L train at First Avenue (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Sabina Mollot
The MTA has announced it will hold a series of open houses starting in March to address any concerns related to the revised L train plan. Representatives from the Department of Transportation and NYC Transit will also be available to discuss planned street treatments and M14 Select Bus Service.
The four open houses, two in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, are scheduled for:
Thursday, March 7: Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard, 328 West 14th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues)
Wednesday, March 13: Williamsburg Northside School, 299 N. 7th Street (at Meeker Avenue)
Tuesday, March 19: Grand Street Campus High School, 850 Grand Street (between Bushwick Avenue and Waterbury Street)
Monday, April 8: 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
On Monday, October 22, Stuyvesant Town rock singer Garland Jeffreys will be performing a concert at a fundraiser for the 14th Street Y, where he, his wife Claire and daughter Savannah are longtime members.
It will be the first of a few local concerts coming up for the singer, following a recent tour through Europe to promote his last album, “14 Steps to Harlem.”
Now in the early writing stages for his next album, to be called, “Dash of Soul,” and fundraising for a documentary about his career, Jeffreys, 75, spoke with Town & Village to share tips for new and aspiring musicians.
“I’m always happy to talk to people who are starting out,” he said, adding that starting out means picking a musical direction to take.
“What kinds of songs do they want to write? Love songs, protest songs or a Dylan-esque area?” he asked. “They should work and work and work on the music and not take it for granted. I tell stories about different things, like race, like my childhood, my passions.”
In recent years, Jeffreys has been known to do many concerts in people’s homes, which he recommends doing as well as finding local venues like bars.
“If you’re starting out, anywhere is a good place to start,” said Jeffreys. “Just get your guitar and get your keyboard and get to practicing and that’s how your songwriting evolves.”
Stuyvesant Town resident AJ Miller expresses her concerns to transit officials at an open house at the 14th Street Y. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The MTA and DOT released details on the “Busway” coming to 14th Street during the expected L train shutdown at Community Board 6’s transportation committee meeting on Monday. The agencies also gathered feedback on the plans during an open house at the 14th Street Y last Wednesday.
The new Busway will be on 14th from Third to Eighth Avenues going westbound and from Ninth to Third Avenues going east.
In both directions between Third and First Avenues, there will be a painted bus lane on the street but traffic will not be restricted and cars will be able to head across 14th Street, whereas traffic will not be allowed to cross anywhere along the Busway.
Meeting attendees asked DOT representatives why the Busway was not extended all the way to First Avenue or Avenue C and DOT representative Aaron Sugiura explained that it wasn’t ideal, but that the negatives outweighed the positives.
The pool at Waterside can be used by non-members who purchase a day pass.
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.”
Tim Haft leads a MoshFit class at Otto’s Shrunken Head’s concert space. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Personal trainer Tim Haft has come up with a solution for New Yorkers who are already dreading the drudgery of the gym memberships from their New Year’s resolutions with a new class called MoshFit.
Haft is no stranger to unconventional fitness classes (or the use of puns for creative class names) as the founder of Punk Rope, which is held at the 14th Street Y every Monday. But MoshFit takes the casual nature of Punk Rope, which he describes as a “throwback to recess,” and puts it in the back room of Otto’s Shrunken Head, one of the last tiki bars in the East Village and in a space that is normally used for concerts.
And in case you forgot you were exercising in a bar, Haft said that MoshFitters can reward themselves afterwards at happy hour, with $4 draft beers.
“You don’t usually see a fitness class in a bar,” Haft admitted, “but I know the space and I know the crowd. It’s very rock and roll but it’s also the East Village so I thought that could work.”
Aside from the location, the class itself will also have a “rock and roll” feel, since the music playing will be less like the top-40 tracks normally found at a gym and more punk rock, ska, metal and other related genres. The workout itself will combine creative and traditional calisthenics, as well as partner and group conditioning drills designed to improve stamina, agility, balance and strength.
Haft isn’t worried about having enough room for all the people who want to participate, because he noted that about 50 people were able to fit into the back room for a previous event. But if it does become a tight squeeze, he wouldn’t mind that so much.
