Teens in New York need a place to call their own.

New York Happenings for Teens

by Bonnie Crowe

Keeping your teen safe, happy and socialized in New York can pose a special challenge for parents. Teens might feel they are too old for trips to the zoo, too cool for museums and too young to take a bite out of the Big Apple's nightlife. What you need are some fun, hip, big-city happenings created with teens in mind to keep adolescent angst at bay.

1. Sporty Hangouts

Chelsea Piers Sports Complex, at 23rd Street on the Hudson River, is a hot teen hangout, especially if your kid is into sports. With batting cages, indoor soccer fields, ice-skating rinks, a swimming pool, basketball courts and a rock-climbing wall, there’s something for every sports-loving teen. Other sporty options are the Trapeze School of New York at Hudson River Park; or South Street Seaport, where your teen can learn how to be a high flyer. If he is into bowling, visit the musical and stylish Frames Alley, located at 550 9th Avenue in NYC.

2. Teen Nights

Several popular New York night clubs, such as the Copacabana, Chelsea 72 and Columbus Manor have organized teen nights to cater to kids between 14 to 18 years old. These events are put on to simulate a fun, party atmosphere with music and dancing; alcohol is forbidden at these events. Because there is no alcohol at clubs during teen nights, they are usually done during the middle of the week or at off times. Your teen can enjoy a fun, social experience in a safe environment. Check the Teen Night website listed in the resources section to find out when and where the next New York teen night will be produced. Additionally, night clubs such as The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn and Café Wha in Greenwich Village will allow your teen to come to their establishments and listen to some great music. The catch is, your kids have to take you along as a chaperone. These places, along with several others are great hangouts for teens, however, they require adult supervision.

3. The Lively Library

Teen Live at the New York Public Library are year-round events created specifically for the teen literati. Concerts, live theater, art shows, young adult author visits, poetry readings and lectures aim to appeal to the teen zeitgeist. Check the library’s Teen Live website for the latest schedule.

4. Poetry Slams

The Nuyorican Poets Café, at 236 East 3rd Street, is a great place for teens to either perform or watch some top-notch talent. If your teen performs spoken-word poetry or plays a musical instrument, there are open-mic poetry and jazz jams regularly. The Nuyorican Café is a fun hangout for teens and a place for them to experience great multi-cultural theater, art, song, poetry and dance performances. Penny's Open Mic under the St. Mark's Theater at 94 St. Mark's Place is a great place for your teen to try out risky poetry to impress his friends or meet new ones. Poet's House, at 10 River Terrace, hosts open-mic poetry and spoken-word events where teens are welcomed. Poet's House includes more than 50,000 volumes of poetry to look at for inspiration if your kid is into reading books of poetry as it is one of the National Poetry Library and Literacy Centers.

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