44 Amazing NYC Places That Actually Still Exist

A lot of classic New York City spots might be disappearing, but you can still go to these distinctive shops, bars, and restaurants. For now, anyway.

1. Russ & Daughters, 179 East Houston St. (East Village)

Russ & Daughters, a family-operated “appetizing store” focused on selling traditional Jewish fish and dairy products, has been a fixture of the Lower East Side since 1914. It’s one of the only existing stores in the entire country dedicated to appetizing.

2. Eddie’s Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. #1 (Forest Hills)

Eddie's Sweet Shop, 105-29 Metropolitan Ave. #1 (Forest Hills)

Eddie’s Sweet Shop is an old school ice cream parlor and soda fountain that has served the neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, for over a century. It’s not too hard to find ice cream shops that aspire to capturing the vibe of an old-timey soda fountain, but this is the real deal.

3. Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village)

Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway (East Village)

Strand may be the single most beloved and iconic used book store in the entire city, and has been a destination for bibliophiles around the world for nearly a century. The store contains a staggering amount of books and truly lives up to its hype.

4. Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J (Midwood)

Di Fara Pizza, 1424 Avenue J (Midwood)

Di Fara has been around since the mid-’60s but made the shift from local treasure to a destination spot for world class pizza sometime in the past decade or so. The pizza is so good that people are willing to travel from all over the city and wait for up to three hours to get a pie handcrafted by restaurant founder and pizza auteur Dom DeMarco.

5. Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. (Greenwich Village)

Generation Records, 210 Thompson St. (Greenwich Village)

Greenwich Village was once a major destination for record collectors, but this large punk and metal-centric shop is one of the few stores that’s managed to stay open over the years.

6. St. Mark’s Comics, 11 St. Mark’s Place (East Village)

St. Mark's Comics, 11 St. Mark's Place (East Village)

St. Mark’s Place has been heavily gentrified over the past 20 years, but this stalwart comics shop has stuck around despite so many seedy punk and counterculture shops getting replaced with chains like Chipotle and Supercuts. (And yes, this is the comic book store from that one episode of Sex and the City.)

7. Caffe Reggio, 119 Macdougal St. (Greenwich Village)

Caffe Reggio, 119 Macdougal St. (Greenwich Village)

Caffe Reggio has a crucial role in the development of coffee culture in the United States — it was the first establishment to sell cappuccino in America back in the 1920s. The cafe still has its original espresso machine, which dates back to 1902, and was purchased by founder Domenico Parisi when he opened the place in 1927.

8. Old Town Bar on 45 East 18th St. (Flatiron)

Old Town Bar on 45 East 18th St. (Flatiron)

Old Town has been open continuously since 1892, and made it through the Prohibition era as a speakeasy under the protection of Tammany Hall. The interior of the two-level bar has barely changed over the years, and you can feel as though you’ve traveled back in time just by stepping through the door.

9. The Lemon Ice King of Corona, 52-02 108th St. (Corona)

The Lemon Ice King of Corona, 52-02 108th St. (Corona)

Unlike a majority of Italian ice spots in the city, this family-operated shop in Queens has been making its ices from scratch with actual fruit for over 60 years.

10. Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop, 727 Manhattan Ave. (Greenpoint)

Peter Pan Donuts & Pastry Shop, 727 Manhattan Ave. (Greenpoint)

This 62-year-old bakery in the Polish enclave turned hipster mecca of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is widely acclaimed as the best doughnut shop in the entire city. The doughnuts, which are mostly served while they are still warm from the fryer, are just as traditional and unfussy as the bakery itself.

11. Jackson Diner, 37-47 74th St. (Jackson Heights)

Jackson Diner, 37-47 74th St. (Jackson Heights)

The name “Jackson Diner” is rather generic, and obscures the fact that this restaurant has been serving what is widely considered the most authentic Indian food in New York City since the early ‘80s.

12. Julius’, 59 West 10th St. (Greenwich Village)

Julius', 59 West 10th St. (Greenwich Village)

The history of the building housing Julius’ goes back to 1826 and it’s been a bar since 1864, but it’s best known as the city’s oldest continuously operating gay bar. The bar began attracting a gay clientele in the 1950s, and became well known as a gay bar in the late ’60s.

13. Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 East 3rd St. (Alphabet City)

Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 East 3rd St. (Alphabet City)

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe has been a fixture of the Lower East Side arts scene for four decades. The venue has consistently been an incubator for writers, actors, artists, filmmakers, and musicians from diverse backgrounds, and was instrumental in popularizing competitive performance poetry.

14. Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave. (Astoria)

Beer Garden at Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave. (Astoria)

A lot of snobs who will proudly tell you that they never go to Queens will make an exception for visiting Bohemian Hall, the city’s first and best German-style beer garden. If you can get in early and take over one of the tables in the backyard in the summer, you will be in for some top quality day drinking.

15. Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 East Houston St. (Lower East Side)

Katz's Delicatessen, 205 East Houston St. (Lower East Side)

Katz’s is beloved by locals and tourists alike for its authentic and world class pastrami, corned beef, and hot dogs. The delicatessen dates back to 1888, and has been using the same ticketed billing system since its early days.

16. Sunny’s Bar, 253 Conover St. (Red Hook)

Sunny's Bar, 253 Conover St. (Red Hook)

Sunny’s started off as a dive bar for longshoremen working on the Brooklyn waterfront in the 1890s, and still exists as a charmingly old school bar and music venue despite getting hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

17. B&H, 420 9th Ave. (Midtown)

B&H, 420 9th Ave. (Midtown)

B&H specializes in selling electronics and equipment to photo and video professionals. In addition to being the best independent store of its kind, the shop is notable for its elaborate system of conveyor belts that runs along the ceiling. The store is owned and primarily operated by observant Hasidic Jews, so it’s always closed on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

18. Other Music, 15 East 4th St. (East Village)

Other Music, 15 East 4th St. (East Village)

Other Music is significantly younger than most everything else in this post — it opened in the mid-’90s — but it’s a major institution of New York City music culture, and it’s been one of the most influential record shops in the world for two decades.

19. Lee’s Tavern, 60 Hancock St. (Staten Island)

Lee's Tavern, 60 Hancock St. (Staten Island)

This neighborhood bar has been a major social hub in Staten Island since 1969, and is famous for its “bar pizza,” an extremely thin and crispy variant of classic New York pizza.

20. Zabar’s, 2245 North Broadway (Upper West Side)

Zabar's, 2245 North Broadway (Upper West Side)

This family-operated specialty Kosher grocery has been a fixture of the Upper West Side for over 80 years. It’s about as iconic as a place like this can get, and has appeared in most every TV show set in New York City at some point.