“If it becomes a huge hit, then that’s a nice problem to have,” he said.
By now, most theater buffs in New York City are familiar with “The New York International Fringe Festival,” the mega-festival of plays put on by over 200 companies in 16 days each summer for the past 18 years. However, what’s less known is that there’s also “Fringe Jr.,” a selection of plays in the festival that are geared towards kids. Each show is around an hour and put on by local as well as overseas companies.
The Fringe Jr. show “Vagabond$”
The venue this year for Fringe Jr., which kicked off August 8 and will run through August 24, is the 14th Street Y. There are four plays to choose from, each one suitable for families with kids ages 5-12, and tickets are $18 for adults, $13 for kids.
This is the second time Fringe is showing children’s plays exclusively at the Y’s LABA theater.
Previously, Fringe Jr. plays had been shown at more than one venue each year.
“The 14th Street Y has been a very good friend to us,” said Ben Cohen, an associate producer for Fringe’s community and social marketing. The venue, he said, was ideal due to the fact there are already other activities for kids going on, making it convenient for parents who want to introduce their kids to theater.
“All of us at Fringe definitely feel that theater is so important for kids,” Cohen said. “I know it had an impact on me growing up.”
This year, there were over 1,000 applications for Fringe Festival plays, although the Fringe Jr. plays have a separate application process. But like with the other plays, Fringe looks for stories that are “current, present and topical.”
A few of the offerings through the volunteer-run CSA at the 14th Street Y
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The 14th Street Y and sustainability organization Just Food are again partnering with Mountain View Farms to bring locally grown, organic produce to CSA members every week from June to October.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership where community members purchase shares of the season’s harvest directly from the farmer and the 14th Street Y has been offering the program since 2008.
Frances Anderson, a member of the 14th Street Y, has been a volunteer organizer for the program since it began. The CSA originally partnered with a different farm located in upstate New York but Anderson said that Hurricane Irene devastated their farmland in 2011, bringing a sad end to the partnership.
“They weren’t able to continue doing CSAs in the city after that because their losses were so huge,” she said. “It wasn’t uncommon that year for a lot of farms in that corridor, unfortunately. The destruction of farmland was really quite significant. It was kind of a shock to us and we never really thought about what a catastrophic year would mean.”
Many of the farms upstate were scaling back after Irene but Just Food helped the CSA at the Y to connect with Mountain View Farm, which was a little more sheltered from flooding due to its location in Western Massachusetts, and so far the partnership has been working well. “We really appreciate the consistency in the quality and quantity of the vegetables we get from them, and because of the way in which they operate, with 90 percent of their clientele being CSAs as opposed to farmer’s markets, they just have a really consistent supply,” Anderson said.
While the 14th Street Y provides infrastructure support for the CSA, Anderson said that it’s primarily a volunteer-driven program. Some volunteers dedicate more time than others but anyone who signs up for a CSA membership is required to work one shift throughout the season. This just means helping out with distribution for a couple of hours and the policy isn’t particularly strict.
“People work crazy hours, so sometimes people need help from family because they can’t be there themselves and that’s fine,” Anderson said. “Teenagers have done shifts for their parents. It’s not onerous work; it’s just to help it run smoothly.”
Summer and fall shares include carrots, bok choy, lettuce, beets, cabbage, kohlrabi, spinach, fennel, Swiss chard, cantaloupe, a variety of squashes, cucumbers, tomatoes, garlic, sweet potatoes, onions, scallions, eggplants, peppers and others. Mountain View Farm has partnered with nearby farms and orchards this year to add a fruit share, which will include strawberries, blueberries, apples and pears.
Full shares, $600, are available for weekly pick-up and and half shares, $310, are collected bi-weekly. The shares are available to pick up on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Y. A normal week’s share averages about $27. Anderson said that a full share every week is good for a family of four that eats a lot of vegetables.
“My family of three gets a weekly distribution but for some families that’s way too much,” she said.
