Review: Chihuly at New York Botanical Gardens

You’ve probably seen glass artist Dale Chihuly’s work before. But it’s lovely to see it in the garden settings of the New York Botanical Garden, where it will be through October.

An exploding star, or something. Fire and ice? Ice and ocean? I can’t remember. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

For this exhibition, there are plenty of his older works, and a few made for this show. We went over to see it on a beautiful summer day. It was my first time at the NYBG as well, so I didn’t know what to expect. We spent four hours there, and still didn’t see all the gardens (though we saw all the Chihulys, I think).

Starting from the entrance by the Conservatory gate, we went first to the library building to see what was inside. Outside at the fountain, there’s a Chihuly sculpture that’s actually not blown glass, but molded/layered plastic. It looked like giant ice cubes or icebergs. Inside you’ll find some stunning pieces of older works, and some videos. It’s worth a stop, even though it feels weird to go inside into a stuffy building when it’s nice outside, and most of the sculptures are in the conservatory.

This sculpture looks like icebergs. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

A few sculptural installations are spread out in the grassy areas. You’ll need to do some walking. The NYBG is huge, so even walking from the front gate to the conservatory took awhile.

Glass rods in wood, one of the outdoor pieces. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Given that it was our first time there, we walked around a lot before realizing we weren’t going to see it all. We then took the tram for part of the way (I was getting tired!). Here are some of the sculptures we saw.

A boat full of glass globes by Chihuly. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The NYBG offers a number of interactive ways to see the exhibition, which is good with kids:

Interactive guide: get the app before you go or get on wifi there to access additional information about the Chihuly pieces. It also tells you the location of the closest sculptures, which is helpful when you’re wandering around the outdoor spaces.

This glass screen is one of his older pieces. There were two in the area. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Film screenings: Inside the library auditorium, they run screenings of short films. It’s a great introduction to his work and shows you how the sculptures are blown and assembled. You’ll also see other exhibitions and the Seattle permanent site for his work, by the Space Needle. The films are short enough so kids won’t be bored, and you can come and go as you please. No extra cost for these.

Chihuly at Night: Go at night, Thursdays through Saturdays, and you can see this sculpture (and others) lit up. This one is neon, though, and electrified. Reservations are required. It would make a great date night, as they offer cocktails, shopping and food. But they do have kids’ prices too!

These neon sculptures would look totally different at night. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Look for the poetry: The results of the kids’ poetry contest is displayed through the NYBG. Stop and read the poems. Your kids might like to read what other kids wrote. There’s also a teacher’s guide and lesson plan you can read and bring with you (look under the poetry section for the links) to help talk about it with your kids.

These glass flowers/bowls are in the conservatory. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

If you’re short on time or attention span, head there first. You do need a Chihuly ticket at the conservatory.

The children’s garden is also large and worth a stop. You need a ticket admitting you to the children’s garden.

A cute animal sculpture at the children’s garden. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

If you go

When: through October 29, 2017

Where: New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx

Waitress Broadway Review: Is Waitress Appropriate for Kids?

Waitress the musical was not high on my list to see in terms of Broadway shows. But I went for my annual writer’s group show night during a conference, and that was the show selected. My goal was not only to hopefully enjoy the show but answer this question for the blog: is Waitress Appropriate for kids? I did no reading about the show beforehand, though I knew Sara Bareilles was playing the lead and that she had written the lyrics. I knew it had something to do with pie. That’s it.

That pie smell wafted by the second we walked into the show. What a cute set-up. It smelled good, and we passed by a dessert stand. Inside the theater, the women selling snacks and drinks were wearing diner uniforms. The screen looked like a lattice cherry pie. It had the possibility of being too cutesy. But it wasn’t. Continue reading “Waitress Broadway Review: Is Waitress Appropriate for Kids?”

Review: School of Rock on Broadway

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly Broadway show, School of Rock should be on your list.

School of Rock Broadway show curtain. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The plot: Failing rock guitar player and overall sloth needs money to pay the rent, so he poses as his teacher roommate when offered a substitute teaching job at an elite school. He can’t teach, of course, so he starts a class band to compete in the rock competition and hopefully win enough money so he can pay his rent. The kids get into it and chaos ensues.

