Searching for Downtown Prodigies

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From football stars to gymnastic phenoms, the outrageously talented tots of Downtown

By Beth Mellow

Downtown New York City, with its matrix of trendy neighborhoods, is no stranger to celebrity sightings. You don't have to stray too far into Soho or Tribeca to stumble upon a well-known actress, a venerated singer or a titan of business. But along these avenues, streets and alleys can also be found a different kind of notable: a top-performing gymnast, a football player consistently covered by the New York Post, a Juilliard-trained musician, an award-winning video game designer and a singer/thespian who has appeared on Lifetime and ABC Family-none of whom have graduated from high school yet.

These are the remarkable talented tweens and teens who work or study below 14th Street. They are defined not only by their prodigy-like skills but by an intense drive to succeed in their chosen fields. As Dr. Susan O'Doherty, a New York-based psychologist who works with artists, explains, young phenoms possess certain characteristics: "A kid can be gifted and lazy or gifted and driven. For some, the dream is just that, while others pursue it aggressively." These youngsters are pursuing their dream with vigor.

For all articles, please go to:
The Juilliard Virtuoso, Lydia van der Swaagh
The Turning Point for Jesse Manning
Searching for Downtown Prodigies: The Talented Ms. Filsoof
The New, Fresh Face of Gaming
William Solomon is a Lion on the Field
A 12-Year-Old Future Olympian


Are you a Downtown parent looking for a summer camp for your child? New York Family magazine can help. The publication will run a series of Camp Fairs in the coming weeks to help parents make informed decisions about which camp is "the perfect fit" for their child. At the fairs, New York Family and the American Camp Association-NY (ACA-NY) bring more than 60 camps to parents and provide previews of the summertime experience that can have a positive impact on campers. For more information or to pre-register for any of the scheduled fairs, visit (Those who pre-register will not only receive a gift bag at the fair but will also qualify to participate in a raffle that includes a chance to win a Camp Trunk from Lesters or the grand prize of a family trip).

Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011
Upper West Side
Ethical Culture Fieldston School
33 Central Park West (betw. 63rd and 64th Sts.)

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012
Upper East Side
St. Jean Baptiste School
173 E. 75th St. (betw. 3rd Ave. and Lexington Aves.)

Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012
Grace Church School
86 4th Ave. (betw. 10th and 11th Sts.)

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