself

My three closest friends (from camp) and I are each incredibly different. In our youth, we were an equitation lover, a farm fanatic, a waterfront fiend, and a fan of arts and crafts, and we rarely chose the same activities. There were four different religious beliefs, four different hometowns, varied socio-economic backgrounds, unique style senses, each with a different conglomeration of immediate family, and yet, 30 years later we’re still on each other’s speed dials.

The Simple Things Matter Most of All

Camp is ghost stories and campfires, beach days and arts and crafts, free swim and nature hikes and sea glass hunting and searching for shooting stars. Without the need for high tech screens, the camp experience reminds kids that it’s the simple things that matter most.

Treat Others How You’d Like to Be Treated

At camp, as in life, kindness matters. Campers learn lessons of working as a team, sharing kindness, and trying to lift others up on a regular basis. The overall message of treating others as you’d like to be treated flows through the day’s activities from cabin chores to sharing the last bits of chocolate for a s’more.

Take Time Out for Yourself

Day camps have snack time and many sleep-

away camps have canteen or time to relax, recuperate, and rejuvenate. This translates years later to a community of people who know they need to listen to their bodies, take a break at times, and care for themselves.

Believe in Yourself

Staff members believe in campers and often propel them to believe in themselves. Knowing someone believes in him at a young age stays with a child—it’s what he will grab onto as an adult when things get tough. People believing in you so fiercely makes you believe in yourself.

Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

I learned to silkscreen, went on my first hike, took my first horseback ride, and took a fearful plunge off of a 10-foot boulder into open water—all for my first time at camp. Knowing there is always someone there to encourage her to take the plunge, hold her hand, and catch her if she falls (literally and figuratively) makes the anticipation of trying new things easier. Later in life, being scared but plunging ahead anyway takes many different forms. Whether it’s starting a new school, a first job, learning to drive, or going away to college, those lessons from camp stay with her—always.

We All Have Talents

He might be the best at finding bugs along the nature trail. She might love to build things, create stories, or solve problems. He might be the best listener, give the best hugs, or love to help others find their smile. Camp provides outlets for all to find their talents, embrace them, and continue to thrive.

Life Is What You Make of It

Sometimes at camp it rains for a week straight. Here she learns she can be miserable, sulk in her cabin, and be negative about the weather. Or she can learn to dance in the rain, find the joy of splashing in puddles and playing in the mud, and listen to the soothing sounds of the water as it hits the leaves. Life is what you make of it—be mindful, turn the negatives into positives, and always leave the place you’re in a little better than how you found it.

Show Compassion and Learn Empathy

At camp, I met people who were different from me, which helped shape my perspective of the world and my place in it. For two weeks each summer there were kids living in foster

care in New York City who came to camp. For many, it was their first time to see a large body of water or to work on a farm. For those two weeks we all had a fabulous time at camp—just like any other two-week session. Camp allowed relationships to grow, people’s stories were shared, and we learned that people most certainly do change people.

Share What You Have

I’ve officially been borrowing my best friend’s clothes since the age of 12. Flip flops made their rounds and whatever sweatshirt one could grab in the morning became yours for the day. We shared hair dryers, stories, canteen money, visiting day treats, memories, and experiences. Sometimes sharing meant your bed when a friend had a nightmare. Sometimes sharing meant your family when someone else’s wasn’t around. Sometimes sharing meant your experiences to put someone else at ease. Camp showcases that sharing is necessary, teaching us to build bridges, not walls.

Always Try Your Best

The only failure at camp is in not trying. Putting your best foot forward, jumping in, and trying your best is one of the hallmarks of camp. New campers learn there is no harm in coming in second, not getting the lead in the camp skit, or missing the goal. This lesson transfers through the decades, keeping camp’s positive attitude afloat in all of us.

Nature is Good for You

Whether it’s sleepaway camp or day camp, each day kids return to their cabins or homes dirty and tired after an energetic day. Inspired by nature’s ability to flip a mind switch, lower blood pressure, and change our perspective, kids who go to camp turn into adults who appreciate the magic of nature.

Relationships Matter

Friendships forged at sleepaway camp are some of the best I know. Camp teaches kids to meet new people and get to know one another. Counselors from 20 years ago continued to be my mentors for years after camp, and today we share travel advice and are willing to meet up all over the world. My best friends from camp have been a part of my story for more than 30 years. We’ve been there for the happy and the sad, both around the corner and across the globe. Today we may utilize social media and technology to communicate, but these friendships stand the test of time.

20 | March 2024

Technology’s Child: Empowered Parenting in the Digital Age

Katie Davis, Ph.D.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024, 4 pm

Parenting SOS: Expert Answers to Your Burning Questions

Dr. Laura Kastner

Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 4pm


March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 21 Register for FREE at FREE Parenting Webinars Sign up now!

Cardinal Spellman High School

1 Cardinal Spellman Place 718-881-8000 X206 Admissions@cardinalspellman. org

Cardinal Spellman High School does not rest during the summer months! They offer a variety of programs to engage students and give them a boost over the summer. Offering programs from academic enrichment, TACHS preparation, theater, speech and debate, and band programs, as well as various athletic programs. All are held on their state-of-the-art 13-acre campus in the Bronx! For more details on these opportunities please visit cardinalspellman. org/summer.

Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning Summer Camp

1720 Crotona Avenue 718-247-7420

The Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning offers a full range of Summer Camp activities for junior players ages 5-18. All levels are wel-

come from beginners in the development level program to advanced players in the highperformance level program. Campers spend the day keeping active on court, making new tennis friends, and having a blast! Led by a world-class team of coaches, the Cary Leeds Center is the place for you this summer.

Hudson Country Montessori Summer Camp

340 Quaker Ridge Rd., New Rochelle 914-636-6202

Hudson Country’s camp is an eight- week program (June 24 -August 16) for ages 18 months – 12 years. With themed weekly schedules, campers engage in indoor/outdoor activities while learning and having fun. Activities include daily swim instruction (on-premise pool), sports, hands-on science, technology, art, field trips, music, dance and more. Flexible scheduling, full & half-day sessions and extended hours 7:30am-6:00pm available

Mosholu Day Camp

261 Arden Valley Rd., Southfields


For 80 years, Mosholu Day Camp has been providing affordable quality camping to children ages 5-15 from all over the area. Sitting on beautiful Lake Cohasset at Harriman State Park, they offer children a place to develop, experience, and enjoy nature, while taking part in unforgettable summer activities like swimming, boating, sports, music, arts, and everything else you’d come to expect from an awesome summer day camp! Buses with A/C, full 8-week summer, multi-week options.

