In 2004, without a change of address, I unknowingly entered the Momtropolis. It had been forming post-9/11, though I didn’t realize it at the time, and grew quickly, coming to epitomize a large part of the Brooklyn lifestyle we now know. How did I enter the Momtropolis? I gave birth to my son and immediately joined my first mother’s group at a store called Urban Monster, which no longer exists. I met many wonderful moms in those early sleepless days who became lifelong friends. One of those friends had the brilliant idea to start the Not So New Moms Group, which became the Bococa Parents yahoo group, a term soon widely adopted by real estate agents, which spun off into a Facebook group. Simultaneously, there was a parallel Momtropolis developing in Park Slope, and soon stroller brigades popped up in Williamsburg, Windsor Terrace, Prospect Heights, Fort Green, Ditmas Park and Bay Ridge.
It’s not that there weren’t children in Brooklyn before, it’s just suddenly there were more. A lot more! Businesses who had shunned strollers and highchairs were overwhelmed as the population of children under 5 citywide grew 30% by 2007. That opened the door to a whole new wave of businesses created mostly by professional moms who opted to ditch the corporate lifestyle for the flexibility of owning their own business. We call them Parentpreneurs. Though these businesses do tend to cater mostly to the well-off, the Momtropolis isn’t just a bunch of stroller pushing elitists. Something different happened in Brooklyn that I haven’t seen in other parts of country or even Manhattan for that matter. There are few places with such a dense concentration of intellect, who have devoted their efforts, often free of charge, to building a community that enriches children and their parents. The Momtropolis is a group of talented activists, artists, new and old business owners, grandparents, educators, doctors, writers, scientists, crafts people, engineers, experimenters, designers, PTA parents and big thinkers who are focused on enriching children in a borough that is full of them. The Momtropolis is a place where the butcher gives out lollypops and the fish monger gives out Swedish fish because it gives parents a better bargaining position during the fight out the door for errands. These people have made motherhood, which in some places can be an isolating experience, much easier and more fun for me in countless ways. Through creating this blog, I aim to serve this community and share some of the ways they have served and enriched me over the years.