This Weekend at the Center — Tribeca Family Festival

This weekend we’re headed outside for the Tribeca Family Festival. This annual neighborhood street fair will play host to many Manhattan Youth happenings, including live performances, a ceramics tent, and two screenings of 25 different films made by Manhattan Youth students. We hope you will join us!

Note: There will be no Family Clay Day this Saturday. Instead, come visit us at our ceramics tent at the Tribeca Family Festival!

PS234 Auction A Success!
This Saturday was the Annual PS234 Auction – And it was a smashing success! While attendees were generously raising money to support one of the fantastic elementary schools in our downtown community, their children were having a ball at the Center! There were games, activities, and whole lot of fun. Congratulations to the faculty, students and families of PS234, and so happy to help them with another successful annual fundraiser!

TriBeCa Family Festival This Saturday!
This Saturday is the TriBeCa Family Festival! We’ve got so many Manhattan Youth happenings at the annual street festival. Be sure to come check out this annual celebration of our downtown community!
–There will be live performances by the After School Glee and Theater Clubs from IS276 & IS289.
–At the Manhattan Youth tent, we will have our ceramics pottery wheels, where kids can come by and take a spin and make a pot!
–Manhattan Youth will also present two separate film lineups of our favorite projects from the past year. We’ve got 25 short student films, and we can’t wait to share them with you.
1:00pm Science Fiction and Fantasy Films
3:00pm Comedy and Drama Films
Tribeca Screening Room – 375 Greenwich Street, NYC

Brahms in TriBeCa
The young Johannes Brahms caused a sensation when he performed his Piano Quartet in G minor to an enthusiastic audience and critical acclaim at his 1862 Vienna debut concert.
Join us at 2 PM on Sunday, April 26th when we recreate that excitement with the accomplished pianist Peter Basquin and our Tribeca Chamber Players in a FREE performance of the Brahms G minor Piano Quartet, Opus 25, in the Great Hall at Manhattan Youth (120 Warren Street, NYC).
In keeping with our up-close and personal music-in-the-round tradition, your intrepid performers will set some tempos and work through some transitions at 2 PM - we last rehearsed a week ago – & you are welcome to hear musical sausage being made. The performance starts at about 2:30 PM.
For more background on Brahms and the quartet, read our blog.

And here is the full weekend schedule for the community center.

Chinese Salad

Stir-fried, braised or raw, Napa Cabbage has probably found a place at your table at one time or another. This is one of the first Asian vegetables to have taken root in U.S. households. Once considered an exotic ingredient, this cabbage can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores across the U.S
Also referred to as Chinese cabbage, Napa Cabbage is more versatile than the common green cabbage. You can use it in stir-fry as well as soup and many other Asian dishes . But as the sunny days are coming, this Chinese salad will easily find its way to your table.

Chinese Salad
Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 15 min
Cooking: 5 min
Makes: 12 big portions


1500 g (52.6 oz.=3.3 lbs.) shredded Chinese cabbage (or beansprouts)
2 lbs. carrots grated or julienned
3- 10 oz. packages frozen Gardein Chick’n Scallopini defrosted and medium-diced
1-bunch scallions cut in bias
1 bunch mint chiffonade
150 g toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds (If no allergy put salted peanuts)
4 lemon grass stalks peeled and chopped small

8 Tbsp. oil
4 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Preparation:In a frying pan put some oil. When hot, sauté the “chicken” until brown. Put in a bowl with the lemon grass. Wash the bean sprouts. Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Add the dressing. Toss well and refrigerate until serving.

Tips and information:
Asian-Salad3You can add all kind of vegetables to this salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. You can replace the green lettuce by the bean sprouts in your favorite salad for an Asian twist.
Bean sprout was named after the meaning, which is “growing out” the sprout. The Chinese bean sprouts are also called mung beans. It is the most widely consumed sprout in the world. It is native from India and later they spread to China and Southeast Asia.  They were domesticated in Mongolia.  In the US most mung beans are grown in Oklahoma. You can try to sprout the mung beans yourself. One pound of beans produces six pounds of sprouts.
Lemon grass is not related to lemon. Its citrus smell and flavor comes from citral, which is an essential oil also found in lemon rind. Native to Sri Lanka and Southern parts of India, it is a popular ingredient in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia. Indian lemon grass is used mostly in perfumes because it has a longer shelf life. West Indian lemon grass is used in cooking.
Napa Cabbage is the same family as Brussels sprout and broccoli. It has a celery flavor and is very popular in China. You can use it in soup, to make a slaw or a stir-fry or to decorate the bottom of a plate.

