Open for business from the first blossoms of spring until the last leaves of autumn, Decker Farm stocks its shelves with organic fruits and vegetables harvested each day from its 11-acre field. Crisp stalks of asparagus beckon shoppers away from ripe tomatoes and juicy lemons, and fresh foods—such as sourdough bread, cheeses, and raisin fennel semolina prepared onsite—add local touches to dinner parties or food-pyramid Halloween costumes.
If a subject is art-related, chances are you can learn about it at Around the Corner Art Center. With a slate of teachers who specialize in working with specific age groups and art mediums, students can learn how to sketch or sew, hone their brush strokes, and construct mixed-media pieces. With all these disciplines under one roof, there is a class for everyone from children to college art students to adults. The staff's love of art even extends to the birthday parties they host, with artistic themes that may include recreating a famous painting or learning how to draw cartoons, anime, and manga.
Splayed across the green lawns of historic Snug Harbor, Staten Island Children's Museum's main brick building houses a four-level wonderland of kid-friendly fun. Tykes learn about nature in exhibits such as Bugs & Other Insects, which lets explorers crawl through a human-size anthill, don shiny beetle carapaces, and sign peace treaties with hissing cockroaches. Portia's Playhouse puts visitors in charge of their own theatrical productions, complete with costumes, a working curtain, and an interactive soundboard, and House About It beckons youngsters over to pick up real drills and make boxes under careful supervision. Outside, a quiet garden offers visitors a place to wind down, and the Sea Of Boats gives life to nautical fantasies on a springy, outdoor play area that cushions inadvertent falls.
The frames at J. Reznik Studios don't just immortalize old photographs and new college diplomas; they also keep the memories of fallen heroes alive. As the studio's in-house artist, Jodi Reznik has eased the pain of lost loved ones for dozens of families—such as those of Suffolk County police officer Glen Ciano and NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko—by memorializing them with brush strokes on canvas. Equal parts frame shop, gallery, and conversation space, the studio beckons art lovers of all stripes to interact with Jodi and her husband, Jeff, while they browse her work or select a frame for an existing piece. Expert print makers also enlarge and emblazon images on paper and canvas to forge eye-catching photo gifts, and staffers specializing in flower preservation enshrine bouquets from weddings or punish daisies with unpaid gambling debts behind quality glass. J. Reznik Studios has impressed not only walk-in customers, but online clients as well, earning an 86% customer-approval rating from Groupon users.
In 1899, program directors at what is today's Brooklyn Children's Museum decided to transform an old family mansion into a museum geared toward children. Anna Billings Gallup headed up the first crew of curators, who transformed the space into the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the world's first youth-geared institution of its kind.
Today, the museum preserves Gallup's world-renowned passion for educating children along with more than 30,000 objet d'anthropology, from shark jawbones to tribal masks. Eight standing exhibits, a greenhouse, and a garden aim to entertain kids and families and include an exploration of world culture. The Sensory Room provides an interactive experience for special-needs children, with visual, auditory, and motor-skills-related activities. The museum also teaches future generations about sustainability with a curriculum based on the building's own inner workings, which are certified green by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Filling a need for a local space where artists share vision as well as physical area, Brooklyn Art Space houses much of the foundational equipment artists need to create their work without being forced to rent private studios. The loft offers many work-area options to its members such as a 4,000-square-foot shared studio space, semiprivate spaces, a gallery, and a writers’ room. Each member is granted open access to equipment such as tables, easels, drying racks, and slop sinks, and can come and go as they wish 24 hours a day.
Alongside the working studio, artists teach workshops including a diverse lineup of classes that range from traditional 2-D painting and drawing courses to sewing and mixed-media projects. Reflecting the space’s commitment to fostering a community of artists, the staff also holds frequent figure-drawing sessions, gallery shows, feedback forums, and an art-talk series.