How do you teach your five-year-old about September 11th? You take them to the New York City Fire Museum in SoHo.
This sleeper of a museum, housed in a renovated 1904 firehouse, contains all sorts of fire-related art, artifacts, and memorabilia from the end of the 18th century to the present. There are painted leather buckets, rattles used to alert the citizen bucket brigades, horse-drawn steam engines, parade hats and belts, and one of the country’s oldest fire engines, an end-stroke hand pumper built in 1790. Kids can try on pint-sized fireman’s uniforms and take a free FDNY coloring book when they leave.
The museum has an intimate feel and Wally, the docent working the day we were there, was one of the friendliest and most engaged museum guides we’ve come across so far this summer, regaling both adults and children alike with New York City firefighting lore.
A permanent exhibit and memorial on the first floor pays tribute to the 343 members of the New York City Fire Department who died on 9/11. It is tasteful, it is touching, and it is an ideal and age-appropriate place to talk to your child about the events of that day.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
New York’s Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne
New York City Fire Museum, 278 Spring Street (between Hudson and Varick Streets), New York (SoHo), New York 10013; C, E to Spring Street or 1 to Houston; Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Sunday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM; Closed Mondays; Admission: the suggested donation is $7 for adults and $5 for children.
Where to Eat
Chipotle Mexican Grill, 200 Varick Street (between Houston and King Streets), New York, New York 10014; (646) 336-6264; www.chipotle.com; Hours: Open every day 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
Grom Gelato, 233 Bleecker Street (@ Carmine Street), New York, New York 10022; (212) 206-1738; www.grom.it/eng; Hours: Monday to Thursday, Sunday: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM; Friday/Saturday 11:00 AM to 12:00 AM.