This Week at the Center — Manhattan Youth at the Tribeca Film Festival!

Now that Spring is finally here, it’s time for a world premiere! Manhattan Youth just wrapped up our Spring Filmmaking Intensive, and we’re excited to let you know about some special events. Take a peek below for more details, and read some of the press our films have been getting here.

One quick schedule change note: This week’s Open Studio will run from 11:00am – 3:00pm.

World Premiere Screening: Manhattan Youth Spring Break Filmmaking Intensive. 5 days, 60 kids, 8 new films
FilmPhoto01Every February, April and July, Manhattan Youth provides weeklong intensive filmmaking workshops for middle school students through Mayor de Blasio’s SONYC initiative. This April, 60 middle school students from all over New York City came together to spend their entire spring break creating original short films. The premiere of these original works on the big screen in Battery Park City’s movie theater is a celebration of teen creativity and ingenuity, and an introduction to the next generation of independent filmmakers.
Saturday, April 18, 9:00am to 10:30am
Regal Cinemas Battery Park City – 102 North End Avenue, NYC 10281

TFF Downtown Youth Behind the Camera
Official Selections: The Combination, Treasure Hunt, Zombies & Skeletons

Every year, the Tribeca Family Festival presents a selection of short films made by children downtown. This year, three of the nine selected films were produced by children in Manhattan Youth after-school filmmaking programs. Red carpet treatment will begin at 10:00am with Tribeca Kids Access reporters interviewing student filmmakers.
Sunday, April 19, 11:00am
School of Visual Arts Theater – 333 West 23rd Street, NYC 10011

MY Film Fest 2015
The Year’s Best Films by Manhattan Youth

Manhattan Youth’s eight middle schools and seven elementary schools have produced a very impressive body of work. During the Tribeca Family Festival street fair, Manhattan Youth will present two separate lineups of our favorite projects from the past year.
Saturday, April 25
1:00pm Science Fiction and Fantasy
3:00pm Comedy and Drama
Tribeca Screening Room – 375 Greenwich Street, NYC 10014

Join the fun!
For tickets to any of these free screenings, please email For information about our upcoming free summer filmmaking intensives for middle school students, please visit

Here’s the full weekend Center schedule.

Tasty Tuesday! – Summer Rolls My Way

Welcome back foodie students! This month I would like to introduce you to Asian food. Summer rolls are the Vietnamese version of the Chinese spring rolls you’d find in a typical restaurant. For me, they are the healthier version of spring rolls because they are not fried but instead dipped in a very tasty and flavorful dipping sauce. Enjoy the first recipe of my Asian recipes collection!

Summer Roll My Way
Recipe by Isabelle Lapin
Preparation: 20 min
Makes: 10 portions

400 g cooked rice vermicelli (optional)
20 rice paper sheets
40 fresh basil leaves (or more)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
10 kale leaves (or 10 Boston lettuce leaves, or iceberg)
2 big cucumbers julienned
2 big red peppers julienned
2 avocado sliced

Cut all the veggies into thin strips. Dip the rice paper sheets in warm water. Then, arrange the filling in the middle. Fold over two ends, then wrap it up like a burrito; making it as tight as possible without tearing the sheet. Serve with the sauce (See: Basic Spring Roll Dipping Sauce recipe).

You can switch out the basil for some mint leaves. You can also add bean sprouts, chopped green onion, grated carrots and/or sliced shiitake mushrooms. You can also add julienned marinated tofu or vegetarian protein.

A spring roll is a traditional Chinese snack with fillings, rolled with a thin round dough sheet, deep fried in oil. It is also called Nem. Spring rolls have a long history in China. It is said that the pastry appeared way back in the Eastern Jin Dynasty when people would make thin cakes with flour and eat them with vegetables on the day of the Beginning of Spring. The cakes were called “spring dish” at that time. In the Tang Dynasty, Spring Dish was also known as “the Five-Spice Dish”, because five hot and spicy ingredients (like spring onion and garlic) were added in the fillings.
Fresh spring rolls, sometimes called summer rolls, are a Vietnamese delicacy. Depending on region, salad rolls are made differently. Some vegetarian families make vegetarian spring rolls rather than meat spring rolls. However, the typical ingredients include slivers of cooked pork, shrimp, sometimes chicken or tofu, fresh herbs like basil and cilantro, lettuce, cucumbers, sometimes fresh garlic chives, rice vermicelli, all wrapped in moistened rice paper.

