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Monday, August 15, 2016

Playground Rules

Playgrounds rule the summer. They offer hours of great memories and teach us the rules for socializing... how to wait your turn, share with others, make friends and most important how to have fun. New York City has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities across the five boroughs. All summer those parks will be filled with the patter of little feet and the sound of laughter and joy.  So here are a few reasons why playgrounds rule and some of the best lessons children have learned from them.

Stay Cool - when the temperature reaches 90 degrees the sprinklers and pools in the parks are open.
Brookyn Bridge Park
Credit: Julienne Schaer


Make Friends - some life long friendships have been forged on the playgrounds of New York.
Crotona Park
Daniel Avila / NYC Parks
Play Ball -  develop those skills. The next Lebron or Curry could be playing somewhere on a playground court.

Credit: Jon Lopez

Scream for Ice Cream - every child has learned how to beg, nag and harass his or her parents when the sound of the Ice Cream Truck passes by.



Learn to Say Good Bye - we must all learn how to exit gracefully after a fun filled day at the park.
Please Baby Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Kadir Nelson


Friday, August 7, 2015

Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet Opens Today!




In this age of summer blockbuster movies hearing about a new movie that celebrates poetry is a welcome surprise.  This past Thursday actress and producer, Salma Hayek introduced her new movie, Kahilil Gebran’s The Prophet  at Lincoln Center. The Prophet, a series of poems written in the 1920s by the Lebanese philosopher Kahlil Gibran has inspired generations of young people. Salma Hayek first discovered the book as a young child on her Lebanese grandfather’s bed table.  So her connection to her new project comes with a lot of passion. Putting poetry to film is not an easy task but Ms. Hayek has solicited the help of some very talented animators to bring this story to life. The artists on the eight poems chosen for the film use different techniques of animation. The poems are then strung together by the story of a young girl trying to find her voice. Salma describes this film as a visual and spiritual experience. She believes young people today are misunderstood. "They are looking for purpose in life, this film is about freedom and finding your own voice."

The Prophet will open at The Landmark Sunshine Cinema - 143 East Houston Street, New York on August 7.
For more venues visit their site at http://www.gibransprophetmovie.com/



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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recipes for a Snowy Day

The Snowy Day

From the east to the west coast, we have become a winter wonderland. Now is the perfect time to pull out a copy of Ezra Jack Keats classic story.  The Snowy Day follows Peter 's adventure into the deep snow. This classic book has appealed to generations of young people since it was first published in 1962. In the book, Peter wakes up one morning to find his neighborhood covered with snow, and thus begins his snowy adventure. This winter we have had seen enough snow that children can relate to the surprise of discovering that first snow fall. So make a pot of hot chocolate and share Peter's story with your little ones. Start a great winter storytelling tradition for the next generation.

Learn more about Peter and the other Ezra Jack Keats' characters at the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.



A Snowy Day View from the Window

Snow Cream

Have you ever had snow cream? I have not had the opportunity to enjoy one but one of my best friends always reminisced about the snow cream her mother would make every winter. So the other day I asked her mother for her recipe. Her recipe was very simple catch a bowl of clean, fresh fallen snow, combine milk, cream, sugar and vanilla, and gently fold into snow, and enjoy. Now if I can only catch some clean, fresh snow










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Friday, October 31, 2014

Inside the 42nd Street Library

New York city has some wonderful libraries but few are as impressive as the 42nd Street Library.

I remember going there as a child and always finding it impressive but very intimidating.  I didn't appreciate the workmanship until I was much older.  Sometimes we take things for granted like free libraries. You can learn more about the history of the library in this video. Built over the city's water reservoir, and as the narrator explains still watering the city, this is a great place for a day excursion with the family.  Children always love greeting the lions of the 42nd Street Library.





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Monday, October 20, 2014

Take the A Train: Our First Summer Soiree for 2014



I just decided to take a peek back at our summer adventures before the leaves fall. Every year I look forward to some great summer activities with my nephews and nieces but somehow things don’t always go as planned. Often I am reminded that the destination is only part of the adventure. This year our summer adventures started early with a tea party in June. 

