3 new play and support group venues for kids open on Long Island
Half a dozen parents and their babies and toddlers sit in a circle facing Krysta Ferrara, who strums on her guitar. “I’m so happy to be here for Oh My Goodness’ opening day in Port Washington,” she gushes, and she’s met by a bevy of babies shaking jingle bells in response.
Oh My Goodness, a wellness center for children, originally opened in Garden City in 2020. The Long Island sisters who own it launched their second location in April, kicking off opening day with a music class and more. And they’re hoping to open a third location in Huntington Village.
Oh My Goodness isn’t the only family venue on Long Island whose success has engendered expansion this spring. The Nesting Place in Farmingdale, which caters to parents-to-be before their child is born, and continues to offer a gathering spot for them until kids reach the age of 6, opened a second location in Yaphank in April and is opening a third location in Merrick on Friday.
Here are the details on the new venues:
Oh My Goodness
Oh My Goodness bills itself as a youth wellness center. The new storefront location in Port Washington is adjacent to The Dolphin Bookshop, and there’s even a breakthrough so families can go from Oh My Goodness to the bookshop and back.
A play area with a tubular, winding slide, a ball pit, and play area with toys lets kids explore open play. An open-concept classroom is used for art and music classes, yoga, mindfulness and meditation sessions and even for children’s breathwork classes that teach kids to breathe through anxious situations, says Margaret Elenis, 31, of Franklin Square, who owns the venues with her sister, Katerina, 28, of Bayside. The sisters grew up in Floral Park. Elenis is the mom of a 6-year-old and a toddler.
A cafe area lets parents relax and order coffees and smoothies as well as healthful food for the children such as Ezekiel bread grilled cheese.
“I like that it’s for the babies. They get to socialize and play,” says Christopher Serna, 34, of West Hempstead, an entrepreneur who attended the opening day music class with his wife, Sully Arias-Serna, 34, a stay-at-home parent, and their daughter, Ayla, 10 months.
The Port Washington address is at 301 Main St. The original location is at 61 New Hyde Park Rd., in Garden City. 516-636-5444, ohmygoodnesskids.com.
The Nesting Place
The Nesting Place opened its first location in Farmingdale in 2020 after spending a year operating out of a yoga studio in West Islip and then online during the height of the pandemic. Farmingdale, Yaphank and Merrick all offer exercise and yoga classes, including prenatal and postnatal, childbirth and baby preparation classes, newborn and lactation support groups, parenting and wellness workshops, massage therapy, sleep coaching and occupational and speech therapy.
Each location consists of a classroom and an art studio. The new Yaphank location is the biggest of the three; it adds a kids’ play space decorated with a rainbow and loaded with wood toy items and other educational playthings. “It was something moms were looking for in their own communities,” co-founder Laura Siddons says of why The Nesting Place expanded.
Ashley Ott, 34, a physician assistant from Riverhead, recently visited the Yaphank location for the first time with her 10-month old daughter, Lilly, to treat herself to a lymphatic drainage massage. Staff members babysat Lilly during Ott’s session for an additional fee. “It’s supposed to help your body detox,” Ott says of the massage.
Jessica Paterno, a realtor from Manorville, also visited for the first time recently with her 3-year-old, Thomas, and her 17-month-old, Bradley, for an open play session. “I was just interested in trying it out,” she says. While she says it seemed more geared to entertaining her younger son, still, her older son enjoyed it too. “He didn’t want to leave,” she says.
The Farmingdale location is at 2043 Wellwood Ave., Suite 1. The Yaphank location is at 95 Horseblock Rd. The Merrick location is at 2150 Merrick Mall. thenestingplaceli.com, 631-318-3382. Classes start at $22.