Bereavement program for Hanukkah

I attended this event after my Mom died and found it very useful. I highly recommend it whether you, a loved one or a friend will be facing a sad and happy – light and dark holiday season.

Lights in the Darkness: A Hanukkah Program for the Bereaved

Tuesday, December 8 | 6:30-8:00PM | 89th Street Reception Room
After a loved one dies, holidays can bring to the surface painful reminders of the loss.  Participate in a meaningful discussion with other bereaved Jews about how to allow for grief, while still finding meaning and comfort in the themes of the Hanukkah. Light refreshments will be served. Cosponsored by BJ and The Jewish Board’s Partners in Caring and Shira Ruskay Centers. Please R.S.V.P. to Billie at B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue 212-787-7600.

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UWS Playground to Get New Equipment in $705K Upgrade

I love DNAInfo… I get great news there and I wanted to share this article which is great news since there are so many schools nearby.

By Emily Frost | October 20, 2015 4:42pm

extralargeUPPER WEST SIDE — A local playground near the Amsterdam Houses and the new Riverside Center development will get a major facelift beginning this summer, the Parks Department announced.

Samuel Bennerson Playground — bounded by West 63rd and 64th streets between Amsterdam and West End avenues — will get outfitted with new play equipment, benches and picnic tables, spray showers and spruced-up fencing, the agency said.

Funded by Borough President Gale Brewer and the Parks Department, the $705,000 renovation will replace the current 17-year-old play equipment with brand-new structures and add new landscaping around the perimeter, among other upgrades, said agency landscape architect Katherine Bridges.

In addition, the Parks Department has already planned a $1.55 million upgrade to the playground’s basketball courts and entrance, previously funded by Brewer and City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, to make them more attractive and functional.

The play space will have two separate play areas — one aimed at 2- to 5-year-old kids and the other for 5 to 12-year-olds — both featuring new equipment that’s partially ADA- accessible.

The play structures, manufactured by Game Time, will be blue- and tangerine-colored, with “lighter” and “airier” forms, Bridges said.

“There’s lots of slides and climbing [opportunities]” on the play structures, she added, and both areas will boast play panels featuring moveable parts that are accessible to wheelchair users. A playhouse on the ground level of the older kids area will be accessible to differently abled children, she noted.

The upgrades will all include tan-colored rubber safety matting underneath the play structures, eight new benches along the West 64th Street perimeter and a paintjob for the surrounding fences. All of the planters will get new plantings and mulch, as well, Bridges said.

Four user-activated spray jets and a u-shaped spray loop kids can run through will be added, as well as four picnic tables, one of which has space for a wheelchair to roll up to.

“I’m glad about everything that’s coming into Bennerson,” said Marguerita Curet, president of the Amsterdam Houses Resident Association. “We only have basketball, basketball, basketball. There’s really nothing there for the children. The children don’t have anything, so this is really great.”

It’s easier from an engineering perspective to combine both phases of the project — the $1.55 million renovation to the basketball courts and surrounding area and the $705,000 playground renovation — Bridges explained.

Both phases are estimated to begin in August of 2016. The project is expected to be completed in the spring of 2017, the Parks Department said.

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NY Times article about PS 199

What do you think? I saw this on DNAinfo’s site:

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The Big Apple Circus is back in town!

You may have seen the tent going up a couple weeks ago…

screenshotWe have a family tradition, well many traditions, but one this time of year is going to the Big Apple Circus. I asked the circus if they could offer a discount to visitors of my blog and they said yes – Viola!  Use promo code BIGAPPLE to save 20% off tickets (that’s not just off one ticket, but the whole purchase).* (*Limited availability. Offer good on select seats and shows. Other conditions apply. Children under 3 are free when on the lap of a paid adult, one child per lap.) ALSO – they offered a family of 4 ticket giveaway. Scroll down to read about how to win!

The amazing 1920’s themed travel show is alive and well, suitcases, posters from travel around the world and amazing costumes and props! We loved it!

BAC092315MS_ show_056

You know the saying “do not try this at home?” Well, there were many acts that were clearly those kinds of acts but others were inspiring for the kids.  One of our kids said “I can do that!”  While none of them can hula hoop with 50 hula hoops at once or juggle as many balls as this juggler dressed as a sailor did, it was nice to see that they learned that if you practice enough of something you too could get really good at.  And what’s interesting about the Big Apple Circus is that they offer after school programs for kids. What I also love about This circus organization is that they put on a great show AND they also care for children and their families who are not able to get to the big top because they are too sick to leave the hospital.  They have Clown Care clowns who visit the children and make them smile.  Its worth watching the video on their website and count our blessings if our kids are healthy and be thankful knowing that the money that the Big Apple Circus raises from memberships and ticket prices goes in part to important programs like this.  We never know if we will be the recipients one day.

I have also written in past years about the inclusive performances which enables children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and other disabilities to experience the circus as well as families with children with autism. What a special circus!

F2484F3B-14B2-4AFC-8865-54CA0AB9B83FAlso fun this year, they are having a special Halloween circus with guest Ringmaster, R.L. Stine (author of the best-selling children’s series Goosebumps) on October 31, 2015 at 4:30pm. At this special performance, children who arrive in costume will receive a free cotton candy or popcorn voucher.  The show will be followed by a costume contest and parade; the winner will receive a special prize. That’s a great tradition to start this year!


WIN TICKETS FOR A FAMILY OF 4 – Thursday, November 12th at 6:30pm

I will choose a random winner who answers this question correctly in the comments section below. Winner will be selected Friday, Nov. 6th.

