AWNY Picks: What’s On in November in NYC

Curated by the AWNY Communications team


Once you’ve purged your apartment of all the Halloween candy, you can hop along to one of the great events happening in New York in November. There’s a great AWNY events coming up; a fine jewelry showcase on November 3 (yes, that’s just a few days away), plus you can help welcome the incoming America Australia Association (AAA) President, John Berry, on November 16th at the Consulate.

We’re well and truly into the holiday season in New York now so we hope you like the list of events the AWNY Communication team has put together to save you trawling the ‘net for  weekend activity list.


AWNY EVENT! Ray Griffiths Jewelry Showcase will give you the opportunity to pick up some great Christmas presents (for you or others) and 25% of all purchases will be donated to The Dwelling Place, AWNY’s chosen charity for 2016. Details, tickets, info etc. available here.

AAA EVENT! A welcome reception for the incoming American Australian Association President, John Berry (and a farewell to retiring President Frances Cassidy), will be held on November 16 commencing at 6PM at the Australian Consulate. AAA member tickets are $20, non-members are $35, wine and canapes served. Register via the AAA event page on the website.

Some great sources for Christmas presents include the Grand Central Holiday Markets (opening November 14th), the Union Square Holiday Markets (opening November 17th), and Bryant Park Winter Village (open now).

Make sure you get out and soak up some of the atmosphere of the New York Marathon on November 6th. Watching the leading runners at any point on the course is really something to see, but so too is just seeing the amazing mix of people from all over the world power through the 26.2 miles (42.2 kms). It runs through the 5 boroughs so viewing spots are plentiful. Find the course outline here.

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What’s On April 2016

Compiled by Joanna Hishon, AWNY Communications Lead

We all know of the expression ‘put a spring in your step.’ That takes on a new meaning when spring arrives in NYC. The birds are singing (really, in Central park, they do), the traverse road around the park is chockers with cyclists and runners, and flowers are bursting out of their winter slumber. People just seem to be more upbeat. We haven’t seen as much of a contrast between winter and spring this year (apart from that one dumper of a blizzard, we really got off lightly), but I do feel that spring is especially beautiful in New York City because of what we all have to endure to get to it!

Spring brings renewal, and the AWNY Committee elections are well timed with the vibe of the season. If you have considered joining the AWNY Committee, now is the time and we would love to have you! Our next AGM is just around the corner so please place your nominations for Committee positions by Tuesday April 5th and attend the AGM on Thursday April 7th.

We’ve got some stand out events this month, including AWNY’s private tour of the Affordable Art Show, Belinda Jackson’s ‘Working in the USA’ seminar, and of course ANZAC day on the 25th, at Veteran’s Plaza.

See the list below for details for links and information for these and other great goings on in the city.


Join AWNY for a private tour of the Affordable Art Show (on today!), 125 West 18th Street from 11.00AM – 12.00PM. Tickets are $30 per person and includes a tour with the show’s director and a post tour drink. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

The AWNY Annual General Meeting is on Thursday, April 7th at 6.00PM (for a 6.30PM meeting start). The meeting is being held at Citi Offices, 390 Greenwich Street, Tribeca. Nomination forms for committee positions must be in by Tuesday April 5th. Submit your nomination to More information is available here.

AWNY member and Director of Prosell International, Belinda Jackson is presenting her annual ‘Working in the USA’ event on April 19th. Arrive at 6.15PM for a 7.00PM start and listen to the presentation and panel discussion on job hunting, interview and resume skills, and networking through the hidden job market. The event is held at the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce, 1177 Avenue of the Americas, 7th Floor. Tickets are available here but get in quick as this event is always a sell out!

Australian Pearl Hodiwala is inviting AWNY members to her off broadway show, KINGS, performing April 7th – 9th. AWNY members can get discounted $15 tickets with code WPLABFF. The show is part of the Women’s Project Pipeline Festival, showcasing the work of exceptional playwrights, directors, and producers.

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New York Botanical Garden’s Holiday Train Show: An architectural delight, in bark and twigs.‏

By Joanna Hishon

The four of us – 2 grownies and 2 kids – bundled up and headed up to the New York Botanical Gardens on December 27th to see the Holiday Train Show. I’d been meaning to visit the NYBG since relocating to New York two years ago, yet never managed to get there. I’m glad we made the trek up to the Bronx over the Christmas break and was delighted by the sprawling wilderness intermixed with many structured displays of plant species.

