It took a matter of weeks to transform a former Russian community center into a colorful imaginary city in Glen Head.
has been open since early July. It is one of the latest projects from Old Westbury resident Mimi Grabovenko, owner of Mimi's Creative Kids in Lynbrook.
The 17-year daycare veteran and two family members got the idea from one of their backgrounds in event planning.
Each with children and history in the area, the three set out to create a place where parents can bring their kids to have fun for a few hours and know they are safe.
"This area was lacking a place like my daycare operation in Lynbrook," said Grabovenko, 39.
The interior came with a kitchen in one room and a stage in another, so one was made into an eating area with tables and the other a vast play space with a Manhattan theme - city streets ringing the room, laminates of lampposts and trees on the walls and wallpaper imitating brick and stone.
Five different alcoves represent themed zones: a grocery store, a construction zone, a house, a boutique and a school, with a green-carpeted park in the center.
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The open play area is ideal for children 8 and younger, Grabovenko said. The space can also be used for planned tween Disco Nights, complete with an arcade that is in the works and supplied with food.
"The idea is to provide them with a safe place to listen to music and hang out as an alternative to people's homes and parental supervision," said Grabovenko.
Educational classes for pre-kindergarten kids begin October 1, and she said a Parent's Night Out drop-off is being considered. The facilities are always available for party and event rentals.
Stacey Karathanasis of Glen Cove has brought her 2-year-old to play there.
"My son is very, very active. It's not easy. Leaving him there, I can sit down," she said.
She added that it's a convenient place to have a babysitter bring him.
Grabovenko said the plan is to allow for drop-offs as well, but did not have a solid timeline for that yet.