26 Flipside of the Coin


Yesterday I wrote about a woman begging for money on the street with her kids. Today, I want to talk about the opposite end of that spectrum.

When Andy and I came back to NYC after being on the road for several months in 2011, we were lucky to get the chance to live in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

Gowanus is right between Park Slope and Cobble Hill, which means it’s surrounded on both sides by wealthy neighborhoods that have a lot of great amenities. There was a plethora of things to do within walking distance and that was a new thing for us.

For the first month we didn’t have jobs or Wi-Fi, so we spent a lot of time at a small Park Slope coffee shop that provided free Wi-Fi to their customers.

The coffee shop was always filled with moms and dads working on laptops while their babies crawled around on the floor. And if they weren’t on the floor, they slept in large strollers that cost at least half of my monthly take home pay. Thinking back on my upbringing, I can never imagine in a million years one of my parents bringing me to a coffee shop and letting me crawl around on the floor. Aside from the germ issues, it just seems like a weird thing to do.

Then around noon, one of the local schools would let the kids out for lunch and the coffee shop would fill up with tweens ordering sandwiches and fancy coffee concoctions.

One day, Andy and I were privy to a group of girls all talking about their maids. One confessed that she thought her maid Marta had stolen from her, because the level of her hair gel had been suspiciously going down. Her friend then flippantly replied, “Our maid steals from us too.” They all shook their heads simultaneously.

We moved out of Gowanus after a year, and now we are living in a working class neighborhood where the vibe is very different and no one has a maid.  I have never seen a baby crawl around the floor of any establishment where we live now, and the kids I encounter are always really respectful. It’s very obvious that the parents rule in our neighborhood, and I am ok with that!


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