Archive for the ‘Around Brooklyn & Queens’ Category

101 Things to Do in the Summer with Your Kids

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Summer is a time for slowing down, released from after school activities and homework.  We all hold our childhood summer memories dearly, close to our hearts.  Here are just a few ways to make more summer memories with your kids:

  1. Go to the beach!
  2. Make homemade popsicles
  3. Run barefoot in the grass
  4. Have a movie marathon
  5. Jump rope
  6. Try yoga
  7. Go to the park (one with sprinklers is even better)
  8. Have a picnic dinner or lunch
  9. Kick around a soccer ball
  10. Chalk + sidewalk = inner artist
  11. Play video games together on a rainy day
  12. Play dress-up
  13. Go to a museum
  14. Go swimming
  15. Visit a local botanical garden or community garden
  16. Dance around the living room with abandon
  17. Visit the library
  18. Look up free concerts, movies, etc. in your area
  19. Go camping
  20. Eat watermelon
  21. Go strawberry or blueberry picking
  22. Taco Tuesday
  23. Have a spa day at home
  24. Host a sleepover
  25. Bubbles
  26. Play kick the can
  27. Make your own summer salad buffet
  28. Roast marshmallows
  29. Ride your bike
  30. Go on a hike
  31. Visit a flea market
  32. Make pet rocks
  33. Have a lemonade stand
  34. Go to an amusement park
  35. Plant flowers
  36. Watch fireworks
  37. Make homemade waffles
  38. Go fishing
  39. Write a letter to someone and actually mail it
  40. Catch fireflies
  41. Visit the zoo
  42. Ice cream sundaes
  43. Have a family basketball tournament
  44. Create theme weeks, like animals, space, or whatever your kid loves most.
  45. Make a blanket and pillow fort
  46. Go horseback riding
  47. Visit a farmers market
  48. Sno cones
  49. Play cat’s cradle:’s-Cradle-Game
  50. Go to a street fair
  51. Eat a pickle on a stick
  52. Go to a baseball game
  53. Fly a kite
  54. Go roller skating or skateboarding
  55. Family game night!
  56. Make a summer tote bag
  57. Write a song
  58. Wiggle your toes
  59. Make a fruit salad
  60. Learn how to hula hoop
  61. Play mingolf
  62. Have a scavenger hunt
  63. Dance contest
  64. S’mores
  65. Go bowling
  66. Play tennis
  67. Make a watercolor painting
  68. Have a science day
  69. Breakfast for dinner
  70. Learn origami:
  71. Frisbee
  72. Obstacle course
  73. Make a sandcastle
  74. Give the dog a bath
  75. Make shirts
  76. Visit a farm
  77. Hopscotch
  78. Make homemade pizza
  79. Visit a planetarium
  80. Make a bird feeder
  81. Go on a boat ride
  82. Make a nature collage
  83. Bake cupcakes
  84. Visit a thrift store
  85. Go to a carnival
  86. Make suncatchers
  87. Go for a walk at twilight
  88. See a play
  89. Slip’n’slide
  90. Play stick ball
  91. Science experiment
  92. Playdoh
  93. BBQ
  94. Make a summer photo album
  95. Finger puppets
  96. Star gaze
  97. Volunteer
  98. Have a sidewalk or garage sale
  99. Enjoy the sunshine
  100. Learn something new
  101. Make a list of activities you want to do this summer and hang them on the wall so the kids can check them off.

Alternate Side Suspended

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Today I jolted out of bed panicked, for the first time ever I forgot about my car and alternate side parking!  I dashed down three flights of stairs with bed-head hair and pajamas, my car keys in my clutched fist.  I ran outside bewildered and ran to my car anxiously trying to unlock the club before I got a ticket, no orange piece of paper yet decorating my windshield.  An old man standing by the car in front of me graciously offered to move his car up so that I may get out easily.

This is when it dawned on me that while I was in my rushed state of panic I hadn’t noticed that the block was full of cars.  No one was frantically running to pull out and grab the open spot across the other side.  No one else was worried that it was a whole half hour past the alternate side time plastered on that little red and white sign.  Of course, being a skeptical New Yorker, I walked down to a man four cars ahead of me and asked him if alternate side was suspended.  He said yes, it was a Jewish holiday, today and yesterday.  I thanked him and walked calmly back to my car to put the club back on my steering wheel.  I was relieved and then I had no choice but to laugh at myself, bed head and all.

I think it is time I print out this, the alternate side suspension calendar!

Double Parking: My New Pet Peeve While Driving to Work

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Driving back and forth from Brooklyn (where I work) to Queens (where I live) has been a wild adventure into the chaos that is NYC streets.  While I have found less congested routes, thanks to my resourceful boyfriend, Robert, I still feel apprehensive every time I embark on this journey.

The main reason driving to and fro is mindboggling is: double-parked cars or worse, double parked trucks.  Why is it that if my meter runs out, I am plastered with a ticket in a second after those numbers become 0:00?  However, no matter how many traffic cops I see, I never see anyone ticket a double parked car?