Basic Summer Roll Dipping Sauce:
Recipe by: Isabelle Lapin
Cooking: 5 min
Preparation: 10 min

¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup water
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves and cornstarch is mixed in well. Cool before serving.

You can add sunflower seed butter to taste, hot Chile powder for a spicy taste, peanut butter if you are not allergic, 1 tsp. to 2 tsp. of sugar or maple syrup for a sweeter taste, or lime juice for a sour taste.

Tasty Tuesday — Gluten-Free Chocolate Run-Away Cake!

Here is a gluten-free chocolate dessert that I created for Passover, but you can make it anytime you want. It is easy, simple and fast, doesn’t require any skills whatsoever, and is light and delicious! I would love if you could help me find a name for it.ChocoloateRunAway1

Recipe by Isabelle Lapin ChocoloateRunAway2

Preparation: 15 min
Cooking: 10 min
6 Portions

150g. (5.25oz.) dark chocolate
6 little squares of dark, milk, or white chocolate
80g. (2.8oz.) butter
80g. (2.8oz.) confectioner sugar
2 Tbsp. potato starch (can be almond flour, rice or tapioca flour, or flour)
4 large eggs
Melted butter and ground seeds or nuts for the ramequins

Preheat the oven at 430F (220C). Butter the sides and the bottom of 6 ramequins and sprinkle ground seeds or nuts. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a small pot on low flame. In a stand up mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the whole eggs with the sugar until the mixture becomes almost white. Add the starch to the mixture, and then slowly pour the chocolate mixture against the side of the mixer bowl. Stop the mixer as soon as it is well blended. Fill the ramequins half way up. Put a square of your favorite chocolate on the batter, then cover with some mixture, leaving a quarter inch free for the rising of the cakes. Bake until the top is just set and it is wobbly when you move the ramequins, around 10 to 15 minutes.

Tips and Info:
Instead of inserting a plain square of dark chocolate in the middle, you can use your favorite flavored chocolate or a teaspoon of nut butter.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and some types of oats. It gives bread elasticity and strength. But it can also be found in pasta, beer, cakes, sauces and soups. Not all grains contain gluten. Rice, corn and certain types of oats do not contain gluten. Following a gluten-free diet without being advised to do so by an allergy specialist might not be a good idea, according to Doctor Guandalini (medical director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center). He adds that one very real danger is eating too much fat and too little fiber. But there are more risks and drawbacks, such as a limited variety of healthy food choices, a reduced intake of necessary nutrients, an increased intake of carbohydrates and fat because fat and sugar are used as replacements in gluten-free products.
Potato starch is the starch that comes from potato that has been dried. It can be used as a thickener like cornstarch or in gluten-free baked goods and sauces. But it tolerates a higher temperature than cornstarch. In 100 grams of potato there is 15.44 grams of starch.

Tasty Tuesday — Creamy Green Soup

Spring! Spring! Spring! And yet it is still very cold out side. But spring gave me the idea for green, and cold gave me the idea for soup, so we are making this delicious and healthy green soup to cheer you up. Peas are spring vegetables, grown by the Romans for thousands of years.
Did you know that the Princess and the Pea was written in the mid 1800′s by Hans Christian Andersen, that pea leaves are considered a delicacy in China, and that in the 1700′s French people thought that eating raw peas was ‘madness?’

By Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 20 minGreen-Soup1
Cooking: 25 min
12 adults portions

2 onions diced
2 garlic cloves
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 ½ liter (10-12 cups) chicken/No-chicken stock
4 cups celery sliced (1 cup= 2-3 stalks)
4 cups fresh spinach (12oz. bag= 5 cups)
4 cups zucchini sliced (1 cup= 1 zucchini)
2 cups fresh green peas (1pd peas in pod= 1 cup)
Salt and pepper
Basil for decoration

In a soup pot, sauté the onions with the olive oil, add the garlic. Let cook a few minutes until the onions look transparent, then add the stock. Put the spinach aside and add all the other vegetables in the pot. Let cook for 20 minutes uncovered and then add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes. Blend the soup with a hand mixer or a blender. Serve decorated with basil leaves.