She added that while half-shares come out every other week, it can involve a lot of planning to make sure certain things are eaten before they go bad and if there are individuals who want to participate, volunteers with the CSA can connect those people with each other to split a half share. Even with the most meticulous planning, CSA members are sometimes still overloaded with vegetables they are pressured to eat before they start rotting and Anderson said that they are hoping to offer some additional programming at the Y this year to help alleviate that problem.
“We’re trying to have a couple of canning demonstrations,” she said. “Learning how to can or how to pickle vegetables that you have in crazy abundance are great skills to learn and not ones that we tend to pick up when living in the city, so we want to teach people how to preserve their share for the rest of the season.”
Anderson noted that even though there are some vegetables that don’t get claimed every week, none of it goes to waste.
“Everything left over that isn’t picked up by CSA members gets donated to the Sirovich Center and they love it,” she said. “It adds fresh vegetables to what they make there. Nothing gets thrown wholesale into the compost.”
CSA membership is open to everyone, not just 14th Street Y members, and the deadline to register is May 30. For more information or to register, visit Mountain View Farm CSA’s website.
Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Brad Hoylman at a mammogram event in December
Free mammograms outside Stuyvesant Town
Following a successful event last month in which women 40 and older were offered free mammograms outside of Stuyvesant Town, the mammogram van is back today.
The event sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, is running now through 4 p.m. today on First Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets. Space is limited and appointments are mandatory. Call (800) 564-6868. All insurance plans accepted. Co-payments and deductibles waived. Free for women over 40.
Theater at the 14th Street Y presents ‘Kaddish’
“Kaddish,” a play based on Nobel Prize-winner Imre Kertész’s novel “Kaddish for an Unborn Child,” will run January 10-13 at the Theater at the 14th Street Y.
“Kaddish,” a one-man show featuring Jake Goodman and directed by Barbara Lanciers, comes to the Y following a critically-acclaimed run in Budapest this past June.
The play is an exploration of ritual and loss. It looks at a father’s unrelenting conflict over the absence of the child he never had during his ultimately doomed marriage. A Holocaust survivor, he had refused to bring a child into a world where horrors like the one he experienced can occur. The longing and regret that haunt this character give rise to one of the most eloquent meditations ever written on the Holocaust. The production is intimate, featuring a solo performance by Jake Goodman on a 10-foot square stage covered in dirt and light.
Performances (55 minutes in length) are Jan. 10 at 5 and 7 p.m., Jan. 11 at 11 a.m., 3 and 9 p.m., Jan. 12 at 1, 4 and 6 p.m. and Jan. 13 at 3 and 5 p.m. Tickets, $18, can be purchased at www.14streety.org/boxoffice or by calling 1-800-838-3006. The Theater at the 14th Street Y is located at 344 East 14th Street between First and Second Avenues.
Bobby Fulham memorial game set for January 11
On Saturday, January 11, 2014 the sixth annual Bobby Fulham Epiphany Alumni basketball game will be held at Xavier High School in the main gym, 30 West 16th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
Doors open for registration and warm-ups at 6 p.m. The ladies’ game is at 7 p.m. Men’s game to follow.
The late Bobby Fulham, a resident of Stuyvesant Town, was a good friend to many families in the neighborhood and was instrumental in getting the Epiphany Basketball Program to the level it is at today. Fulham lost his battle to cancer five years ago this past November. Every year many former players return to play in the game in his honor.
All of the proceeds of this year’s event will be donated to the CYO Basketball and the Epiphany School basketball program. Admission is a $20 donation, which includes a commemorative t-shirt, $5 for students and kids. Players are also asked to donate $20. All checks should be made out to CYO. For more information, contact Ray Curley (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tom Issing (email@example.com) or Mike Nealy (Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bird walk on January 12
On Sunday, January 12 at 9 a.m., Anne Lazarus will lead a bird walk through Stuyvesant Cove Park and Stuyvesant Town. This free event will begin at the 20th street entrance to Stuyvesant Cove Park near the rocky outcropping, continue through the park and end in Stuyvesant Town. Possible bird sightings include several winter water birds as well as some interesting ducks. It is also hoped that the Varied Thrush, a rare bird recently spotted in Stuyvesant Town, will stay in the area until then. The walk will last approximately two hours and will take place even in the event of light rain. All are invited to participate and encouraged to bring cameras and binoculars. The Stuyvesant Cove Park Association would love to receive any photos of birds spotted on the walk. They can be sent to email@example.com.
