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

Sinatra: an American Icon

AWNY Member Jacinta Stewart writes about her experience of the Frank Sinatra exhibition in New York City.

Did you know Old Blue Eyes would have turned 100 years old last December? To celebrate his birthday, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, along with the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles has curated Sinatra: An American Icon.

I had walked past the library’s promotional sign countless times – all the while thinking that I really ought to go and see it – and I presumed it would be a simple black and white photo history of Sinatra’s life by renowned photographer Herman Leonard, with perhaps a few mementos thrown in. During the long weekend, and with a bit of spontaneity and my best friend as company, I finally got around to visiting it. And what a surprise it was. I was absolutely blown away.

Presented in association with Jazz at the Lincoln Center, the exhibition examines 100 years of Sinatra’s legacy. It includes never-before-seen photos, family mementos, rare correspondence, personal items, artwork, and interactive listening stations. We got to peek inside his wardrobe, enclosed in a glass cabinet, and we hopped on a subway platform to experience his 1960’s commute to Hoboken complete with moving subway windows and simulated track vibrations beneath our feet. We experienced what it was like to be an audio engineer at a Frank Sinatra recording session, mixing and fading the sounds on the original track ‘Teach me Tonight.’

We recorded ourselves singing a duet of ‘New York New York’ with Frank inside the exhibition’s recording booth and we chose our favorite Frank songs from a jukebox placed in the middle of a recreated 1940’s living room. We watched the trailers to every movie he starred in and browsed the excellent Sinatra themed gift store. A highlight was watching a knock out duet with Ella Fitzgerald, recorded live on TV, with the very dress Ella wore for the recording displayed in the cabinet alongside.

Most people won’t know that Sinatra was a painter. Although he never sold a painting (he gave most away to family, friends and occasionally to fans), painting was an escape from the constant media attention that his singing and performing career generated. The exhibition includes a recreation of Sinatra’s art studio complete with the supplies from the real thing, and a recording of Amanda Erlinger (Nancy Sinatra’s daughter) sharing her experiences of when her grandfather taught her to paint.

Enjoy this is a fabulous free exhibit, and start spreading the word…

Event Essentials

What: Sinatra: An American Icon

Where: New York Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center. 40 Lincoln Plaza, New York City

When: Mon-Sat from 12.00 midday. Exhibition runs until September 4th

Cost: Free

AWNY member tips: Allow at least an hour to take full advantage of this interactive exhibit. Pick up the free exhibit program and check out the ‘Sinatra Walking Tour’ of Hoboken and Manhattan. The map lists favorite hang outs (he preferred little-known Irish pubs over fancy restaurants), his family homes, and the venues where he performed.

Photo credit: Jacinta Stewart