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From New York Family Brooklyn Magazine

December 2009

Download 12-09 Bklyn_pdf NYfamily-LibraryStory

David Burke's Fishtail is one of UltimateMama's favorite restaurants for lunch in Manhattan.  UltimateMama and her family first visited Fishtail in early September 2009 and revisited it today (December 39, 2009).  Everything was excellent – high chair for the youngest child, service, food, value, and ambiance.  This bi-level restaurant is located in a beautiful townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side, not far from Bloomingdales.  UltimateMama's family loves to eat on the second floor. 

Run, do not walk, to Fishtail for their 3 course prix fixe menu for $24.07 (UltimateMama loves the lobster dumplings, roasted branzino, and fishtail fruit bowl) or their special $5 menu (consisting of burgers, tuna burgers, soup, fries, etc.). 

Do not forget to sample the yummy peanut brittle on your way out! 


Fishtail by David Burke

135 East 62nd Street, New York, NY

(Park & Lexington Avenues)

(212) 754-1300


UltimateMama loves when nice, caring, wonderful mommies give her useful suggestions on parenting.  In every bunch (school groups, classes, neighborhoods, etc.), there are always one or two mommies who stand out immediately and you learn to really treasure those friendships. Whether these mommies have older children, children the same age as yours, or younger children you really love having them a part of your life.  You admire them for telling their parenting stories and for listening to yours. 

DO NOT wait for Mother's Day to show these special mothers appreciation.  UltimateMama offers a few simples ideas for you:

– Give or send them flowers

– Send them a hand written note

– Create a photo book, card or album for them featuring the children

– Offer to be their child's "in case of emergency" contact

– Tell them about a great sale

– Give them details about a fun family event you went to or will attend

– Invite them over for a brunch or lunch

UltimateMama does not tolerate busybodies who offer unsolicited parenting advice.  Many times, those people who offer such advice have failed in some aspects of parenting themselves and feel the need to make themselves feel better…at your expense. 

Whether you are at a family gathering, a holiday party, a retail store, a parking lot, or an airport, you should be armed with a few direct yet helpful phrases to defer those who lurk and spew senseless parenting information.

– "Sounds like we have drastically different parenting styles".

– "Oh, your child walked, talked, and was potty-trained by 9 months, well then they must be going to Harvard".

– "I believe you have children already and I am not one of them".

– "I understand that you valued your sleep and declined to breastfeed but I am honored to nurse my child to provide nutrition and protect them from illness". See the following link for additional benefits

– "It may be okay for you to feed your children from a jar or take-out container but we prefer fresh ingredients".

– "You may support pacifiers but I like to investigate why my child is uncomfortable without an object in their mouth".  For an interesting story on the pacifiers see link: 

– "Using food as a reward may be your style but we find more constructive ways to reward our children".

Planning A Party?

The City Has Countless
Types Of Birthday Bashes To Choose From.

Here, A Roundup Of
Inspired Themes And Venues (Plus Cakes, Entertainers, and The Dos and Don’ts Of
Birthday Etiquette)

full-fl edged, Coney-Island style carnival for your child at Carnival, an
ambitious new space above Bowlmor Lanes. Birthday guests receive tickets to use
on authentic boardwalk style gaming—including a basketball toss and fi sh
pong—as well as access to concession stands offering popcorn, cotton candy and
snow cones.

SPORTS SAMPLER Budding sports stars can take part in obstacle courses, relay
races, tug-of-war, dodgeball, potato sack races, and more challenges when they
throw a sports-themed bash. Chelsea Piers and Kids In Sports both
host athleticthemed parties.

with a private puppet show just for the birthday guest and her friends. You can
find shows ranging from classic folk stories to interactive modern tales at
places like the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park,
Puppetworks in Park Slope, and the 14th Street Y.

Flipping, tumbling, jumping, swimming and climbing are just a few of the
activities kids can engage in at a gymnastics-themed party—under the supervision
of coaches of course! Great venues include 74th St. MAGIC, Gymtime Rhythm
& Glues, Jodi’s Gym,
and My Gym.

