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Playing Under the Radar

Stroller pileups. Marauding toddlers. Short-tempered staffers. Not at these off-circuit hangouts.


Scandinavia House  

FINANCIAL DISTRICT
Museum of American Finance
48 Wall St., at William St. 212-908-4110
On special kids’ days, moguls in the making can hit the newly relocated museum’s education center to design their own currency or talk to active Secret Service agents about counterfeiting. The next kids’ program will be held March 8 (call for future dates).

TRIBECA
City Hall
131 Duane St., nr. Church St. 212-227-7777
On Saturdays, the stately restaurant turns into “Kiddie Hall.” Children are supplied with fistfuls of Crayola markers, Wikki Stix, and scribble pads. They can even sit at the bar and watch cartoons while nibbling from the kid-friendly menu.

MIDTOWN
Scandinavia House
58 Park Ave., nr. 38th St. 212-879-9779
The children’s area is a treasure trove of Legos, “Moomin” books, and Brio train sets, while the space next door (pictured) has been transformed into a Nordic wonderland with ice caves to crawl into and volcanoes to summit. Open to members ($65 per year) Tuesday through Friday and to the public ($5 per child) on Saturdays.

UPPER EAST SIDE
Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Ave., at 92nd St. 212-423-3200
At the museum’s Archaeology Zone, there are artifacts (like clay jugs) to dig out of the sand and nineteenth-century Turkish costumes to try on ($12 adults, free for kids under 12).

UPPER WEST SIDE
Hampton Chutney
464 Amsterdam Ave., nr. 82nd St. 212-362-5050
While grown-ups snack on dosas and chai, little ones can commandeer the front-window area’s coloring table.

RED HOOK
Fairway
480-500 Van Brunt St., nr. Reed St. 718-694-6868
The café in the back of the labyrinthine supermarket overlooks New York Harbor and is a prime spot for tugboat-watching.

DITMAS PARK
Vox Pop
1022 Courtelyou Rd., nr. Stratford Rd.; 718-940-2084
An anarcho-socialist café may sound like an unlikely kid zone, but this Brooklyn hang has a play nook under a staircase and a story hour for tots on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.


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