New Settlement Community Center

1501 Jerome Avenue


The New Settlement Community Center is offering a range of programming this upcoming Spring and Summer, including Water Aerobics, Mixed Martial Arts, Swimming, and more. All classes are either low-cost

or free and serve community members 6-month-old to seniors. The Spring program registration starts April 2nd. Summer program registration starts July 1st. Mention promo code MarchFM for 10% off classes and annual memberships. Offer valid between 3/1/2024-4/30/2024 and cannot be combined with any other discount.

YMCA of Greater New York Summer Day Camps

20+ Locations Across All 5 Boroughs in NYC 212-630-9720

100+ Camps. 20+ Locations. 100+ Years of Camp Magic. Best. Summer. Ever. The YMCA of Greater NY is gearing up to help kids create lifelong memories and friendships at Summer Camp in 2024! Through the Y’s day camps and specialty camps in all five boroughs, families can trust the Y to give their kids a fun, enriching, high-quality camp experience this summer — out of the house and learning new skills. Register today and save!

22 | March 2024 CAMP DIRECTORY | Special Advertising Supplement
March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 23 Mosholu Day Camp/MMCC Located at Lake Cohasset in Harriman State Park 261 Arden Valley Road, Southfields, NY 10975 CALL 845.243.0751 VISIT EMAIL MAKE MEMORIES! SUMMER 2024 JULY 1-AUG 22 8 WEEKS OF FUN! WEEKLY OPTIONS AVAILABLE! An Amazing Camp Experience! Swimming, boating, sports, music, arts, and everything else you’d come to expect from an awesome summer day camp! What will be YOUR summer adventure?

The Advantages of Charter Schools

Asignificant advantage of living in New York is that we have fantastic school resources. One education choice for New York students that continues to grow is Charter Schools. What is a Charter school, and how do they work?

What is a Charter School?

Charter schools are independently-operated public schools accountable for advancing student achievement. This combination of freedom and accountability allows charter teachers to adapt their classrooms based on their students’ needs while pushing for high academic achievement.

New York City’s 274 charter schools are independent of the New York City Department of Education, but they can be closed if they don’t meet certain student achievement standards.

Charter schools offer students opportunities for academic success that are an excellant education source for children.

NYC Charter School Specialized Programs

Prospective Charter school parents can find programs that are specialized for students. Among them, 51 schools have enforced programs specifically designed for students with Autism or have a student body where more than 25% of students have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for Special Education.

And while public and private take the lead in dual language immersion programs Charter schools are starting to add thse programs to ther schools. Currently there are 9 schools that boast dual language programs. The same goes for adding more Pre-k classes to Charter Schools , currently there are a a total of 34 charter schools with pre-K programs.

NYC Charters Do Not Succeed at the Expense of District Schools

A common myth is that as New York’s charter schools succeed, the city’s traditional public schools fail as a result. A 2018 study by the Manhattan Institute concluded that “compe-

tition from New York City charter schools has either no effect or a positive effect,” on the city’s traditional public schools.

In fact, district schools have improved significantly as charter schools have spread throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Funding for district schools has also increased as the student population at charter schools has increased over the years.

Charter Schools are Specialized, with No Tuition Costs

Charter teachers adapt their classrooms and teaching methods to the current needs of their students. This freedom in the curriculum, teaching style, school missions and policies resembles that of private schools, enabling charter schools to provide the very best approach to academics that fits their students. Though teachers have flexibility, charter schools are held accountable for high academic achievement levels.

Charter School is a Lottery System

New York City’s charter schools admit students through a lottery system; they cannot select their students. This process gives students from all backgrounds and education levels an equal opportunity to attend and achieve academic success at charter schools.

Charter Students have had Access to Great Schooling. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York, charter schools

across the five boroughs immediately transitioned to remote learning that adapted to the students in each classrooms’ needs.

75% of New York’s charter schools had created a remote learning procedure before the March 2020 lockdown. Charter students only had to wait an average of three days to begin remote learning after in-person learning was closed.

Both charter students and teachers had the tools to continue learning and teaching from home. 80% of New York charter schools provided students with devices for remote learning before schools were closed and 98% of New York’s charter school teachers had the technology to conduct remote instruction.

Charter schools have been able to keep students accountable and maintain a high level of learning despite COVID-19 and its ramifications on education. 85% of New York’s charter schools continued to introduce new learning content to students through the pandemic and charter schools were three times more likely to take attendance during remote classes compared to traditional schools.

Charter schools also expanded nonacademic programs such as social-emotional counseling and family outreach during the pandemic. 75% of charter teachers increased their office hours during remote learning and 91% of charter teachers increased their time spent on communication with families during the pandemic.

24 | March 2024


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Bucket List Spring in NYC

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

1. Stroll through the New York Botanical Garden’s outdoor grounds and collections, including the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. On Wednesdays, there is *Free* admission all day for NY residents -nonresidents can obtain gratis admission from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (on Wednesdays.)

2. Head to Goshen, NY, and enjoy the Spring season of Legoland New York, a Certified Autism Center since last year.

3. Head to Long Island City MoMA PS1’s where you’ll find exhibitions, performances, events, and more. Admission is FREE for all New York residents. For visitors: $10 for adults, FREE for kids 16 and younger, and $5 for seniors and students.

4. Enjoy exhibitions, immersive experiences, and more at the new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation- part of the American Museum of Natural History and part of your admission. Some exhibitions cost extrawe recommend reserving tickets in advance.

5. Speaking of AMNH, swing by The Secret World of Elephants exhibit! It’s all about the different elephant species and their relatives, and they tell their whole story with life-size models, videos, graphics, and a bunch of other cool stuff

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

7. Travel to The Met Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park with a gorgeous view of the Hudson River. You’ll be captivated by medieval art, renaissance Europe, and more at this beautiful museum.

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

9. If looking for stunning NYC views -the Edge NYC has the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. Located at Hudson Yards, make time to shop around or eat some delicious foods before or after you get your panoramic views in

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

11. Climb the giant sturgeons at the Pier 26 Science Playground, a brand new 4,000-square-foot marine science-focused play area in Hudson River Park.

