Kid’s Birthday at The Little Gym

ZebranumberwebI am happy to be childfree in NYC.  But sometimes I love hanging out with the kiddies because they make me feel super young again.  This Sunday was my goddaughter’s 1st birthday party and I got a chance to do just that.  Since she is one of the first babies I am truly close with in the city, I was excited when her mom told me she booked a party at a place called The Little Gym.  I was a big gymnast in my younger days and I still can’t resist the pull of a balance beam.

The Little Gym on the Upper East Side was a super fun place for a kid’s birthday.  My goddaughter has a lot of cousins who are older than her and range in age from 3 to 10.  She also has friends from daycare that were invited.  The Little Gym has space for eating (and the lovely staff helped us set up decorations and food) and they have an enclosed gym for little people (and the adults that watch them).  For one hour the energetic and fun-loving staff led the kids in activities.  The activities were fun for all the varied ages and the staff worked great with everyone.  They played with a giant rainbow parachute, they swung on the bars and jumped on a giant inflatable trampoline like thing.  All of the kids seemed to have a great time.  The grown-ups could participate in the gym time or they could sit in the food area and watch the fun from afar (making the party fun for kids and grownups).

All in all, I was impressed with the party the Little Gym put on and I would recommend it if you were looking for a fun birthday activity.

The Story Pirates at Symphony Space

1861545_300My new apartment (that I moved to 8 months ago) is really close to Symphony Space.  Symphony Space always has a great variety of things happening, including author talks and book readings, musical events and movies.  I have been trying to get myself there for a long time and last Friday I finally succeeded!  Even better, the tickets were free!

I have been following the Story Pirates since I saw them perform at Ars Nova several years ago.  I follow them on twitter and I re-tweeted them for a chance to win tickets to the Benefit Show and I won!  As a side note, I know a lot of people who have had success winning tickets on twitter, so definitely try it out if you are looking for a cheaper way to do stuff in the city.

The Story Pirates are a great not-for-profit group that takes talented actors around the schools of NYC.  The actors work with kids on their creative writing skills and then the Story Pirates choose stories those kids write to perform.  Listening to stories from kids is very amusing and watching grown-ups sing songs like “My Cat is Mine, Not Yours” had me laughing super hard.  The end of the benefit show had the cast raising money by letting kids put cream pies in their teachers’ faces, a clever and cute way to raise much needed funds. If you have kids in a school in NYC or if you want to support a great group, check out the Story Pirates!

Tertulia

I spent a week in Spain in December and really came to love all things Spanish.  The thing I miss the most about my time in Spain though is the wine! Spanish wine is some of my favorite and when I saw that Tertulia had wines on tap and an open air area, I was ready to try it on the first summer like evening we had.

We went on a Sunday around 4:30.  We were told we could sit at the bar and order drinks and cold food, but most of the menu wouldn’t be available until a little later.  We were agreeable, and I love a beautiful bar, so I was happy to wait it out and try the wine.  We started with a carafe of white.  The wine came in clay pitchers, which gave the place an authentic feel.  We ordered a meat and cheese plate (one of my favorites) and snacked while enjoying the vino.  When the time came to order hot food, although we were offered a seat in the restaurant, we were having such a fun time at the bar, we declined.  We DID order some of the hot food and I cannot stop raving about the jamon croquetas.  Do you like ham gooey cheese warmed up and fried in a delish mix? Then order these! Even my husband, who isn’t a big fan of cheese, dug in for seconds.  They were AMAZING!

The vibe at this place was exactly what I wanted for a fun end to a chill Sunday-funday.  I love restaurants that really pull off local flair, and this one took me back to Spain and had me planning my next trip (to both the restaurant and the country).

Aerial Yoga at Om Factory

hammocks-oyfI bought a Groupon for Om Factory back in January.  Every time I considered using it to try one of their “Aerial Yoga” classes, I chickened out.  Thanks to my Summer Project and my drive to check new things off the list, however, I made it to a class!

I arrived for the Aerial Yoga Foundations class at noon on a Monday.  I was hoping for a smaller crowd so that I would be less embarrassed when I fell off my “hammock.”  The front desk folks at Om Factory in Union Square were so nice!  I didn’t feel weird about being new to the whole Aerial Yoga thing and the instructor, Kevin, took some time to hang my hammock at the right height and was extremely friendly too.

I was one of several people brand new to Aerial Yoga in the class and I hope I wasn’t the only one totally intimidated by the woman who arrived early and worked on all sorts of upside-down poses and twists.  Once class began, Kevin led the class through traditional yoga moves (like downward dog) and added some more challenging poses that really used the hammocks.  The entire class was extremely challenging, but Kevin was welcoming and approachable.

At the end of class you cuddle up in the hammock, doing a version of pigeon pose in the pod, and then, finally, resting in savasana (corpse pose) while fully hanging in the hammock.  I found I couldn’t calm my mind as well as I could when I was resting on the ground, but still this was an incredibly invigorating experience.  At times I felt 10 years old again!

Smush

photo-4Smush is trying to create another new dessert trend in NYC.  Instead of cupcakes or donuts, they are using cookies to try and create the ultimate ice cream sandwich.  On a hot evening we decided to see if the spot was as delicious as it sounds.  Smush has a somewhat complicated ordering process that they try to make clear with signs.  First, you pick your cookie flavor (I opted for Red Velvet, but there were maybe 8 different kinds to choose from).  Then you can pick from wet toppings (such as Nutella and caramel), next you choose a fruity topping like strawberries, then comes the ice cream flavor (here they limited your options to only chocolate and vanilla) and finally, you choose a type of fudge to put in the middle.  You have to make five choices for one ice cream sandwich!  Luckily the staff that night was super friendly and seemed oddly excited to serve us Smush and tell us about our options.  They even gave us 20% of coupons as we left.  The dessert itself was good.  It was very sweet and we probably could have split one, but we wanted to try a couple different flavors.  It was a fun way to end an evening in Union Square.

Fort Tryon Park

WayfinderThe sun finally made an appearance after a few days of spit and blah so I wanted to get out of the apartment and find some sunshine.  I took the A train up to 190th Street to wander around Fort Tryon Park.  I had been hearing about this park for a year or so now.  I was told it was relaxing and an escape within the isle of Manhattan.  I found all of that to be true.

Once you get off the train, you cross a street and then find yourself in a long pathway full of all kinds of bright flowers.  The scents were strong and the colors were pretty spectacular.  After wandering down that path you can head to a restaurant or head up some stairs and get a great view of the River.  The park surrounds The Cloisters (which is another thing on my to-do list) but I only had a little bit of free time and I decided I was interested in exploring the trails of the park without the pressures of interpreting art that day.

Fort Tryon Park is much less populated than Central Park, and while wandering a lot of the pathways (which have some steep hills, btw) I got that lost feeling I sometimes get in Central Park’s Ramble.  I felt an even greater sense of calm and isolation in Fort Tryon than I do in Central Park.  There were several people sitting on benches with their eyes closed and I could see how this would be a great spot for meditating.

If Central Park isn’t a big enough escape from city life for you, take the subway a few more stations north and check out Fort Tryon.  I saw an odd beaver-like creature and a great statue called the Wayfinder and I was only there an hour, so I can only imagine what other wonders lie among its winding paths.

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