I just spent seven jam-packed days of nostalgia and appreciation of the ever-evolving city of New York. The weather was perfect, the spring blooms at their peak and that dazzling mix of old world and high tech chic on display everywhere.
I try to make it back to New York at least once a year, usually for events, this time my epic High School reunion. I often travel solo but this time my companion was my nine-year-old. There was so much I wanted to share with him and narrowing down our plans was painful…and true to how I roll, the best things happened serendipitously.
We walked by the West 4th Street Courts just a block from my mom’s apartment, a famous spot where Lew Alcindor played before becoming the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an iconic public court where legions of other basketball greats have shot hoops over the years. Tucked in the the back are handball courts — I had forgotten about the New York obsession with the game. A tiny pinky ball, perhaps a glove and a wall, that’s all that’s needed. The sport, now called “American Handball”, is a big draw for beach goers, but as I traveled the city I was surprised to see so many courts in every borough. My son was fascinated and wanted to play. A player at W. 4 Street let him on the court to give it a try and he was smitten. The guy even gave him a ball — I LOVE NY. Continue reading »
After more than 20 years of wrangling, the Chinese government has granted the US media company the right to build a fanciful park in one of China’s largest and richest cities. A Disney park already exists in Hong Kong but the Shanghai venture will be the first in Mainland China.
It was my son’s 10th birthday and we always try to celebrate with a super summery adventure. One year we went to Disneyland. Last year, The Police Reunion Concert (my choice) and this year I deftly averted a trip to Vacaville, CA and Scandia; a nightmarish Scandinavian themed, mini-golf/ arcade experience, in 100 plus degree heat (thanks to a colleague who did a weather check for me). We settled on Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a West Coast Coney Island if you will, kinda lost in time; totally manageable. So off we went ready for rides, perhaps swimming, lots of sugary treats and maybe a skeeball game or two (my grandma Viola was the queen of skeeball in Hollywood, Florida and I have taken up the passion). We had a blast on the flume, roller coasters and my favorite, a hang gliding twirly thing; although the chin rest smelled super funky sweaty. I even did some body surfing and a sea lion joined me about 30 yards away. But the highlight o the day was the FREE circus performance on the beach. CIRQUE MAGNIFIQUE has performances July 12th- August 20th. There are two free shows daily; Monday –Thursday: noon & 3:00 and Sunday: noon & 6:00. It is no Cirque du Soleil, but we knew immediately the performers were Quebecois (what’s in the water there?). It was so adorable, I would venture… enchanting. It wasn’t jaw dropping feats but completely entertaining and so lovely to enjoy in the sun, rubbing your feet in the sand; don’t miss it!
Traveling with kids is certainly different than it was before I became a parent, but one doesn’t have to limit oneself to Theme Parks and chicken nuggets. You can experience new places, travel to exotic locales and integrate, even more, into the local scene with kids in tow.
It’s great to get tips from other parents who love to travel with their brood. Many parents do this informally with their parenting groups or extended circle of friends. I am constantly swapping links, information and stories with other parents wanting to take their kids traveling. A new site called trekaroo.com offers an interactive experience for traveling parents. Continue reading »
We make a pilgrimage to Coney Island every summer when I visit my family in New York City. It is a long and eventful subway ride from Manhattan to the tip of Brooklyn. It reminds me of my childhood: the thrill of the rides, the joy of winning a crappy stuffed animal, the Nathan’s hot dog, the skee ball frenzy, the mix of cultures and characters and so much more. Now, one ingredient in the classic summer recipe is gone. Astroland has closed, yet another New York gem unable to make it in these hard times. The three-acre amusement park, inspired by the 1960’s space race, was one of my favorite spots. A recent article in the New York Times laments the loss. The iconic rocket ship that bears its name in the shadows of the Wonder Wheel has been a backdrop for many a photo in my family. One day when I was a kid, we were headed to Coney Island for a family outing, and a 94-year-old neighbor scoffed, with a twinkle in her eye: “Coney Island, that place was seedy in 1905.” That’s what I love about it! I often recommend a trip out to Coney Island to friends who ask me for my New York favorites. I’ll have to see what it is like minus Astroland.