By Michelle Hale
Are you dreading the short cold days of winter and the inevitable countdown to turning the TV on so you can experience a moment of silence...whoever said that winter in the city with kids was fun? Trying to figure out how to entertain your kids in this weather? Not sure how much time your gift bottle of wine for the downstairs neighbor will buy you on the dance party or indoor soccer front? We hear ya and in terms of the downstairs neighbor's empathy - they already drank the wine. Here are our favorite activities that involve the whole family and will get you all out of the house for some fun.
Ice Skating: Growing up we used to pray for single-digit temperatures so the big pond in our neighborhood would freeze over. At that point, one of the brave dads would walk out to the middle of the frozen ice. If he did not fall in, we were game to skate. We would learn by pushing buckets or milk crates across the ice and were so proud when eventually we were able to stand on our own. Although there are a few more rules to the road now with helmets and all, I see the same thrill now in my son's face as he gets out on the ice to skate. There are several rinks in New York City that are equipped with rentals. Our favorites are the rink at The Standard Hotel and The Rink at Brookfield Place. The Standard Hotel rink provides an intimate setting fitted out with heat lamps and blankets for parents (and a warm libation!) to watch in comfort. They offer lessons and have adorable penguins in place of the old milk crates. The Rink at Brookfield Place is a bit larger and they too have push dolphins for your smaller ones to get around the rink. Brookfield Place also has a wonderful food hall which would satisfy everyone's culinary desires post skating.
Star Wars: If you are one of the few people that have not already seen the recent movie or want to, then just skip ahead to our next suggestion. Sweet whispers of Star Wars consumes most school hallways these days. The Force is back. If you are hesitant to have your younger ones see the film (Who doesn't love the judging looks from non-parents for bringing a 7 year old to a PG-13 rated movie!), try the costume exhibit at the Discovery Time Square. It does not get more up close and personal than standing next to Chewbacca. This one will not be hard to talk Dads into either.
Museums: One of the reasons we choose to live in NYC is because access to world class museums is just a walk around the corner. The New-York Historical Society has something for everyone. It always amazes me how the exhibits' appeal crosses over generations. Currently the Holiday Express and Superheros in Gotham exhibits excite all voting parties. And, seeing the real Batmobile pretty much took the cake this winter break.
Music: Nothing brings a smile to a child's face like the sound of music and the Young People's Concerts through the New York Philharmonic will not disappoint. The concerts are set up to appeal to everyone and include audience participation as well as manageable performance lengths. An added bonus - the children get to test out the instruments used in the performances that day. There are many different instruments to keep lines short and moving.
Theater: The New Victory Theater is a gem. A performing arts theater devoted to childcare and their families. They have a way of creating magic and keeping you on the edge of your seat. This indoor activity is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. We cannot wait to see the production of The Velveteen Rabbit later this month.
So that is my list but what is yours? Do you have any other favorite kid-friendly places to visit in NYC?