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Five new birthday party spots

We're rounded up some of the best new birthday experiences in the city.


Chocolate Works

 (Photograph: Brian Friedman)
Photograph: Brian Friedman

Frolic Play Space

 (Photograph: Courtesy The Gaga Center)
Photograph: Courtesy The Gaga Center

The Gaga Center

 (Photograph: Suzanne Cohen Photography)
Photograph: Suzanne Cohen Photography

J&R Jr

 (Photograph: Courtesy PIT)
Photograph: Courtesy PIT

Peoples Improv Theater

We're always excited to learn about new birthday party places in the city for kids. New venues for this year include everything from a make-your-own-chocolate shop on the Upper West Side to a music-themed play space in Williamsburg.

Chocolate Works
Partygoers get to be chocolatiers for the day as they mold and decorate their own toothsome creations on this new shop's 40-foot conveyor-belt machine. The basic package covers two hours of partying, one homemade chocolate treat, pizza, beverages, invitations and paper goods, plus a chocolate-covered Oreo, pretzel or graham cracker. Parents may add sundae making, a chocolate fountain, goody bags or take-home aprons for an extra fee. 641 Amsterdam Ave at 91st St (212-799-3630, chocolateworksnyc.com). Prices start at $650 for ten children, additional children $30 apiece. Minimum of ten children, maximum of 28. Ages 4 and up.

Little ones select from themes like Guitars and Rock Stars, where children jam to their favorite music videos, or I Love Pop Art, which invites guests to create Warhol- and Lichtenstein-inspired art at this Williamsburg play space. The bash comes with a birthday-party crew, large party room, themed favors, decorations, pizza and juice, cake or cupcakes, and e-mail invites. 34 North 6th St at Kent Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-3100, frolicplayspace.com). Prices start at $750 for 90 minutes for up to 11 children. Ages 6 and under.

The Gaga Center
Gaga's not just the name of an over-the-top singer; it's also a game. Similar to dodgeball, the sport is played in an octagonal pit and involves trying to avoid getting hit by a soft foam ball. The basic package at the new 3,000-square-foot space earns you a game of gaga led by trained coaches as well as pizza, juice, music and paper goods. Add-ons include adult beverages, fruit and veggie platters, a cake, a DJ and a photographer. 230 E 93rd St at Second Ave (212-920-7884, gagacenter.com). Prices start at $995 for 90 minutes for up to 20 children; additional children $35 apiece. Ages 5 and up. 

J&R Jr.
The new downtown kid store (located inside J&R Music World) hosts a variety of parties, including yoga and crafts courtesy of MoonSoup and music sessions with Little Maestros. While some packages are soup-to-nuts, others require parents to cater in food and dessert. 1 Ann St at Park Row, second floor (212-238-9060, jr.com/jr). Prices start at $300 for up to ten kids. Ages 1 to 8. 

People's Improv Theater
The PIT's Broadway Birthday Bashes give partygoers access to the newly renovated theater, where they'll watch a live improvised musical about the birthday boy or girl. Afterward they'll head backstage to meet the performers and enjoy a dance party. The package covers setup, cleanup, pizza and soft drinks. You'll also have a chance to customize your child's party with karaoke and carnival treats. 23 E 24th St between Park and Lexington Aves (212-563-7488, broadwaybirthdaybashes.com). Prices start at $1,495 for up to 20 children. Ages 3 to 12.