City kid

by Ashley on September 26, 2011

Watching Hudson’s eyes widen at the sight of grafitti had Aron and I talking about some of the funny realities we’ve encountered so far, having a baby in Manhattan. Believe it or not, and cost aside, New York seems like an amazing place for children. There are new playgrounds popping up all over the city and the parks are filled with young families (although the age of parents here skews high, so “young” is relative). Looking for culture? diversity? No problem. I watch kids riding the carousel under the Brooklyn bridge, doing gymnastics at Chelsea piers, ordering dim sum, or playing in AYSO games on the river and think: amazing! (And I look at all of the stylish moms here and feel inspired.) One other perk? I’ve always felt very comfortable breastfeeding in public. Now I know this isn’t necessarily inherent to the city, but I feel like the division between public and private space is so necessarily blurred by our small apartments and lack of backyards that no one bats an eye. And even if they did, there’s probably someone else clipping their toenails on the subway, so who cares about a discreetly nursing mother?

But on that note, I’ve had to tap my heel while nursing in the park to keep rats from running underfoot, and it’s not uncommon to  have to let Hudson cry a few extra minutes so that I don’t have to sit on the park bench next to the guy who hasn’t showered in weeks. Scaffold construction and sirens routinely mess with my nap-on-the-go plans, and I’ve hid in our bathroom a couple of times because it’s the only place in our studio apartment with a door. Perhaps because we don’t use a car in the city (generally a big plus), Hudson has not gotten accustomed to his car seat and what could be a source of solace is a source of stress. And it’s a good thing I like using the carrier anyway: crowds and hip, tiny restaurants with vintage, handicap-inaccessible bathrooms  make using the stroller unappealing most days.

We laughed about all of this as the guy in the construction hat (who is most definitely not a construction worker) asked me for the fifth time this week how old my baby is. He, like so many people here, smiles warmly and is nothing but welcoming of another baby to a city that seems more family-friendly every day.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lara Kasabian September 26, 2011 at 9:49 am

I grew up in Rome and moved with my parents to the south of Italy when I was 5… I really felt the difference between living in a tiny apartment (in Rome) and and our big family house with backyard and fields all around.
Except this I’m sad thinking about my parents’ decision to move! I think city life makes babies smarter and it’s more challenging!
xxx

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Chantale September 26, 2011 at 10:03 am

Not being a New Yorker and having grown up in the ‘burbs, I couldn’t see how people stay in the city to raise their kids but watching my cousins bring up their girls in midtown Manhatten, changed my mind. Watching my own 6yo playing happily in and around Nyc also changed my mind, kids just adapt! The only downside is… when they come visit us and tell us that it’s way too quiet for them. lol. Your baby-o is quite the kid-cutie!

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mrs boo radley September 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

Fun!

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Heather K September 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Ahhh look at how cute hudson is!!
happy to hear you are thoroughly enjoying your mommy in the city time!
you make me want to give it a try also! hehe

hope you are also taking care of yourself! 🙂

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ashlee September 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm

LOVE both blogs 🙂 wanted to know what you thought of your mini crib? what other space-saving baby items have you encountered.

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Katy September 27, 2011 at 9:06 am

This is great…so glad you are enjoying raising Hudson in the city…seems like it has so much to offer, for “young” parents like yourselves and the little guy…very happy for you both.

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Kiana September 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I have to admit that the part where you talk about keeping rats away from you while you breastfeed FREAKED ME OUT. I think it might have been just what I needed to hear to kick me out of my New York City obsession. As regards the rest of your post, I was born and raised in a big city too. I was actually born on Miami Beach before the Gap, Pottery Barn, and Starbucks invasions. Back then, it was just a place with mostly poor, immigrant families (our neighbors were Russian and Salvadorean) and space was tight. Because of the lack of space, you had to get to know your neighbors. They baby-sat your kids, you barbecued together on the weekends, and you’d share the playground. Now that my parents have moved to the suburbs, I think we’ve lost a little bit of that sense of community.

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Ashley September 30, 2011 at 9:53 am

Ha! Believe me–freaked me out, too!!

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Ashley September 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

P.s. Like how nolita looks all tough here, but really… That awning behind Aron is Tory Burch. Contrasts abound…

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