Tag: brunswick center

Hudson Play: Developing Families from the Inside Out

Hudson Play is located on the main level of the Brunswick Center.

In our society, we often consider February a month of love.  While much of the focus is on romantic love, love extends far beyond our love for a partner.  Love is all encompassing and includes our children, family, friends, pets, and ourselves. But as we all know, love isn’t always easy.  It needs time, focus, effort, and determination.

When developing Hudson Play in the Brunswick Center, Ilana Libman was focused on fostering love and geared her efforts on helping to encourage strong families from the inside out.  At the forefront of this indoor playground is the physical benefits for the children who jump, skip, and climb their way through the four-lane obstacle course and free play areas.  However, for Libman, Hudson Play can offer so much more for every member of the family.

Ilana Libman, owner of Hudson Play, pictured on the left

As we all know, modern parents are busier than ever and finding time for personal needs can be a monumental endeavor.  However, making time for spouses, partners, and friends fosters positive changes in relationships with children as well.  According to a 2018 Washington Post Article by Whitney Pipkin, couples who go on dates regularly have stronger communication skills, fewer conflicts and work towards developing closeness.  These qualities directly impact the well-being of children as well.    

Libman, who is a busy working mom and constantly on the go, wanted to use her business as an opportunity for Jersey City parents to have stress-free adult time with family or friends.  Therefore she created “Parent’s Night Out” offered every Friday night at Hudson Play.  The weekly event really aims to support both the children and adult members of the family.

“Parents can leave their children with us, knowing they are exercising, socializing, eating well, and are playing safely.  It’s cheaper than a babysitter, and we are located so close to downtown.  The Brunswick Center is a three minute walk to Newark Ave where all the popular restaurants are located.  It couldn’t be more convenient, ” Libman states.

In addition to the large obstacle course, children have access to games and other activities.

In addition to offering children an opportunity to stay physically active (regardless of weather)  and socialize with new or existing friends, Hudson Play is also committed to developing healthy eating habits.  

“Parents do not have to worry about leaving their child someplace where they have access to junk food full of sugar and preservatives.  As a mom, I know the importance of nutrition.  When children are here, they have the option to eat from our cafe where everything we offer is healthy and made from scratch.   I wanted the overall experience of ‘Parent’s Night Out’ to feel guilt free in every aspect of the care we provide.”

Children have access to healthy and homemade treats from the Health BAR cafe.

On the surface, Hudson Play may appear solely as a local opportunity for young children to get their wiggles out and burn energy.  However, through programs such as “Parent’s Night Out”, residents of Jersey City can develop their families in a much more comprehensive way, strengthening both the physical and emotional health of every member of the household.  

Currently, Parent’s Night Out is offered every Friday evening from 6pm-10pm.  The program is by reservation only, which can be done online.  Hudson Play does not take walk-ins for this event.  Parents can drop off their children for a fun pajama party which includes dinner, open play, games, crafts, movies, and more.  This program is available for children ages 4ys-12yrs and is $39.00 per child with a 50% off sibling discount. This Valentine’s Day, Hudson Play is offering an extended drop off from 6pm-11pm.

For more information on Parent’s Night Out, registration and to learn more about other available programs at Hudson Play, please visit: https://www.hudsonplaynj.com/.  

-Jennifer Belcher

Faces of the Brunswick Center: Danielle Bisordi


Bisordi performing a smooth routine with her instructor Dylan Cary

This week, as I gave pause to reflect on the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I was reminded of his great and earnest belief in community.  He so deeply maintained a globalized view in which we are all-inclusive, just, socially minded, and based in love for one another.

He stated, “Let us live together in peace and love in a Beloved Community.”

The Brunswick Center is founded in the idea of community.  But what is community without those individuals who comprise it?  When I think of community, yes, I think of places and space.  However, what is community, truly, without the beloved faces who weave in and out of the brick and mortar, bringing forth love, compassion and inclusivity?

