OCCUPATION: CEO and founder, Divalysscious Moms
MY STYLE: I love lavish luxury with a touch of sparkle in both my home and ensemble – the more glam, the better! If it’s just a little too much for most people, it’s perfect for me.
I LOVE NEW YORK BECAUSE: Central Park is my backyard, and the diversity of the people in this city is truly incredible. New York has a cultural life you simply cannot get anywhere else. Each day here is a Fabulyss new adventure, and my children and I hold the key to everything—from Broadway to museum trips to food ventures. Whether we’re walking around downtown, taking the subway to a Mets game, or playing ball in the park with our friends, no day is ever the same and the whole place gives us a surge of energy!
The Lower East Side has laid claim to the famous Katz’s Delicatessen for over a century, but head west to Tribeca for a modern twist on Jewish American classics—think potato latkes topped with caviar. While dishes this, well, unorthodox may offend true purists (who will be happy for the no-nonsense brined pickles served with the charcuterie!), the restaurant’s done well with the critics and has amassed quite a following since opening fall 2011. Whatever your take on the newfangled dishes, however, you’re sure to enjoy the traditionally convivial atmosphere, which is in keeping with the spirit at the old Kutsher’s Country Club in the Catskills. The proof is in the kids’ menu, which features beef and brisket meatballs and crispy latkes served not with caviar, but with local applesauce. Photo courtesy of Evan Sung/Kutsher’s TriBeCa
When Tom Hanks’ character in Big famously jumps on the giant piano keys at FAO Schwartz, the look on his face—one of pure happiness—mirrors that of any child free to explore the famous toy emporium. Patrons felt an equally intense disappointment when the doors to the store’s flagship location at 767 Fifth Avenue were shut in 2004. Months later, however, the store reopened under a new owner, one Toys “R” Us. While the takeover resulted in a loss of old school charm to be sure, the goods, which skew to the higher end of everything a child could want, are as desirable as ever. And with the return of the oversized stuffed animals, toy trains, and dolls galore came the visitors eager for a special day. Lyss Stern’s boys are no different. “They love going there for the most obvious reason—endless toys!” says Lyss Stern, adding, “We walk there from our apartment for story time or for a spin on the big piano.”
Atlantic Beach, Long Island
In these busy times, occasions when the whole family gets together are often far too seldom, but made that much more memorable for their rarity. During the summer, Lyss Stern’s family’s meeting place of choice is Atlantic Beach, situated only a short drive from Manhattan on Long Island’s South Shore. It’s home to several quaint shops and restaurants, not to mention where several scenes of The Godfather were filmed, but the main attraction is, of course, the beach. “Our entire family—parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles—all gather at our beach club and spend the day and night in the sun and sand. No place brings my family more happiness than the beach, and the memories we make there are extremely special,” she says.
Lester’s, a favorite among Upper East Side moms, offers a more personal retail experience than the giant chain department stores, while still stocking loads of looks for the whole family. The store’s great for one-stop shopping prior to a family wedding, but its true focus is children’s casual wear. Top-selling brands include Splendid, Dolce Vita, Adidas, and the house line, Rock Candy. There’s also an impressive shoe section, complete with expert salespeople committed to finding the perfect fit. The women’s section is plainer than the kids’, but Lyss Stern admits that she still manages to find a cute sweater or new bracelet after detouring there while supposedly shopping for her sons! They always find something too, though. “My boys are very specific when it comes to fashion, and Lester’s has everything they love and get excited to wear,” she says. “There’s a great selection of Under Armour for all their after-school sports.”
Le Parker Meridien
New Yorkers don’t have much need to stay overnight at Le Parker Meridien, the brilliant slogan of which is “Uptown. Not Uptight,” but they find reasons to visit nonetheless. For one, there’s Gravity, a sprawling multi-tiered wellness center complete with fitness classes and a full spa. And there are plenty of reasons to warrant a little exercise, given the hotel’s three great restaurants! One of these is Burger Joint, where you’ll find good and greasy hamburgers along with pitchers of beer and milkshakes for the kids! For something more upscale but still family-friendly, go to Norma’s. The menu might have a section titled “Mom Can’t Make This,” but Lyss Stern certainly isn’t offended. “It’s the perfect breakfast spot,” she says. “The breakfast dishes are like dessert, and my boys love sugar!”