Kids who love deciphering codes and clues can give their brains a workout with a
group scavenger hunt. Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts organize
kid-friendly hunts in Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History, and
other iconic New York destinations.

get a kick out of how things work can get up close and personal with experiments

exploding volcanoes,
gooey ooze, and indoor fireworks. Check out Mad Science, New York Hall of
and The Scholastic Store for great science-themed party

little girl doesn’t want to be a princess for a day? The birthday guest and her
friends channel their inner divas and live the glamorous life with makeovers,
pedicures, hairdos, and more at places like Cozy’s Cuts for Kids and
Dashing Diva.

around the country love the chance to make their very own Teddy Bear and other
stuffed animals from scratch at Build-A-Bear Workshop—and our budding New
Yorkers are no different! Participants stuff, stitch, and dress their creations,
and go home with a furry new friend.

an overnight adventure, consider hosting a sleepover at a local museum. Kids can
take part in museum’s activities, get flashlight tours, and more. Both the
American Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum of
offer sleepovers.

DANCE PARTY Engage your
child’s natural rhythm and love of movement with a dance-themed party. Your
child and friends will move and groove to the music, and maybe even learn a few
new moves too! Groove out at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center and
Discovery Programs.

Robot Galaxy, a make-your-own robot party offered at Toys “R” Us Times
Square and at Robot Galaxy in Freehold, NJ and West Nyack, NY, kids can hop
aboard a space ship to design their own talking robot, which they get to name
and activate in front of all the guests!

big with a celebration thrown by Supper Soccer Stars, which hosts parties
at both indoor and outdoor locations. The festivities include soccer activities
and the chance to perfect skills, followed by a mini-World Cup tournament.

restaurant or dessert cafe is a great place to host a party, and they often have
private rooms you can rent out. For a sweet time, try Magnolia Bakery on
the Upper West Side or Sweetie Pie Restaurant in the West Village. For a
full-fledged luncheon or dinner, Big Daddy’s on the Upper East Side and
Heartland Brewery and Uno Chicago Grill, which both have locations
throughout the city, host kid-friendly affairs.

child loves anything that moos, oinks, tweets or growls, celebrate his birthday
where the wild things are by exploring the urban jungles and farms of New York
City. Great places to get up close and personal with real animals include Art
Farm In the City, Queens County Farm Museum, Central Park Zoo,
and Bronx

York-centric themed party, try the New York Transit Museum where kids can
explore over 100 years or transit lore, hop aboard old subway cars, and take
part in hands-on workshops!

indoor playground and interactive water adventure station at City Treehouse
make it a perfect place for a birthday party for young kids. Simply rent the
space and create your own party, or work with the party planner to customize the

they’re doing the downward dog, the cat, the cow, the rainbow pose, or even,
yes, the pineapple pose, your child and his guests will get a Zen-like kick out
of yoga-themed activities and games at Karma Kids Yoga.

little maestro loves to jam, give him the gift of music on his birthday with a
party at one of the city’s musical activity centers. He’ll dance and sing along
with the band, and maybe even learn to create some of his own music. apple
seeds, Kidville, Three Little Birds, Hands On!, and Moey’s Music Party
are all great options.

a magic comedy show, to balloon animals, to a secret VIP magic room and the
chance to levitate—the birthday boy or girl who hosts their party at Fantasma
will be just one abracadabra away from their most memorable birthday
party yet!

birthday child can kick, punch, and chop her way through her birthday at one of
the city’s martial arts centers, including Tiger Shulmann’s Karate, East Side
Tae Kwon Do,
and West Side Taekwondo. Not only will she and her
guests learn skills from instructors, but they will gain confidence, poise,
respect and self-control that will endure long after the party ends.

GAME TIME Kids will be
on top of their game at Dave & Buster’s, the game emporium that has
everything from the classics (Skeeball, Donkey Kong, Pac Man) to the modern
(Dance Dance Revolution). There’s plenty of action and sports games, too,
including bowling and basketball.

your prima ballerina and her friends to a ballet-inspired birthday celebration
at a premier New York City studio. Kids will have fun warming up and performing
a special ballet story at venues such as Ballet Academy East and Steps
on Broadway.

fancy tea party is a great way to make kids feel special on their big day. At
Alice’s Tea Cup and American Girl Place, children’s parties
include options like tea service, assorted sandwiches, and sweet treats as part
of an elegant spread. Dolls are invited!