This week I encountered a whole new style of double parking on Dean Street.  Alternate side of the street parking rules were in effect, at least 5 cars remained parked on the wrong side, presumably waiting for the ticket fairy to come.  I don’t care if people want to get a ticket, however there is a bike lane on this already incredibly narrow street, most likely made originally for horse carriages and not motorized machines.  I have no problems with bike lanes either.  What I do have a problem with is people that are obviously too lazy to search for a proper parking space, parking next to the bike lane and the legally parked vehicles along side of it.  These people actually LEAVE there cars on the street in long lines, crowding the entire street!  When they are double parked parallel to a parked car on the other side of the street, it becomes almost impossible to safely pass.

I don’t know why this is allowed to happen.  I don’t understand why this allowed on such narrow streets.  I do know I am tired of this peculiar obstacle course that I need to embark on when driving to work.

According to DOT: Double parking of passenger vehicles is illegal at all times, including Alternate Side Parking Regulation days, regardless of location, purpose or duration.

I understand that parking is hard to find in certain areas of NYC, who are we kidding? All areas of NYC. However, this local tradition of double parking and the authorities turning a blind eye, should perhaps be contained to streets wide enough to accommodate this practice.

School Year End

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I remember a time when the school year end meant that the teacher pulled out the board games and crayons for drawing pictures.  We scrubbed pen marks off our desks with Comet and we talked about what we wanted to do for the summer.  There was always the feeling that we would have a happy ending to our grueling school year, field trips and testing left a faint taste in our mouths.  Cafeteria food would make way for watermelon and tomatoes picked right out of my grandmother’s garden.  It was a whimsical time, school friends bidding goodbye to become reacquainted with the children on our blocks.  We would share our  tears spilled from skinned knees and relish the first time we could spend a dollar on the ice cream truck, it’s sweet melody luring us away from sidewalk games like the pied piper.  The anticipation of block parties and barbecue made our skin tingle.

Today we have playoffs and end of the year meetings.  We have summer activities to schedule and day camps to send our children off too.  We have vacations planned and end of the year parties, for school and for every darn activity our child participated in.  We have summer to prepare for, new swim suits and sunscreen to buy.  I continue to wonder why it costs almost eight bucks a bottle!  The upcoming school year reaching from September into June to suffocate us and make us drop to our knees.  Summer is a break from the busy world we live in all year and it is in danger of extinction.  We need to perserve our summer days. The lazy summer days that never seem to end, particularly the most humid of the bunch are now cast aside.

My third grader had finals this week, she was stressed and studious trying to cram the last bit of information inside her head before school finishes.  She is not given the natural slide from school to summer.  It sometimes causes sadness when I see the tension that the idea of faster and more is better, creates.

Of course, summer will come whether we schedule its everyday or not.  I personally want nothing more than my daughter to sit on our Brooklyn stoop with an Italian ice with a friend.  Sticky goodness running down to their elbows, complaining they are bored while they count the scabs on their legs after running through the park.   School and the accompanying work a distant memory for a few months.

Time Flies

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Time. We wish we all had more of it. We spend money on things that might help us get more time. We spend more time trying to get the money for things that will save us time. We run from place to place trying to catch up with the time we need to have more of. We schedule ourselves and our kids around this concept, day after day, week after week.

We wake up in the morning, slamming the snooze button. Our body is aching for just three more minutes, tired and bleary eyed we say, “ I can afford fifteen minutes more, I’ll spend less time doing something else, except I am not giving up my trip to Starbucks, that isn’t negotiable.”

Remember. There was a time when time meant nothing. It was 1983 (insert your time here), I was about eight years old, there was so much time I was bored. I was actually bored, with nothing to do. Remember being bored? Sometimes I found something to do, like read or play with my siblings. Sometimes I just sat still and stared at the wall. When was the last time you watched a bug fly around a room? Without wanting to get up and smack it with a rolled up newspaper. Remember when the newspaper ink rubbed off unto your fingertips. This faint dark gray ink and you would notice how intricate your fingerprint really was?

I remember being so hot in the summer time, and we would eat popsicles from the ice-cream truck. After we ate the ice pop, the stick became a toy. We would play for hours; my favorite game here in Brooklyn was placing the stick in the middle of two concrete squares on the sidewalk. Each kid stood at the edge of a square and we would throw a bouncy blue hand ball aimed directly for the stick. Whoever hit the sticks past the other person’s line won. We were entertained for a long time, leisurely eating our pops and playing with that stick. Do kids have time to do things like that anymore?
I think that is what old people think, that they had time. Young people think it too. We middle of the road folk, we don’t think that. Is it our present circumstance or are we like all the others that came before us? Do we feel that we have so much to do and no time to do it, that we are different? Is it that life is different in these modern times? I think they are, but what do I know?

Remember, when adults used to get together in huge ambiguous groups, us children never really cared to pay too much attention. The reason is because those semi-familiar adults brought children over as well. They came for a “visit.”

 It was always visiting, along came their children. They couldn’t just leave them home by themselves. “Oh look, see here, there are others like you, small and whiney, go play with them, leave Mommy and Daddy alone, go outside and play.”
Our problem is this. It is our memories. We remember this time we had in abundance. We remember a time that was without play dates, appointments and obligations. We yearn for the simple spontaneous and glorious freedom of days gone by. I leave you with one more image, one more nugget.
Little over ten years ago, we could say this when the phone rang. “I’m sorry, I missed your call, and I was out all day.” The person on the other line understood completely. It’s not like they expected you to answer the phone every time they called…