Back in 1992, when the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy (BYCA) began, it had only 48 students who rehearsed in an empty classroom at Brooklyn Friends School. Today, the group has flourished into four different choruses, with over 250 student singers. Last fall, it moved into its own building in Cobble Hill, with almost 6,000 square feet of rehearsal space and practice rooms. Although the chorus is Brooklyn-based, members come from all over the city. What makes them choose this group over another closer to home?
There’s paradox in a good marionette show: first-rate puppeteers make the strings psychologically invisible, so you can see them . . . and yet you can’t. If it’s a quality performance, you feel like you’re watching little actors, not wood and paint. For ages 3 and up, Jack and the Beanstalk, as presented by the Brooklyn-based Puppetworks, is a case in point.
"From the second I started playing, I couldn't put it down," says Tommy Colletti of the guitar he first held at age 12. Now, at 37, Colletti is not only still playing guitar, he has made it his business to put guitars and other musical instruments into the hands of young and old alike.
In New York City, kids can go to Broadway shows, opera, classical music concerts … but until recently, they couldn’t go to a jazz club. Then Blue Smoke, a kid-friendly restaurant with a basement jazz club, Jazz Standard, started a Sunday jazz brunch.
The multi-generational audience arrives at the magical Friday occasion by way of a swanky elevator at the Art Deco Waldorf-Towers Hotel. It’s one of a bank of elevators used by celebrities, politicians, Secret Service agents and the dignitaries they’re paid to protect. But this is no VIP function. Or a pop star’s entourage. Instead, it’s a happy, motley group of kids and other folks primed to be razzle-dazzled by an old-school magician.
Come in all units…over. Not just boys want to be police officers any longer…over. Women on Patrol, the new exhibit at The New York City Police Museum, is for kids who are just beginning to form their social consciousness.
In 1966, Congress declared the Hudson River Valley a National Heritage Area. Many of the beautiful great estates here, with their magnificent views of the Hudson River, were built and decorated by famous architects and designers as country retreats for families of enormous wealth. All are open to the public and are within 75 miles of mid-Westchester.
In each of her picture books, Nina Crews has incorporated her neighborhood, using Brooklyn locations and residents in her photo collages. Her latest community endeavor, Neighborhood Mother Goose (Greenwillow Books, $15.99), brings classic Mother Goose rhymes to Park Slope (where she lives), as well as to Fort Greene and Coney Island.
If you have an animal lover in your house, a visit to the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem is not to be missed. The Center offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe and interact with these misunderstood and often maligned creatures.
Actor and director Matthew Modine recognizes the importance and power of the arts for young people.
New York families now have a number of unique options when it comes to exploring the city's myriad museums and galleries. Several new art enrichment programs have been successfully launched in recent years, lending families an opportunity to experience art from different perspectives and have fun in the process.
Not every worthwhile midtown theater event takes place on the Great White Way. Sometimes you have to trek a little bit north-eastward to catch one of the most family-friendly, albeit girl-slanted, shows in town.
Although Mardi Gras isn’t on the calendar until February, the spirit of Carnival appears nightly under the big top, in Big Apple Circus’ new production, Carnevale!
Cassius Clay rolls a flaming torch down his chest, and then nonchalantly inserts it in his mouth (Clearly, this would be in the "Don’t try this at home" category). A little later, three masked men on stilts dance to Caribbean music, making moves from eight feet up that I wouldn’t try on the ground. We’ve seen limbo dancers, colorfully-costumed dancers re-enacting 18th-century life in Bridgetown, and barely-costumed dancers shaking and leaping to every form of music known to Barbados in the past 300 years.
Little girls will be awestruck this fall as they explore the unique world of American Girl Place New York, opening on Fifth Avenue, Saturday, November 8. The 43,000-square-foot retail and entertainment site is designed to reflect American girls both past and present.
The American Museum of Natural History's Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites has the drama of science, not Hollywood, but it's not one speck of primordial space dust less dramatic for that. What meteorites tell us about the origins of the Earth, our Sun, and the history of the solar system is a narrative laced up and down the line with the acute drama of nothingness and existence.
Before you announce to the kids you’re on the way to a museum, ask them if they’d like to hear a cool story about dinosaurs or go on a treasure hunt and take home their very own art project. Then subtly mention the location is a brand-new fun gallery with its own children’s space and fun stuff to buy in the shop. When you arrive at the newly opened Dahesh (rhymes with “Marakeesh”) Museum, at 580 Madison Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets, you can then casually drop the word “museum”, and by this point, your kids won’t even care.
You’re never too old — or too young — for magic, a fact that producer Michael S. Chaut must have realized six years ago. Chaut, a magician and producer of Magical Nights, Inc., produces both Monday Night Magic weekly at the Soho Playhouse, and Magic Matinee every Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Jekyll & Hyde restaurant, in the West Village.
At the Goudreau Museum, the formula adds up to fun. Founded over 20 years ago by the late Bernard Goudreau, an engineer and mathematics teacher, the museum has served as a haven for both students and teachers with an interest in mathematics.
The New York Transit Museum, housed in a decommissioned subway station in Brooklyn, had no air conditioning or heat when it closed for renovations two years ago. Climate control is still spotty, but the spiffed up museum is much more comfortable now; it even sports a computer resource center, a vast improvement over the olden days of 2001, when the entire museum staff shared just two phone lines. For most visitors old and young, the highlight of the newly renovated museum is the display of vintage subway cars that you can board.
As city students began the new school year last month, the curtain went up for another year of Theater for a New Audience — known best by its acronym TFANA — and the educational programs it runs throughout the boroughs, especially those in Queens (former Districts 24, 25 and 30).
With a new cast, the tender, coming-of-age story, Summer of the Swans, the new Theatreworks/USA production that enjoyed a successful summer run at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, opens the company’s regular season of weekend performances, October 11, at the Auditorium at Equitable Tower.
Now that summer is fast becoming past and the rush of the new school year has taken over, how easy it is to forget that the outside world awaits. Before packing memories of outdoor fun as you would another school lunch, plan a trip to the Audubon Center in Greenwich where it is now peak hawk-watching season.
Peter Applebome always imagined himself as a Little League dad, but when his son, Ben, developed an interest in the Boy Scouts, Applebome followed him, and in 1999, they became members of Troop 1 in Chappaqua. Over the next three years, Applebome found himself river rafting in the rain, cheering for Ben during a snow-less Klondike Derby, eating mystery one-pot stews by a soggy campfire, and learning to love the array of offerings — some traditional, others more subtle — of the Scouting life.
While the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is moving forward into the 21st century, with a major expansion planned, it is also going back in time to the Cretaceous Period with its new exhibit, Dinosaurs!