12. Rainy afternoon? Stop by one of NYC’s cat cafes to meet some friendly felines while you wait for the clouds to pass. Popular spots include The Meow Parlor on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the Brooklyn Cat Cafe near Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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

14. Head to Coney Island for a wild day! See live sharks at the New York Aquarium and stop to

26 | March 2024
family fun

ride the Cyclone on your way home.

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

16. Travel to the islands! And by “islands,” we mean Roosevelt Island, Governors Island, and Little Island. Have a barbeque at Lighthouse Park on Roosevelt Island, visit The Yard for unique unstructured play on Governors Island, and see the flowers in bloom on Little Island.

16. Go for a stroll on Gansevoort Peninsula, Manhattan’s very first public beachfront! The largest standalone recreational space in Hudson River Park just opened in October 2023, so New Yorkers will finally have the opportunity to explore it this spring.

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

18. Catch a ballgame! The Mets home opener is set for March 28, and the first home game for the Yankees is April 5. Minor league games are easier on the wallet; the Brooklyn Cyclones’ and the Staten Island FerryHawks’ also start the season in April.

19. Enjoy one of the unique carousels in New York of fiberglass fish illuminated with colorchanging LED light fixtures. The SeaGlass carousel is at the Battery Conservancy, located at the park’s southern end.

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

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

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

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

24. Plan a staycation at the TWA Hotel, whether you grab something to eat before or after a flight or stay a night or a few; this hotel is truly a New York adventure perfect for families.

25. Visit the TheSeaport NYC and spend the day at The Imagination Playground New York City Police Museum, hop on a NY Water Taxi, pack a picnic, and head over to Governor’s Island; the list is endless on all there is to do at this fun spot.


Our multi-age classrooms develop social and leadership skills and prepare students to achieve academic excellence. Our students learn to read and write at their own pace, discover science and geography and gain a mastery of math concepts beyond their years and level.



March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 27

Family-Friendly Guide to B e l i z e

NYC is covered in a blanket of snow as I type this, and I can’t believe it was only a month ago I was in a Caribbean paradise.

If all of my vacations consisted of sipping cocktails and working on my tan somewhere beachy and sunny, I’d be happy as a clam. But I have kids, so those vacations are few and far between. As much as I love a relaxing Caribbean Island vacay (like my time in Aruba and in St Lucia), there’s more than just beaches to explore in Belize – although there are plenty of those too.

When I book family trips, I’m looking for adventurous and exciting activities that will ensure the words “I’m bored” never cross the lips of my easily-distracted children, while still offering some much-needed downtime for tired parents.

The awesome thing about Belize is that it can do both! Relax by the most crystalline seawater you’ve ever seen one day, then grab a snorkel and explore the extensive barrier reefs below the surface the next. Navigate rocky terrain on a rugged rainforest walk, then immerse yourself in the tranquility of flowing waterfalls at the culmination of your hike. Unlike some of my Caribbean vacations, Belize offers a healthy mix of Island-style living and eco-friendly lodge life.

The Central American country – which geographically-challenged folks like myself didn’t realize is NOT an island nation – is bordered by Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea. On one side lies white sands and turquoise waters; on the other you’ll find tropical rainforests and jungles laden with wildlife. An average annual temperature of 84°F, rarely falling below 60°F, allows for outdoor adventures all year round.

Many Belizeans are descendants of immigrants, making the country a melting pot of cultures and nationalities. Their mixed ancestry is reflected in everything from the variety of food you eat to the friendliness of the people you meet. The country’s population is a mere 400,000, and boasts

a unique blend of Maya, Mestizo, Kriol (Belizean Creole), Garifuna, East Indian, Mennonite, Arab and Chinese people.

I spent six unforgettable days in Belize and each one was a new experience filled with incredible adventures. I zipped from one side of the country to the other, encountering a variety of cultures and people, and enjoying new escapades with each arguably different but decidedly amazing day.

Where to Stay in Belize

Belize has hotels for every budget. There are some absolutely stunning hotels that are more affordable than you might think, ones that offer up the kind of luxury you might be craving after an exhausting day of outdoor activities.

I obviously didn’t stay at all of them – if only I had the time! - but I can personally recommend these, all of which come highly regarded by the Belize Tourism Board. Each property is equipped with welcoming staff, jaw-dropping views, and upscale rooms that are spacious, modern and brimming with amenities.

These hotels are all great for families, but each one would also make for an unforgettable couples getaway, honeymoon or anniversary celebration.

Best Hotels for Families in Belize

Almond Beach Resort is one of the most family-friendly options, with its private beachfront casitas and large family suites, and close proximity to activities. As an extension of the beautiful Jaguar Reef Lodge, a member of the prestigious Belize Collection, guests have access to additional luxuries. Like my kids, they’re big on barefoot living; when you’re that close to the shore, there’s no need for shoes anyway!

A stay at Hidden Valley Inn Wilderness Lodge is a unique experience you likely won’t find anywhere else in Belize. The luxurious eco-resort sits on 7200 acres of private forest reserve, offering breathtaking panoramic views of nature and boasting over 90 miles

of hiking and biking trails - including kid-friendly ones. There are friendly and knowledgeable guides to lead you on your explorations of the property, or to come find you if you take a wrong turn somewhere.

The San Ignacio Resort is centrally situated on a 17-acre private estate and just five minutes away from the cultural hub of San Ignacio Town. The 27-room resort features an on-site tour company to help with booking all of your family’s adventures, along with the top family-friendly activity in town, the Green Iguana Conservation Project (more on that later).

Ray Caye Private Island Resort is just what the name indicates: a private island. In fact, their tagline is “Imagine the Caribbean before it got crowded.” With nearly a mile of private shoreline and a limited number of guests at any time, this resort offers the Island experience without any interruptions. Plus, you couldn’t get better views if you were actually IN the ocean.

In keeping with the privacy theme, Naia Resort is nestled within a private 200-acre

28 | March 2024

reserve on the Placencia Peninsula and features peaceful, secluded beach houses that are literally steps from the Caribbean. Placencia is easily one of the most beautiful spots in Belize.

