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BY JANEL BLADOW
Welcome May flowers. Sunshine. Bye-bye puffy jackets — please! Let’s get our party on!
FUN WITH FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS… The Brooklyn Bridge South Neighborhood Association (BBSNA) is hosting a neighborhood party on Saturday, May 5, 5-8 pm, for old friends and new ones to gather around food and drinks, have some fun and do some good for the Seaport. As their flyer for the event says “We’re lucky to live here.”
One goal is to get neighbors to know their neighbors a bit better. Jeremey’s Ale House is providing liquor and Key Food’s Market 55 is supplying lots of delish food.
Another objective is to raise so funds to support proposed projects they’d like to undertake around the Seaport. To that end, there will be a raffle and a silent auction.
Among the items up for bids are gift certificates to Acqua Restorante, McGuire’s, Café Patoro, and others. Bid on an environmentally friendly house cleaning, or a basket of green cleaning supplies, safe for family and pets. Salon 25 on John Street is auctioning two certificates — for a spa treatment and for a mani/pedi. Big-ticket items include two evening sails out of Battery Park City for two people, provided by Manhattan by Sail. Among the many other auction items is a beautiful necklace by India Hicks, accessories such as a lovely scarf for her, and more.
BBSNA is registered a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and environment for all the residents/inhabitants in the neighborhood south of the Brooklyn Bridge, according to its charter.
One project they hope this event will help get underway is new steel trash receptacles, like those along Fulton Street, to replace the wire baskets that are often overflowing or blown over. I personally think the wire baskets fit the neighborhood’s quaint, historic look but I can see how they can be an eyesore for some. Even a health hazard.
The gathering is being held in a private home, so space is limited. Neighbors should RSVP ASAP at BBSNA.firstname.lastname@example.org to attend. And bring cash, checks and/or credit cards! Like the last event on a snowy January 2017 night, this one will be fun.
BIRTHDAY BASHES… The South Street Seaport Museum has hosted children’s birthday parties for a long time at their galleries and onboard their ships, but museum staff recently revamped the program so there’s more interaction and more structure to the events — also, lots more fun.
“Parties in the galleries are with art projects and close encounters with marine life,” Jonathan Anderson, Manager of Education and Family Programs at SSSM, told Seaport Report. Onboard the vessels, they engage with the sea and ships.
“Parents like to hang out and watch and have fun themselves.”
Parties are available for different age groups. “MiniMates” partied are all held indoors in the galleries and focus on early childhood activities for little ones up to six years old.
“There are a lot of different themes,” says Anderson. “What appeals to 2-year-olds and 5-year-olds is completely different. Our educators create projects for them.”
At past parties, kids would play with puppets and watch a puppet show. Older ones created puppets and even wrote little skits to perform. “The parents love it,” he says.
“Little Sailors” 1-to-3-years-old parties feature about five play stations with boat crafts, interactions with sea creatures, and a maritime game to get little ones moving.
A “Seaport Creatures” theme party for 4-to-7-year-olds gets up close and personal with live critters they can touch and examine with electronic magnifiers.
“We have some really cool animals,” says Anderson. “The Oyster Drill is always a big favorite. It looks like a small snail and preys on oysters. It barfs on the oyster shell — the mucous is acidic — then uses its tongue to drill a hole through the shell. Kids love the barf.”
“Float Your Boat” parties, also for 4-to-7-year-olds, include waterborne fun about what floats or sinks as well as boat races and nautical games. Parties for kids six and up are often held on the tall ship Wavertree, weather permitting.
“They get a real hands-on sailors’ experience,” Anderson says.
Kids get a tour of the ship, hoist sails just as real-life sailors, and play with the machinery onboard. A big fave is the capstan tug-of-war.
Those nine and older can go sailing on the museum’s historic schooner Pioneer.
“They help our staff raise and man the sails,” Anderson says.
The boat sails around New York Harbor, while staff talk about the seaport environment and tell fun tales of our city’s maritime history. And at two stations they have a hands-on learning experience: navigation and knot tying.
“They’ll bring lunch,” adds Anderson. “It’s a fun time for everyone.”
The museum doesn’t do food or decorations for birthday parties. But staff is more than happy to pitch in and help parents make the spaces look festive — though balloons are not allowed on either the Wavertree or Pioneer for environmental reasons. The museum has a list of local spots that can cater.
Cost for a party varies by the ages and number of kids attending. On average, the miniMates party is two hours with two educators with 90 minutes of activities and 30 minutes of free time for snacks and cake. They can run approximately $550 for up to 30 kids and adults. The museum averages two to three parties a weekend. Parties are only available Saturday or Sunday, mornings from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and afternoons from 2:30 to 4:30 pm.
Partiers generally leave thrilled with the experience, including the parents, Anderson says.
“Parents usually leave very, very happy,” he adds. “The kids love it. These parties are lots of fun.”
To book a miniMates play-space or party on the Wavertree, email email@example.com. Parties aboard the Pioneer (ages 9 and up, for up to 36 people) can be booked through firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212 748-8568.