Tips and info:
You can sift the soup if you don’t like the texture. You can serve it with a sprinkle of feta cheese and/or croutons. You can replace the zucchini with kale (2-3 leaves=1cup) and the peas by asparagus 2 cups= 5-6 spears). You can replace the stock by cubes and water.
The pea is thought to have originated from Middle Asia. The Romans grew over 37 varieties of peas. Best grown in late spring, they grow on vines and farmers use bamboo cane to hold them up. Field peas are used in factories for freezing.
England is the largest producer of peas that are used for freezing in Europe. One serving of peas has more vitamin C than 2 large apples. Hans Christian Andersen wrote the story of The Princess and the Pea in the mid to late 1800’s. Pea leaves are considered a delicacy in China. The pea is only green because it is picked when it is immature. A ripe pea is more yellow in color. Eating peas that are green became in fashion in the 1600’s and 1700’s but was described by the French as “madness.”
Dried peas are used to make mushy peas, which are infamous as a side dish along side fish and chips in England. Peas can be eaten straight out of the pod. It is estimated that over 9000 peas are eaten per person, per year in Britain. The proper etiquette for eating peas is to smash them on the back of your fork.

Tasty Tuesday! — Easter ‘Soft Boil’ Eggs

Last week we already began to celebrate spring using lighter and more summery vegetables. That was to celebrate the awakening of the earth after a long and cold winter. What best to continue celebrating by using eggs in our recipe? As your eyes sparkle when I pronounce the word chocolate, I though it best to make with you this fabulous chocolate mousse. And how convenient that Holidays are coming soon. You will impress your family by making this delicious dessert. Don’t forget, the better the quality of chocolate, the tastier your mousse will be!

Recipe by Isabelle Lapinmoose-eggs

Preparation: 35 min
Cooking: 10 minmoose-eggs2
8 people
refrigeration for 2 hours

8 Empty eggshells
3 large eggs
70g. (2.5 oz.) sugar
4 Tbsp. water
220g. (7.7oz.) dark chocolate (55% cocoa)
370g. (12.95oz.) Heavy cream

Carefully cut the top of the eggs. Separate and keep the yolks and the whites. Rinse the shells and set them aside. Boil the sugar with the water (make a syrup). Pour the syrup slowly against the side of the bowl over the yolks (temper, be careful that the yolks don’t cook). Put the yolk mixture to cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken (napper la cuillere). Whip with a hand mixer or a whisk by hand to cool. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a hot bath (double boiler or bain-marie). Whip the heavy cream 2 to 3 minutes. As soon as the cream thicken, stop whipping. In a bowl, mix half the whipped cream with the melted chocolate, then carefully add the egg mixture. Finally, add the rest of the whipped cream. With a pastry bag, pour some mousse in the eggshells and put in the refrigerator for around 2 hours. If you have left-over mousse, serve it in serving bowls.

To avoid little pieces of eggshells breaking into the mousse you can dip the top of the shells into melted chocolate and let it stand to harden before filling them with the mousse. To serve, toast slices of buttered bread, and cut it lengthwise like little sticks.  You can flavor the mousse with zests or extracts or add toasted nuts or seeds for crunch. If you ever have leftover mousse just stick it in the freezer and you will have frozen mousse!
What is mousse?  Mousse is a light yet rich food that is beaten until airy: the word means ‘foam’ in French.  It is made with four components: the base or principal flavoring agent like chocolate or salmon, the binder, egg whites and/or gelatin, the lightening agent (aerator, which gives mousse its light, airy texture), egg whites or whipped cream (or both!), and a flavoring or seasoning like salt and pepper for savory mousse and liquor or extract and spices for sweet ones.
The exact date for the creation of the chocolate mousse in France is unknown. Chocolate arrived in France with the marriage of the Spanish princess Anne of Austria to Louis XIII, in 1615. (It was brought to Spain from Mexico by the conquistador in 1529). But at that point it was known only as a hot beverage. So we don’t know when the French chefs at the palace began to experiment with chocolate. However chocolate mousse was still more than two centuries away. According to, savory mousse dishes were an 18th century French creation. Dessert mousses (generally fruit mousses) began to appear only in the second half of the 19th century. In the US, mousse became known in the 1930s when chocolate pudding mixes were introduced and electric mixers began to be sold and made it a lot easier to whip egg whites to the consistency of the mousse that we know today. Mousse became very popular after WWII. It is only in 1977 that Chef Michel Fitoussi at the Palace (NYC restaurant) created a white chocolate mousse.

April 3rd is National Chocolate Mousse Day!!!