Kips Bay neighborhood Alliance fundraiser
The Kips Bay Neighborhood Alliance is holding a fundraiser at Hill & Bay, 581 Second Avenue, on Monday, January 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to raise awareness and membership. The event will give residents a chance to meet their neighbors, community leaders and local elected officials. The $20 suggestion donation for the event includes annual membership to the KBNA, one drink ticket and appetizers. There will also be a cash bar available. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
MulchFest in Stuyvesant Town, Tompkins Sq. Park
Stuyvesant Town and Tompkins Square Park will be participating as chipping sites in MulchFest on Saturday, January 11 and Sunday, January 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At this event, New Yorkers are encouraged to bring their discarded Christmas trees to be recycled into mulch. The site at Stuyvesant Town will be at the East 20th Street Loop and the site in Tompkins Square Park will be at East 7th Street between Avenues A and B. Free mulch will be available at each chipping site. Trees can also be brought to a drop-off site beginning on January 4 through January 12 to be recycled later. Special curbside collection for mulching and recycling of trees will be conducted by the Department of Sanitation from December 30 to January 15.
Coat drive at Oval Concierge through January 15
New York Cares is working with Community Partners in NYC to distribute coats to New Yorkers in need. A temporary bin has been set up at Oval Concierge to make it easy for PCV/ST residents to donate new or clean, gently used jackets and coats from Thursday, January 9 through Wednesday, January 15 at Oval Concierge (276 First Ave).
For listings om local entertainments events: concerts, theater, comedy, burlesque, art exhibits, kids’ events, discussions and more, see T&V’s Around & About page.
For listings on local health and fitness events: support groups, screenings, classes and more, see T&V’s Health and Fitness page.
For listings on events held at local houses of worship: talks, special services, classes and volunteer efforts, see T&V’s Religion Page.
The Diaz y Flores Community Garden on East 13th Street is one of 30 local gardens to be photographed by George Hirose.
By Sabina Mollot
Ever since the 1970s, when he moved to the East Village, photographer George Hirose found himself inspired by the scenes there that were both gritty and pretty. In particular, he was a huge fan of the community gardens that popped up then and the years that followed, since it was usually the locals’ way of thumbing – or rather greenthumbing their noses – at would-be developers of vacant lots.
Now a resident of Stuyvesant Town, Hirose has continued his love affair with the community gardens and is involved in the tending of a couple of them. He has also, since the spring of this year, been working on an ongoing exhibit of photos he’s taken of the gardens in the East Village and along the Lower East Side.
An exhibit is currently on display at the 14th Street Y, where Hirose will also be speaking about the photos on December 29 at 3 p.m. In addition, some of his photos are also on display across the street at Kati restaurant, 347 East 14th Street.
So far, he’s captured 30 of the 39 gardens in the area, and there are some he wants to go back to.
“I want to give a sense of the individuality of the places and how special they are,” said Hirose. “People are
interested in what other people are doing even if it’s out of the range of their immediate environment.”
As for his own interest in the gardens, for Hirose, they were always a way to meet likeminded people, artists, musicians and other characters, along with the nightclubs in the Lower East Side in the 70s and 80s. They were also a way to enjoy a bit of nature close to home, allowing a brief escape from the crime-ridden streets and graffiti-covered buildings.
However, even as the neighborhood gentrified over the years since then, the volunteer-run gardens still remained a special place to Hirose. A couple of them even had play areas for kids, and he would take his daughter to the gardens when she was younger.
“Some of them don’t have much in them, some have a lot in them,” he said, adding that some are obviously run better than others. Naturally, he has more appreciation for those where volunteers have been willing to let him in at night when the gardens are normally closed so he can do his photography.
