Urban Granny

A Seasoned View of Urban Life

Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category


Grandparents in Charge

Recently my daughter and her husband were on a week’s trip to The Netherlands and my husband and I were left in charge of their three children ages 5, 4, and 15 months.

During the week their regular routine kicked in so our dilemma was the weekend and what would be fun activities for all of us.

The plan for Saturday was to walk the High Line, exit at 20th street, lunch at Cookshop, proceed to the Hudson River walkway on West Street and then go to the children’s park at Jane Street and the Hudson River. The park has a wonderful sprinkler and water play area.A High Line View


Saturday proved to be a mixed bag of results. High Line was a wonderful experience but the children were too young to appreciate it. They were looking for more activity than they found. They thought it was cool to be above the ground and that they could see the old tracks but still no “kid things to do”. The High Line activity listing scheduled a children’s art project of making constructions out of recycled material but it was crowded and disorganized. A bit of a disappointment but it had sounded great when I planned it.

Coming off the High Line at 20th and having Cookshop directly in our sight was perfect. The food was great and totally child friendly.

The walk to Jane Street Park was long but doable. It is a great park with a wonderful walk along the Hudson. The park was not crowded and there were restroom facilities and a snack cart with ice cream nearby.   Perfect!

Sunday was a trip to Governor’s Island. This was a blind plan since we had no idea what to expect. I had read about the available children activities but was not sure about the facilities. We decided not to take bikes since the kids rode at very different levels and we had to deal with Max, the 15 month old.

The first ferry to Governors Island was at 10 o’clock and we made it!!  We were worried about the prediction for rain and we were trying to avoid the crowds. This proved to be the correct move. The children loved the ferry ride. The ride is short and easy with designated areas for bikers and families with strollers.

Governor’s Island is a work in progress. There are porta john facilities and snack trucks but I definitely suggest picnicking. There are tables all over the Island. Water Taxi Beach has food but for now it is french fries, hot dogs and hamburgers.

The Island can be a little daunting at first so use the website and the Island map when planning your trip.


Maxwell Marking

Maxwell Marking

We immediately headed to the Summer Art Colony run by the Children’s Museum of the Arts.  This was simply wonderful. The instructors were enthusiastic, helpful and patient. They had art projects set up for all age groups, even for little Max. There were art kits “to go” for those who wanted to explore other areas of the Island and sketch or color.

Max had colored balls in a dry pool to play with, easels with chalk, markers and some kind of plastic material to mold. Ben and Madeleine were busy making fans, drawing and painting. They also did a project using colored tissue pasted on wooden frames. The kids had a ball and were so proud of their art projects that they decided to give them as gifts to their parents when they returned.

Madeleine Creating

Madeleine Creating

Later, we explored more of the island and played a round of miniature golf. The children asked for a playground but unfortunately it is not finished.  We then walked to Water Taxi Beach for lunch. I really wished I had packed a picnic.

We headed back to the landing and saw big crowds coming off the ferry. Probably the numbers swelled because of a planned Judy Collins concert.

Our timing was great and though Governor’s Island is still a work in progress it is well worth a trip.

The weekend ended up to be a wonderful time for the grandchildren and their grandparents alike.

Benjamin Chalking

Benjamin Chalking

Sides note regarding the Children’s Museum of Arts, CMA is a fabulous organization that runs several types of Art Colonies, art classes for all ages, some of which are affordable drop off classes, a summer camp and art exhibits. Go to their web site for a full list of activities.

Posted under Children, Recreation

May Is New York City’s Bicycle Month


May is NYC Bike Month

May is NYC Bike Month

The month of May not only brings out the flowers but also all those marvelous recreational bicyclists.


Luckily, a top priority of Mayor Bloomberg has been to increase the use and ease of bicycling for city residents and visitors.

New Yorkers can’t help but notice all the great changes that have been made. We have miles of designated bike lanes, beautiful new bicycle shelters and new subway gratings that double as bike racks and benches. BRAVO!

Love these new bike racks

Love these new bike racks


In addition there are more city sponsored bicycling safety programs, more street closings, better signage and a continued dedication to opening more and more miles of bike lanes throughout the boroughs.

I am an avid recreational biker and live in lower Manhattan.  On weekends, traffic is considerably thinned and I feel much more comfortable navigating the quieter downtown streets. I make tremendous use of the wonderful bike lanes along the Hudson River from Battery Park to Riverside Park and often follow the wonderful bike routes printed in Timeout and New York Magazine each spring. And yes it is marvelous to do errands on the weekend using your bike.

Contact 311 and ask them to send the FREE NYC Cycling map. It contains all the city’s bicycle routes, bike rental and safety information. You can download the map from the 311 site . Remember to take it with you when you ride.

Sign up for the NYC Government Bicycling newsletter, which gives you constant updates of new lanes and information.

Go to the New York Bike Month for essential information and special event sign up.

Take the New York Water Taxi to Brooklyn, Bikes ride for free, and avoid the treacherous Brooklyn Bridge, too many pedestrians and nonspeaking English visitors. They DO NOT get out of your way, even in the bike lanes.

DO take your bike to Governors Island by ferry and bring the kids. There is Free Bike Fridays throughout the season if you need to borrow.

Do know the most trusted bike shops in your area. Their professionals will help you pick the right bike and help maintain your bicycle with regular tune-ups.  Rent before you buy to see if you like the sport.  Most bike shops rent good reliable bikes and there are numerous bike rental shops scattered throughout the city.

Do know where to get your bike repaired on Sundays and holidays. Not fun to lug a broken bike on the train home. Tip: By the South Street Seaport the rental guys are nice enough to help if you need an emergency repair.

Do buy the best lock possible, a hardened chain and padlock is probably the best. A good bicycle will get stolen.

Chain lock

Chain lock


Do carry only essentials and make sure you have ID and emergency numbers with you,

Some helpful things I have picked up over the years besides the very obvious WEAR A HELMET at all times:

  • Learn the rules of the road and follow them.
  • Going against traffic is dangerous. 
  • Beware of opening car doors.  They will cause a serious accident.
  • Beware of Lance Armstrong WANT TO BEs
  •  Never trust a moving vehicle.
  •  And finally never trust a fellow cyclist. 

Do pack a lunch and have a safe and fun Bicycle Season!




Posted under Recreation