When you push through the doors at ‘apple seeds’ you are greeted by a valet squad that will take your stroller and park it next to the various who’s who of the stroller world. A friendly staffer quickly slide you a valet bracelet to put around your wrist and you are ushered downstairs to the front desk. This was all new to me because at a neighboring children’s facility I’m used to being yelled at to fold my stroller – before entering the tiny elevator that is wedged between Citerella and Fairway’s trash bins. At least it smells that way. This particular apple seeds location is housed in a brand new shiny building located on the corner of 70th and West End. Everything in the design of the facility is done with children and their parents in mind: from the viewing windows at children’s height to the very safe and clean play area that was designed by the folks at CMOM.
This is the second location to open in New York. Apple seeds was born when the co-founders Alison and Alison (and their spouses) were left in Chelsea with no place safe and clean to play — this is how it was described to me:
“We were raising twins in an area that was becoming flush with families…but besides Madison Square Park, there was nowhere to take them to run around, play and explore in a safe, clean, fun environment. So we decided to create one — apple seeds”.
Although there are plenty of places for kids to play on the Upper West Side, apple seeds has really stepped it up a few notches. The classes at apple seeds were built around the co-founders’ children and they’re different than any other classes I have seen in Manhattan and trust me – I’ve seen a few. Song for Seeds their signature music class is appropriate for children between 6 month and 5 years, which is great if you have more than one child. There is a three-piece band and they incorporate learning into all of their music. Apple seeds also has some really creative science classes; the day we visited, the class was doing an archeological dig and were finding real fossils. Check out apple seed’s classes here
Apple seeds also operates one of the cleanest facilities in NYC, as they swap out toys twice a day from the play area – disinfecting the used ones. So the afternoon session will not share slobbered toys with the morning sessions. There is also a “life saver” on duty at all times in the play area, just to make sure everything is running smoothly. No – this is not a babysitter but more like an extra set of hands.
The biggest perk for me is that I can finally take miss M, my 3 year-old to a drop-off class and have something fun to do with Miss L while waiting. Hanging out in the play area is a lot more fun than chasing my toddler around the halls or streets while waiting for Miss M!
When we finished taking a tour and running around a little in the play area, I walked back up the stairs to retrieve my stroller. The valet actually had my stroller out ready to go… I felt kind of special, kind of akin to someone driving a Bentley and showing up outside the Ivy restaurant in Beverly Hills but instead of a Bentley, I drive a double City Select limo… I wonder how people with the “Donkey” get treated…