Archive for the ‘family entertainment in nyc’ Category

Spa Castle made me feel like a Queen.

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

So went to Spa  Castle in College Point Queens, right over the Whitestone Bridge. It’s such a vacation going there.  I”ll tell ya- it’s like Korean bath house meets Disney World.  It’s sparkling clean, relaxing and a fun family destination.  We spent 4 hours, which is our typical “run” when we are there. I take the girls and go to the hotbaths, off the women’s locker room.  We go from pool to pool, jet to jet.  Then we usually head upstairs to saunas (all different kinds). M loves the LED light sauna (different lights, different moods), J bounces from one to the other and I like the cold sauna.

We usually do lunch- where I stay away from the fries and sushi and head for the salads and fruit. Then we head upstairs/outside. There are hot pools and jets and massage showers.  IT’S GREAT.  It was beautiful out so it was glorious to be up there.  Highly recommend this place for the family or for your own escape.

Washington Heights in the Bloggersphere

Friday, May 7th, 2010

New kids on the block in Washington Heights

Posted on November 9th, 2009 by Yaffi Spodek in Education, Featured, Living

Reported on Oct. 22, 2009

A typical morning for 20-month-old Josie Dean includes painting, singing, baking and knitting, all done in the company of several friends. Whether it’s story time, music class or “Mommy and Me” yoga, there is no shortage of kid-friendly activities in Washington Heights.

“It’s just a great place to raise children,” said Josie’s mother, Jennie.

As younger families populate Washington Heights, the numbers of infants and toddlers are noticeably increasing. According to the 2000 census, there were 14,389 people under the age of 5 living in Washington Heights and Inwood, comprising 6.9 percent of the district’s population. A 2008 census analysis by the American Community Survey found that the number of children in the area under the age of 6 totaled 21,594, accounting for 9.9 percent of the population.

The baby boom is not unique to northern Manhattan. In 2006, The New York Times documented a similar increase in the rest of the borough, as the number of children under age 5 grew by more than 32 percent over the last decade, and anecdotal evidence supports these statistics.

“From my own observations, I can definitely say that the rate of births is up, and yes, there are more children,” said Ebenezer Smith, district manager for Community Board 12. “Just walking on the street, you see so many mothers pushing their baby carriages.”

Others, like social worker Jessica Shapley, have noticed the trend as well. For close to nine years, she has been leading support groups for mothers in Washington Heights. A new group starts every eight to 10 weeks, Shapley said, with more than enough new parents to attend each cycle of sessions.

I started this group out of my own need when I first moved here because there was nothing,” she said. “Now there are definitely more children and young families than ever before.”

Shapley also moderates a “Parent and Me” Yahoo! group, which boasts over 1,000 participating families from Washington Heights and Inwood.

One local hub for kid-friendly activities is Fort Washington Collegiate Church. The church hosts an educational program called Bloomgarden, which began there in early October and meets on Mondays and Wednesdays. The program, which emphasizes artistic expression through interactive classes, now caters to a small group of eight parents and their children, with expansion plans on track for next semester.

“We wanted to create a place where parents and children can grow together, and ‘bloom,’ so to speak,” said Rachel Lederman, Bloomgarden’s co-founder. “It’s a place for creative expression.”

The Tuesday Toddler group, a free program funded by optional donations, features story time, guitar-led singing, and free play. Nearing the end of its fourth year, the program has expanded well beyond its original eight families, and now attracts close to 80 families each week.

“It’s a chance for both kids and parents to socialize,” said Troy Schremmer, the church’s director of education who runs the program. “It’s really about meeting a need for young parents in the community.”

What Shapley likes about Washington Heights is that “it’s a unique place with a small-town feel, where people really know the faces of their neighbors,” she said. “These different programs speak to the needs of the community, and people are moving here from other parts of Manhattan because they want that kind of kid-friendly atmosphere.”

New programs continue to spring up as more and more people opt to raise families in the city. On Nov. 1, the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood started a lending service for maternity clothes and baby supplies that includes pregnancy and parenting books, and items such as strollers, swings, and booster seats.