21. Bamonte’s Restaurant, 32 Withers St. (Williamsburg)

Bamonte's Restaurant, 32 Withers St. (Williamsburg)

Few neighborhoods have been transformed as much by gentrification as Williamsburg, but this Italian restaurant has been essentially unchanged since opening in 1900. It’s one of the city’s oldest currently existing restaurants, and actually predates the opening of Lombardi’s, the city’s first pizzeria, by five years.

22. Dublin House Bar and Tap Room, 225 West 79th St. (Upper West Side)

Dublin House Bar and Tap Room, 225 West 79th St. (Upper West Side)

Dublin House is a no-frills Upper West Side neighborhood bar with decor that has barely changed in decades, a minimalist selection of beers, and a staff of curmudgeonly but lovable old Irish bartenders. The bar predates Prohibition and certainly looks like it, and its neon sign out front is one of the best you’ll find anywhere in the city.

23. McSorley’s Old Ale House, 15 E 7th St. (East Village)

McSorley's Old Ale House, 15 E 7th St. (East Village)

McSorley’s is old enough to have served Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, and is so packed with memorabilia from before 1910 that it feels a bit like a museum that serves beer. The bar didn’t serve women until 1970, and only because they were forced to after they lost a discrimination suit filed by the National Organization of Women. Up until that point, the bar’s motto was “Good Ale, Raw Onions and No Ladies.” They still serve raw onions, though.

24. Circo’s Pastry Shop, 312 Knickerbocker Ave. (Bushwick)

Circo's Pastry Shop, 312 Knickerbocker Ave. (Bushwick)

Bushwick has changed a lot over the years, but Circo’s Pastry Shop has been a fixture of the neighborhood since 1945. The bakery has barely changed, and still offers pretty much the same line of traditional Italian pastries, cookies, and cakes they’ve been making since World War II.

25. O. Ottomanelli & Sons, 285 Bleecker St. (West Village)

O. Ottomanelli & Sons, 285 Bleecker St. (West Village)

This traditional family-run Italian butcher shop has selling top quality dry aged steaks, sausages, and wild game on Bleecker Street since the ’40s. The shop is very old school, but pioneered many trends in local sourcing that are dominant today.

26. Veselka, 144 2nd Ave. (East Village)

Veselka, 144 2nd Ave. (East Village)

This 24-hour Ukrainian diner has been a fixture of the East Village since 1954, and offers some of the finest pierogis, goulash, borscht, and lattkes you’ll find anywhere in America. All that, and the burgers are great too.

27. Essex Card Shop, 39 Ave. A (Lower East Side)

It’s kinda hard to get sentimental about the sort of stuff the Essex Card Shop sells — mostly office and packing supplies — but this store, run by a pair of Indian and Pakistani immigrants, has a scrappy charm. Co-owner Jayant Patel wrote a book and made a documentary film about his experience as an immigrant and eventually starting the business.

28. Schaller & Weber, 1654 2nd Ave. #1 (Yorkville)

Schaller & Weber, 1654 2nd Ave. #1 (Yorkville)

Schaller and Weber has been the city’s best spot for traditional German charcuterie and Eastern European meats since the family-run butcher shop opened in Yorkville in the late 1930s.

29. Block Drug Stores, 101 2nd Ave. (East Village)

Block Drug Stores, 101 2nd Ave. (East Village)

Block Drug Stores isn’t a particularly exciting place — it is a pharmacy, after all — but it’s a family-run drug store dating back to 1885 in a city overrun with chains like Duane Reade and Rite Aid. The main draw here is the store’s glorious neon signage, which has been an iconic part of the East Village landscape for generations.

30. Jolly Tinker, 387 Bedford Park Blvd. (Bronx)

Jolly Tinker, 387 Bedford Park Blvd. (Bronx)

The Jolly Tinker is the most dependable Irish pub in all of the Bronx — its claim to fame is being open every single day since February 1969. It’s very much a quaint neighborhood bar, and its clientele is mostly the children and grandchildren of the bar’s original customers.

31. Dominick’s Restaurant, 2335 Arthur Ave. (Bronx)

Dominick's Restaurant, 2335 Arthur Ave. (Bronx)

This iconic Arthur Avenue spot is an old school New York Italian restaurant where diners are encouraged to skip the menu — for years, they didn’t even have one — and just tell the waiter what you feel like eating. Patrons who embrace the improvisational nature of the place are rewarded for their creativity with a fresh, one-of-a-kind dish.

32. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, 65 Bayard St. (Chinatown)

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, 65 Bayard St. (Chinatown)

This unique shop has been selling ice cream with traditional Chinese flavors — black sesame, lychee, red bean, pandan, taro — since 1978. The family-owned business is one of the longest-running businesses in Chinatown and has become a destination for adventurous ice cream lovers from all over the world.

33. Barney Greengrass, 541 Amsterdam Ave. (Upper West Side)

Barney Greengrass, 541 Amsterdam Ave. (Upper West Side)

This Jewish deli has been serving the Upper West Side since 1908, and is famous for its whitefish, pickled herring, nova lox, and — as the sign out front makes very clear — sturgeon.

34. Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave. (Ridgewood)

Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave. (Ridgewood)

Gottscheer Hall is an example of a neighborhood institution that’s been rescued rather than endangered by gentrification. The 90-year-old German beer hall had been in decline for years, but since Ridgewood, Queens, has become a destination for hipster types who can no longer afford nearby Brooklyn neighborhoods Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick, the place has started to turn a profit for the first time in 15 years.

35. La Bonbonniere, 28 Eighth Ave. (West Village)

La Bonbonniere, 28 Eighth Ave. (West Village)

The name La Bonbonniere sounds fancy, but this diner is as cheap and unpretentious as it gets. The decor is shabby but incredibly endearing, and the menu sticks mainly to the classics — burgers, omelets, pancakes, milkshakes.

36. Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, 137 East Houston St. (East Village)

Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery, 137 East Houston St. (East Village)

Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery has been in this location since 1910, but the business dates back to around 1890. Much like Russ & Daughters and Katz’s, it’s a remnant of the Lower East Side’s Jewish history that has stuck around mainly due to the quality of its knishes and the charm of the storefront, which has barely changed in decades.

37. 7th Ave Donuts Luncheonette, 324 7th Ave. (Park Slope)

7th Ave Donuts Luncheonette, 324 7th Ave. (Park Slope)

This family-owned and operated diner is fairly ordinary in a lot of ways, but it’s served Park Slope for over 35 years and stands out as an oasis of working class charm in a highly gentrified neighborhood that’s known for being a bit too precious. But never mind that — the real reason it’s here is because its doughnuts, which are made from scratch on the premises every day, are some of the best old school doughnuts you will ever eat.

38. Keens Steakhouse, 72 West 36th St. (Garment District)

Keens Steakhouse, 72 West 36th St. (Garment District)

Keens, established in 1885, is as old school as steakhouses get. Everything about the place, from its vintage decor to its elaborate collection of smoking pipes, will make you feel as though traveled at least 50 years backward in time.