The faces of the Brunswick Center, a new blog series, will feature the individuals who make the center a second home to so many Jersey City residents.

There is not a day that I walk into the Brunswick Center without passing the warm and ever-happy face of Danielle Bisordi. I couldn’t wait to have an opportunity to hear her story about what brought her to the center and the significance it has had in her life.

Danielle, who lives down the street from the Brunswick Center, watched the three- story building during its renovation, having no idea the special place in her heart the building would eventually hold.  Danielle, who ended up having her wedding dance choreographed by Jersey City Ballroom, was always curious about what the space would become.

“I live down the street so I saw it when it was going under renovations and looked up what it was going to be.  I didn’t know about Jersey City Ballroom until the sign on the side of the building went up,” Bisordi says.

It was incredibly convenient for the couple, a deciding factor in where they would learn their first dance. Danielle and her husband officially started taking lessons at the center in July of 2017 and now she regularly attends classes and private lessons three to four times a week.  I asked her why she continued to come back after their wedding was over.

The couple started coming to the Brunswick Center in preparation for their upcoming wedding.

“I danced for my whole life growing up until I went to college and had been considering coming back to it for a while.  Taking lessons for my wedding dance, along with the community at JCB, reminded me of how much I loved it, so I kept coming back.”

It was more than just a love of dance, however, that had Danielle returning to the Brunswick Center day after day.  For her, the sense of community and the friendships she has been able to establish have helped her solidify her connection with the “building down the street”.

“Jersey City Ballroom does an amazing job of fostering a sense of community amongst everyone who takes lessons/classes there.  We have made some incredible friends there.  I definitely feel more connected to Jersey City because of it.  Living so close to the center… it’s great running into people while I’m just going about my day.  I’ve also found out about some events in Hudson County I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise due to the JCB performances (i.e. JC Cultural Arts Family Festival, Bayonne Arts and Music Festival) even though I’ve lived here for 13 years,” Bisordi says. 

Danielle has made lasting friendships from her time at the Brunswick Center.

Even Danielle’s husband has jumped on the bandwagon.  In December the couple danced in the smooth performance team together and she and Kiel performed a fun solo routine that had the whole audience laughing.  I asked Danielle what effect coming to the center together had on their marriage.

“We are better dancers, have another fun activity to do together, and have made some really good friends through the JCB community.”

In addition to her many ballroom classes each week and grabbing an occasional smoothie at the Health Bar Cafe in Hudson Play, Danielle wants to try other classes offered at the center.  She mentioned that she really wants to try an aerial and hoop class at Body Pole and Soul, a newer studio a few doors down from Jersey City Ballroom.

For Danielle and her husband, the Brunswick Center has played a vital role in their health, recreation, friendships, and community while being residents of Jersey City.

“The Brunswick Center is an awesome central place that provides opportunities to try new things and meet great people.”

Danielle and Kiel performing together at the Holiday Soiree in December.

The great Dr. King spoke frequently and emphatically of the importance of community.  The Brunswick Center’s ability to create a space that meets the needs of a diverse population was no accident.  When I spoke to Ben Torrei, managing partner of BGT Enterprises, he was very clear with his vision of the role the center would play in the lives of our local residents.

“My intention for the Brunswick Center was to provide the Jersey City community with a place that they can explore and experience a variety of education, health and wellness opportunities. Whether it’s Pilates, Ballroom dancing, or Ballet, there’s something for everyone here at the center. You can drop off your kid at the Brunswick School, bring your laptop, grab a smoothie at Hudson Play and relax in our 2nd Floor lounge area or sign up a 30 min spin class with Core Cycling,” says Torrei.  

The people of the Brunswick Center are those who help to create the sense of community that so many of us find appealing.  When I walk into the Brunswick Center on any given day, and I see those familiar smiles and nods of recognition, I recognize that I am a part of something bigger than myself.  I am a part of a group of individuals who all view this center as a pivotal part of their well-being, friendships, and day to day life in Jersey City. 

-Jennifer Belcher