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The New Victory Theater – The Gruffalo


Only 1 express subway ride away from 72nd street and the Upper West Side, I promised myself I’d go with my family to more shows at The New Victory Theatre.  We went this weekend to see The Gruffalo since it is a story that I had read to my older daughter regularly.  I thought it was just a story that my sister bought while living in England and thought was cute.  Well, it turns out that this has become a classic around the world! This production has traveled globally and of course, it was a packed house in NYC!  While the show is already over for this visit (it was here years ago but brought back for the 20th anniversary of The New Victory Theater), I can’t wait to see the next show that they do there.  The brochure, which surely everyone received at home, looks so diverse and creative.  And the performers on the stage for the Gruffalo were so talented, captivating and funny, it is clear that the people who pick the shows for the theatre know what they are doing.  In fact, I would recommend you look at the ages that they suggest for the shows.  For the Gruffalo, they suggested ages 4-7. I took my oldest, almost 9, since she was the one who got to hear me read the book the most, and she thought she was too old for it. BUT… every time I looked over, she was engaged, smiling, and answering the questions the performers asked of the audience.

They were so engaging!   We also had a sweet live theatre moment when the snake came out on stage in his shiny, ornate costume and his funny accent… the whole audience laughed so hard and gave him such feedback that it was clear the performer himself and the other character on stage, let the laughter guide the timing of the next line. They may have even improvised a bit, I’m not sure.  But it felt live and real and hilarious! I loved that my daughter got to experience live theatre in that way.  Later, too, there was a moment where I think the predator came out an extra time or two and the mouse added a little joke in there.  Whether rehearsed or not, it felt very real and I was drawn in – and so was my daughter, but don’t tell her you know she loved it… She’s eager to see the next shows for older kids.  But I wish I had started taking my little ones to their 6-month-old and 2-year-old performances.  We are so lucky the theatre is so close!


The other thing I love about the New Victory Theater is that they have creative activities before and after the shows for kids to learn the craft or meet the performers.  They also have activities on their website to keep the lessons going… such as the Gruffalo.  We’ll be spending a lot of time at this theater this year.  I highly recommend it. And the prices are reasonable… with incentives for multiple shows etc.

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Girl Empowerment – Dynamo Girl

I saw that Barney’s has a great window about Girl Empowerment and there are many programs (local and beyond) that empower girls.  I want to support a local Mom who has a program for empowering girls through sports – Dynamo Girl.


Here is a parenting workshop they are offering on the Upper West Side – at The Mandell School on Nov. 1st.

Say hi to amazing Mom – Vanessa Bennett – who started Dynamo Girl and who will help lead the next generation of brilliant and strong NYC Girls!

Dynamo Girl

Fall Parenting Workshop

Sunday, November 1st from 3-4:30pm
The Mandell School
795 Columbus Avenue

The Social World of Girls De-Mystified!
What To Expect At This Age &
How Best To Support Your Daughter
Drs. Iris Hellner and Kristin Perry, of InParentis, will present an overview of the social dynamics of girls from kindergarten through fourth grade. The meaning of “girl” behaviors, such as: passionate friendships, excluding behavior and seemingly dramatic reactions.  Practical advice will be offered on how to help your daughter navigate her social world and how to best support herin developing the building blocks to healthy relationships.  A formal presentation will be followed with ample time for questions and discussion.

Dr. Iris Hellner and Dr. Kristin Perry are psychologists who have each been working with children of all ages, parents, couples, and adults for over 25 years and are the co-founders of InParentis, a parenting resource on the Upper West Side.  Between Iris and Kristin, they have given talks in a vast number of New York City independent and public schools

More information can be found online:

Parents of girls currently enrolled in a Dynamo Girl class may attend the workshop for free. The cost for adults with families not currently enrolled in Dynamo Girl is $20/person.

To register for the workshop please email: by October 25th.

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AiS @ AMNH Registration for November and December workshops!

We are so lucky to have the Museum of Natural History right in our neighborhood.Sign up quickly if you’re interested…

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PS452 fall fair – October 17th 11am-5pm

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Maker Faire in NYC this week/weekend

Though I do my best to highlight what is on the UWS or easy to get to, I have to share with you this amazing since and innovation opportunity for families.  I’m so glad my kids love science and creativity!  Check the website for more info.


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Recognizing Beauty: Helping your Child Cultivate a Healthy Body Image

As our children grow older and more aware of their surroundings, we can always inform ourselves of the latest insights for helping them through this journey.  This talk appealed to me when it came through my email since I studied media and its impact on society as well as my background working at one of the world’s biggest beauty companies.  We must be careful about the values we teach our children.  I know I plan to sign up for this talk. It would be great if my daughters’ friends know the same info so they are all together in great groups of friends… thoughtful, kind, age-appropriate…

A free webinar for parents and caregivers…
View this email in your browser
Recognizing Beauty: Helping your Child Cultivate a Healthy Body Image
A free webinar for parents and caregivers from the Child Study Center at NYU Langone

We invite you to a 30-minute webinar featuring Andrea Vazzana, PhD, Attending Psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

In this webinar, Dr. Vazzana will discuss the nature of body image, its impact on self-esteem, and its perilous role in the development and maintenance of eating disorders and other illnesses, and share cutting-edge strategies to help children better accept and appreciate their bodies.

Tuesday, September 29 @ 1pm Eastern | Register HERE
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