Archive: Been There, Done That

Weekender: Skiing in & around the Big Apple

 

 

Want to plan a ski trip with the family this season? Here are some great spots not too far from New York City!

Mountain Creek: A bit over an hour, this ski site, formerly Great Gorge/Vernon Valley, is perfect for a day trip. The NJ mountain isn’t huge but it’s definitely ample for learning to get your ski legs on. Also some fun snow tubing!

tubing mountain creek

Hunter Mountain: Head up to the Catskills for some great snow tubing and skiing. Only about 2 hours and 30 minutes away, it’s an easy hop upstate. Ski, snowboard and snow tube, then warm up with some hot chocolate. Features a new race course for speedy skiers. We like the Roxbury to stay (it’s pretty close) and is a real crowd pleaser for its funky rooms (we liked the Genie in a Bottle room).

hunter moutain

Jiminy Peak: The Berkshires ski mountain of choice is in Hanover, MA. It’s just shy of 3 hours from the city and is a nice choice for kids. There’s not only skiing and snowboarding but also some great tubing trails and night skiing.

jiminy 2

Stratton: This is the longest “reasonable” distance for a nice little weekender in our opinion- just about 40 minutes or so from Brattleboro in Southern Vermont – and a 4 and a half hour drive from the city. The snow is great, and Stratton’s after-ski scene is  cool. The village features some great little restaurants and shops that will make any ski bunny smile. For kids who are new to the sport, there are some good learning options – both ski school and private lessons for ski and snowboarding with a battalion of awesome instructors.

stratton mountain

Shopping for a snow bunny? Here are some great gift ideas!

7AM enfant bunting; hat and ski tees and onesies by Mini Rodini, winter coats. Shop all Babesta.

snow bunny

 

What do you call a city without water?

The answer? A city without…water…

Imagine a city without water? New York City would not be the awesome New York City without the bridge and ferries! Governor’s Island would not be an island, either! In order to celebrate how awesome water is, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance is hosting A City of Water Day!

  • WHEN: July 13
  • TIME: 10AM- 4PM
  • WHERE: Governor’s Island, NYC && Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ.
  • COST: Free
  • FOOD: check here for all the vendors!

A City of Water Day will have so many fun activities for families, teens, couples, and friends. There will be a boat tour you can sign up for here. You will have to provide a $3 reservation fee that is fully refundable. There will also be a Waterfront Activities Fair, Free Ferry Rides, Live Music, Amazing Food, Water activities (kayaking, canoeing, rowboats), and more! You can also have your own picnic and ride bikes.

MWA started this event to show that water brings us all together. We should be thankful for water!! This is a great event to learn about the importance of water while meeting new people.

Be sure to check it out! Afterwards, maybe you can go visit the mahattanhenge!

 

Check out MWA’s official site for more information and pictures!

Super-Cool Exhibit: Claes Oldenburg at the MOMA

I was pretty psyched this past weekend to bring the girls to the Claes Oldenburg exhibit at the MOMA. After a failed attempt at culture at the New Museum (the 90s exhibit is interesting, but definitely, definitely not for kids), we made a plan for the MOMA (with my older grinning, “Are you sure it’s going to be appropriate, mom?”).

We started on the 2nd floor with the Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing. Big black distorted Mickey silhouette shaped mouse walk-in traps housed a combo of knick knacks and art experiments, blurring the line between art and tchotchkes. The second “trap”, Ray Gun featured 253 “ray guns” fashioned from combs, water guns and even bent nails that replicated the basic shape. The girls loved both for their cave-like appeal and the unexpected every-day objects and foodstuffs within.

Then we moved to the 6th floor and checked out “Street” and “Store,” Oldenburg’s other two collections. It’s pretty cool that the artist ran a LES “store” in the early 70’s that sold these art pieces that mimicked comestibles and clothing and storefront fare. Most memorable of course are the slightly deflated bean-baggish hamburger and ice cream cone. I recalled the Whitney Museum a few years ago, which also showed this artist, where I had to grab my little one and carry her out of the room as flailing for the giant “art” French fries.  Now old enough to keep presence of mind while face to face with giant hamburgers, I assured them that their compulsions were very normal—surely everyone in the room, me included, desperately wanted to sink into the burger like the world’s most comfy chair.

