A couple of summers ago, I was finishing up the second half of an intense masters in education program at Columbia. During that summer, all I could think about was being able to spend the summer with my daughter in New York City. I had that joy last summer, but with my daughter now three, there is even more to do and more for her to remember and appreciate.
I’m not going to lie to you. I would love to see my daughter play basketball. I coached middle school hoops for 10 years, with seven of those as head coach of a girls team. My time coaching that team is still one of my career highlights. I had the privilege to often introduce hoops to many groups of young women and help them appreciate the game. I hope to have the chance to do the same for my daughter.
I was a season ticket holder for the WNBA’s New York Liberty for four seasons, but I have continued to attend games over the years. I’ve even seen them play at Radio City Music Hall, the USTA Center, and the Prudential Center in Newark. I believe in the league. When I had friends (actually now former friends) question my loyalty to the WNBA, I told them I love the game. I love it in its many forms. And if I had a daughter, I would want her to know that she can play any sport and dream of playing at the professional level. Two decades later, I actually do have a daughter, and I am now able to bring her to WNBA games. Camilla looks up to players like Skylar Diggins, who is not only an incredibly talented player, but also a great role model for all scholar athletes as she was a three time Big East All-Academic Team member. The last two seasons we have attended the Dads and Daughters game. Such a wonderful idea. We were even able to head down to the court. Hopefully, in the next few years, Camilla will be able to physically shoot on the Garden floor during one of these special events.
There is no better place during the summer than a basketball court. It has been exciting to see my daughter develop an interest in basketball. She is starting to learn how to catch the ball and dribble. We have spent at least a couple of mornings a week on our local court working on the fundamentals. She still has a ways to go, but it’s a start. And I am a patient man. 🙂
Minor League Baseball
We took Camilla to her second Brooklyn Cyclones game on the 4th of July. The games are so family friendly. There are lots of giveaways, theme nights, and fireworks. Although we couldn’t stay for the fireworks, it’s hard to complain about the fun you can have as a family at a Minor League game. Most importantly, the prices are much more reasonable than at our two MLB parks. We had a blast. You are also much more likely to catch a ball or tee shirt. The Staten Island Yankees are also a great Minor League option, although attending a game in Coney Island allows for many more options for the family.
Madison Square Park
One of the best NYC places to go with children in the summer is Madison Square Park. Not only is there a great playground with sprinklers, but the park also hosts children’s concerts Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s certainly a great place for play dates. My daughter and I even ran into some of her school friends at one of the concerts. Pretty much blew her mind. In addition, there is a Shake Shack in the park. We even had a picnic with friends at one of the other concerts the park hosts in the evenings. Just a wonderful spot.
NYC is blessed to have multiple zoos. We are big fans of Prospect Park Zoo, which remains underappreciated and not as congested as Central Park Zoo, my favorite zoo from my youth. However, it is difficult to argue the general amaziness of The Bronx Zoo. It’s much easier than most would think to get to by train. The best thing is the sheer size. There is so much to see. It can be an entire dat excursion with older kids or a series of adventures with younger kids. It has made sense for us to have a family membership. We have already made it a bargain with three visits to The Bronx. Click here for the Bronx Zoo, with links to the other local zoos and aquarium on the front page.
Legoland – Westchester
Although we didn’t have the best time there, there is a lot to see and do at Legoland Westchester. Best part is everything is so close to each other and there are things to do for multiple ages. Click here for Legoland Westchester.