Gramercy Pediatrics continues to bring the finest care to lower Manhattan by expanding to their second location in Chelsea, located at 420 West 23rd St. The 1,600 square-foot medical facility specializes in pediatrics and pediatric weight management, and offers a full range of services for newborns, infants, toddlers, children and young adults. The new space features four large exam rooms and on-site laboratory to allow for faster test results.

We had the chance to speak to Medical Director Dr. Dyan Hes about her new location, as well as some tips for parents about keeping their kids healthy thins winter, vaccinations and choosing the right doctor for your child.

Business hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. with extended evening hours available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Saturday hours are 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., with no Saturday hours for the months of July and August. For more information, please visit their website: www.gramercypediatrics.com/

Medical Director Dr. Dyan Hess of Gramercy Pediatrics
Medical Director Dr. Dyan Hes of Gramercy Pediatrics

Why did you decide to expand your practice to Chelsea? And when did it open?

Well, we found that a lot of parents were walking across town, like 10 blocks or coming from the Chelsea neighborhood because there really wasn’t a big practice of any pediatrician in Chelsea. My kids go to school at Avenues, which is just down the block, and Avenues has kids from age 3 to 12th grade, so there’s 1,200 kids are now in the community, walking home everyday, going to the bus, subway, so there’s this big influx of families to West Chelsea. And with a lot of my patient’s parents are in real estate, and they’re talking, ‘Oh, we have a new project on 525 or something West 23rd, we have a lot on that side, you should open an office there,” kinda thing. There’s going to be a ton of apartments, and not small apartments either; these are bigger spaces that are designed for families. So it’s on 23rd Street, close to public transportation, the A and the C are down the block, and then the 23rd Street bus which is a cross-town bus, so it’s very easy access for families, and there are really not a lot of pediatricians around here at all. There’s tons of kids, a lot schools, public schools…P.S. 11 is right down the block on 21st Street…so there’s a lot of schools, just not a lot of doctors.

The Chelsea location officially opened on September 8.

What will the new practice offer that most practices around this area do not?

We have speech therapy here, and we also offer classes, CPR classes and we occasionally offer infant-newborn classes.

I also saw something that you guys specialize in childhood obesity, is that correct?

Yes, so I specialize in childhood obesity, so about 60 percent of the time I’m in general pediatrics, and then 40 percent of the time, I’m doing just specialized pediatric obesity medicine. So my Chelsea location is really great for families who come to me from New Jersey or upstate New York because of the West Side Highway; they don’t have to go across town. And we also offer classes about nutrition depending on the need. So if we have a lot of parents asking for something, like a mom may ask about their babysitter to learn CPR for toddlers, not for infants, so then we would arrange that for them. And we also go into the community, so we go into schools. At this new office, we’re going to Kids Corner and we’re going to give some classes to the 2-year-olds and the 4-year-olds about nutrition, about your heart. We go in and do little seminars, and we’ll bring in projects for the kids, like we’ll bring in Vaseline and Band-Aids for the kids to play doctor with each other. So we really love that, and it’s so fun and so cute watching them do that.

What is your favorite part about being located downtown?

I feel like traditionally, parents didn’t really think about raising their families downtown. Initially, parents thought that if you had a family, you had to live in the Upper East Side or Upper West Side, and we’ve always lived downtown with our kids. It’s just a central community; you don’t have to go to the same school, but your kids go to the Y, and they know each other from the preschool at the Y, or when your mom went to get exercise and she drops you off at the playroom and you met kids. You walk down the street and it’s so funny because you live in Manhattan, and it’s such a big city, but you walk down the street and we see like five people that we know. 

Do you have any tips on how parents should keep their kids healthy this winter?

The biggest thing I would say, since we live in NYC and take public transportation so often, is that when they come home from school, to have them wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Definitely sneezing into their arm, and not your hand, which is really important because the kids when they sneeze on their hand, and then they touch the toilet, the sink and the door handle, everyone who walks in after them will all get sick.

I think other big things in NYC now is not so much getting a cold, but lice. There’s a huge problem in NYC schools with lice. I recommend that if your school has an outbreak of lice, I would say provide a garbage bag for your child to put their coat in in the cubby, and the hat, hang them all on top of each other so if there is a hood or a hat that has lice, then everybody gets it, and the keep on giving it back to each other. So that’s one thing, and then put petri oil or rosemary oil on your kids hair in the morning because it makes the lice less likely to jump onto their head because they don’t like the oil or smell.

Additionally, all schools and/or daycares are recommending that kids five and younger get the flu vaccination this year. I also think as far as kids not getting ill, sleep and good nutrition is really important to stay healthy not only in the winter, but at any time of the year.

What guidelines should parents follow regarding immunizations?

That’s a huge topic of conversation, but for me, we only accept vaccinated children. We recommend the American Academy of Pediatrics and CDC guidelines for vaccines, and we just follow the schedule from birth. So every single patient in my office is vaccinated, and I don’t want someone to come into my office and possibly compromise and catch something in the waiting room just because they weren’t vaccinated. So that is our policy here. This is something I always say: I’ve been in practice for 15 years, if vaccines weren’t safe, I would be out of business because I would be making all of my patients sick. 

What advice would you give parents on choosing the right pediatrician for their child?

I think that some parents like very structured instructions, like they like a sleep and feeding schedule, that’s just how they live their life. I would say that there’s not a one-size fits all approach, because it depends on the parents and their lifestyle, especially in NYC. Like both parents may work, some are stay-at-home parents, some spend a lot of time with their nannies, or visit one of their parents on the weekend, etc. So with our practice, we have four physicians and we take a more laid-back approach on what works for your family; not your neighbor’s family or your cousin that called you on the phone from the suburbs, we see what works for you. So I think people, and a lot of parents, they go on the Internet (not that going on the Internet is bad), and they don’t have reliable sources all the time and peer pressure on parents, especially women, to be perfect. It’s almost like a competition between other parents and their kids, and we’re so not like that; there is a bunch of different ways to raise a happy family.

-by Jackie Hart

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A recent journalism grad from Quinnipiac University with honors, Jackie has taken her writing and managing talents to Downtown Magazine. While at QU, she wrote for her independent newspaper, The Quad News, served on the planning board for her sorority, Chi Omega, and participated in the athletic intramural program. She is extremely passionate about traveling, especially after studying abroad in London for 6 months. She also enjoys anything entertainment and pop culture related, the beach, spending time with her family, friends and cats, and of course, exploring NYC!