39. Tom’s Restaurant, 782 Washington Ave. (Crown Heights)

Tom's Restaurant, 782 Washington Ave. (Crown Heights)

Tom’s Restaurant has been a mainstay of Crown Heights for over 70 years, and has managed a delicate balancing act of maintaining its old-timey soda fountain/luncheonette aesthetic while updating its menu with creative takes on brunch staples. But some things never change — it’s still one of your best bets if you’re looking for a truly authentic egg cream or cherry-lime rickey.

40. Cup & Saucer Luncheonette, 89 Canal St. (Chinatown)

Cup & Saucer Luncheonette, 89 Canal St. (Chinatown)

Cup and Saucer isn’t breaking the mold as a greasy spoon diner, but it’s notable for seeming stuck in time somewhere around the mid to late ‘70s. The menu is pretty basic for a diner, but the service is remarkably quick.

41. Lucy’s, 135 Ave. A (East Village)

Lucy's, 135 Ave. A (East Village)

Lucy’s is an incredibly charming Alphabet City dive with games, cheap beer, and a jukebox stocked with classic new wave. The bar, which tends to draw a lot of NYU students, has been open since 1981 and is still run by its founder, Polish immigrant Lucy Valosky.

42. Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, 174 Fifth Ave. (Flatiron)

Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, 174 Fifth Ave. (Flatiron)

Eisenberg’s is a no-frills luncheonette dating back to 1929 that specializes in diner classics and a more affordable variation on the sort of classic Jewish delicatessen food you’d find at Katz’s or the Second Avenue Deli.

43. Economy Candy, 108 Rivington St. (East Village)

Economy Candy, 108 Rivington St. (East Village)

Economy Candy is just what the name implies: a densely packed shop offering inexpensive candy at bulk prices. The shop, which has been around since the Great Depression, is the best place to find old school items like wax lips and peanut chews as well as more exotic contemporary candies.

44. Clover Delicatessen, 621 2nd Ave. (Murray Hill)

Clover Delicatessen, 621 2nd Ave. (Murray Hill)

Clover Delicatessan sells sandwiches, but it’s really a draw for its black and white cookies, pastries, and cakes. Above all else, it’s famous for its gorgeous neon signage dating back to the 1950s.

Happy Valentines Day “To fall in love with anyone do this


More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes.

Let me explain. Earlier in the evening, that man had said: “I suspect, given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone. If so, how do you choose someone?”

He was a university acquaintance I occasionally ran into at the climbing gym and had thought, “What if?” I had gotten a glimpse into his days on Instagram. But this was the first time we had hung out one-on-one.

“Actually, psychologists have tried making people fall in love,” I said, remembering Dr. Aron’s study. “It’s fascinating. I’ve always wanted to try it.”

I first read about the study when I was in the midst of a breakup. Each time I thought of leaving, my heart overruled my brain. I felt stuck. So, like a good academic, I turned to science, hoping there was a way to love smarter.

I explained the study to my university acquaintance. A heterosexual man and woman enter the lab through separate doors. They sit face to face and answer a series of increasingly personal questions. Then they stare silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The most tantalizing detail: Six months later, two participants were married. They invited the entire lab to the ceremony.

“Let’s try it,” he said.

Let me acknowledge the ways our experiment already fails to line up with the study. First, we were in a bar, not a lab. Second, we weren’t strangers. Not only that, but I see now that one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening.

I Googled Dr. Aron’s questions; there are 36. We spent the next two hours passing my iPhone across the table, alternately posing each question.

They began innocuously: “Would you like to be famous? In what way?” And “When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?”

But they quickly became probing.

In response to the prompt, “Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common,” he looked at me and said, “I think we’re both interested in each other.”

I grinned and gulped my beer as he listed two more commonalities I then promptly forgot. We exchanged stories about the last time we each cried, and confessed the one thing we’d like to ask a fortuneteller. We explained our relationships with our mothers.

The questions reminded me of the infamous boiling frog experiment in which the frog doesn’t feel the water getting hotter until it’s too late. With us, because the level of vulnerability increased gradually, I didn’t notice we had entered intimate territory until we were already there, a process that can typically take weeks or months.

I liked learning about myself through my answers, but I liked learning things about him even more. The bar, which was empty when we arrived, had filled up by the time we paused for a bathroom break.
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I sat alone at our table, aware of my surroundings for the first time in an hour, and wondered if anyone had been listening to our conversation. If they had, I hadn’t noticed. And I didn’t notice as the crowd thinned and the night got late.

We all have a narrative of ourselves that we offer up to strangers and acquaintances, but Dr. Aron’s questions make it impossible to rely on that narrative. Ours was the kind of accelerated intimacy I remembered from summer camp, staying up all night with a new friend, exchanging the details of our short lives. At 13, away from home for the first time, it felt natural to get to know someone quickly. But rarely does adult life present us with such circumstances.

The moments I found most uncomfortable were not when I had to make confessions about myself, but had to venture opinions about my partner. For example: “Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner, a total of five items” (Question 22), and “Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time saying things you might not say to someone you’ve just met”

Much of Dr. Aron’s research focuses on creating interpersonal closeness. In particular, several studies investigate the ways we incorporate others into our sense of self. It’s easy to see how the questions encourage what they call “self-expansion.” Saying things like, “I like your voice, your taste in beer, the way all your friends seem to admire you,” makes certain positive qualities belonging to one person explicitly valuable to the other.

It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time.

We finished at midnight, taking far longer than the 90 minutes for the original study. Looking around the bar, I felt as if I had just woken up. “That wasn’t so bad,” I said. “Definitely less uncomfortable than the staring into each other’s eyes part would be.”

He hesitated and asked. “Do you think we should do that, too?”

“Here?” I looked around the bar. It seemed too weird, too public.

“We could stand on the bridge,” he said, turning toward the window.

The night was warm and I was wide-awake. We walked to the highest point, then turned to face each other. I fumbled with my phone as I set the timer.

“O.K.,” I said, inhaling sharply.

“O.K.,” he said, smiling.

I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life. I spent the first couple of minutes just trying to breathe properly. There was a lot of nervous smiling until, eventually, we settled in.

I know the eyes are the windows to the soul or whatever, but the real crux of the moment was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me. Once I embraced the terror of this realization and gave it time to subside, I arrived somewhere unexpected.

I felt brave, and in a state of wonder. Part of that wonder was at my own vulnerability and part was the weird kind of wonder you get from saying a word over and over until it loses its meaning and becomes what it actually is: an assemblage of sounds.

