By Sabina Mollot
While the city is finally starting to see some relief after a too-long heat wave made even more brutal due to the humidity, the summer is still only half over. Sure, there a variety of local, outdoor activities for kids scheduled throughout the summer (See T&V’s Around & About section for details), but those can get rained out and other times, it’s just too hot to be out all day. So, this week, Town & Village is putting the spotlight on a few local places where parents can bring their kids for some recreation in indoor, air-conditioned bliss.
One is Ibiza Kidz, the new shop in Stuyvesant Town which has branched out from just selling clothes, shoes and toys to offering weekly puppet shows.
Not long after opening the store around the holidays, Carole Husiak, who owns the business with her husband Johnny, started looking at additional ways to use the space on First Avenue. She ended up deciding to host puppet shows on Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. The shows quickly became draws to the point where some parents were opting to pay for a few in advance at a discount rather than just dropping in. (That would be $22 as opposed to the $25 drop-in rate, which includes admission for the adult accompanying the child.) There are also occasional book readings.
Husiak, who also lives in Stuyvesant Town, explained, “We’re going beyond the classic retail concept. By focusing on more than just the merchandise it serves the community so much better. That’s what I’m hearing from all the parents.”
Occasionally, Husiak also hosts parenting workshops at the store that are adults-only and give parents a chance to network over wine and cheese. A popular speaker has been Peter Cooper Village resident Susan Nason who gives presentations on parenting techniques.
“I realized that in the retail business, we have to diversify to make it work,” Husiak said. “I don’t sell merchandise online because I don’t think it’s the best way to sell kids’ merchandise, so I needed to think of a way to take it to another level to be there for people.”
Ibiza Kidz is located at 340 First Avenue south of East 20th Street and can be reached at (212) 228-1114. There’s also another location at 830 Broadway near Union Square. ibizakidz.com
While cooling down at pools is always a popular option, the public, outdoor ones can get crowded on especially hot days. Fortunately, even without a membership to gyms that have an indoor pool, access can be had at certain places for a day.
Waterside Swim & Health Club has an indoor pool with a skylighted roof and view of the East River. Day passes are $20 for adults, $10 for kids.
Greg Puleri, the gym’s manager, noted that even with a summer camp program going on, “At least two lanes are reserved for people with day passes to manage the traffic.”
For those who’d rather take a dip on a regular basis, adult memberships are $695 and senior memberships are $495. There’s also what’s called an “off-peak” option for seniors at $250, but hours are restricted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Waterside Swim & Health club is located at 35 Waterside Plaza and can be reached at (212) 340-4225. gowaterside.com/healthclub
The 14th Street Y also has an indoor pool that can be accessed with a free day pass, currently available as part of a promotion for the center. Membership rates vary due to a variety of plans available.
The 14th Street Y is located at 344 East 14th Street and its membership office can be reached for a day pass request at (646) 395-4307 or visit 14streety.org/freedaypass.
Flatiron shop Books of Wonder presents story time on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. Books are selected from the stores’ shelves based on the ages of the children in attendance. Calling ahead is recommended however, in case of schedule changes due to another author event.
According to a store manager, the readings are recommended for children aged 3-7 since that’s the demographic targeted by many of the picture books, but older children as well as babies in strollers are also welcome. Usually five to six stories are read. These story time hours are in addition to readings by kids’ and teens’ books authors that are regularly scheduled, timed with each book’s release.
Books of Wonder is located at 18 West 18th Street and can be reached at (212) 989-3270. booksofwonder.com
Rubin Museum of Art presents activities on Sunday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. Guests can head to the museum’s education center for some art making, go on a 2 p.m. family exhibition tour that lasts about 30 minutes or venture out on their own thematic gallery search. Throughout August, kids will get to explore the medicine thangkas in the art lounge and then create an anatomy collage. This program is free for children and accompanying adults and runs every week until December 25. Families should go to the admission desk for an admission pass.
Rubin Museum of Art is located at 150 West 17th Street and can be reached at (212) 620-5000. rubinmuseum.org