Monthly Archives: May 2017

Ideas for Staying Cool AND Having Fun This Summer!



Photo of Shipwrecked Miniature Golf, by Sai Mokhtari

OK…it’s starting to get hot, and it’s only going to get hotter. You’re in your little (hopefully) air conditioned apartment wondering how you and your family will be able to play and enjoy your day without melting into a puddle. You’re sick of the local playground water feature and need a change. What to do??? Here are some ideas, including awesome public pools and for those SUPER hot days…indoor play spaces!


Shipwrecked Miniature Golf: Right in our back yard of Red Hook, take the family out for a fun day of miniature golf (perhaps followed by a seafood lunch at Brooklyn Crab – also in Red Hook)! This place is indoor, has 18 holes and even theatrical lighting and special effects as you travel through the different themed areas of the course! They also host singers, magicians, jugglers and more. 621 Court St, 2nd Floor.

City Treehouse: For those who are adventurous and are willing to take your child into Manhattan, check out the City Treehouse. Inside this play area is an interactive water play, a treehouse themed indoor play area, even a cavern illuminated by stars! It’s in Chelsea at 129A W 20th St. (between 6th and 7th Ave), Manhattan.

Lefrak at Lakeside: You probably know about the amazing splash pad with 41 jets (AMAZING)…but, have you considered the other activities here? Rollerskating of course… and what about renting a single or double surrey bike for your family, and go explore Prospect Park? OR, go on a pedal boat where they allow one lap child. You could spend an entire day here, there is so much fun to be had!

Brooklyn Public Pools: There are a plethora of free public pools right here in Brooklyn. A few of the favorites are the Red Hook Pool, the Sunset Park Pool, the Brooklyn Bridge Pop-up Pool and the Double D Pool in Gowanus. Remember to read all of the rules before planning your trip (check out “Know Before You Go” section here:

The NY Transit Museum: This underground super COOL museum is where you can sit on a vintage car, sit at the wheel of a city bus and check out a real subway platform and tracks with cars from different times in history. The interactive exhibits are so exciting for the little ones. Boerum Place at Schermerhorn Street in downtown Brooklyn.

NY Beaches: Of course there is Coney Island, but how about Jacob Riis in Queens? There’s a playground, concession stand and a boardwalk. Or maybe try Cedar Grove Beach in Staten Island, known as the cleanest of the Staten Island beaches.

SeaGlass Carousel: Pretend you’re underwater and check out the new SeaGlass Carousel, where you sit on an iridescent fish, instead of a horse – and “swim” up and around in all different directions. It’s amazing and such a quick subway ride on the R to Battery Park.

American Museum of Natural History: Check out those dinosaurs and explore and discover in the “Discovery Room”, where kids can dig for dinosaur bones or search for animals in a baobab tree. Microscopes, animals and other fun things are there for your child to explore. There’s even a story time here on Monday mornings for preschoolers!

NYC Water Taxi:  Thinking about going into Manhattan with the family?  Instead of the usual subway ride, get a little creative and take your family on the NYC water taxi from Red Hook into Wall Street!  Best part…it’s free on Saturdays and Sundays.  See the beautiful views of the NYC skyline while you cool off in the summer breeze.   After, head over to Pearl Street where you will find several restaurants with outdoor seating.


While you’re at it, treat yourself to a gelato or an ice cream. The best ice cream in town can be found at Ample Hills Creamery, which has a location in Gowanus that includes a rooftop deck with chairs! And check out L’Albero Dei Gelati in the Slope for some incredibly yummy gelato.  Bring on the heat, this can also be the most fun time of the year here in Brooklyn. Enjoy!!!

Dear Mom: I’m Sorry, Thank You…and You’re Totally Amazing


written by jen valu


Dear Mom:  I’m Sorry, Thank You…and You’re Totally Amazing


I want to start this letter to you with an apology.  I often tortured you as a teenager.  How could I be so mean to the sweetest, most kind, loving and giving mother a girl could ask for.  I was insensitive and incredibly mean to you at times.  I remember purposely making you cry, telling you I hated you over and over again.  I wish with all of my being that I could take back those hateful words and replace them with what I was really feeling at the time:  “I’m miserable.  I’m depressed.  I’m hormonal.  I’m bored with life.  I want to be somewhere else. I’m not happy and I don’t know how to handle anything right now, I feel out of control”.  But instead, I turned my anger and frustration at life onto you, the one person who devoted her life to keeping me and my sister fed, keeping us safe, and most importantly – loving us unconditionally.    I’ve apologized for this behavior later in life, but again mom…I’m so sorry and I hope I’ve made it up to you since.

Now that I’m a mother of two, one being a little girl, I cringe when I fast-forward ahead 10 years.  Is that what my future will hold as well? Now she is only 4, and full of love.  “You’re my best friend, mommy”.  “You make my heart so happy”.  “I love being with you, I always miss you when I’m at school”.  “I wish you could snuggle with me ALL night”.    How do I make sure the transformation never happens from the sweetest little girl to a miserable teen full of angst like her mommy?   I don’t think you could have done anything differently, you did everything right.

Moving on…I’m writing this letter to also say THANK YOU mom.  Thank you for all the time you devoted to me and my little sister.  For how unselfish you always were.  For letting us rule the radio stations in the car, for driving us sometimes 20 minutes to a friends’ house.  Thank you for making the most incredible meals…so good that my friends were begging to have dinner at our house.  For always letting me eat all the leftovers, and accepting my apology when I ate them and it was meant for dinner the next night.  Thank you for always having the most comfortable shoulder for me to rest my head on.  Thank you for taking me to soccer, to ballet and to too many New Kids on the Block concerts.  Thank you for laughing when I made fun of your “bumble bee” glasses or how you pronounce “latte” like “la- tey”.   Thank you for always being so encouraging when it came to the clarinet.  Tryouts upon tryouts, concerts, rehearsals every Saturday morning.  You made sure I never missed one.  Thank you for driving us to all of the colleges and tours, and allowing us the means to go to the schools we desired.   

Most of all, thank you for showing me the most unconditional love.  Thank you for loving me even when I didn’t deserve it.   Thank you for everything.  

Before I end this letter I need to give you some much needed praise.  I’m not sure you fully understand just how proud my sister and I are of you.  Not only did you take such amazing care of us, but thank you for always taking such special care of dad, especially at the end.  When he died 12 years ago, you unwillingly took over his company and with grace, helped it dissolve and eventually close after the worst economic periods (hopefully) in our country’s short history.   You managed to pick up the pieces, as painful as that was, and sold our home of 30 years .  You moved to a beautiful place by the sea and started a new life.  You became strong and independent.   You are now the lobster-roll connoisseur.   You fell in love again. You are happy.  

I love you mom, I’m eternally grateful for you loving me and my little sister so much, unconditionally, through the good and the bad.   Thank you for also being the most fun, silly and loving Gaga/Grandma our kids could ask for.  Dad sure is proud of you.