ARCHIVE FOR October, 2012

Let’s Talk About Greenpoint12

Posted by Deirdre // 10-24-2012


My husband was in Greenpoint for a meeting a few weeks ago and texted me (as he does, giving me running commentary) that the neighborhood was awesome. We hadn’t been in years – the last time was probably when we drove through on the way home from PS1 and didn’t even stop. He loved that it felt vibrant and interesting and not teeming with kids. Don’t get me wrong – I love that we’re in a kid-friendly hood, of course, but sometimes the crush of 10 and unders is a lot to bear. I find that I am a bit startled when I see a lot of older people in one place, or 20-somethings for that matter, unless I happen to be out on 5th Ave after 9pm. It just doesn’t happen much in Park Slope, sadly.

Greenpoint Ave G Stop via George B.

Everyone knows about Williamsburg and its gritty, increasingly expensive and very livable cool. But development in Greenpoint has been slower. Greenpoint is to Williamsburg what Portland is to Seattle – the one that happened next. Yet where would I go if we ever had the balls to move to the Pacific Northwest? It’d have to be Portland.

For Greenpoint, the subway must have a lot to do with its relative quiet – it’s the oft butt of jokes G and only the G – versus the hipster-cool L. Yet the G is three stops (with one transfer) from Midtown East (51st & Lex or Grand Central) and four stops from Times Square. Oh, and now the East River Ferry has a stop in Greenpoint – the schedule says it’s 9 minutes to 34th Street. Huh.

But the chatter amongst parents is that the schools are not good. After seeing this Mommypoppins post about where to eat with kids in the neighborhood (which includes Five Leaves, where my husband ate that day and loved), I looked closer. I learned that they did a month-long focus on Greenpoint, with a parks and playgrounds and indoor playspaces and everything you’d expect to find in a good neighborhood guide for parents and kids (it’s what they do).

Then I looked into schools a bit. Inside Schools has info on all the District 14 schools of course, but I had to check resident expert Joyce Szuflita, and here’s what she had to say about PS 110 in April ’11, starting with “PS 110 is a great school…” because “…an experienced and gifted principal who has been a teacher in the school for decades.” Promising.

Plus, they’ve got a Van Leeuwen café, so delish lattes (and ice cream) are covered.

Any of you live in Greenpoint, or been considering it? Moved from there? We’d love to hear what you have to say.



Making the Bus: A Look Back0

Posted by Deirdre // 10-19-2012


I wrote this in 2009 (when the B69 route was down PPW) but guess I never posted it. Plus I had no followers! This post on Scary Mommy made me think of it.

So every once in awhile, people ask me, “What’s going on with your blog?”. “Eh, nothing,” I say. With work and kids it’s hard to find the time to write. But I’m stuck on the subway with nothing to read, so here I am.

It’s Winter. I mean it’s now REALLY Winter – the kind of day when you have to take a minute after getting inside to just thaw out. I took my 3 year old to school today and it’s always a struggle to get him out of the house on time, because he simply doesn’t understand time. His school is about a 12-15 minute walk, but it includes walking past Grand Army Plaza, which is a swarm of traffic and a crazy wind tunnel, so when the weather’s bad, we try to take the bus. “Why do we have to rush to make the bus?” he says every time. “Because it will leave if we’re not there,” I say. “But why?”

Last week, when we missed the bus because my nanny was late and husband was away on business for FOUR DAYS, we were walking up Union Street with the cold rain whipping us in the face and I thought I was going to lose it. Miraculously Z didn’t freak out, until of course I did, when I swept him into a building with a lobby to get ourselves together. He kept saying “I want to make the bus,” but of course we’d already missed it and were halfway to school. We walked the rest of the way – about 5 blocks – and I managed to keep it together, but was cursing under my breath. No way to start a day.

So today I was determined to make that frigging bus. As we approached Plaza Street, I saw it careening around the bend towards our stop. There’s usually only one other person there so I knew we had to move – fast – not something that most 3 year olds are very good at unless there’s some reward. But Z loves the bus, so I’ve been trying to use that as bait.

“There’s our bus – let’s run!” I said. “But finish telling me the story,” Z said, running. I managed, “I’ll finish it on the bus, now let’s run!” He was into it, at least. There’s no way we would’ve made it otherwise, and the fact that it was so cold that about ten other people decided to take the bus today instead of walking, so it took some time for them to get on. 

I was totally winded, of course. Besides having no time to write this blog, I have no time to work out! But we made it, and I seriously don’t know what I would’ve done if we hadn’t. 

Is that normal? Am I overly stressed? Am I overly stressed because of this crazy living situation (eg, small two bedroom, 1 bath with kids’ toys and strollers taking up most of the room)? Is it New York, or is it having two boys under the age of four? Is it because I work? Is it because of all of those things combined? Probably. I guess the question is, what part of that equation can be changed?

Follow up: I’m glad to say it’s better now. My kids are older. They understand time a little bit better (ok, minutely). I’m not working! And school is only a block and a half away. I have it GOOD.


Back to School is…cool or drool?0

Posted by Deirdre // 10-04-2012


Back to school was a struggle for us. We were still adjusting to city life after August away (like still unpacking weeks later!), getting up and getting going early in the morning. Breakfast on time — instead of at 9 o’clock – making lunches, negotiating getting dressed – instead of reading a book – blah, blah, you know the deal. And leaving…all this, which is pretty much what August looked like for us. *sniff*




So that sucked.

And as far as school goes, we were sad that our older one didn’t get any of his besties in his class for second grade. He did have one buddy, a cute girl from first grade who he digs. But three of his good friends from last year were put in class together, plus his best friend from preschool, plus the kids of almost every parent I know and like who has a second grader – were all in this ONE CLASS. I am not shitting you. Our friends from across the street who have a sweet girl who Zach isn’t friends with but would be a familiar face. The son of a mom I reconnected with last spring who also has a brother Theo’s age. A friend of my husband’s, his little girl, whose brother Zach had for a (beloved) reading buddy last year. A kid from K who Zach got along with. I think there are more but it would take up the entire post. Suffice it to say, I became a little obsessed with the fact that our entire circle seemed like they were in this one class that of course was not Zach’s. And with so many second grade classes, it’s possible that you don’t know a big chunk of the kids in your class. Hmph.

Theo knew very few kids going into Kindergarten, none well. Plus Zach’s K teacher moved to another school, so there was no chance for that familiar place or face either. There were several siblings of Zach’s classmates who he could’ve gotten in class with, but with a whopping TEN Kindergarten classes, and because the world was against us this year, he naturally got none of them. He even got the teacher who had mixed reviews according to our sources.
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