So it was with the eye, which is not a window to anything but rather a clump of very useful cells. The sentiment associated with the eye fell away and I was struck by its astounding biological reality: the spherical nature of the eyeball, the visible musculature of the iris and the smooth wet glass of the cornea. It was strange and exquisite.

When the timer buzzed, I was surprised — and a little relieved. But I also felt a sense of loss. Already I was beginning to see our evening through the surreal and unreliable lens of retrospect.

Most of us think about love as something that happens to us. We fall. We get crushed.

But what I like about this study is how it assumes that love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close relationships with our mothers, and because he let me look at him.

I wondered what would come of our interaction. If nothing else, I thought it would make a good story. But I see now that the story isn’t about us; it’s about what it means to bother to know someone, which is really a story about what it means to be known.

It’s true you can’t choose who loves you, although I’ve spent years hoping otherwise, and you can’t create romantic feelings based on convenience alone. Science tells us biology matters; our pheromones and hormones do a lot of work behind the scenes.

But despite all this, I’ve begun to think love is a more pliable thing than we make it out to be. Arthur Aron’s study taught me that it’s possible — simple, even — to generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive.

You’re probably wondering if he and I fell in love. Well, we did. Although it’s hard to credit the study entirely (it may have happened anyway), the study did give us a way into a relationship that feels deliberate. We spent weeks in the intimate space we created that night, waiting to see what it could become.

Love didn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each made the choice to be.



Modern Love


Feb 2015



10 Secret Sites Of New York City

Whether you’re an adventurous New Yorker or a tourist looking to make a few unconventional stops, consider paying a visit to some of the city’s little-known gems.

Dead Horse Bay

Joanna Jeros / Via Instagram: @voodoohex

What it is: A horse-rendering plant turned landfill turned wonderland of amazing treasures (read: other people’s trash and the occasional horse bone) from the past century. From the 1850s through 1930s, it served as a site where the bodies of dead horses and other animals were used to make glue, fertilizer, and more. It then became a dumping grounds for the city’s trash, and since the 1950s, New York’s garbage has continued to wash up along the shore.

Why you should visit: You’ll find old bottles — from sodas to perfume vials to condiment jars — from generations past, as well horse (and other animal) bones, disintegrated toys, scraps of metal, glass, plastic, and more. It’s both a fascinating and slightly chilling atmosphere that’ll have you sifting through recognizable relics and unidentifiable objects with just the sound of the waves crashing against another era’s trash as your soundtrack. (Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring gloves.)

Accessibility: Take the 2 or 5 train to Flatbush Ave./Brooklyn College to the Q35 bus — then walk through a trail to the beach. (Watch out for poison ivy on the way in!)

2. North Brother Island

North Brother Island

Delaywaves /__username__ / Via en.wikipedia.org

What it is: An island in the East River, between the Bronx and Rikers Island, with a murky history. Once the site of Riverside Hospital, which treated smallpox, tuberculosis, and other quarantinable diseases, North Brother Island was also the home of Typhoid Mary, who was confined there for the last two decades of her life until she died in 1938. In the 1950s, a center opened to treat adolescent drug addicts, some of whom were said to be held there against their will. (Also, in 1904, a steamship called the General Slocum burned on North Brother Island, killing over 1,000 people.)

Why you should visit: Now the island is a bird sanctuary, and ruins of the hospital and other buildings remain, with some rooms amazingly pretty intact. (Check out awe-inspiring photos of a visit to the island here.) There’s probably asbestos permeating the air, but the element of danger paired with the creepy abandoned-island vibe should be enough incentive for you to start planning your yolo-ified voyage here — though you’ll probably have to get creative. (See “Accessibility.”)

Accessibility: Welp…it’s sort of impossible. It’s off-limits to the public, and you have to obtain a permit from the city and charter a boat to get there, which can be pricey. Also, there’s no dock. Oh, and you can only visit between November and February (the herons nest during the rest of the year). AKA get yourself psyched for a freezing cold, perilous, and likely illegal trip to the coolest island on NYC!

3. South Brother Island

South Brother Island

Courtesy of NYC Audubon / Via tpl.org

What it is: North Brother Island’s smaller counterpart. The 7-acre island was once the summer home to a former owner of the Yankees, Jacob Ruppert, but since 1909 (when his home burned down), it’s been uninhabited by humans. In 2007, New York City bought the island and turned it into a bird sanctuary.

Why you should visit: The island is now home to several bird species, including the black-crowned night heron, great egret, snowy egret, and double-crested cormorant.

Accessibility: It’s off-limits to the public except for a few days a year, when environmental groups are granted permission to clean the island. (If you were thinking about volunteering, here’s a good excuse!)

4. Hart Island

Hart Island

Marie Lorenz / Via tideandcurrenttaxi.org

What it is: The largest publicly funded cemetery in the world, with approximately 850,000 bodies buried here. Hart Island is located just east of City Island, and is technically considered part of the Bronx. It once served as a prisoner of war camp and also housed a prison and women’s asylum. Burials here began taking place during the American Civil War — and these days, since the island is operated by the Department of Corrections, mass burials are carried out by Rikers Island inmates. Those buried on Hart Island could either not afford the expenses of private funerals or were unclaimed by relatives; approximately 50% of the bodies buried here are children under 5 who are identified and died in NYC hospitals.

Why you should visit: These photos, of what remains of the buildings (including a Catholic chapel) on the island, should be enough to allure you. Also, if you believe you may have family buried here, bodies in unmarked coffins have been disinterred at the request of relatives.

Accessibility: The island is open to the public, and limited access is provided to those who would like to honor the memory of those buried here. You can find more information about visiting here, where you’ll also find a database of who is buried on the island. There are over 65,000 names in the registry, dating back to 1977 (a fire on the island destroyed records prior to this), and more names are planned to be added as they become available. Nonprofit The Hart Project has been working to help people around the world relocate those who disappeared in the greater New York area.

5. Kings Park Psychiatric Center

Kings Park Psychiatric Center

John Bencina /__username__ / Via Flickr: 85982060@N00

What it is: An abandoned psychiatric hospital in Long Island that treated hundreds of thousands of patients from 1885 through 1996. After it closed, the grounds became a state park, as The New York Times says, “partly because nobody knew what else to do with it. Too far from major roads and full of buildings contaminated with asbestos and lead, it has proved inhospitable to redevelopment.”

Why you should visit: The center is rumored to be awash in paranormal activity. (A 2007 slasher film called Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet is based on the urban legend of a girl who was supposedly committed to the center after killing her family and whose ghost haunts the grounds.)

Accessibility: W. 4th Street, Kings Park, NY 11754; OK, so technically, this one’s in Long Island — but it’s just a Long Island Rail Road trip away, to Kings Park station. The old hospital is now part of Kings Park, and you’d need to obtain a permit and clear your visit with the parks manager to visit legally. Periodically, though, there are walking tours here; in the past, they’ve been given by an organization called Angels Without Faces.

