Enjoy the Time of Your LIFE

Something new has sprouted up alongside the Saw Mill Parkway just off of exit 16. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, just another nondescript industrial warehouse, but inside is a family-friendly entertainment destination unlike anything the Rivertowns have ever seen.

It is LIFE… The Place To Be, and odds are that once introduced to your family, the two of you will become fast friends.

LIFE is the brainchild of Steven and Sharon Zukerman. Parents of two young girls themselves, they saw an open niche to fill in the Rivertowns – an indoor entertainment option that catered to children of all ages. Says Sharon Zukerman, “We really wanted [LIFE] to grow to be a destination, not just for families, but for the kids to have a place to go dancing, or a place to have fun.”

Drawing on 27 years in the DJ and entertainment business, the Zukermans envisioned their own space where they could do events, and also where families could gather and just hang out. To that end, they’ve created a relaxing, casual, and clean environment that defies categorization – part banquet hall, part family fun center, part playground, part coffee shop, and part country club.

Walking in the doors, you’re met by the central, circular café, where instead of thin, tasteless pizza and sugary snacks, you can enjoy a chicken Caesar salad or a freshly-made panini. To the left of the café is the arcade – a dizzying collection of games both nostalgic (Pac-Man, Galaxia), and current (Mad Wave Motion Theater, Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Star Supernova) which flash their lights, chirp invitingly, and beckon the adults and the kids alike.

On the other side of the café is a large room featuring the play structure – an impressive, three-story maze of slides, nets, steps, and ladders. Any child who enters is sure to spend the next minutes of their life in total glee. Next to the main play structure is the toddler area especially for little brothers and sisters who aren’t ready to tackle the main attraction. Sharing the room with these two structures is the rock climbing wall – a full scale, professional, two-and-a-half-story tower waiting to be defeated by the amateur cliffhanger in us all. Connected to this room are two party rooms. LIFE offers a number of birthday party packages, from the basic party to themed offerings such as a rock climbing party, or a red carpet glamour party.

Behind the café are the other two entertainment draws: 4 Mini AMF bowling lanes and the Laser Tag arena. The bowling lanes use a smaller ball than regular lanes, and you can bowl to your heart’s content without having to wear special shoes. The Laser Tag war room is a dark, ominous battlefield bathed in black light wherein players indulge their inner Han Solo and zap each other silly.

Also on the premises are two large banquet rooms. It is in these rooms that the Zukermans put their 27 years of entertaining experience to use, hosting all manner of events. Each special event is catered by Abigail Kirsch Catering Relationships, and occasions include anniversaries, bar/bat mitzvahs, wedding receptions, corporate events, fundraisers and more. Back in June they held a fundraiser for the Irvington Education Foundation successfully entertaining over 500 guests.

Looking ahead, LIFE plans to add a series of classes such as music classes, after-school children’s classes, and dance classes. First up – a hip-hop dance class for kids.

While LIFE is always open to the public, the Zukermans are looking to create a membership base of families. People can come in, sit on the sofas, enjoy their coffee, and read a book or take advantage of the free Wi-Fi while their kids frolic in full view on the play structure or play in the arcade. LIFE becomes a place families return to again and again. Indeed, a regular playgroup already meets there every week.

“It’s about community,” says Sharon, “about having a place for everyone to meet.” Members are drawn from all of the Rivertowns and Westchester County, and the hope is that LIFE can serve as a place for people from different areas to meet and mingle. “I’ve already seen people from different towns meeting each other,” says Sheri Leonard, Director of Marketing.

Annual membership is $325 (though they are currently offering memberships for $275 during this start-up period) and includes unlimited access, discounts at the café and on birthday parties, and exclusive member events. Also, they offer free membership for families of police officers, firefighters, EMS volunteers, or members of the military.

The Zukermans feel they are reinventing the family fun center, and they believe whole-heartedly in their creation. So much so that they welcome anyone interested to come in and try the facility twice without being a member. They believe that once you visit and experience LIFE, you’ll want to come back, because they’re not a faceless corporation looking at LIFE via spreadsheets and profit margins, they’re parents who wanted someplace fun for their children to play. “Our kids come in here and they are incredibly comfortable and have a great time,” says Steven. “It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s very comfortable and it’s fun.”

LIFE… The Place To Be is located at 2 Lawrence St. in Ardsley. You can contact them online at http://www.lifetheplacetobe.com or by phone at 914-591-4400.

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About the Author: David Neilsen