AWNY Mums and Dads Update, September 2017

 

By Helen McWilliam

Last Days of Summer

And just like that, summer is over.  When I returned to New York for the start of the school year, it made me realise how important respite is when you live in such a big city. We take the beach and trees for granted in Australia.  I had a wake up call when my four year old was terrified of a fly. Don’t get me started on our trip to the Butterfly Conservatory at the American Natural History Museum—sheer terror! It was definitely time to get out of the city. Now we’re glad to be back and ready for the school year. Over the last few months, I found a few things that I thought were worth sharing:

Crybaby Matinees

I wish I’d known about this when we first moved here. There are parent and newborn baby screenings at cinemas here in New York, called ‘Crybaby Matinees’.  I used to attend them regularly in Sydney with my firstborn. I loved them because everyone’s baby is crying so it doesn’t matter if yours is too! Wednesdays at 11am at the E86th Street City Cinema is one location I am aware of however I am sure there are screenings in cinemas across New York. Definitely worth looking out for if you have a small baby.

53rd St Library Movies…

Another thing I wanted to share was a great children’s space I came across during the holidays—the 53rd Street Library, which has been open for just over a year in Midtown and is across the road from MOMA.  I came to know about it as I attended a free movie screening with my children. With a library card, the library provides you with a listening jack/headphones and you are welcome to bring food. It was a great and free way to see a movie with children.  

…and Kids’ Room

My two year old got tired of listening after a while so I took him downstairs to the children’s room, which is an enclosed space, so you can sit down and watch your children explore the room.  The children’s room also had Lego, toys and of course many books, as well as staff on hand.  They also had change tables and it just felt very child friendly.  In addition to the movie screenings, there are also numerous story times, coloring clubs, Spanish lessons and even a children’s improv hour.  See their website for more details.

Coming Attractions for Aussie Mums and Dads in New York

Finally, as the kids are back at school, Amanda and I have more time to ourselves so we are back to organising events!  The next one is a beauty and will be on October 22 at Burke and Wills for their $30 Sunday supper special. Please check out the event up on the Australian Mums and Dads in New York Facebook group.  We have a few more events planned over the next few months so please watch this space.

Helen and Amanda

AWNY Mums and Dads Update, August 2017

Written by Helen McWilliam

It’s been pretty quiet on the Mums and Dads front this month, so I thought I would report on my progress with visiting all the Central Park playgrounds before it gets too cold. To date, I have visited 13 out of 21, six since I started the challenge. It all gets a bit tricky from 14 on as the playgrounds are not as easy to access by subway, but I am committed!

Here’s a run down of the six I have visited since starting the challenge:

Diana Ross (West 81st St and Central Park West)
I’m not sure if Diana Ross is aware, but her namesake playground is in quite a state of disrepair. It felt quite unsafe for my two- and four-year-old. A section of the playground had been blocked off with signage stating it was unsafe. I personally won’t revisit this playground until it has been completely upgraded. It’s such a shame, because it is well shaded and in an easy to access area of Central Park.

West 110th Street Playground
This is a perfect playground for pre-schoolers. Well shaded, with a range of activities for different levels of ability.  It’s easy to access by public transport (no lift at either 110th St stations), but there was no close access to public toilets. As an additional positive, no school or camp groups visited whilst we were there.

East 110th Street Playground
What makes this a great playground option is that it is just above the Harlem Weir. It’s worth the trip to visit a very beautiful part of Central Park. The playground was easy to access via public transport (again, no lift at the subway station), but a negative was that it was very busy with school and camp groups. There was plenty of equipment to climb on, however they were a little challenging for pre-schoolers who, like my children, assume they have far greater abilities. Additionally, there was open access to the swings, which can be a little hairy at times with the aforementioned pre-schoolers. I would recommend this playground for ages 5 and above. Another plus for this playground was that it was very close public toilets.

Tarr Family Playground (West 100th St and Central Park West)
Full sun. This playground was hot. It’s a shame because it was a relatively quiet playground with a range of activities for different ages, with plenty of space to run around.  The sprinklers were good fun but it again had no nearby public toilets.  It was quite a hike from the subway, too.

Rudin Family Playground (West 97th St and Central Park West)
Beautifully shaded, but definitely more for younger children.  My 4-year-old appeared bored at this one, while my 2-year-old thought it was amazing.  I did too for the shade. A few school groups came through, but it wasn’t overwhelming.  As with the Tarr Family Playground, there is no access to public toilets and it’s quite a walk from the subway.

