An App for Savvy NYC Moms on the Move

iKidNY is the must have app for savvy NYC moms on the move, and diligent urban daddies too. We don’t stop being efficient New Yorkers just because we have little ones!

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Developed by a New York City mom who just wanted to make her life a little easier, one click on the guide gets you information and directions to the closest:

• Indoor Activities – Because on a rainy day, a finicky kid cannot be entertained by your apartment walls alone.
• Outdoor Activities – Because without NYC parks and playgrounds, our kids (not to mention us) would go bananas.
• Changing Tables – Because accidents cannot be planned.
• Subway Elevators – Because after all, who wants to schlep up and down stairs? Save your energy for pilates.
• Kid-Friendly Restaurants – Because Dad needs to know where he can multi-task junior and the Yankee game.
• Super easy one touch navigation
• Interactive neighborhood map for searching anywhere in the 5 boroughs
• One touch auto-connect to all phone numbers and websites
• Detailed directions to any location
• Favorites option for go-to listings
• Radius setting option
• Ability to plot favorites or individual categories on a map
• Email function to contact the developer with additional listings or feedback
• Logo and application graphics by Hagopian Ink
• Private database built and managed by us

iKidNY is the brain child of a New York City mom who was desperate to find an easier way of navigating the city with kids. Lara Serebrier Paul, a Harlem resident and native New Yorker, found navigating NYC with a new baby a challenge. Sick of digging for her home-made pocket guide of local changing tables and subway elevators, Lara decided to take her scribbles to a new level. She thought to herself “wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to find the closest kids stuff while out and about in NYC?” Then one day, as she was watching the “there’s an app for that” iphone commercial, a light bulb went off! Lara immediately set out to create the perfect app for NYC parents on the move. She made it her mission to develop an app that would locate the closest changing tables, subway stations with elevators, kid-friendly restaurants, parks, hair stylists, playgrounds, museums, libraries, and indoor playspaces, all at the touch of a button. Everything a savvy NYC parent on the go could possibly need! And thus, iKidNY was born.

Lara would like to thank Hagopian Ink for their spectacular designs, as well as her unbelievable family for their amazing love, support, and patience during the development of this app.

Peter and the Starcatcher Captures Your Heart and Makes Your Sides Ache

I was so thrilled when I received an invitation from Culture Mom Media to see Peter and the Starcatcher since it’s a show I’ve been wanting to see for a long time (it’s the winner of 5 Tony Awards and has recently moved from Broadway to Off-Broadway). Brilliantly written, directed, acted and produced, this adult prequel to Peter Pan, is the ultimate theatre treat from beginning to end. As an actress, it’s no secret that I’m a theatre snob, but the reality is there is just not that much great theatre around anymore. Starcatcher is a refreshing exception, proving again, that sometimes the best theatre is the simplest and the most under produced.

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Peter and the Starcatcher is an adventure on the high seas based on the book by the same name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. A no-named orphan boy (soon to be “Peter” and ultimately “Peter Pan”) meets a new friend, Molly. Together, along with their two orphan friends (“The Lost Boys”), they fight to prevail over pirates (including “Captain Black Stache”) in hopes of keeping their treasure safe. The story manages to answer many questions leading up to the Peter Pan story we all know and love like how Neverland got its name, how Captain Hook lost his hand, why the crocodile ticks, etc. and it’s fun to hear the audible “Oh”’s throughout the audience as these discoveries are made.

The show is nothing short of brilliant. Armed with an amazing script that enhances the familiar story, witty puns, best of the biz actors, and creative direction, Peter and the Starcatcher does not have any weak spots. The lack of sets, props and costumes actually adds to the charm and ingenuity of the production. Best of all, the show is hysterically funny. The kind of wail out loud funny for two hours. My husband and I were literally poking each other dying with laughter for the entire length of the show. The funniest of funny was positively “Black Stache” who even manages to crack up the other actors at various times throughout the show.

Peter and the Starcatcher is definitely an adult show so it’s the perfect opportunity for a date night! In fact, go to dinner after – you’ll actually talk about something other than the kids. Promise! The theatre is the perfect intimate setting and they even serve you “adult” drinks in your seats! We can’t wait to see it again. An absolutely enchanting, inspiring, and hysterically funny evening at the theatre.