A little bit of yummy culture at the MOMA

A little bit of yummy culture at the MOMA

But resisting the call of food was short lived, and we soon found ourselves at the street hot dog vendor outside before heading home.

http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1320

DJ Spooky at F.I.T. on Sustainability

So I was lucky enough to go to F.I.T.’s 7th Annual Conference on Sustainable Design today and got to listen to D.J. Spooky speak about the his art and music exploring the intersection of urban culture and the environment; where nature, art and design converge. His new book, “The Book of Ice,” is based off of a 6 week trip he took to Antarctica where he was clearly struck by the vastness and the depth of “archival” material nature has provided. With a whirlwind of swipe (yes, lots of ice & penguins, photos, inspiration, movie clips & music, he danced around some very interesting topics. He even  ’sampled the landscape’ using an algorithm based upon  the fluctuation of temperature during his trip…

Part of what was interesting, especially for us city folk, is his demonstration that hip hop, traditionally urban, is affected by and is not worlds away from the natural world. At the end of his very interesting, pretty heady, a bit disjointed but definitely thought provoking presentation, he declared: “It’s the Era of the Remix.”

DJ SpookyPaul D. Miller's 'The Book of Ice'

photo: Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that subliminal kidPhoto by Mike Figgis from http://www.scaddistrict.com/blog/2011/03/01/dj-spooky-redefines-the-portrait/

It was a pretty cool way into the topic of sustainability and it definitely put him on my ‘ones to watch’ radar (or rather someone who I probably should have been watching for some time now!) He is the first Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art -I’ve booked myself for May 10 to hear/see his next special event at the museum based on the Civil War. http://www.metmuseum.org/events/programs/concerts-and-performances/dj-spooky-photography?eid=4084

Birthday Bash! Harry Potter Scavenger Hunt and Watson Adventures.

I am always looking for great party ideas, and this year, since my oldest has become obsessed with Harry Potter, I thought I’d use the young Brit as the “theme”. Pop culture is a passion and even if this one isn’t really my bag, I’m  game to engage! I called up Watson Adventures, a super cool scavenger hunt company in the city (they were recommended by a friend who had used them for a team-building corporate event) once I found they had a “Harry Potter” themed scavenger hunt at the MET. Of course, the days leading up to the big event, I was not only nervous that the party would go without a hitch (the news was going on and on about Superstorm NEMO) but also nervous whether the MET was ready for 15 8/9 year olds on a mission to win! Sigh of relief, no Greek or Roman statues were destroyed during the hunt, no Old Masters defaced! If you’re feeling energetic, it was a total blast and I  recommend it! Here are some of my tips:

1. No hunting on an empty stomach: We ate pizza and had cake first at Mimi’s Pizza. Basic atmosphere but very nice people and easy going about the craziness (and all kids like pizza)! The other option is at the MET itself. I was not sure about this as it seemed like a chore as the menu isn’t as “you had me at hello” for the kids, but it probably would have also been a great choice.

2. Cake from Tribeca Treats–with crushed chocolate covered pretzel down the sides: a big hit! When I saw this cake I knew it was “the one.” I had already hammered the HP thing home and didn’t want to ‘theme up’ the cake. So we kept it simple and YUMMY. So yummy in fact that all of the adults sat around the remaining wedge of cake after it was divvied up and picked off all of the chocolate covered pretzels. Delish!tribeca treats cake

 

 

3. Team Ties, a la Hogwarts. Fun to make with sticky backed felt and is a colorful & easy way to spot your team. The days before we constructed felt tie necklaces in different colorways. Other than the inevitable joust to not be cast as a “Slitherin” it worked perfectly! Here’s one that I was inspired by on Etsy (on a pin). Easy to buy or make! http://etsy.me/13bqOkc

harry potter ties

4. The Scavenger Hunt: We met our guide in the lobby of the MET and she gave us the low-down. Everyone’s competitive juices were flowing! Once we got our “clues” we were off. One key thing is that it all works better (and everyone remains on-point) if you give each kid a “job” – navigator, reader, logger, etc. It’s also good to have one or two dynamic adults with the teams to keep everyone moving & high (but not too high) energy. Comfy shoes are a must and as mentioned the Team Ties made it easy for the adult to quickly spot the team. It’s not easy, so don’t expect it to be so, but if you keep them pumped & excited (and this is a race against not only the other teams but time, as the museum is big!), it’s gonna be a great day.

met image

5. Fun goody bags: What better than a packaged magic trick and an exploding frog soap (that I found on Etsy and we’re still waiting for our frog to explode!) Watson also gives a prize to the winning team. Here’s the link to the exploding frog soap! http://etsy.me/VIZh4X

babesta_harry potter_exploding frog soap

babesta_harry potter_exploding frog soap

We had a blast and would strongly recommend this hunt to a HP fan. Or try the Grand Central one, as it’s the terminal’s centennial this year, so that one would be super cool as well. http://www.watsonadventures.com/.