6. Community 54

Community 54

What it is: A cool vintage store hidden behind a sort of cruddy-looking arcade room; you enter through a photo booth. There’s also a graffitied courtyard in the back.

Why you should visit: If you’re into vintage duds with a streetwear vibe — and OK with dropping a few bills for said items — or if you’re looking to host a private event in the courtyard. Find out about events and check out photo booth pics on their site.

Accessibility: 54 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002; take the J/M/Z/F trains to Delancey/Essex.

7. Tugboat Graveyard

Tugboat Graveyard

Jorge Quinteros /__username__ / Via Flickr: jorgeq82

What it is: The final resting place of rotting tugboats and other vessels dating back to the early 20th century; you’ll find it in the Arthur Kill waterway, between Staten Island and New Jersey.

Why you should visit: Though just about two dozen decomposing ships remain (down from approximately 200 in 1990) here, it’s still a cool spot for anyone who digs nautical history — and a fantastic place for a photo shoot.

Accessibility: 2453 Arthur Kill Road, Staten Island, NY 10309; take the Staten Island Ferry to the Staten Island Rapid Transit Train to Pleasant Plains to a 45-minute walk. Or, you know, you can drive there.

8. Jamaica Bay Riding Academy

Jamaica Bay Riding Academy

What it is: According to its website, Jamaica Bay Riding Academy is “a full-service boarding facility and additionally offers a vast variety of trail rides, horseback riding lessons, horse leasing, horse shows, summer camps, therapeutic riding, hunter paces, and more.”

Why you should visit: Horses! Learn to ride horses! The park on which the academy is located includes over 400 acres of wooded trails and 3 miles of beach-front riding. Plus, there’s a summer camp available for kids 5 through 15, you can host parties here, and there’s a full tack and apparel shop on the grounds.

Accessibility: 7000 Shore Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11234; take the L train to the Rockaway Parkway/Canarsie stop to the B42 bus to a 40-minute walk. (Or cab/drive it.)

9. Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island

acidpolly /__username__ / Via Flickr: 59298735@N00

What it is: Technically a part of the borough of Manhattan, this island sits just between the Upper East Side and Queens. OK, OK, I KNOW, it’s not so much a secret — it’s just that no one ever goes to Roosevelt Island except the people who live there. But you should! There’s lots of fun stuff going on here that you probably don’t know about.

Why you should visit: There are outdoor movie nights at Southpoint Park (next up: Rocky on Aug. 10), rides on the tram, the Northpoint Lighthouse (a Gothic-revival lighthouse built in 1872 to provide light for a nearby insane asylum that is no longer), the RIVAA art gallery (with very 9-to-5er-friendly hours), and a historic church.

Accessibility: The F train to the Roosevelt Island stop.

10. Night Heron

Night Heron

Benjamin Norman/The New York Times/__username__

What it is: An invitation-only illegal nightclub held in a Chelsea water tower. It ran for eight weekends from March through May.

Why you should visit: It’s over now, so you can’t. Womp womp. But the Heron’s architect, N.D. Austin, is known for what he calls “trespass theater.” Who knows if a similar project may be in the works sometime in the near future?

Accessibility: Getting in required you be handed a pocket watch by a prior guest, reported to a street corner at a certain time, and called a number found inside the watch for location details.

Good Enough” TV Shows to Fill the Gap Between Preschoolers and Pre-Teens


Ahhh summertime, if only it was as ideal in reality as it is in our imaginations (or other people’s blog posts).  I guarantee we get plenty of family together time and my kids are just the right combination of active, entertained and bored. We play games, read books, frolic in the pool, host play dates, ride bikes, draw chalk on the sidewalk, build amazing lego structures, blow bubbles, but all of that rarely gets us past lunchtime. Plus, we live in Florida where it is either storming or almost 100 degrees most afternoons.

So, I will confess what most other moms may not want to, I ACTUALLY LET MY KIDS WATCH TV!!! Alright, those of you keeping the mommy wars alive, feel free to jump directly to the comments at this point. The rest of you, let’s move on shall we.  I really don’t have any guilt about letting my kids watch TV a couple of hours a day during the summer, but I do struggle with WHAT they are watching.

I don’t know about you, but when my now almost 10 year old son starting outgrowing the shows on Disney Jr and NickJr around five or six, I wasn’t ready to embrace the next set of dominant programming available. It felt like there was nothing in between Dora& Diego and Dating.  Plus, I couldn’t help wondering why all the parents on those “tween” shows were either absent or idiots? (Let’s just leave Max and Ruby out of this so things don’t get confusing). So, I began looking for appropriate entertainment that I knew he would find engaging, while not pushing him into territory that I didn’t think he was ready for and that I KNEW I wasn’t ready for.

Here’s a list of the options I found (some you might remember from your own childhood) that were a hit with him and gave me a few more years to keep tweendom at bay.  I realize these are not ALL A + programming and even have some limited violence. However, most are intelligently written, have moral lessons in them and when there is minimal violence it’s in the context of real fantasy and make believe. We all know TV isn’t perfect, but for most of us it is a part of life and we can at least feel like we’re being active in providing good enough choices on this front.

Here is a list of shows by network or other available distribution.  Many are available for free via Amazon Prime , I can’t tell you how much we’ve found the investment more than worth the yearly membership fee for our family. For those shows on network/cable television, if you have cable most can be found On Demand for free provided they are a part of your subscription package. We also have a DVR and we will set recordings for numerous episodes and then I just have them available as needed. A few of the networks do have commercials during the shows, so this way we can skip over those unwanted marketing messages.

“Good Enough” TV Viewing Choices for Preschoolers to Pre-teens:

1.  Inspector Gadget (Amazon Prime)


2. The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra  (Nickelodeon and Amazon Prime)


3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon)

4. Animaniacs (Amazon Prime)


5. Pokemon (Cartoon Network)


7. Star Wars – The Clone Wars and/or the Yoda Chronicles (Cartoon Network)


8. Ninjago (Cartoon Network)


9. Win, Lose or Draw and Family Game Night (Disney)


10. Slugterra (Disney XD)


11. Phineas and Ferb (Disney XD)


12. Scooby Doo (Cartoon Network) 


13. The Penguins of Madagascar (Amazon Prime and Nickelodeon) 

14. Gilligan’s Island (TV Land) 


15. Mr. Peabody and Sherman (Amazon Prime) 


16. The Brady Bunch (CBS.com)


17. Full House (Nick and TBS)


18. Tom & Jerry (The Cartoon Network)


19. Dreamworks Dragons (The Cartoon Network)


11 Things That Are Supposed To Happen On Real Dates That Don’t Anymore

I don’t like dating. Mostly because no one seems to understand what dating is supposed to be anymore. These days, what gets labeled as a “date” is really just an unnecessarily extravagant booty call.

