An area with a real estate industry conjured-name, BoCoCa, or, in English, the sprawling network of North Brooklyn neighborhoods Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, has emerged as one of the hottest, and most family-friendly neighborhoods in New York. It’s understandable: it’s cute as hell, loaded with parks, good food, and back in the day, you could get more space for a deal. While those bargains are long gone, the scores of families living and moving here are not. Read on to learn the hallmarks of parenting in this ‘hood.

For Endless Options: Pier 6 Playgrounds, Brooklyn Bridge Park

1. Every time you go to Brooklyn Bridge Park you see something new, are amazed you have a world-class, beautifully-landscaped waterside park within walking distance, and thank your lucky  stars  (or the real estate gods.) Also: your kid has a blast, no matter what age.

2. You have basically two colors of bags in your house: brown paper (Trader Joe’s) and orange plastic (Brooklyn Wine Exchange).


3. Your children have been raised on fish — of the red, Swedish variety, and the kind that swim — from the nice folks at Fish Tales.

For the Tiny Einstein: Carmelo the Science Fellow

photo: Carmelo the Science Fellow

4. You went to a Carmelo the Science Fellow birthday party and thought, “Wow, for a scientist he’s kind of crazy buff.”

5. The BoCoCa listserve has saved you so much money thanks to all the gently-used baby gear you found on it, in addition to helping you find childcare, a plumber and a new apartment.

6. You know you pay more than you need to at Pizzazz’s baby and toy stores, but both have saved your ass so many times you owe them, big time. (And that free gift-wrapping? The. Best.)


photo: Gloria K. via Yelp

7. Your ice cream cup runneth over with artisanal options, thanks to Van Leeuwen, Ample Hills, Blossom and more. Still, it’s the Mister Softie truck that makes your kid go wild.


8. Come Halloween, you kind of can’t believe what an idyllic fantasyland the neighborhood becomes, complete with decorations rivaling Broadway set design; a parade that feels like a rave, and kids and adults alike streaming through Brownstone-lined streets in elaborate costumes.

9. The Moxie Spot had its issues, but you miss its homey, casual vibe, play space, music classes, crazy quasi-steampunk gadgetry and rainy-day escapes. RIP Moxie!


photo: Curiosity on Court 

10. Also on the playspace front: You freaked out when Curiosity in Court opened, and are psyched to try Area Kids Club.

11. You have several dozen photos of your kid in that hollowed out tree in Carroll Park.

12. You love the formerly-LICH playground of abandoned toys for many reasons: it provides an endless supply of toys, many meant for suburban yards, in downtown Brooklyn; it has shade, a rarity in any NYC playground, and you can hit the Key Food or Trader Joe’s on the way home.

13. You actually object to the term BoCoCa, not only because it’s a little precious, but it also covers a lot of varied ground. Plus: you don’t think you’ve ever actually heard anyone say it.


photo: via The Painted Pot Facebook page 

14. Everyone in the extended family has received a mug, plate or bowl from The Painted Pot as a gift.

15. On your more portly days, you wonder how some people in the hood stay so thin, when there’s a new hamburger, ice cream or pizza place opening roughly every other week. (Then again, there’ also always a new barre/ballet/yoga/Soul Cycle joint debuting, and, come to think of it, all the places that sell FOOD are being replaced by luxury condos.)

16. More and more, you have that surreal experience of seeing the people from your favorite TV shows on the street.


photo: New York Transit Museum via Facebook/Christian Rodriguez

17. Your child is a New York City Transit system scholar, thanks to the proximity of the agency’s museum on Schermerhorn.

18. You love the Dodge Y: for its on-site childcare, inexpensive kids classes, awesome summer camp, pool and steam room/sauna.

19. Your Mommy & Me Classes, playground outings and neighborhood strolls feature appearances by movie and television stars and assorted celebrated literati doing exactly what you’re doing — parenting — and to your relief, they often look as harried and haggard as you. (Except for Jemima Kirke; every time you see her she’s pretty stunning in an effortless beautiful-even-when-I’m-just-hanging-out kind of way.)

For Clubs, a Café and Family Game Time : The Brooklyn Strategist

20. You’ve mixed it up at NY Kids Club’s Junior Chef; tumbled at The Little Gym, gamed at The Brooklyn Strategist; climbed the walls at Everyday Athlete; entered Muriel’s magical French world, hailed a taxi with Music for Aardvarks at Gumbo; boogied at the Sugar Shop with Moxie Music, and Let it Go at Treasure Trunk Theater.

21. You have wondered how much the balloon man at Carroll Park pulls in and if you could quit your job and do that. But health insurance is an issue.

22. When you visited your friends with kids in Windsor Terrace, their place felt like a gymnasium compared to your apartment.


photo: via Book Court Facebook page 

23.When you heard that beloved book store Book Court was closing (last day 12/31!), you didn’t throw up in your mouth a little — you projectile vomited all over the living room.


24. You feel like there are two kinds of BoCoCa moms: those who gazed upon the merch in the relatively new storefront of Brooklyn Fox lingerie shop and said, “Oh, cute!”, and those who said, “Ha!”

25. You really feel like you were the last people to have a baby in the ‘hood…but every day you see more. babies. More and more babies…(Is there something in the water?)


We know. We missed some. What’s your #1 sign? Tell us in the comments! 

— Mimi O’Connor