Subway mural gives New Yorkers a splash of color
Mon Sep 14
When you descend the staircase to the platforms at Columbus Circle, you may think you've fallen into an alternate Candy Land-like universe. Nope, this isn't Oz. You're staring at "Whirls and Twirls (MTA)," a mammoth tile installation designed by the late Sol LeWitt, which splatters vibrant colors onto the station's belly. Sadly, on the day I visited, most riders didn't seem to notice. I spied a group of tourists staring at it, then realized they weren't marveling at the bright wall at all; they were trying to figure out the subway signs. But while many preoccupied commuters may be too busy with their BlackBerries to take in the spectacle, kids will definitely spot it. I watched as a grade-schooler stood mesmerized by the snaking, porcelain tiles as his grandmother desperately tried to yank him away to the Bronx-bound train. Pint-sized passengers certainly seem to respond to the fantastical piece. They're not just taking a subway ride; they're getting to go over the rainbow.
Celebrate the Big Apple's history with the NY400/Holland on the Hudson fest
Thu Sep 10
Four hundred years ago, Henry Hudson docked in New York Harbor aboard the Halve Maen ('Half Moon'). Over the past four centuries, the little village he stumbled upon has transformed into the bustling metropolis we know today, but you can celebrates the Big Apple's beginnings all over town at NY400, a fest honoring "New Amsterdam." Families can rent Dutch bikes (for free!), sample tasty Old-World treats, catch theater performances (as part of the New Island Festival) and enjoy live music. The activities are bountiful and mostly family-friendly; download a complete schedule here. I ventured out to Governors Island last night for an improv show that was part of the festivities and it was quite the spectacle. I entered the area where pre-show drinks, dinner and entertainment were being served. At one of the many stands, I ordered dinner. They gave me an empty plate and told me to go sit at the 400-foot long table. Once I sat, Dutch men in clogs (atop the table!) served a concoction of...
Trade in old video games for new gift cards at Toys "R" Us
Thu Sep 10
With so many different gaming platforms, it's a challenge to keep up with (and pay for!) all the latest games to satisfy your tech-savvy kids. But beginning Sunday, September 13, you can save yourself a little cash by exchanging used (or new and unwanted) video games for gift cards at Toys "R" Us . The retail chain is taking a page from video game giant GameStop (who's been doing this for a while now) by accepting trade-ins at the Guest Services desk from myriad systems, including Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 1, 2 and 3, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, even games from ancient platforms such as Atari 2600, Intellivision, Sega Genesis. (Better start dusting off those old cartridges!) Games must be in their original cases with artwork intact. No word on how much each title will be worth, but right now, the abandoned games stashed under your kids' bed are worth nothing, so you can't lose...unless the brood convinces you to spend even more than what you get on the gift card....
Go back in time at the Historic House Festival this weekend
Thu Sep 10
Looking for some old-fashioned fun this weekend? Then check outthe Historic House Festival. A joint effort of the Historic House Trust and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the fest consists of myriad events at landmarked venues throughout the five boroughs, including the 30th annual Richmond County Fair at Historic Richmond Town, a 19th century baseball game, tours of structures such as Gracie Mansion and the Little Red Lighthouse, and an outdoor screening of the Jonas Brothers 3D Concert Experience (okay, so not everything is so historic). Most of the festivities are fairly inexpensive, some are even free. Check the official website for prices and a complete list of attractions that will have you and your kids yearning for simpler times. Historic House Festival Sat Sept 12, Sun Sept 13 10am--4pm. Locations vary; see website for full schedule. All ages.
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