Within the multihued walls of Kidville’s indoor playland, tykes expand their minds, network with members of their peer group, and deplete their vast energy reserves. Babies, toddlers, and kids 6 or younger delve into classes developed by Kidville’s early-childhood-development gurus. Burgeoning Beethovens can swivel their hips, flex their sing-along muscles, and edit their massive music manuscripts during one of Kidville’s music and dance classes, or enlist in one of the art classes to create a piece that captures their inner rage toward broccoli. Fun and fit gym classes let tots run, roll, and hover through gauntlets of plush blocks and spongy play mats. Clasping hands and scampering legs can also roam freely through Kidville’s sprightly indoor playspace, though all munchkins must be supervised by a parent, guardian, or trustworthy primate.
The Sofia family boasts a New York City heritage stretching back more than a century. In 1880, the family’s ancestral patriarch, Theodoro, emigrated to The Bronx from Italy, joining millions of others in search of a new life and streets flowing with apple pie and hot dogs. After marrying his childhood sweetheart, he bought a stable with his three sons, eventually transforming it into a moving and storage business in 1910. The growing business weathered the Depression and two world wars, and gained prestige when its movers were trusted to transport the Mona Lisa to the Met, to shuttle the King Tut exhibit around the country, and to move the Atlantic Ocean to the East Coast. The family eventually phased out its moving services in favor of storage facilities, which are still run by third-generation Sofias. Today, the company's four storage locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn safely store closet overflow from New Yorkers' oft-cramped apartments. Each facility hosts lockers and storage rooms that range in size from 4’x4’ spaces to entire floors, and boast amenities such as natural-gypsum or terra cotta lining. An outside security company monitors each building at all times, and renters can opt to buy a lock or bring their own. Storage tips, packing materials for sale, and the option of custom shelving in each unit help patrons pack their belongings with long-lasting care, while easy access and complimentary use of hand carts facilitate stuff retrieval.
Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play and Music didn't begin in a business meeting?it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children?s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.
Unless you're a food critic, your workspace probably isn't a table at a gourmet restaurant. Mealku is out to change that. Each morning, the food-delivery service sends out servers to enrolled offices to take employees' lunch orders from the dishes available that day. Each of those meals is prepared by a chef whose specialties range from beef bourguignon to spaghetti-squash pad thai. A few hours after ordering, the server returns with a piping-hot plate of food.
Housing Works provides advocacy, job training, healthcare and housing support for low-income and homeless people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Housing Works Thrift Shops and Buy the Bag help fund this effort by selling new and used donated goods. Shoppers can explore shelves upon shelves of donated items in search of a new designer shirt, a vintage necklace, or a set of hand-painted bowls.
On select Friday and Saturday nights, Project Playdate opens its doors and arms to young ones for three-hour bouts of evening childcare. Designed to allow parents a night out without having to find a babysitter, the not-for-profit organization hosts drop-off evening-care pajama parties for children aged 2 to 6. In a caregiver-to-child ratio of 1:3, professional nannies lead little ones in activities such as story time, arts and crafts, and dancing, all designed for optimum tuckering out before bedtime. Each event is also punctuated by a dinner of all-natural, whole-food pizza, which accommodates specific food needs and is capped with a feature film.
This summer, Project Playdate is taking its evening care model and adding some sunshine to bring you drop off daytime playdates. These three-hour playdates might visit locations such as the Central Park Zoo, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Tribeca Children’s Museum of the Arts.
All proceeds from Project Playdate events are paid forward to fuel social change and help at-risk young mothers.