Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, and Caribbeans Creating Community

Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, and Caribbeans Creating Community

Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, and Caribbeans Creating Community

Raising Brooklyn: Nannies, Childcare, and Caribbeans Creating Community

Excerpt

Most mornings around 9:30 a.m., after eating breakfast, showering, getting dressed, and giving a quick send-off to my husband, I feed my kids, get them dressed, and prepare a diaper bag, then walk my one-year-old son and two-year-old daughter in their double jog stroller across the highway bridge and another five blocks to the park. As I arrive at the second block, after walking by a local bakery, I pass a three-foot-high Mother of Mary statue embedded in the front stoop of a brownstone home that prompts me to say a “Hail Mary.” Like the good Catholic my mother always wanted me to be, I say my Hail Mary to clear my conscience. With the fresh smell of coffee and chocolate croissants on my mind, I continue along my path in this once predominantly Catholic, Italian neighborhood toward one of Brooklyn’s oldest public parks. As I look at my surroundings, I am reminded of the changes that are continuously occurring in the area.

This newly gentrified neighborhood has a high density of three- to fivestory brownstones on almost every street. Many of these buildings are under renovation by the incoming, mostly young white upper-middle-class professionals who are buying homes for close to and often over one million dollars or renting homes or apartments for several thousand dollars a month (at near-Manhattan rates). Where once lunching on pizza was the choice for many in the midday rush hour and sitting on your front stoop was the main form of entertainment, I now find organic paninis with vegan options and a “mommy and me” yoga class on every block. The “Grups” (yuppies or hipsters, a term inspired by a Star Trek show in which a virus killed anyone who demonstrated the signs of the aging process) are everywhere. Their fashionable white iPod earplugs, over-the-shoulder messenger bags, and T-shirts that appear torn at the seams yet cost well over fifty dollars indicate the Grups as the newest cultural group in Brooklyn’s gentrifying neighborhoods. Where is the older generation? I see evidence of the once-dominant ethnic group . . .

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