can unleash their inner thespians by dancing, singing, and acting their hearts
out while honoring the birthday guest! Check out the performance party options
at Broadway Babies/Superstars, Camp Broadway, DramaZone, Discovery Programs,
and New York Kids Club.

compete to stay out of the gutter while they battle each other in a birthday
bowling game. From choosing the perfect bowling shoes, to enjoying snacks and
drinks, to rolling that perfect strike, it’s a full afternoon of fun! Great
places to host parties include Harlem Lanes, Lucky Strike, and Bowlmor

POOL PARTY One doesn’t
have to travel to a suburban country club to host a pool party. Kids can splish,
splash, reach and pull right here in the city. Host a party with activities both
in and out of the water at venues such as Asphalt Green, 92nd Street Y,
Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, McBurney YMCA,
and West Side

child and their friends will love the chance to pull on a pair of skates and
show of their skills on the rink—or learn a few from an onsite instructor. Tell
the kids to leave their modesty at home and remember that falling is part of the
fun! Try Wollman Skating Rink, The Rink at Rockefeller Center, and
City Ice Pavilion.

make their cake (or pizza or sushi) and eat it too at a
cooking-themed birthday party. Cupcake Kids, Citibabes, Mini Chef NYC,
and the JCC all offer foodie-inspired fetes. Perhaps you will
discover the next Bobby Flay or Julia Child in the bunch!

kid enjoys saving the world! At Gymboree’s Little Super Heroes birthday
parties, kids can dress up and pretend to be their favorite superhero, while
teachers lead the way in games and activities.

choose from a variety of themes when they throw an art-themed party. Whether
they’re creating a painting, a piece of pottery, or knitting a scarf, guests go
home with a piece of art to serve as a keepsake. Children’s Museum of the
Arts, Hi Art!, The Craft Studio,
and Loop of the Loom all inspire
kids’ imaginations.

princesses can create the perfect look with a dress-up party at Let’s Dress
Spend the afternoon trying on gorgeous gowns, tiaras, jewels, and
shoes—plus getting your nails done!

your little guy’s next birthday party in a space where he and his guests can
play games like ping pong and pool. Spin New York specializes in ping
pong, while Slate is a lounge-like space with ping pong, foosball, and

TOY TIME Celebrate by
throwing a party in the most imaginative toy store on earth! At FAO Schwarz,
families can throw a party in a special private room or opt to take over a
portion of the store. Renting the entire store is also an option for a
one-of-a-kind affair.

Contributors: Leah
Black, Kristen Duca, Heather Peterson

UltimateMama realizes that with the holidays comes lots of quality time with friends.  One can never teach their child manners too early.  UltimateMama helps her young children select and bring a small gift whenever visiting a friend for a long duration or special occasion.  The children present the gift to the hostess or their children upon arrival as a nice way of saying "thank you" for the hospitality or fun time. 

For a Christmas Eve dinner party at a friends apartment, UltimateMama arrived with gourmet food items for the parents while her children presented their friends with short-sleeved shirts for an upcoming vacation to San Juan along with a few books.  

This weekend, UltimateMama's children will be giving a few books and games to friends they are visiting in Connecticut. 

Gifts do not have to be expensive as it is really just meant to be a nice way of encouraging your children to appreciate those who host them in a special way. 

A few ideas for gifts your children can give their mini-hosts or hostesses:

– Books

– Coloring books/crayons

– Stuffed animals

– Washable watercolors, paint, markers

– Something edible

– A hand-made craft

– Pajamas

– T-shirts

– Puzzles

– Games

– Flash Cards

– Cars or trucks

– Hair accessories

– Framed pictures

– Mini photo albums

– Socks, mittens, hats

– Sunglasses

– Bathtub toys

– Balls or other sports accessories

– Sidewalk chalk

– Bubbles




New York Family » Page 70


8 Ideas For Designing A Family-Friendly Apartment That Doesn’t Sacrifice On Style

IN A SLEEK NURSING CHAIR Every nursing mom needs a comfortable
glider—but many of the options are far from stylish. That’s all changed
with The Grano by Monte Designs ($1,195), a sleek glider-and-recliner
that comes in a range of colors, including white, stone, brown, orange,
green and gray. With its modern design it’s a great fit for any room in
the house, from the nursery to the living room. The chair offers
ergonomic arm height for feeding your baby, a high back for proper head
rest, and a removable lumbar pillow for extra support. The fabric is
water repellant and stain resistant.

