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Parties: Birthday-Party Locations

Alexander Doll Company
615 W. 131st St., near Broadway
Parties of up to 35 can tour this 81-year-old Harlem factory, which handmakes some of the most beautiful—and coveted—dolls in the world. Once the children have visited the factory and the doll hospital, they can take part in a workshop dressing up tiny shoes with ribbon, then head to a specially decorated room where all party fixings (except the cake) are provided. Price is $30 to $95 a person.

Alley Pond Environmental Center
228-06 Northern Blvd., near the Cross Island Pkwy., Douglaston
Little nature lovers will enjoy parties at this 150-acre nature preserve, where entertainment comes in the form of environmental discussions, meet-and-greets with small animals, nature walks, and arts-and-crafts sessions. Party organizers provide food (usually pizza), paper goods, and decorations. For 2- and 3-year-olds, it’s $150 for one and a half hours (up to twelve kids); ages 4 to 12, $180 for two hours (up to fifteen kids).

Young ladies get dolled up at Amrican Girl Place. (Photo Credit: Kristine Larsen)

American Girl Place
609 Fifth Ave., at 49th St.
If you have to ask why to throw a party at this doll store, you clearly don’t have a girl. At café parties, dolls sit next to their owners, who eat food like cornbread muffins ($30-$58 per person). But the real treat is the Late Night party, in which a group of 15 to 25 girls get the preteen paradise all to themselves for two hours. They eat a meal, watch a theater revue, take dolls to a salon, and take part in a scavenger hunt ($250 per person).

Basketball City
Pier 63 at W. 23rd St.
Basketball parties feature an hour of supervised play, including a scored game and coach-run drills (layups, dribbling, passing, and foul shots), followed by a party in a decorated room with a basketball birthday cake, pizza and drinks. Additional food must be provided by the party organizers (caterers are welcome). $595 for fifteen children.

Birthday Wishes
James Gandolfini and Nicole Miller both turned to Leanne DeCamp for their toddlers’ parties. Specializing in entertainment for children 1 to 4, DeCamp brings puppets, parachutes, bubbles, balloon animals, and even a handmade secret gift for the birthday child. One hour is $200.

Shooting for a strike at a Bowlmore Lanse birthday party. (Photo Credit: Kristine Larsen)

Bowlmor Lanes
110 University Pl., near 13th St.
This hip bowling alley in the Village spins classic dance tunes while kids spend two hours in the lanes. There are three party packages: The first ($29.95 per child) includes shoe rental, beverages, and cheese pizza or hot dogs and fries; the second ($34.95) adds a personalized birthday cake; the third ($39.95) includes invitations on Bowlmor stationery, chips and popcorn, and a signable bowling pin for the birthday honoree. There’s an eight-child minimum for all parties.

Chelsea Piers
Piers 59 to 62, bet. 18th and 23rd Sts., at the Hudson River
With nearly 2,000 birthday parties every year, this athlete’s mecca is the go-to choice for sports themes. Activities include gymnastics, soccer, baseball, basketball, rock climbing, flag football, volleyball, bowling, ice skating, ice hockey, golf, and in-line skating. Ninety-minute parties start at $395 with no food; from $525 with food, cake and staff. Up to ten kids.

Cozy’s Cuts for Kids
1125 Madison Ave., at 84th St.
448 Amsterdam Ave., near 81st St.
Glamour parties at this salon for tots include makeup, hairstyling, mini-manicures, temporary tattoos, and lots of activities, like make-it-yourself beaded jewelry ($595 for 90 minutes for 12 children; $30 per additional child, up to 50). Upgrade to the Beauty Super Deluxe party ($795 for 90 minutes for 12; $30 each additional child, up to 50), which includes a choice of chocolate or vanilla cake, plus pizza and beverages. Fine catered foods, balloons, and Polaroids are extra.

The Craft Studio
1657 Third Ave., near 93rd St.
The place to go for an arts-themed party, this gigantic haven with an energetic staff offers various projects: designing puppets, picture frames, wooden treasure chests, rhinestoned pajamas, and even chocolate houses covered in gumdrops. Parties begin with the group decorating a birthday banner, followed by face-painting, the project, then limbo-rock and relay races. After that, a lunch of pizza and chicken nuggets, more dancing, and a Häagen-Dazs ice-cream cake ($495 to $725 for a party of ten kids).

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From the Fall 2004 edition of the New York Family Guide