A little bit of bohemian spirit

What are you usually thinking when packing clothes for yourself and your tots? Comfort was on my mind till my tot turned 2 years old. And now I am thinking la mode. A vacation is a time to give yourself and your family a break from the usual, making it fun and exciting while keeping comfort in mind. Many designers from all over the world be it mom-based start-ups or fashion houses are embracing this desire.

At Playtime NYC I came across several small-businesses that are focused on bringing tot-comfort fashion to the runways. One such company worth looking at is TiMoun (Timoun meaning a child in Creole). A Haiti based mom –Vanessa Goschinny has crocheted since she was nine years old and dreamed of launching her own brand of hand-made creations for infants and tots. Her simple knitted patterns, modern cuts, flower embellished halters in an innocent palette will brighten up your little chic. Timoun’s laid-back bohemian spirit is ideal for your tot’s summertime needs whether you are visiting the beach or just the country-side.

While I could not identify where one could buy Timoun’s collection they are likely to announce a list of international distributors very soon.

The Lot @ the High Line

Category: Off the beaten path – NYC

Activity Type: Park Venue

Age Appropriate: 3 & Up

We visited The Lot at the High Line this past weekend for father’s day and it was a lot of fun. We took Devam’s grandparents with us they enjoyed it a lot as well. Located at the street level on 30th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue in Manhattan, the Lot features several public amenities including free events, family activities, public art, beer garden and high-end food trucks. You can also access the north-end of the High Line from here via elevator or stairs.

The free event (till July 5th, 2011) this month is Rainbow City, a surreal landscape of psychedelic scenery. The carnival-like installation is made up of 40 air-filled, brightly colored, inflatable structures. Devam (2 yrs old) was a little overwhelmed with the swift motion and size of the structures, but many toddlers as well as adults were having a great time pushing, jumping and connecting with them. Rainbow city invites you to become a part of a very energetic, happy and fun environment.

Rainbow City will be in town till the 5th of July, so make sure you go visit with your family.

Besides free events, the Lot also features a great eating area with high-end food vendors like Eddie’s Pizza, Tiam falafel & smoothie and the Taco Truck. There were several tables and chairs armored with shades. The area was kept extremely clean and green with recycling bins everywhere. The Standard Beer Garden under the High Line is a great place for dads to take break while the family takes a stroll on the High Line which is accessible via elevator and stairs from the Lot.
The Lot underneath the High Line makes for a great family break-time on weekends during the warmer months.

Tots on the High Line in NYC

Category: Off the beaten path – NYC
Activity type: Park Venue
Age Appropriate: All Ages

In 2009 a brand new 6.73 acres of public park, mile and a half long, was added to Manhattan, 30 feet above ground. The High Line runs across the West Side neighborhoods of Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen.

The Past and Present of the High Line with Ed Norton

The Friends of the High Line make a concerted effort to keep the park alive all summer long with several entertaining programs and events for people of all ages.

Step Festival @ The Highline (From June 13 – June 18 2011)

The park offers nature-based fun activities, tours, stargazing, dance workshops and other tot related activities in the summer.

To Do’s on the High Line:

– Stroll with your tot: Access the mile and half long park via stairs or elevator access points (as listed below) and enjoy strolling across parks and enjoy views of the city around and below you.
Free Tour: you can enjoy a free guided tour of the High Line at 11:00AM
Programs: Participate in low-cost or free design, garden, family, art or history program developed by the Friends of the High Line
Parties: Friends of the High Line continue to hold fun parties for adults on the High Line to enrich the visitor experience. Check out upcoming parties on the High Line
Volunteer: Volunteer with the High Line Gardeners for the Green-up project or at the Field Station as a Greeter
The Lot: During Summer, enjoy public art, free events and family activities, beer and wine, and concessions from food trucks at the public plaza below the High Line’s northern terminus

Tot related events this month @ the High Line:
Rainbow City
Saturday Tours
Step to High Line Festival

Rainbow City @ The High Line

Elevator as well as stair access to the park is available at the following points:
– 14th Street and east of 10th Avenue
– 16th Street and east of 10th Avenue
– 20th Street and West of 10th Avenue (Coming soon)
– 30th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues (Coming soon)

View The High Line in a larger map

Most activities on the High Line are held during warmer months, make sure you visit while the sun shines.

It’s time for Lila

I came across the book Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch. The opening of the first chapter: “ There is an old Sanskrit word, Lila (Leela) which means play. Lila may be the simplest thing there is – spontaneous, childish, disarming. But as we grow and experience the complexity of life, it may also be the most difficult and hard won achievements imaginable, and it’s coming to fruition is a kind of homecoming to our true selves”. I am sure we all can relate to this as we live our complex, urban lives.

Summer is here (we did not have Spring this year) and I can think of a million places to visit with Devam – water parks, playgrounds, farms, zoos, botanical gardens etc. If you live in NYC, you are likely to find a fun water park + playground in your neighborhood. There are at least 3 in Battery Park and they are all packed on a beautiful summer day. NYC City Department of Parks and Recreation have built an extensive database of parks in and around your neighborhood.

Also we should appreciate the efforts of organizations like KaBOOM – a national non-profit organization that is striving to develop great places to play within walking distance of every child in America. They partnered with Rockwell Group in New York to create Imagination Playgrounds all over the city. I took Devam to the Imagination Play ground in Downtown New York and it was hard to get him to leave after 2 hours of free play time. While I had to keep my eyes on him at all times, he had a great time.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/8269106 w=400&h=228]

What is Imagination Playground? from Imagination Playground on Vimeo.

Once your tot crosses the major milestone – turning 2 years old, most of us are comfortable letting go, I commend parents that have let their tots enjoy total free play early on, knowingly/unknowingly you have contributed tremendously to your child’s creative growth.

Let yourself and your tot free, make sure you take all the safety precautions and enjoy Lila this summer.