Listen, there is nothing at all wrong with just having sex. I’m all for it. But if you’re going to date, then actually date.

You should be capable of differentiating the two and approaching the two different scenarios differently. The problem is that most of us are so used to pseudo-dating in order to get off that when we find ourselves on what ought to be an actual date, we don’t know how to act.

If you’re going on a date, treat it like an actual date. If you don’t remember what that looks like anymore — and I can’t blame you for that — here are a few things that are supposed to happen:

1. Prior to the date, you’re supposed to feel nervous — especially if it’s a first date.

If you don’t feel nervous, then you’re not excited about the date. And if you’re not excited about the date, then why in the world are you going on the date in the first place? People these days date for the sake of dating.

We don’t go on dates because we find someone who truly catches our interest, but we go on dates because it’s an activity that fills some time — and possibly gets us laid.

If you’re really that bored, I’m sure you can find more productive things to do than force something that you already have little to no interest in.

2. You’re supposed to spend too much time getting ready.

I have a theory on why relationships fail. In their simplest form, I believe that they fail because both partners stop trying to impress the other.

We get too comfortable and feel that going that extra mile has no value. We already have our prize, so why continue pursuing it?

This is something that you should remember: You can always lose the person you love. Just because you have them now doesn’t mean that you’ll have them tomorrow.

You should impress them every chance you get because you love them and believe they deserve to be impressed. If this is your first date together and you feel no urge to put in a little extra effort, then I can tell you right now that it won’t go anywhere.

3. “Pick you up at your place at 7?”

That’s right — guys used to pick girls up and then go to dinner together. I’m sure that most of the men reading this don’t even remember the last time they picked a girl up and then went to dinner together.

Such a sight is surely more common in suburban and more rural areas, but in urban settings, it’s basically nonexistent.

Just because you don’t have a car doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pick her up from her apartment. Why? For one, it’s a nice and gentlemanly thing to do and she’ll appreciate it (which should be enough).

Two, you should want to squeeze in as much time with her as possible. Picking her up before dinner will get you at least an extra 30 minutes.

4. Whatever happened to flowers?

Yeah, yeah… save the planet. I’m certain that that isn’t the reason no guy has ever given you flowers on a date. For starters, it’s probably because he doesn’t pick you up and then take you to dinner (bringing flowers to the restaurant is a bit awkward and inconvenient).

But at the end of the day, it’s because he either feels like it’s too cheesy — thank you modern-day dating culture — or he doesn’t care about you enough to put in that extra effort.

Women love flowers. And if your woman happens not to, bring her chocolates instead. If she doesn’t like either, then find another woman — you’re dating the devil. (Kidding.)

5. Dinner, not coffee, not drinks, not “watching a movie at his place.”

Not going to see a movie at the movie theater, either. In case you’ve forgotten, the point of going on a date is to get to know the person. The best setting is over dinner.

You have plenty of time to talk, plus you get breaks during courses, allowing you to smooth out the awkwardness that almost always exists on first dates.

Coffee and/or drinks sends the wrong message. Coffee either means, “I just want to be friends” or “I don’t have the balls to ask you out to dinner.” And drinks… well drinks mean that you just want to get laid.

6. You’re supposed to have stimulating conversations.

Of course, not all dates will lead to stimulating conversations, but if you’re dating the right person, they will.

The right person for you is the person that you find it incredibly easy to talk to, the person you feel so comfortable with that you aren’t watching every word you say to make sure you don’t say something they’ll find inappropriate.

If you find yourself constantly making sure you aren’t stepping on his or her toes, or you spend an entire evening talking about the weather and them Yankees, take it as a sign that that should be your first and last date with that individual.

7. You’re supposed to drink in moderation.

I don’t believe that drinking on dates, even first dates, is a bad thing. It’ll help loosen you up and make you feel more relaxed — good things. Of course, many of us aren’t especially good at drinking in moderation.

Before you know it, you’re six drinks in and beginning to slur your words. I feel that the more “official” the date is, the more people watch how much they drink.

However, chances are that if you aren’t really on the date in order to date the person, but just there to hopefully get a little action after dinner, you’re going to get pretty smashed.

I mean, how else are you going to convince yourself — and her — that it’s a good idea for the two of you — two people who don’t even know each other — to have sex? Bottoms up.

8. The guy is supposed to pick up the tab.

Yes, you read that right. Of course, not every single time. In fact, I’d say that the guy should only pick up the tab on the first date.

After that, assuming both people can afford to pay for dinner, the bill should be put on rotation. But on the first date the guy should cover the tab. Why? Because guys take girls out on dates to treat them.

It shows that you care about her and that you’re capable of being selfless. Unfortunately, there are many women out there — you know who you are — that take advantage of this.

If you’re a guy and find yourself paying for dinner every single time, I hope you’re at least getting laid. If you’re not then, I’m sorry, but you’re a schmuck. If she’s using you, you should be returning the favor.

9. He’s also supposed to walk you — or take you — home.

It’s the gentlemanly thing to do. Dating is the result of romantic love making its way into human culture. It exists, and only exists, because we believe romantic love to be a thing.

For romantic love to exist, you need to be romantic. It’s not cheesy; it’s beautiful. You’re supposed to walk your woman home because you’re supposed to care that she gets home safe.

Chances are that it’s already late and, believe it or not, the streets can get dangerous for women at that time (and for men, too, depending on where you live). Yes, you already know that you aren’t going to get laid tonight, but walk her home anyway.

If you really are interested in her, show her that you care for her. It’s these little things that will win her over — not the size of your wallet. And if such acts of chivalry don’t win her over, at least you know that she isn’t interested in you for the right reasons.

10. You’re not supposed to sleep together on the first date.

If you want to build an actual relationship with this person, don’t drop your pants within the first 24 hours — it’s a simple rule. Waiting to first go on a few dates really does increase your chances of making the relationship into an actual relationship.

For starters, it shows the other person that you aren’t looking for just sex — if you have sex on the first date, no matter what you’re looking for he or she will assume it’s only sex.

Also, it helps build up tension and yearning — both necessary for the manifestation of romantic love.

11. You’re supposed to call her the next day.

I always crack up when a guy says, “I’ll talk to her in a few days, just so that she doesn’t think I’m too into her.” I’m sorry, but why would you not want her to know you’re into her? If she’s a woman who’s only interested in what she can’t have, then I’m afraid she isn’t ready to be in a relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, some games are fun. But this one is just stupid.

If the date went well and you find yourself thinking about her the next morning with a smile on your face, text her, email her or call her and let her know you had a great time and that she’s still on your mind.

If that doesn’t tickle her fancy, find yourself a better woman.