Things to Do in Belize

As much as I thoroughly enjoyed each hotel I checked into throughout my trip, I was too tired to do more than rest my head at the end of each day. If you’re planning out your activity calendar for your trip, here are some of the most exciting things to do in Belize –with or without kids!

The Belize Barrier Reef

At 185 miles long - spanning the entire length of the country, The Belize Barrier Reef is the second-largest barrier reef in the world and has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The ecosystems it helps sustain create many of the nation’s most beautiful sights.

For scuba divers, Belize is a bucket list destination. But you can explore the

underwater beauty of Belize with just a snorkel! There are hundreds of snorkeling spots along the Belize Barrier Reef. Just a quick peek below the surface reveals a flurry of vibrant colors and activity, where you’ll find hard and soft corals, sponges, and over 500 species of fish and marine life.

You don’t have to be a pro at snorkeling to enjoy these views, either; there are guides for every level, even beginners. Life vests are always available and excursions begin right at the shoreline.

I highly recommend booking a guided Island Hopping tour so you can spend a whole day exploring Belize’s lively and breathtakingly beautiful undersea world from several stunning locations along the coast. Prepare to be exhausted afterward, but it’ll be worth it – I promise!

The Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole is exactly what its name implies: a great blue hole. But this is no regular hole. Located approximately 43 miles off the coast of Belize City in Lighthouse

Reef, this circular marvel spans nearly 1,000 feet wide and over 400 feet deep. Its deep blue color is a stark contrast to the shallow corals and crystalline water surrounding it.

Essentially, the Great Blue Hole is a giant sinkhole that was formed thousands of years ago, when it was still dry land, eventually covered by the Caribbean Sea and later made famous by Jacques Cousteaou himself. It is the largest geological formation of its kind in the world. Experienced divers travel from all over to explore its mysterious vertical depths.

This is a must-see, one-of-a-kind experience, so come prepared with something to keep kids occupied so you don’t miss any of it. It might take your breath away but your kids are likely to be less wowed (think: mom why are we flying over a random circle in the middle of the ocean?). Plus, you have to board a small plane to view it, so kids (who aren’t fascinated by planes) might find it all a little anticlimactic.

Ancient Mayan Ruins

Archaeologists believe that Belize was at one

March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 29

time the center of the ancient Maya world. It is often referred to as the “Heart of the Maya,” boasting the largest number of Maya sites in Central America. Among the most famous are Caracol, Xunantunich, Altun Ha, La Milpa, and Lamanai – all of which are open to the public for exploration.

The largest of the Maya ruins is Caracol, where you can climb the towering ancient temples overlooking the Chiquibul forest reserve. Listen closely for the howler monkeys; I’m still not over that sound!

Before you cross any kind of hiking or site-seeing off your list because your kids will be bored, look into other ways to explore the vast Mayan culture and history in Belize. Families can book guided tubing, canoeing and horseback riding tours through the lush forests, limestone caves, natural pools and stunning waterfalls found at these sites.

I may be a writer, but it’s difficult to accurately explain the magnificence of these places. Just know that I was making my Instagram followers more envious with each picture I shared. Even on a rainy day, the views are unmatched.

Mayan Pottery Making

For a particularly family-friendly retreat, try your hand at pottery making like the Mayans did thousands of years ago. Located in the Cayo District of Western Belize, the San Antonio Women’s Cooperative is a non-profit organization formed by nine Mayan women whose mission is to “support and empower women and youths through preserving culture and traditional arts and crafts.” The group also offers Mayan cooking classes.


For thrill-seekers (or perhaps aerial-view enthusiasts), ziplining in Belize involves soaring freely over rainforests and even unexplored Maya archeological sites.

The Bocawina Rainforest boasts one of the longest ziplines in Central America, with 14 platforms, nine runs – the longest at 2,300 feet – and over two miles of tree time. Of course there are ziplines for those who seek slightly fewer thrills (like children, for example).

Wildlife Protection

Belize is famous for its abundance of tropical wildlife. Jaguars roam the jungles and both natives and visitors alike clamor to catch a glimpse of one; they are more active at night and wouldn’t be likely to go near a human, so sightings are rare but not unheard of. I

wasn’t fortunate enough to spot one, but my tour guide easily coaxed a tarantula from the ground at one point, so I was kind of all set on the wild animal encounters at that point anyway. My teenage son was very jealous he missed meeting my new arachnid buddy.

Marine and wildlife conservation is taken seriously in Belize, where there is a small population of people but a vast wilderness and almost 200 miles of barrier reef along the coastline to protect. Families can learn about these efforts in educational and engaging ways.

The Belize Zoo

The Belize Zoo was started in 1983 to provide a home for a collection of wild animals which had been used in making documentary films about tropical forests. Forty years later, the “backyard zoo” has become a world-renowned wildlife education center where visitors connect with the animals. Visitors can meet furry and feathered friends indigenous to Belize, like tapirs, ocelots, pumas, coatimundis, and harpy eagles.

The Belize Zoo is the first nature destination in Belize that is fully accessible to visitors with physical disabilities.

Green Iguana Conservation Project

Since 1996, the San Ignacio Resort Hotel has been at the forefront of conservation efforts for the threatened Green Iguana. Today, the property offers visitors an exciting, interactive experience to learn how vital these amazing reptiles are to the ecosystem and get a firsthand look at the process of incubation, hatching, rearing, and releasing of the species. You can even “Adopt an Iguana,” with proceeds providing scholarships for local children. This exhibit is a popular one for kids!


Belize is home to over 500 avian species, including some that are rarely found elsewhere. In an effort to develop the bird tourism market, which helps to protect endangered species like Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Yellow-headed Amazon, the Belize Audubon Society has trained over 50 locals to be bird guides in areas with critical forest habitats. They offer sample birding itineraries or you can book a guided excursion with a tour company.

The Keel Billed Toucan is the national bird of Belize. If you keep your eyes peeled and a pair of binoculars handy, you’re likely to spot one of these bright yellow-billed birds during your trip. I did!

The Food

Belize’s unique blend of ethnicities and cultures is highly reflected in its food scene. You’ll find a mixture of what might seem like Caribbean, Mexican and African inspired eats on your dining adventures; more accurately, Belizean fare is a blend of Creole, Garifuna, Maya, Mestizo, East Indian and British cuisine.

