Hipmama.com is delighted to sponsor the virtual book tour of our longtime friend, the illustrious Ayun Halliday! Her most recent book is the all-round awesome Zinester's Guide to New York published by Microcosm. We asked Ayun to share a preview….
Kids! Take them to Chinatown. Take them to MOMA, and every other museum in the ZG2NYC except the Museum of Sex and Bodies: The Exhibition. So what if they might have a meltdown? Bagels were invented to buck up whining children. There are playgrounds all over the place, not just in Tompkins Square. (If it’s summer, bring a plastic bag and a bathing suit, or at least a pair of dry underpants for after they run through the sprinkler.) Take them to Santa at ABC Carpet and Home, on 19th and Broadway. Take them to Coney Fucking Island! Please! I know you Hip Mamas and Rad Dads know that NYC is a child’s oyster too.
That said, here's a pupu platter of listings that should prove especially tempting to visitors with children. Puppetworks 338 6th Ave (@ 4th St, Park Slope, Bklyn) 718-965-3391 www.puppetworks.org (Park Slope: F/G to 7th Ave) Adults: $8, Children $7 Calling David Lynch! I don’t wanna tell you where to shoot your next movie, but um, here. This storefront was long ago transformed into a marionette theater, where children sit on carpet samples, and any mom or dad whose leash is long enough retires to the benches ringing the room to eye the creepy, dangling stars of past shows, a storage solution as disturbing as it is decorative. Nicolas Coppola, the impresario of this anachronism, has great taste in source material: Peter and the Wolf, The Firebird, The Snow Queen and none of these modern updates! The New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th St (@ 47th Ave , Corona, Queens) 718-699-0005 www.nysci.org (Corona: 7 to 111th St) My kids’ dad is usually the one to haul the feral young to this interactive and allegedly scientific wonderland, because I get skeeved out by the noise and the overpowering reek of jacked-up child sweat. The only thing of personal appeal to me is the expansive al fresco Science Playground, a timed entry fantasia that’s only open inclement weather. Don’t wear flip-flops, feed offsite unless you don’t mind junky suckateria crap, and keep a sharp eye on that clock. New York International Children’s Film Festival 212-349-0330 www.gkids.com This festival gives us Americans a rare chance to see how countries other than Japan go about entertaining their young. Wow. People die. They make sex jokes. People are naked. Fart jokes are actually funny. The organizers pack 100 films (some short, some animated, many defying description) into several late February/early March weekends, then spend the rest of the year reheating the tastiest leftovers, usually at the IFC Center or Symphony Space. The gentle funny bunny stuff that goes down so well with the preschool demographic is balanced by darker, more twisted features for young teens. And because the festival understands that it’s setting you up to regard 90 percent of what passes for mainstream children’s entertainment even more dimly than you did before, it maintains a vast archive of its favorite shorts, viewable for free online. My children recommend starting with Fuggy Fuggy or Frog. Forbes Collection at the Forbes Magazine Galleries 62 5th Ave (@ 12th St) 212-206-5548 www.forbescollection.com (Greenwich Village: L/N/Q /R/4/5/6 to 14th St-Union Sq) They’ve got 10,000 tin soldiers, from big names like Alexander the Great and George Washington to many, many handfuls of anonymous sword and cannon fodder. Also enough toy boats to make you wonder what was going on in Malcolm’s bathtub. New York Public Library’s Children’s Center at 42nd St Stephen A. Schwarzman Building 5th Ave @42nd St, Ground Floor, Room 84, 212-621-0208 www.nypl.org/(Midtown: B/D/F/M to 42nd St-Bryant Park) In addition to all the books, events, and cozy oversized pillows that make a mockery of my branch library’s rickety chairs and lice-ridden stuffed animals, they’ve got the original Winnie the Pooh and friends. They might underwhelm kids who prefer the cuted-up Disney version, but I think you’ll enjoy the bittersweet reality of the real thing. If you’re lucky enough to be sharing child-wrangling duties with another adult, you can take turns exploring thebig library or maybe sneak off to the Children’s Literary Café, an adults-only, one-Saturday-per-month conversation. Jane’s Exchange 191 E. 3rd St (btwn Ave A & B) 212-677-0380 www.janesexchangenyc.com (East Village: F to 2nd Ave) Parents who’ve been on the receiving end of a clerk’s stink eye for such offenses as nursing in a commercial establishment, or asking if a crotch-clutching, hopping toddler can use a store’s bathroom will feel a sensation akin to sinking into a warm bath when visiting this source for child-sized clothing, furnishings, toys, and other sundry gear, all previously-owned, though given the nature of babies and baby showers, not necessarily always worn. This is where the clothes-conscious, downtown Euro-mamas unload their petits choufleurs’ too smalls. Want to talk about it? Check out the hipmama.com forums.
For more information on the illustrious Ayun Halliday or to buy the Zinester's Guide to New York, visit www.ayunhalliday.com