My cousin, Jo from A Gift of Tea, was having her annual summer tea party, and my nieces, Shakina and Yonina wanted to go.   The tea party, which is usually held in midtown, was being held uptown at The Chipped Cup. Each year there is a special theme with a selection of teas for tasting from different regions. Last year teas from Australia were featured. This year the theme was African teas.
The girls have been to a children’s tea party where they had lessons in manners, played parlour games, and they loved it. However, I was a little apprehensive about taking them to an adult event. I wasn’t sure if they would remember the part about manners, and most important traveling from Brooklyn to Harlem can be a long ordeal. So I had to think hard about planning this excursion. Since this year was also a desert tea, I also had to plan for them to eat dinner before going. My ideal choice was to hitch a ride by car with my son but he decided to attend a picnic in Long Island. So my next and only choice was the subway.  Take the A Train to the No 1 Train and get off at 148th St. Believe me, I was not thrilled. I remember as a child taking the A Train from the end of Brooklyn to Harlem to visit my grandmother every Sunday. The ride always seemed like it took forever. I was hoping the girls would not get bored or too tired, and act up.  Fortunately my fears were allayed. 
First of all, from the minute they went through the turnstile, the train ride was an exciting adventure for them.  We weren’t on the train long before someone came on selling her book of poetry.  She talked about love and life. The girls listened attentively so she directed her  attention to them, and they clapped when she finished.  Next a man came on with a long story. He began with “They brought me to New York to help the homeless.” The girls were listening but couldn’t follow his story. Finally, Yonina asked, “Who are they?” Good question but no answer. He must have been new at this because he rambled on for a several train stops, but before he could ask for money, some young men jumped on the train and began singing Lean on Me. The crowd was feeling it.  The first man frustrated after losing his audience dumped some money in the singing duo’s hat and walked off.
Before we realized it we were at 59th Street and changing to the No.1 Train but not before listening to an aria performed by a subway opera singer. At Broadway and 148th St. we listened to a gospel fest by one of the local churches.  Then we headed to Tonelli’s for a light supper.  Shakina ate everything her salad, bread, ravioli. I tried to convince her to slow down and leave room for the tea party. In fact the whole evening she ate everything in sight, which would not have been so impressive if we hadn’t taken her to the doctor a few days before for a lack of appetite. I guess the long ride opened up her appetite.
At the tea party the girls impressed me by tasting all the teas - white teas from Kenya to the rooibos and honey bush tea from South Africa. Of course, Shakina finished all her pastry and tea while Yonina nibbled at everything.
 On the way home we got a nice rendition of New Orleans style jazz at 59th Street. When we got on the A Train, Yonina waited for a few stops then asked “Well? Where is the entertainment?” When I told her there might not be any more for the evening, she closed her eyes and went to sleep. Thanks to the New York subway no one was bored, and culture and tea was had my all.


PS:  To round out their experience, I think I should introduce them to a little Jazz starting off with Ellington's Take the A Train.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Brooklyn Nets Kids' Dance Team Call for Open Auditions



For a city known for its' artistic genius, finding this talent starts early for the New York Nets Dance Team who is holding an open audition for young dancers age 6 to 13.  This month, the team is looking for young dancers to join the Brooklyn Nets Kids, the official junior dance team that performs at games and events at Barclays Center.

Auditions for the coed team will take place Aug. 20 at LIU Brooklyn’s downtown campus,  the young people chosen for the team will performs at 15 to 20 games a year, including the playoffs. The dancers age 6 to 13 are paid an undisclosed amount for their work. This year, the head coach for the Kids, choreographer Tanisha Scott — who has created dances for BeyoncĂ©, Rihanna and Sean Paul — is expecting more than 500 applicants for the 16 to 17 spots.

The team offers two workshops to help kids prepare for the Aug. 20 open call. There, members of the Brooklynettes dance team will teach kids routines from last year’s season for $40 a session, or $35 per session with the purchase of both sessions. The workshops will take place Aug. 6 and 13 at LIU Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Nets Kids dance team audition will take place at 5 p.m. on Aug. 20 at the gymnasium at 1 University Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn. For a complete list of audition rules or to sign up a workshop, visit the team's website

Read more about this story at DNA Info and see their video above.




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