New York New York a Helluva Town, Travel Tips, Reviews, & Giveaways, TravelTuesday Q&A

#TravelTuesday Q&A: New York City Trip for a Music Loving Teen

New york city trip

Q: Hi Playground! I would love some recommendations for exploring NYC with my 13-year-old nephew from North Carolina. He’s a drummer and loves live music. Any thoughts?? ~ Thanks, LF

A: Hi LF! A music loving teen? You’ve come to the right place! Georgette and I both have 13-year-olds who fall squarely into this category.

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New York New York a Helluva Town, Travel Tips, Reviews, & Giveaways, TravelTuesday Q&A

#TravelTuesday Q&A: A Broadway With Kids Weekend in New York City

Broadway with kids

Q:  Hi Playground! We’re taking our 8-year-old daughter to NYC for 3 days over spring break. We’re staying in Times Square and have some New York must-sees such on our list such as Ellis Island and Empire State Building, but we’d also love to see some Broadway shows. We’ve seen many of the kid friendly ones (Lion King, Aladdin, Wicked) but I don’t know what’s new. We’d also like to hit the DŌ Cookie Dough Confections. Any advice would be welcome. ~ Thanks, LHL

A: Hi LHL! A Broadway-themed long weekend for Spring Break sounds like a great idea!

There are two new plays currently in previews that I think would be a great fit for a theater-loving grade schooler (plus, you’ll be able to buy them at reasonable face value prices as opposed to spending hundreds of dollars a piece on, say, a presidential-themed musical).

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Day Trips, New York New York a Helluva Town

Day Trip: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square

Ripley's Believe It or Not - Times Square

Shrunken heads, secret passageways, taxidermy rodents, and a John Lennon portrait created with dog hair —  these oddities are just a sampling of the collection on view at  Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square in NYC. Combine these with bizarre facts and fun interactive exhibits, and you’ve got a great Day Trip with your tweens and teens.

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All the World's a Stage, New York New York a Helluva Town

6 Better Options than Chinese Food and a Movie: What’s Open in NYC on Xmas

NYC Christmas

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, there’s a good chance you fall back on the time-honored Chinese food and a movie formula, two options that are always open when it feels like most everything else is closed for the holiday. And although we love a good dim sum lunch and movieplex marathon, it turns out there’s lots to do in the City That Never Sleeps on Christmas for families beyond the movies.

Here are 6 great options to entertain yourself in New York City on December 25 if you don’t celebrate Christmas (or even if you do):
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All the World's a Stage, New York New York a Helluva Town, Travel Tips, Reviews, & Giveaways

The Illusionists: Turn Of the Century is a Fantastic Holiday Show For Families

The Illusionists

One hundred years ago, before YouTube and Pokemon entertained kids on demand, audiences went to the theater to be wowed by illusionists. A magician would magically saw a woman in half, clairvoyants read audience’s minds, and escape artists like Harry Houdini ditched elaborate restraints. Surely, in this modern age, we’re all too savvy to still be mystified by these type of entertainers?

That’s definitely what my “been there, seen that” 13-year-old son thought when he sat down for the limited engagement The Illusionists: Turn of The Century at The Palace Theater. “I can see the wires,” he whispered as a glowing globe levitated. But then, the globe shot sideways, went through a hoop, was trapped in a glass box, and then started to rise again. “Hmm,” muttered Aidan. A woman disappeared (“behind the curtain,” he said), but then came back somewhere so surprising (I don’t want to spoil the illusion for you), that we were both left agog.

“That,” Aidan said grabbing my hand, “was AMAZING!”

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All the World's a Stage, Arts & Culture, New York New York a Helluva Town

2-For-1 NYC #BroadwayWeek Tickets On Sale August 18

NYC Broadway Week

We love Broadway and we love a deal, so we’re happy to share another great opportunity to score discounted Broadway tickets.

NYC Broadway Week tickets go on sale this Thursday, August 18 at 10:30 am! Purchase your 2-for-1 tickets and then between September 5-18, you can enjoy some of the best shows in town — minus Hamilton, but c’mon, you knew that…

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All the World's a Stage, Arts & Culture, New York New York a Helluva Town

2-For-1 Broadway Week Tickets On Sale Today

broadway week

We love Broadway and we love a deal, so we’re happy to share another great opportunity to score discounted Broadway tickets. Beginning January 7 at 10:30 am, get 2-for-1 tickets to over 25 top shows on Broadway during NYC Broadway Week (January 19-February 5, 2016.)

Family-friendly shows include two of our favorites Matilda the Musical and, School of Rock the Musical, Wicked, Aladdin, Finding Neverland, The Lion King, The King and I, and many others.

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All the World's a Stage, Arts & Culture

Celebrate the Season With A Christmas Story: The Musical at Paper Mill Playhouse

A Christmas Story: The Musical
Photo credit: Billy Bustamante

There’s a reason why the movie A Christmas Story is so popular, and not just with others of my generation who were the the main character Ralphie’s age when the movie premiered in 1983. (How popular is the film? TBS will run it for 24 hours straight on Christmas, its 19th year of the marathon showing). It’s because A Christmas Story truly captures the sweet nostalgia of being a child at Christmas, hoping that Santa brings that one special gift (“an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two hundred shot range model air rifle,” in Ralphie’s case, you know…the one that will shoot your eye out). It also portrays a real American family, warts and all, in a humorous, but loving way. And most of all, it’s a reminder during the holidays of how precious our time together is as a family making memories that will stand the test of time.

Happily, the straight-from-Broadway A Christmas Story: The Musical now playing at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, manages to capture all the joy, humor (the leg lamp! the pink bunny pajamas! the tongue frozen to the pole!), and heartfelt moments of the classic, much loved, film with the added bonus of great music. My family saw the production Thanksgiving weekend, and it kicked off our holiday season in style with lots of good family fun.

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