CANstruction at the World Financial Center

Got to visit CANstruction yesterday night at the WFC — it was pretty impressive–a host of large scale sculptures created out of canned goods, from SPAM to tunafish to Goya beans. Constructed by design teams, the exhibit raises interest and money for fighting hunger.At the end of the exhibit, all cans will be donated to community food banks. I think Babesta should do one! It doesn't look easy but it sure looks fun! www.canstruction.org

Balloon dog main

Lots more pics to follow

“Toast to Survivors” – Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink was the color of choice today at the "Toast to Survivors" luncheon hosted by The Moms (Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein) and actress Kristin Chenoweth. Beverage sponsor Martini (the sparkling wine) made sure that each attendee was offered a pretty pink mini bubbly with a straw (a definite indulgance on a Monday afternoon). Some of the most rousing words were spoken by patient advocate Dee Dee Ricks (who has been named one of Wall Street's Most Powerful Women), who relayed her own battle with the disease and her first hand look at the inequities in the health care system based on socio-economics.At the end of the luncheon, Martini presented a check to Kristin Chenoweth for her own charity Maddie's Corner, which she noted will be allocated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Right Action for Women. 

It made me think about how I've defyed the color pink as much as I could (eschewing the pastel palette of the baby-verse), but today paused to acknowledge what a powerful & cool color it is. 

Pink glasses1

Newark Museum and BASF Partner to Make Kids’ Science Learning Lab

Newark museum

We thought it pretty cool when BASF announced that it is partnering with the Newark Museum to create a Kids' Science Learning Lab at the Museum. As the daughter of a chemist, experimentation is in my blood. I can just imagine how much fun it would be for kids (under supervision) to try out these fun interactive classes on Saturdays. Here's a list of classes:

Sept 29 (Water Loves Chemistry: Operation Filtration), October 6 (Playful Polymers), October 13 (The Rainbow Connection), October 20 (A Hair-Raising Experiment), November 3 (The pHun Factor), November 17 (Happy Hands), December 1 (Hold Everything), December 8 (A Hair Raising Experiment) and December 15 (Playful Polymers)– at 1pm and 3pm. Get on your safety goggles folks! This will be fun!

For children aged 6-12

Participation: Free, but space is limited

Reserve in advance by calling 973 596 6563

www.newarkmuseum.org

We’re Lovin’ it @Babesta: Century of the Child at the MOMA

So I just went to the Moma yesterday to see "Century of the Child: Growing Up by Design, 1900-2000." It's a comprehensive exhibit that interplays history with the common perception of children and childhood (it wasn't all fun and games for kids, especially in the early years where they were a key & cheap laborers). It walks through the early 20th century as kids started to become more of a focus – in some ways an unspoiled canvas on which adults could imprint our ideal of what society could be. The exhibit also highlights Montessori, and the idea that children have intrinsic ideas and capablities and can independantly interact with the world around them, and the toys and tools to support that school of thought. The exhibit takes you through both World Wars, Italian modernism, the Space Race (and the resulting toys), Disneyland, PeeWee's Playhouse, electronic games and japanimation. There's also a ginormous Stokke Trip Trapp chair! In all, it's a very cool exhibit, and kids will like it for its bright colored vehicles of fun, but there are many more layers and interesting questions that it makes you ponder as a consumer, a global citizen and a parent. It's a great one to visit, and if you can, try to hop on the tour. Runs from July 29-November 5, 2012. 

Photo: Ladislav Sutner-Porototype for Build the Town Building Blocks 1940-43. @ the MOMA.

Century of the child, Growing by design

 

Sunday at the MET: Good Taste/Bad Taste : The Evolution of Contemporary Chic

On Sunday, June 17, Iris Apfel (age 90) and blogger Tavi Gevinson (age 16) chat about what it means to be chic in the 21st century. This "possible conversation" will happen alongside the "impossible conversations" between Schiaparelli and Prada at the Costume Insitute exhibit (which is amazing!). The dialogue will be moderated by Judith Thurman, who wrote the intro to the exhibition catalog for the Schiaparelli/Prada exhibit.

Free with admission. 

Schiaparelli and prada

Good Taste/Bad Taste: The Evolution of Contemporary Chic

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street

The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium