Moms Talk: Fun and Free Stuff A Lot of Us Miss

Having so much to do at your fingertips sometimes means that things get overlooked.

Living just a short train ride away from New York City and having so many things to do at our disposal, sometimes we forget to take advantage of everything at our fingertips. Ridiculously, I'd never been here to the lake in Central Park until a few months ago and I was amazed at how beautiful and secluded it is right in the heart of Manhattan. There are all sorts of sites events, and activities to enjoy as a family without the usual fees, if you just know where to look.

Take Home Depot.  Did you know they offer "workshops for kids" one Saturday a month throughout the country? Each child is given all the supplies needed to complete a wood project with an employee guiding them through the steps. In addition to taking home their project, kids receive an orange apron as part of this little-known free program.

There are also library programs.  The offers an astounding variety of both adult and children's programs that many New Hyde Park residents participate in. But did you know that we can also take advantage of many programs offered other Nassau County libraries? Defensive driving, English-as-a-second-language, cooking, Irish step dancing performances, career workshops, history lectures, crafts, puppet shows, computer classes, tax advice, music and more are all regularly on the calendar free of charge at libraries near New Hyde Park.  Check out the Garden City, Franklin Square, Floral Park, Elmont, and Mineola libraries for more great options. And libraries also rent out music CDs for free and DVD movies for just $1. Such a deal!

As for museums, there are opportunities to see some of the world's most fascinating museums right in our area for free or close to nothing.  The Museum of American Finance at 48 Wall St. is free Tuesdays through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. through 11:00 a.m. (they also offer numerous walking tours of the financial district). Also, the Children's Museum of the Arts at 182 Lafayette St. is free on Thursdays; the Bronx Zoo is free (for the grounds only) every Wednesday; the New York Botanical Gardens is also free on Wednesdays; Forbes Galleries at the Forbes magazine headquarters, 62 Fifth Ave. are free Tuesdays through Saturdays (there is an interesting collections including toy soldiers, Monopoly games, Hudson valley jewelry and more); and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is free for admittance on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 

You should also check the library for free "museum passes" to the Guggenheim Museum; Nassau County Museum of Art; Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum; American Museum of Natural History; and the Westbury Gardens.

Another fun and free thing to do in New York City is to hit a street fair.  Starting in April, there are street festivals and fairs for any reason and no reason at all, from the Times Square Block Party, Herald Square Spring Party, Romanian Day Street Fair, Amsterdam Avenue Fair, Children of the World Festival and the  Grand Central Festival to name a few. There are dozens more through the spring, summer and fall.  They're a great place to explore, walk, find ethnic food, music, and goods, and, of course, people watch.  Check out www.nycstreetfairs.com for a complete listing.

Joe Dowd March 09, 2011 at 07:55 PM
I don't know...Libraries bore me to sleep. And the kids seem to turn up their noses every time I suggest something cultural.
Adina Genn March 09, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Really? Come to the Port Washington Library! But I agree, teens aren't especially open to something cultural unless its big, like Broadway, or they take a special interest in some particular genre.
Joe Dowd March 09, 2011 at 07:59 PM
But the kids love to go to New York with me... I took them to Washington Square recently to the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 and told them the story of the women jumping to their deaths because of the greed of the owners. That seemed to have a lot of impact. Then they wanted to go shopping for knock-offs in Chinatown. Apparently, the nuances of my lecture were less than clear.
Alexandra Zendrian March 09, 2011 at 10:32 PM
That's great that you tried to teach your children about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.
Adina Genn March 10, 2011 at 08:53 PM
That sounds like a great day in New York to me, Joe, full of variety!


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