The photos Hirose takes are always at night, enhanced by additional light sources he’ll bring into the gardens, since he wants to capture the bright colors of the trees and plantings. He also uses long camera exposures of up to 20 minutes and digital enhancements.
“It’s a very different way to see the gardens,” he said, explaining that the naked eye can’t see much in the way of depth and color in the dark. “So I have my camera do the things that my eyes are unable to do.”
For Hirose, a professor of photography at Pratt, it was only recently that he decided to start photographing the gardens. His hesitation, he said, had to do with his feeling that the art community would look down on his attempt to present the subject matter in a beautiful way. But, he said, “This was something I really loved and I just wanted to create something beautiful. I’d like for the whole city to be aware of community gardens in general.”
George Hirose’s photo of the Children’s Workshop Garden on East 12th Street and Avenue C
He’s also been concerned about the future of the gardens since one, called the Children’s Magical Garden on the corner of Norfolk and Stanton Streets, has been fighting to keep part of its space, which is slated for development of a six-story building.
“In the Lower East Side, there’s no real parks except for Tompkins Square, so it is important,” he said.
As for Stuyvesant Town, where he’s lived for the past 12 years, Hirose said he doesn’t feel compelled to photograph it much (though he’s made exceptions for the squirrel population). He also loves that it’s a natural bird sanctuary.
Though he does think the grounds look attractive, the problem, said Hirose, is that the property is “too manicured for my photography,” and therefore lacking the personality and roughness of the community gardens.
“It’s my home but I don’t feel a connection,” he admitted.
“It feels institutionally beautiful. It’s landscaped. The dynamics come from when neighbors gather to create something. I like when it’s a little grungier.”
Hirose’s photos will remain on display at the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street between First and Second Avenues, through December 29. Hours are Monday through Friday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. To 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. To 9 p.m.
Police officers hold a ceremony outside the 13th Precinct on September 11, 2012. Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel
On Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, there will be a few commemorative events taking place locally.
Thirteenth Precinct Remembrance Ceremony
In keeping with tradition, police officers at the 13th Precinct will hold a brief ceremony in front of the stationhouse at 8:30 a.m. The precinct lost two officers on 9/11, Moira Smith and Robert Fazio, after they responded to the World Trade Center. There will be a moment of silence for them at 8:45 a.m. The stationhouse is located at 230 East 21st Street between Second and Third Avenues.
Interactive Art Installation at 14th Street Y
The 14th Street Y will be installing “Morning Sky,” a community art project by Illegal Art, on the sidewalk in front of the Y at 344 East 14th Street between First and Second Avenues. The project will begin at 9 a.m. and will continue until 110 6″ square canvases have been painted. Members, friends and passersby will be asked to paint the canvases with the color they believe to have been the sky on the morning of 9/11. Canvasses, paints and clothing cover will be provided. The canvasses will be exhibited in the Y lobby gallery space for the month of October.
“9/11 Shifting Clouds Exhibition” at Bellevue Hospital
Bellevue Hospital Center will host an exhibition of artwork by people who lived, worked, went to school or participated in the cleanup in Lower Manhattan and now have health problems related to 9/11. The “9/11 Shifting Clouds” art exhibition will run from September 11-13 and September 16-18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bellevue Hospital, 462 First Avenue at 27th Street.
Camille Diamond, who runs the new composting program, in front of the Y’s bin and scale Photo by Sabina Mollot
By Sabina Mollot
At the 14th Street Y, administrators have been hoping to get members to learn the joy of composting, a form of recycling of food scraps that reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
And so far, the new compost drop-off program — essentially a bin at the East 14th Street center’s lobby alongside a scale — has actually been a surprise success with its members, residents of Stuyvesant Town and the East Village, who’ve been showing more than just a fleeting interest in the waste-reducing activity.
This may be because, according to Camille Diamond, the Y’s communications director, who runs the program, the goal of the project was actually to demonstrate that composting is actually pretty simple. However, New Yorkers generally only get the opportunity to do it at greenmarkets, and even then, the food that can be composted is usually limited to produce and other items available at the markets. At the Y, other food waste can also be composted and then it’s all taken to a plant in Delaware that processes and then sells the compost to farmers.