10 Things You Should Never Post On Social Media

We’re all pretty acquainted with social media at this point, and most times we don’t even think twice about the things we post. Most of it is harmless, but certain things can result in major consequences. To save yourself from the potential headache, here’s a list of things you should NEVER post on social media.

1. Relationship Issues

If you and your boo get into it, you may want to vent to your Twitter family about how much pain you’re going through or how much you hate your ex-boyfriend, but don’t be messy about it. Constantly posting your relationship woes is information strangers don’t need to know.

2. Nudes

No matter how much you love your body, the whole world doesn’t need to see it. Unless you’re aiming to be the next porn star, leave your nudes to yourself.

3. Pictures of you doing drugs or drinking alcohol

Have you heard the urban myth about jobs that look on your social media accounts before they decide whether or not you’re a good fit for their company? Yeah, well that’s not a myth. Posting pictures of you passed out from over indulgence in alcohol or drugs can be seen by not only potential employers, but law enforcement as well.

4.Personal opinions about your job

If you’re anything like most of the population, you hate you’re job. But just don’t, DON’T share your hatred for it on your feed. If your job ends up seeing it, they might do you a favor and relieve you of your dissatisfaction.

5. Your money

Unless your goal in life is to raise the chances of you getting robbed, posting pictures of your money or bank account just isn’t smart. Some people are pretty crafty these days and can find ways to digitally dig in your pockets.

6.Embarrasing pictures of your friends

Sure, it can be pretty funny, but posting embarrassing pictures of your close friends can set you up for major failure. The moment you post that picture of your best friend sleeping with her mouth wide open is the same moment she posts that picture of you on the toilet.

7.Work that isn’t copyrighted

Whenever we decide to get crafty and create some type of art that we’re proud of, our first instinct is to share it with any and everyone. But if you post anything that can easily be stolen and doesn’t have a copyright, someone else might be able to take the credit for all your hard work.

8.Personal conversations

Um, hello! He messaged you instead of posting it on your wall for a reason. Never post personal conversations, not only is it flat out inconsiderate but it’s rude. Even if someone messages you saying something completely out of line, don’t put them on blast. Take the high road, ignore it and delete it.

9. Too much information

There are just some things we don’t need or want to know about you. Telling us about how heavy your cycle is this month or how many times you’ve had to go to the bathroom today because of the tacos you ate yesterday is TMI. Please, spare us the details.

10. Classified information

Your phone number, your address or your social security number should never be posted on the Internet. It makes it way too easy for people to gain access to you and even easier for someone to steal your identity. Believe us, it happens!

30 Clever Innovations That Totally Need To Be Everywhere Already

1 | Movie theaters with screens in the bathroom so you don’t miss anything.

Source: ayoye.com

2 | Even better if the theater has bean bag seats.

 Source: theatlantic.com

3 | Traffic lights with countdown indicators.

Source: core77.com

4 | A pen that lets you scan and write in any color.

Source: architizer.com

5 | A bike helmet that folds up.

Source: ulule.com

 6 | Wall outlets with USB chargers.

Source: appadvice.com

 7 | It should also come with a built-in night light.

9 | Small tiles you can attach to your keys, wallet, computer, or pretty much anything. If you lose anything, you can then look up their location on your smartphone.

10 | Fresh pizza vending machines.

Source: reddit.com

11 | Benches that you can turn to always have a dry seat.

Source: bietthu.biz

12 | Power strips that you can expand and rotate.

Source: yankodesign.com

14 | Parking garages with lights showing open spaces.

Source: reddit.com

16 | Supermarkets with build your own 12-packs of soda.

Source: jpegy.com

17 | How to stop littering.

 Source: reddit.com

19 | Device that charges your phone from hot or cold drinks.

Source: cnet.com

23 | Device to lift the Pringles up.

Source: reddit.com

29 | Bike racks that don’t take up sidewalk space.

Source: thephotomag.com

30 | Caution signs that are funny.

Apple targets for Apple Watch battery life revealed, A5-caliber CPU inside

Although Apple has said that the Apple Watch will need to be charged nightly, the company has not disclosed any details on how long the wearable’s battery will last. For the first time, people with knowledge of the Apple Watch’s development have provided us with the specific performance targets Apple wants to achieve for the Apple Watch battery, but the actual numbers may fall short of those targets.

According to our sources, Apple opted to use a relatively powerful processor and high-quality screen for the Apple Watch, both of which contribute to significant power drain. Running a stripped-down version of iOS codenamed SkiHill, the Apple S1 chip inside the Apple Watch is surprisingly close in performance to the version of Apple’s A5 processor found inside the current-generation iPod touch, while the Retina-class color display is capable of updating at a fluid 60 frames per second.

Apple initially wanted the Apple Watch battery to provide roughly one full day of usage, mixing a comparatively small amount of active use with a larger amount of passive use. As of 2014, Apple wanted the Watch to provide roughly 2.5 to 4 hours of active application use versus 19 hours of combined active/passive use, 3 days of pure standby time, or 4 days if left in a sleeping mode. Sources, however, say that Apple will only likely achieve approximately 2-3 days in either the standby or low-power modes…

Apple has also been stress-testing the Apple Watch’s battery life with pre-bundled and third-party applications. Our sources say that Apple is targeting 2.5 hours of “heavy” application use, such as processor-intensive gameplay, or 3.5 hours of standard app use. Interestingly, Apple expects to see better battery life when using the Watch’s fitness tracking software, which is targeted for nearly 4 hours of straight exercise tracking on a single charge.

As Apple is positioning the Apple Watch as a timepiece, the company has conducted numerous tests to determine how long it can run purely in time-keeping modes. We’re told that the Watch should be able to display its clock face for approximately three hours, including watch ticking animations, if nothing else is done with the device. However, it’s unlikely that most people would actually keep the Apple Watch clock face turned on for even three hours straight in a single day. When the Watch screen is not in use, the display is powered off, and the clock demands much less energy.

Considered separately, the active use app, clock, and fitness numbers sound very low, but the reality is that people will passively wear the Apple Watch for most of the day, actively interacting with it only for short periods of time. That’s why the Watch will be able to last the average user roughly a day on a single charge. We’re told that Apple has been shooting for roughly 19 hours of mixed usage each day, but that the company may not hit that number in the first generation version.

Sources tell us that battery life has remained a source of concern for Apple over the past year, and was a contributing factor for Apple pushing back the retail launch from an originally planned late 2014 to early 2015. To test real-world performance in a variety of conditions, the company has circulated a surprisingly large number of test units of the Watch: nearly 3,000 are said to be currently roaming around, mostly the stainless steel variant.

