New York City Kids
225 E. 60th St., Upper East Side
It’s really all about the frozen hot chocolate here, to the extent that we can’t really vouch for many of the other offerings on the menu. We do know that Serendipity 3 (named for its three founders, not three outposts) came into its own as a coffee shop. Nowadays, it offers a dense menu of classics (both savory and sweet), though kids really do freak out for the hot chocolate. Reservations suggested.
Norman & Jules
158 Seventh Ave., Park Slope
This Brooklyn store is among our very favorite toy shops, and for good reason: Just about everything, from the wooden toys, to the hand-sewn cloth dolls, to the musical instruments and craft kits (of which there are many), is intended to ignite a kid’s imagination. And in keeping with their small, sustainable vibe, they feature the work of many small, local Brooklyn designers.
109 Thompson St., Soho
Perfect little cashmere cardigans and sweater dresses, slouchy tunic tops, and floral printed camisoles are typical of the Parisian-inflected kids clothing here. Prices are steep, making this a good option for a special gift.
Madeline’s Tea @ Bemelmans Bar
The Carlyle, 35 E. 76th St., Upper East Side
From October through mid-December, the Carlyle’s legendary Bemelmans Bar—beloved for its wall-to-wall murals painted by Madeline author and illustrator, Ludwig Bemelmans—opens up for afternoon tea and cake for kids. Little ones get to sing Madeline’s songbook along with Tina de Varon at the piano.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Dumbo
Originally installed in 1922 in Youngstown, Ohio, Jane and David Walentas bought the dilapidated carousel at auction in the 80s, before turning their attention to meticulously restoring it (Jane went so far as to scrape the layers of paint off with an Exacto knife, so she could color-match the artist’s original intentions). The carousel and its 48 horses are pristine now, and housed in a fitting all-glass, Jean Nouvel-designed pavilion. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of green space nearby to make a full day out of it.
Mark Hochberg, D.M.D.
192 E. 75th St., Upper East Side
Dr. Hochberg has made what kids dread the most an outing they look forward to. It all begins in the lobby: Kids can play in an arcade full of games while they wait. Somehow, Dr. Hochberg makes the appointment that follows as painless as possible.
768 Fifth Ave., Midtown
If you have an Eloise fan, look no further than this historic, Central Park adjacent hotel: After all, it has The Eloise Suite, who, of course, was a resident of The Plaza. Pink-and-white striped wallpaper, chintz wrapped chairs, chandeliers, and more all set a pretty great Eloise-worthy vibe. If it’s not available, worry not: The rest of the hotel is surprisingly friendly (there’s even a kid-centric concierge), and they also offer babysitting.
11 Christopher St., West Village
The very patient stylists here make what can be a pretty scary experience for kiddos into a fun one with plenty of games, toys, and movies for distraction—plus the requisite car, boat, and taxi seats. In addition to the salon, they also have a cute selection of kids toys and gifts.
52 Mercer St., Soho
Located in Soho, this club for families offers a 1,500-square-foot indoor playspace, an adult gym, a gourmet café, and a space for birthday parties and family events, all under one roof. With an excellent staff of child minders, they make it easy for moms to hit the gym while the kiddos play.
575 Degraw St., Gowanus
Catering to serious climbers and novices alike, this massive, technicolored climbing space in Gowanus hosts casual climb sessions, lessons for kids, and serious team training. With several walls, it’s roomy enough to accommodate larger groups and families. It’s a great resource in the winter, when it’s far too cold to exercise outdoors. Also, they're open until midnight.
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