“Composting is not something residents can do on their own,” said Diamond, adding that Y is “going to keep doing it until Manhattan decides to starts its own residential composting program. What we wanted to do is show people it’s pretty easy once they get into the habit of it.”
The program has also been used as an educational tool at the Y, which has a summer camp, and said Diamond, the kids have shown a genuine interest in the process. “Kids understand what a landfill is,” she said. “My kids are saying, ‘Does this go into the landfill or compost?’”
Adults have too, considering that a composting workshop held at the end of June was a big hit and a couple of local restaurants, Northern Spy Food Co. and Hotel Tortuga, have offered gift certificates for participants who are automatically entered into monthly giveaways.
The composting program, which was the idea of Y member Laura Rosenshine, has been in place since March. Diamond said the Y had been looking at ways to make the building more green.
When food waste is emptied into the bin in the lobby, it goes into bio-bags, which are bags made of corn. Initially, the bags were picked up and taken away twice a week, but the pickups have become a little more frequent recently as more members have begun to participate. On average, around 300 pounds of composted materials have been coming into and leaving the Y each week and 180 member families have signed up for the program. To learn more, email email@example.com.
After a couple of weeks of intense heat with temperatures in the high 80s and 90s, even normally fun summer pastimes like outdoor concerts and trips to the park have been put on hold by many families. Instead, New Yorkers have been heading indoors for their fun in the pursuit of air conditioning. Below are a few local, indoor options for events and activities for kids that are available throughout the summer.
A day at the pool
The pool at Waterside Plaza
Local outdoor pools such as Asser Levy and Dry Dock are free to the public, but because of this they can get a tad crowded. Indoor pools at gyms and community centers are sometimes available for the use of non-members during open houses or if members of the public purchase a day pass. The indoor pool at the Waterside Swim & Health Club is one of them, and the cost of using the gym, including its pool for a day is $20, $10 for kids. Thanks to the skylighted roof, swimmers also get a breathtaking view of the East River. Annual memberships for Watersiders as well as non-residents costs $595.
Waterside Swim & Health Club, 35 Waterside Plaza (212) 340-4225 http://www.watersideplaza.com/swim-health
The 14th Street Y also has an indoor pool with day passes costing $20. If you have a friend who’s a member, day passes cost $15 and members get three free passes for guests a year. The Y’s communications director Camille Diamond reported this week that the pool has definitely seen an uptick in use lately by guests. “We have a lot of families coming to escape the heat,” she said.
14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street, 14streety.org (212) 780-0800
Beehives & Buzzcuts, a First Avenue kiddie hair salon and toy shop that also does kids’ parties and classes,
The bounce house at Beehives & Buzzcuts
has recently established itself as a go-to place for parents who know their kids will have something to do there. Following the temporary closure of Stuyvesant Town’s Oval Kids center due to Hurricane Sandy, Beehives began offering, for a fee, play time in its spacious back room, which is also used for art and music classes. However, with class schedules slowing down in the summer, the owners recently moved a bounce house into the space, which kids can play in for 20 minutes for $5 or for free with a purchase of any item that’s $10 or more. The bounce house is up all day from Mondays to Wednesdays. Thursdays it comes down to make room for classes and on Friday it stays up except when there’s a class or party.
“It’s such a relief on days like this because there’s A.C.,” said co-owner Karolyn Massey on a recent sweltering afternoon. “Parents know they can come in and have a cup of coffee while the kids let loose and get out of the sun.”
Massey added that while some parents have been concerned that 20 minutes would be too short of a time for the kids to play in the bounce house — it isn’t.
“The kids are bouncing off the walls after that,” she said.
Beehives & Buzzcuts, 365 First Avenue at 21st Street (646) 476-6294
Puzzles, digital art and square-wheeled trikes
While it may not seem like an obvious choice to bring kids for a day of play, the Museum of Mathematics (a.k.a. MoMath) in Flatiron has become an increasingly popular destination for families as the summer scorches on. The museum, which opened in December, reached the 100,000-visitor mark in April and according to spokesperson Brittnie Mabry, has become even busier throughout the heat wave. A popular attraction for kids of all ages as well as adults has been the Enigma Café, which is actually filled with puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty rather than food.
