valkommen!

April 12th, 2012
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One of the nicest surprises about raising Noah now (versus when Chelsea and Conor were little), is the vastly improved design of most things baby-related. There are so many more options for beautifully designed, well-made furnishings, toys, books and equipment to choose from – especially in the area of contemporary design.

So imagine my delight in discovering the Heimbold Family Children’s Playing and Learning Center, at Scandinavia House in New York City. Scandinavia House is the largest center for Nordic culture in the U.S. It houses a well-edited store (think the MOMA store but with Scandinavian-only items), restaurant (with Arne Jacobsen chairs, of course) and gallery spaces. The building is close to Grand Central Station and I had passed it many times over the years, curious about what was inside. And then I read about the recently renovated children’s playspace, named best in New York by  New York Magazine. It was described as providing the “sense that you’ve stepped into an idealized Finnish children’s furniture catalogue circa 1975.”

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

Hello? They had me at “Finnish” – we were SO going!

I was immediately struck by how clean, bright and welcoming the space is. The first section is devoted to imaginary play, and Noah really enjoyed the grocery store/kitchen, Lego table (how groovy does that look? LOVE the birch legs!) and large Brio table.

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

I was finally able to tear him away, pointing him toward the “tunnel” leading to the sensory room.

scandinavia house

More cozy and dimly lit, Noah explored the light tables, blocks and books, and especially loved the giant “mushroom” – which he must have climbed in and out of a dozen times.

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

scandinavia house

Even the coat room and shoe cubbies were cool.

scandinavia house

I wish we had had more time to check out the store and eat at the restaurant, but we will definitely be back to visit soon!

noah

No ball pits, bouncy castles or water tables, and a train ride home to boot. A pretty “vidunderlige” (wonderful) day.

http://www.scandinaviahouse.org/

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