Since its creation in 1965, Buzz-A-Rama has hummed with the zooming melody of miniature slot cars, 1/24-scale replicas that race around turns and down straightaways at speeds ranging from 20 to 100 miles per hour. Eight at a time, these mini-racers whip around five different tracks that range from 80 to 100 feet in length, some featuring steep banks and sharp turns for an extra challenge. Owner Buzz Perri likes to say that his fast-paced racing menagerie—open on the weekends for general racing, weekdays for parties—is recommended for ages 5–95. Nothing proves his point better than the fact that past generations of racers now bring in their children and grandchildren to teach them a thing or two about leaving their blinkers on.
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.
Puppetry Arts organizes creative-arts programming that combines the art of puppetry with cultural exploration. Puppetry Arts reaches out to a variety of audiences with its community and educational programs, youth-empowerment activities, and professional theater program. In recent years, it has fueled new musical productions including Anthropomorphic, which examines the imposition of social standards on youth, and expanded its creative scope by incorporating video and animatronic puppets into its repertoire. Puppetry Arts goes into schools to help improve literacy and oral-language skills through puppetry and mask activities, as well as a youth-empowerment program that teaches young people how to express themselves artistically. The organization also provides professional theater, which aims to help emerging artists reach out to new audiences with thoughtful material.
Travel back to experience New York’s past as a home for dinosaurs, Native Americans, and eventually art critics at the Staten Island Museum. Founded in 1881, the museum encapsulates the area’s geological and cultural history with more than two million artifacts. Exhibits showcase relics from prehistoric Staten Island residents; fossil, geological, and wildlife taxidermy samples; and the spark that lit the Statue of Liberty’s torch. Art collections from historical painters and contemporary artists provide a workout for right brains and scan-happy eyes. As part of an ongoing dream to make the exhibits bigger and better, the museum is expanding into the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a 19th century dormitory for “aged, worn out and retired seamen.”
When you walk into The Toy Museum of NY, you might see a Raggedy Ann doll. And another. And then another. Through this head-spinning proliferation of Anns and other characters—from Shirley Temple to Howdy Doody to Mr. Potato Head—kids and nostalgic adults explore changes in toymaking trends. Much of the collection of hundreds of dolls, games, and figurines from the 1880s–1980s is behind glass, so little hands get their passport to this wonderland of playthings via Queen Marlene's Toy Theatre. Kids gather around her singing, dancing highness for an illustrated tour through toyland as they’re invited up on stage to don costumes, play instruments, and perhaps diagnose an ailing doll’s stuffing troubles alongside other energetic, quick-witted actors. They can also attend the Special Toy Invention Program and learn about the invention of such cornerstones of American childhood as the Slinky, the Etch-A-Sketch, the Frisbee, and the empty refrigerator box.
The Brooklyn Museum is one of the largest art museums in the United States and one of the premier art institutions in the world. Its permanent collections include a wide range of objects from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, representing almost every culture in the world.