The City As Classroom

Illustrations by Jim Stoten

Film Society of Lincoln Center
Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th St., nr. Amsterdam Ave.; 212-875-5600

Mom Ayun Halliday: “I know lots of families go to the movies, but my son was one of the only kids at a 6 p.m. screening of the French animated movie The Rabbi’s Cat, which touches on Judaism and Islam in twenties Algeria. He got this big lesson about some central tenants of two major world religions.”

Seventh-grader Milo Kotis: “I got to meet [director] Joann Sfar, and he even made a drawing for me! I felt like a real celebrity.”

Hospital Pathology Lab

Mom Ivette Mayo: “We toured the pathology lab of the hospital where my husband works. We went from looking at the single-cell hydra under a microscope at home to watching a pathologist work with living tissue.”

Seventh-grader Fiona Fragomen: “I wasn’t freaked out or anything because my father is a doctor, and I’ve been on rounds with him and seen some pretty gross stuff. I loved seeing how the slides are made: You need to ferment and then put it through many machines and create pigments.”

Grand Central Terminal
89 E. 42nd St., nr. Park Ave.;

Mom Laura Cain: “We didn’t go to the station because it’s historic; we went to see who works there. We talked to a police officer, a conductor, the guy shining shoes … my kids saw the practical way the place operates.”

Fourth-grade sisters Abigayle and Rebecca Cain: “We liked the gigantic clock and talking to the people. We met a girl, and she taught us a little bit of French, but we forgot it. We just remember bonjour and non.”

Fat Cat
75 Christopher St., at Seventh Ave.; 212-675-6056

Mom Bethany Vedder: “One afternoon a week, the club lets homeschoolers come in to shoot pool or play shuffleboard and Ping-Pong. We go partially for social time, but also because those games improve my 10-year-old’s math, logic, and strategy skills.”

Fifth-grader Douglas Vedder: “I like playing pool, and I couldn’t do it anywhere else. Plus, I get to talk about Minecraft with my friends.”

Beczak Environmental Education Center
35 Alexander St., Yonkers, N.Y.; 914-377-1900

Mom Sabrina Funk: “We went seine fishing in the Hudson River. My son is interested in underwater creatures, so we’re always doing life-science kind of stuff.”

Second-grader Finley Funk: “I liked putting on the waders and taking out the nets. It was cool to drag in the little jellyfish.”

97th Street Greenmarket
W. 97th St. at Columbus Ave.

Mom Christy Young: “They’d been shopping with me before, but I realized they didn’t even know what the word local meant in terms of food. I explained what was in season, and we did some math when I got change.”

Fourth-grader Lily Young: “Some of the vegetables still had dirt on them and green stuff at the top. They weren’t packaged like they are in the grocery store.”

Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink
Central Park at 59th St.; 212-982-2229

Mom, Regan Avery: “When we go on the rides, we talk about physics, like centrifugal force, how if you sit on the outside seat of the roller coaster, you’re going to get smushed against the side. They have one of those really big slides, so we talk about gravity, too.”

Pre-kindergartner, Mason Avery: “My mommy and I went more than once. We had fun. My favorite was the truck ride. I got to drive!”

The Brooklyn Bee
Fort Greene;

Mom, Sandra Leong: “The beehives are on urban-beekeeper John Howe’s rooftop. He showed us the queen and talked about pollination, and the kids got to take the honey off the honeycomb. It was real hands-on science.”

Third-grader, Brennan-Pierson Wang: “I learned so much: Bees live in a community and have individual jobs, and they care for their babies and report to their queen.”

Reported by Raven Snook.

The City As Classroom