Elf the Musical on Broadway

My family was delighted to be invited to see Elf the Musical on Broadway. We didn’t know what to expect but it didn’t take long for us to fall in love with the story that unfolded.

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Buddy is the clever story of a young man who, after growing up among the elves on the North Pole, realizes he has different heritage and sets out to find his true parents in New York City. He has many adventures locating his family and adapting to life in the big city, and he eventually helps usher in the Christmas spirit. Terrific costumes and really great music helped show off a truly fun holiday story that was brought to life by a vibrant cast. The casting was spot on and the musical numbers were fantastic. Buddy was perfect, he had us laughing out loud!

This was our four-year-old’s first evening show. He was enthralled from start to finish and now sleeps with a Buddy doll every night. The story’s themes also shined through with some cozy moments for the family to share. The snow fall at the end was magical (see picture below). This is a terrific night out for the family to enjoy this holiday season! Thanks to The Moms and Sierra Mist for an unforgettable night out with the family!

Dinosaur Zoo minutes from NYC!

Go 90 MILLION years back in time and experience the world when it was inhabited by DINOSAURS! I was so thrilled to be invited by MamaDrama to attend the new FIELD STATION: DINOSAURS. Now, our three year old boy is VERY into dinosaurs so we had a feeling he would enjoy it, but we had no idea how much fun this modern day Jurassic Park excursion would be for the whole family!

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We set off in our car for NJ on a hot Sunday afternoon. As we approached the field station we knew this was going to be a unique adventure. As our three year old, Caleb, would gladly tell you, how often do you get to romp around in a “dinosaur zoo” in the “wild” with “real live dinosaurs”?!? Even though he expressed to us many times that dinosaurs are “extinct”, he kept saying that these were “real live dinosaurs” and no wonder – these life size robotic reincarnations of dinosaurs are so lifelike – watch a video here. It is so fun walking around the park exploring each dinosaur and learning about who they were and how they lived. Our son loved being a “paleontologist” and not only enjoyed his time there but learned so much. We especially enjoyed the “T-Rex Feeding Frenzy” where you watch a dinosaur feeding (they eat lots of grass and lots of herbs) and a little show as well as the Fossil Excavation. It was VERY hot on the day that we went so I recommend bringing along plenty of sunscreen. Also, there is a lovely picnic area where you can rest in the shade and have some lunch. There are a few food options there but you can also bring your own! As you walk along the path visiting the dinosaurs there are several stations along the way where you can stop. There was a fun Lego station with individual logo tables which was a big hit for us.

Our nine month old son enjoyed it almost as much as the three year old! He was fascinated by the dinosaurs and especially loved to hear them roar. He also really loved the show. I would say the only tough part was getting through the gift shop on the way out. The boys wanted to take everything home!

FIELD STATION: DINOSAURS is a great half day adventure for the family as it can be covered in a couple of hours. It was a thrilling day out with the family and I highly recommend it (especially if you and/or your kids are dinosaur lovers)! Check out some pics from our day out!

A Godspell For The 21st Century

Welcome to 21st century Godspell, filled with audience participation, references to Charlie Sheen, Steve Jobs, Lindsay Lohan and Donald Trump, and wine served on stage during intermission. Set in the Circle in the Square Theatre, an intimate theatre in the round, this modern day production of Stephen Schwartz’s classic musical, veers from the original.

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While the story itself remains the same, many of the songs and much of the dialogue have been modernized. The actors take the stage with cell phones in hand, break into rap and beat box, pull audience members on stage to play charades and pictionary, refer to current events and pop culture, and even do the electric slide while singing “Day By Day”. At one point, a character says, “It’s your father. He wants you to add him on Facebook.”

There are no traditional sets. The story is told on a stage that is mostly bare, a trap door to a pool of water beneath, a ladder, and some other sparse props. Four guitarists are placed around the stage in the midst of the audience, a drum set is placed in the back row, and a piano is built into the stage. The focus here is on the energetic and talented cast. In addition to being strong singers, the nontraditional cast engages in some innovative maneuvers, at one point creating a person out of pieces of newspaper and at another ripping paper to simulate the sound of tap shoes. The direction by first time Broadway director Daniel Goldstein is sharp, witty, and youthful.