You’ll be served rice and beans on the side of most dishes, though it will be made differently depending on the cultural influence. You’ll also find a bottle of Marie Sharp’s on every table; the famous habanero sauce is made and manufactured from farm to factory all in Belize! Trust me, it’s good stuff. I snagged a few bottles at the airport before I left.

Food Tours

What you won’t find in Belize is any fast food. There are no American franchises in Belize, so the kids are going to have to find something beside chicken nuggets on the menu. My suggestion? Satisfy those cravings with some of Belize’s delicious street food.

I indulged in an afternoon walking food tour of San Ignacio, Western Belize’s eco-tourism hub where small restaurants and street vendors serve up traditional tasty eats. I sampled salbutes, garnaches, panades, fresh ceviche, meat pies, fry jacks – which you’ll also find on most breakfast and dessert menus – and even some high-quality domestic rum made from locally sourced sugar cane.

Fine, I admit it. I rode a golf cart. Who could walk after all that eating?

30 | March 2024

Another thing you won’t find much of is dairy in Belize. As someone who lives and dies by my cream-filled morning coffee, I wasn’t thrilled about that. Not the end of the world, but also not the best start to my morning. Just a heads up for my fellow java heads!

Chocolate Making

The ancient Mayans believed chocolate to be a gift from the gods and were known to consume it often and in a variety of ways. A large amount of cocoa is produced in Belize today, and some even refer to the nation as the “Cradle of Chocolate.”

This is why interactive chocolate-making tours are a popular tourist activity in Belize today. Visitors participate in the process of making hot chocolate, from cacao to cup, then indulge in the sweet fruits – or beans – of their labor.

Know Before You Go to Belize

Here’s a few things to consider when booking a trip to Belize.

Traveling to and Getting Around Belize

Connections are only fun when you’re dating. Thankfully, you can easily catch a direct flight from NYC to Belize. When you’re traveling with kids, in particular, direct flights are a must. For those of you who love JetBlue as much as I do (oh hello, extra leg room and free wifi!), you can now fly directly from NYC to Belize (JFK to BZE). In fact, I was proud to be aboard JetBlue’s very first flight to Belize!

From BZE, connections can be made to various destinations within Belize, including

Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, Corozal, Dangriga, Big Creek, Placencia, San Ignacio, Corozal and Punta Gorda.

In order to enjoy everything this beautiful country has to offer, you’ll need to explore different parts of it. This means you will probably be taking at least one or two domestic flights, which are typically single engine planes that can hold up to 14 passengers.

If you’re the motion sickness type, sit as close to the front as possible. The same goes with any excursion you’ll be driven to via car, as the roads in parts of Belize are not fully developed and make for a bumpy ride.

In certain areas, particularly the city, you’ll see more golf carts than cars. It’s easy to hail a golf cart to get to your destination –and it seems both residents and tourists travel via golf carts regularly.

Drinking Water

Be cautious about drinking the water in Belize. Like many countries in Central America, tap water may not be safe for consumption due to the potential for contamination. Of course, most hotels will offer guests plenty of bottled water and the tap water is filtered. Many businesses in Belize have rain cisterns for filtering water. I was told it was safe for ice in your drink, teeth-brushing, showering, making coffee, etc. To be safe, check with the staff at your hotel before taking a drink from the tap.


Luckily for those of us who aren’t great at

math, the exchange rate in Belize doesn’t require a calculator. Two Belizean dollars equal one US dollar ($2 BZD = $1 USD) so conversion is as simple as dividing in half. Most places show prices in both USD and BZD.

Most businesses accept US dollars, so you don’t need to change currency upon your arrival. Just be sure to bring some extra cash for tips, souvenirs, snacks, etc. I didn’t come across many ATMs dispensing American money in Belize.


English is the official language of Belize, making it the sole Central American country where English is the primary language spoken. However, the majority of Belizeans regularly communicate in Kriol (Belizean Creole). Other languages spoken include Garifuna, Mandarin, Spanish and Maya.


As you’d likely suspect, Belize’s climate is tropical. Temperatures rarely fall below 60°F during winter months (November to March); in the summer (May to September) they linger around 86°F. Water temperatures are warm enough for swimming year round.

Humidity is consistently around 85 percent, so you can probably leave the hair dryer home. It’ll leave room in the suitcase for all the Marie Sharp’s hot sauce you’re taking home.

The best time of year to visit Belize is during the dry season, between January and May, when there is significantly lower rainfall than the rest of the year. When it does rain, it is usually in mild, short bursts.

June through December is Belize’s wet season, when parts of the country receive up to 150 inches of rain and Caribbean storms usually pass through in late afternoons.

Hurricane season runs from mid-August to late October, and while hurricanes don’t often make landfall in Belize, the damage can be bad when they do. Travel insurance is highly recommended if you’re booking during hurricane season.

Belize’s beaches, jungles and rainforests are rife with insects, particularly pests like sand flies and mosquitoes that leave behind itchy bites. Come prepared with plenty of insect repellent and remember to reapply frequently when outdoors, particularly during the wet season.

For more information about Belize, visit

March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 31

Career Pivots

How to (re) light your fire!

Longing to move but standing in place, I see you. At the crossroads of the wrong direction and the one you don’t currently know, it is easy to remain right there. If you are stuck in a job that feels like work, wander with me for a moment. I can see the way forward because I have been at this intersection before. In my career journey, I transitioned from stifled lawyer to burnt-out ad woman to passionless pandemic parent to today’s emerging artist and writer because I learned to be brave, talk to people, and try things.

And I am not special. According to Pew Research, 53% of employed U.S. adults who quit their job in 2021 changed their occupation or field of work. In that year,

47 million Americans quit their jobs — an unprecedented mass exit from the workforce sparked by Covid-19. While resignations have slowed since their peak in 2022, the current workforce continues to demand work-life balance and fulfillment from employment. As companies grapple with incentivizing employees to return to the office five days per week, the work-from-home lifestyle gives colleagues the freedom to grow side hustles into self-supporting businesses. It is easier for hustlers with a clear passion point and target market to cut the cord from corporate America. However, for many, the nagging desire for change is the only identifiable message from the voice of intuition. Without a clear destination, we linger.

