Meredith Craig de Pietro

Articles by

Meredith Craig de Pietro

Meredith is an ex-television producer who has worked for Style Network, E! Networks, and “America’s Next Top Model.” Currently, she spends her days exploring Brooklyn as a freelance writer, and has published in The Classical, Vice and XOJane. You can usually find her visiting museums, cleansing her chakra, throwing extravagant dinner parties or at a playground with her husband and son. Follow her on Twitter @meredithcraigde

12/08/16 8:48am
Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children's theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim is highbrow children’s theater at its best. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Part of living in NYC means navigating the holidays precariously toeing the line between time honored traditions and tourist traps. You won’t find many true New Yorkers braving the cold and the crowds at the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. March up Fifth Avenue on a weekend looking for New Yorkers, and you will never find one. (They know to wait for the out-of-towners to go to sleep before they make the pilgrimage.) Any New Yorkers lining up for The Christmas Spectacular? Nope. Tea with Eloise at the Plaza? No way. Where are they all? Over the weekend, my 7-year-old son and I found them…they’re watching Peter & the Wolf at the Guggenheim.

Isaac Mizrahi is a National Treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

Isaac Mizrahi is a national treasure. Photo: Works & Process at the Guggenheim

For the past 10 years, Isaac Mizrahi, fashion designer, TV presenter, Project Runway judge, author and a master of quips has been narrating and (since 2013) directing, a production of the beloved fable. The Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Guggenheim is an intimate setting of light and ivory, like being encased in an oyster shell. Instead of the polished pearl of a show you might expect on Broadway, this has a bit more edge. The musicians stroll in slowly, and start warming up their instruments seemingly haphazardly while the audience finds their seats. We sat next to the string section behind the conductor. As new instruments started playing, my son and I swerved our heads around the room for an aural version of “I Spy.” On stage, a giant garbage can, chainlink fence, enormous tree and NYC skyline represented Central Park. An actress playing the bird perched in the tree, and then the wolf took a seat on the park bench to read the newspaper before the show started. (more…)

12/01/16 8:53am
Let the Holiday madness begin. Here's 12 way to keep sane and enjoy the month. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Let the holiday madness begin. Here are 12 way to keep sane and enjoy the month. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

December is finally here. The days of breathtaking performances, dazzling snowfalls, and holiday cheer fill the month with magic. Here are 12 ways to enjoy the winter wonderland of NYC with your family, before the deep freeze of January forces you to hibernate in your home with just the TV remote to warm you. From free events to expensive new holiday traditions, there’s holiday cheer for everyone on this kids calendar.

Receive the ultimate gift from BAX: a free kids theater class. Photo: BAX

Receive the ultimate gift from BAX: a free kids theater class. Photo: BAX

1. Learn: Enjoy the gift of a free class. Many children in the audience of the Nutcracker or Miracle on 34th Street wish they were the ones onstage. Capitalizing on that allure are theater classes, ballet tutors and singing sessions. But if your child is 8 or older, they can attend Youthworks at BAX, a FREE program for kids interested in developing their own play, dance or original song or poetry performance. A mandatory orientation is taking place Saturday, Dec. 3 from 3-4:30pm at BAX. Then there is a six week Sunday rehearsal schedule resulting in a fully staged production with lighting, sound design, costumes and props at the end of January. BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange 421 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope. For children 8 + up. FREE.


Start a new holiday tradition with live theater. Photo: Works & Process/ Guggenheim

 

2. Go: Start a new holiday tradition. There are so many holiday events in NYC that come with a cost: Long lines to visit Santa, crowds at Rockefeller Center, and sold out Lincoln Center matinees. Luckily, there are experiences that are every bit as special that don’t come with as many tourists. Starting Dec. 3, bring the kids to see Peter & The Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi at The Guggenheim. Although you can check back for our longer review on Dec. 5, it’s a safe bet to buy the tickets now. The schedule is as follows: Dec. 3, 4, 10, and 11 at 2:30pm and 4pm, and Dec. 9 at 5pm and 6:30pm.  Peter B. Lewis Theater, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, New York For ages 5 and up. $40, $35 Guggenheim members. For the littler ones who may not be able to sit through a long performance, The Swedish Marionette Theater in Central Park has the perfect solution. The Three Bears Holiday Bash is a wonderful experience without the headache of a high-priced ticket. We’ve reviewed their shows before, but this holiday-themed fairy tale performance incorporates stories of Hanukkah, The Night Before Christmas, and Kwanzaa, making it a perfect for all your festivities. Swedish Marionette Theater, Central Park, W. 79th and West Drive. Through Dec. 30. Tickets are $7/children and $10/adults.   (more…)

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11/21/16 7:27pm
Learn to make your own medicine at home, the natural way. Photo: Remedies Herb Shop

Learn to make home remedies. Photo: Remedies Herb Shop

This time of year germs run wild, sailing from cubicle to classroom, plaguing even the strongest among us. Add airborne viruses, existential and political dread, and short days, and you’ve got a recipe for everything from the winter blues to the superflu. It’s enough to send a person back under the covers with a bottle of whiskey and bag of Ricolas. Go ahead, call in sick. We all need a day of rest and comfort, where we can wallow in our emotions, rage with fever dreams, and start the healing process. Here’s how to feel better all winter long.