A KID-FRIENDLY KITCHEN In many households, the kitchen is the center of
activity—making it even more essential that the room be
family-friendly. Robert Dobbs, a certified kitchen and bathroom
designer with Elgot, a design company based in Manhattan, says families
looking to remodel their kitchen may want to consider “u-shaped
kitchens, [because they] work well to keep kids on the opposite side of
the island [and away from the cooking area].” Also, Dobbs says to be
sure to “leave [ample] space between open oven or dishwasher doors and
cabinets,” as this helps enable safe passageway through the kitchen.
When it comes to flooring, solid wood or laminate floors are both
resilient surfaces that make for easy clean-up, while cork is another
good option because it makes standing for long periods of times easier
on your feet—and on a baby’s crawling hands and knees. For people with
small kitchens, Dobbs says internal storage options like pull out
pantries really maximize space.

AHEAD WHEN DECORATING YOUR NURSERY First-time parents should consider
three things before getting deep into plans for a nursery, according to
Ali Wing, founder of Giggle, a baby gear and furniture store. First,
consider how soon you might have a second child, and plan the nursery
around the possibility of a newborn sharing it with a toddler. Second,
unless you are someone who likes to redecorate often, design the room
so “you’ll like it as much when your baby’s a toddler as when she’s a
newborn.” Third, pay attention to safety issues. Be aware of electrical
outlets and cords from blinds and lamps, and keep the crib away from
them. Also, use paint with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or
wallpaper using non-toxic adhesives.

A COLORFUL CHILDREN’S WALL MURAL Do your children dream of being
astronauts, love everything about the ocean or adore animals? Nurture
their interests with a customized wall mural designed by Brett
McCormack’s Painted Worlds. McCormack, who is based in New York City,
has painted window displays for Rockefeller Center, designed holiday
windows for Burberry London and has been featured in “LiveDesign
Magazine” and on Home &Garden Television.

McCormack begins each
project with a consultation before completing a series of drafts for
the room’s detailed design. He then spends a few weeks creating each
personalized room, all with child-safe, non-toxic paints.


Debbie Weiner,
furniture maven and author of “Slobproof! Real-Life Home Decorating
Solutions,” draws on her own experience with a full household—including
a husband, kids, and multiple pets—to offer tips for keep one’s living
area both chic and kid-friendly. Here are just a few to get you

floor and table lamps for overhead lighting. This prevents broken lamps
and stained shades, and gives your family more room to play.

kids always look out the window, says Weiner, which can wreck havoc on
delicate draperies. Replace drapes with raise-able shades, which can be
made in many stylish fabrics.

with your “trouble spots” to find a carpet or rug solution to shedding
pets and spill-prone families. If you have a lot of red stains, buy a
red-patterned carpet; if black dog fur is dotting your carpet, find a
black-based design.

all, invest in durable seating. “A coffee table from Ikea is just as
good as a table from any other place,” Weiner says, “but you can always
tell a bad sofa from a good one.” When shopping for a sofa, make sure
it has a strong frame, a cushion with down and a thick fabric.

ECO-FRIENDLY DESIGN CHOICES Practicing an environmentally conscious
lifestyle when your children are young will hopefully lead them to
become socially responsible adults in future years. Paulette Cole, CEO
and creative director of ABC Home, as well as a mom, is passionate
about keeping the business socially responsible. Cole offers the
following tips for New Yorkers who wish to set up a “green” nursery or
kids room:

*Start with a non-chemical foundation: use non-chemical cleaners and non-toxic paints.

*Buy an air purifier for your urban setting.

*Choose organic mattresses whether you are buying for a crib or a bed.

*Invest in organic mattress pads, duvets, pillows, and sheets. Cole
believes “one should keep everything on the bed organic and crisp.”

