Fifteen years ago, most of the strollers in Williamsburg belonged to the Hasidim on the South Side. Now, thousand-dollar models battle for sidewalk space with umbrella strollers and baby-wearers. Despite the high-rises, the community of parents here makes the ‘hood feel like a small town, and the mix of baby boutiques and artsy kids’ shops produces some of the most stylish kids around—but good luck finding a basic pair jeans for the child. Still, you wouldn’t trade the energy here for anything. Here’s our list of the quintessential Billburg parenting experiences.


photo: via Greg S. on Yelp

1. You met some of your best mom and dad friends at a babywearing support group at Caribou Baby, and the rest at the Knitting Factory’s family sing-alongs.

2. You worry that the coming-soon Whole Foods will drive Foodtown from the North Side, the way Duane Reade bumped Kings Pharmacy. But you’re secretly thrilled to think of all those GMO-free snacks for junior’s lunchbox.
peter-panphoto: via Jando S. on Yelp

3. Your little one’s tried the cream puffs from Caprices by Sophie, the Nutella rugelach from Woops, and the popcorn sundae from Oddfellows, but nothing makes her smile like a simple glazed donut from Peter Pan.

4. Your circle includes parents who are artists, musicians, writers, artisans, and stylists, plus a handful of restaurateurs. Amazingly, most are actually making a living.
condo photo: via René C. Nielsen on Flickr

5. You can’t help looking at the new luxury buildings going up every other block and wondering where on earth all the new people—and their kids—will go.

6. The McCarren Park Pool saved your summer—and the brief appearance of a skating rink buoyed your winter. Now, when will the Parks Department fix up Vincent V. Abate Playground…?

7. On Saturday mornings in warmer weather, everyone knows to find you at the parent-run soccer league, then the farmers market.
rt-green-domeGreen Dome photo: via a2k2k on Flickr

8. You rely on the enclosed, one-entrance Green Dome to let your little one explore nature freely.

9. Your kid has learned daredevil stuntwork at Streb, parkour at Brooklyn Zoo, gymnastics at Ms. J’s, and trapeze at WMAAC. Next up: getting grounded at Hosh Kids yoga.

10. You’ve spent more hours than you can count in that small stretch of indoor public space at the Minimall—with Handsome Dan’s, Area Kids, and the bookstore, it’s the family-friendliest spot on Bedford.

11. When you go to the salon, you bring junior along—he’s been begging to dye a streak of green, to go with his best friend’s pink.

12. Your kid’s classmates are named for bodies of water, wild animals, planets, spices, birds, and people born a century ago. Some of them already have more style than you do.
rt-will-artmural photo: via Korye Logan on Flickr

13. You take your kid to art exhibits, but you probably don’t need to; with street art everywhere, you’re practically raising her in a gallery.

14. You wish that Flying Squirrel hadn’t been forced to decamp from their rough-hewn, jumbled, “old Williamsburg” location to Greenpoint, but boy, is that new space nice.

15. You never buy new baby gear without checking the Hui first; someone’s always selling (or giving away!) exactly what you need.

rt-giglioGiglio photo via: Howard Brier on Flickr

16. Every summer you swear you’re not taking your kid to the Giglio again. (Deep-fried Oreos, carnies running shady games, and rides that have seen better days? No thanks.) And yet somehow, you do.
rt-east-river-parkEast River State Park photo: via Matthew Hurst on Flickr

Did we forget something? Tell us about it in the comments!

—Debbie Koenig