James Michael Levin Playground (East 76th St and Fifth Ave)
This was a very small but popular playground, with some sprinklers.  My two children enjoyed playing here, but there wasn’t much play equipment and I don’t think all of the sprinklers were working.  Nice large space though with some shade.  I can’t advise on access from public transport as I walked, but, again, there was no access to public toilets.

Still eight more playgrounds to go.  I could be cutting it close before school starts but I should definitely be able to get it done before it gets too cold.

We’d love to hear what you think about the playgrounds in Central Park, so please contact us through our Facebook page or email AWNY.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and Amanda and I will be back with more events planned for the fall.

AWNY Mums and Dads update, June 2017

Written by Helen McWilliam

May was a quieter month for the AWNY Mums and Dads group after a very busy April.  The warmer weather has been very welcome and my children are loving the more regular sight of sprinklers in the playgrounds.

This month, Amanda and I wanted to include a shout out to the Dads of this group.  The events we’ve organised so far have been focused on the Mums.  We’d love some input from the Dads to see if you’d like our help to organize a Dad’s meet-up, arrange a Saturday playgroup or something else entirely.  Please contact us through our Facebook page or email AWNY. We’d love to hear from you.

With the school holidays rapidly approaching, I wanted to share a day trip idea.  As I have recently overcome my fear of travelling on the subway alone with two children, I am finally leaving the Upper West Side.  Well, if I’m honest there’s still fear, I can just do it without hyperventilating and shouting! The New York Hall of Science in Queens is worth the long subway ride.  I have a 4.5 year old and nearly 2 year old and they were both transfixed for hours.  It would also be suitable for much older children as my two missed a lot of the meaning behind many of the exhibits. All the exhibits were engaging and hands on, however the ‘Connected Worlds’ installation was a must see. There’s also plenty of staff on hand to help the children get the most out of the museum. It can get a bit hectic with school groups but there’s a preschool area where groups aren’t allowed and we were advised that the groups tend to leave at 12-1pm. A few helpful pointers:

1. There’s no lift for strollers at 111th street Subway Station in Queens however, however I found I only had to look towards the stairs and people were offering me help.

2. The café was pretty basic so I would advise bringing your own food.

3. In what I would consider a big win, the shop was easily avoided!

Some up coming AWNY events to highlight: the ‘Working In the USA’ information session presented by Belinda Jackson is on the 14th of June.  It provides expert advice for Aussie job seekers.  Plus, the annual AWNY picnic is one for the whole family on the 24th of June in Central Park.

Photo credit: Helen McWilliams

Enjoy your June and the last few precious weeks of school before the endless school holidays!

 

What’s On in New York, June 2017

Our monthly events list often leads with the fun happenings from the AWNY committee but June has quite a highlight. One of AWNY’s most popular events is the ‘Working in the USA’ careers advice evening. You’ll learn top tips for job searching, seeking out networking opportunities, optimizing your resume for the US market, and listen to the job search experiences of other New York based Aussies. The event is led by our President Belinda Jackson (Prosell international). The tickets for this event go quickly and space is limited to secure your spot!

We also have our Annual AWNY picnic on this month (June 24th in Central Park) and a great list of fun things to do in New York as we had into the steamy months of summer.

Enjoy!

June means Jazz in New York City and it’s definitely the month to get to one of the 100 performances at the Blue Note Jazz Festival (various venues). You’re guaranteed great music and performances run throughout June. Schedule, locations, tix available here.

Free Summer Movies start June 2 at various locations around the 5 boroughs. There’s mix of pics to delight all ages. A schedule of movies, dates and locations is found on the NYC Park website. All the movies are free.

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival simply has to be included on our June What’s On list. The organizers encourage the addressing of Human Rights Issues in the films selected for the festival, and unsurprisingly there is a broad list presented this year. The festival runs from June 9-18 at with showing at either the Lincoln Center or IFC Center. Details and tickets available here.

June also sees the commencement of the SummerStage series, free outdoor concerts at various locations around the city, that run into September. Elvis Costello, The Metropolitan Opera, and Freedom Party are highlights for June.  This link provides a view of everything happening in June. Expand to to see the entire SummerStage series.

Fifth Avenue goes car free (well, for 23 blocks) on June 13 for the Museum Mile Evening, commencing at 6pm. All the museums along the stretch of fifth dubbed ‘Museum Mile’ are free and there will be live music to entertain you as you hop between them. Schedule and details available here.

Working in the USA Event is on June 14th at the Australian Consulate. Polish your resume, learn great networking tips, interview skills and job seeking advice. If you’re currently looking for a new role, or even thinking about starting a job search in New York, then don’t miss this event. It’s one of our most popular events each year, so make sure you secure a spot!  Tickets available through the AWNY Facebook event page.