ABC, we have furniture such as cribs sourced from responsibly managed
forests,” Cole explains. “Health for the planet is the collective goal.”


of Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, was pregnant and looking to
buy furniture for her nursery, she found that there was a “void in the
market for good quality, sophisticated design at a reasonable price.”
She returned from maternity leave with a slew of ideas, creating the
store’s Baby & Child line, which recently launched. It features an
assortment of convertible cribs, elegant bedding, bathroom accessories
and more that Hansmeyer says are “subtle, but fun” and “seamless with
the rest of your home.” Check out their cribs that convert into a
toddler bed and “big kid bed,” and changing tables that transform into
dressers in styles “that are pretty timeless.” As Hansmeyer notes,
“Being able to buy something that will live with your child for 10
years” is worth the investment.

A DESIGN EXPERT FOR YOUR CHILD’S ROOM Whether you are having trouble
decorating your first child’s room, organizing a bedroom shared between
two or three siblings, or transforming your kid’s room from baby to
soccer stud, consider hiring some help. Kid’s Supply Co., for example,
can send a designer to visit your New York City home and help you
create the perfect floor plan for your child’s room. Or, alternatively,
bring the room measurements to an appointment for an in-store
consultation. The store also carries unique styles of furniture and
bedding that you can customize to your own needs. B —Reported by Kristen Duca, Darcy Newell, and Kate Willard


ABC Carpet & Home, 888 & 881 Broadway, 212-473-3000,

Brett McCormack’s Painted Worlds, 860-916-8866,

Elgot, 937 Lexington Avenue, 212-879-1200,

Giggle, various locations in Manhattan,

Kid’s Supply Co, 1343 Madison Avenue, 212-426-1200,

Monte Design Group, 1-866-604-6755,

Restoration Hardware, 935 Broadway, 212-260-9479

The Rug Company, 88 Wooster Street, 212-274-0444,

UltimateMama strongly encourages parents to teach their child to express gratitude at an early age. It is never too early to provide etiquette lessons to your child.  From the time the first baby gift arrives until your child leaves the nest you should assist your child with creating, writing, and sending thank you notes. 

Thank you notes should be mandatory whenever your child receives a gift, attends an extraordinary event, or is the recipient of an act of kindness. 

A few ideas to make saying thanks fun:

– Create your on thank you note with construction paper, crayons, glitter

– Buy or make your child their own personalized stationary or letterhead

– Help your child with their penmanship by buying nice pens in unique colors

UltimateMama knows that it is not always easy to select the perfect gifts for children.  Many times a holiday, birthday, or other celebration creeps up and we are scrambling to buy a present at the last minute.  UltimateMama is completely comfortable arriving empty handed or light handed (card only) to kids celebrations as long as she has the gift covered already. 

Here are some of UltimateMama's last minute gift ideas for children:

– Gift certificates to book stores (Borders, Barnes & Noble), clothing stores (The Gap, Gymboree, Old Navy, Children's Place), or department stores (BloomingdalesSaks Fifth AvenueMacys

– Annual or monthly memberships to local museums, the zoo, or gyms for kids

U.S. Savings Bonds

– Cash or check (as they say "cash is king" — make sure to say it is designated for their college savings)

– Contributions to 529 College Savings Plans

– Gift certificate to an arts and craft store to be used to create or paint plastercraft

– Educational toys, games, or puzzles

– Favorite childhood books. UltimateMama loves perusing Caldecott Medal and Honor Books

UltimateMama is all about routine and when it gets broken with holiday school break she knows she must keep her little ones busy! Wherever you live, you can always find something fun and constructive to do with your children.  Both you and your young ones will love the bonding experience. 

A few ideas:

– Story time at your local public library or book store.

– Bake together — banana muffins are always yummy, easy and fun.

– Make a meal together (like pancakes, fancy sandwiches, or soup).

– Hit the museums you always wanted to go to but never had the time.

– Go to a toy train show or antique doll show. For all of you in the metro New York area, the New York Botanical Garden has a terrific train show. 

– See a ballet (The Nutcracker is fun for both boys and girls).

– Attend a musical performance.

– Create an art project that you would normally not do involving many messy supplies (such as paint, glue, glitter.  UltimateMama's children love to paint clean seashells that we collected in the Hamptons or Nantucket over the summer)

– Volunteer with your children at a soup kitchen or another worthwhile place.

– Visit friends you haven't seen in a while. Organize playdates with kids who do not attend the same school. 

– Go to an aquarium. UltimateMama loves The Maritime Aquarium in South Norwalk, CT.

– Have lunch at a pizzeria. 

– Arrange a tea party for dolls.