Screenshot 2015-01-22 14.06.36

Apple has also been working to perfect the MagSafe-based inductive charging mechanism for the Watch, which sources indicate was responsible for slower-than-expected recharging times that hopefully will be fixed in time for the product’s release. The company has developed both plastic and stainless steel versions of the circular charger, potentially one for the $349 aluminum and plastic Apple Watch Sport, and the other for the higher-end models. It’s unclear at this point whether the company will sell multiple versions of the charger, as Apple has only shown the metal variant, though the Apple Watch Edition is said to ship with a special box and charging dock that may incorporate the stainless steel MagSafe connector.

As of earlier this month, the Apple Watch is on track to ship by the end of March. We previously detailed how the Watch will integrate with the iPhone via an iOS 8.2-based Companion application.

The Worst Apps for Kids

Worst Apps for Kids


Be Sure to Check out the Latest in our Tech for Parents 101 Series: Taking Control of Technology Before Technology Takes Control of Your Family.

While it will be awhile before either of my children get any kind of mobile phone for their own use, I know several of their friends already have them.  Since I won’t be able to hold out forever and because I want my children to be educated if they encounter questionable apps on friends devices, I thought I would get ahead of the game with this listing of WORST APPS for kids.

If you’re child already has a phone, you might want to take a look to see if they have any of these already installed on their phone. If  so, consider doing a little more research so both you and they can make informed decisions about using them.  Also, take care to check the age restrictions listed by most apps before downloading. Many parents are unaware they exist and few of the apps actually have any real age verification process. Want to make sure your kids can’t download ANY apps without your approval…..

1. On an iPhone go into SETTINGS, GENERAL, RESTRICTIONS. You’ll be prompted to create a code and then you can select any phone functions that you don’t want your child to have free access to without your okay.

2. On an Android go into SETTINGS, USERS. Select ADD USER /RESTRICTED PROFILE . You will be prompted to set-up a passcode and then you can choose what they can access on their own and what they’ll need you to enter the passcode to access.

*** HINT*** A speaker I heard recently suggested parents use a “four letter” word as their passcode. It’s something few kids would EVER suspect and it will certainly be easy for you to remember. ;) 

If you want to investigate any app not listed below, a great place to start is at commonsensemedia.org.

Worst Apps for Kids


This is an instant messenger/social networking hybrid.Kids can send basic messages like texting, but also photos and files. Since it is used over the internet and anyone can attempt to connect with your child. This app allows kids to send private messages that can be very difficult for parents to access or which can be easily deleted. Since photos are involved, there is considerable opportunity for children to be exposed to inappropriate images. In addition, this is a commonly used app for sexting.

Worst Apps for Kids


This app allows kids to send photos that once opened by the recipient disappear after 10 seconds. However, should the recipient grab a screen shot of the picture, it is now a permanent image that could easily be shared with others.  Most children won’t think about the possibility of the screen shot and may be tempted to take risks sending things that they think will no longer exist after 10 seconds.

Worst Apps for Kids

Poof (and similar apps)

Poof  actually no longer exists, but it represents a whole category of apps that are constantly being created and then deleted, just to pop up as something new. These apps provide the ability to hide apps from being displayed on the phone screen. Therefore, parents who think they are being diligent about monitoring what apps their children are using, may not realize some have been hidden from their view.

Worst Apps for Kids


Whisper’s tag line is “Express Yourself – Share Secrets – Meet New People.” Already this doesn’t sound good for kids, right? Anonymity is the lure of this social meet-up app, where names are never used, but location can be provided within a one mile radius. Again, because kids are online when using it, they are open to anyone who wants to try and connect with them. This is yet another app with picture sharing capabilities as well, making it appealing for both cyber bullying and sexually oriented interaction.

Worst Apps for Kids


A social networking app set-up in a question answer forum that offers complete anonymity and no monitoring whatsoever by the company.  This app has already been involved in numerous serious cyber-bullying incidents both in the U.S. and abroad. There is very little ability to control privacy settings and even if your child blocks someone who is harassing them, the individual can still access their profile and view all interactions your child is having on the app.

Worst Apps for Kids


Twitter meets texting with complete anonymity thrown in.  A child can send an anonymous message of up to 200 characters and then using GPS, the message can be read by the nearest 500 other people using the app. No images with this one, but it still has gained in popularity quickly and has become a powerful tool for bullying and sexual content.

Worst Apps for Kids


Used to make and share short videos, six seconds in length that loop over and over again, this app is actually owned by Twitter. A messaging function has been added since the app launched and those using the app can search based on location.  As one would expect with anything that has video capabilities, explicit material is abundantly available and not hard for children to stumble upon. There has also been a trend of teens sharing videos of fights at school. Although Twitter has made some attempt to clean things up, it still is a questionable app for kids and is best used in the presence of parents.

Worst Apps for Kids


Here’s another with a great slogan – “The anonymous, simple, fun way to find friends who are down for the night.” Operating via a connection with FB, people can group their friends as just buddies or those that they’d like to get “down” with, for a little, well…you know. Those looking for a little, well…you know, can search their friends  and see if they can find a match.

Worst Apps for Kids


The flame is a good indicator that this app is a little too hot for a young audience. Yet another hook-up facilitator, anyone using the app can upload their photo and then browse other’s photos indicating “interest” with a heart or a “no way” with a big X.  The app will then suggest those nearby who have “hearted” you and if you like them back, a connection is made which enables messaging. I’m sure you can come up with how many ways this could go bad on so many levels without me elaborating any further.

Worst Apps for Kids


Basically chatting with a random stranger, either via standard messaging or with video. For added risk, the app can connect with a Facebook account and then will attempt to connect people using the app to those who have similar “likes”.  There is nothing to keep kids from being exposed to inappropriate content and there is ample opportunity for personal information to be shared. When a conversation ends, the chat log can be saved and then a link will be provided that can be shared freely.

Worst Apps for Kids

Chat Routlette

Combine the randomness of roulette with spontaneous video chat, meaning you never know who you’re going to be paired with or what they might show you. Google it, and you’ll discover that it’s not something anyone should want to be a part of, let alone a young person.

Worst Apps for Kids


I’ll admit, this one sounds kind of cool and I could see it being useful in some situations. This app enables you to transform your mobile phone into a walking talkie. However, beyond just being able to say “over an out”, kids can also exchange photos, texts and other personal information. It’s gotten national attention as part of a high profile cyber bullying case. However, if you want to use it, just make sure you’ve got the location services turned off and privacy settings enabled. Plus, be clear who your child is communicating with when using it.

Looking for more technology and parenting information, be sure to sign up for our newsletter below so you won’t mis any of our future posts in this series. Want to see some of our previous posts related to technology?

Modern Love: To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This

In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.

The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.

The final task Ms. Catron and her friend try — staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes — is less well documented, with the suggested duration ranging from two minutes to four. But Ms. Catron was unequivocal in her recommendation. “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified,” she told me. “Four really goes somewhere.”

Set I

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?


25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.