Take a class

If you want to preemptively find a way to boost your immune system and recover from sicknesses more quickly, sign head to Remedies Herb Shop for an immune-boosting tonic. Or, sign up for a class on aromatherapy, soapmaking, meditation, or an introduction to medicinal herbs. If affordable health care goes away, you’ll be still be covered. Remedies Herb Shop, 453 Court St., Brooklyn. (more…)

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10/27/16 8:26am

Autumn in New York is the quintessential season. With the leaves changing color in Central Park, the steam rising from the subway grates, and the magic of the holidays right around the corner, November is the perfect time for families to crush on the city we call home…before temperatures drop and we can go back to complaining about the weather again. Here are 11 ways to appreciate the great city we live in, with kids in tow.

Drop in to play at this new playspace/ museum outpost. Photo: The Brooklyn Children's Museum

Drop in to play at this new playspace/ museum outpost. Photo: The Brooklyn Children’s Museum

1.Visit: We have the first children’s museum. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum of Crown Heights has been engaging children since 1899. It’s considered one of the first (if not THE first) museum specifically for children. Obviously, it’s a historic event, when this classic museum opens their first new offshoot. SPARK by Brooklyn Children’s Museum opened for business on Oct. 15 on Pier 1 in DUMBO. The 1850-square-foot space offers semester-long classes and drop-in play (that you can reserve ahead online) for kids 6 months to 6 years old.

SPARK by The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, 1 John Street, DUMBO  $15 for one hour of play; class prices vary. Passport Members are free: $195/ year. Open play hours: Tuesday: 1-5pm, Wednesday: 1-3pm, Thursday: 1-6pm, Friday-Sunday: 1-5pm


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10/18/16 10:07am

This matchbox sized storefront sells "big city, small batch" products. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Julia Small O'Kelly will welcome you into smallhome with the stories behind all her treasures. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Julia Small O’Kelly will welcome you into smallhome and share the stories behind all her treasures. Photos: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Walking into smallhome, a matchbox-sized storefront on Metropolitan near the Graham Avenue stop on the L train in Williamsburg, feels like spiriting through a portal to rural America. Cluttered with handcrafted wares that range from white sage body wash to the perfect red plaid handkerchief, the store’s displays feature creative props like a rusted ladder, and assortment of wooden twigs and a vintage wicker chair. Although smallhome is, well, small, you could spend days sorting through the goods, uncovering treasures that you never even knew you wanted (like an astrologically-themed embroidery hoop).

Upon entering, you will probably be warmly welcomed by owner, Julia Small O’Kelly, who will definitely be wearing a work apron, ready to tell you the stories behind her collection. (more…)

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10/05/16 2:15pm
nicotine

The only thing that might be more radical than the plot of Nicotine, is author Nell Zink’s imagination. Publisher Ecco.

The epic myth around novelist Nell Zink precedes her books. For instance, before I picked up her new novel, Nicotine, I knew that Zink got her start as Jonathan Franzen’s pen pal talking about birding, about which they both are passionate. Franzen, possibly America’s most famous living novelist, implored Zink to publish. Her first book, The Wallcreeper, came out in 2014, and her second Mislaid, was published in 2015. I also knew that Zink churns out her books complete (including revisions) in three weeks total. The excitement around the author offers up the impression of a recent college grad, instead of a 50ish expat who spent the 90’s editing a punk zine. Forging her own path, Zink has created a buzz by being the publishing world’s L’Enfant terrible, but at 50 rather than 20.  (more…)

09/30/16 11:28am
A fire-breathing robot from last year's World Maker Faire at the Queens Hall of Science. It returns this weekend, Oct. 1-2. Photo: Velleman Store

A fire-breathing robot from last year’s World Maker Faire at the Queens Hall of Science. It returns this weekend, Oct. 1-2. Photo: Velleman Store

Halloween takes center stage this month, but there’s more to do than just eat candy and get cavities. Here are 12 (dentist approved) kids events to fill your October with autumnal fun.