Preschool Prep at Manhattan Youth

Preschool Prep Ceramics

Our early childhood programs provide your child with educational stimulation in a safe environment. This daily drop-off educational playgroup gives children the opportunity to gain self-confidence and independence while developing the skills needed for preschool readiness. This class focuses on lessening separation anxiety, friendship-building, socializing, and the routine of a classroom. Now available 5 days a week. Registration is required, and there are still spots available for 2015!​

The children in class do awesome art projects that not only help with their fine motor skills but also help focus children’s attention on a group project.

Preschool Prep Music

Each day, we sing songs and dance, which, besides being tons of fun, is a great way to get some energy out!

Our experienced staff lead the children in healthy peer socialization with games and positive dialogue. We take a variety of field trips around the Downtown Community Center and allow the children to experience all we have to offer.

Our practice of gentle separation lessens separation anxiety and better prepares children for a future school environment.

Click here to fill out the registration form!
Preschool Prep Science

Spring vegetable quiche

Spring, Spring, Spring! By creating this quiche with spring vegetables, I figured it would help spring to come. And it worked! Did you know that Zucchini and yellow squash are called summer squash. It is because they have a thin skin easy to peel and which does not protect them from the cold like butternut squash. Happy cooking! Happy quiching!

Zucchini, yellow squash and leek quiche
Recipe by Isabelle Lapin

Preparation: 50 min
Cooking: 50 min
6 to 8 adults’ portions


2/3-cup water
2/3-cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
All-purpose flour as much as you need to form tart dough
900g. (2Lb.) zucchini, washed (can replace by mushrooms or half and half)
2 to 4 leeks medium size washed
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or as much as needed
½ bunch cilantro washed and chopped
Salt, pepper

Custard for the quiche:  Makes 2 big quiches
7 large eggs
600g. (1Lb.5oz.) heavy cream
100g. (3.5oz) grated cheese (cheddar, Swiss or parmesan)
1 pinch grated nutmeg
Salt, pepper

Preheat the oven at 350F. Mix the water, oil and salt. Add enough flour to form spreadable dough. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and garnish a tart mold with it. Poke holes on the bottom with a fork. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cut the leeks in half, then in 1” pieces. Cut the zucchinis in half, take off the seeds, cut in 1” pieces. Heat the oil in a frying pan, sauté the vegetables for around 8 minutes, until just crunchy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drain and cool them, then add the chopped cilantro.
In a bowl whisk the eggs, the heavy cream, salt pepper and nutmeg.
Sprinkle the dough with the cheese. Add the vegetables. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Take out the quiche. Lower the oven to 300F. Pour the custard on top of the vegetables, just to cover. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the cream is no more liquid.  Serve with a green salad, for a light meal or brunch.

Tips and Info: You can use all kind of vegetables, even the frozen mix.  Change the herbs. Add fish (fresh salmon cut in pieces or smoked) or meat (pastrami or bacon, sauté before adding).
Most people think that the French invented quiche, but it originated in Germany, in the medieval kingdom of Lothringen, under the German rule. French later renamed this kingdom Lorraine. The word “quiche” is from the German “Kuchen”, meaning cake.
After World War II, quiche became popular in England and later in the U.S. The original quiche Lorraine includes pieces of smoked lard or bacon, but now you can find a whole variety of vegetables quiches mix with the basic eggs and fresh cream custard.

MY SONYC Filmmaking Intensives

Last February, Manhattan Youth hosted a film camp during the mid-winter recess. We had 12 students, three teachers, and a whole lot of fun! But that was just the beginning of an exciting new chapter for our Middle School After-School Program…

One year later, we are proud to say that this small camp has flourished into an full-blown, citywide program. This year’s February intensive had 76 students from 20 different NYC schools and a roster of 8 professional filmmaking instructors from diverse filmmaking backgrounds. We’re so proud of our growing library of fantastic student films. We are also thrilled to be fostering a partnership with School’s Out New York City (SONYC) and the prestigious TriBeCa Film Festival to create an educational and artistic experience for students that is unparalleled in its quality, care, and professional exposure.

We wanted to take some time to say thank you to the students, instructors, and administrators who have helped make the MY/SONYC Film Intensive such a success. Please take a look at sample of the exciting work students are doing!

Sides of an Oreo from Manhattan Youth on Vimeo.

Be sure to stay tuned for details on how to register your student for our upcoming April Break Film Intensive!