Trapped in the wrong direction? Be bold and ask for help

Connecting to people with jobs I admired

helped me to understand my options and how to get there. In my current exploration, one such advisor is Dara Astmann. A Westchester-based career coach, Astmann helps clients from around the country evaluate what works best for their families while discovering their own fulfillment needs. Astmann understands because her career story is a lesson in navigating the circuitous route of a modern career. After 20+ years in advertising media and sales at Viacom (now ParamountGlobal), Astmann made a slow and deliberate shift to coaching to embrace her excitement for helping friends and colleagues navigate career shifts.

For clients who long to make a big leap, lead with realism

“Many clients think they need to leave immediately, but it helps to find your way when you are still at your job.” Astmann

32 | March 2024

encourages clients to work with their companies to create what they desire, helping them position themselves for part-time or job-sharing roles as they transition to what comes next. In Astmann’s experience, clients sometimes think they want a big change, but “after learning how to ask for the flexibility they need, they realize they don’t need a huge change to feel satisfied.” Not everyone needs to make a career pivot.

Still longing for an identity shift?

Take baby steps

In my own career and Astmann’s, success is the sum of the small steps you take every day. As Astmann puts it, “The point is not to pick a path, but to identify potential paths.” She advises clients to “take one step forward to learn more about each option.” Talk to someone. Research online. Take free classes. Call it a project or an experiment. It will feel a little bit less scary.

Surrender to the story as it unfolds

For writer and marketing consultant Serena Norr, career development comes with hustle

“Many clients think they need to leave immediately, but it helps to find your way when you are still at your job.”

and flow. As a college student in the early 2000s, Norr’s interests oscillated from writing to acting to elementary education. Her first editorial positions at Time Out New York and Playbill prove prescient today while building her reputation as a playwright. In the twenty years between then and now, Norr learned how to hustle, building a freelance writing and marketing career, starting her own soup blog and raising three young girls. Like many career shifters, Covid-19 opened the door to rediscover old dreams. Balancing work, the demands of her young family, and Zoom Theater, Norr churned out inventive plays featuring characters that are equally quirky and deep. Unconnected to the New York

theater scene, Norr carved a name for herself by entering her plays into contests and saying yes to the opportunities that come from it. When asked what her best advice for career shifters is, Norr’s answer is twofold: “1) say yes, and 2) keep all the channels open. Even if you are in your corporate job, keep doing your art. Do it for the joy of it and have blind faith.”

At her suggestion of joy and faith as a guide, I say, “Amen.” In my own nonlinear route from law to writing, I continue onward because of the joy I feel for creative work and my faith that my words might propel even just one person forward in a search for passion and purpose.

To that end, if you feel a stir in your heart that you need a change, acknowledge it. If you feel lost without a sense of excitement or passion, play and experiment. When you find yourself stuck, take one small action that deviates from your usual routine. If you get scared or lose your way, begin again when you feel the call. It is OK to pause or fall on your face–as long as you get back up and keep trying.

March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 33
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Big City Dreams


of 2 and Emmy-Winning reporter Joelle Garguilo, loving New York, small businesses and their stories. Learn about her journey from accountant to entertainment reporter.

Over the course of a week countless DMs were exchanged and many texts were sent between two moms trying to schedule one uninterrupted hour-long conversation. First, there was work to contend with: I was commuting to the city 4 days in a row when I am usually remote, flexibility suddenly out the window. Then there was sickness because, well, kids. Her daughter came down with something first, then the stomach bug that seemed to attack the entire city made its way to my house. Finally, we landed on a Friday night. After kid bedtime. In our sweats. Does this sound familiar? If you’re a parent, I’m going to guess yes. For Joelle Garguilo, Emmy-Award winning and WABC’s new Entertainment Reporter, finding pockets of time that work with her nontraditional schedule is not only par for the course, but something she’s gotten very, very good at. “It’s what moms do best,” she told me. “We just figure out a way.” I don’t know about you but I’ve never heard truer words spoken.

In our conversation Joelle says things I feel deep in my bones as a mom of 2 myself. Things like, “The juggle is real” and “You make it work, however you make it work”, because isn’t that what we’re all doing, all the time? She embraces the chaos and imperfection, and talking to her on that Friday night at the end of a long week was like venting to one of my mom friends. Full disclosure: I’ve known Joelle since before we had kids, before we were married, back when she was still an accountant dreaming of being a broadcast journalist. I watched from the sidelines as she became a mom and then an on-air reporter, and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to ask her simply…How ? How did she do it? How did she know it was the right path for her? And how does she do it all now? This interview was part work, part personal catch-up sesh, but it’s chock full of everything that will make Joelle feel like your mom friend, too.

CP: I want to cover your career change. Because first of all, it’s like going from one end of the spectrum to the total opposite end. And also, having sort of seen it happen, I feel like you willed it into existence. It was just sheer will. So, how did you know working in accounting and finance was not for you? Was there a specific moment you remember where you were like, I gotta get the hell out of here ?

JG: You want to know something? I feel like everybody around me used to tell me…I remember auditing these Fortune 500 companies and some of the CEOs or CFOs would call me and be like, Is this really for you ? And I would do a good job, but they would all say, Really? You want to be an accountant ? I loved numbers. I was great at math as a child. Also, I think growing up, sometimes you want to pursue a career that makes your parents proud, right? So I just always thought with accounting I’d always have a job. And I was great at math. So I majored in accounting, but then I switched my degree, and I actually graduated with a degree in finance and marketing. Then I went back to school to finish my accounting degree. I got a job offer at KPMG then I went to New Line Cinema. And when I was there, I’m telling you, I’m a worker, I am someone who will do the work, do the work, do the work, but I always had this thing in the back of my head where I wanted to pursue a career in TV. Ever since I was little, I would whisper it. I remember the Today Show when I was working in accounting; they did this call out for the next anchor.

CP: I remember.

JG: I did a video submission for it while I was working in accounting. I forget about these things, it’s so funny that you asked that. I always would whisper it and I remember when they were closing the New York office of New Line Cinema my boss took me out to lunch. She said to me, What do you want to do ? I was

getting job offers at other places to do finance. I said, I really want to pursue a career in TV.

CP: How old were you at this point?

JG: Oh my gosh, I was 27.