USA Father’s Day is June 18! If you’re celebrating and need options, there’s this Jazz brunch cruise, the Father’s day scavenger hunt, Smorgasburg, or check out Open Table and book a table somewhere fancy or fun.

This month’s Generation Women event brings together Australian author and AWNY Member Georgia Clark, along with 4 other notable women from different generations to read and share their perspectives on a theme. This month’s theme: my first time saying no. The event is on June 21st and tickets are a very reasonable $25, available through this link.

Take advantage of the totally free Concerts in the Park series and listen to the New York Philharmonic orchestra on one of 5 performances between June 13-18 at various locations around the city. Information and schedules available here.

The Annual AWNY Picnic in the Park is on June 21st. We’ll be there from 2pm – 4pm for bring the whole family, plus any visitors you have in town, and enjoy a great afternoon with your Australian friends. We’ll have games and face painting to entertain the kids, please bring your own picnic lunch. For more info, visit the AWNY Facebook event page.

Photo credit: Joanna Hishon

AWNY Startup Stories: Eatwhatever

New York based Aussie export Jacqui Rosshandler, President of Jacqui LLC is creator of Eatwhatever, the revolutionary breath freshener that assures confident kissable breath allowing you to – you guessed it –  eat whatever you like with confidence. Jacqui shares her business experiences and offers some great insider tips in this week’s AWNY Startup Story.

Tell us about the Eatwhatever story…

I created a better-for-you, confidence building business quite accidentally. Looking up at the mountains of Verbier and feeling not so fresh after a, shall we say “spirited” New Year’s eve, I wished there was a breath freshener that worked internally, was all natural and fun to use. This led to the invention of Eatwhatever breath fresheners and a decade in the natural CPG industry. A natural networker, I soon became known as the little Aussie hustler and grew Eatwhatever’s distribution from niche retail stores like Colette (Paris), C.O, Bigelow and Rickys to Amazon, Wholefoods, Duane Reade, Fresh Market and Publix, to name a few.

How long did you have the idea for this business and why did you decide to start Eatwhatever?

I had a boyfriend who used to cook with a lot of garlic. I couldn’t bare how I felt like I smelt like garlic for days. I would brush my teeth, chew gum but nothing worked. The smell was coming from my stomach, not my mouth. So I created Eatwhatever. A breath freshener that works in the stomach AND the mouth!

What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’?

The first time I went to a NY party and took one out and had a stranger say “oh my god I love those! My boyfriend steals them out of my hand bag all the time” was absolutely thrilling. Now when I travel I see them in all the CIBO airport stores and I do a little jig. I still can’t believe that strangers buy them and love them.

What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business in New York?

I suppose just realizing what you don’t know. I’m not sure that’s harder here in New York then anywhere else though.

jacqui

Are there any particular technology/distribution/production challenges you have faced?

Plenty. As a mostly solo operator, I try to do all of these things and I am certainly not good at all of them. Technology is not my forte. Distribution is tough when you don’t know much about the players. It’s a steep learning curve. The only way to learn it is to ask a lot of questions and work it out as you go. There’s no degree for this kind of thing.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

Digital press has been hugely successful for us. Not ads, but genuine digital PR so people click directly on a link and purchase – it’s what PR dreams are made of.

Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks?

I know a lot of people in the business now and certainly consider them friends and mentors. Most people in the CPG world are quite helpful and willing to share their knowledge, make introductions etc. It’s a pretty wonderful industry in that sense.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?

Ask a lot of questions. Don’t be shy! Go to trade shows and make friends. The people who run the booths hold the key to whole lot of knowledge so don’t be afraid to ask them questions. And don’t worry about keeping your business idea a secret. If it was easy to do/produce, someone would be doing it already so be prepared to share in order to get the info you need.

What is next for Eatwhatever?

We just launched Woofmints – breath fresheners for dogs and Woofmints cologne . A line of all natural, US made pet products seems the most natural progression!

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Eatwhatever’s SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

www.eatwhatever.com
www.woofmints.com
www.facebook.com/eatwhatever
www.twitter.com/eatwhatever
www.youtube.com/kissablebreath
www.instagram.com/eatwhatever
www.instagram.com/woofmints

Love this AWNY Startup Story? Want more?

Register for our monthly newsletter and be kept in the loop for our upcoming Startup Stories event where you can hear more stories like this first hand and meet some of Aussie women entrepreneurs.

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Are you an Australian female who owns a business in New York? If you are and you want to tell us all about it, email us at awny@aaanyc.org