  1. Go: The Maker Faire at New York Hall of Science is a must for many Brooklyn families. This year’s schedule is chock full of Minecraft, drone racing, BUST Craftacular shopping, and pop-up farms. At the Faire, kids and adults can learn to pick locks, try out enormous wheeled bicycles, and experience zero gravity. There really is something for everyone here, from the youngest makers (interested in Puppet Phactory) to the oldest (fascinated with genome editing.) Ticket packages range from whole weekend ($65 adult/ $40 child) to single day ($35 adult/ $25 child). Saturday, October 1- Sunday, October 2 New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th Street, Queens

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09/20/16 9:28am
A picture is worth a thousand words. Artist Hansky's mural can be found on the LES. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

As Artist Hansky’s LES mural proves, a picture is worth a thousand words. This election year, showcase your favorite causes in creative ways–use consumerism as a canvas.  Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

This may be a supremely weird and exhausting election, but it does have one thing going for it–amazing political gear.

We don’t get to vote until November (if you haven’t yet registered you can do so here–Oct. 14 is the deadline), but the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for next Monday, Sept. 26. Judging from their swag, the Clinton team is raring to go, with a debate watch party pack that comes with “Chillary” beer coozies. It’s still anyone’s guess whether Trump will actually participate, but either way, you have time to outfit yourself. Take a stand with slogan t-shirts, show your passion for the cause with a baseball cap, or let your guests remember to dump Trump every time they use your bathroom. 

[Editorial note: In a normal election we would give you gear supporting both candidates. This is not a normal election and we won’t pretend that Trump is a normal candidate, or that readers of Brooklyn Based are interested in buying a Make America Great Again cap. If you are, well, Google it.]

Slogan: I’m With Her!

Photo: HillaryClinton.com

Photo: HillaryClinton.com

You don’t have to go look hard for stylish swag supporting Hillary Clinton. She’s got a web store that rivals Barneys, with big name designers like Marc Jacobs and Jason Wu making limited edition t-shirts to support the candidate. Nothing beats this unisex Everyday Pantsuit tee ($30), a fun shirt to support a serious candidate. [Ed. note: Why this doesn’t come in blue baffles us.]


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09/08/16 10:58am
IMG_2868

The Toruk refers to a dragon/bird that must be tamed. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

If you are wondering why someone would resurrect the 2009 film, Avatar, by James Cameron as a live show, please remember that the cast is painted blue, have tails, and live on another planet. Cirque du Soleil is remarkable at creating atmosphere, and putting their dazzling flair on the cold CGI film is like watching a parade–you don’t even notice the buildings, because you’re blinded by the confetti.

IMG_2828

Avatar is brought to life with blue human hybrids astonishing audiences with arial performances. It’s better than watching the film in 3D. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

I brought my 7-year-old son with me to Barclays Center to see Toruk: The First Flight, because it is being billed as a family friendly show. (For fans of Cirque, this means no trademark nudity.) From the time we sat down, we were both awestruck with visuals of earthquakes, waterfalls and volcanic eruptions. The deep-set stage is like a gladiator pit showing epic battles, tribal truces, and the rescue of the “tree of souls.” Blue human hybrids were conducting an aerial ballet, while speaking a made-up language and flying blimp sized kites.

“Do you understand the story?” I asked my son, as a voice narrated the quest for five secret amulets. “Ha ha! There’s no plot to this show!” my son replied. And he was right; that was secondary when you’re watching people construct a dinosaur out of bones and then somersault on top of it. “It’s a skeleton see-saw!” my son rejoiced. (more…)

09/08/16 10:11am
A visit to CW Pencil Enterprise will remind you how fun school supply shopping should be. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

A visit to CW Pencil Enterprise will remind you how fun school supply shopping should be. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

It’s suddenly September. What are you going to do now that school is back in session (at least a few days a week) and the weather is still nice? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Go: Sharpen Your Pencils CW Pencil Enterprise is a store that sells pencils. Yup, that’s it, just pencils. You might say it’s very niche, but it’s also very practical and fun. A rainbow display of pencils lines the wall, with everything from non-photo blue pencils to specialty graphites available. Kids will love the selection of rainbow pencils, colored pencils and an ingenuous pencil machine where you put in a quarter for a “surprise” pencil. My son was thrilled with his “Don’t settle for less…get the best at Johnson’s Garage” vintage #2. Plus, there’s a selection of State pencil bags, a book about sharpening pencils, and some handy notepads. The friendly enthusiastic staff will make sure you don’t leave empty-handed. CW Pencil Enterprise, 100a Forsyth St., Lower East Side (more…)