It’s hardly a ‘trek’ to get there; quite easy in fact. We took the subway to the gardens, jumping on the 4 train from 86th Street and rode it to Bedford Park Boulevard. The B and D trains will also get you there. Directions provided on the NYBG website suggest taking the Bx26 bus to the Moshulu Gate from the subway station, but you don’t need to – it’s an easy 10 minute walk down the hill.

We intended to activate the free membership to the gardens that comes with the NYC ID card, but that covers grounds-only access. Entry to the Holiday Train Show was $96 for the 4 of us ($30/adult, $23/child). It’s cheaper if you go on weekdays. An annual family membership to the gardens was an additional $29 ($125 in total) so we decided to purchase that as it includes entry to all special exhibitions for 12 months, plus member discounts in the shop and reciprocal access to over 200 gardens US-wide, including Brooklyn and Queens Botanical Gardens.

The surprising thing about the Holiday Train Show is that the trains themselves are actually the side-show. The G-scale model trains are indeed delightful, but for me the main event was the 150 old New York mansions, art deco buildings, skyscrapers, iconic bridges, significant brownstones, and sporting grounds the trains zip through. It’s an architectural mecca, all expertly recreated from bark, leaves, twigs, branches, buds, and all manner of stuff you’d find underfoot when walking through the woods. If you ever wanted to sound like a pro on the significant architectural constructions in New York and where they’re located, then go to the train show. Not only are they all reproduced in amazing detail, the exact locations of many of the buildings are also given. A fun kids activity would be to pick a favourite building from the train show and go hunt down the real thing in the city, comparing the actual building design elements to its twig-and-leaf counterpart.


I’ve been a huge fan of the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens since moving to NY, especially their cherry blossom display in early spring (tip for that – always check peak blooming dates provided on the BBG website before you go), but the NYBG takes botanical to a new level. Firstly, it’s enormous. The 250-acre grounds contain the largest remaining expanse of New York’s original wooded landscape (you could spend a day just seeing that bit), plus there’s an enchanting Children’s Adventure garden, Wetlands teeming with birdlife, a stunning conservatory that takes you from rain forest to desert and back again, a glorious maple collection, the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden (considered one of the world’s best), and the Donald J. Bruckmann Crabapple Collection that dates back to the 1930’s, to highlight just a few of the many displays.

In warmer months you can bring your own food into the gardens and picnic at designated spots (I was surprised at this – you can’t picnic in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens) and I fully intend to do just that with every Aussie visitor from now on. In colder months the garden’s Pine Tree Cafe offers lots of healthy salads alongside very good made-to-order pizzas and sandwiches, strong coffee and baked treats. There’s even a Schnapps bar!

We read a lot about NYC neighbourhood gems and secret local spots – well in a sea of gems the NYBG is a diamond. Get your membership for the grounds if you have an NYC ID card because I’m sure you’ll want to see the gardens in every season. The Holiday Train Show runs until January 18th.

Photo credits: Joanna Hishon

What’s On December 2015

Happy Thanksgiving all!

At my place the jury is still out as to whether it’s best to turkey on Thanksgiving, to turkey at Christmas, or to turkey at both. This could be my new expression – ‘to turkey or not to turkey.’ We had 12 for Thanksgiving dinner this year and it was a hoot; far too much wine, far too many sides, and one big old bird. Yet even with that many mouths, I still had enough turkey left over for a week’s worth of sandwiches, pies, and soup and it seems too short a time ‘til Christmas to repeat the procedure without severe turkey fatigue. I have wholeheartedly adopted the tradition of Thanksgiving because it is just like Christmas only without the gift stress. It does leave Christmas at a bit of a loose end though in terms of what to cook. I can’t do the whole spread again. Vegemite and butter on a fresh bagel washed down with a glass of Hunter Valley Semillon (make it a bottle) and chased up with a giant caramello koala smashed through Haagen Dazs vanilla bean ice cream. Now don’t tell me you’re not considering that as an option for your Christmas dinner!

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone and I hope to see you at one of these great events in December!


~ If you missed the first concert, AWNY Member and GPS Girl Karen Jacobsen is performing her second Christmas concert on Tuesday December 1st  at 7.00PM at The Triad New York.

~ The AWNY Exclusive T2 Shopping and Tea Tasting Event is being held in the Soho T2 store on Wednesday December 2nd at 6.30PM. Tickets are a very reasonable $10 and can be purchased on the night (all ticket proceeds go to Sanctuary for Families) but you need to RSVP here.

