Summer 2013 officially started today at 1:04 a.m., New York time, so we ask you to close your eyes and think of the perfect summer day.
Did you think about a trip to the beach? A camping trip where no one suffered bug bites? Maybe it was simply endless hours of climbing trees in the woods or playing ball with friends?
We all have different visions of the perfect summer day and that’s how it should be. However, we can all agree that summer holds a special place in our hearts, first as children and now as parents.
We asked members of our NYC Dads Group to tell us what they wanted to do most with their children this summer to create those memories. Here are their responses. Please add your thoughts and ideas to the comments section.
I imagine that most of us try to recreate those classic summer memories that we so cherish. After all, my kids will love swimming in a freezing cold river in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, right?
As my kids — ages 3 and 1 — get older, I realize that my experiences and memories are just that, mine. Trying to recreate what we enjoyed growing up is not the way to make memories for our kids.
Amazingly enough, I find the best way is to just let those moments happen. We need to allow them to make their own memories. You can do your best to create a perfect vacation, but the most important thing is being together and sharing time away from the normal routine.
So this summer, I’m gonna worry less about big plans and perfection and instead try to enjoy the simple joys of being together. Sharing time with those we love and care about – that’s the perfect summer day.
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Set the night on fire
This summer, I’m taking Jake to Philipsburg Manor for “A Night on Fire.” He’s going to stay up past his bedtime to see “A Different Spin to Sleepy Hollow,” a group that mixes comedy, fire and juggling into a choreographed routine. He can’t wait to see “four flame-wielding, fire-eating jugglers” performing a variety of acrobatic stunts.
If he has a great time, which I’m sure he will, I’m taking him back later in the summer for the “Pirates of the Hudson” festival where a crew of boisterous pirates will storm Sleepy Hollow for four days of fun and music.
— Jason Grant, Daddylogue
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Life, finally, is a beach
What I most want to do this summer with my 14-month-old daughter is spend time at the beach. I suffered from gynecomastia (male breast enlargement) from ages 11 through 29 when I had two surgeries to correct it. This condition caused by a hormonal imbalance that contributed to a deep depression. I refused to publicly expose my chest meaning I couldn’t go to the beach without feeling naked despite wearing a shirt.
Not helping matters was the fact that my back looked like a lawn in desperate need of mowing. Following a nervous breakdown, significant therapy, and two years of laser treatment, my depression has slowly abated and my back is finally hairless.
So this summer, I will experience the beach through two new sets of eyes – my daughter’s and my own.
— Lorne Jaffe (shown with his daughter, Sienna), Raising Sienna
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Blind them with science
One of our favorite places to hang out is the New York Hall of Science in Queens. It’s got an amazing outdoor playground in the back with rope climbing, musical walls, a long slide, lots of water areas and climbing walls. They also time the entries for the playground so it’s never overcrowded.
The Hall also has a separate space-themed mini-golf area that is fun thought it costs extra. There’s also 3-D movies and, of course, lots of “please touch” science exhibits and demonstrations.
The Hall is close to the Queens Zoo (all on the former World Fair grounds in Flushing Meadows by Citi Field. It’s accessible by subway (the 7 train) and they have a big parking lot (paid, unless you are a deluxe family member). Admission is $11 for adults, $8 for kids (ages 2-17)
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Make books come to life
This summer we are looking forward to staying in NYC and bringing some of our 3-year-old son’s favorite books to life.
He is obsessed with farms and animals so we will start with Urban Roosts, to learn about fun places where birds build their homes; then we are going to visit a roof top garden like in The Gardener; and we plan to make our own version of ABC NYC.
The options are endless in NYC and any other city!!
— Marty Forth, @marty4th
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Thrill ride into summer
Summer’s arrival in our house has nothing to do with calendars, temperatures or fireworks.
It starts with a steady ascent of anticipation, teases us with a quick dip then throws us a curve before plunging us into the thick of it with a rattling, headlong rush.
Summer comes on the Dragon Coaster.
Unlike many who grew up a short trip from this 84-year-old wood-beamed marvel, I have almost no childhood memories of the rollercoaster or the Playland amusement park that surrounds it in Rye, N.Y. That’s what makes our annual trip there as special to me as to my two children.
On our last ride during the past’s summer’s trip, we reached the peak of the Dragon Coaster just in time to see the sun setting behind the treetops in the west. It filled the sky, and us, with an orange Creamsicle glow — the kind you only truly know when you’re a kid during the summer.