“Let Me Tell You” is a series of columns from our expert editors about NYC living, including the best things to do, where to eat and drink, and what to see at the theater. They publish each Tuesday so you’re hearing from us each week.
When musing on the beauty of fall last year, I left out a primary portion of New York’s citizenry: children.
That’s, perhaps, for the better, given this season’s exceptional roster of things to do with kids in New York. So, here’s my chance do it over again, this time around highlighting the sorts of only-in-autumn activities that cater to the younger set.
Just this week, family experience store CAMP announced the opening of its latest immersive installation, this year in collaboration with NBCUniversal in celebration of the premiere of the new Trolls movie, Trolls Band Together.
Given the success of last year’s installment, dedicated to the Disney hit Encanto, we suspect that Trolls x CAMP, set to open on November 17, will take over our social media feeds and land on plenty of local must-do lists—and that will likely be for good reason.
There’s something about seeing youngsters catapult themselves into worlds they’ve only seen on their ever-present screens that tugs at the heartstrings, no matter the price tag (warning: you'll be indirectly forced to buy a very expensive toy from the CAMP store upon exiting the experience smack-dab in the middle of the shop. It's a business, after all).
Speaking of immersing ourselves and our children into stories we've seen in films, the current marionette presentation of the lovely Puss in Boots at Pupperworks in Park Slope is a fun time as well. Performed in French-style 18th-century costumes and settings, featuring an original song score, it is neons away from the Antonio Banderas puss we’ve come to love—but it’s certainly worth a visit.
Also Off-Broadway is The Eric Carle Story Show featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends, which employs the use of 45 handcrafted puppets to tell the tales that most of us grew up reading, including, of course, the famously starved caterpillar. A very New York kind of show given its theme, scope and presentation, this one represents the niche-ness of our town’s offerings.
But if it's a single show that you're going to take your little ones to, it's going to have to be Sesame Street The Musical, which I first caught last year with my kids and we still talk about today. It particularly blew my husband's mind, who thought, like I did, that it perfectly captured the spirit of the iconic TV program in small theater in midtown Manhattan. Oddly enough, although mostly embraced by younger kids, it will certainly entertain those slightly older as well during its run through the end of 2023.
Speaking of the not-so-little ones: whether old enough to read through all of J.K. Rowling's literary masterpieces or not, they should definitely try and explore the immersive Harry Potter experience now set up in Herald Square through the first week of 2024.
The touring show is filled with the sorts of ideas and spectacles that propelled the books, and the movies that followed, to unheard-of-before levels of popularity. Once again: imagine actually stepping foot into that world.
Although we guess it will be attended by more Instagram-obsessed adults than average children, the new pop-up Balloon Museum that will take over Pier 36 in The Seaport this fall following successful runs in Madrid, Milan, Paris and Rome, also looks pretty promising. Set in and outside of the 80,000-square-foot space, the destination will be outfitted with different sorts of visually striking installations created by 18 different artists and media studios, each one exploring the beauty of, well, balloons. We can't think of any sort of activity that could potentially delight both parents and children of all ages.
But maybe even more exciting than each one of these temporary cultural pursuits is the fact that, during any given season in New York, children are treated to a plethora of permanent offerings that cannot be rivaled by any other city in the world. From the Museum of Natural History to the variety of local zoos, apple and pumpkin picking fields, Adventureland, countless parks and green spaces, Legoland, the Children's Museum Of Manhattan (and the Long Island Children's Museum, an almost hidden treasure) and more, New York is the most exciting city for children. It's no wonder we never want to leave.