CP: That’s young in the grand scheme of things, but when you’re…

JG: I had a full-fledged career! I was already established. And up until that point, anybody who I told I want to be on TV said how few people make it. Because also the landscape was very different back then. Nobody had really encouraged it, except my mom encouraged it for sure. But she was the first one who said, I think you should do it and I think you’d be great . So I decided since I got a severance package I’m going to take classes, and I’m going to learn how to do this TV stuff. So I took a class at NYU, I took a program at the New York Film Academy, and I learned everything. You know, the in-frontof-the-camera stuff was always fun and it came naturally to me, but I had no idea how to shoot a camera. I had no idea how to edit. I didn’t know how to produce. And you learned all that in these classes. And I had a great teacher who would become a mentor and a friend. I wound up getting a job interview while I was finishing up school and I had to pick between taking the last part of the CPA exam—I had three parts passed—or going on this job interview to get my start in TV. I went on the job interview and I got the job. And so I started my career, making cell phone videos before people were even using iPhones. I was in first thing in the morning shooting, I would do my regular shift, and then I would stay late and edit. I worked my buns off. And then from there I got noticed. They started taking my packages on this one show, then this other show, then I opened up a New York show, then I did a national show. And honestly it’s been a dream. It’s been a dream ever since.

34 | March 2024

CP: I feel like you’re drawn to stories and to storytelling. And what better place to do that than New York City.

JG: There’s no better place.

CP: Your love of New York is so palpable,

and so is your love of the small businesses that make up the city. How did you first get into the small business beat to begin with?

JG: I have no idea. I cover entertainment, film, TV, Broadway—and also small businesses. I think from just being a New

Yorker, really. Because once you hear these stories, you can’t help but share them. If you have an outlet, social media, or TV, how do you not tell these stories? Some stories are meant to be shared. You never know who needs to hear your story, who might be inspired by your story, even. There’s this vintage shop on 25th Street called TTH Vintage. You go in and you think it’s just a vintage shop, but this particular store serves to help the homeless community. The owner has helped thousands and thousands of homeless women and children in New York City. But if you just walk on by, it’s just a store.

CP: But you stopped, you didn’t just walk on by. I feel like it’s because you stop to talk to people, and you listen.

JG: I don’t know if my girls are old enough to understand it yet, but I’ve had a part in saving a bunch of small businesses and that means a lot to me. I brought them to some of these stores, but I don’t think that they fully grasp it. To them it’s just like, this woman who has a candy shop is giving us free candy. But I think they’ll remember it. I’ll be proud one day when they understand it.

CP: Why do you think small businesses are such an important part of the fabric of the city?

JG: They are the city. Small businesses are the heartbeat of New York City. When you’re walking around Brooklyn, what makes it so charming is that almost every single business is a small business. There’s something about the people, you connect with people on a different level. I feel like New York City would not be the same without them.

CP: So you have these two little girls. What lessons do you hope to have them absorb when it comes to being women?

JG: Well, every morning, we say, I am smart, I am beautiful, and I can accomplish anything I want . I’ve been doing that since G was little. And it’s important. I want them to be confident. I wasn’t a confident kid at all. I’m finding my confidence as a woman. The biggest thing that I want to impart on them is to be kind. I always say good things come to those who hustle and are kind. It’s so much better when we’re lifting each other up.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity, please visit to read the story in its entirety

March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 35
Photo by Yumi Matsuo



The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion

WHEN: Tuesdays – Sundays, 10 am – 5 pm, through April 21.

WHERE: New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Belmont


WHAT: Catch the bold new designs of New York’s rising stars of the stitch at this fashion-inspired celebration of all things orchids.

WANT TO GO?: $15-$35. (718) 817–8700,

National Girls & Women in Sports Day: She’s on Point

WHEN: Saturday, March 2, 12 – 3 pm

WHERE: Kwame Ture Recreation Center, 1527 Jesup Avenue, Highbridge


WHAT: Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Month with fitness programs, sports clinics in soccer, basketball, volleyball, group games, arts and crafts and much more!

WANT TO GO?: Free.

26th Annual Throggs Neck St. Patrick’s Day Parade

WHEN: Sunday, March 10, 12 pm

WHERE: Parade begins at East Tremont at Lafayette Avenue, Eastchester Bay


WHAT: Celebrate Irish heritage and culture at this annual parade.

WANT TO GO?: Free. tnsaintpatricksdayparade.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

WHEN: March 23-30, Saturdays, 10 am – 2 pm

WHERE: Bartow-Pell Mansion

Museum, 895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park


WHAT: Bring your own basket to hunt for chocolate filled eggs, make a spring-inspired craft, and have photos taken with the Easter Bunny.

WANT TO GO?: $15. (718) 885–1461,

Family Day at St. James Park

WHEN: Saturday, March 23, 12 – 4 pm

WHERE: St. James Park, 2550 Jerome Ave., Jerome Park


WHAT: Children and families are invited to a day of games, sports, arts & crafts, and more. WANT TO GO?: Free.

Silent Disco

WHEN: Friday, March 29, 6 – 8 pm

WHERE: Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center, 3225 Reservoir Oval East, Van Cortlandt Park


WHAT: Get down on the dance floor while you listen to your favorite music in headphones. WANT TO GO?: Free.

WBO Spring Egg Hunt

WHEN: Saturday, March 30, 11 am – 2 pm

WHERE: Williamsbridge Oval Recreation Center, 3225 Reservoir Oval East, Van Cortlandt Park

AGES: 4 – 7

WHAT: This annual Spring Egg Hunt includes egg races, potato sack races, arts & crafts, Bunny pictures and more! WANT TO GO?: Free.


Girls in Science and Engineering Day

WHEN: Saturday, March 9, 11 am – 3 pm

WHERE: Intrepid Museum, Pier 86, W 46th St., Hell’s Kitchen

AGES: 5 and up

WHAT: Celebrate women, girls and youth involved in STEM with hands-on experiences, exciting demonstrations and captivating discussions. WANT TO GO?: Free.


WHEN: March 9-17, Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am, Sundays, 3 pm; Saturday, March 9, 3 pm.

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


WHAT: Celebrate Women’s

36 | March 2024
National Girls & Women in Sports Day at Kwame Ture Recreational Center on
March 2.

History Month with Latin Grammy nominee Sonia De Los Santos at this upbeat and uplifting bilingual concert!

WANT TO GO?: $28.

Family Purim Concert

WHEN: Sunday, March 10, 10:30 am

WHERE: The 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., Upper East Side


WHAT: Wear your favorite costume and celebrate the holiday with singing, dancing, guest performances, and more!

