The Best Thing About Fort Greene is What There Isn't

A Child Grows in Brooklyn favorite kid resources in and near Fort Greene:

Perhaps you are wondering why I don’t list kid resources for only Fort Greene. It’s not because we don’t have any here. There are actually a few, though not like they have in Park Slope and BOCOCA. It is quieter over here. There is very little shopping, no “playspaces” to speak of and zero baby shops. And we like it that way. Some of my favorite Fort Greene resources are: the amazing Fort Greene Park designed by the same landscape architects that designed Central Park, the South Oxford Space that houses classes we go to, the many family-friendly restaurants like Café Habana, 67 Burger, Rice and Graziella’s, and the best part- laidback yet intellectually curious parents.

•The Brooklyn Flea Market - Brooklyn Flea was created by Brownstoner - a website about real estate and renovation by a neighbor/father in Clinton Hill. It just started this month of April. Everyone I know has been so excited about it, that is, everyone except those of us that live on the surrounding blocks where it takes place. In fact, it to so happens that the market is right outside my door. There has been car honking, double parked cars and generally an overflow of people and traffic on our quiet blocks. I got a dirty look and a "sheesh!" from a man clad in Gucci loafers as I tried to navigate Birch's tricycle up a steep sidewalk ramp and we heard honking horns most of the day. So much for our Sunday naps for the rest of our lives. Actually, there is a lot to see and I saw a ton of families that enjoyed searching out a bargain. And, grumpily, I agree. It IS fun to go to. There is everything from the unique: mantle-sized tin-framed mirrors, cool onesies, herb-planted glazed vases, embroidered pillows and coverlets to the more typical flea market fare: vintage clothing, mid-century furniture, glassware and jewelry. The Brooklyn Flea market goes on every Sunday from 10-5 at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Fort Greene. The school/flea market is located on Lafayette between Clermont Ave and Greene Aves. Oh, and please....don't honk your horn if you come!

•Still Hip Resale Shop- This store is now closed. Don’t let your mom tell you that having a kid isn’t expensive (we fell for that one). But you can make it less so by visiting Still Hip. They carry secondhand strollers, car seats, slings, toys, shoes, books and of course clothes for newborn to age 8 years. They also offers classes and seminars for parents including: CPR, Starting Solids and Sling Wearing. Their classes for children range from robot making to sign language. When their classroom is not in use, children are encouraged to grab a toy off the shelf and run wild in their cozy carpeted room.

Still Hip
283 Grand Avenue
Brooklyn, NY (Clinton Hill) 11238 718-398-0008

•Pratt Institute- I view this as one of Brooklyn’s most valuable resources, and a little known one at that. Bring your tot(s) to the open campus during daylight hours and enjoy a picnic or stroll on the “Pratt Beach” (two wonderful green grass areas). No dogs are allowed on this 25 acre campus in Clinton Hill so that you aren’t dodging mine fields as your child crawls, sits and plays in the grass. Their sculpture park is the largest one in New York City with approximately 50 sculptures that are on a revolving exhibition. Birch (my son) loves to climb the sculptures, peek in and out of them and just gaze at some of their extreme heights. The Pratt Power Plant is open to the public and you can explore the engine room and search for the 25 domesticated cats that the engineer takes care of. It is fun to try and spot them all. The Institute has a great pool of babysitters too: young, energetic and educated. The MFA open studios that are held twice a year are always interesting and fun to attend with your kids as well as the gallery exhibitions. They offer a pre-college for students aged 16-18 and Saturday Art School for ages 3-18 and adults. The classes are taught by Pratt faculty and some scholarships are provided.

Pratt Institute
200 willoughby avenue
brooklyn, ny 11205

•NY City Explorers- This place has everything you want in a neighborhood play space and activity center. The aesthetic is clean, colorful and laid-back. There is a lounge and eating area where you can drop your shoes before indulging in the toys and space. In the back they have a classroom where they host birthday parties and their academic- inspired classes like history, math and drama. Their in-house teacher Andrea has her masters in curriculum development and has taught for seven years, so you can be sure she knows how to handle a roomful of energized kids. I have seen her at work and the kids adore her spirited guidance. In addition, NYC Explorers offers special weekly events: Wednesday Dropoff Childcare, Friday Night Date Night (you get the date, the kids get lots of fun), Sleep-in Saturdays and more. In addition, they offer adult support groups, after-school pickup and a babysitting service either at their place or at your own. They call it “edutaining”. It is open 7 days a week from 9-6 pm. The cost is $10 for drop-in play or you can purchase play packs or discount packages.

NY City Explorers
388 Atlantic Avenue (btw Hoyt & Bond)

By Karen of
A Child Grows in Brooklyn- a blog about parenting in Brooklyn


Fort Greene Resources:

Neighborhood Association: Fort Greene Association

Restaurants in Fort Greene:

Fort Greene Family List Serv: FGKids

Local Realtor: JoAnn Ebanks