This is indeed a refreshing twist on the show we all know and love. Treat yourself to a fun night out. You know you deserve it.

Queen of the Mist – A tour de force… in a GYM…

The other night, I attended a show… IN A GYM. This was not one of my kids’ shows, but rather an exquisite bare bones production of a new Michael John LaChiusa musical that whisks you away to another world. Queen of the Mists is the true story of Anne Edson Taylor who, in 1901, attempts to jump down Niagra Falls in a barrel. Tony Award nominee, Mary Testa, literally leaves you speechless as Anne Edson Taylor. In her mind blowing tour de force, she is perfection in this role. As Anne says, “I am a phenomenon.” And she is. Mary Testa is supported by a larger than life cast and a brilliant vehicle of dense music, lyrics and direction.

The audience becomes completely invested in Queen of the Mist from two sets of bleachers opposite each other, just feet away from the action. There is a small orchestra down one end behind a screen, and the set consists of little more than an old piano on wheels, a bath tub, and pieces of wood on wheels (which they use to “row down the river”). The strong ensemble cast of Broadway vets each convincingly transform into multiple roles throughout the show. The brilliant music by Michael John LaChiusa, of The Wild Party Fame, is rich and sophisticated. A real treat after so many empty rock musicals of late. And the direction, by Jack Cummings III, ties it all together seamlessly.

Thank you MamaDrama for inviting me and thank you Transport Group for commissioning this brilliant piece. I might just have to see it again.

Treat yourself to date night in the gym. You will laugh and cry and are guaranteed to talk about something other than the kids the whole way home.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants on the Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is another neighborhood that you will be hard-pressed not to see a stroller or ten on any block at ANY time of day.

Of course with Central Park to the East and the Hudson River to the West – why wouldn’t families want to live in this diverse yet super kid-friendly locale? Other great kiddie favs on the storied UWS include the American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of Manhattan – both great ways to spend a wet, warm Spring day with the kids.

While you are exploring the `hood – here are some of MiniMunchers.com favorite places to bring the kiddies for a great meal.

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ – Yes, Brother Jimmy’s is a bar, but who knew that Kids eat FREE, YES FREE with an adults entrée – AND the food is good. The menu is also a fun diversion – instead of spelling out the entrée selections – there are pictures for Munchers to guess – like a “chicken” and a “hand” for Chicken Fingers.

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Café Blossom – Finally, a great organic and yes VEGAN restaurant close to the Museum of Natural History. You and your mini will be full and happy after eating at this Upper West Side spot. Situated right next to Kidville (which BTW offers great kiddie haircuts) your tot can be “fooled” into eating 100% vegan “grilled cheese” or “soy sticks” – don’t forget the vegan chocolate for dessert…YUM!

Penomet – Yes, they have a typical kids menu (grilled cheese with fries, mac N’ cheese, chicken fingers with fries, etc.) but it all comes with a drink and dessert (ice cream scoop) for $7.95. A great deal for great portions. The waiters are used to kids – crayons and a coloring mat are presented upon seating – and you can easily roll a stroller in (when it is not crowded) I WOULD avoid the weekend brunch as it does get crowded with a hip UWS brunching crew (I guess the bloody mary’s are great!) BEWARE the bathrooms are VERY small and not conducive to changing little ones.

Community food & juice – Yes, it is ALL the way up there but it is a very spacious restaurant (owned by a mom) with high chairs and alas, changing tables in the bathroom. Also – on the weekends from 9-10 kids get free oatmeal with caramelized apples and cinnamon butter with each adult entrée.

The West 79th Street Boat Basin Café and Pier i Café – I am grouping these together as they are seasonal restaurants, but DEFINITELY they are MUSTS when the weather turns warm. The Boast Basin at 79th Street has a little more to offer the minis – but they both have amazing views and the kids are free to LITERALLY run around while you enjoy some rays and maybe even a beer or glass of wine with dinner. They are two of the few places you can let the table manners slide a bit and let the kids be kids while eating lunch/dinner.