WANT TO GO?: Tickets start at $36.

NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

WHEN: Saturday, March 16, 11 am

WHERE: Begins at Fifth Avenue at East 44th Street and ends at East 79th Street.


WHAT: Celebrate Irish culture and pride at the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world.

WANT TO GO?: Free.


Once Upon a Zoo – Había una vez un zoológico

WHEN: Friday, March 8, 5 – 8 pm

WHERE: Queens Zoo, 53-51 111th St., Corona

AGES: 2 and older

WHAT: Explore the captivating world of animals through fairy tales , experience up-close

encounters, create your own craft mask, and more.

WANT TO GO?: 430; $24 members.

Giraffes Can’t Dance – The Musical

WHEN: Sunday, March 10, 1 – 2 pm & 4 – 5 pm.

WHERE: Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave South, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Corona

AGES: 3 – 8

WHAT: This heartwarming performance featuring puppets, African rhythm, and lots of dancing, shows us that our differences are what make us special.

WANT TO GO?: $20.

Cardboard Explosion!

WHEN: Saturday, March 16, 2 pm

WHERE: Flushing Town Hall,

137-35 Northern Blvd, Flushing

AGES: 5 and older

WHAT: This interactive performance tells four original stories using nothing but cardboard and the power of your imagination.

WANT TO GO?: $8-$15; additional $5 for workshop.

WFUV Garden Party

WHEN: Saturday, March 23, 12 – 4 pm

WHERE: Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing AGES: All

WHAT: Take a break from the winter doldrums with a music-filled garden party featuring family-friendly DJ’s and performances, crafts, a storytime, and more.

WANT TO GO?: Free.

MARCH calendar


The Other Side

WHEN: March 2-3, Saturday and Sunday, 11 am & 3 pm.

WHERE: BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Place, Boerum Hill

AGES: 7 and older

WHAT: Based on Jacqueline Woodson’s picture book The Other Side, this moving dance performance teaches us about overcoming barriers that keep us apart.

WANT TO GO?: $18.

Spring First Discoveries

WHEN: March 13-June 14, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm.

WHERE: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Crown Heights

AGES: 0 - 4

WHAT: Pot up a plant, create a craft, read a story, and use your senses to explore nature at special activity stations designed for early learners.

WANT TO GO?: $12-$18; free for children younger than 12.

HERstory with Flor Bromley

WHEN: Thursday, March 21, 3 –3:45 pm

WHERE: Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 145 Brooklyn Ave, Crown Heights

AGES: 12 and under

WHAT: Celebrate Women’s History Month with this special performance by bilingual musician, Flor Bromley!

WANT TO GO?: Free. (718) 735–4400,

March 2024 | Bronx/Riverdale Family 37
Clowns • Characters Face Painting • Balloon Art • Magic Games • Cotton Candy • Popcorn Paint Nites for Adults & Kids too! Party Room available for Birthday & Baby Shower Celebrations! Call (917) 579-0867 to book your party today! /ConfettiPartyPlace /ConfettiPartyPlace 3190 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, New York 10461 Check us out Online! We’re the #1 print & digital lifestyle platform for engaged parents in New York. Visit to check it out and sign up for our weekly newsletters!
Celebrate Girls in Science & Engineering Day at the Intrepid Museum on March 9.

Stunning Sights at Edge Find a heightened NYC experience high above Hudson Yards

There are many famous views across the country, from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sedona, Arizona., Las Vegas, Nevada, and more. And we may (ok, we are ) be biased when we declare the most famous and favorite view is New York City. While the city never sleeps, it also has no shortage of unique spots to enjoy scenic views. The path to enjoy this view became a game changer when Edge, located at 30 Hudson Yards, opened an extraordinary outdoor experience where locals and tourists can view the heart of Gotham’s skyline.


The triangular-shaped sky deck is a heightened 1,131 feet above the ground. The sky deck is on the 100th floor, offering a 360-degree cityscape scenery. There is also an exhilarating glass floor where you can peak a view below.

Family Fun

Kids are welcome and will be awed by seeing New York from this perspective. Make an

educational game with the kids and have them spot the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and more. Keep them close as you would when strolling through a cultural spot like a museum; this space is pretty open (obviously, it is an open-air deck!) and is designed to enjoy the views, stroll about, or sit while taking it all in.

Insider Tips

The views are spectacular even on rainy days, and visitors will always be enthralled. But if you want to go at the least crowded time, first thing in the morning may be your best bet. Yes , this spot is very Instagramable, but you may be tucking your phone away and soaking in the gorgeous views as this view is stunning.

Lean Out

For those adventure seekers above Edge, the experience continues with City Climb - a rousing experience that takes you to new heights. It’s the world’s highest external building climb on the sky deck. You can scale

the exterior of a towering supertall building over 1,200 feet tall. Once you reach the top, you can lean out from the outdoor platform for an unforgettable experience. (Note there is an age and height requirement for kids over age 13, check website for information.)

Become a Regular

The beauty of Edge is that it isn’t a one-off spot; it is a place you can enjoy as much as you wish, as they now offer an annual pass that offers year-round access.

This pass is perfect for locals and visitors who want to experience this iconic skyline as part of their daily routine. The annual pass includes a digital membership card, flexible entry times, a 10% discount at Edge’s retail stores, and even 2-for-1 City Climb tickets –so you can bring a friend along for free. You’ll also get access to special events throughout the year.

Eat In

Keeping to the theme of space with a view, visit the delicious Peak restaurant, where you can feast on local and the highest-grade seafood and meats. Located on the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards.


30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

38 | March 2024
family Day out
Courtesy of Related-Oxford
Check us out Online! We’re the #1 print & digital lifestyle platform for engaged parents in New York. Visit for daily stories and to sign up for our weekly newsletters!

Rosalyn Yalow Charter School is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 school year. Apply today!

Our strong curriculum will benefit your child throughout life, as will our extracurriculars— fencing taught by Olympians, chess by grandmasters, music by Juilliard graduates (violin and singing). These can set your child on a strong path to college. Don’t miss this opportunity!

When a student enrolls, he/she receives a free tablet and a free uniform. Yalow has a partnership with Montefiore School Health Program to meet all of your student’s health needs.

650 Grand Concourse Bronx, New York 10451 (347) 735-5480w
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