New Kids on the Block


Easy Cooking
Really Cool Foods is a new concept in cooking — food has been prepped and you can put together a meal, with organic ingredients, in less time than it takes to locate a Chinese take-out menu.  And if you have babies or toddlers, there is a special line of fresh organic foods, Small Bites.  There are simple purees, like butternut squash or pear; chunkier combos, like mango, papaya, and banana, or lentil and sweet potato with chicken and rice; and toddler foods, including fish sticks and pasta in tomato sauce with tofu.  You pay for this convenience; a package of two purees is $5.99, but the quality is top-notch.  Delivery within a 10- block radius of the store, 1059 Third Avenue (63rd St.) is free; otherwise, $5.95.  Call (212) 605-0900; the website, coming soon, is (10/06)

The Icing on the Cake
   Cupcake Queens, a brother-and-sister baking team, just launched a business helping parents in Manhattan and Queens.  They bake cupcakes and deliver them to your child’s school so you can celebrate your kid’s birthday with a minimum of fuss.  This is a boon to busy parents who merely have to show up at the appointed time for the class party.  Cupcake Queens also delivers to out-of-school parties — at your home, at a dance studio — but getting a class’ worth of cupcakes to the school on time is unique.  Prices start at $2.50 per cupcake, including juice box and delivery, and all the oversized cupcakes are nut free.  There is a special ‘cupcake of the month’ but the owners, who prefer to remain unnamed, say they can make any flavor.  To order, call (646) 322-2354. (10/06)

Park Paddling
   Loeb Boathouse in Central Park now offers kayaking in addition to rowboats and gondola rides.  The ocean kayaks, which rent for $12 an hour, are also available at Prospect Park, Brooklyn; Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens; and Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island.  Boat rental runs through the fall, and starts again in spring. (10/06)

Nuovo Italiano

   Lo Spazio in Collina, the just-opened Italian Language and Culture Center on the Upper East Side, has Italian classes for kids ages 2-5. Songs, stories, dance, arts and crafts and games serve as an introduction to la buona vita (the good life). The hour-long classes have no more than seven children; there are classes for ages 2-3, 3-4 and 4-5.  There are also adult language classes, wine tastings and film screenings.  135 East 96th St.; for class schedules, call (212) 427-7770.  (10/06)