“I had been receiving phone calls asking for baby items,” explained Anat Coleman, community affairs officer for the Jewish Council, a not-for-profit organization that provides a range of free social services. “In the last five years, I have seen many young families moving into the area, and many don’t have space in their apartments or can’t afford to buy these items, so this was created in response to their needs.”

New York New and Expectant Mothers Event

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

So- I was a part of the new and expectant moms event, yesterday.  It was sponsored by New York Family. I shared my table with Katie Kheil one of the dance instructors (and moms)  of Discovery Program (100th and West End).  Their program has been around since the 70s and provides programing for families from newborn through adolescents. Mommy/daddy and me, movement, dance, support, parenting programs and more  www.discoveryprogram.com

I got to see past participants from my groups and sleep clients on to their own mother-business ventures.  I have always felt that mother hood gives birth to new and different careers, as well.

I got to see friends and colleagues like Deb Flashenberg Prenatalyoga.com from Preantal Yoga Center, Felina from the Upper Breast Side www.upperbreastside, Joanna and Bianca from Metro Minis (www.metrominis.com), Laura Heller from babyfingers (www.mybabyfingers.com). I met Lance of  NYC Dads Group, which is “an active group of involved fathers in NYC”.  Tracy Gary from intuition-nutrition.com . I got to meet people in person who I have only had a virtual connection with.  People like Lara Paul from ikidsny www.ikidny.com, The car seat lady thecarseatlady.com and more

This is the first of one of these “trade show”  events I have embarked on.  I smiled a lot, schmoozed and collected a lot of goodies from the other tables.  They even had a free Gelato booth.  NO sugar for me tho, I kept a safe distance.

I also got to see a lot of my “past new moms”.  We are talking like moms onto their 2nd or 3rd baby- the oldest being 7 years and me feeling like the proud “grandma”- YIKES : )

I have been providing support and services to new moms and families for over  10 years.  Prior to this, I had worked with individuals and families; facilitating groups and providing service, for another 10 years. WOW, I’ve been at this a while. But it’s interesting, or maybe not.  It always feels new.

This work is something quite precious to me about working with a new mom or parent or family.  There is usually such an openness, a desire and need and want to build community around you and your (new) family. Each relationship, each family unit, each group of new moms finds a different energy and a different need and it’s great to be a part of this growth, inquiry and connection.

Thank you Mommies and New Families and Happy Mother’s Day!

The food or the monsters, which was scarier?

Monday, September 28th, 2009

After nixing  Melia’s (my daughter) wish to have her birthday party here, we decided as a family to go to lunch at Jekyll and Hyde restaurant in NYC. I am sure some people love this place, I am not exactly sure who. Maybe there are things to like about it but my husband and I thought it was pricey,  dusty and the food as close to inedible as I have ever experienced.   I commissioned my daughter, Jaya, to (literally) type up her and her sister’s opinions of this restaurant. I think they hit the nail on the coffin (ha ha).

In their own words -Jaya’s and Melia’s Opinion and Review:

Why did you want to go to Jekyll and Hyde?
melia’s responds: i thought it would be better.
jaya’s responds: i  thought it would be more fun.

What did you expect?
melia’s responds: i hoped it would be more funny scary not scary scary
jaya’s responds: brains and bloody eye’s for meals waiters dressed in ogre costume’s.

What did you experience when you got there?

melia’s responds: i was really scared i wanted to go home.
jaya’s responds: i felt the need to cling on to daddy and have melia be my tester for popping up monsters.
Was it what you wanted it to be?
melia’s responds: no!
jaya’s responds: not really no.
What did you eat?  How was the food?
melia’s responds:all the food had m.s.g. it made me tired and thirsty
jaya’s responds: the food was disgusting.the h20 was better than the food.

extra info:
jaya’s responds: the commercial said for 5 and up it should say for 9 and up. This scary skeleton came down from the ceiling and this little girl started crying.
How many stars: 5 is the best

Food Jaya no stars Melia 1 star                      

Cleanliness Jaya -1 star, Melia -0 star
Entertainment Jaya 5 stars, Melia 5 stars
Scary pop ups Jaya -1 star melia -1 star
arcade  Jaya 2 star Melia 5 stars (because i got to hide in the photo booth)