“Because it’s been so hot people just sit and play forever,” said Mabry.
Other popular stops include a square-wheeled tricycle, which actually does roll due to the catenary curve road that was built for it and a space where kids can create digital sculptures with the goal being to come up with their own shapes. Museum goers get to vote on the best creations of the day and the few winners are then reproduced via a 3-D printer and put on display. Proud parents can then purchase them if they choose. “They’re a couple of hundred dollars, so it’s not cheap,” warned Mabry, “but it’s an option.”
There are also “Math Encounters,” presentations by special guests on the first Wednesday of the month, and the next scheduled speaker, UCLA mathematics professor Terry Tao, is set to discuss how things are measured in space on August 7 at 4 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.
Admission to the museum is $15 for adults, $9 for children, students or seniors and free for toddlers. Tickets can be purchased online. Otherwise a $1 surcharge applies at the door.
National Museum of Mathematics, 11 East 26th Street (212) 542-0566, momath.org
Drop-in classes in art, hip-hop, rock climbing, sing-alongs
Parents looking to have their kids try out a class without the commitment of booking several weeks of sessions might want to check out the NY Kids Club, which through the end of August is offering mid-day, one-session drop of classes. There’s no need to RSVP, but at 12:30 and at 1:15 p.m. each day from Monday through Friday, the Gramercy location offers 45 minute classes for kids ages 3-6 in subjects such as rock climbing, hip-hop, world art, arts and crafts and dance. Classes are $47 each. (Classes vary at other locations of NY Kids Club and classes can change.)
NY Kids Club, Downtown/ Gramercy Park Children’s Enrichment Center, 38 East 22nd Street (212) 375-1100, nykidsclub.com
The 14th Street Y is also offering drop-in classes with the sing-alongs being the most popular ones. Summer singalongs are being offered to kids ages two months to five years on Mondays from 3-3:45 p.m. and from 3:50-4:35 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 3-3:45 p.m., and 4-4:45 p.m. Parents can get a punch card for five sessions for $70 ($55 for Y members) or pay $15 per class.
The Y is also offering a few $15 drop-in fitness classes for moms and babies, such as New Moms Stroll In at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesdays, Mommy and Me on Tuesdays at 3 p.m., New Body, New Baby on Thursdays at 1:45 p.m., Mommy and Baby Yoga on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Postpartum Pilates with Baby on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.
14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street, 14streety.org (212) 780-0800
Tours of Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
A portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, one of many to be part of an upcoming exhibit for kids at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace
Park Ranger guided tours of the period rooms at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace are available on the hour, 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Each tour lasts approximately forty minutes. The exhibit galleries are currently closed for renovations. Admission is free.
During the schoolyear, the place is visited regularly by students while during the summer, young visitors are often those participating in the junior ranger program of the National Park Service, which oversees the TRB. The kids earn badges for every NPS site (typically parks) that they visit. However, the Teddy Roosevelt Birthplace was designated a site due to the 26th president’s devotion to designating areas as parklands.
“He was on the forefront of the conservation movement,” said TRB spokesperson Michael Amato, “and that was pretty much unprecedented in 1901. He was a sickly man and socially limited so he jumped at the chance to get involved with nature.”
Amato also noted that the TRB is often visited by tourists as well as locals. “We have a lot of people from out west who pay homage to him by visiting his boyhood home,” he said.
Kids can become junior rangers by downloading a booklet online at www.nps.gov/thrb/index.htm that’s filled with relevant educational activities.
Though there are no special events scheduled for the summer, the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace will be holding an exhibit of portraits by kids in the fall and at this time through August 31, kids up to age 14 are invited to submit their own artwork depicting Roosevelt. Images should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Other activities are also downloadable online, including a coloring page and a crossword puzzle.
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, 28 East 20th Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway (212) 260-1616