~ The AAA’s Holiday Reception is on Thursday December 3rd from 6.30PM – 9.00PM. Held in the Monash Room at the Australian Consulate (150 East 42nd Street, 34th floor) AAA members can purchase tickets for $30 which includes plentiful hors d’oeuvres, Australian beer and wine, meat pies from The Australian Hotel and cocktails by The Manhattan Cricket Club.

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AWNY Mums & Dads July update: Summer School Holiday Activities

Written by Anita Davison

With school holidays upon us thought I would share with you a list of 20 things you can do to entertain the kids in the city this summer. Be sure to share your experiences on the FB page, give your feedback and reviews on events you’ve discovered, loved, and even those that may not have been worth the effort.

If you’re like me, I was ready for September a mere two weeks into the holidays. I have now started working through the list below and I’m enjoying the time much more; an entertained 4 year old is a happy 4 year old! Click the title of each to find out more details.

1. Hudson Riverflicks Family Fridays – There’s something for the whole family on Friday nights in Hudson River Park. Hudson RiverFlicks’ Family Fridays returns to Hudson River Park’s Pier 46 this summer and features recent favorites and many classics. Films are rated PG. Movies begin at dusk (generally around 8:30pm). Free popcorn.

2. Wild Wednesdays at the Highline – I love walking the Highline, especially at this time of the year when it becomes an adventure playground for kids. Wild Wednesdays run in July and August and kids 4+ can learn about the animals and plants that call the Highline home, how they create their homes, find food, and help our city environment.

3. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens – The BBG’s Discovery Garden is now open and offering some great events for kids of all ages. There’s the Family Discovery Weekend events, First Discoveries for Toddlers (2-4), Kids Discovery Stations and more.

4. NYC Public Pools – Public outdoor pools officially opened on June 27, so take the kids for a paddle or enroll in free swimming lessons for all ages. Its a great way to keep cool during the hotter months!

5. Brooklyn Children’s Museum – Open Tuesdays – Sundays, and offering ‘free hours’ every Thursday from 2-5pm (until August 27), this is a great option when trying to escape the heat. Check out the events calendar for info on all the fun events on offer for toddlers through to teens.

6. Urban Farm Exploration Days, Randall’s Island – Every Saturday (until September 26), take the kids to explore and learn about farming. They can hang out with chickens, venture through the grown fruits and veggies and learn about rice paddies on a self guided tour.

7. Summer in the Square – there are over 45 events happening for kids at Summer in the Square presented by the Union Square Partnership. Every Thursday they can participate in events such as Yoga Storytime, Swedish Cottage marionette shows, PopFit Kids FUNctional Fitness programs, Live music performances reading, crafts and more.

8. Revisit Alice in Wonderland – celebrate 150 years of Alice in Wonderland at the Morgan Library & Museum. Ages 4+

9. Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks – Celebrate the 4th of July with a bang!

10. Free Summer Musical Theatre in the West Village – This summer Theatreworks will present Skippyjon Jones Snow What (& the 7 Chihuahuas). 

11. Frolic! at CMOM – The Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s new interactive rock ‘n’ roll-themed pop-up play space dedicated to children 0 – 5 years old is now open. Throw your hands up in the air as you sing, dance and play in this pint-sized rockers’ dream.

12. Broadway in Bryant Park – Check out some Broadway performances, then take a spin on the Carousel – a perfect day out! Beginning July 11.

13. Check out this list of 20 of the best water playgrounds in NYC.

14. Catch and Release Fishing in Harlem Meer – FREE

15. Kids concerts at Madison Square Park – free interactive concerts on the Farragut Lawn every Thursday morning from May 28-July 30 at 10:30am (lawn opens at 10am)

16. Coney Island – Ride the big wheel, eat a hot dog and get some sand between your toes. A day at Coney Island has so much to offer!

17. Ride a Carousel – this list is the pick of the bunch

18. Visit a zoo – there are 5 zoos and an aquarium in NY and if you’re a member of one, you get to see them all!

19. Central Park – I bet you haven’t explored every corner of central park! Take a different path next time you visit, explore the top half, or check out the park’s website to see all the amazing things it has to offer and plan a great day out.

20. Explore a new area – sometimes the easiest activity is just to pick a neighborhood to explore. Some of the best things in NY are the ones you discover on your travels. And don’t be afraid to leave Manhattan!

And Happy 4th of July to all!