The pros: The kids are adorable and talented. Lots of kids (I think 13), so this is a great show for kids! The kids play their own music and of course sing as well. The cast is diverse (different ethnicities, gay couple etc.). The show is lively and the music good. The set is great too.

The cons: You’re going to have to suspend your disbelief a lot in this show. First, the main character Dewey moves very quickly to start the rock band in the classroom. Probably the first day or two. Most of the characters are charicatures and stereotypes. Against all odds, the kids are able to sneak out of the classroom to get to the competition and even though they don’t win (spoiler alert!) the crowd goes so crazy the judges change their mind. Parents discover new things to love about their kids, everyone (except the losing rock band) is happy. Continue reading “Review: School of Rock on Broadway”

Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2016

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the holiday windows, what are you waiting for? Here are some of my pix from Saks Fifth Avenue. Though I didn’t go at night, they have a lovely light display on the building, above this candy entrance.

Saks Fifth Avenue front holiday entrance
The front entrance of Saks Fifth Avenue. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Their theme this year is Land of 1,000 Delights. It’s a fun pairing of sweets and some awesome clothing. Continue reading “Saks Fifth Avenue Holiday Windows 2016”

Review: Is Oh, Hello on Broadway Appropriate for Kids?

I wasn’t sure what to expect for Oh, Hello on Broadway, given that I didn’t know much about the show (we had relatives in town for Thanksgiving, and they chose it). And if you’re wondering, is Oh, Hello on Broadway appropriate for kids, my answer is below. My one-liner about the show: it was a hilarious (partly stand-up) routine with two comedians who seemed to be having a great time on stage, right along with us.

Is Oh, Hello on Broadway appropriate for kids?
Is Oh, Hello on Broadway appropriate for kids? Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The plot: Continue reading “Review: Is Oh, Hello on Broadway Appropriate for Kids?”

Review: Museum of Arts and Design with Kids

We took our teen daughter to the Museum of Arts and Design recently, curious to check out a smaller Manhattan museum we hadn’t yet been to. I highly recommend taking the free docent tour, which lasts about an hour and gives a good highlight of the exhibits. Of course you can head back to look further before or after you’re done.

It’s not a big museum, so if you’re looking for something manageable with the kids (an hour or less), this is a good option. It’s in Columbus Circle and it’s free for kids 18 and under ($16/adult). They have a number of family programs as well, so check that out when planning your visit.

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Studio Job’s Burj Khalifa.

Continue reading “Review: Museum of Arts and Design with Kids”

Treat of the Day: Magnum Ice Cream Bars in Soho

I was wandering through Soho last month and passed a store I hadn’t see there before. With a big ice cream bar in the window, of course I went inside. This is the new Magnum seasonal store at 134 Prince Street. It opened in April.

It’s glitzy and fun and would please any child and adult. Here’s how it works. At the counter you choose your ice cream type (hormone-free chocolate or vanilla), chocolate dipping type (Belgian dark, milk or white chocolate) and three toppings (they have 20 to choose from).

Magnum's pop-up store is in Soho through mid-August. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Magnum’s pop-up store is in Soho through mid-August. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Toppings include Continue reading “Treat of the Day: Magnum Ice Cream Bars in Soho”

Review King Tut Exhibition in NYC with Kids

I saw the King Tut exhibit in the 1970s, traveling from Arizona to San Francisco just for the occasion. That exhibit brought 50 of King Tut’s tomb items around the country, causing mob scenes (well, a lot of people anyway) in the form of record attendance. I saw a fair amount of Tut goods in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum when traveling there in 1995. And then when another Tut exhibit came through in 2010 (with 50 moretomb items), and I saw it again in San Francisco AND New York (the advantage to living in both places during their run). Read more about that King Tut exhibit here.

Premier Exhibitions in NYC. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Premier Exhibitions in NYC. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

So when I heard that King Tut was back in the Big Apple, with a new kind of exhibition, of course I jumped on the opportunity. I went for a press preview of the Discovery of King Tut, and then took the family back this past weekend.  The big difference between the exhibits is that this exhibition focuses on the discovery of Tut’s tomb, and displays only replicas (more than 1,000 of them, versus the 50 genuine artifacts brought over previously). While it sounds a little disappointing that they’re reproductions, rest assured, you will not feel cheated. Here’s my review – King Tut exhibition with kids. Continue reading “Review King Tut Exhibition in NYC with Kids”